wow those do look really grainy :/
I do think that pydon's mod is a step in the right direction but he went overboard with the hdr.
my ultimate goal (that I think I share with others) was to have the most realistic visuals and best fps.
Me and Gaco and a few others realy tore apart the config settings and went through hours of tweaking every vairable in the game to see what affected what.
I ultimately ended up on the settings I just previously listed. difference between my config and vanilla regarding the looks of the game are night and day better.
some screenshots from the screenshots thread.
I'll have to go dig up the post I made showing very high vs my tweaked very high settings.