Important System Shock 2 Headsup for Everyone.

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Tricky
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Important System Shock 2 Headsup for Everyone.

Postby Tricky » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:43 am

It may have made the news here and there already, but since this place never got its own System Shock series subforum, I thought it wouldn't hurt to write about it in the General RPG forum.

Something.. weird but fairly cool has been happening to the SS2 community over the past six months. Late 2012, over a decade since the demise of TTLG, engine patches from an anonymous source started to spread around the internet, introducing 'advanced' DirectX support in the form of shaders, mipmaps, light mapping, multisampling, bloom and many other things for all Dark Engine games (mainly the thief series and System Shock 2). Nobody is exactly sure who made it, but evidence points at it being a former TTLG employee, having extensive knowledge and access to the normally inaccessible engine source code.

The patch can be obtained through installing [url='http://www.systemshock.org/index.php?board=15.0']SS2Tool[/url] (only works if you don't install the game in /Program Files/, so use custom installation options in Steam), which auto updates a fresh installation with all official and unofficial patches. Combined with [url='http://www.systemshock.org/index.php?topic=4447.0']existing[/url] HD texture mods and monster/item/weapon replacers, it turns SS2 into a proper, modern game.

Note that the advanced visual effects can be enhanced (and sometimes enabled) through the editing of the new cam_ext.cfg in the program's directory. This file provides its own documentation of each setting, so feel free to experiment with it.

The following screenshots may include additional mods.

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(ignore the red square in that last one, I just like the bloom in it - that's what I get for swiping these from the SS2 forums instead of making my own screenshots)

EDIT: I just realized none of these screenshots include any of the new monster models - my apologies.

You understand that since this engine patch was released, the entire SS2 modding community has suddenly jumped to warp speed trying to incorporate all the new features, so it's worth checking out additional mods. It's quite amazing something like that can still happen for a game after a decade. Very soon now, the SS2 community will start releasing single 'System Shock Community Patches (SCP), which promise to actively employ a lot of the new engine features with one of the major replacer mods. If you're not too hasty, it might be worth waiting for that to be released first, so bookmark those forums. You can always play [url='http://www.systemshock.org/index.php?topic=211.0']System Shock Portable[/url] (with a mouselook mod!) in the mean time. :)

Oh for anyone who needs to know, all this works just fine under Linux/Wine.
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Eirinjas
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Postby Eirinjas » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:08 pm

Actually, it wasn't a TTLG dev. Some years back a Dreamcast devkit went for auction on eBay. The purchaser of the devkit found the source code for Thief 2 and System Shock 2; games which were slated to be ported to the Dreamcast, but the DC "failed" and was pulled from the market before that could happen. The purchaser then released the source code as a Xmas gift to the internet gaming community. And while there are many projects in motion to update the textures, sounds, and models in Thief 1/2 and System Shock 2, most of them have been around long before the NewDark engine (as it's called) was released. NewDark basically lifted the roof on alot of the bottlenecks (limitation on viewable polygons in a scene, max texture sizes and types, etc.), and added lots of new features, like the addition of material library files, post-processing effects, and a built-in FM selector. Really, NewDark has basically future-proofed these games.

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Tricky
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Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:21 pm

Postby Tricky » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:35 pm

Amazing. I don't think that was known yet at the time I posted that. I tried to verify my story, but nobody really seemed to know for sure.

Thank for the update there! :)
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