Rivals of Aether but shaders are allowed to fail
A downloadable mod
If you have tried running Rivals of Aether on a REALLY old GPU (generally pre-2009), you might be getting this kind of error one going anywhere past main menu:
FATAL ERROR in Fragment Shader compilation ShaderName: shColorReplaceBlendExt Pixel shader not compatible with this device
which, well, means that your GPU's feature support is so limited that it fails to assemble the game's (fairly straightforward) palette swap shader. Some of these GPUs formally only support DirectX 9, so it's impressive that they can run the game (which uses DirectX 11) at all!
If you have already tried updating DirectX and the GPU drivers and that didn't a change, it might seem like a dead end... well, perhaps the game could be made to disregard the fact that shaders failed to compile. Which I did.
This very tiny hook application runs the game and rewrites a little bit of logic in the shader loading so that it doesn't end up throwing an error and simply doesn't apply the shader instead. As result, the game will run, but you will not see character skin colors - everyone will appear as the default skin (sometimes with a few colors off if they were tweaked at some point for the default palette).
Extract the ZIP to the game directory so that IgnoreBrokenShaders.exe is where RivalsofAether.exe is
Run IgnoreBrokenShaders.exe instead of RivalsofAether.exe
(you can add it as a "non-Steam game" to your Steam library for convenience)
Remove IgnoreBrokenShaders.dll and IgnoreBrokenShaders.exe
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