Over the past few weeks, I’ve read many articles on HDR (High Dynamic Range) and have been pretty excited for the release of Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast – a short tech demo of a segment of the HWY 17 portion of the game which showcases HDR.
So, what is HDR lighting and why should you care? In plain english; HDR lighting adds a level of realism to games that we’re yet to experience. Picture yourself walking through a dark hallway. At the end of the hallway is a window and it’s a beautiful sunny day. As you approach the window you find yourself squinting because your eyes haven’t yet adjusted to the brightness of the sun. Give it a few seconds and the brightness will dim and you’re able to see without squinting. The reverse happens when going from a bright area to a dark one. It’s very dark at first, but within a few seconds it brightens up and you’re able to see objects around you. HDR brings this effect to video games, and the result is stunning!
On Monday, September 26, Day Of Defeat: Source was released. Originally a mod for Half-Life. DOD has been revamped and is now powered by Valve’s Source engine… and it also features HDR. I really didn’t expect to be completely blown away by the addition of some realistic lighting, but man was I ever! The first round, I was killed a dozen times easy while playing around with the affects of HDR. It was then I realized you really do need to see this in action, in game. Which is why I’ve thrown together a little sample video so you can see it for your own eyes. Mind you, this 500px wide video hardly does it justice. But you’ll get the idea. If you really want to experience it, order DOD:S from Steam. It’s only $20 after all.