GEM - Graphics Enhancement Mod features: - New icons & pictograms for game's interface - New cursors set - Restyled ship graphics - Improved planet & star graphics - New landscapes - New ruins - New galaxy backdrop

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5 comments by first_martian on Dec 22nd, 2012




53 new redesigned and refined icons & pictograms for game's interface.

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Resized to perfectly fit interface's elements so there is no need for the game to resize them to fit in buttons and frames. As a result all new pictograms look very sharp and clear in the game (except those which are used in more than one place and with various scale). Here are some examples:

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Unfortunately most of other interface elements are not available for modding. There are some of interface's resources present in "images\ui\chrome" folder which are not used by game (Or at least not where it was expected).
Another issue is that the game sometimes uses same resourcses for different elements of interface (for example "firepower.png" is used both for military ships and crash research icons). This fact limits design choices for the interface improvement. So looking forward to modding improvements in DW's future releases.


14 all new "pixelart" cursors.

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The ship restyling has several purposes in mind:

1. Make ships look clearer and distinctive on various bright and dark backgrounds during gameplay.
2. Quick identification of all controllable state ships.
3. Quick identification of military ship types.
4. More eye candy look.[;)]

I know that game already has good ship type identification signs such as triangles for military ships, rectangles for construction ships and so on, but I believe average human eye is much more responsive to colours than to shapes. So I decided to use different colour outlines to make it even easier to quickly identify ships during a gameplay.

All controllable ships have various colour outlines:

Red - Military ships
Green - Construction ships
Cyan - Exploration ships
Blue - Colony ships

Military ships have following distinctive insignia painted on them:

One stripe - Escort
Two stripes - Frigate
Three stripes - Destroyer
Four stripes - Cruiser
Five stripes - Capitalship
Small circle inside a bigger one - Carrier
Small diamond inside a bigger one - Troop transport

Here are few examples:

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Additionally, there is an alternative shipset for those who prefer ships with black outlines only:

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Continental planets
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Desert planets
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Ice planets
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Marshyswamp planets
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Oceanic planets
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Volcanic planets
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Barrenrock planets
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Main sequence star
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Red Giant
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Super Giant
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White Dwarf
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Neutron Star
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Original artworks were not created by me but were searched and taken from the net, mostly from Terragen's gallery. I just resized, framed and colour graded them. So all kudos and credits go to their creators.

Landscapes are resized and adjusted to perfectly fit game's interface.

Unfortunately, at the present moment DW has a hard-coded limit to use only few first images. So it uses only 4 images for continental planets (+1 from forest folder), 3 for desert, marshyswamp and ice planets, 2 for volcanic and oceanic planets. Hopefully this will be fixed in "Shadows" release, but for now most of these landscapes wouldn't appear in the game.

If you want some particular landscapes to be present in the game, please rename them to use first few numbers. For example, use names from "landscape_0" up to "landscape_3" for continental planets.

Continental planet's landscapes
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Desert planet's landscapes
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Ice planet's landscapes
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Marshyswamp planet's landscapes
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Oceanic planet's landscapes
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Volcanic planet's landscapes
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For the ruins I used amazing and myserious paintings of Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński.

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GEM v2.4 - Complete mod

Alternatively, if you don't need all of the features, you can choose which individual parts of the mod to download:

GEM v2.4 - Galaxy backdrop only

GEM v2.4 - Cursors & icons only

GEM v2.4 - Landscapes & ruins only

GEM v2.4 - Planets & stars only

GEM v2.4 - Shipset only

GEM v2.4 - Alternative shipset only (without colour outlines)


1. Backup original "Distant Worlds\images" folder
2. Extract archive and overwrite original files in Distant Worlds\images
3. Enjoy!


[+] new content/feature
[-] update/fix

+ Upgraded original graphics for all planets except frozen gas giants & gas giants.
+ Upgraded original graphics for all stars on a system zoom level.
+ Upgraded original galaxy backdrop.

+ Upgraded original ship graphics.
+ Integrated updated version of "Surrealistic ruins" mod.
+ Integrated updated version of "Beautiful landscapes" mod.
- Made an atmosphere slightly visible even on a dark side of planets.
- Fixed a shadow artifact appeared when a planet overlaps another planet.

+ Added 9 new cursors.

+ Added 5 more new cursors and updated most of previously released cursors.

- Minor design update of bombard, construction and mine cursors.

+ Added 53 new & refined pictograms for game's interface.
- Most of the cursors are redesigned or refined.
- New version of galaxy backdrop.

- Improved planet graphics, including new atmospheric effect.
- Added an alternative version of shipset without colour outlines.
- Updated version of galaxy backdrop. Slightly redesigned and significantly desaturated to improve contrast between backdrop and active objects on the map.

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Graphics Enhancement Mod (GEM) v2.4

Graphics Enhancement Mod (GEM) v2.4

Dec 22, 2012 Full Version 0 comments

Current version: 2.4 Updated: December 22, 2012 Quick overview of GEM features: - New icons & pictograms for game's interface - New cursors set ...

Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 14)
Guest Jun 11 2014, 3:10pm says:

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The_Deader Feb 5 2015, 4:18pm replied:

same problem... FRUSTRATING AS HECK

+1 vote     reply to comment
first_martian Creator
first_martian May 29 2013, 2:34am says:

It's been a while since I've checked comments last time... Thank you everybody for your kind words!

+1 vote   reply to comment
Guest Jun 9 2014, 3:31pm replied:

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akmalulkhairi May 25 2013, 9:01am says:

will there a version for the Shadow Expansion?

+1 vote     reply to comment
first_martian Creator
first_martian May 29 2013, 3:05am replied:

Sorry, I didn't play DW for quite long time already. The release of Shadows Expansion is very good news itself, but new pirate style gameplay doesn't look very much interesting to me. But the main reason is that I don't have as much of free time as before, very busy at work and with family. If in the future I'll have more free time to play DW a lot again, then definitely there will be new versions of this mod.

+1 vote   reply to comment
the_dingle May 25 2013, 8:13am says:

Hey I hope that guy didn't scare you away on the Matrix forums, you did some amazing work on this mod.

+1 vote     reply to comment
first_martian Creator
first_martian May 29 2013, 2:32am replied:

Yes, you're right, I was really scared by his trolling genius... )))

+1 vote   reply to comment
VitaminK Apr 23 2013, 11:50am says:

+1 download and tracking

+1 vote     reply to comment
arkhometha Mar 20 2013, 7:09pm says:

Wonderful mod mate! Keep up the good work!

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Released Nov 9, 2012
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Highest Rated (3 agree) 10/10

Way better than Distant Worlds Grungy UI graphics. This is a must have mod if you play Distant Worlds.

Mar 3 2013, 1:44am by Computica

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Graphics Enhancement Mod (GEM) Graphics Enhancement Mod (GEM)
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