You can find all the downloads for this modification at the far bottom of this post, past the demonstration screenshots. I will be uploading detailed comparison shots throughout the upcoming week in order to make the difference more apparent.
What is This Mod?
This modification is designed with the sole purpose of improving select textures (mostly for characters) in Mass Effect 1 and 2. When the game was released, character textures ranged from a resolution of 512x512 to 1024x1024. Because of this, many of the textures appeared to be pixellated or blurry. Much speculation has been thrown around as to why Bioware used these textures when they have sources of 2048x2048, and the most probable argument is the limitations in disc space and texture memory for the Xbox 360.
This mod aims to improve that. My goal was to massively improve character detail while keeping Bioware's fantastic design as intact as possible. Character textures now range from 2048x2048 to 4096x4096, which is 4x more detailed than the default textures. The modification comes in a several flavors, which I will explain below.
How Does this Mod Work?
Because Mass Effect 2 is not very mod-friendly, this mod requires Texmod, which you can download HERE.
In order to get Texmod to work with Mass Effect 2, here are some steps for both Retail and Steam customers.Retail (Disc):
1. Extract Texmod to a separate folder on your hard drive (ex: C:\Program Files\Texmod)
2. Create a sub-folder inside your Texmod folder called "Modifications" (or anything else you'd like, this is just for organizing.
3. To save time in the future, create a shortcut to Texmod's EXE on your desktop.
4. Open Texmod, and click on the folder at the top of the interface. When it prompts, select masseffect.exe or masseffect2.exe for ME1 and ME2 respectively. This tells Texmod what game to replace textures for.
5. To load a modification (or several), make sure Texmod is on the "Package Mode" tab, then click on the small folder icon in the center of the interface (directly to the left of "Created By...).
6. Choose what mod(s) you wish to use, then click "Open."
7. Click "Run" and you're ready to go!Steam Users:
The process is very similar to Retail users, but there a couple steps you'll need to take in order to trick Steam into properly using Texmod. MAKE SURE STEAM ISN'T RUNNING FIRST. The steps below will be the trick itself; for the rest, use the steps outlined above:
1. Locate your masseffect2.exe (ex: C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\mass effect 2\Binaries)
2. Create a back-up of the exe and place it in a separate folder, just in case anything goes wrong.
3. Rename masseffect2.exe in "Binaries" to something like "masseffect2texmod.exe" or whatever you prefer.
4. Create a copy of texmod.exe in the ME2 Binaries folder, then rename it to masseffect2.exe so Steam recognizes it when loading the game.
5. Open Steam, then load Mass Effect 2. Texmod should come up, and you can follow the same steps outlined for "Retail (Disc)" in order to load the mods you want.
What's the Difference Between "Optimized" and "Ultra" Textures?
The difference between the two is much as it sounds. The Optimized Pack is a complete compilation of all 10 Non-DLC squadmates (with Zaeed and Kasumi linked separately). All characters in the optimized pack use a balance of 1024x1024 and 2048x2048 textures in order to achieve the best balance between quality and performance that I could achieve for this mod. Exceptions to this are Tali and Garrus, who continue to use 4096x4096 textures. The reason for this is that those two became very blurry when I lowered their armor to 2048x2048, and the trade-off simply wasn't worth it.Benefits of the Optimized Pack:
1. Vastly improved loading time over the "Ultra" textures. I clocked start-up time at just under five minutes, as opposed to the Ultra textures taking anywhere from 12-15 minutes.
2. Balance between texture resolutions ensures that characters still look very detailed, even at half the resolution of what "Ultra" offers.
3. In-Game performance appears noticeably smoother and more stable than the ultra-pack, with far fewer framerate dips and reduced loading times.
The ultra pack is composed primarily of 4096x4096 textures for armor/body models and a mix of 2048x2048 and 1024x1024 for faces. These textures are the absolute highest quality I could make for this modification, though it does come with a couple downsides.
Known Issues with "Ultra Textures"
1. Because the textures are so high resolution, the Ultra textures have a MASSIVE loading time (anywhere from 10-15 minutes or so, depending on how powerful your system is).
2. I've noticed stability problems with the ultra pack, resulting in brief game lock-ups. That said, the game never crashed so it's not game-breaking.
If you can get past those two issues (which appear to be a problem with Texmod itself), then the ultra textures are the highest quality you can get.
Anything Else I Should Know?
As said above, no matter if you chose one modification or 20, optimized or ultra, there WILL be added loading time to start-up of the game. During this time, the screen will go completely black while Texmod loads the textures. DO NOT WORRY, as this is entirely normal. All you need to do is be patient.
Secondly, the ultra textures are currently available only as separate packages for each squadmate/armor/NPC. I will be releasing a combined pack for the 10 Non-DLC squadmates later on.
Lastly, Tali's mod comes in two flavors. The difference between the two is minor, but the one labelled "w/face visible" is a little tweak I made that makes Tali's facial structure more visible than what the ingame presented. Not everyone prefers this, so I made the option available to use high res armor and keep the default, barely-visible face.
*Not representative of final quality.
ULTRA TEXTURES (Squadmates)Tali'Zorah w/visible face Tali'Zorah w/default faceJacob TaylorMiranda LawsonGarrus VakarianLegionMordin SolusZaeed MassaniJackThane KriosKasumi GotoGrunt
OPTIMIZED PACK (Non-DLC Characters):
You can download the pack here.
Remember, this does not include Zaeed or Kasumi's optimized textures, so you can select those below. OPTIMIZED (Separate Characters):GarrusJacobJackKasumiLegionMirandaMordinSamaraThaneZaeed
MISCELLANEOUS (OTHER RELEASES)
I have released other mods as well, which you can find here.
Casual Outfit: Cerberus "formal": Download Here.
DLC Kestral Armor: Download Here.
LotSB Liara T'soni: Download Here.
Normandy Uniforms: Download Here.
Shepard "Formal" Outfit: Download Here.
Doctor Chakwas ME1 Texture: Download Here
High Resolution Face for Sheploo (Mass Effect 1): Download Here.
High Resolution Face for Sheploo (Mass Effect 2): Download Here.
Default N7 Armor: Download Male Version HereDownload Female Version Here
Garrus ME1 Face fix Download here.