It is once again time for a devblog-post, although last month was a bit less exciting overall, as I was quite busy with many other things. Obviously that means that I wasn’t quite able to make as many updates as possible, but there are nonetheless some interesting things to cover.
The world-space reflections using voxels have received numerous improvements, as well as the specular denoiser. Specular reflections should look a bit more clear again now and not as “smushed” as before. This is however also introducing some visible noise again, but it’s not horribly bad and definitely better than overly soft reflections.
Multiple bounces for specular reflections are also supported now, which allows for some very interesting scenes and generally makes reflective surfaces feel a bit nicer, as you can see in the attached gallery.
Nostalgia Shader v4.0 now supports the nether, which also looks quite different from how it looked like with version 3.1. I wanted to give the nether a nice overhaul with this update, since it was looking rather generic and almost boring before so I obviously had to bring in some atmospheric visuals.
The latest preview version (which is available for all patrons) also brought a bunch of other updates like an improved tonemap response, better emission behaviour and a few other small improvements.
Although slow, version 4.0 is making steady progress and should be fully ready for release in a few weeks.
There haven’t been many updates last month, but that also wasn’t much of an issue as the pack is already in a relatively solid spot aside from some features that are still on my to-do list, as well as dimension support. I am developing the latter in parallel with Nostalgia Shader v4.0, as I’ve designed both packs to allow for some nicer update synergies to make it easier to maintain both compared to KappaPT and Kappa Shader. The latter two ended up having quite a bulk of internal differences which makes things more time consuming to maintain in parallel to each other, so I’ve done things a bit smarter in that regard on Nostalgia Shader v4.0 and NostalgiaVX.
I have also started working on world-space reflections using voxels in NostalgiaVX, which will eventually replace the reflection capture. There are however a few drawbacks due to the quite different voxel dataset compared to KappaPT. This includes the fact that the reflected voxels are unable to display actual textures, but rather just an overall voxel color as the necessary data to sample the textures is not present. Multiple specular bounces are also impossible due to the same limitation, but the reflections should nonetheless look superior to pure screen-space solutions or the reflection capture. This limitation of the voxel dataset was a deliberate decision, as it allows me to save quite some performance on the actual voxel lighting and reflections tracer and the generation of the light propagation volume, which is the foundation of the block emission in NostalgiaVX.
The Arkham Unreal Blog Series
Since I haven’t said it on this website yet, the blog series going through the tech behind my Batman Arkham Project on Unreal Engine is currently on the backburner. This is because I am, as some of you may already know or have noticed from previous devblogs, not really having a lot of time to devote to the project. This affects the blog series especially as the next posts will be covering some more technical aspects of the gameplay programming which is time consuming to get written down in an understandable form. The fact that I can’t really use my existing project as examples, due to the simply vast amount of dependencies I’d have to cover then as well as the rather complex structure, only adds on top of that and increases the amount of work required.
I’d rather do this properly once I got the time for it, since I want this blog series to be a useful resource of a bit higher quality.
I’m now slowly having some more time again, with many big IRL things being sorted out now. I am however also a bit more occupied with studying than before now, as I want to get up to speed again after the pandemic caused quite an organisational mess at my university combined with the effects all this chaos had on myself and the issues that arose from it. Let’s hope that the last winter’s situation in that regard won’t repeat itself this year so we are all able to finally be done with the pandemic and the poor handling of it.
Last but not least, once again a huge shoutout to my patrons. It seems like you folks really just keep going with your crazy support over the last few months, which I very much appreciate and am extremely grateful for.