Sins: Remastered is a graphical update mod for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. It includes new PBR shaders and revised textures of stock game assets to work with those new shaders. The end result is a modern rendering style and a new look to an old game.
Physically based rendering or PBR is a philosophy in computer graphics that seeks to render graphics in a way that more accurately models the flow of light in the real world. Many PBR pipelines (though not all) have the accurate simulation of photorealism as their goal. Modern game engines like Unreal Engine 4 and Unity are now PBR based.
The new shaders for Sins: Remastered are a PBR metalness & roughness system. A discreet texture channel for ambient occlusion is available as well. They also support Sins' original team color, emissive and bloom channel set up.
The bloom effect has been reworked and generally improved. In addition, the old toggle command for enabling bloom in-game has been co-opted and now also controls the use of post proecessing in general. The new post processing effects give a more cinematic feel, with sharper contrast and more vibrant colors on effects.
While we certainly want and invite all players to enjoy Sins: Rematered, it is not intended just for them. This mod is also meant to serve as a base mod platform for other mods to incorporate the new shaders if they so choose.
All shaders may be used and all core game assets converted herein to PBR may be used in full or in part as needed. Expansion style mods can simply stack on top of this base mod and convert their unique assets to the PBR format without having to worry about everything else. Total Conversion mods are invited to simply incorporate whatever textures they still retain from the core game as needed.
We do ask that you include credit when using the base mod assets, in full or in part as follows:
Sins: Remasterd is the work of Jon Micheelsen and dolynick, based upon the original artwork of Ironclad Games.
All the wizardry under the hood is the work of Jon Micheelsen. Jon is professional game developer who's work has included Blindmind Studio's Star Ruler 2 and Hazelight's A Way Out. He has graciously donated his time to write all new shaders for the project.
All base game textures were converted to PBR-compatible format by dolynick. A long-time player and modder, dolynick's work includes Stargate Races for Sins of a Solar Rebellion and DOF for Star Ruler 2. He is also a member of the Stargate Invasion team and has contributed work to the Sins of a Galactic Empire and Star Wars: Interregnum projects.
We are very pleased to announce that the official v1.00 release for the Sins: Remastered mod and shaders is now available. It’s been three years of work, but we can now say that the mod and shaders are feature complete. A PBR implementation is available for all 3D assets in the game space and the shaders offer many advanced features not available in the stock set.
A great many things were revised, re-written or just all-out new for this release, so let’s have a brief run down of what you can expect to find.
A full suite of PBR planet shaders are now implemented. Rather than just have a generic planet shader, we have opted to implement specialized shader paths for different types of planets, allowing us to add additional special effects to the individual types.
We didn’t just convert planets to PBR either. All planets have brand-new, high quality texture sets that fully support the new features.
Ocean/Standard Planet Mode
The standard planet type feature set includes:
Greenhouse mode is specialized for Venus-type planets that are very fog heavy without much visible surface. They do not offer any additional features over Ocean Mode but rather remove unnecessary features like water and clouds from the rendering path to improve performance.
Gas Giant Mode
Gas giants have a very specialized shader variant dedicated just to themselves. They use a very unique and efficient set of textures to generate an animated gas surface effect.
Volcanic planets have unique requirements all to themselves and a dedicated mode has been implemented with the following specialized features:
No Atmosphere Mode
Barren and dwarf style planets have very thin and negligible atmospheres. For these planets we have implemented a very specialized path that used specialized, higher resolution planet meshes to implement mesh surface deformation support. This allows the heightmap to actually affect the boundaries of the mesh object itself, making craters and other large features stand out very convincingly. This mode also supports surface fog to interact with the height map data.
The ship shader has been largely complete for several releases now but has seen a fairly significant addition for the full release version. Secondary UV support has been implemented for Ambient Occlusion and Baked Self-Illumination maps. While both those types of maps were already supported, having the option to use an alternate set of UVs for them specifically allows for much more flexible and aggressive mirroring without having to worry about effect overlap over non-symmetrical geometry. This also makes trim sheet workflows possible with Sins: Remastered.
Support for overriding the team color with a custom RGB value for a given mesh has also been added. The ability to disable team color for a mesh is also supported.
The asteroid shader’s core features all remain intact as before, but a new branching option has been added to allow a mesh to fall back to a ship shader mode for a given material. By using the ship shader mode, access to parallax height maps and baked self-illumination is available for non-ship objects like station-type planets that would not otherwise be possible with the standard planet shader.
Skyboxes now support parallax depth effects and mid-field procedural stars. All stock skyboxes have been replaced with new high-quality, depth enabled custom skyboxes. The depth effect is subtle but adds nicely to the environmental effect of the scene. A range of brightness and colors have been used across the new skyboxes and hopefully there are at least a few that suit each individual’s tastes.
Remastered Sky Box Depth Demo 2
Remastered Sky Box Depth Demo 3
Bloom mask support has also been implemented for skyboxes. This allows for fine control over which parts of a skybox bloom and to what intensity.
The tone-mapper has been completely replaced for the final release. The new version is much more modern and does a much better job of preserving the contrast and brightness balance in its default settings.
Bloom implementations have also been revised and the overall effect on particles in particular has been reduced. This allows for a better balance of bloom on specular effects on ships without as much of a blowing out effect on bright particles.
While completely revising all meshes and doing custom re-texturing for all stock assets has never been planned for Remastered, there are several notable ships that have been redone for this release:
Lastly, a few little things have been added into the shader controls just for some fun modes.
Gold mode is implemented in the ship shader again. This allows you to easily convert all objects rendered by it into pure gold.
Pixel Art and Retro mode controls have been implemented in the post processing shader. Pixel Art mode reduces the resolution of the rendered output to achieve an old-fashioned pixelated look. Retro Mode allows you to reduce the color bit depth of the rendered output to mimic older systems that ran with very limited color palettes.
Yes. We consider the mod to be “finished” now, in the sense that it is shader feature complete. The goal of the Remastered project was to provide a fully featured set of PBR shaders for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion and make them available to modders for use. This is now complete – and in fact covered a much larger range of features than we imagined when we set out.
To serve as a base for other modders, all the original content had to work with a PBR rendering path as well. While custom PBR-native textures for all content would be the ideal, we have converted all content to be PBR compatible. In some cases, completely new native PBR texture sets have been implemented as well.
Will we be continuing to re-texture and revise ship textures for future follow-up releases? Possibly. It may be that some of that is done for fun but we’re not going to make any promises or commitments to further content updates at this time.
It’s also possible that we may have to do some bug patching. Remastered has been pretty extensively tested over the years and, while we believe that we have addressed all the known issues, it’s always possible something was missed. If you do run into an issue that you think is a bug, please feel free to report it here or visit our Discord to let us know.
Thank you to all who have been following this project and we hope you enjoy the mod.
-The Sins: Remastered Team
An explanation of the new texture format required for the Sins: Remastered planet shader and explanation of the mechancis of the the new features.
An explanation of the new texture format required for the Sins: Remastered skybox shader and explanation of the mechancis of the the new features.
An explanation of how the PBR asteroid shader works in Sins: Remastered.
An explanation of the new texture format required for the Sins: Remastered ship shader and explanation of some PBR mechanics.
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Full version of Sins: Remastered v0.91 Beta for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion v1.94.
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