I'm still tweaking various settings, but here's a screenshot that should serve as a bit of a teaser, at least...
I'll explain what we're seeing here in a moment. For now, let's just look at this image. The left half of the image is showing the original, default VTMB graphics engine. The right half of the picture is showing the new DirectX 9 functions that I am adding to VTMB:So what are we seeing here, in the above split-screen image..?
Well... for starters, the right side of the image shows much better contrast and color saturation. Also, take a close look at the masonry behind the character... the stone wall. On the left, the surface of the stones look rather plain and ordinary. Boring, even. But on the right side, the stones look noticeably more detailed. This is because the normal mapping for those textures is significantly enhanced... they actually look like they have a 3-dimensional surface.
If you look at my Malk, you can see that her flesh looks much smoother and more richly colored on the right side, as compared to her rather washed-out appearance on the left side. On the DX9 side, her skin looks nicer, her clothing looks more detailed, her right eye looks more distinct than her left eye, etc.
Because of the enhanced contrast that DX9 allows, the bright areas on the DX9 side look brighter, and the dark areas look darker. The body of my Malk, along with the stone masonry in the foreground of the image, both look brighter and sharper on the right (DX9) side of the screenshot. But if you look upwards a bit, at the ceiling inside of the parking garage behind her, you can see that the ceiling on the right (DX9) side looks darker than the ceiling on the left (DX8) side. So we aren't merely making everything brighter here... no, what we're doing is adding more accurate gradations
of contrast, resulting in an overall scene which is sharper and more delineated.
I'm finding that this actually augments the "noir" look of VTMB in most areas of the game. Dark areas of the game look more detailed now... but they're still retaining their "creepy factor." The overall "dark and creepy" atmosphere of VTMB has been magnified a bit, in other words.
Lastly, look at the graphics for the Health and Blood Point indicators. Look closely at the decorative scroll work around each indicator. You can plainly see the difference between them... the DX9 side looks much more vivid and sharper as compared to the DX8 side.
I'll keep working on this and soon, I'll post a demo video in the members-only area of the board. The reason I need to post it there is because I play VTMB with my own Mega-Mod installed... which features a large amount of adult content. Therefore, I would prefer to post such things somewhere other than in a public area of the board. But for now, the above screenshot... which is very tame... should give everyone a good idea of what I'm striving for here.