Mundanely Better Rebellion Textures
This mod is a texture optimization patch. Though the changes themselves are rather modest, hence the title, they are still noticeable, especially on older systems; on my machine, which can run the game at maximum settings without any problems, the mod reduces memory usage by about 15% and improves framerate by about 5 FPS on average. Except in a few cases mentioned later, everything should look the same: no textures were replaced with custom-made ones and no upscaling, color correction, bumpmap sharpening, or anything of the sort was done.
All sorts of optimization work was done for all textures, particle effects, and UI graphics. Mipmaps were generated for .dds textures/maps, resulting in slightly better framerate during the earlygame and/or when zoomed out at the expense of slightly higher space and memory requirements. To compensate, said .dds textures/maps were converted to DXT5, DXT3, or DXT1c compression, which significantly lowered their space and memory requirements; the only downside is DXTx compressions are considered lossy, but while theoretically you would get a slightly uglier texture, I haven't seen any major differences, not even for the planet surface textures. In total, all textures take up about 150MB less space than before, and in-game tests show an approximate 10% lower memory use from model textures alone. Since my machine is CPU-bound, I have experienced 2-3 more FPS during testing from only optimizing model textures, but people with weaker machines, especially GPU- or memory-bound ones, will most likely notice a greater difference. In the latest version of the mod, all graphical data stored in .tga files (particle effects and UI stuff) was converted to .dds files, mipmapped, and had color palette optimizations done, resulting in even greater framerate improvements and lower memory use, albeit with slightly larger file sizes.
The slight modifications I was talking about earlier were changes to certain UI icons, mainly research icons added in Diplomacy and Rebellion, that were 1-2 pixels shorter than they should have been, resulting in a black bar on the bottom edge of the icon. The population increase researches added by Forbidden Worlds DLC were also improperly sized (1 pixel too tall). I fixed these for all cases I could find, though if I missed something, please let me know.
Latest Changes (full changelog in the included Readme):
Removed mipmaps from the skybox textures, since they were bugged and high quality mipmaps were never loaded. Some mipmap color palettes were also optimized to maintain the low filesize. An addon that reduces the size of larger normal maps was also packed into the main mod file; the normal maps were also sharpened a bit to make the reduced size less noticeable. Using this addon reduces RAM usage by a huge amount (around 30%) and is not noticeable in most cases.
Fixed some bad brush names in Screen-FrontEnd.brushes.
RLE compressed .tga files were removed, as it turns out the game uncompresses them when loading, so it would only save on storage space at the cost of load times (thanks to myfist0 for pointing this out). Instead, almost all .tga files were converted to .dds, in addition to color palette and alpha channel optimization and non-power of 2 dimension sizes being fixed (images were rescaled and/or had "empty" space added, ie. transparency or solid black; the extra empty space is never actually visible in-game). UI files were also updated to force loading of the .dds files instead of the .tga ones.
An optional addon that also optimizes the main menu graphics for the game's original maps was also created; the improvements are slight and only affect the main menu, but since the maps' .galaxy files had to be edited to force loading of the .dds graphics, it could potentially cause problems in multiplayer, hence why it was not integrated into the main mod.
Download v1.80d here.
Download the v1.80b/c -> v1.80d patch here.
Download the maps addon for v1.80b/c/d here.
I could make a Trinity version if there is demand for it. I'm also open to suggestions for any other textures people think might need improving or optimizing. Since people have different tastes, I will probably shy away from beautification stuff, plus I don't think there is anything so glaringly ugly in SoaSE that it mandates anything of the sort.