Sunday, September 24, 2006

mod site finished

I finally finished working on my new web site. Yay!

This blog site isn't going away. The two sites compliment each other pretty well, I think.

dev/akm mods

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mod Site Under Construction

I'm finally getting around to creating a web site dedicated to my Oblivion mods (now that I actually have enough of them to make it worth doing a separate site).

It's still under construction, but it's looking pretty good so far:

dev/akm mods

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mod: Qarl's Normal Maps Reduced

My latest mod is a texture replacement that acts as an unofficial option pack for Qarl's Texture Pack 2 (QTP2). QTP2 is an amazing high-res texture replacer for Oblivion, but the textures are so large that it can cause some stuttering on 256Mb video cards. So, I have attempted to improve performance of QTP2 on mid-range video cards without sacrificing the quality of his great textures. I do this by replacing all of the high-res normal maps from QTP2 with dramatically smaller normal maps. None of the color maps are altered. The normal maps are reduced to one quarter of their original size, which can significantly help reduce stuttering on 256Mb video cards with almost no loss of quality that you can see in-game.

Here's some screenshots of the reduced normal maps compared to Qarl's originals:

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The difference is only really noticeable when you are very close up to some objects (you can see it if you look very closely at the shot of the large rock outside Chorral), but as soon as you get more than a few feet away there's no difference at all. Even when you are very close, some objects seem virtually unchanged, at least to my eye.

Where there were previously 300Mb worth of normal maps in QTP2, they are reduced here to only 75Mb uncompressed. In my limited testing, this resulted in a significant reduction in stuttering and increased performance (around +3-5 FPS, maybe more in heavily bogged areas) with almost no noticeable loss of in-game quality in the images.

This mod was created using Qarl's original normal maps and MrWiseman's excellent texture reduction script. MrWiseman's python script chews through texture subdirectories and invokes Nvidia's command-line DDS tools to strip off the top layer of each DDS file it finds, leaving the first mipmap as the new top layer.

All the credit for this work goes to Qarl for the textures and MrWiseman for the scripts. My contribution here was extremely limited.

You can download the mod from TESSource.