Game Lens #9: Grand Theft Auto IV

February 15, 2013

Game Lens is a gaming “photography” feature. I hack, mod, tweak, and stress games (and myself) to not only make them as beautiful as possible; but to explore their environments free of HUD, overlays, and physical confinements; and take interesting, high-resolution screenshots.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Visually, GTA IV has never impressed me. Much like GTA III seven years before it, Rockstar’s portrayal of the fictional Liberty City is dark, murky, unusually blurry, and lacking in edge definition. Whether this is an artistic choice, or early limitations of a new game engine, is something that is down to opinion. All I know is, it doesn’t look great to me. Thankfully, the PC version has been host to many different user-made modifications, (unsurprisingly, since the previous games in the series have a famous history of exactly that) including a wonderful dash of ENB, which absolutely brings the game to life. My personal choice of ENB for this screeny-tour was iCEnhancer 1.25, (newer versions have been released, but this one is the best in my opinion, despite being inconsistent at times) which I tweaked in various ways, and it often makes the game world look really gorgeous. The undefined, highly-aliased quality of the game still exists in good form, but I countered it the best I could with injected Subpixel Morphological Antialiasing (SMAA) which is the only AA solution I could achieve.

Rockstar was nice enough to PC users to include a replay editor in the game, which works much like you’d expect from replay viewers you may have seen in racing games. It’s main purpose is to edit and export video, but also works very well for getting still captures. It includes a limited free-camera (you can’t move too far past a certain point) and FOV adjustments, as well as interesting post-processing effects you can overlay onto the image. In conjunction with the ENB profile it helped me get a few slightly abstract shots too, mostly down to conflict “bugs”. I had a lot of fun with it for a while, and more developers should include features like this, even if it’s only for people who will use those features correctly (not me).

“Dregs of Society” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Judge? Jury? Executioner.” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“God’s Tetris” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Finishing Line” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Going Up” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Substitute Copper” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Haze” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Legitimate Businessman” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Murder on the Dancefloor” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Simple in Design” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“The Modern Castaway” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Little Birdy” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Narrow Escape” — Download: 1920×1080, 2560×1440

“Planet Liberty” (Polar Panorama) — Download

“Times Sphere” (Polar Panorama) — Download


Settings & Tweaks: 3552×1998 rendering, injected SMAA (ultra), iCEnhancer 1.25 ENB Profile (tweaked), Ultimate Textures 2.0, Cam-Control / Replay Editor, Custom FOVs.


Want more pretty pictures? Check out my Flickr here.