Lots of Images Edition
Welcome back to Questing For Immersion Redux, if you don’t know what that is, here’s Part 1. So you’re up to speed? Good. Let’s talk mods and landscape porn.
According to the Nexus Mod Manager, I am at 118 mods right now, slightly ahead of the previous 106. There is more to be done, but I want to show you what I’ve got.
First and foremost are texture mods. If I’m going to get this think making Geralt jealous I have to not only update almost every texture in the game but update them to the point where Novigrad’s residents will drop their jaws and drool at the decadence of the new textures. With that in mind, 2K Textures is a must. It increases the resolution of almost everything to acceptable levels, it does not solve things like stretching, but it ups the resolution enough that I don’t look at rocks with mild disgust. As for armor and weapons, we need to match the awesomeness of Geralt’s gorgeous attire:
You tell me if The Book of Silence retexturing project has succeeded.
I’m also using Climates of Tamriel and the TrueVisionENB mods to deal with Vanilla’s lackluster weather and terrible lighting. CoT adds proper fog, a variety of skyboxes and combined with the ENB it creates some wonderful lighting which let me get some really atmospheric shots like this:
However, there are problems. CoT can’t do thunderstorms for some reason, I probably haven’t installed the patches properly. The distance still looks terrible. And the colours of the plants sometimes clash with the colour of the terrain because the terrain mods I use and the foliage mods I use were made by different people for different purposes and don't quite fit together. Some of the grass is also luminous for some reason, because of course it is.
Oh and Whiterun Hold is now the literal Uncanny Valley.
Now I have a number of goals. First and foremost is to fix a couple of bugs with crossbows and the Dwarven Bow, the game just shits itself and crashes whenever I use either and as I love to use the crossbow, this is a high priority. I also want to make dragons more common, I’ve only seen 3 spawn naturally and I’ve been playing for hours. They now seriously change the nature of exploration, knowing that flying terror could be there. If only they turned up.
But most of all I need to fix long distance rendering. It is woeful. The Witcher 3 hides it using subtle depth of field and textures that do not so blatantly fit into a grid. Bethesda (and it seems modders of Bethesda games) do not understand this, leading to views like this, where the texture patters are painfully visible. That needs fixing.
On the whole, I’m enjoying this playthrough. Enemies are a threat. I can’t just wonder around with a big hammer. Dragons mean probable death. Cities look amazing. The landscapes (mostly) look amazing. The villages have life to them. The world feels more alive, much more than a square rendering around the player. With some tweaking and a minor overhaul of long distance rendering, this will look every bit as good as The Witcher 3, and play just as well too. Next week I'll talk about cities, because I'm chuffed with what I've put together. It’s gonna be great. Eventually.