The range of graphic styles of Max-Payne mods
In respect to their graphical style computergames and their modifications can be sorted into a continuum ranging from photorealism to uttermost graphical abstraction. Most of the mods created by members of the MP-community are located towards the middle of the continuum—maybe with a slight tendency in the direction of photorealism. This may well be determinated to a certain degree: Firstly the original MP-games are located near the same spot. And the majority of the modders seems to be inclined to emulate the style of the creators of the original game. The official modding tutorials by Remedy of course suggest exactly that style—accordingly the engine and the released tools are optimized for it, too. Secondly most of the available textures match said style, too. Not just the textures of the original games, but also most suitable textures to be found scattered all over the net.
    The farther a modder tries to break away from the “determinated” graphic style, the more work and effort this means. But exactly that is what modders are going for. Which is a part of the explanation of the fact, why TCs are in the highest esteem inside the community. The heretofore unseen, not-yet-experienced, the creative original stuff is the ultimate goal and desire—both of modmakers and -consumers.
    On the other hand a part of the reason for the longing for TCs may well also lie in the scarcity of original twists in mods (storywise) and gameplay-tweaks.
    The screenshot-clippings above are taken from [left to right]: Max Payne [the original game], and the modifications: The Family, Polar Payne, XiaoXiao, and Sketchbook Sam. The creators of the original game clearly went for photorealism. In fact Max Payne was the first computergame wherein phototextures were extensively used. in The Family the realism was kept, but in order to create the film-noir ambience, everything was reduced to greyscale. The cartoonesque Polar Payne recreates feeling and action of Tex-Avery-style classic cartoons like Tom&Jerry. XiaoXiao was inspired by the original movies by Zhu Zhq and features stick-figures in 3D-space. Sketchbook Sam is by far the most radical approach, reducing the MP-engine universe to a 2D-sidescroller.