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INI guide questions


anonymouselbow
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Interested in INI tweaks as I'm playing through first time and don't want to download mods yet so I get a sense of the game first.

Browsing through the INI and INIPrefs guides for both Skyrim and Skyrim SE but I have some questions.

Some of the images uploaded don't seem to match the section they are posted in.

Sometimes I make changes to the INI or INIPrefs files but don't notice any change in-game.  What am I missing or doing wrong?

I'd like to crank up the graphics beyond Ultra presets but wondering the best way to go about testing the variables, whether to use MOD2 or not.

Is there a theoretical max for how much render and terrain distance the game will allow?  I'm wondering how the "Ultra" presets were arrived at and guessing they are outdated.

Will a new guide be required for AE or is there really no significant change from SE?

Thanks

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59 minutes ago, anonymouselbow said:

Interested in INI tweaks as I'm playing through first time and don't want to download mods yet so I get a sense of the game first.

Browsing through the INI and INIPrefs guides for both Skyrim and Skyrim SE but I have some questions.

Some of the images uploaded don't seem to match the section they are posted in.

Sometimes I make changes to the INI or INIPrefs files but don't notice any change in-game.  What am I missing or doing wrong?

I'd like to crank up the graphics beyond Ultra presets but wondering the best way to go about testing the variables, whether to use MOD2 or not.

Is there a theoretical max for how much render and terrain distance the game will allow?  I'm wondering how the "Ultra" presets were arrived at and guessing they are outdated.

Will a new guide be required for AE or is there really no significant change from SE?

Thanks

Could you provide links to the guides you are reading? Our INI guides are a bit of a confusing mess (IMO), and I don't have the game INI expertise of @DoubleYou, our resident Bethesda INI guru.

We probably just need to get all of our Skyrim INI articles consolidated/parsed/moved to disambiguate. Same goes for the forum links they are pointing to. Things are confusing due to SLE vs SSE.

I would love  to have a single article for all Bethesda games, with game references within each section/setting (since all Bethesda INIs have a very similar core, I think), but not sure how practical that is.

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BethINI Ultra sets most things to max levels, with the exception of TerrainManager settings. Those settings I now recommend using:

[TerrainManager]
fBlockLevel0Distance=53248
fBlockLevel1Distance=159744
fBlockMaximumDistance=331776
fSplitDistanceMult=1.000

Theoretical max within uGridsToLoad of 5 is about 20272 units, although you rarely will see much difference after 17000. Theoretical max for LOD is about 100 cells or around 409600 units, although you likely will never actually see that far due to mountains blocking the view. I think the far clipping pane might be around 358000 units or so. Not sure. 

If changing ini settings are not working, ensure that you are editing the correct ini files. 

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I don't know yet at this point if the parameters are designed so that it's okay to set a value either less than or equal but not greater than,  or if it's okay to set a greater than value to provide a buffer or grace zone, because some settings by default are either 6x9 or 1 million, or 7x9 or 10 million, whereas many are only in the 4 digit range. 

The guides I been looking at:

Guide:Skyrim INI - Step Mods | Change The Game (stepmodifications.org)

Guide:SkyrimPrefs INI - Step Mods | Change The Game (stepmodifications.org)

SkyrimSE:SkyrimPrefs INI - Step Mods | Change The Game (stepmodifications.org)

Thanks for the Terrain Manager infos.

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Unfortunately, I didn't log what changes I've made, and whether any of the really high values were there by default.  The really high values may be somebody else's recommended settings that I just decided to try, but by randomly changing settings I have encountered some interesting problems which I couldn't fix so I uninstalled the game and why I decided to join the STEP forums.

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51 minutes ago, DoubleYou said:

Can't really imagine what setting you would want to set in the millions.

fTreesMidLODSwitchDist=9999999.0000
fMeshLODFadePercentDefault=1.2000
fMeshLODFadeBoundDefault=256.0000
fMeshLODLevel2FadeTreeDistance=9999999.0000
fMeshLODLevel1FadeTreeDistance=9999999.0000

copied from what I currently see in my prefs.ini.

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I actually can't even find "uGridsToLoad" in my INI files.  I thought they were there but maybe just my memory is faulty.

But, 

13 minutes ago, DoubleYou said:

so setting anything beyond 20272 units doesn't actually do anything

confuses me, because 

 

4 hours ago, DoubleYou said:

BethINI Ultra sets most things to max levels, with the exception of TerrainManager settings. Those settings I now recommend using:


[TerrainManager]
fBlockLevel0Distance=53248
fBlockLevel1Distance=159744
fBlockMaximumDistance=331776
fSplitDistanceMult=1.000

Theoretical max within uGridsToLoad of 5 is about 20272 units, although you rarely will see much difference after 17000. Theoretical max for LOD is about 100 cells or around 409600 units, although you likely will never actually see that far due to mountains blocking the view. I think the far clipping pane might be around 358000 units or so. Not sure. 

there are many values greater than 20272, so I'm lost what context you're referring to with the number "20272" units.

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Okay, thanks now clear.  I hadn't comprehended that the whole game wasn't loaded always.

I found:

Skyrim-Ugrids-Comparison.gif (1920×1200) (nvidia.com)

Fallout 4 Graphics, Performance & Tweaking Guide | GeForce | GeForce (nvidia.com)

but not yet a visual of what the grids look like when no graphics are loaded. 

And, one argument or caveat against changing ugrids default setting of 5 because some quests may get triggered before the PC can deal with them:

What are uGrids and how do you tweak them? - General Skyrim Discussion - The Nexus Forums (nexusmods.com)

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Okay, I got BethINI now.  And it seems versatile so looking forward to trying it.

However, already I was able to confirm what I pasted above that the :

fMeshLODLevel2FadeTreeDistance=9999999.0000
fMeshLODLevel1FadeTreeDistance=9999999.0000

is part of the default settings.  Does it perhaps refer to the boundary of the whole game including the out of bound areas?  Or is it actually excessively large?

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fMeshLODLevel2FadeTreeDistance=9999999.0000
fMeshLODLevel1FadeTreeDistance=9999999.0000

...are not part of the default settings.

fMeshLODLevel1FadeDist=999999
fMeshLODLevel2FadeDist=999999

...are part of the default settings, however. Notice that not only are you referring to completely different settings, albeit similar in nature, but also you have an extra 9 in your value.

Even so, you are trying to infer from a value that Bethesda randomly gave it that the game renders that many units. This simply is not the case. Bethesda just put a random high value on some settings rather than optimizing them. An interesting side note is in Skyrim VR, Bethesda actually used my value of 16896 for their official Medium and High presets, which is the value that I popularized via BethINI. I don't think I need any higher recommendation for my work than that.

The game is rendered in a 5x5 grid. Each cell is 4096x4096 units. Distance units are measured from the player character. Here is a simple grid. Everything within the yellow box is uGridsToLoad @ 5, a 5x5 grid.

image.png

The centermost cell is green. Say that is your starting point. If you move one cell directly north, the next 5 cells in the orange will load as soon as you reach the middle of the dark orange cell. Immediately before you reach the center, you have the shortest distance between your character and the unloaded cells, which you can see is 1.5 cells or 4096x1.5= 6144 units. However, if you moved diagonally southeast into the gray cell, the furthest possible distance you could see would be 3.5 hypotenuses of the cell. Given that the hypotenuse of a right triangle that is 4096 units on the short legs is about 5792, you can calculate that the furthest possible distance is 5792x3.5=20272 units. Most of the time you are not going to run/walk diagonally and then suddenly turn around and observe this greatest distance. Typical distance would be near the center, which is between 2.5 cells or 10240 units and 2.5 hypotenuses 14480 units that you would be looking around and seeing. So I optimized the ultra preset to be between the absolute max and typical max about midway by setting it to 16896. No one playing the game is going to actually see the difference unless they are specifically looking for it. They'd have to pretty much figure out how to move perfectly diagonal within the grid and turn around at exactly before they reach the next cell change, and they'd have to have really good eye for detail to see a slightly less detailed mesh at that far of a distance.

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