Beamdog is "Looking Into" Neural Network Texture Upscaling


Staff member
Mar 3, 2018
Canadian game developer Beamdog is the studio behind the PC remasters of classic RPGs like Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Planescape: Torment, and NeverWinter Nights. The company recently partnered with Skybound Games to bring the remasters to consoles, and, according to a recent blog post, they aren't done with the PC versions of the the games either. The studio said they've "explored the possibility" of neural network upscaling in their Infinity Engine Enhanced Edition games, though they haven't committed to it yet. While they didn't go into specifics either, I assume they're talking about enhancing in-game textures, as ESRGAN and similar algorithms can't be applied to 3D models and are too slow for anything that has to be done in real time. This is (presumably) the same technique modders are using to enhance textures in Morrowind and the classic Final Fantasy games, and I've personally seen tons of neural network upscaling work being done in Skyrim, Metroid Prime, and other game modding communities. Thanks to /u/rhiyo on on the /r/GameUpscale subreddit for the tip.

We've explored the possibility of Catmull-Rom Bicubic scaling, as well as as a few other solutions for scaling (eg. ESRGAN scaling) for the Infinity Engine Enhanced Editions, but haven't pulled the trigger yet on implementing either. We received a number of questions about UI for the Infinity Engine Enhanced Editions games and our plans regarding it going forward. Now that the console releases are announced, we can share that we've been doing extensive updates to our UI system that could very possibly end up paying dividends for the PC versions into the future. For the time being, however, all of the UI work we're doing is centered squarely around the console versions of the games, so any changes to the PC UI won't happen for a while.
Can't wait till the AI process upgrading old games' textures becomes meta when people begin to use it on cyberpunk titles about AI taking over the world and human jobs.
This is absolutely great, can't wait for it to became more mainstream, after seeing the FF7 results i'm "sold", hopefully modders will take full advantage of that, and good devs will offer upgrades at no cost or very little cost.
So where's that Baldur's Gate sequel?

You mean the game that was never announced and only hinted at by someone that doesn't work at Beamdog and we don't even know who is developing it or if it really is?
Only issues is I believe these upscalers only work well in situations when the AI knows how/what method the sample was downscaled. Some of the FFVII stuff it looks like the upscale added information back in that was just not there before (like turning a couple pixels back into a lamp post).
Step 1. take old game. Step 2. get some upscaling algorithm for textures, thus avoid paying to artists to actually make better and high res images. Step 3. sell the game for full price even when it's remake, funnily years ago modders did similar texture and exe modifications free of charge. Step 4. complain how much work your company needs to do, and complain there are too few sales of these old "remakes".

Alternatively, refuse to make remake because they lost original code (IWD2), thus you can't simply modify the original code to support higher screen resolutions and only modify interface.

Either they should spend the effort, or get out of business.

They should reduce length of copyright protection for games. When IWD2 and similar would be out of copyright already, PC games fans would at least would be able to do changes legally, and companies would have to spend significant effort instead of using old code, and just upscale textures.

This is what DLSS should have been. Upscale the detail that matters instead of smearing textures everywhere.
I spend year by unpaid research in image compression, if there would be an algorithm that would create near exactly correct upscaled image, I'd use it for compression*1. And just compress low res model + a little info where it differs. But images have too high locality, thus no dice.
*1(Meant I'd invent it if result would still compress 200 MB image faster than 40 KB/s on normal PC. However JPEG or PNG can decompress in blink of eye, waiting 5 seconds for decompression for only half size of lossless images will not be worth a new standard, drives are only growing up in sizes/dollar.)
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