Earlier this year, I got myself a treat. To replace my decrepit GTX 1080 Ti—the one that meant I occasionally had to turn my entire PC upside down—I bought an RTX 4080 the size of a loaf of bread. My rays were traced, my SS was DL'd, and all it required was a power draw roughly the size of Turkmenistan's.
Turns out I needn't have bothered, though, because the biggest game of the moment has now gotten a mod that would, notionally, let it run on something far weaker. Starfield has got its very own potato mode mod, crunching its textures down to 128 bits and saving you all that precious, precious VRAM you have on your, I don't know, 3DFX Voodoo 3.
"Does your PC have 1gb of VRAM? Is it so old your grandpa used it to play Morrowind? Or do you hate high resolution textures and want to get rid of them? Try this mod out and see if it works for you!" boasts the potato mode mod's author BulwarkHD. It looks, well, terrible, but that's kind of the point. Starfield's potato mode turns all the game's textures into a kind of impressionistic smear, changing Bethesda's latest opus from beautiful to playable with a click of your fingers.
Well, kind of. To be honest, this seems to have a very narrow non-comedy use case to me: People lacking on VRAM and not much else. After all, potato mode doesn't do away with Starfield's more taxing properties like volumetric lighting or its physics simulation, it just squashes down textures. I suppose you can turn all that stuff off yourself in the game's settings or .ini files, though, so perhaps you can use it in conjunction with those changes if you're really desperate to play the game on some seriously underpowered hardware.
Of course, I suspect most people will just be installing it to see how silly it looks. Good for them, I say.
Installation is pretty easy. All you have to do is download the mod's BA2 and .ini files from its Nexus page. Stick the BA2 file into Starfield's data folder and put the .ini into its root folder (the same place you find Starfield.exe). Step 4, says the mod's description, is to "Enjoy a potato world!" Thank you, potato mode mod for Starfield, I will enjoy a potato world.