Tuesday December 18, 2018

Morrowind Mod Upscales Textures Using a Neural Network

PCGamesN spotted an interesting mod over on the Morrowind Nexus. Instead of painstakingly replacing textures by hand or using the type of upscaling+sharpening filters you'd find in Photoshop, as modders usually do, DassiD used the "ESRGAN" algorithm to automatically quadruple the resolution of Morrowind's default textures, and the results are impressive. Check out the screenshot below for a before/after comparison, and visit the mod's homepage for more.

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While this is certainly and impressive mod by itself, I think it also represents the start of a restoration/modding renaissance for old games and media. These upscaling algorithms can run on modern desktop gaming GPUs, and some of them come in user-friendly packages, which don't require much programming knowledge to use. ESRGAN's GitHub page, for example, has fairly straightforward image scaling instructions, while the vs_mxnet plugin can be used to automatically upscale entire videos with similar algorithms, assuming the user has enough GPU muscle.

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