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Back in June, Paul from hlportal.de suggested in an e-mail that I do a comic based on the new HDR lighting effects. Here it is, finally.

After doing the comic, I booted up Day Of Defeat: Source, thinking, you know, maybe I should actually check out firsthand the HDR I had just mocked. Since it's a little hard to detect changes in lighting while the German Wehrmacht are flanking you, I started a server and ran around on my own for a bit. First, I thought I'd try it without turning HDR on. Checked out the map for a few minutes, looked at everything, tried out some guns. Then, I opened the options panel to turn HDR on. Uh, wait. It WAS on. It had been on the whole time.

The HDR effects, contrary to my comic's suggestions, are incredibly subtle. Once you notice them, they become a bit more obvious, but all in all, if you weren't looking for them you probably wouldn't see them.

Now, I'm not sure why you'd have them on in a multiplayer game like DoD, since the slightest slow-down or distraction will get you riddled with bullets by other players who don't have their own HDR turned on. You're not gonna get blinded like the cops in the comic, but your framerates may suffer a bit if you don't have a fast enough rig, and moving from darkness to light or vice-versa does give you a very realistic moment of adjustment, and while it's remarkable how well they captured it in HDR, it's not the sort of thing a substandard player like myself needs to worsen his already awful chances of survival in multiplay.

But in a single-player game, especially one with already gorgeous graphics like Half-Life 2? I would definitely have HDR on. I honestly cannot wait to see Lost Coast at this point, and I really hope they somehow go back and add HDR to Half-Life 2 itself. It's the kind of thing you may not really notice until you turn it off, at which point you'll miss it. It's just really neat.

Back to DoD: Source. Holy cow, that is a mind-blowing amount of fun. I joined a server because I wanted to try out the German MG42 on something other than flowerpots. About ten minutes later, I realized it was four hours later. It was a little hard to get into at first, what with the realistic weapon recoil that caused me to perforate a lot of clouds but few opponents, but once I adjusted it was just a ridiculous amount of fun. The maps are brilliantly designed, with lots of choke-points, cover, great sniping positions, and most importantly, ways to flank those sniping positions. There are some players who are good enough to just run willy-nilly through the maps, killing everyone in sight, but for the most part, players were working together, covering each other, and slowly advancing on the capture points during some hellish close-quarter firefights. Great game.




Created with Half-Life 2 by Valve Software, using Garry's Mod.
Assembled with Photoshop 6.0. Most fonts by Blambot
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