Sphax's 128x HD Minecraft Texture Pack
An amazing HD texture pack, Sphax's PureBDCraft (henceforth referred to only as 'Sphax' because the rest is a mouthful) makes Minecraft gorgeous. No, it's not hyper realistic, but is it polished to near perfection and achieves what it sets out to do in a way few texture packs ever have. With Sphax, I felt as if my Minecraft worlds had been created anew. In fact, if I didn't tell you that these were Minecraft screenshots, you'd sometimes be hard pressed to see that they weren't stills from an animation or pages from a comic book, or perhaps screenshots from another game entirely – and that, my friends, is a sign of a very well made texture pack.
Furnaces are a prime example of this effect. If you look at the first image in the series of screenshots I made, there's no real 'tell' that this is Minecraft. It looks rich and well rendered and not at all blocky or pixellated. From a square world have come curves. That's probably the reason this texture pack looks as good as it does. A great deal of time has clearly gone into shading various textures in ways that break up the hard linear styles of the blocks and makes the various textures flow into one another.
The water texture and animation is the best I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of water texture and animations. The creator of this texture pack has managed to create a very animated style of water that ripples and flows in a way that I wouldn't call precisely realistic, but is nevertheless very pleasing. It even flows back on itself periodically, mimicking the way water tends to rock against the shoreline. I could write an entire article on the water in this texture pack alone, that's how good it is.
What's truly amazing is that this texture pack is still a work in progress. It's not even finished yet and it's one of the best texture packs I've ever laid eyes on. It's perfect for people who enjoy a higher standard of graphics in their video games, but dislike the grainy gritty effect that often results when people try to make 'realistic' texture packs. I think it's safe to say that this texture pack will be a hit with kids who play Minecraft too. The textures remind me very much of the style used in the newest version of Monkey Island, slick, modern, but comforting in a 'remember when cereal was your best friend' sort of way.