Very, very, very low graphical settings
September 9, 2014 5:25 PM   Subscribe

Skyrim optimized for a netbook changes the look of the game to something completely strange and different.

From the netbook centric site, Netbookist. Although the site is much slower with the death of the netbook form factor, there is some interesting stuff that may be useful to any users of cheap and low-powered computers: for example, guides to improving the netbook experience and good games with requirements low enough to meet netbook specs. Via apeworld on tumblr.
posted by codacorolla (31 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
omg it's windwaker
posted by mhoye at 5:30 PM on September 9, 2014 [9 favorites]


can i still punch dragons y/n
posted by poffin boffin at 5:32 PM on September 9, 2014


can i still punch dragons y/n

Yes, but only slowly and carefully.
posted by codacorolla at 5:32 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


You can punch some smoothed polygons that resemble a dragon, confirmed.
posted by hellphish at 5:33 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am strangely okay with this.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:35 PM on September 9, 2014


This means it can run on my new MacBook Pro?
posted by mollweide at 5:38 PM on September 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


This makes the graphics look like reboot. Which is to say, much vaporwave, so wow.

I also expect this sort of forum to see a bit of a niche resurgence as atom-based tablets like the dell venue 8 become more popular. I had one of those for a bit, and it was pretty fun actually. The gpus in modern atom machines have gotten surprisingly powerful. Like, play mass effect 1 or Starcraft 2 on low settings fluidly powerful. It benched around an nvidia 9400m. If people actually buy windows 8 tablets ever, it would be an interesting emulation/modding games for low settings platform.
posted by emptythought at 5:44 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Neat!
posted by brundlefly at 5:45 PM on September 9, 2014


please fix your link, right now it's going to one of those Beyond the Mind's Eye videos
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:52 PM on September 9, 2014 [10 favorites]


God, I love the look of the trees.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:10 PM on September 9, 2014


It looks a bit like the Outcast people made it.

I actually miss my netbook, it just won't turn on anymore. There's something cheerful about a tiny little laptop.
posted by selfnoise at 6:23 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have a 2007 iMac with onboard graphics. Skyrim is pretty much the last (new, fancy pants) game I tried to play on it, but it was so unstable, even at the lowest graphics settings, that I haven't played any (new, fancy pants) games on it since.

In other words, this looks pretty awesome from my end. You can play it.
posted by zardoz at 6:28 PM on September 9, 2014


It's impressive and looks good and fun to me. Particularly interested in how they manage to get the funky old graphics card to push all the geometry. I get that texture degradation and lighting simplification helps, but it's still a lot of polygons.
posted by Nelson at 6:35 PM on September 9, 2014


You are in a maze of jagged little polygons, all alike.
posted by drlith at 6:39 PM on September 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


It looks like it still requires a low-end Nvidia card to get it to work, and he mentions a caveat that onboard Intel won't handle it... still impressive given the gap between the specs and the game it's producing.
posted by codacorolla at 6:40 PM on September 9, 2014


This means it can run on my new MacBook Pro?

Not if you want to map more than one action to your mouse buttons!

#rekt
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:21 PM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


So much better.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:22 PM on September 9, 2014


Boy, these hyper-realistic mods are getting really impressive.

I haven't played a video game since 1987.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:51 PM on September 9, 2014


If people actually buy windows 8 tablets ever, it would be an interesting emulation/modding games for low settings platform.

I picked up one of the Asus Transformer Windows 8 tablet/keyboard dock thingies, and I'm surprised how well it plays games. I haven't tried anything too crazy, but I've played Portal and a few other things on it and I was really impressed. I almost never take it out of the keyboard dock so it's basically just an awesome netbook surprise after I thought the industry was abandoning netbooks, the Bay Trail Atom processors are nicer than I expected.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:14 PM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's no Alone in the Dark.
posted by benzenedream at 9:34 PM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


For a more realistic depiction of 90's gaming, especially if you always had a budget graphics card take that YouTube video, full screen it, force the resolution to 240p, and then run it at 0.25 speed. Now THAT looks familiar.
posted by thecjm at 9:56 PM on September 9, 2014


As someone with a couple hundred hours sunk into modding Skyrim (heaven knows how many actually playing), here's the best visual enhancement I've seen. His latest foliage work is getting awfully near photorealistic in some of those.

Unfortunately, the modder in question (Unreal) doesn't release his personal customizations, so the elements that really set it apart - the grass mod, the post-process settings - aren't something you can just drop into your own setup.

Double unfortunately, he was 15 when he started modding a few years back, so if you Google up his site (A State of Trance), brace yourself for a lot of mostly naked ladies.

For my own part, I mostly focus on gameplay (Civil War Overhaul + realistic patrols + Deadly Combat + Frostfall [ultra-realism mod with equipped gear vs. terrain elevation exposure/frostbite modeling]) here's the best visual pass I managed with purely public mods, maybe 15 hours' work.

If you're interested, this is a great starting point. I can't recommend the CWO + realistic patrols + Deadly Combat combo strongly enough - every couple hours you'll run into 30+ Imperials and Stormcloak mixed companies - melee, archers, mages, the works - slugging it out. With Deadly Combat on, if you wade into that you're nearly guaranteed death unless you've twinked the hell out of your armor. CWO turns the entire civil war into a back-and-forth dynamic campaign where every city can experience one or more sieges on the scale of the big mid-game Whiterun battle in the normal game - something Bethesda left vestigial scripting hooks for in the shipping game, and the mod mostly successfully restores.
posted by Ryvar at 1:51 AM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


VRML lives on.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:31 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I greatly prefer this crude abstract style to hyper photorealism. Morrowind isn't exactly visually dazzling (though it was in its time), but it felt weird, unpredictable and alive in a way that Oblivion and Skyrim don't. You were in an alien world. You mentally filled in the blanks yourself and essentially took a part in creating the world. Even more amazing than that were the Ultima Underworld games around 1992. Those were dark, weird, and so atmospheric. Both the music and visuals were jagged and crude, but there were entire worlds of strangeness in those few megabytes of data.
posted by naju at 10:32 AM on September 10, 2014


That looks very nice. Of course, having your expectations set by games like Ecstatica or Eye of the Beholder helps.
posted by ersatz at 10:36 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The most impressive thing to me is how quickly it runs. When I was playing games that looked more like this, everything felt so sluggish. I suppose that's one of the advantages of cheap laptops today being so much more powerful than the gaming PC I had in 1996.
posted by Copronymus at 2:15 PM on September 10, 2014


I remember having to mod Fallout 3 to run on a terrible desktop. It made the Wasteland look even more desolate. Which actually was fine! Except that you had to make everyone headless (!) or the game would crash. Still worked surprisingly well, except it broke the main quest somewhere halfway through.

For fellow Morrowind obsessives like me- Thepal's original texture replacer comparison is still online! And the OpenMW engine remake is going remarkably well.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:03 PM on September 10, 2014


BungaDunga: on the offchance you're interested one of my former co-workers let go when Irrational shuttered is currently working with the Skywind project, which attempts to replicate all of Morrowind in the Skyrim engine.

Except that you had to make everyone headless (!) or the game would crash.

Heads = lots of facial anim bones, with each vertex potentially taking influence from a weighted combination thereof, not to mention MorphTargets and a bunch of other things that can complicate the updated-every-frame positional calculation - in short, a LOT of compounded transform (translate, rotate, scale) operations for each individual vertex of the face mesh, and usually heads rank pretty high on the vertex count.

The brain commits an enormous amount of neural processing resources to parsing faces, so game developers correspondingly commit an enormous amount of the runtime calculation & memory budgets to facial fidelity.
posted by Ryvar at 2:17 AM on September 11, 2014


Ryvar: As someone with a couple hundred hours sunk into modding Skyrim (heaven knows how many actually playing), here's the best visual enhancement I've seen. His latest foliage work is getting awfully near photorealistic in some of those.

Holy shit that looks awesome. Is this one of those things like the really intense GTA4 mods where you need a couple of nvidia titans to run it fluidly though?

I could also write a grumblerant about people who make cool mods like this and then never publicly release them, but rather just cockwave with them and show them off... but meh. I've lost count of the number of awesome mods like that i never actually got to try, especially in the pre-youtube era when all you'd really ever get were some low-res screenshots on a message board.

thecjm: For a more realistic depiction of 90's gaming, especially if you always had a budget graphics card take that YouTube video, full screen it, force the resolution to 240p, and then run it at 0.25 speed. Now THAT looks familiar.

Heh, this is really familiar to me. in the 90s and until the early-mid 2000s i had a 486, a terrible HP P3 laptop, and a bottom of the barrel celeron toshiba laptop... but it had a "rage mobility" or something.

I played every game this way. And i loved it. I also played tons of older games, like starfleet academy that really looked like this with their terribad graphics. And of course half life 1 derivates, which will run on anything from a graphic calculator on up.

good times.
posted by emptythought at 4:59 AM on September 11, 2014


facial fidelity.

Sometimes I think half the reason System Shock 2 is so terrifying is the low fidelity faces. Six triangles, one 64x64 texture. Or thereabouts. Laughably terrible graphics by modern standards but still an excellent game, including the visual design.
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jesus, I can't believe I forgot to link to Unreal's Fall foliage work.

Is this one of those things like the really intense GTA4 mods where you need a couple of nvidia titans to run it fluidly though?

Nah, he releases the occasional video fraps'd off a GeForce 670, so this barely even registers as a dent compared to a lot of the heavier stuff out there. The settings for my 15-hours-of-public-mods screenshot brings my Geforece 780 down to 35fps average, for comparison, and that's a far beastlier piece of silicon.
posted by Ryvar at 5:00 PM on September 11, 2014


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