#nofilter: System Shock Demo Update Coming

GL_TEXTUREMODE GL_NEAREST read my knuckle tattoos. People on the bus gasp when they see my twenty-four fingers curl around the grab rail and I think “Yeah that’s right, normies, I bet you are shocked: no texture filtering, not even mipmapping. I bet it’s freaking your nut out to discover how real video games should really be played.”

So I’m mortified to discover that Nightdive Studios are enabling texture filtering in their System Shock remake [Kickstarter page], after it was so wonderfully disabled in their Kickstarter demo. But hey, they are improving the demo in ways too.

If you’ve played the System Shock Kickstarter demo, you might have noticed that looking at textures close-up you can see individual pixels. Which is great! Nightdive’s remake combines the old look with modern technology in a charming and stylish way, as Alec examined, and the unfiltered textures are a great part of that.

Now Night Dive are preparing an update to that demo, with nice changes like improving the feel of melee combat, making grenades and other consumables functional, and – oh no! – enabling texture filtering. Night Dive explain:

“In the current demo, some textures look ‘pixelated’ up close. This actually has nothing to do with their texture resolution. Before video cards became commonplace in the late 90s, textures did not get filtered. We’re doing the same thing to have a bit of a retro touch. In the next demo update, we’ve switched from no filtering to trilinear.”

They share a few before/after screenshots, showing it’ll go from e.g. this (the ugly cropping is all me – follow the link for full-size versions):

To this:

I suppose it’s a relatively minor change but I do hope Nightdive add an option for unfiltered textures. There’s a beautiful crispness to them, exposing the raw matter of the game. In retrospect, it was a terrible shame when 3D accelerator cards took off in the ’90s and games made to look unfiltered lost their detail in the high-tech smear. I was excited as anyone to get my first Voodoo card but ah, it doesn’t have the same charm does it? Not all technology is progress.

You know, I don’t feel I’m old enough yet to be saying things like that. But here we are.

Anyway! With 23 days still to go, the System Shock Kickstarter stands at $797,877 towards its $900,000 goal. Well! This is going to happen, isn’t it. And then, System Shock 3! You can still download the remake’s Kickstarter demo from Steam, GOG, and the Humble Store.

Oh, and for RPS Supporters only: you can read about my shock at Alec tarting up Quake with all sorts of awful modern flair, which I believe to him is the games equivalent of me owning pristine first pressings of The Jam’s complete catalogue. He’s awfully cruel, that Alec.

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  1. Frank says:

    Guess I’ll give it another shot. The camera was broken when I tried it before (with 50% of the view off-screen so I couldn’t see the contents of crates or click the apply/cancel buttons in the settings).

  2. Aerothorn says:

    Also, FWIW: Something about the process of linking supporter articles means that, even as a logged-in supporter, I’m still told I can’t read it :(

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      I went back to the article itself and it appears that for some reason, that and only that article is having issues.

  3. haldolium says:

    why the fuck does their filtering turn the textures into mud-hell from slightly later that decade instead of something from this decade? :>

  4. Metr13 says:

    They definitely should not enable filtering. It looked so unique.

  5. DrMcCoy says:

    Yes, no texture filtering is best: link to drmccoy.de :)

  6. Alien says:

    Unfiltered textures look much more detailed and the “dirtier” look fits the environment…

  7. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    I liked that look, it was like “hm something’s strange here” and I looked closer and it was like “ooh so that’s what’s going on”. They should keep it as an option, if possible.

  8. Vivian says:

    Aaaarrrgh trying not to get too childishly excited

  9. Darth Gangrel says:

    What with all the people here complaining about this texture filtering, I’m just gonna stand over here and mutter this to myself: “huh, doesn’t look any different to me”.

  10. Booker says:

    Sadly the demo gave my PC the blackscreen issue [1] every single time I tried to play it. Other than that it looked awesome.

    [1] link to community.amd.com

  11. thebigJ_A says:

    I like the unfiltered better. Looks like Wadjet Eye’s adventure games.

    I don’t have any nostalgia, either. My first ‘shock game was Bioshock (before my PC days, on an OG xbox). That game I liked a lot at the time, but the second game was disappointing if mechanically stronger (though I’ve heard Minerva’s Den was really good, I’m not re-buying 2 just to play it).

    The third I gave up on after 4-5 hours. It’s sooo shallow. Why did they strip out all the depth to make a pretty-but-bog-standard shooter?

    I’m hoping these remakes and sequels to the System games work out, and that they still hold up, after having heard such good things about them (especially 2) over the years.

    • Nick says:

      amusingly, it was Bioshock that stripped out all the depth of the System shock games.

    • Buggery says:

      OG xbox? You mean Xbox 360 surely. But yeah, if you think Bioshock had a lot of depth, try buying System Shock 2 and playing it. What a game. What a feeling. Dancing on the ceiling.

  12. Razumen says:

    I’m going to agree that the no filter version looks better, but only because the filtering they use in the pics actually makes the texture’s low resolution even MORE apparent when you look at the now painfully jagged slanted lines.

    If they want to use filtering, the textures absolutely need a resolution bump. More aggressive filtering will just make the textures even more blurry.

  13. Rack says:

    By all means leave in unfiltered as an option for people who want a retro aesthetic but couldn’t the alternative be ansitropic filtering? I mean why the weird smeary half-step of trilinear?

  14. RaymondQSmuckles says:

    The demo looks damn pretty, but I find it a bit pokey on my (admittedly aging) system: quad-core i7 with 330M (don’t laugh)
    I was really quite taken by the non-filtered textures, to be honest. Vibrant lights reflecting on surfaces had a bright, vivid look that feels muted in the filtered textures.

    Have I finally reached a point where *Unity* has surpassed the capabilities of my gaming system? Time to get a new laptop, methinks.

  15. tonicer says:

    Aaww man i prefer unfiltered textures. :(

    I play DOOM wads in GZDoom without texture filtering too.

    Also AA off in other games.

  16. icemann says:

    No mention of the proposed RPG changes to the game. That’d be right.