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#16 mothergoose729

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:21 AM

Just imagine this scenario. You are the average skyrim PC gamer. You google "mods for skyrim" because you heard about it. You get on the nexus, and stumble upon STEP. You go crazy installing all the best texture mods for STEP, then load up your game and it doesn't play as smooth as you want it. You look around for a while to try and find ways to make the game run better without getting rid of your cool mods. You stumble upon the STEP wiki, see the texture opimization thing, and download DDSopt. You run the program. No instructions on the download section, nothing intuitive about the interface. Maybe they find your guide on the HD texture pack and use it correctly... maybe. That still leaves the vast majority of their texture mods unoptimized. But this is a persistent uneducated user. They fiddle with the program, run it on a bunch of files, wait a couple hours for it to finish what it does... and now their game doesn't start, because they didn't add esp and esm to the file exceptions. They panic and hit the forums. They didn't create a file back up, so there is nothing to be done. They are forced to reinstall skyrim, and that person probably never uses STEP again. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of how bad an experience can be for inexperienced user, that is probably an 11. Now contrast that with Optimizer Textures... sure DDSOpt does the same things Optimizer Textures does and does it better, but optimizer textures has a much better interface, much better documentation, and most importantly it nearly impossible to kill an installation of skyrim using the tool. It is just not realistic in the slightest to think that STEP users are going to write a script in command prompt. It is also entirely unreasonable for the STEP team to take on the task of testing and documenting every texture. DDSopt is a powerful tool for a powerful user. Its is not appropriate at all for anybody else. Even in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, there is still the risk of creating bad files. If STEP is serious about advocating texture optimizing at all, then STEP should promote the tool that is easiest to use and safest for the user. That is not DDSopt in it current form. A better alternative would be not to recognize a texture optimizer at all, and leave it in the forums, rather than recommend something that has the very real potential of killing an installation.
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#17 Farlo

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:49 AM

Well first off, hopefully they won't just happen to stumble across the forums after we thoroughly plastered links in the guide and on the Nexus, but I digress. Obviously this situation would be bad, but I think it's unlikely to happen. As it stands, yes DDSopt is rather undocumented and there's no defined method for using it with STEP, but that doesn't mean we're just going to say "here's DDSopt, it's cool, good luck with it". Before we recommend it for common use we'll need to make some kind of documentation and we'd build a batch program that will utilize the command line parameters. We've been talking about releasing a "STEP Backbone" type thing that includes all the utilities needed (MO and/or WB, DDSopt, etc.) in one package, along with an empty folder structure (again for MO or WB) that allows for very simple installation of all mods. Then we'd have a batch file that ran DDSopt properly (possibly with some configuration options, depends how complex we go).

#18 TechAngel85

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:18 AM

I agree that texture optimization is a huge plus simply for the performance boost in VRAM. Getting the texture sizes down is a great thing. In my opinion, though this may not be realistic, the best option is to contact the authors of the mods and have them optimize their own textures. Thus, the downloaded mods come pre-optimized. This eliminates the modder having to use any optimization tool and makes it easier for STEP.

Handing out a banner (which would be had to revoke) or giving an honorable mention as a "Trusted Author" wiki  page (obviously that wiki page wouldn't be editable by the public) would provide an incentive for the authors to take STEP suggestions for their mods such as cleaning and optimizing them. For those select authors that just don't care, STEP could get permission to provide an already cleaned and optimized mod as an alternative just like Farlo did with Dragon Glyphs HD -Fixed.

That in my opinion, though maybe unfeasible, would be the best option. It doesn't hurt to ask the authors that are featured to pitch in.

#19 Farlo

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:55 AM

I agree that texture optimization is a huge plus simply for the performance boost in VRAM. Getting the texture sizes down is a great thing. In my opinion, though this may not be realistic, the best option is to contact the authors of the mods and have them optimize their own textures. Thus, the downloaded mods come pre-optimized. This eliminates the modder having to use any optimization tool and makes it easier for STEP.

Handing out a banner (which would be had to revoke) or giving an honorable mention as a "Trusted Author" wiki  page (obviously that wiki page wouldn't be editable by the public) would provide an incentive for the authors to take STEP suggestions for their mods such as cleaning and optimizing them. For those select authors that just don't care, STEP could get permission to provide an already cleaned and optimized mod as an alternative just like Farlo did with Dragon Glyphs HD -Fixed.

That in my opinion, though maybe unfeasible, would be the best option. It doesn't hurt to ask the authors that are featured to pitch in.

We had a discussion about a STEP stamp of approval (somewhere around here... *starts shuffling through papers*) and we came to the conclusion: "Not right now".  I'd explain the reasons again but I'm heading off to bed, try searching.

Until we can offer an easy-to-use way of optimizing the entire installation then asking the mod authors to do it is the best bet (both for STEP and the entire community).  If enough of us pester them they'll eventually cave :P

#20 mothergoose729

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 01:09 PM

I know I am sounding like a broken record here, but Optimizer Textures does provide an easy way to optimize the entire installation; BSAs and all. I will put together a picture guide and add it to the OP as soon as I get home from work. It really couldn't be any easier.
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#21 TechAngel85

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

Just remember that the author of SRO doesn't recommend any type of optimization on his textures. Why? ....that's a good question. As far as I know the optimization doesn't reduce quality. Maybe PM him if you're going to do an update for OP, Mothergoose, and ask.

#22 TechAngel85

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:35 PM

We had a discussion about a STEP stamp of approval (somewhere around here... *starts shuffling through papers*) and we came to the conclusion: "Not right now".  I'd explain the reasons again but I'm heading off to bed, try searching.

Until we can offer an easy-to-use way of optimizing the entire installation then asking the mod authors to do it is the best bet (both for STEP and the entire community).  If enough of us pester them they'll eventually cave :P

I remember reading about it and if I recall the "not right now" was mainly because once given out the "stamp" would be hard to revoke because the author controls it from there on. The wiki page would be a solution to that. STEP would control which authors are on the list and would be able to revoke them from the list at any time. Asking the authors is the best solution for now I guess.  *walking over to nexus to pester some authors* :devil:

#23 Farlo

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:45 PM

Asking the authors is the best solution for now I guess.  *walking over to nexus to pester some authors* :devil:

*sigh* those poor bastards.  

I have no problem optimizing other mods as well if it really comes down to it, although I'd prefer that the mod was stable/final and the author wasn't active before I do so, otherwise I'll feel like I'm stealing downloads/endorsements.

#24 TechAngel85

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:48 PM

I have no problem optimizing other mods as well if it really comes down to it, although I'd prefer that the mod was stable/final and the author wasn't active before I do so, otherwise I'll feel like I'm stealing downloads/endorsements.

I get what you're saying and here is the basic logic that runs in my head:

The more modders that use STEP = the more modders STEP is sending to the authors page(s) = the more possible endorsements for those authors/mods

If STEP encourages STEP users to endorse the authors on the wiki page that I suggested then that's an even greater potential for more endorsements because STEP would be provide yet another link to their page. However, if the authors don't care to clean and optimize their mods then no wiki listing = less endorsements = potential for us (with permission) to clean/optimize author's work and offer it to STEP users instead of the original which = potentially stolen endorsements.

Quite frankly, I don't see why the author wouldn't do it. If I was a mod author I'd want to offer the very best product that I could and that would mean cleaning and optimizing my mods. It just seems like it should be part of mod authoring 101.

#25 TechAngel85

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:17 PM

I have personally either messaged or posted in the comments about texture optimizations for most texture mods in sections 2B and 2C. Currently, the following mods, either through documentation or personal message, have been found to be pre-optimized by the authors:
  • HI-Res DLC Optimized
  • Pond Fish Retexture (DOPR5)
  • AOF Believable Hair
  • Deadly Spell Impacts (Isoku's mods)
  • Golden Gods Shines (psychosteves)
  • Skyrim Realistic Overhual(texture pack combiner(tpc)/Starac)
  • High Quality LODs (tpc)
  • Detailed Chests Texture Replacer (tpc)
  • HiRes Legible Road Signs (tpc/SpartanVI's mod)
  • Intricate Spider Webs (tpc/Isoku's mod)
  • Realistic Smoke and Embers (tpc/Isoku's mod)
  • Skyrim Floral Overhaul (tpc, vurt)
  • Snow and Rocks HD (tpc)
  • Visible Windows (tpc/Isoku's mod)
Better Freckles is not optimized because the author had issues with compressed textures so this mod should not be optimized.

Bellyaches Animal & Creature Pack will no longer be updated; however, the author has authorized it's editing as long as he's given credit. The same goes for HQ Skyrim Map.

The author's replies (will update as the come in):


Textures that will not be optimized by their authors:
  • Realistic Hair (Ichibu)
  • Project Parallax (all textures from tpc/ osmodius /claims they are but needs to be tested)

Most these authors said they're either not currently modding, don't know anything about compression or are concerned with a loss in quality.

#26 mothergoose729

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:43 PM

Updated the OP with a optimizer textures guide.
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#27 TechAngel85

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:06 PM

Updated the OP with a optimizer textures guide.

Call me stupid for not finding it but a link? :teehee:

#28 Farlo

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:35 PM

Updated the OP with a optimizer textures guide.

Call me stupid for not finding it but a link? :teehee:


Check the OP of this thread, he added a few images and instructions.

#29 TechAngel85

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:54 PM

Updated the OP with a optimizer textures guide.

:facepalm: Thanks Farlo, got it.

As for Enhanced Blood textures...a quote from the author's page:

Do not "clean" the any of the plugin files

ENB, FXAA Injector and lighting mods will have noticeable effects on blood color which may appear differently than intended; blood color is made based on the default lighting. Use darker or brighter optional files to adjust it. Different locations in the game will also alter the blood color such as indoor areas tend to be brighter than outdoors.

Do not use DDSopt on "screenbloodcolor01opt" and "fxbloodflare" files or else black boxes will appear along with screen blood.

Do not optimize the nif files or the game will crash when you decap someone.

As for the guide, DDSopt has it's own guide on the wiki. You could probably gather all the info up and create one for OT.

#30 mothergoose729

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:49 AM

That is z929669's guide for optimizing the HD-DLC. Uptomizing any other BSA or the main texture folder is not much more complicated and easily extrapolated from the guide... my objections to DDSopt as a end all can be found in it (not as any discredit to the guide itself). You need a third party tool to extract the BSAs and repackage them, or at least I did. The process is a great deal more involved for what I consider to be a rather modest gain over optimizer textures. DDSopt is a great tool but its not without its problems. Those problems just aren't present in this tool. I optimized enhanced blood textures with optimizer textures and have noticed no problems. I can't say I played much with the mod unoptimized... the colors never seemed off to me however.
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