Leadwerks Game Engine 4.4, scheduled for release soon, features some updated and enhanced visual effects. In this blog I will talk about some of the adjustments I made. Having "The Zone" scene that Aggror recreated actually helped a lot to see how shaders could be improved.
Bloom / Iris Adjustment / HDR
The bloom and iris adjustment shaders have been updated to give bloom a wider and softer blur. Iris adjustment is faster and more intense now, which will make the outdoors areas seem very bright when you are indoors, and the indoors areas will look very dark when you are outdoors.
The SSAO shader has multiple passes added to it, resulting in a much smoother yet crisp result.
A new vegetation shader called "groundrocks" will make objects align to the terrain. This lets you easily paint clusters of rocks all across a landscape, resulting in a nice chunky look that breaks up boring heightmap terrain.
Although several fog shaders have been available in the Workshop for some time, version 4.4 adds a built-in distance fog you can use to make spooky scenes.
The fog is built into several shaders in order to give correct reflections. It works great with water. Notice the reflection is also foggy, and the water itself is affected by fog, giving a nice misty look to the far side of the lake.
You can try Leadwerks Game Engine 4.4 right now by opting into the beta branch on Steam.