@M123 I heard about ESRGAN just two days ago. I must say the skybox texture turned out amazing. Waifu2x is very bad with banding, because it is made to basically sharpen any lines it recognizes, because it was made for cartoons, so the banding gets even worse. That is why I left out the skybox. I think this technique would be especially great for all the skyboxes and planets.
But, I think the sky is supposed to be clear on a moon, so it doesn't need noise, so I used waifu2x to "denoise" your texture.
I also wanted to see how it would work on the terrain texture, and the result is amazing, but only when left at 512x512. Check this out:
Original with linear upscale to 512x512: https://i.imgur.com/STZeKR7.png
ESGRAN + waifu2x at 512x512: https://i.imgur.com/LPI3vdk.png
Such a shame we are limited at 256x256 ! With an increased texture limit, with a disabled LOD system that always uses the highest quality 3D models and dgVodoo wrapper which forces 32 color rendering we would be talking about a real game remaster here. So close and yet so far :(
I was messing around with an upscaling algorithm called waifu2x. I already used it to for a texture pack for Army Men RTS (link here), so I tried to see what I can do for Machines.
Textures for the machines themselves are fine, what sticks out are low resolution terrain textures in some of the maps. Unfortunately I read here that the game has a 256x256 limit for textures, so some maps can not be updated, because textures are already at the maximum size. This is most noticeable in the training levels and Rolling Plains maps that look awful.
I did some tests on Adelphi9 (moon) textures and ice map textures. Since waifu2x algorithm smoothens everything and makes things look like a painting for the moon textures I also applied a HSV filter using Gimp to add some noise, so it has a more "sandy" look. I think it turned out quite well. Since ice is supposed to look smooth, for ice textures I applied some noise only to the parts where there are rocks visible, but it didn't make much of a difference.
You can see some comparison screenshots here. Best is to open the screenshots in a new tab to make it fullscreen, so you can see the difference more clearly.
Download here: Google Drive
Tell me what you think. Don't expect me to make more of these, the algorithm doesn't work well on everything, some maps can not be updated and the whole process is time consuming.
Some extra information for texture modders:
Texture limit is 256x256 and textures must be in .bmp format.
If you are using GIMP when you export the image in the Compatibility Options you need to check "Do not write color space information" and in the Advanced Options select "24 bits", otherwise the game will crash when loading textures.
Thanks for making the CDs available in mds/mdf format with all of their original content, with CD music and everything. I had the "install directory" version from the old WiredForWar forums I got all the way back in 2008, but it didn't have the music and I think the videos were missing. BTW, the music worked fine for me on Windows 7 using Daemon Tools Lite.
This soundtrack RIP is not good, some of the tracks don't start and end where they are supposed to. You will probably not notice it if you play it in order, but if you set one of the tracks to loop you will notice at the end it starts to play the next track for a brief moment.
I have ripped the music myself from the CD, imported it all into Audacity, joined everything, then split the tracks manually at proper locations, and exported it all to MP3 at 320 kbps. I also extracted the music from the intro video using RAD Video Tools and converted it to MP3 as well.
You can download it from my Google Drive if you wish: download link