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.
- 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.