Gamers are always tweaking and messing around with a wide variety of game configuration settings. It's just the way of things. Well, one gamer was tweaking The Witcher 3 and managed to get the game to look as if it were made for the Nintendo 3DS.
Gamespot is reporting that Reddit user Linas_002 has found a way to get The Witcher 3 to look as if it were being rendered for the 3DS. That's not to say that it looks horrible, but the art-style takes a definite step in a different direction thanks to a tweak to the mip-mapping. Linas notes that setting the TextureMipBias to 4 or 8 will give you the 3DS look that you see in the main image above.
Linas didn't actually make the mod, though. It's a configuration that can be modified in-game using a mod made by NexusMods user marvelmaster. They created what's called the Ultimate Graphics Options Mod Menu, which allows users access to a wide range of different graphics options. One of those options allow you to modify the mip-mapping.
If you don't have the mod, it's possible to add the line to The Witcher 3's graphics ini file and turn it down to either 4 or 8. Of course, you would have to do so at your own risk and modding your game can sometimes be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.
Nevertheless, the mip-mapping in games is used to determine how objects are displayed on-screen. It changes the quality of the object density, also known as the Level of Detail, usually referred to as LOD. Basic mip-maps are usually turned up pretty high so that the highest LOD models and assets are used to render while playing the game (at least on the PC versions of most games). A high mip-map threshold means that you're getting very high-quality assets when you turn the graphics up. A low mip-map threshold means you're going to get very low LOD assets while playing the game.
In the case of The Witcher 3, purposefully turning the mip-mapping down to 8 will make the objects appear with lesser detail and hardly any anisotropic texture qualities, including removing transparency and certain alpha effects to make the foliage appear more realistic. Low mip-map settings are oftentimes applied to objects in the far off distance, outside the standard view range of the player.
Having low mip-mapping on The Witcher 3 with high resolution means everything looks really sharp, and somewhat cartoony, similar to a Nintendo 3DS title. Unfortunately, it also makes the sky look pretty terrible as well, but it gives the game a very interesting look, nonetheless.
The funny thing about it is that some people in the Reddit thread are asking about using this mod as a way to bypass the minimum system requirements. Linas_002 had mentioned that there were gains of up to 15fps using the modification and thus worked as a way to play The Witcher 3 with a PC that doesn't quite meet the minimum system specifications. It's quite clever, really.
It's amazing that more than a year later and gamers are still finding ways to make CD Projekt's open-world, adult-themed fantasy RPG interesting.