This is for experienced mod authors and users that know how to use xEdit, xLODGen or DynDOLOD already.
Installation and Setup
xLODGen beta 94 - based on 4.1.4b
Unzip into a dedicated folder outside of any Steam, game or mod manager folders or special Windows folders like Program Files.
Rename xLODGen.exe to [game mode]LODGen.exe (TES5LODGen.exe for example) or start with command line parameter -fnv, -fo3, -fo4, -fo4vr, -tes5, tes5vr, -sse, -enderal, -enderalse
Use -o:"c:\OutputPath\" command line parameter to change where files are generated to, default is the game folder.
Do not generate into any game, any mod manager folders or special Windows folder like Program Files x86.
Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015, 2017 and 2019 - Required by LODGen.exe/LODGenx64.exe and Texconv.exe/Texconvx64.exe. Get matching platform x86/x64 depending on which xLODGen.exe (x86) or xLODGenx64.exe (x64) is used.
RTFM and Share Results
See the included Skyrim-Occlusion-Readme.txt for a brief explanation of the Skyrim TVDT Occlusion data generation. Read the hints that are shown when the mouse pointer rests on a setting. Ask specific questions or give feedback in the dedicated Skyrim TVDT - Occlusion Data thread.
See the included Terrain-LOD-Readme.txt for a brief explanation of the settings for terrain LOD generation. Read the hints that are shown when the mouse pointer rests on a setting. Ask specific questions about terrain LOD in this thread for a more in-depth explanation if required and share feedback (with screenshots) about results or problems.
These tools generate LOD meshes and textures "exactly" like CK, but not like the meshes and textures which are shipping with the games (they are often manually edited).
However, these tools provide more options and higher resolutions (use the x64 version if there are memory errors because you believe you require 4k or higher) and can be updated to add more useful features and options.
I did some testing in the different games, but finding the best combinations of options and settings requires lots of testing and are a matter of personal opinion and which game is used, the load order, mods, even different worldspaces probably.
That means, I am only able to give generic guidelines and hints to send you off to find and test for yourself and share your results. My main interested is that generations works correctly and without problems for now.
Check out the thread xLODGen Terrain Settings Compare. Also refer to any modding guide which has a list of relevant mods close to your load order.
The object and tree LOD generation is the same as the current versions of xEdit / xLODGen. Refer to their respective descriptions and explanations.
Obviously, users of Skryim/Enderal/Skyrim SE/Skyrim VR/EnderalSE continue to use the easier and more comprehensive DynDOLOD for drastically improved object and tree LOD generation and only use xLODGen for terrain LOD (and maybe Occlusion) generation.
Here are suggestion to start without going crazy and that should be quick enough to generate:
Set quality of meshes for LOD4 to 5 and then +5 for each next level. Or just set levels 8/16/32 to 10.
Check protect cell borders (yes it fixes the ugly terrain drops at outer cell borders that still exist in Fallout 4).
Use the max vertices setting only if you want to hard limit max file size.
In Skyrim Special Edition or Skyrim VR, if you notice terrain briefly flickering when new areas are loading in, set [Display] bEnableLandFade=0 in Skyrim.INI
Set Optimize Unseen to off for LOD4 for first generation. Start experimenting with a value of 550 with a quality setting of 10 or lower for LOD32 (used for map) and compare coastlines and file size to other settings.
To quickly generate terrain LOD meshes just for the map, check only terrain LOD Meshes, check the Specific Chunk checkbox and set drop down to 32. Leave SW fields empty for complete map or set SW cell coordinates to same values as a *.btr filename to test a specific area with lots of water, river etc.
Set texture sizes to 512 for a start. Larger sizes and large world spaces will take a considerable time (like 15 to 30 minutes or more easily). Each higher resolution means quadruple the work.
Use DXT1 for diffuse and 565 (DXT1 if on Windows 7) for normal maps. If generating for Skyrim Special Edition and VRAM is not of concern use BC7. Uncheck mipmaps, raise steepness and Bake normal maps.
For now, leave the Brightness, Contrast and Gamma at 0 and 1.0 respectively. It seems that only Skyrim CK and Skyrim SE CK are manipulating the intensity of the textures to adjust for the noise.dds and the god awful "improved" snow shader of Skyrim SE (just turn that thing off, really). If textures seem too dark in the game, brighten the noise.dds instead or vice versa. That way you can get perfectly matching LOD textures that look just like the textures in the loaded cells. For Skyrim a good average color of the noise texture seems to be around #C0. See below for a couple noise texture downloads.
If you want to test larger texture sizes, use the chunk option to limit the number of textures that need to be generated. For example, check [x] Specific chunk, leave the drop down empty and set WS to the lower left cell coordinate of an 32x32 area, like 0, 0. It will then generate all textures up to 31,31. Not all worldspaces have their origin at 0,0 so you will have to check already generated meshes/texture filenames for their lower left coordinates.
Questions and Feedback
Obliviously anything related to terrain LOD should be posted in this thread.
Posts related to Occlusion should be made here.
TES5-Terrain-Tamriel.esm (Mega), SSE-Terrain-Tamriel.esm (Mega)
TES5-Terrain-Tamriel-Extend.esm (Mega), SSE-Terrain-Tamriel-Extend.esm (Mega) - These extend the sea of ghost further to the north (see screenshots)
SSE-Terrain-Tamriel-Full-Extend.esm (Mega) - Entire map from -96,-96 to 95,96 with northern ocean extension. Useful for mod authors.
Put in game data folder obviously. Adds back terrain for Skyrim (Tamriel worldspace) at the outer edges so there is no missing terrain meshes/textures when generating terrain LOD for Skyrim.
Load as early with lowest priority as possible, so that any other plugins overwriting or adding land records or cells with the same coordinates take precedence.
Only required to be loaded when generating terrain LOD. No harm done when loaded in-game but typically the player can not get close to these areas. There are no effects outside the far away added cells.
Single color flat noise, Adjusted vanilla noise, HD Terrain Noise Texture SE
Examples for Skyrim. Install to game folder like any other texture mod. The noise texture is applied in-game on top of terrain LOD textures, so no effect for LOD generation.
Only the red channel is used in case the textures is not a grey channel format. MipMaps are ignored. The textures is tiled 3x3 per LOD quad, e.g. for LOD level 4, the noise texture is repeated 3 times to cover 4 cells, for LOD level 8, the noise texture is repeated 3 times to cover 8 cells and so on.
For testing terrain LOD distances. Plain color terrain LOD textures for Tamriel with coordinates for every LOD quad. Green for LOD 4, yellow for LOD8, blue for LOD 16 and red for LOD 32.
In the main YouTube tutorial I think it was said to redo the entire install if your load order changed, but is that just for graphical mods that might affect LOD? I tend to find new outfits or jewelry I want to install mid playthrough and I was wondering if I can just install those without redoing TexGen and DynDOLOD. From what I can see, the load order for my graphics mods do not change as far as dependency when I run LOOT after installing a non graphical mod, but I wanted to check before I tried anything. Also, can a Bashed Patch be rebuilt without having to regenerate LOD?
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