Morrowind Mod Upscales Textures Using a Neural Network

AlphaAtlas

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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 in the article for a before/after comparison, and visit the mod's homepage for more.

While this is certainly and impressive mod by itself, I think it 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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MaZa

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Oh wow, thats actually quite impressive. More believable looking than the lazy upscaler plus (over)sharpening crap that gives a false sense of detail by jacking up the contrast differences.

Man, I got such an urge to play Morrowind again but I cannot deal its janky combat system anymore. Skywind project, what is taking you so long... :cry:

*edit* typo fixes
 
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MaZa

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Unfortunately, they took the path of remaking most of the textures (and other assets) by hand, which is incredibly labor intensive. If only they had access to this tech a few years ago...

For a project that is mostly done by people on their freetime with no compensation, this is nuts. Hopefully they wisen up and make use of this if they can. If nothing else then just to get a good starting points that can be touched up by hand and fix whatever neural-network "guesstimate" gets wrong.
 

AlphaAtlas

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Just run it through madVR :)

I've upscaled short clips with a neural network algorothm before, and it's dramatically better than MadVR's slowest NGU upscaling.

It's also waaaaay slower, depending on the algo. You might be able to do it in real-time with 2+ Titans or 2080 TIs on the simpler ones, but I doubt it
 

ConnerLeo

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The future of game development, happening today. Ray tracing might be nice, but this tech could truly break a lot of boundaries. We live in an age of miracles.
 

GoodBoy

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If you look closely, it destroys some of the prior detail in places. I think he just overdid it. Look at the side by side picture. In the original, on the lower left, you can see what is a leaf against a dark background along its lower edge. Its just left of the HD VANILLA text, down a little. In the Esrgan version, the bottom half of the leaf looks like a leaf, but its weirdly grainy on its top half, cut off on the left edge, and the curved surface below it is deformed. That appears to be from crummy aliasing in the source image along with cut/paste areas in the background in that texture.. an extra bright pixel on the edge of the curved surface, and a flattening effect on the left edge of the leaf. So a poor source to begin with.

For as simple as the effort was, the results are generally impressive. Only so much an algorithm can do I suppose. The pattern on the left is leaves, the image on the right is just grain in those background details. The V shape by comparison came out really well.
 

piscian18

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*Installs Morrowind for the 5th time*

az5X9q1.jpg
 

MaZa

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If you look closely, it destroys some of the prior detail in places. I think he just overdid it. Look at the side by side picture. In the original, on the lower left, you can see what is a leaf against a dark background along its lower edge. Its just left of the HD VANILLA text, down a little. In the Esrgan version, the bottom half of the leaf looks like a leaf, but its weirdly grainy on its top half, cut off on the left edge, and the curved surface below it is deformed. That appears to be from crummy aliasing in the source image along with cut/paste areas in the background in that texture.. an extra bright pixel on the edge of the curved surface, and a flattening effect on the left edge of the leaf. So a poor source to begin with.

For as simple as the effort was, the results are generally impressive. Only so much an algorithm can do I suppose. The pattern on the left is leaves, the image on the right is just grain in those background details. The V shape by comparison came out really well.

As I said, it is still a guesstimate, machine guessing what details are where. It is bloody impressive and easily the best "upscaler" that I have seen but it is still a machine generated in the end. But as a starting point for a full texture overhaul it is fantastic, you just need to paint over the mistakes and add some more "organic" details to make it more realistic.
 

MavericK

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While the textures do look good, only updating textures is not enough in many games where there are still low-poly models and lighting systems.

Not poo-pooing on this mod, just the idea that this is going to revolutionize remasters.
 

sleepeeg3

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If you look closely, it destroys some of the prior detail in places. I think he just overdid it. Look at the side by side picture. In the original, on the lower left, you can see what is a leaf against a dark background along its lower edge. Its just left of the HD VANILLA text, down a little. In the Esrgan version, the bottom half of the leaf looks like a leaf, but its weirdly grainy on its top half, cut off on the left edge, and the curved surface below it is deformed. That appears to be from crummy aliasing in the source image along with cut/paste areas in the background in that texture.. an extra bright pixel on the edge of the curved surface, and a flattening effect on the left edge of the leaf. So a poor source to begin with.

For as simple as the effort was, the results are generally impressive. Only so much an algorithm can do I suppose. The pattern on the left is leaves, the image on the right is just grain in those background details. The V shape by comparison came out really well.
Haters gonna hate. It looks awesome.
 

AlphaAtlas

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Oh my fuck, can some autist please do this for FF8 and FF7?
Fuck square and their bullshit, I just want upressed FF sexiness.
please somobdy make it a universla filter that can run live on all older games :D

Unfortunately, texture modding support has to be done on a game by game basis. But upscalers are pretty trivial to package as a 1-click Windows script. So the process would would theoretically be something easy like:

-Use a community mod to extract all textures into a directory.
-Run your upscaler script on the directory, leave it running overnight.
-Load that directory into the game with the same tools.

Skyrim, for example, had DDSopt and other tools to work with BSA files in a single step, while FF8 seems to have a tool called Tonberry that can extract/load textures as a big directory.
 
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N4CR

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Unfortunately, texture modding support has to be done on a game by game basis. But upscalers are pretty trivial to package as a 1-click Windows script. So the process would would theoretically be something easy like:

-Use a community mod to extract all textures into a directory.
-Run your upscaler script on the directory, leave it running overnight.
-Load that directory into the game with the same tools.

Skyrim, for example, had DDSopt and other tools to work with BSA files in a single step, while FF8 seems to have a tool called Tonberry that can extract/load textures as a big directory.

Thanks for the detailed explanation, I will give it a shot
 

daglesj

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Morrowind is probably still my favorite of the bunch, followed by Daggerfall.


I bought that game. I would get home at 5.05pm sit down with a pint of cola and a packet of cookies and next thing I'd know I would look at the clock and it would be 1am! That went on for about 3 months solid.

Only two things I hated about that game. The loading crashes and the blood ravens or whatever they were called. I'm sure they were a bug in the code in that someone added an extra two '0's to the spawn routine.

This mode would have been amazing back then. Great times.
 
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Does this mean we can now track criminals caught on poor quality cameras? Enhance satilite image!

(I kid, I kid)
 

oROEchimaru

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fyi DOOM is using AI/neural network/data science algorithms to do the upgrade. I would love to see this done for ultima online (update base images to 1080p from 640 or less res)
 

MaZa

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Oh my fuck, can some autist please do this for FF8 and FF7?
Fuck square and their bullshit, I just want upressed FF sexiness.

Upscaling the model textures probably wouldn't work because there is basically no texture to upscale in FF7, they all look like color shaded models. But the backgrounds, oh my I would love to see what this neural network thing can do to those.
 
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