Mod dedicated graphics to GTA 5, in turn, if they see a lot of them. Some catch the attention thanks to an exploitation of contrast, other focus on the puddles to blind the player by bending the lighting system, the other still clumsily trying to deviate from the plasticization of the texture. NaturalVision Evolved, for its part, seems to have reached a position frighteningly close to the limits of the engine, the Rockstar Games, exploring without fear, the shores of photorealism.

And NaturalVision Evolved will soon be a reality. Available in early access only for the patrons, it is the culmination of the work of Razed, the central figure in the undergrowth of the modding, a mind that has worked tirelessly to improve the full gaming experience, moving between the textures of works such as Dark Souls and Fallout until you reach the Los Santos of GTA 5, the stage where it is preparing to stage an unprecedented show.

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All feature graphics of NaturalVision Evolved explained in the last trailer.

But how does a job like that bill? To find out, we asked just Razed, or Jamal Rashid, the main author of the mod, which, through its patreon works by changing the textures, game files, variables, and even 3D models to push to the limit the universe of GTA. A world that, he says, is his favorite: “The work on the GTA is, without a doubt, the most important for me, I have been a fan fan from the beginning, there is nothing you can bring to this project.”

And the love shines through the effort poured into the creation of the mod, a restoration invasive to the point of noticeably change the operation of the lighting and reflections, capable of touching the particle effects and the models of the buildings, even down to changing the texture and affect many of the files of the game to “blur the line that separates fantasy from reality”.

“My first encounter with the world of modding was around 2002, and told Jamal, “when GTA: Vice City debuted on the PC. I remember that I downloaded the texture mod to change the clothing of Tommy when you see. In 2011, I found out the iCEnhancer mod for GTA IV, which left me open-mouth after a couple of videos. Then I realized how the mod could improve many aspects of the titles that are overlooked by the developers due to timing of development and other reasons”.

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A gameplay of exploration in 4K-with Natural Vision Evolved to enable and settings to maximum.

View the most recent iteration of NaturalVision, it would seem natural to hypothesize an involvement of the video game industry in the work done by Razed, but we have inexplicably said, “No, no, I was never contacted. However, you are directed to the person who creates the trailer for my mod (Denis Sitarski, aka ICEVIP, a boy of incredible talent) and I hope that can work for a large company, they would be really useful to someone such as him.”

It is rather difficult to understand just how monumental the work behind this mod graphics. Speaking of retexturing, you might think such a simplistic approach, and the same Jamal has explained to us that, yes, the textures are the easiest component to change, as the process is very logical and immediate”. But the story changes when it comes to the file, which “are by far the most complex, because you must proceed in the reverse-engineering in order to touch a number of variables and then record the changes, and it is a very long and complicated when you do not have access to the tools of development”.

Not to mention that in a map like that of GTA 5 “we need to find the right balance between color and lighting the light of the whole world of the game, and is not easy in a world so large and detailed”. But why complicate life by choosing one of the open-world most rich of this generation? Well, in addition to the passion, Jamal wanted to “see how far the title could go through the modding, because the RAGE Engine is extremely powerful and obviously under-exploited within the boundaries of GTA 5”.

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^The mission Lamar Down in 4K with the NVE on.

Watching the trailer it’s pretty obvious that the operation of NaturalVision Evolved both gone well beyond the classic work of retexturing typical of the undergrowth of the modding, so we asked to Razed, as he approached the three-dimensional models. Thus we discovered that “many of the buildings in Los Santos has been remodelled on NVE through 3DSMax, OpenIV and CodeWalker”. It is an undertaking that is both powerful and necessary because it “does not make sense to limit the creative potential and avoid the uncharted territories”, a choice that has brought Razed to feel “of having more experience than ever.”

The NVE is a goal virtually impossible to achieve in absolute solitude. “I’m the main developer on the project, but I also have a team. My friend Robin helps with the assets related to texturing and modeling, while icelaglace by a hand with shaders”. “I am very happy to work with others for once”, he then said Razed, shortly before adding that he considers the modding “is a hobby rather than a career real,” but that the “would like to work in a professional environment developing software AAA, one day.”

In this regard, we were curious to know the state of the undergrowth of the modding, a parallel universe to that of traditional development that, unfortunately, seems to fail to find traction in the media and economic that it deserves, often passing unnoticed in the eyes of the same devs.

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^A comparison between the two latest versions of the NVE.

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The second Razed, “the most important thing is that the community members support each other. There are a lot of discussions that are not needed that often lead to the cancellation of several projects”. It is perhaps for this reason that, he says, “there are so many modders that I would like to work, but often the feeling is not reciprocated. I am happy of partnerships today, especially the one with Boris Vorontsov, creator of ENB Series. Leaving aside this point, I’d like to see more companies related to the world of gaming intent to support the work of the modders”.

Are now five years old that are released new iterations of NaturalVision, and Evolved it just seems to be the final version, a work capable of reaching a boundary difficult to cross in the future. That is a gift of farewell to GTA 5 by its modder more talented? “Without doubt this is a goodbye. I have often been on the verge of giving up, but I’ve always found new reasons to motivate me; I have to say that the fans of NaturalVision were the main reason for which the project has remained active until today.”

And then? It will all end with NaturalVision Evolved? There is nothing in the future of Razed? “I am actually very curious as to whether Cyberpunk 2077 will mature around himself a community of modders. I can’t wait to try it!”. Well, what to say. If the results should be the same for NVE on GTA 5, we hope that you enjoy it to the point to entice you to moddarlo. Long life to the mod!