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Re: Skyrim

#886
A few days ago I started a new playthrough of Skyrim, the good old one. Legendary Edition.
It is mostly vanilla; I like to adhere to the lore, but do not disdain the occasional decent mod that adds to the game without derailing.

Here is the complete list of mods:
Spoiler:      SHOW
(the must-have)
- Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch
- SKSE
- SkyUI
- Timing Is Everything

(miscellaneous bug fixing)
- Brawl Bugs Fix
- VampireLord Serana Fix
- Invisibiliry Eyes Fix
- Fix Lip Sync
- Enchantment Reload

(better with than without)
- Better Dialogue Controls
- Better MessageBox Controls
- Weapons & Armors Fixes Remade
- Flora Fixes
- Run For Your Lives

(QoL improvements)
- Bandolier - Bags and Pouches
- Convenient Horses
- Dragon Soul Relinquishment
- Simply Knock

(graphics enhancements)
- A Quality World Map
- High Quality 3D Map Meshes
- SkyFalls & SkyMills (animated distant waterfalls and windmills)
- Better Dynamic Snow
- Point The Way (adds a number of roadsigns alongside the existing ones)
- Feminine Females
- Shadowmarks

(trying to make the werewolf form useful)
- Werewolf Night Eye
- Werewolf Revert Form
- Yet Another Werewolf Improvement

(almost cheaty but hey I like it so what)
- Glowing Ore Veins
Although my hardware can afford to push the game to its limits, I decide to play at 1280x720 screen size. Turns out that the Skyrim engine was perfected for that resolution: the game is extremely stable, the texturework grain looks most consistent across the board, shaders and atmospheric effects neither change nor end abruptly, even the shadows are less abhorrent.

My monitor's native resolution is FullHD. Meaning that the hardware upscales the picture to it, so introducing a kind of blur effect. This blur is then coupled with a strong Antialias filter and the end-result is that of a superpretty picture at all times. In my case it gets even better because my monitor uses VA technology, which is capable of veeery dark blacks (just not as dark as OLED tech, which was prohibitively expensive back when I bought this).
Finally, I use a program to cap the framerate to 40, which gives me 2 major benefits:
1) I do not get nauseated from ultra-fluid animations (40 fps is fluid for most uses but racing, and does not fool your senses to the point of giving nausea);
2) the physics engine plays by the rules (did you know? the higher the FPS, the easier for asynchronous physics to screw up. Matter of pacing.).


If you got nothing better to do... I broadcast my play sessions through Steam.
Need to access the broadcast page specific for Oldrim, though, which has been hidden from Steam with the advent of SSE.
Here is the link: https://steamcommunity.com/app/72850/broadcasts/

Search for the video with subtitle LT fox
You will know it when you see it.


-fox
Post

Re: Skyrim

#887
My Skyrim can look so pretty...
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This is vanilla graphics.
I am using Bethesda's HD textures. Nothing more.
Graphics settings are maxed out, except for 6 things I tweaked.


1) Screen Resolution.
Skyrim can go up to 1920x1080, right? Well, you should not do it.
The engine was certified for 1280x720. The unlocking of 1920x1080 has been a commercial move that coupled with the advent of the HD textures allowed Bethesda to coat the game under a new layer of sugar.
Truth is, if you play past 1280x720 some things begin to not work properly and others are at risk of causing a CTD. I used to find a handy list for these, but google is not retrieving it anymore. Page is gone?
I recall that playing at a screen resolution greater than 1920x1080 makes the "LEVEL UP" writing stick to your screen, never to disappear.
It is one of the many funny things that happen (or not happen) when playing beyond the 1280x720 screen size.
So I play at 1280x720 upscaled to 1920x1080 (my monitor native resolution).
All graphics effects work perfectly, especially the fogs, the smokes and the dusts... which are things that may stop displaying kind of randomly at 1920x1080 already. Most players have never played Skyrim at anything other than 1080p and ignore that in many areas and dungeons there is some dust/smoke effect meant to play at all times. Often you enter those places and the effects are simply not there.
As for the textures, I am using the High-Resolution sets from Bethesda. At 720p they work pretty well and the visual gap between Low and High definition (not all textures are sharp equal) is greatly reduced.
The overall scene presents a uniform texture grain all over the place (barring some rare exceptions).


2) Trees Receive Shadows.
In SkyrimPrefs.ini there is a setting that is OFF by default. If set ON it makes a tremendous improvement when shading full LOD trees.
The setting is found under the [Display] heading:
[Display]
bTreesReceiveShadows=0

Set it to 1 and save.
This will increase the workload for your GFX card when playing in areas with lots of trees.


3) Anisotropic Filtering.
I have disabled the in-game Anisotropic Filtering (which is lame) and forced the Anisotropic Filtering 16x from the nVidia Control Panel.
This too makes a big difference in visual quality. The rendering of water surfaces becomes especially sharper, but the screen as a whole benefits from it at all times. Priceless.
This will slightly increase the workload for your GFX card at all times.


4) FXAA filtering.
I have disabled the in-game FXAA filter and forced the FXAA filtering from the nVidia Control Panel.
They are supposed to be equivalent, to the point that this option for Skyrim was turned off in the nVidia driver at some point, years ago. But I had the good fortune to first play Skyrim with an older driver, wherein the option was still available, and that is how I knew that it could be used. You just need to force-activate it using a 3rd party tool, like the nVidia Inspector program. The FXAA filter from the driver works like a charm -- actually it works *better* than the in-game counterpart because it also applies to menus and inventory items (where the in-game FXAA is instead disabled).
This will barely increase the workload for your GFX card at all times.


5) Full Scene Anti Antialiasing (FSAA) and AntiAlias Transparency filters.
I have enabled the in-game FSAA filter. The FSAA filter is not available in the nVidia Control Panel. This too was disabled years ago. You can still enable it (through nVidia Inspector), but you will gain no improvement over the in-game counterpart, which does a much better job at filtering only what needs filtering, unlike the nVidia setting which indiscriminately applies to everything at all times.
My personal choice is 4x FSAA.
8x FSAA could be used, of course, but when playing at 1280x720 the visual improvement over 4x is nigh imperceptible. What is very perceptible, instead, is the added workload for the GFX card brought by the 8x filtering. More so when playing in areas with lots of trees or dust and smoke effects. If you are not afraid to strain your hardware, suit yourself and set FSAA to 8x.
The FSAA alone is not enough to give you a perfect picture, though.
FSAA needs to be coupled with another AA filtering type in order to give the best results: this is the AntiAlias Transparency filtering. Most people do not know it exists, let alone what it is for.
Look in your nVidia Control Panel, you should see that the AA Filtering can be set to Multisampling or SuperSampling. Multisampling is junk. SuperSampling provides the best results. Notice how the SuperSampling can be set to the same strengths of FSAA? This is because the two are meant to go hand in hand. You will get the best in visual quality (and performance!) if you match your AA Transparency filtering with your FSAA filtering. No more and no less.
In other words: if you play with 4x FSAA, you should set your AA Transparency to 4x SuperSampling as well.
The activation of the AA Transparency filter adds considerable workload to your GFX card when lots of textures with transparency are on display. In Skyrim this means everytime you see a tree, bush, grass blade, dust, fire, smoke or particle effect such as snow flakes... you get the idea.


6) Ambient Occlusion filter (AO).
Talking strictly about nVidia graphics cards now... before the advent of the 9xx series the driver used to implement a sweet Ambient Occlusion filter for Skyrim. It was fantastic. It alone would bring a terrific improvement to the visual quality and depth of the scene. If you just played with it a few minutes you would know what I mean...
Then the 9xx series came, and for some reason nVidia decided to rework all AO filters in their driver, under the banner of some non-better explained "Improved and Faster" Ambient Occlusion filtering. There were (perhaps still are) a couple huge threads full of complaints about this on the nVidia forums. Of course nVidia never gave a damn about it. They ended up waving the middle finger to the players of Skyrim. Why? Because they ruined the AO filter for the game. They fixed what was not broken, and in so doing they broke it for real. Now the Skyrim AO filter (from the nVidia Control Panel) is something best avoided.
Fortunately the nVidia Inspector program exists, and it allows you to force-select a different AO filter. It is what I did years ago. I tried pretty much every AO available until I found one that worked nicely with Skyrim: the AO filter for Fallout 3 (in hindsight, this was pretty obvious, seeing how Skyrim's engine was an evolution of the Fallout 3's engine...)
It is not as pretty and flawless as the old one for Skyrim was, but quite worth to play with. Alas, with each new nVidia driver version nVidia likes to try and break new things, and so YMMV.
Use of the AO filter will add to the workload of your GFX card at all times.


These are the tweaks I am using to make my Skyrim look pretty. My eyes are happy, my hardware is happy :angel:
There is probably more that can be done to enhance the game. ENB comes to mind, but I find its effects too heavy for my taste.

-fox
Post

Re: Skyrim

#888
OK, you got me curious. :D

I've tried some of these -- in particular, in the game I turned off antialiasing, and in the nVidia Control Panel I'm using Anisotropic filtering = 16x, Antialiasing-FXAA = On, and Antialiasing-Transparency = 8x (supersample) -- and I think I'm seeing a visible improvement in the sharpness of nearby trees and water surfaces.

One question: Are you playing the original version of Skyrim, or the Legendary (Special) Edition? I switched over to the latter, and I can't find an in-game FSAA option anywhere, either in the graphic options of the start-up screen on the in-game Display options.

(Note: I used ENB and customized shader code in my earlier version of Skyrim, but not at all in my current Special Edition version.)

These seem like useful suggestions so far. Thanks!
Post

Re: Skyrim

#889
I am playing Oldrim, or Skyrim 32-bit (Steam app ID: 72850).
I do have the Special Edition (Steam app ID: 489380), but I am waiting for all my mods of interest to be ported to it.

Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:15 am
I've tried some of these -- in particular, in the game I turned off antialiasing, [...]
Wait.
You should use the FullScene AntiAliasing filter from the game.
And you should also use the AntiAlias Transparency from the nVidia control panel.
Set both to the same strength (4x in my case -- You go to 8x if you can handle it, why not?)

The two filters together create near-perfect antialiasing and eliminate "shimmering" from the picture in motion. You can test for it easily while walking and looking up at the trees.
I swear it looks like a whole new game without shimmering... too bad it is not something a still shot can capture. Must see it in motion to understand.

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-fox
Post

Re: Skyrim

#891
Scytale wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:16 am
I want to play this game again
Myself as well.. but I keep thinking, maybe just wait until they release the next one..?

The last time I played, with my hundreds of mods, though it looked way nicer than the original and had better menus and had all the annoying stuff fixed, it was still the same game.
My Signature
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Re: Skyrim

#892
Zanteogo wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:40 am
Scytale wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:16 am
I want to play this game again
Myself as well.. but I keep thinking, maybe just wait until they release the next one..?

The last time I played, with my hundreds of mods, though it looked way nicer than the original and had better menus and had all the annoying stuff fixed, it was still the same game.
At least we are fairly sure that'll be Creation engine and years away.
You should be safe to get going on sorting mods for the Remastered version.
°˖◝(ಠ‸ಠ)◜˖°
Toba - A Development Dump
Post

Re: Skyrim

#893
fox wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:01 am
You should use the FullScene AntiAliasing filter from the game.
And you should also use the AntiAlias Transparency from the nVidia control panel.
Set both to the same strength (4x in my case -- You go to 8x if you can handle it, why not?)

There is no FullScene Antialiasing option available for Skyrim Special Edition:
SkyrimSE_Options.png
SkyrimSE_Options.png (9.27 KiB) Viewed 94 times
I currently do get a bit of shimmering during movement from ore deposits, but I haven't noticed it from trees -- I'll have to watch more closely.

Maybe I'll notch the in-game antialiasing up to TAA and see what that does....
Post

Re: Skyrim

#894
My bad, I was not aware of it.

TAA is Temporal AntiAliasing. It is based on the data from both the Current and the Previously rendered frame(s) to guess actual sub-pixel informations.
Works good for most of the time, but since it basically interpolates the state between frames, it fails in scenarios where the data to interpolate from does not exist. As a result, tiny short-lived visual artifacts are created. Also, in a highly dynamic scene TAA tends to blur the image as a side effect of its modus operandi. TAA benefits from a high framerate: less chances for artifacts and less blurring.
FXAA is Fast approXimate AntiAliasing. Works on a per-frame basis and is framerate independent. It is performant, but gives less quality.

Neither technique is perfect (no AA today is, really...)

If your video driver still supports the age old AntiAlias 2x, 4x, 8x techniques then nVidia Inspector is the tool to force it on Skyrim SE.
I would try, if only to see if it is looks better than TAA / FXAA.

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-fox

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