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City 17: Episode One – New Year Media Update: Part One

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After close to a year of silence, the Gear mod team developing City 17: Episode One have caught us all by surprise with a 3-part New Year Update.

As usual, you’ll see the amazing effects the team have implemented in the Source Engine, but you’ll also get a peek at the locations you’ll visit in the course of the mod.

City 17: Episode One – New Year Media Update: Part One

The team starts off the media update by apologizing for the lack of activity over the past year:

Many of you know that Valve is a mod friendly company as shown by the release of Source SDK updates in a fairly consistent manner. However, for quite some time now each SDK update has broken most of our assets and delayed our development. We’ve spent a lot of time fixing it and in case of the 2007 branch not being salvageable, we (had) a fail-safe build on the Alien Swarm engine branch. For the time being, we’re focusing on our Source 2007 branch. Suffice to say (to better get the bad news out of the way) City 17 is going to heavily rely on the eventual release of the 2009 engine branch for mods to give players the best experience.

But, there’s a silver lining to any dark cloud, and the 26th May update has helped out the mod team in a strange way:

However, now that Valve has moved the large majority of their titles to the Orange Box Engine we will no longer require players to own “Half Life 2: Episode Two” like we previously had. To play City 17 Episode One, all you’ll need is “Half Life 2: Episode One”! Lucky you!

While that’s some great news, what came after it made our jaws drop. The team have implemented crepuscular rays, or sun shafts, if you prefer. You might know these things from Crysis. The results look gorgeous.

City 17: Episode One - New Years Update | Part 1

Clicky to see the entire thing in its full glory.

The team are also using “unsharp masks” to bring out texture detail that would ordinarily be lost. This is a screenshot of it on:

City 17: Episode One - New Years Update | Part 1

Clicky and you’ll see just how sharp the textures are. You could poke your goddamn eye out on these things.

And believe it or not, the Gears team have managed to get brushes in City 17: Episode One to now support phong lighting and texture blending. The results are astounding:

City 17: Episode One - New Years Update | Part 1

You could eat off that floor. Well… not really, but you get the idea.

This is just a taste of the full media update. You can find it over at ModDB. We’ll keep you updated as more updates come out during the week.

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