Dark Souls Remastered

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About this mod

This mod pixelizes all in-game visuals.

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Experience Dark Souls like you never have before, with fresh visuals all throughout the game!

This mod pixelizes all textures, icons, fonts, and visual effects. Additionally, the music and sound effects have been reduced in quality. Even the enemy and player equipment models have reduced fidelity! This should give the game a fun, somewhat cursed, "retro" feel.

ALERT: There is currently a poll to choose which game I will demaster next, please consider leaving your vote!

Version 2 has been released! This new version includes several changes, most notably the new Gameboy Green color palette version, which is an optional "for fun" version that restricts the colors of the game to only 4 colors inspired by the palette of old Gameboy systems. The other changes, which effect both the main mod, and the new Gameboy version, are listed below:
  • New Chiptune Remix by Moonlapse Piano: The Four Kings boss battle theme is now replaced with a remix created by Moonlapse Piano, please subscribe to them on Youtube!
  • Custom Menu Textures: I have hand-drawn the menu textures for both versions to fit more with the pixel aesthetic. The original mod used my automatic image processing algorithm to do these, but the quality wasn't up to par.
  • Low Poly Models Included in the Main Mod File: Thanks to better handling of low poly models, I have decided to include them in the main mods. They are no longer made using the Mesh Decimator library, instead I hand-picked specific LOD versions of each equipment and enemy model that existed in the original game.
  • Lighting Handling: The in game lighting parameters now also obey the color palette settings to some extent.
  • Normal Map Handling: I now restrict the range of pixels for normal maps so that the pixel art of the textures is a bit more prominent and not so smoothly lit. However, there is still some normal map depth to each texture to maintain the fascinating "pixel lighting" look you get similar to Valheim.
  • Palette Colored Reflection Cubemaps: The reflections that came off of armor, weapons, and enemies, now also follow the color palette rules. This change is not very noticeable for the main mod but it greatly aids the Gameboy version by making it so almost nothing breaks the illusion of the color palette.
  • Material Changes: Materials now also obey the color palette, this is mostly noticeable on water and snow since those assets are colored via their material rather than a texture.

This mod is only compatible with DS1 Remastered. Technically, the sound portion should be able to work with PTDE but it's untested. You should also be able to use this with any other mod, but if that other mod has visual changes, they may overwrite large portions of changes this mod makes, but nothing should break as long as you install this mod first and then overwrite with the other mod files after.

To install, download and extract the main mod file or the Gameboy Green mod file. Inside the extracted folder there should be several other folders that match up with the ones in your DarkSoulsRemastered Steam game folder (chr, map, parts, etc). Copy all of these folders in to your game folder and say "Yes" to overwrite files with the same name. If you would like to not have reduced quality sounds and/or pixel art font, you can ignore copying the "sound" and/or "font" folders.

As of version 2, the low poly models file is no longer necessary because it's been integrated into the main mod.

I recommend disabling Ambient Occlusion, Depth of Field, and Anti-Aliasing in the game's graphics options for better results. Also, ensure to set your network options to start offline while you're using this mod, since playing with it online could get you banned.

It also appears that IGN has graciously made a video showing how to install the mod: Link

To uninstall, verify the integrity of your local game files via the Steam library. This will restore the vanilla files, meaning any other mods will also be removed.

Is this compatible with Online?
Online should function properly but you will most likely end up being banned if you use this mod online. In version 1.0, some reported that they didn't get banned for an extended period of time even while using the mod, but I can't say the same for version 2.0. The new version changes many more files in the game which could trigger cheat detection.

How does this work?!?!
The pixel art textures were created using my own custom image processing algorithm written in C# and utilizing the Magick.NET library. They are built using the original game textures, with minor corrections and personal tweaks made on an area-by-area and enemy-by-enemy basis so that everything looks that way I hoped it would. No AI was used for any part of this mod.

Since some people might be interested and I like having the chance to talk about my work, here's a summary of the algorithm I came up with to convert textures to pixel art: First, denoise the image. Then, downscale it by a factor of 8 using nearest neighbor sampling. Then, for each pixel in the downscaled image, apply a correction value to it to make it more or less saturated depending on the kind of "feel" you want to give that texture (I did this usually by enemy and by area). Then, with that corrected pixel color, find the closest color to it on a limited, predetermined pixel art color palette. To accurately find closest colors, I researched perceptual color weighting so that color similarity is based more on the human eye rather than simply the linear distance of the RGB values. 

After all pixels are converted, I then rescale the image back up to it's original size using nearest neighbor sampling again, so that it is the proper dimensions to be applied to the in game models.

As for the models, I used the MeshDecimator library for C#, and Soulsformats to convert Fromsoft's model data into the format needed for the algorithm to work. For the sounds, I used vgmstream to extract the audio from the banks, and mass edited it using Signet (I think), then I rebuilt the vanilla audio banks using HotPocketRemix's recreated Dark Souls 1 FMOD projects.

Guest Music Tracks?
Yes! Illusory Wall has allowed me to use two of their 8-bit remixes for DS1, specifically Firelink Shrine and Gwyn's Theme OST. I am interested in commissioning or requesting permission to use more retro-style remixes for the soundtrack of this and potentially future projects. I can't pay much per track as I don't anticipate making much or any money from these mods, but I would be very grateful for any help. Reach out in my Twitter DMs if you are interested. I'm interested in any sort of retro remix, not necessarily just 8-bit.

Want to see more like this? Future games perhaps?!?!
If you would like to support this mod's existence and want to see even more unique/pixel-arty mods: playing it and following me on Twitter @Greatgramcrackr are the best things you can do.

Commission Me for Pixel Art!
Besides making goofy pixelization programs and mods like this, I also draw actual pixel art! If you are in the market for cool/sexy anime style art, I would love to draw whatever character you like! It also greatly supports my ability to make more things like this, since my financial situation is precarious at best. Please check out my commission sheet here. If you also would like to send just a tip rather than a commission to show your appreciation, please do so here on my Kofi. I don't expect to make any money off these mods but any tiny bit brings me closer to my dream of being able to create what I love for a living.

Bugs & Known Issues
  • Human form characters are utterly scuffed
  • Some music plays at incorrect timings in cutscenes.
  • Low Poly models for player equipment looks messed up (See the installation guide for how to install the low poly models without the player equipment if you feel these would dampen the experience for you).

If you encounter any other bugs or especially strange oddities, let me know in the comments here on Nexus Mods so I can take a look and try to fix it.

Libraries Used and Special Thanks
To make this mod, I used the following C# libraries:

Special thanks to:
  • IllusoryWall for providing their music for the mod free of charge.
  • Shadowth117, for help and allowing me to borrow code to calculate correct tangents for models.
  • Dropoff, for a ton of guidance on how to use Soulsformats, DirectXTexNet, and answering my dumb questions about 3D models.
  • Meowmaritus for help with some of the sound portion.