Video Game Tuesday: Graphical Mods

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.
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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering a topic that get’s overlooked by most console gamers, myself included. It’s all about Graphical Mods!

PC MASTER RACE!: Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard that before. It’s an old and tired shtick, and console gamers are pretty sick of it. There are downsides to being a console gamer, but there are also upsides. That being said, that’s a topic for another day. However there is one thing that warrants special mentioning. Graphical Improvement Mods.

Graphical Improvement Mods?: Yeah, so there are of course custom 3D model mods out there for all sorts of games, like Skryim or Grand Theft Auto. However this isn’t what I’m talking about, not exactly. I’m talking about mods that completely improve your entire visual experience of the whole game. Stuff like NaturalVision Remastered. Go check out the video I’ve linked. I’ll be waiting, and it’s definitely worth a view.

Done?: Great, so these sorts of mods are huge projects and I have immense respect and admiration for anyone who does this sort of work. It’s incredibly difficult and you rarely see something of such high quality like NaturalVision Remastered. Honestly the person behind the mod deserves to be hired like immediately into the industry. They are an amazing artist and coder who understands gaming engines and graphics to a degree that I can only wish I had even a tenth of their skill and knowledge. Of particular note is that the original NaturalVision mod aims to be as intensive as the base Grand Theft Auto V game. That’s an incredibly difficult goal, but they did it for the most part.

What goes into such a mod?: Well for a big part of it, it’s all about improving the textures to a much higher resolution and detail. That’s not an easy goal, not at all. You have to literally work on every single texture used in the entire game and improve them. That’s a massive undertaking by itself. However that’s not all, mods like NVR also tweak the physics and lighting systems and those are not any easier to deal with. The fact that the mod is attempting to do all of that and still be only as intensive as the base game is nothing short of a masterwork. Like seriously Rockstar, or any company with a decent reputation, you need to be trying to hire this modder.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Are there any favorite graphical mods you like and I didn’t mention? Leave a comment below!

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