A recent presentation detailing water flow in Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 has revealed a glimpse into the future of Valve’s Source engine. While we may not be getting dynamically rendered water, we will likely be receiving something that affects how Source renders it. Page 52 of the presentation reads:
– Flow height maps and use tessellation hardware
– Multiple frequencies of normal maps
– Render dynamic flow vectors per-frame so animated objects cause flow changes
– Use flow map with our physics simulation to have objects flow on the water surface using the same data
From what I can gather, it sounds like they want to make water react to objects and perhaps player inputs. Alongside that, they want to allow the engine to render the water’s flow, automatically affecting other physics-based props within the area. Seeing that Portal 2 will include significantly improved lighting effects, a new water rendering system will arguably make this Valve’s best looking game to date.
source: Xugo Gaming