View Full Version : Grim Fandango model/mesh modding

06-24-2006, 12:41 PM
Hi there! I was just wondering; How close is someone to figuring out a way to edit the meshes in Grim Fandango. It'd be really cool to increase the poly count on the characters and to also be able to increase the texture quality.

Does anyone have any ideas?

I've attached two pictures to highlight what I mean about the low-poly count of the ingame models.

Check out the HANDS on the two models. The top one is in-game, the bottom one is video. There's no reason why we can't have the same quality in game (minus the complex shadow effects)... provided someone can figure out a way to allow someone to edit the meshes in 3D Studio Max! :)


06-25-2006, 05:06 PM
Fixed the pics! :)

06-26-2006, 05:19 AM
This is of course based on the assumption that the engine can actually tolerate much more polies than it's used to displaying at once. I mean, I don't think it's very optimised; I actually experienced mild slowdown at times in 'complex' areas (eg: Blue Casket) when I played through a few months ago. I assume that's a clash between old software and new hardware/software, but it's only going to get worse as time goes on. Adding more stuff to render into the mix could leave it almost unplayable.

I mean, it'd be nice and all, but the game already looks delightful considering its age when hardware acceleration with anti-aliasing is enabled. I'm not convinced that spending the time needed to remodel all the characters would prove to improve the experience much. But heck, if you've the time to experiment, I sure wouldn't complain!

06-26-2006, 08:24 AM
Increasing the polygon count would be one thing, but if thrik's right about the game engine (and I wouldn't know about that) then would replacing all the textures be an alternative? Bump everything up to a higher res, at least for the characters and inventory items - then the in-game graphics would match the cutscene graphics (that is to say, the top picture in your post would look more like the bottom picture.)

Of course, it took them like nine years to do that with Mario 64... but I imagine that it's a hell of a lot harder to edit Mario 64 than it is to edit Grim Fandango, so I guess anything is possible.

06-26-2006, 08:44 AM
I'm not sure, really. I mean, Thunderpeel's screenshot is particularly bad as it has neither hardware acceleration nor anti-aliasing enabled. I've gone in and taken a shot myself and as you can see the definition really isn't that bad at all:


I'd go so far as to say it's pretty damn slick considering its age. The biggest killer is that the entire game itself is locked into a resolution of 640x480, and any attempts to change this have failed thus far at least, in a usable manner. This means that on monitors of today, at least on CRTs, you end up with that horrible dotty effect that really ruins the smoothness.

If anything, getting that resolution changed would be the number one priority. It's like worrying about a car's seats while the coat of paint has a thousand scratches on it. :~

But if one were to absolutely have their heart set on improving the polygon count, inventory items and props would definitely be the first thing to sort out. In my opinion most of the character models look pretty fine, even if not quite as detailed as their cutscene counterparts. The props on the other hand are for the most part pretty terrible, with the cigar in the above shots being a prime example.

06-26-2006, 10:41 AM
Yeah I remember when I realised that most surfaces in Grim Fandango were two perpendicular planes - it's quite a clever effect really, at least on their skeletal fingers, and it fits in with the whole 'paper' thing (that is unless I imagined that the game was partly inspired by the paper skeletons people make on the Day of the Dead).

But yes, Thrik's screenshot actually looks pretty great. I'm going to play around with some graphical settings with it myself sometime soon, but I don't have a copy of the game with me at the moment.

06-26-2006, 01:53 PM
Actually yeah, I guess it is quite cool in that respect. And yeah it was definitely inspired by them, though I naturally lack anything to back that knowledge up whatsoever. :~

This thread has reminded me how much I'd love to see Grim Fandango hacked up so it can work in a higher resolution. So far all people've managed is to get the 3D objects to go in say 1024x768, but the background still remains in a 640x480 box in the corner.

Someone said (I forget who) that if the background were scaled up to fit the screen it would suffer in quality due to it being stretched out of its original 640x480 size, but surely it wouldn't be any worse than it being stretched to fill the screen anyway while running in 640x480 (as opposed to running in a 640x480 window)?

But yeah. GF in high resolution = winner.

06-26-2006, 03:32 PM
Yeah, when I tried hacking GF to run in a higher resolution it worked - but the actual game ran in a 640x480 square in the top right corner.

06-27-2006, 09:58 AM
Good points, Thrik, I see what you mean about the engine not being up to much. If there's still that awful slowdown in the Blue Casket, then it's never going away! (why didn't they just use 2D animations for the background characters anyway?) A bit of a shame.

With regards bumping up the texture resolution (can't remember who mentioned it), apparently it has been tried and you end up with a massively distorted Manny: The resolution appears to be set :(

I'm not even sure that increasing the resolution would do that much... It DOES look pretty good with Anti-Aliasing turned on, it's only the models that look so poor.

I guess there's no quick and easy answer to this one. GF doesn't look bad at all considering it's age, but if things like the cigar in that pic could be fixed, it would look bloody gorgeous IMHO!

I wonder if we could hack the Escape from Monkey Island engine....? :)

06-27-2006, 10:34 AM
It's not really visible in my 640x480 screenshot, but when that image is stretched up to fill a whole monitor you get a dotty kind of effect which makes it look really fuzzy and not as sharp as it should. It's hard to describe, but the second you slap the game into full screen 640x480 on at least a 17 inch monitor you'll see what I mean. I guess it's similar to getting any old 640x480 image and stretching it up to 1024x768 in Photoshop, but not quite as pretty.

And hee, Ben. :~ It's a shame, but I guess at least the game still runs (albeit quite jerkily). The ideal situation would probably be to get 2001-era hardware, which is when the game seemed to run really nicely with all the anti-aliasing bells and whistles on without any issues. Its prime, I guess!

06-28-2006, 07:55 AM
I wonder if we could hack the Escape from Monkey Island engine....? :)
Hasn't it been done? I remember trying a patched EMI file, and it ran it 1024x700 something.

06-29-2006, 04:51 PM
Hasn't it been done? I remember trying a patched EMI file, and it ran it 1024x700 something.

Lol! No, I don't care about that game! I mean hacking the EMI engine to run all the GF files in easily modifiable form! :)