The artist makes decisions according to the limits he is working on. So I think I usually look at the “upscaling” mods and make older games look sharper, but worse. Whether the work is done by AI or by hand, the original artist’s intent is often lost in the process.
When I saw FINAL FANTASY IX Mogurimod, that’s what I expected, but it’s not. It looks as beautiful as the original game, but with less blur, a wide screen, and high frame rate cinematics.
I was late for the Moguri mod party. It has been in development for years and the version found in the trailer above was released last year. I found it today thanks to this comparison video by YouTuber 2kliksphilip.
Moguri mod uses AI deep learning and a lot of manual work to improve the resolution of background textures. This document details the process. In some scenes, Modder used the original 3D rendered image created for FINAL FANTASY 9. These images were later scaled down to a static background that fits on a PS One disc.
Cinematics also uses AI technology to increase the frame rate from 15fps to 30fps. Frame rates drop in action-packed scenes (the moment things appear on the screen, the moment the AI doesn’t easily understand how to handle them), but it’s still noteworthy.
If you don’t like it, you can also turn many of these changes off or on, such as frame rate and widescreen changes. But on each turn, the modder seemed to consider what the original designer intended. As you remember it, the result is FFIX.
The Moguri mod is a 5GB download from that site and is designed to work with the Steam release of Final Fantasy IX.
You can also see where FINAL FANTASY IX is ranked in the list of the best FINAL FANTASY games on your PC. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t one of Blendy’s piss, but you may feel different.