Textures are a vital part of the visual impression delivered by every video game. But if they are not made with care, they can destroy the whole experience. PC Games Hardware gives some examples for the worst textures ever.
Even in today's days of advanced game development there unfortunately are still examples for inferior texture quality. This is either caused by technical reasons or the idea to save money and time. Often games ported from a console to the PC tend to inferior textures, since the capabilities of the consoles often set a limit. These days it isn't missing video memory but the fact that textures need to be loaded from the CD/DVD. High-res textures are of considerable size and thus it takes time to load them. But it also takes a lot of shader performance to brush up textures of lower quality. However there are ports that show how to do it.
Thanks to developments in this area of game making, much better results are possible. Titles like Crysis or Unreal Tournament 3 prove that. Crysis comes along with 4,096 x 4,096 texels. Compared to 64 x 64 texels in Tomb Raider, this is quite impressive.
The development in this area is making progress, too. Especially the improvements of the graphics cards and the possibilities delivered by the API offered new ways of working with the textures. Today the texture isn't just a overlay for an object, but it can deliver additional information, too. Due to Bump Mapping, Displacement Mapping or Normal Mapping (to name only three) objects can now be displayed with more details - without a need to increase the number of polygons. The unreal Engine 3 is a good example for this development: Textures can be available with - in comparison to older games - a lower resolution, but with modern shader operations of the graphics card they are polished to look to up-to-date.
There are a lot of occasions where texturing has been made very well by the game developers, but there are also some instances where something apparently went terribly wrong. Today PC Games Hardware introduces several examples of bad textures.