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TechAngel85

RAID Weathers (by OlivierDoorenbos)

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RAID Weathers by OlivierDoorenbos
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A new weather mod on the scene that is aimed for vanilla-like weather (mix of fantasy and realism). It's unique in that it is the only weather mod that is focused on balancing visuals with AI detection, while other weather mods focus completely on the visuals at the expense of borking the game's AI detection (detection is based on lighting values). The goal is to provide realistic detection that is based around what you see on the screen. In other words, what you see is what the enemies sees.


Judging from the screens and video, this mod should be tested, imo. It's beautiful and seems to perfectly align with Step (better than Cathedral Weathers). What will be missing from CW, if dropped, will mainly be the seasonal weather feature, tint adjustments, and the static (but beautiful) sunset clouds. Changing weather mods will force us to redo/review all of the ENB preset work.


Compares
For compares vanilla weather was saved and then the mods added in at the bottom of the load order. All daytime compares are at 12pm and all nighttime compares are at 12am. No "dawn/dusk" compares are provided because when the mod changes those values it can prevent a 1:1 compare during those transitional times. All weathers were organically obtained, meaning I waited until the weather happened on its own instead of forcing via console.

Vanilla  >  Cathedral Weathers (Step)  >  RAID

SkyrimClearTU
You can see RAID's stars here a bit. I prefere Step's.
Step-Skyrim-SE264.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE274.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE285.jpg 
Step-Skyrim-SE265.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE275.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE286.jpg

SkyrimOvercastRainTU
Cathedral is adding an aurora to this weather at night that is curious visible for being overcast. All have rain, though it's hard to see in the shots (all the rain is very light).
Step-Skyrim-SE266.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE278.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE287.jpg
Step-Skyrim-SE267.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE277.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE288.jpg

SkyrimClearSN
Cathedral is adding an aurora to this weather at night, as well.
Step-Skyrim-SE268.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE279.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE289.jpg
Step-Skyrim-SE269.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE280.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE290.jpg

SkyrimSnowStorm
You really can't see anything in this storm with RAID at night and a torch isn't much help. It's very realistic and maybe too much, as you wouldn't want to be out in it!
Step-Skyrim-SE270.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE281.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE292.jpg
Step-Skyrim-SE271.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE282.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE293.jpg

SkyrimFogFF
Cathedral seems to remove all but the most distant fog from this weather.
Step-Skyrim-SE272.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE283.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE294.jpg 
Step-Skyrim-SE273.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE284.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE295.jpg

SkyrimFogRE
Step-Skyrim-SE296.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE304.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE312.jpg
Step-Skyrim-SE297.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE305.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE320.jpg

SkyrimCloudy
Step-Skyrim-SE298.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE306.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE313.jpg
Step-Skyrim-SE299.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE307.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE314.jpg

DLC02VolcanicAsh02_A
Step-Skyrim-SE300.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE308.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE315.jpg
Step-Skyrim-SE301.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE309.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE316.jpg

DLC02VolcanicAshStorm01
Note that this is the only vanilla weather with ash particles. Weather mods typically expand the particles to other weathers, as well.
Step-Skyrim-SE302.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE310.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE317.jpg
Step-Skyrim-SE303.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE319.jpg Step-Skyrim-SE318.jpg

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I love the concept of this mod and that it focuses on realism and gameplay in addition to weather lighting and variation.

I hate changing up lighting, weather, and landscape mods, since they are all so interdependent. What we have going now looks damned good, and tweaking any of these three variables will most likely break everything. I'd like to try though.

My interests are peaked on Majestic Landscapes, RAID Weathers, and HLT now after seeing @Mousetick's screens .... definitely something I want to look at for a 3.0.0 release next year.

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I installed this mod as soon as it was released. Up until now I had been using no weather mods. I had only a trivial mod to simply make the nights darker (aptly named Darker Nights), everything else vanilla. I haven't been using ENB and have no plans to use any kind of post-processing.

I had previously evaluated a bunch of weather mods, including CW as part of the STEP guide, and I liked none of them. There was always something that wasn't quite right, being the lighting, the colors, the effects, the performance... But in general my feeling is that many weather mods like lighting mods tend to be "overdone" and seem mostly designed "for show". I'm not interested in a Disney World, I simply want an enhanced Skyrim.

So anyway, long story short, I've only been trying this one for a few days. First impressions: I quite like it, it's very nice. It's going to be a keeper I think but it's too early to tell.

Very small performance impact if not negligible, close to vanilla in terms of atmosphere, done in moderation. I haven't experienced the really strong weathers like blizzard or torrential rain, yet. My only gripe so far is the frequency of weather changes. I'm going to be playing this game for dozens and dozens of hours, I don't need to experience the whole catalogue of weathers in the first hour of gameplay :annoyed: I seem to remember the change of weather every ~15 minutes seems to be a common theme among weather mods. I don't get it. No big deal though, should be easy to patch.

 I've kept the galaxy and star textures from the STEP guide (i.e. 8K Night Skies - Stars and Galaxies - Cathedral Concept). I don't know how the ones provided with the mod look like.

That being said, I wouldn't consider it for inclusion in a STEP guide. It makes the nights really, really dark. I don't mind myself, but this is a big difference from vanilla, and it makes the game less accessible to the average player, I think.

With darker nights and overcast weather, it becomes even more important to tone down the brightness of landscape, flora and fauna, so mods like FML and similar mesh lighting fixes in other mods become a "must". At least for me. I can't stand the glow-in-the-dark stuff.

I'd recommend you give it a try yourselves whenever you get the chance.

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I'm pretty sure the MA for this intends use of ELFX for lighting ... so darker nights and dungeons indeed. That's my play style.

Maybe not for Step though.

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5 hours ago, z929669 said:

I love the concept of this mod and that it focuses on realism and gameplay in addition to weather lighting and variation.

I hate changing up lighting, weather, and landscape mods, since they are all so interdependent. What we have going now looks damned good, and tweaking any of these three variables will most likely break everything. I'd like to try though.

My interests are peaked on Majestic Landscapes, RAID Weathers, and HLT now after seeing @Mousetick's screens .... definitely something I want to look at for a 3.0.0 release next year.

I'm only thinking weather and maybe the interior lighting mod for templates, but only weather right now. There really isn't any need to touch landscapes (they technically have nothing to do with weather/lighting). There's been nothing that has bested Cathedral Landscapes for me. Everything else is too far off from vanilla or doesn't even includes files for LOD generation, which is commonplace these days for customizing setups.

2 hours ago, z929669 said:

I'm pretty sure the MA for this intends use of ELFX for lighting ... so darker nights and dungeons indeed. That's my play style.

Maybe not for Step though.

ELFX is just an arbitrary recommendation based on the author's preferences. They may have had it installed or planned to use it with their mod, but the two don't actually interact much as RAID is mainly exteriors and ELFX would be mainly interiors. 

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17 minutes ago, TechAngel85 said:

I'm only thinking weather and maybe the interior lighting mod for templates, but only weather right now. There really isn't any need to touch landscapes (they technically have nothing to do with weather/lighting). There's been nothing that has bested Cathedral Landscapes for me. Everything else is too far off from vanilla or doesn't even includes files for LOD generation, which is commonplace these days for customizing setups.

ELFX is just an arbitrary recommendation based on the author's preferences. They may have had it installed or planned to use it with their mod, but the two don't actually interact much as RAID is mainly exteriors and ELFX would be mainly interiors. 

I think weathers and landscape complement each other due to image-space lighting variables as Mouse and I were discussing on the other topic. My main issue with CL is that its terrain LOD are not 1:1 with full landscape textures in terms of brightness ... and the absolutely horrible gray snow. I know they did this as a compromise, but I vastly prefer ML landscape snow. Not such a big deal when running ENB though. Terrain LOD assets should be relatively simple to generate I would think. Never tried though.

I think the RAID author uses ELFX hardcore purposefully to cover interiors. He created the weather mod to do the same for exteriors (thinking of weather as exterior lighting mod)

image.png

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20 minutes ago, z929669 said:

I think weathers and landscape complement each other due to image-space lighting variables as Mouse and I were discussing on the other topic.

I think the RAID author uses ELFX hardcore purposefully to cover interiors. He created the weather mod to do the same for exteriors (thinking of weather as exterior lighting mod)

image.png

That they do to some degree. I'm of the opinion that proper textures would look good with any lighting setup, though. The main one-off case is going to be snow simple because it's white and will reflect the environment color to a greater degree than any other textures in the game. I say "the game", because this is more unique to Skyrim as other more modern games don't have this issue and can render snow without white-clipping. The game has been updated here and there, but we're still working with 10+ yr old stuff at the core. The new snow shader did nothing for improving snow texture rendering.

I've been wanting to revisit ELE to correct the too dark interiors as a possible alternative to Luminosity. Without CW to darken the interiors, they're going to be too bright if we switch weather mods. Luminosity has bad performance on his chart due to the design being visuals first, function second. In Jonny's defense, I don't think he was aware of the detection issues when the design for CW and Luminosity were laid out and it would have taken tossing everything out and starting from scratch. He corrected some of this with Azurite, but it has unnaturally bright nights.

Personally, I've seen the nights with RAID and I love them. They are actually appropriate to the level of light; vanilla and many mods are just too bright at night. So you will need a torch on a cloudy night! I'll have some shots up later.

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2 hours ago, TechAngel85 said:

Personally, I've seen the nights with RAID and I love them. They are actually appropriate to the level of light; vanilla and many mods are just too bright at night. So you will need a torch on a cloudy night! I'll have some shots up later.

I agree. Nights are way too bright with CW IMO

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Dealing with weathers in my map mod, I have a much keener appreciation for these kinds of compares.

SkyrimClearTU

Daytime Vanilla - I like the distant blue fog far. Cathedral has good clouds. RAID is a little too saturated and comparatively is lacking cloud details.

Night Vanilla is vanilla. Very blue nights. Cathedral has best night here for details, but there is some "sunlight" that should be lessoned. RAID might be too dark.

SkyrimOvercastRainTU

Daytime Vanilla is very foggy and cloudy with little details and low saturation. Cathedral emphasizes distant fogs and cloudiness, while nearby is too clear. RAID uses a nice imagespace DOF effect to make it seem foggy but forgets that the distant details should have fog too and is missing much by way of cloud details.

Night Vanilla is too bright. Cathedral Aurora is questionable for a cloudy, rainy weather. RAID is just black, can't really see anything much to tell.

SkyrimClearSN

Daytime Vanilla is too green and horizon is terrible. Cathedral handles horizon decently, has great clouds, and nice blue tones. RAID does a great job with the horizon, better on the clouds here than previous, but suffers from the vanilla green DALC still. This green makes the trees look bad.


I could continue on for all the compares, but I will summarize as I am mostly repeating myself now. Vanilla bad mostly. Cathedral has great colors, great clouds, good horizon, but doesn't have the best nights. RAID has some great ideas some places, but can sometimes not do well with cloud details and colors. Nights are very dark. I can't really comment on pitch black details, and I should think there could be more details even if it is very dark in some cases by good use of DALC and other things. Nights are one of the hardest aspect of weathers IMHO. Day details are easy. Actually, dawn and dusk are hardest to get right, IME, as you have to navigate the change from night to dark.

I feel Cathedral still wins these compares. However, I do believe that as people get to use some of the advanced tools in development which allows for in-game weather creation that we will soon get even more high quality weather mods. TrueDraconis posts compares in one of the Discords I'm on that are extremely impressive.

 

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I would say, overall, RAID is a more true "enhancement" to vanilla. You can see this in the tints that are maintained (DY's green). Cathedral is great, but is more of a deviation vs RAID. I particularly like RAID's Dragonborn weathers. Cathedral is just straight monotone here while the brown tint looks better, imo, from RAID. Cathedral, overall, is more blue-shifted (by default...this can be changed in the settings) and clearer...clearer because it generally pushes the near fog out away from the player.

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Very nice comparison shots, thanks.

As an alternative to Luminosity and to provide darker interiors, I've been using Ambiance - A Vanilla(plus) Ambient Lighting Overhaul (by TheMilesO). It only modifies ambient lighting templates to make interiors a bit darker or much darker depending on the environment (e.g. cave vs. farmhouse vs. palace). It also tweaks interior fogs to make them less opaque and less bright. Everything else remains untouched and vanilla. There is an optional plugin which I'm using too, to make lights a little warmer than vanilla, but not as orange as Luminosity. This mod is rated well for stealth balance by RAID's MA (bottom of chart).

It works well in combination with Relighting Skyrim since they do different things, except when they don't. For instance, RLS removes some ambient lighting in the Thalmor HQ in Solitude, which makes it as dark as a cave with Ambiance.

There are some caveats though: the MA seems to be MIA and the mod is not maintained. So if updates are needed for AE CC content for example they won't be coming anytime soon. Also its user base is tiny, compared to more popular lighting mods (probably because it's not flashy enough). So there are no compatibility patches for new interiors added by CRF for instance or by other mods. It's easy enough to replicate the template changes in a custom patch by oneself if desired.

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I have to agree with both Tech's and DY's assessments. I don't mind the darker nights in RAID and like nights the best with this one. What bothers me is the lack of sky detail and color variation in RAID and the green shift. It also does not have enough fog volume in closer distance in foggy weather. I prefer the blue shift of CW, which I think is more realistic. I agree that RAID is the best vanilla enhancement though.

But I think the detection balance of RAID may make this mod worth it. I suspect that the MA will improve upon the visuals over time with user feedback and XP. I will be keenly interested in any forthcoming updates.

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@z929669, @DoubleYou
I would encourage to try in-game. There is actually some cloud detail...much of that shot was just timing/angle. Though RAID is a bit less "contrasty" vs CW, overall. Here are a couple shots at different angles:
SkyrimOvercastRainTU
StepSkyrimSE322.png StepSkyrimSE321.png

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