I got pulled back into OBLIVIQN

I re-installed Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion a few months ago, for some reason I can’t identify.  I suppose I thought it’d been so long since I last played it that I might have forgotten the plot or the quests somehow.  And I wasn’t completely wrong, but some of it still gives me a sense of deja-vu.

Anyway, the point is this:  The mod community for Oblivion has not slowed down.  Not at all.  People are still producing content by the boatload for this game, even though it’s almost four years old now.

And because the game is four years old, the hardware that was once considered “high-end” is now laughably slow.  After installing a wide range of high-resolution mods that improve texture resolution, model resolution, sound effects, and even rendering modes, Oblivion looks pretty damn nice.  Certainly nicer than I ever remember.

Here’s some screenshots, just because.

So God Rays are a cheap and easy “wow-factor” graphic improvement.  But what I find astonishing about this mod is that it is essentially a feature reserved for core engine features, and the community has somehow managed to staple it onto an engine they can’t even get the source-code for.  That’s impressive stuff.

Here’s a nice scene in Oblivion.  Looks a little flat.  Especially when you compare it to the way it looks with a fan-created SSAO rendering mod:

Amazing.  All available from one simple mod.  And some new high-resolution textures don’t hurt either:

And because my new (sensibly-priced) gaming rig is so much more awesome than what they had in mind four years ago, I can crank things like self-shadowing effects up to crazy levels:

Mind you, with all of these mods comes an incredible amount of the usual stuff you get when you allow people total creative control over an environment, so there’s plenty of BDSM mods and furry content to wade through before you start getting to the good stuff.

I would’ve liked to have provided “before and after” comparison shots, but while these mods are easy to install, they’re not at all easy to remove.  Loading a save game that relies on several very complex modifications can often turn the game into unusable mush, so I haven’t risked it.

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