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SkyrimPrefs INI Guide

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#31 DoubleYou

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 12:44 AM

Well, my rig is not even baseline for STEP, so I would think I would know what low system performance it is. Indeed, it is this fact that has made me all the more curious about those ~1500 INI tweaks.
 
As it stands, that information is nowhere in our guides and should be fixed. The closest we have is here, which is confusing at best.
 
 

Game INIs:

  • Default INIs: the _default INIs located in /skyrim

After much research in the INIs, calling these default possesses some issues, as there are parameters in them that are not recognized by the game anymore (gasp!). I consider default INIs to be blank INIs, which means the settings hardcoded inside the game are used. Leaving a setting out means that the hardcoded defaults are used. All the default settings cannot, unfortunately be accurately placed down in INI format, because some of the numbers are like pi: they cannot be expressed using decimal numerals.
 
If you look at each guide I have created, you will see a link to default INI files for each, which are the hardcoded values (I found using the Configurator as a basis was less than useful). It is not perfect, and should NOT be used, but gives a good approximation of the defaults as can best be expressed in decimal numerals.
 
 

  • INI-Tweak Composite: [ The temporary combined ini tweaks generated from combining the ini tweaks ] <--What does this mean exactly?? ... Overwrite INIs? ... These are MO specific INIs?

 


 
Any mod in Mod Organizer can have a tweak in it. All active tweaks are combined and written to the initweaks.ini file inside the active profile's folder.
 
 

Plugin INIs: INIs loaded with like-named plugins (just like BSAs). [ Presence should be indicated by the paperclip on the mod in MO (left pane). ] <-- I am not seeing this Plugin INIs should have the paperclip within the plugins list (right pane) as is now the practice.


 
The paperclip is only shown in the plugins list. I guess Tannin decided not to make it a flag in the mod list as that could clutter that up, and really you only need to see it in the plugins list.
 
 

 

  • All game settings have default values hard coded in the game files <--what game files exactly? ... the EXE? ... the DLLs? ... anybody know?

 


 
Game file: They are all located inside TESV.exe and can be retrieved via analysis, as per Arisu, and summary work with a hex editor on my part. However, you can retrieve a decimal approximation to four decimal places of all recognized parameters and their default values via the saveini command in the console when using blank INIs. I have used Arisu's more accurate decimals on top of those (it is quite apparent where they apply).
 
 

 

  • Some game settings are configurable via the game GUI. [ These changes are saved out as INI settings ] <-- ONLY in skyrimprefs.ini, right??

 


 
Yes, if you mean in-game. All settings you change in the in-game menu are saved to SkyrimPrefs.ini. However, the Skyrim Launcher does set bReflectLODLand, bReflectLODObjects, bReflectLODTrees, and bReflectSky inside Skyrim.ini.
 
 

 

  • Some INI settings are apparently ineffective, regardless of where they exist. [ (they are either mistakes [invalid or redundant] or imperceptible under normal playing conditions) ] <-- We should tag these likewise so we can at least keep track of them with all other INI settings

 


 
Yes. Tweaks that are not recognized by the game have red descriptions describing this on the INI guides already, and "ineffective" settings (both verified and unverified) have yellow descriptions describing this. This is mostly finished already.
 
 

All effective INI settings have an impact (i.e., are valid) when defined within skyrim.ini


 
This has been the result with every setting I've tested so far, with exception on those values which are numbers that cannot be accurately expressed with decimal numerals. Despite being valid, using those causes bugs. A classic case are the rUIMistMenu_Ambient settings, which the use of causes the menu to gain a red tint.
 
 

 

  • Some effective INI settings are ONLY impactful (i.e., valid) when defined within skyrim.ini (e.g., iPresentInterval). <-- which ones other than iPresentInterval? Why?

 


 
I haven't sufficiently tested this statement yet. I do know that there is only a short list of parameters that work inside SkyrimPrefs.ini, but I do not know all the restrictions on Plugin INIs and MO INI tweaks.



#32 z929669

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 09:52 AM

Well, my rig is not even baseline for STEP, so I would think I would know what low system performance it is. Indeed, it is this fact that has made me all the more curious about those ~1500 INI tweaks.

 Only your video card is 'hurting' ... your CPU and architecture are up to par, and I think shadows are CPU dependent more than GPU ... and FPS I think is more directly dependent on GPU clock rather than VRAM, so you still may not notice much performance impact on your rig.
 

As it stands, that information is nowhere in our guides and should be fixed. The closest we have is here, which is confusing at best.
 
After much research in the INIs, calling these default possesses some issues, as there are parameters in them that are not recognized by the game anymore (gasp!). I consider default INIs to be blank INIs, which means the settings hardcoded inside the game are used. Leaving a setting out means that the hardcoded defaults are used. All the default settings cannot, unfortunately be accurately placed down in INI format, because some of the numbers are like pi: they cannot be expressed using decimal numerals.

If you look at each guide I have created, you will see a link to default INI files for each, which are the hardcoded values (I found using the Configurator as a basis was less than useful). It is not perfect, and should NOT be used, but gives a good approximation of the defaults as can best be expressed in decimal numerals.

I agree that the built-in game settings are the actual default settings (by definition, game settings in INIs should only be necessary for deviations from the baseline default settings). I would call Tannin's proposed "Default INIs" simply "Example INIs" (or "Performance Baseline INIs") and Tannins "Base INIs" might be better named as "System Baseline INI" (skyrim.ini) and "User Preferences INI" (skyrimprefs.ini)
 

Any mod in Mod Organizer can have a tweak in it. All active tweaks are combined and written to the initweaks.ini file inside the active profile's folder.

 I thought all MO-specific INI changes were supposed to be compiled into respective System Baseline and User Preferences INIs inside Overwrite ... ?
 

The paperclip is only shown in the plugins list. I guess Tannin decided not to make it a flag in the mod list as that could clutter that up, and really you only need to see it in the plugins list.

What about mods that don't have any plugins? They can still have INI tweaks. I would remove the paperclip from plugins and represent this ONLY in mods analogous to other file types icons used in the left pane (BSA, textures, meshes, etc). This is more consistent.
 

Game file: They are all located inside TESV.exe and can be retrieved via analysis, as per Arisu, and summary work with a hex editor on my part. However, you can retrieve a decimal approximation to four decimal places of all recognized parameters and their default values via the saveini command in the console when using blank INIs. I have used Arisu's more accurate decimals on top of those (it is quite apparent where they apply).

I think you mean that the 'saveini' console command only fetches decimal rounded to four sig digits, whereas Arisu's method fetches the floating-point numbers (or the 8+-digit rounded decimals?) 
 

Yes, if you mean in-game. All settings you change in the in-game menu are saved to SkyrimPrefs.ini. However, the Skyrim Launcher does set bReflectLODLand, bReflectLODObjects, bReflectLODTrees, and bReflectSky inside Skyrim.ini.

Strange that only the 'distance' settings created in the GUI preferences go into skyrim.ini and all others into skyrimprefs.ini ... would like to make sense of that logic.
 

Yes. Tweaks that are not recognized by the game have red descriptions describing this on the INI guides already, and "ineffective" settings (both verified and unverified) have yellow descriptions describing this. This is mostly finished already.
 
This has been the result with every setting I've tested so far, with exception on those values which are numbers that cannot be accurately expressed with decimal numerals. Despite being valid, using those causes bugs. A classic case are the rUIMistMenu_Ambient settings, which the use of causes the menu to gain a red tint.

Again, maybe you are referring to floating point rather than decimal ... meaning that the number must be accurate to a min decimal place (or transcendental numbers like Pi are not really defined explicitly but must be dynamically passed inside the EXE)
  

I haven't sufficiently tested this statement yet. I do know that there is only a short list of parameters that work inside SkyrimPrefs.ini, but I do not know all the restrictions on Plugin INIs and MO INI tweaks.

iPresentInterval proves this statement, but we just don't know what other settings behave in the same manner and why (given previous assumptions). I'll bet bReflectLODLand, bReflectLODObjects, bReflectLODTrees, and bReflectSky all behave this way too though.



#33 DoubleYou

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 09:52 AM

Really great work, DY, especially with your extremely thorough testing standards.
 
Maybe it's just my eyes, but the red text on the dark gray background is really difficult to read. Maybe another warning text color would be better?


Lightened.

#34 z929669

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 09:55 AM

:ninja:  (see my previous post)



#35 DoubleYou

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 10:45 AM

Only your video card is 'hurting' ... your CPU and architecture are up to par, and I think shadows are CPU dependent more than GPU ... and FPS I think is more directly dependent on GPU clock rather than VRAM, so you still may not notice much performance impact on your rig. True.
 
I agree that the built-in game settings are the actual default settings (by definition, game settings in INIs should only be necessary for deviations from the baseline default settings). I would call Tannin's proposed "Default INIs" simply "Example INIs" (or "Performance Baseline INIs") and Tannins "Base INIs" might be better named as "System Baseline INI" (skyrim.ini) and "User Preferences INI" (skyrimprefs.ini) Agreed.
 
 I thought all MO-specific INI changes were supposed to be compiled into respective System Baseline and User Preferences INIs inside Overwrite ... ? At runtime, all active INI tweaks get combined and written to the initweaks.ini file. Then something takes place to use those values, but I don't know whether Tannin virtually creates new "System Baseline and User Preferences INIs" or if he injects these into the game's memory itself. It doesn't s.
 
What about mods that don't have any plugins? They can still have INI tweaks. I would remove the paperclip from plugins and represent this ONLY in mods analogous to other file types icons used in the left pane (BSA, textures, meshes, etc). This is more consistent. Nothing currently marks mods with INI tweaks, which is unfortunate. The paperclip only works on Plugin INIs.
 
I think you mean that the 'saveini' console command only fetches decimal rounded to four sig digits, whereas Arisu's method fetches the floating-point numbers (or the 8+-digit rounded decimals?) savini limits to 4 decimals, whereas Arisu's method does 8 decimals. I do not know if the game reads beyond four decimals on INIs or not. Working on that.
 
Strange that only the 'distance' settings created in the GUI preferences go into skyrim.ini and all others into skyrimprefs.ini ... would like to make sense of that logic. Bethesda.
 
Again, maybe you are referring to floating point rather than decimal ... meaning that the number must be accurate to a min decimal place (or transcendental numbers like Pi are not really defined explicitly but must be dynamically passed inside the EXE) I only know from Arisu's research on version 1.3.10. See his thread.
  
iPresentInterval proves this statement, but we just don't know what other settings behave in the same manner and why (given previous assumptions). I'll bet bReflectLODLand, bReflectLODObjects, bReflectLODTrees, and bReflectSky all behave this way too though. It proves that some tweaks do not work in SkyrimPrefs.ini. It does not prove whether or not plugin INIs and/or INI tweaks have more or less limits



#36 DoubleYou

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 10:55 AM

Just tested iPresentInterval as an INI tweak, and it works, so INI tweaks may be able to overcome the limitations for SkyrimPrefs.ini.
 
Test: Skyrim.ini with iPresentInterval=1 and INI tweak with iPresentInterval=0
Result:
Bh41W9b6gKqPnbH1

Test: Skyrim.ini with iPresentInterval=0 and INI tweak with iPresentInterval=1
Result:
yCRHYC4qAcpXbGn9

Also tested as a Plugin INI.

Test: Skyrim.ini with iPresentInterval=1 and Plugin INI with iPresentInterval=0
Result:
cCEx2u7QiIow2JA4

This proves that SkyrimPrefs.ini is the only INI in which iPresentInterval does not work.

Edited by DoubleYou, 29 May 2015 - 11:07 AM.


#37 z929669

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 11:07 AM

Agree. Something in the code is blocking specific tweaks if they exist within skyrimprefs.ini. My guess is that valid skyrimprefs.ini parameters exist as some explicit list somewhere and any INI params not predefined for skyrimprefs.ini (or as valid User-Preferences settings) are ignored by the routine that processes skyrimprefs.ini.

 

Good find.



#38 torminater

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 11:40 AM

nice work!

there are a ton of other settings that are applied if running the saveini command in the console. if you're done here, there's a lot of more work there! ;-) (be aware that using the saveini command may crash your game and cause other weird side effects, be careful and always back up your ini's etc.)


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#39 DoubleYou

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 11:48 AM

After extensive testing, these are the results:

 

  • Skyrim.ini can modify all effective settings with the correct effect, including the settings that can be placed in SkyrimPrefs.ini (verified by checking if it could modify screen size) if the setting does NOT exist in SkyrimPrefs.ini, with exception of the four values used ONLY by the Skyrim Launcher, namely sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, bEnableFileSelection (verified). It overwrites the default values hardcoded into the game executable.
  • SkyrimPrefs.ini can ONLY modify settings with the SkyrimPrefs-allowed property hardcoded into the game executable. It overwrites the default values hardcoded into the game executable AND Skyrim.ini. These are all documented on the SkyrimPrefs guide.
  • Plugin INIs can modify all effective settings with the correct effect EXCEPT the settings with the SkyrimPrefs property hardcoded into the game executable. It overwrites values in Skyrim.ini and/or the default values hardcoded into the game executable. This means that Plugin INIs can ONLY modify values that DO NOT go/work in SkyrimPrefs.ini. For example, you cannot effectively set shadow settings in a Plugin INI as the values will be entirely ignored.
  • INI Tweaks as used in Mod Organizer can modify all effective settings with the correct effect including the settings with the SkyrimPrefs property hardcoded into the game executable. It overwrites ALL values for all settings, including Plugin INIs. If it doesn't seem to be working anywhere else, try here!

nice work!

there are a ton of other settings that are applied if running the saveini command in the console. if you're done here, there's a lot of more work there! ;-) (be aware that using the saveini command may crash your game and cause other weird side effects, be careful and always back up your ini's etc.)

Already done, and all those settings are on the guides.



#40 z929669

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 12:33 PM

After extensive testing, these are the results:

 

  • Skyrim.ini can modify all effective settings with the correct effect, including the settings that can be placed in SkyrimPrefs.ini (verified by checking if it could modify screen size) if the setting does NOT exist in SkyrimPrefs.ini, with exception of the four values used ONLY by the Skyrim Launcher, namely sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, bEnableFileSelection (verified). It overwrites the default values hardcoded into the game executable.
  • SkyrimPrefs.ini can ONLY modify settings with the SkyrimPrefs-allowed property hardcoded into the game executable. It overwrites the default values hardcoded into the game executable AND Skyrim.ini. These are all documented on the SkyrimPrefs guide.
  • Plugin INIs can modify all effective settings with the correct effect EXCEPT the settings with the SkyrimPrefs property hardcoded into the game executable. It overwrites values in Skyrim.ini and/or the default values hardcoded into the game executable. This means that Plugin INIs can ONLY modify values that DO NOT go/work in SkyrimPrefs.ini. For example, you cannot effectively set shadow settings in a Plugin INI as the values will be entirely ignored.
  • INI Tweaks as used in Mod Organizer can modify all effective settings with the correct effect including the settings with the SkyrimPrefs property hardcoded into the game executable. It overwrites ALL values for all settings, including Plugin INIs. If it doesn't seem to be working anywhere else, try here!

Already done, and all those settings are on the guides.

Trying to comprehend what you are saying here ... if I understand correctly, those four settings need not be called out, since they are not valid in skyrimprefs.ini (even though one might think they should be, since they are settings defined within the Skyrim Launcher).

 

Confirming everything in a different way to be sure I understand correctly:

  • Settings in skyrim.ini can override ALL 'default' settings hard coded within the game EXE (i.e., effectively ALL game settings if no other INIs exist)
  • Settings that are user configurable (i.e., skyrimprefs-specific settings) ...
    • Are ONLY configurable from skyrim.ini and skyrimprefs.ini
    • Those in skyrimprefs.ini override those in skyrim.ini if defined in both
    • Are invalid when defined from Plugin INIs, and thus have no impact and cannot be overridden
    • Can effectively be overridden via MO INI Tweaks (presumably because MO applies the respective INI tweak to the most applicable Game INI)
  • ONLY settings that are NOT user configurable (i.e., are NOT skyrimprefs-specific settings) are valid in Plugin INIs, where they will have highest priority ([except or including] the four mysterious GUI settings, sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, bEnableFileSelection)
  • MO INI Tweaks override everything ([except or including] the four mysterious GUI settings, sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, bEnableFileSelection)


#41 DoubleYou

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 12:50 PM

 

Trying to comprehend what you are saying here ... if I understand correctly, those four settings need not be called out, since they are not valid in skyrimprefs.ini (even though one might think they should be, since they are settings defined within the Skyrim Launcher). They are ONLY used by the Launcher, never by the game, so in a sense they could be considered invalid, but they all have a function, so I consider them valid (especially bEnableFileSelection).

 

Confirming everything in a different way to be sure I understand correctly:

  • Settings in skyrim.ini can override ALL 'default' settings hard coded within the game EXE (i.e., effectively ALL game settings if no other INIs exist) Correct
  • Settings that are user configurable (i.e., skyrimprefs-specific settings) ...
    • Are ONLY configurable from skyrim.ini and skyrimprefs.ini and MO INI tweaks
    • Those in skyrimprefs.ini override those in skyrim.ini if defined in both Correct
    • Are invalid when defined from Plugin INIs, and thus have no impact and cannot be overridden Correct
    • Can effectively be overridden via MO INI Tweaks Correct (presumably because MO applies the respective INI tweak to the most applicable Game INI) After reading Tannin's remakrs, it appears that MO overlays the settings from INI-Tweaks Composite (initweaks.ini in the profile created at runtime) over the existing ones and never modifies the Game INIs.
  • ONLY settings that are NOT user configurable (i.e., are NOT skyrimprefs-specific settings) are valid in Plugin INIs, where they will have highest priority ([except or including] the four mysterious GUI settings, sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, bEnableFileSelection) Correct
  • MO INI Tweaks override everything ([except or including] the four mysterious GUI settings, sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, bEnableFileSelection) Correct

 

I consider all settings configurable except for the settings that Bethesda decided to leave out of the INIs (Arisu mentioned a figure like 5000).



#42 z929669

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 01:33 PM

OK, so the four mystery settings are no mystery at all. They are not game INIs at all either. They are effectively launcher menu config settings, and I can see why they belong only in skyrim.ini.

 

So I thought Tannin's initweaks.ini was temporary and that it wrote to MO-profile-specific versions of skyrim.ini and skyrimprefs.ini ... ?

 

EDIT: Also, when using colored text, could you stick with the following 'standards' for better readability? then we can update what you are currently using (mainly for red) in various places:

 

#9eb8ee (blue-ish) - Call out text relating to addition, enhancement, or confirmation.
#90e0a0 (green-ish) - Call out text relating to fixes, functional, or relevant.
#ff7878 (red-ish) - Call out text relating to removal, non-functional, or irrelevant.
#d8e058 (yellow-ish) - Call out text relating to issues or unknowns
#e6b69e (peach-ish) - Call out important text relating to special instructions
#dddddd (white-ish) - Call out important text (alternative to above)



#43 DoubleYou

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 01:36 PM

OK, so the four mystery settings are no mystery at all. They are not game INIs at all either. They are effectively launcher menu config settings, and I can see why they belong only in skyrim.ini. SkyrimPrefs.ini
 
So I thought Tannin's initweaks.ini was temporary and that it wrote to MO-profile-specific versions of skyrim.ini and skyrimprefs.ini ... ?


We will need to ask him, because I honestly cannot tell via experimentation.



#44 z929669

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 01:39 PM

:ninja: see my previous edit


We will need to ask him, because I honestly cannot tell via experimentation.

What?!?

 

the four mystery settings go into skyrim.ini and NOT skyrimprefs.ini (sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, bEnableFileSelection) ... at least the way you have it worded in the above post (which is why I made a clarification post ... see yellow text. Syntax can be subjective and some can extrapolate better than others, so better to word in a way that cannot be subjectively interpreted)

 

... now you are really confusing me.



#45 DoubleYou

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 01:52 PM

You misread something. sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, and bEnableFileSelection only work in SkyrimPrefs.ini, which was why there needed to be the exception in my statement for Skyrim.ini, since it cannot use those four values.

 

We will need to ask him, because I honestly cannot tell via experimentation.

Sorry. Now I'm confusing myself.

 

In my experimentation I concluded that INI-Tweaks Composite overwrites everything everywhere. If that is the case, it cannot merely be creating new Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini files, because then Plugin INIs would overwrite INI tweaks, unless he creates a virtual plugin INI as well (highly unlikely). I think he batch searches all INI files and overwrites all INI settings in every INI in the system with those values if the value is present, and superimposes extras into the INIs somehow.

 

I'm sorry, but that is just super-confusing. And it might not be correct.

 

Therefore, we should ask Tannin.

 


*Default Value: The value for the configuration setting stored inside TESV.exe. For settings used only by the SkyrimLauncher.exe (i.e., sD3DDevice, uLastAspectRatio, bShowAllResolutions, and bEnableFileSelection), the value as initially calculated by SkyrimLauncher.exe.
*Default INIs: Blank INIs, which upon load of the main TESV.exe Skyrim executable, the Default Values stored in TESV.exe shall be used. Default INIs with all relevant settings and their corresponding default values can only be approximated for floating point (f-prefix) and color (r-prefix and some s-prefix) settings.
*Default INI preset: The Skyrim_default.ini located in the main Skyrim directory and the SkyrimPrefs.ini located in the extra Skyrim directory inside the main directory.
*Launcher INI presets: The low.ini (low preset), medium.ini (medium preset), high.ini (high preset), and very high.ini (ultra preset) inside the main Skyrim directory which the Launcher applies against the Default INI preset.
*Base INIs: The standard game INIs generated in %UserPofile%/Documents/My Games/Skyrim after the first launch of Skyrim.
*MO Profile INIs: Mod Organizer's profile-specific INIs created using the Base INIs.

 

Any comments on the above-quoted definitions?





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