As of late I’ve been messing a lot with shaders in the Source engine. At first I was using the popular Shader Editor mod to help me out which worked great for a while until I hit some issues relating to the order in which things are rendered.
Most full screen effects that are created with the Shader Editor that have become part of PPE (post-process effect) chains are all calculated and displayed after everything else has been rendered. Of course this isn’t very odd since they are PPE chains but in order to have more control of what was rendered when I had to dig into the actual shader project and figure out how Valve setup their shaders and how they manage it all. Ranging from RTs (render textures) to the shader FXCs themselves.
Luckily I got to meet the awesome Drew Watts who could help me learn how to do most of the Source shader related stuff. He even sent me some of his shaders which I was allowed to use for the Estranged mod. Which was great news because this included his HBAO shader. It’s a very pretty shader.
Funny enough the only issue I’m still running into right now for most of the time is actually rendering the HBAO before the sprites and fog are rendered so that it doesn’t get multiplied over those results. Which is kind of why I stopped using the Shader Editor. I’ve still got a lot to learn. Maybe some day I’ll be able to write a nice tutorial about the system as well.
For some reason I love messing around in OpenTTD, a free open-source clone of Transport Tycoon Deluxe. I’m not that much of a good player at all but I at least know my train signs… up to a certain point.
One thing I both loved and hated about Transport Tycoon was it’s soundtrack. In-game I usually have the music muted but that doesn’t mean the tunes stop playing in my head and for exactly this reason I’ve started converting some of the MIDI files to some ‘proper’ MP3s.
I will probably convert more tracks later on but here’s the first three.