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Landscape LOD Generation with TES4LL and MPGUI


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This is a guide to generate the distant land LOD with MPGUI and TES4LL. TES4LL generates the LOD based on the landscape contours and textures.

  1. Download TES4LL and install it into your Data folder.

  2. Download and install MPGUI into any folder of your choice. I like to create a folder called Oblivion Utilities and install it there.

  3. There is a mod called Land Magic which claims to fix landscape tears. I haven't found it useful, but run it now if you would like to give it a try.

  4. Run MPGUI. It uses batch files to save your settings for various installations and mods. To start, click File -> Open Batch then navigate to your Oblivion install. Open tes4ll_all.mpb from Data\ini\tes4ll. Click Options -> Choose Mod Path and point it to your install. It should auto-detect as Oblivion.

    Click File -> Save Batch and save the file to a convenient location, like the MPGUI installation folder. At this point, I name the batch file as Basic Oblivion.

  5. Select the Plugins tab and click Plugins.txt to select your active mods. Select the Worldspace tab and click Read Worldspaces to load the worldspaces from your mod list. Tamriel will be automatically selected. You will select the worldspace from this screen to generate the landscape LOD for each worldspace in your mod list. Each worldspace needs to be generated independently but if you want the same settings you can just select the worldspace then click Click me if you are ready from the Start Process tab. However we need to configure the settings first.

  6. Click on each tab to configure the settings, starting with LOD Meshes.

  • LOD Meshes:

  • Make LOD Meshes: yes

  • Check all boxes under Options for vertices placement:

    • Enable peak finder algorithm, Enable cell boundary wall remover, Enable contour algorithm for coasts, Use Tamriel data files and Use Tamriel panorama points.

  • Resolution: select High. Low resolution has about the same performance impact as normal so this is definitely the setting for devices that can't spare any more FPS/VRAM. Medium resolution provides a distinct increase to LOD land detail but essentially doesn't affect modern graphics cards. High resolution might not even have an FPS hit on good GPUs and really, only people with less than 1gb VRAM should consider not using this option.

  • Select Use shapes instead of strips.

  • Select Use small world setup if enabled. This is only available if the worldspace was defined as a small world, so select the option if it's enabled.

  • Normal Maps:

    • Make normal maps: Yes

    • Resolution: 1024x1024 works fine. If your graphics card can't handle the load, 512x512 still gives you shadows, so you'll still see some improvement.

    • Fake Shadows: Yes. This is one of the main reasons we're using TES4LL.

  • Color Maps:

    • Regenerate texture cache: yes. This grabs any terrain texture changes you may have installed.

    • Make color maps: yes. TES4qLOD used to be a separate program, but now it's built-in.

    • Resolution: 1024x1024 is fine. If you have a high resolution monitor, you may want to select one of the higher resolutions.

    • Use layer blending: yes.

    • Create full map: no. I don't know what this option does and have to check it out. I believe that it only creates a world map and doesn't generate the LOD.

    • Silent TES4qLOD: no. Leave deselected to monitor the progress.

    • Apply rocky filter: yes. I keep the default values as I don't see much difference. There are a couple of pictures of the different settings on the Nexus page for TES4LL.

    • Apply color filters: no. I leave this deselected as I'm not sure what it does.

  • Start Process:

    • Overwrite the original files: Yes, but backup the files first as suggested in the TES4LL readme. Backup Data\meshes\landscape\lod and Data\textures\landscapelod\generated.

    • Use the new naming scheme of EngineBugFixes: If you have EBF installed, you can select this. It works fine. Even though I use EBF, I usually don't bother.

    • Use 16 bit derivative matrices: no. It reduces the resolution of the LOD mesh, so you can enable if needed.

    • Minimum height: unknown

    • Write heightmap as a 32-bit bmp file: yes. Once again, disable if your graphics card seems to struggle.

    • Tool options: leave at default value

  1. Save the batch file to preserve your settings.

  2. Click me if you are ready. Seriously, Start would work just fine. Start generating the LOD.

  3. Go back to the Worldspace tab and select the next worldspace if you would like to generate LOD for it. Don't forget to select Use small world setup if the worldspace was defined as a small world. You can load the mod in the CS to see how the worldspace was defined (World -> Worldspaces. Small world is a checkbox near the bottom of the window).

Other Worldspaces

In general, your Oblivion batch file will suffice for all the mods in your load order. You may have to select Small World for some worldspaces. I have other batch files to generate the LOD for specific mods, like Argonia. I do this so I can grab the LOD files and include them with the mod so people don't have to generate the LOD.

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