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Water Mod Comparison


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Probably wanting to get destroyed by the blunt opinions here, I thought today: "I wonder if there is an updated comparison video of the water mods'?" Well there was one from April apparently. I mostly wanted to see if Laast made some changes with Purity, but it doesn't look like it. I'm not a big fan of the ocean water looking like pond water in that mod personally. As you may or may not know, I updated my mod in February, and actually tried putting some effort into WATER. It became quite a monster of previous edits from isoku with the effects I always focused on. I finally found time to do it and coupled with some simplified noise normals, I think I did okay (okay in the sense I think my rivers look like GTA: V's at least). Obviously though RWT has some lovely world edits I couldn't match, so had to find an inbetween.


By the way, my suggestion still stands about looking at the textures for all 3 of these mods'. I know that suggestion won't happen, but that RWT stream 'fix' mod is a reminder of that. I know a lot of people preferred that even if Ewi65 stole it from somewhere. lol


Thanks guys.

Edited by Guest
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So, are you asking for people to make compares?

I never used W.A.T.E.R. because RWT2 always offered ENBs water parallax/displacement version.

What is the difference? I have no idea but I like what ENB does to the water.


Water(aqua) has always looked off in skyrim. I never really found one I liked, I just settled with RWT2 because the reason above.


As for the campares, if that is what you want, someone from STEP and SRLE should post make them, it'll likely be Tech and Neo.

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I don't think I asked for that no. My texture suggestion was again, a suggestion (which Tech already knows about, but it's been 6 months or more). I was just posting the video as it seems like the latest comparison. As I said, I was mainly looking to see how Laast had got on.  If you don't find it interesting then fine I guess.


WATER has parallax and has since it was added to ENB, although I have since only applied it to ocean water.

Edited by Guest
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Well that stream mod did remind me as I totally forgot. As I said before, maybe don't look at the mods' fully, but merely things like splash textures or foam. Not to mention some of them have things the other ones don't.


Anyway, just sharing. It actually shows I am pretty open to opinions by sharing this myself. You wouldn't see many people post something if it might impose critisism. Thanks again.

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I was playing with Pure Water and Realistic Water 2. Comparing them to Vanilla. FPS performance is similar.

Mod                                Frames     Time (ms)     Min     Max     Avg

Realist Water 2(RW2)       5571        120000         44      48       46.4  With DynDoLod

Pure Water(PW)               4788        120000         28      43       39.9  No DynDoLod

Vanilla Water(VW)            5052        120000         34      45       42.1  No DynDoLod

Realist Water 2(RW2)       4391        120000         29      39       36.6  With NO DynDoLod

Realist Water 2(RW2) #2  5570        120000         44      48       46.4  With DynDoLod


(Hope I got the permissions right. Let me know if I did not)


I took the second sample because I am paranoid. 


My interest in this was a performance thing. Looking for places were FPS were lost.

I then went for a swim. All three states treat swimming a bit differently. There are two conditions. Walking and running.


If you walk all three are very similar. You can barely make any headway. In fact with RW2 you make none. Most realistic. PW and RW you make a little. I think the flow rate under the bridge near Riverwood, would realistically make swimming difficult.


On the other hand if you switch to run then well, you go like  a salmon for RW2, A slow salmon for PW and VW.

Not sure how an Argonians would do. I'll have to make one for fun and see.

As soon as you can stand you can walk/run at whatever speed you normally would. Guess it's asking a bit much for them to simulate trying to run/walk in fast moving water at anything over ankle depth. 


As for preferences. VW the surfaces moves funny. PW things look ok. RW2 I am undecided on. The waterfalls outflow looks best in RW2. Looks funny in PW. VW it looks like it's flowing upstream.


Hope this is useful.


How hard would it be to make a mod that switches to a walking state as soon as you start to swim?
That would make going for a swim a challenge. No for chasing salmon. Well except maybe for the Argonians .. and the Kajit because their cats and cats like fish. :)


Did a comparison of different version of Skyrim Floral Overhaul. If anyone is interested. Really only outstanding thing there is that the latest release make the trees flap at a rather alarming rate. Fps is as would be expected basic the quickest regular a bit slower and the newest realest the slowest.


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The DynDoLod numbers were interesting. It's well worth adding. Even with all the niggly bits that it takes to do. After 4 or 5 times I think I have it down. The process not the mechanics. Just a little be of Voodoo involved.



Oh forgot. Recordings were made with FRAPS. I only have the demo version. Size is 60 FPS half size. Think ill have to scrape together 40$ and get the full release. It's very easy to use. With a few macro's in a spreadsheet you can crank out the numbers.


Hopefully, I will post my STEP Core, Extended set of benchmarks. I have all the numbers. Just need to figure out the best way to post them. A summary and a pointer to the details and I guess a download of the raw numbers for anyone interested.


Would anyone be interested in this? I'm using it to decide if parts of core won't make my play thru. With the DynDoLod numbers I may just forgo this and use STEP Extended for a play thru.

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Whatever water mod you end up choosing, you should try Purity's waterfalls! I stripped down that esp file so it only contains the waterfall edits (delete all Weather/Imagespace/Region stuff, keep worldspace waterfall edits) and let RW2 take care of all other water (hide all of Purity's non-waterfall related files in MO and forward some RW2 records in TES5Edit). Perhaps you can also make it work with WATER. By default PW is integrated in Purity. With DynDOLOD taking care of the distant waterfalls it looks stunning!

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Personnal opinion on those 3 water mods : 


- Pure Waters : The water is still, very transparent, and the color less "fantasy" than the other two (probably due to transparency)


- WATER : Have the lowest transparency of the three, depending on the scene, it can sometime lead to the water looking a bit fake (not as much as the vanilla one ofc :P). More realistic water flow than PW.


- RWT : Aside world edits, the feel is similar to WATER, but with more transparency (not as much as PW), which help a lot avoiding the "can look a bit fake" effect.



It's far from exaustive or objective ofc, just my percetion between the three. As an exemple, Pretendeavor's post above raise a point I never actually noticed until now (and thus will have to strip out Purity to check this out  ::P: ).


To me purity is only better for the marsh, everywhere else it's not as realistic as WATER/RWT because of water flow imo.



Side note since OP is PidgeyPrince and will most likely try to understand what I'm talking about with this "can look a bit fake because of transparency" thing : The third comparison in the vid show an area where I got this feeling with WATER and not with the other two. (The pond in the volcanic area). If not for the sun reflection, the water plane look a bit too "solid" imho.

Edited by Kesta
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I used to have WATER installed a long time ago and things may have changed since then, but when STEP switched to RW2 I had noticed a definite improvement to visual appearance in the way that a lot of water surfaces around the game world looked - the blending of the surfaces looked much smoother.  That was a while ago though, and I don't know how WATER has changed since then.  I have also tried Purity.  I use part of Purity in my installation currently, but not the water part.  I forget what it was about Purity but something about the water I thought did not look as good as RW2.  I think I wrote about this in another thread... I'll edit this message with that info when I find it.


EDIT: I found my other posts, but I in them I never mentioned why I chose to strip out the water portion of Pure Water.  I think the main reason may have been because RW2 plugin edits were integrated into the STEP Patches and it would have been more of a pain in the a$$ to edit it than I felt it was worth so I decided to just stick with RW2 for that reason.

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RW2 for me was a "must have" after I saw a video showing the water at Riften.  Seeing little waves and ripples in the lake while the waters remain calm inside the water-gates was a huge seller for me.


Comparing them all against the vanilla waters it's pretty obvious that these mods have succeeded tremendously.  Outside of getting really ambitious and mixing/matching them to your own tastes, I guess it really comes down to personal preference, doesn't it?


Echo451 has given us another useful data set to consider for those wrestling with teasing out a couple extra fps!

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  • 2 months later...

I'm a water person. I've lived on the shores of three oceans, on two major rivers and once on hawaii. I love the water and I love water mods. I spent a ridiculous amount of time comparing them and I know I can tell you guys that without seeming crazy because you get it, ha. I think it's interesting how everyone has their favorites that they think looks the most realistic, goes to show how subjective some things can be. I'm waiting for the water mod that combines all the others and somehow cycles through the different looks of the different mods depending on the weather, time of day, etc. So maybe on a windy afternoon in Riften you get RW2 water, and on a still morning in Riften you get Pure Waters. Dreaming, I know :)


Since I had to choose one, I chose Pure Water + Waterfalls. RW2 was too reflective to me in some places and the lakewater was too choppy almost like a large bay rather than a mountain lake. WATER I haven't tried in a while but when I did I remember thinking that the way the water moved bothered me somehow, seemed off. I feel the same when I look at the video linked in the OP. It's funny because that's the exact opposite someone else posted in this thread; they didn't like the flow of PW and preferred WATER. It's good we have so many choices to reflect personal opinion. Just my 0.02, I'd love to see a TechAngel85 compare.

Edited by aaltair
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