Blogspot notice: A developer Post-Mortem will be released in two weeks time.
Just blurbing what I have added would seem silly so I'll try to categorize it in importance:
The Newport 2.0 engine is an unofficial term for my adjustment and use of the Cryengine 2 and how I design levels.
- Using dozens of reference pictures, articles, studying and papers I have created an entirely new atmosphere/lighting/graphics presentation for the Remake. The new visual quality is near photorealistic on very high with an enormous leap in performance as well due to the dozens of tweaks and adjustments to entities and brushes for optimizations sake. Depth of Field, Film Grain, SSAO, mapping techniques and an entirely new water model have been added.
- Newport 2.0 is also built with five total time of days in it, each bringing a distinct atmosphere and emotion. There's the default, default at night, winter flashback, desert and jungle. Desert and jungle are NOT in the remake, but will be present in part 2. This is in advantage over the original release, which had one time of day, which was a very poor one to boot.
- Level design has been dramatically improved through use of vegetation, particles, realistic environments, the aforementioned lighting engines and a more experienced eye for natural design. I really, really wanted players to feel immersed and not lost or afraid of making a wrong turn this time and as such open endedness has been replaced by careful balance and linear/nonlinear segments in blend.
A narrative is the most important aspect when telling a story and because of that importance I have completely readjusted how it ties into the gameplay for the Remake. The narrative hasn't changed much, as this is a remake and not a sequel, but you will find many subtle improvements.
- You can no longer fall off the port, for example, and get lost in the water.
- All lanterns have been redesigned to guide you to where to go in a subtle fashion.
- It autosaves very often and you can only get killed once now.
- You won't fall off ledges, make impossible jumps, tear your hair out or anything due to level design mingling badly with narrative anymore.
- Over a dozen new books have been added to flesh out the backstory.
I struggled with the notion of adding new content to the remake or not and decided in the end to choose a middle ground. I have added more content, sure, but I have also readjusted every single scare or scene to play out more fairly and logically as well as adding an entire book reading system with the help of my graphics artist.
- The Remake watches how you play and adjusts dozens of little factors accordingly. A scream or a scare in one area, or maybe not, if you didn't pick up the book leading to it. A cave or a creepy barn being unlocked for investigation if you read about them or played a gameplay sequence, or not, if you skipped by. There are 25 audio queues randomized and 3 key gameplay areas adjusted to your playing interest.
- First is Hamlet. Hamlet is a small, tiny, quaint town in the middle of the pines where a sinister mystery is waiting to be unfolded. It is very short and log based, but sweet, and is akin to Sanitarium or a very mild Fallout 3 quest. You will search the buildings and surrounding small forest looking for clues or logs in a non linear fashion, allowing you to unlock a flashback shrine, a barn, and also just the sense of accomplishment by solving the seriously creepy story to Hamlet.
- Secondly, the cave from the original is now optional and randomly generated. You'll be happy to know its more "cave like" and has a cool log inside.
- Thirdly in the new content list is the new book reading system. If you pick up a book a page full of text, decals, etc will be in front of you allowing you to READ the books around Newport instead of watching a hud overlay scroll subtitles for hours on end.
- Fourth and last is the optional short story, inspired by Amnesia's loading screens but still completely original to Newport's story. They are in non linear fashion, detailed by concept art (which is quite well done in the short notice I gave her to draw them), and are a nice treat if you like to find easter eggs.