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> Extreme Low Res Graphics Pack (BETA)

brash
post Nov 27 2004, 04:02 PM
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EDIT: I have since redone all of the files COMPLETELY from scratch, and I think as a result the reduction in quality is less noticeable than in the first version. I'll leave this original version up in case anyone wants to try them instead, but otherwise please download the versions at this link INSTEAD as I think this version LOOKS better:

http://morrowind4kids.com/mw4kfiles/LowFatMorrowind/

There is now also a separate "reduced quality audio" pack as well as a graphics pack.




===== original post below =============

This experiment flies in the opposite direction of most graphics packs -- instead of adding improved detail, it pushes the limits of low resolution in hopes of finding relief for people whose hardware struggles with FPS and the Morrowind engine. Some people use one of my previous works, Fantasy Color Morrowind, not because they like the colors but for the FPS relief it brings. This pack might interest them as it uses original Bethesda colorations, it is NOT brightly colored like FCM, and also goes *MUCH* further in reducing file sizes. So anyone who saw improvement in FCM, should see even more dramatic improvement here. It might eventually evolve into a "Fantasy Colors II" revision, but for now it uses standard Bethesda images, severely reduced in size.

Almost 3000 graphics have been reduced by about 75% in file size, perhaps making this the biggest-yet-smallest graphics pack out there. About 80 megs of textures have been slashed to a barebones 12 megs (there are about a thousand images I did NOT change, either because they were already tiny to start, or involved NPC faces that couldn't tolerate any additional quality loss). For an example in the general LOSS of quality you'd receive, compare the original Bethesda texture at left with the new LowRes version at right:

http://morrowind4kids.com/mw4kfiles/brash/CompareRes.jpg

I still need to "tweak" it some -- there are a few graphics that are unacceptably poor now (the armor chestpieces in particular are exquisitely bad and need to be reverted; for now you can just delete those images from the folder maybe), and others I could squeeze a few more bytes out of, but what I'd like is to find out whether it at all comes close to a reasonable tradeoff in "playability vs eye-candy".

Does it improve FPS enough to justify a loss in visual quality? If it does, I'll keep working on it. If anyone is interested in helping me test this, the download is here:

http://morrowind4kids.com/mw4kfiles/brash/MicroGrafix.exe

About 8 megs compressed, which for 3000 images is pretty dang small smile.gif My suggestion in testing (and the only thing close to a "readMe" so far):
    1) Uncheck all of your current mods except the Main game itself, no expansions. You can run them again later but I want to test as close as possible to a "vanilla" install.

    2) Rename your current Textures subfolder to "TexturesGOOD" (or any other rename).

    3) Test what your current FPS is in different areas of the game. (Since you have no Textures folder yet, you'll be running entirely off the Bethesda BSA file at this stage).

    4) Next, doubleclick the downloaded file and let it extract to your Data Files and it will create a new Textures folder.

    5) Retest using the low-resolution graphics, and see if FPS improvement is enough to justify the lesser image quality. If you decide to keep it, delete the new textures folder, rename TexturesGOOD back and then reextract the files once again. Otherwise, just delete the new folder and rename your old one back.

    6) Finally, retest it a final time with all of your normal mods checked again, for a "heavy load" test.
Before I put more work into fine tuning this, I want to make sure the results are not SO "yukky" that no one would use it even if they got fantastic framerates. If you do report back, try to let me know your hardware specs (cpu/ram/graphics) and your FPS before-and-after. If you have no FPS improvement at all, I need to know that also. I also need to know if anyone runs into issues with spell effects, combat effects, etc.

I am considering also playing with a similar side package "optimizing" (ie reducing quality) of sound files to see if that also has an impact.

Haven't yet figured out a name for the project though these are the ones I am considering:

Low-Fat Morrowind
MicroGrafix
Budget Landscapes
The Bargain Bin Graphics Pack

If you have a highend machine, don't even bother testing because you WON'T like this, and it likely won't help you.
But if you have a lowend machine, it might give enough improvement to allow people to use some mods they otherwise couldn't (Wilderness 2, Balmora Expansion, etc.) Although you could try running a high-res pack like Visual Pack on top of this, and hope it "evens out", I think the differences between the two would be too distracting to work well.

This post has been edited by brash: Nov 29 2004, 02:40 AM


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chaostheory0907
post Nov 27 2004, 04:05 PM
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hey thats a pretty good idea smile.gif too bad i just upgraded so i could play games with higher resolution


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Mahatma_Dandee
post Nov 27 2004, 04:10 PM
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Cow_Guru
post Nov 27 2004, 04:42 PM
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I like the name "Budget Landscapes". I won't be using this, however - my FPS isn't so bad as to move onto such low-res textures. FCM keeps a decent balance between graphics and playability for me.


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brash
post Nov 27 2004, 05:00 PM
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I forgot to include before, some before-and-after examples:

Ascadian Isles
Balmora
Caldera
Dagon Fel
Ebonheart
Ghostgate
Seyda Neen
Vivec
Wolverine Hall (Sadrith Mora)

I am very curious to get some before-and-after FPS recordings from people with low end machines, even if you don't plan to use this on a regular basis.

Because if the tradeoff is NOT a VERY dramatic one, then it is not really worth doing given the image quality loss.


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pwrslyd
post Nov 27 2004, 05:04 PM
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I like "Low-Fat Morrowind." um....I'm about to download and play, so I'll hit ya back in a bit to give initial test results...

ooh...tel me how to do scrrenshots, that will help me, anybody?

This post has been edited by pwrslyd: Nov 27 2004, 05:05 PM
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littledoggey
post Nov 27 2004, 05:07 PM
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Those screen shots look pretty good brash, this should definetely be helpful and of interest to folks with fps woes. A very nice idea I think. smile.gif


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brash
post Nov 27 2004, 05:10 PM
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QUOTE(pwrslyd @ Nov 27 2004, 03:24 PM)
ooh...tel me how to do scrrenshots, that will help me, anybody?
*


You need to have this line someplace (anyplace) in your Morrowind.ini file:

Screen Shot Enable=1

Then just use the PRNT SCRN key (usually above your Home/End keys) to take shots ingame. You'll want to convert from BMP format to JPG if you can, otherwise BMPs are very large and slow to load.


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thejameslehman
post Nov 27 2004, 05:18 PM
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I like the desciption 'Low-Fat'.

Some of the low-res textures -- at least from a distance -- are much more believable than many high-res textures I've seen, especially concerning the ground. Unexpected; not unwelcome.
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qarl
post Nov 27 2004, 05:19 PM
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Great idea Brash! fing34.gif The only thing that people who aren't geeks like myself might not understand though, is that low fps due to texture size is almost entirely based on your graphics card. Thus if you have a poor 3d card, you may get some much better fps from this pack. However, if you have a good 3D card, whether or not you CPU is fast or not, you'll most likely not see any benifit from this.


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General_Crespin
post Nov 27 2004, 05:22 PM
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Nice idea! I'll definitely try to give it a try this evening! smile.gif


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brash
post Nov 27 2004, 05:27 PM
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QUOTE(qarl @ Nov 27 2004, 03:39 PM)
Great idea Brash! fing34.gif The only thing that people who aren't geeks like myself might not understand though, is that low fps due to texture size is almost entirely based on your graphics card. Thus if you have a poor 3d card, you may get some much better fps from this pack. However, if you have a good 3D card, whether or not you CPU is fast or not, you'll most likely not see any benifit from this.
*



That is pretty much true, as I stated in saying it would have not much appeal for people with good hardware. This is mostly for people with budget machines. I am not sure whether it might also help people with decent cards, but slow cpus and low ram, as it might take some pressure off those. Your cpu DOES have an impact, just not as dramatic.

But perhaps when (if) we get any feedback reports we can see more of a pattern there, with who it helps and who it does not help. It will not help everyone, I know.

However, in most of the before-and-after, you can see improvements even on my 256DDR GeForce 6800GT. Oddly, it is not very consistent, and in the case of a good card, not worth an image quality loss even if you gain 10-15 FPS (as I think I may have gotten in a few of the screenshots, check the lower right corners.)

On mine though, the FPS is constantly cycling very fast through different numbers and what number ends up in the screenshot, depends on which "milisecond" I hit the PRNT screen key.

Probably it is more consistant and dramatic of a change for say a 64MB GeForce MX400, or especially an integrated onboard graphics. Those are the users that this pack is mostly aimed at.

This post has been edited by brash: Nov 27 2004, 05:34 PM


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pwrslyd
post Nov 27 2004, 05:33 PM
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okay, I'll do some more testing but I can usually tell within the first five minutes....

Specs- 1.3 GHz CPU
Intel 82830M Graphics Controller
512 MB DDR

Im running the game at 640x480 res.

BEFORE:
I averaged 14, max 23 FPS indoors
I averaged 11, max 16 FPS out doors

AFTER:
I averaged 15, max 23 FPS indoors
I averaged 13, max 18 outdoors

So, I really didn't notice an FPS change at all, I "coc"ed all over the map and I basically gained only 2 or 3 extra FPS with the new textures...
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brash
post Nov 27 2004, 05:35 PM
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QUOTE(pwrslyd @ Nov 27 2004, 03:53 PM)
BEFORE:
I averaged 14, max 23 FPS indoors
I averaged 11, max 16 FPS out doors

AFTER:
I averaged 15, max 23 FPS indoors
I averaged 13, max 18 outdoors
*


Yes, for you, this hasn't done any good, I agree sad.gif



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pwrslyd
post Nov 27 2004, 05:37 PM
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QUOTE(brash @ Nov 27 2004, 05:55 PM)
Yes, for you, this hasn't done any good, I agree  sad.gif
*




But, on your behalf, if the FPS on a different machine came up maybe 10 or 15, the new textures would definitely be worth it..
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qarl
post Nov 27 2004, 05:44 PM
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QUOTE(brash @ Nov 27 2004, 06:47 PM)
That is pretty much true, as I stated in saying it would have not much appeal for people with good hardware. This is mostly for people with budget machines.  I am not sure whether it might also help people with decent cards, but slow cpus and low ram, as it might take some pressure off those. Your cpu DOES have an impact, just not as dramatic.

But perhaps when (if) we get any feedback reports we can see more of a pattern there, with who it helps and who it does not help. It will not help everyone, I know.

However, in most of the before-and-after, you can see improvements even on my 256DDR GeForce 6800GT. Oddly, it is not very consistent, and in the case of a good card, not worth an image quality loss even if you gain 10-15 FPS (as I think I may have gotten in a few of the screenshots, check the lower right corners.)

On mine though, the FPS is constantly cycling very fast through different numbers and what number ends up in the screenshot, depends on which "milisecond" I hit the PRNT screen key.

Probably it is more consistant and dramatic of a change for say a 64MB GeForce MX400, or especially an integrated onboard graphics. Those are the users that this pack is mostly aimed at.

Yeah the MX versions of the GeForce cards and the poor 3D GPUs on motherboards really take a beating. That's weird though about your 6800GT. On my Radeon 9700 pro with 128MB I experimented by replacing a bunch of the textures with 2048x2048 textures and saw no decrease in fps whatsoever! They didn't really look that much better than 1024x1024 textures though since I think I was pretty much hitting the ceiling as far as how much detail the meshes could resolve. So I didn't keep them on. smile.gif


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Dexo
post Nov 27 2004, 06:59 PM
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My Hardware

Nvidia Geforce 4 Mx

Athlon 2700 CPU

256 MB ram



My FPS with Balmora Expansion Normal Textures


7-9


With low res Textures

10-12


So I got some FPS improvement

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Smitty
post Nov 27 2004, 07:10 PM
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My computer has specs a good deal lower than the Morrowind recommended (500mhz cpu, 192mb Ram) and I get a solid 6-8 fps outdoors, 8-12 indoors. I'll be interested see what happens...

This post has been edited by Smitty: Nov 27 2004, 07:10 PM
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brash
post Nov 27 2004, 08:28 PM
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Thanks Smitty -- if it also doesn't seem to improve anything for a
500mhz cpu, 192mb Ram either, I'll probably just give up then, heh.
Do you happen to know what the video in that computer is?

Let me know how it does, I'll be very interested. Especially running
Morrowind without any other mods enabled.

This post has been edited by brash: Nov 27 2004, 08:30 PM


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UQForgotten
post Nov 27 2004, 08:40 PM
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A very interesting project and a fantastic idea. thumbsup.gif

Certainly nothing that's been done before as not many new mods cater to the lower end users. Good work, brash. fing34.gif

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post Nov 27 2004, 09:00 PM
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QUOTE(UQForgotten @ Nov 27 2004, 10:00 PM)
A very interesting project and a fantastic idea. thumbsup.gif

Certainly nothing that's been done before as not many new mods cater to the lower end users. Good work, brash. fing34.gif

Cheers, UQF
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That's true...you are enabling players to hold onto their machines a little longer...err, until Oblivion comes out anyway. biggrin.gif

I have you textures in my game Brash and I am so pleased with the appearence now...your work with textures is so worthwhile...I LOVE it! Thank you. trophy.gif


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brash
post Nov 27 2004, 09:23 PM
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QUOTE(sunsi @ Nov 27 2004, 07:20 PM)
That's true...you are enabling players to hold onto their machines a little longer...err, until Oblivion comes out anyway. biggrin.gif
*


Well, this is true if it works, so far there is not much evidence that it works except:

1) People reporting that high resolution textures slowed their older computers quite noticeably, and

2) People reported they run FCM (which has low res textures too, but not THIS low) not for the colors but because their game ran much faster.

The math seems to back this up -- each cell holds 16x16 landscape textures, 256 (I counted them all, yay!). For a 1024 pixel x 1024 pixel image, this is 268 million pixels to draw, for just the landscape alone, on every cell, and I think the engine renders 9 cells at a time? But for a 128x128 pixel image, it would be only 4 million pixels to render per cell -- which sounds like a lot less work to me. At least, the math exhausts me less, so I thought it might exhaust the graphics card less too, heh. And then apply that same math to all the rendered textures on all the statics, creatures, etc. Even down to people's toes and silverware.

Since this pack reduces graphics much much more than FCM did, I had hoped to see a bigger impact, maybe 5-10 FPS or even more from all those kajillimllion fewer rendered pixels, but so far it does not sound like that is happening.

Oh well -- experiments usually fail no matter how much a scientist thinks it "should" work in theory. And maybe we will let a few more people help test, for a larger sample, before giving up on it.

*shakes her calculator a few more times, in case it was giving her bad numbers*

An alternative theory (and no I don't understand these things) is that say a 800x600 resolution only renders 480,000 pixels per frame no matter HOW many pixels are stuffed into the images on items, and that maybe all the extra pixels are just thrown away or something.

But this does not seem to match what people report in their gameplay, nor why all the online games use itty bitty textures to keep lag down in massive multiplayer games.

So I dunno, we will see what happens I guess.

(lurks in wait for more cheerful little guinea pigs to stroll by ...)

This post has been edited by brash: Nov 27 2004, 09:31 PM


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FofA
post Nov 27 2004, 09:42 PM
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This will probably come in handy for people who have low end graphic cards. To my knowledge, and to what qarl said, the graphic card you have in your computer, not the CPU, is the bottleneck for graphic packs such as these. So I'm sure this will help some people.

But I wonder how crappy the average morrowind users graphic card is?



This post has been edited by FofA: Nov 27 2004, 09:43 PM


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qarl
post Nov 27 2004, 09:47 PM
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QUOTE(brash @ Nov 27 2004, 10:43 PM)
Well, this is true if it works, so far there is not much evidence that it works except:

1) People reporting that high resolution textures slowed their older computers quite noticeably, and

2) People reported they run FCM (which has low res textures too, but not THIS low) not for the colors but because their game ran much faster.

The math seems to back this up -- each cell holds 16x16 landscape textures, 256 (I counted them all, yay!). For a 1024 pixel x 1024 pixel image, this is 268 million pixels to draw, for just the landscape alone, on every cell, and I think the engine renders 9 cells at a time? But for a 128x128 pixel image, it would be only 4 million pixels to render per cell -- which sounds like a lot less work to me. At least, the math exhausts me less, so I thought it might exhaust the graphics card less too, heh.  And then apply that same math to all the rendered textures on all the statics, creatures, etc. Even down to people's toes and silverware.

Since this pack reduces graphics much much more than FCM did, I had hoped to see a bigger impact, maybe 5-10 FPS or even more from all those kajillimllion fewer rendered pixels, but so far it does not sound like that is happening.

Oh well --  experiments usually fail no matter how much a scientist thinks it "should" work in theory. And maybe we will let a few more people help test, for a larger sample, before giving up on it.

*shakes her calculator a few more times, in case it was giving her bad numbers*

An alternative theory (and no I don't understand these things) is that say a 800x600 resolution only renders 480,000 pixels per frame no matter HOW many pixels are stuffed into the images on items, and that maybe all the extra pixels are just thrown away or something.

But this does not seem to match what people report in their gameplay, nor why all the online games use itty bitty textures to keep lag down in massive multiplayer games.

So I dunno, we will see what happens I guess.

(lurks in wait for more cheerful little guinea pigs to stroll by ...)

The thing is, your graphics card never draws more pixels on the screen than what your resolution is set at. So if you have your resolution set at 800x600 that's 480,000 pixels, or 1024x768 = 786,432 pixels. What matters to your graphics card is that it has to load each of the full textures into its memory, so if you have a 1024x1024 pixel, 32bit color texture it's roughly about 683KB for that single texture it needs to load into its graphics memory. Then multiply that by how many textures are being drawn on the screen at one time. so usually 64MB cards may have some difficulty storing all those textures if their all as big as 1024x1024, but 128MB cards can store all that with no problem. However the other factor is how fast the memory is and fat the pipeline between the GPU and the memory is. Even if the card can hold all them textures at once, if it has a narrow pipeline and/or slow memory it takes more fps to render the images -which is what I suspect is happening with the MX version of Geforce cards. Anyway, that's just my theory, picked up by my very limited understanding of the reading I've done on how graphics cards render 3D graphics in games. Feel free to pick it apart. smile.gif


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brash
post Nov 27 2004, 09:51 PM
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QUOTE(FofA @ Nov 27 2004, 08:02 PM)
But I wonder how crappy the average morrowind users graphic card is?
*


I have no idea, before I got my shiny new graphics card (hugs it happily) I used a 128MB Radeon 8500, before that a 64MB GeForce MX400, and before that, I used integrated graphics on the motherboard, to play Morrowind.

Some people do silly things like buy cars or clothes or even food, instead of spending it on thier computers like they should, so maybe a lot of them still have these MX400's and onboard graphics, perhaps we should run a poll.



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General_Crespin
post Nov 27 2004, 09:55 PM
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2 GHz P4, 256MB RAM, 64MB GF4 Ti 4200
EDIT: Morrowind running at 1152x864, view distance set between three-quarters and full. I do run the MW FPS Optimizer but the only options enabled are "optimize AI Distance when View Distance is low", "accelerate mouse pointer/wheel in menus", "improve haggle sum increase/decrease speed", "smooth N-PATCH some game world objects' geometry", "enhance indoor lightning model". For what it's worth.

I installed and played for an hour+, I was only in Vivec (interior of canons and running around outside) but there was a few FPS improvement. The real test will come in Balmora- I'll post what happens. wink.gif

I do have FPS showing enabled, but I'm too lazy to compare before-and-after, especially if I could be playing Morrowind instead. biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by General_Crespin: Nov 27 2004, 09:57 PM


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brash
post Nov 27 2004, 10:01 PM
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QUOTE(General_Crespin @ Nov 27 2004, 08:15 PM)
2 GHz P4, 256MB RAM, 64MB GF4 Ti 4200

I installed and played for an hour+, I was only in Vivec (interior of canons and running around outside) but there was a few FPS improvement. The real test will come in Balmora- I'll post what happens. ;)

I do have FPS showing enabled, but I'm too lazy to compare before-and-after, especially if I could be playing Morrowind instead. biggrin.gif
*


Yes, I think too many people pay too much attention to what the little number on the corner of the screen tells them, as if it some kind of a grade on whether they "pass", when all that really counts is how it FEELS. But that is the only ruler we can measure by, especially when we are doing SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS smile.gif

Thanks, and let me know how Balmora feels to you. I was hoping for more than just 2-3 FPS gain, but I guess for those people who run at 10 FPS or so, like the earlier posts, a 30% improvement is actually pretty good.

This post has been edited by brash: Nov 27 2004, 10:02 PM


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post Nov 27 2004, 10:03 PM
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With FPS, like UT2004 or now D3 or HL2, over 30 fps is must, 45 or more is the best.

But with morrowind, anything over or around 15 is suitable for playing the game. It won't even get stuttering at that framerate. You don't need the lightening fast reflexes for combat.


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post Nov 27 2004, 10:13 PM
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i really like the way those textures look, the whole smootheness thing is awesome. If you were to blur or smoothe the textures as a full on texture replacer that would be cool to try. I seriously think those textures look better than the ones of seen far away.


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post Nov 27 2004, 10:35 PM
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QUOTE(qarl @ Nov 27 2004, 08:07 PM)
so if you have a 1024x1024 pixel, 32bit color texture it's roughly about 683KB for that single texture
*

For some reason a lot of people here save in DXT3 format even when they use no alpha, I am not sure why except it is maybe one less button to click at the end, or because that's usually the default and seems a "safer" setting, but with DXT3 at 1024x1024 is 1,366 kilobytes, while most of the landscape images in this pack are only 11 kilobytes so a lot less. I think the Bethesda originals were 43k.

I am also not sure how long the video card holds this data for, even 64megs or 128megs will eventually "fill up" -- I assume till something else pushes it out? So it would seem large files are pushing each other in and out of the memory more often, maybe. And, the polygons on a mesh are not influenced by the memory of a card that renders them, only the actual graphics? Although that still sounds like if you travel through/past a lot of cells, cross country, you would have much worse FPS than if you walked around just in one cell? Though that doesn't seem to work like that, for me ..

Anyway you seem to say that anyone with larger than 64MB of graphics memory would never use it all anyway no matter how big or small the ingame images are, whether they are 11kilobytes or 1366kilobytes or even 5462kilobytes (thats a 2048x2048 at DXT3), in which case there must be a lot of people out there with these older cards since I hear people talking about "fps hits" from graphics enhancers.

Oh well, one more option at least for people to try in the War For Performance smile.gif and science experiments at least are always useful things in and of themselves anyway.



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post Nov 27 2004, 10:40 PM
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QUOTE(bl4k3 @ Nov 27 2004, 08:33 PM)
i really like the way those textures look, the whole smootheness thing is awesome. If you were to blur or smoothe the textures as a full on texture replacer that would be cool to try. I seriously think those textures look better than the ones of seen far away.
*


Thank you!

Yes they are very nice at a distance, though I must admit that when you walk right up close to them, they are not quite as pretty as they look in a screenshot mellow.gif and in a few cases there are some truly ugly ones in there I need to pull and redo yet, such as the imperial legion guard chestpiece, which looked ok in PSP but turned out very ick-ick when you actually put it on the chest of an imperial legion guard.

Also it turns out some of the images got double-shrunk more than I intended (that cuirass was one) so I have to go weed out all of those and redo those ones.

But, if it does not REALLY save anyone any fps at all to run smaller images, which seems the case so far, then it is maybe not worth all that extra work.


This post has been edited by brash: Nov 27 2004, 10:49 PM


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post Nov 27 2004, 11:11 PM
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QUOTE(brash @ Nov 27 2004, 11:55 PM)
For some reason a lot of people here save in DXT3 format even when they use no alpha, I am not sure why except it is maybe one less button to click at the end, or because that's usually the default and seems a "safer" setting, but with DXT3 at 1024x1024 is 1,366 kilobytes, while most of the landscape images in this pack are only 11 kilobytes so a lot less. I think the Bethesda originals were 43k.

I am also not sure how long the video card holds this data for, even 64megs or 128megs will eventually "fill up" -- I assume till something else pushes it out? So it would seem large files are pushing each other in and out of the memory more often, maybe. And, the polygons on a mesh are not influenced by the memory of a card that renders them, only the actual graphics? Although that still sounds like if you travel through/past a lot of cells, cross country, you would have much worse FPS than if you walked around just in one cell? Though that doesn't seem to work like that, for me ..

Anyway you seem to say that anyone with larger than 64MB of graphics memory would never use it all anyway no matter how big or small the ingame images are, whether they are 11kilobytes or 1366kilobytes or even 5462kilobytes (thats a 2048x2048 at DXT3),  in which case there must be a lot of people out there with these older cards since I hear people talking about "fps hits" from graphics enhancers.

Oh well, one more option at least for people to try in the War For Performance  smile.gif and science experiments at least are always useful things in and of themselves anyway.

Yes defintely this whole experiment whether it succeeds or fails is worthwhile -and even if it only helps out a few people that's good too.

I believe you're correct about the memory holding the textures in a FIFO (First In First Out) queue.

And yes, I wish people wouldn't save files as DX3s if there's no need for an alpha channel! smile.gif On the other hand, some things like faces and clothing I've been saving as uncompressed TGA files because they look better than their lossy-compressed DDS counterparts. But that REALLY makes the file size big. But I usually tend toward the high-end graphics so people with the expensive hardware can take advantage of it while those without have the option to dial down the view settings, disable AA or AF, etc. But going the other way as you're doing with low-resolution images is good too. (for those foolish people spending their money on cars and food and stuff. wink.gif)


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post Nov 27 2004, 11:59 PM
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QUOTE(brash @ Nov 27 2004, 07:21 PM)
I was hoping for more than just 2-3 FPS gain
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Yes, but just wait till you combine this with your upcoming down-sized audio files. Those two running together will get people's systems humming for sure.


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post Nov 28 2004, 01:18 AM
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YAY! lower quality!!!!!! this is what ive always wanted!!!!!!!
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post Nov 28 2004, 02:37 AM
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Heh, when Pseron first read your thread out loud to me, I assumed it was sarcasm, as in "yay, worse graphics, sure we ALL want that!" But then I saw your other posts hunting down "un-mods" and fps optimizers, and realized you were both sincere and pleased to find such a thing.

Please report back so we discover whether lowering image file sizes and resolutions indeed helps or not, this is turning out to be a learning exercise for us as well so most helpful to know how people fare. Include your cpu/ram and most especially the graphics card if you know that info, and whether you actually saw any improvement in FPS or if it stayed about the same.


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post Nov 28 2004, 03:38 AM
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QUOTE(Pseron Wyrd @ Nov 28 2004, 12:19 AM)
Yes, but just wait till you combine this with your upcoming down-sized audio files.  Those two running together will get people's systems humming for sure.
*




oh, no freekin' joke....if you make low-carb audio files, I will download those even if i don't get any noticeable benefits. I usually have the sound down really low anyway, so this would have to help in some way...
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post Nov 28 2004, 04:29 AM
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Brash I Think This Is a Great Thing You Did I Love Mods And This is one of the best as far as making the game run better for the people, which there are a lot of that cant afford a very high end computer but wanna run this good enough to play.
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post Nov 28 2004, 06:55 AM
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Well, the replaced textures made quite a difference. Outside I get fps around 9-15. Inside my fps went up a lot, (and more consistently than outside) to about 25-30. Gonna load my mods back on and see what happens.

Balmora was a serious slideshow before, with these textures (and no mods) I get a decent 8-10 fps.

Incedentally, graphics card is Geforce4 mx440 pci. 64mb I think, maybe 128. Cpu is 500 mhz, 190mb crap ram.

Aesthetically it didn't make that big a difference to me. You only really notice when you get up close. This with a slimmed-down sounds package will be a godsend to us low-end-comp people.

This post has been edited by Smitty: Nov 28 2004, 11:05 AM
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post Nov 28 2004, 12:36 PM
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Well, that is great news because I was afraid it was looking like smaller files actually made little difference even on 64MB cards.

I think a final version will look much better because it turns out a few of the files got "double-crunched", reduced twice when I did not mean to. So I will go through now and fix those ones if these really help anyone's fps.

On the sound files, I am not really sure yet if-or-how they will help; I've always been intrigued with doing "minimalist" setups though and experimenting on reducing the file sizes. When I did "reduced sound files" (both WAV and MP3) before on another project, they sounded ok to me on my older computers (which either use onboard sound or an addin c-media card), but I could really hear the loss of quality on my new computer, which has a better card. So they would be separate download for people to try or not, as they want.


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post Nov 28 2004, 02:12 PM
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I hope this works, especially as my computer has one of those carpy integrated graphics cards and I'm scheduled for an upgrade in 2010 or so...

A dumb question here, what's the console command for showing what your fps is in the corner of the screen? Or do you have to do something with morrowind.ini?

This post has been edited by Pester: Nov 28 2004, 02:56 PM
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post Nov 28 2004, 03:23 PM
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QUOTE(Pester @ Nov 28 2004, 03:32 PM)
I hope this works, especially as my computer has one of those carpy integrated graphics cards and I'm scheduled for an upgrade in 2010 or so...

A dumb question here, what's the console command for showing what your fps is in the corner of the screen? Or do you have to do something with morrowind.ini?
*




Check in Morrowind.ini. You'll need to change an accurately named variable (something like 'showfps') from zero to one. It's near the top of the text file; you'll be able to figure it out.
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post Nov 28 2004, 08:52 PM
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Yes, just look for this line in your morroind.ini, make sure it ends in a ONE ("yes")

Show FPS=1

Hmm, I have never tried using the console, I am not sure it can be done that way but it would be useful if it could (I generally don't think you need the FPS counter on unless you are specifically checking for issues).


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post Nov 28 2004, 09:40 PM
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This seems like a great concept to me. My system REALLY feels the strain when I am running more than a few mods.

If this spares even a few fps, it will be an improvement for me.
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post Nov 29 2004, 02:43 AM
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I also edited the original post with the following NEW information:

I have since redone all of the files COMPLETELY from scratch, and I think as a result the reduction in quality is less noticeable than in the first version. I'll leave this original version up in case anyone wants to try them instead, but otherwise please download the versions at this link INSTEAD as I think this version LOOKS better:

http://morrowind4kids.com/mw4kfiles/LowFatMorrowind/

There is now also a separate "reduced quality audio" (sounds) pack as well as a graphics pack.


Again this is an EXPERIMENTAL mod and I sure would like to hear back from people, if they see NO change, only a tiny bit of change, or more substantial change. Also what their hardware setup is (cpu/ram/video). Each pack is about 10 MB, which I know is a pain if you are on dialup.

ADDED: If you get funky looking clouds, simply delete the file Tx_Sky_Cloudy.dds from your textures folder and all should look fine again. That file was accidently saved at DXT1 (1-bit alpha) instead of DXT3 (explicit alpha). Let me know if you see other problems of this sort.



This post has been edited by brash: Nov 29 2004, 02:53 AM


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Syzerian
post Nov 29 2004, 03:41 AM
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Im using a
AMD Athlon 1.3 ghz
Geforce 4 mx 4400
768 sd ram
and when I started using texture replacers with higher resolution textures like darker morrowind and texture remix I actually got a fps boost. I used to have to have my view distance slider on minimum to get around 15 fps but now its moved up to halfway and I get 15+ fps. So I think it just might be the default textures that have bigger file sizes than needed.
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post Nov 29 2004, 04:26 AM
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QUOTE(Syzerian @ Nov 29 2004, 02:01 AM)
Im using a
AMD Athlon 1.3 ghz
Geforce 4 mx 4400
768 sd ram
and when I started using texture replacers with higher resolution textures like darker morrowind and texture remix I actually got a fps boost. I used to have to have my view distance slider on minimum to get around 15 fps but now its moved up to halfway and I get 15+ fps. So I think it just might be the default textures that have bigger file sizes than needed.
*


No, the default Bethesda landscape files are 43K DDS files. I am certain darker morrowind and texture remix use MUCH larger files than that (perhaps you could check but I am guessing they are more like 171 to 683K for files such as tx_bc_grass.dds.)

Some people mistakenly thought at one point that the larger TGA versions on the Construction Set CD were what the game engine uses, but if you extract the BSA files you see the actual files running are only 43K for all of the 256x256 ground textures, and almost always much smaller than the texture replacement kits.

So, we don't always know what seems to be a factor in FPS because it's really hard to pin down, and we get wildly different reports from people at times on what makes theirs go up or down. Sometimes they changed something else on their computer but forgot about it or thought it didn't matter.

We've experimented also with whether "loose" files like in a mod, run faster than those packed in a BSA, but that didn't seem to be it either. And, many more people report having their FPS get worse and not better from the high texture packs. Or, if they have good fast computers with very good graphics cards, they see no change at all.

But, it is still worth always trying different things, I think, so this is just one more thing to try for people. It may be that just defragging your hard drive helps even more.


This post has been edited by brash: Nov 29 2004, 04:30 AM


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post Dec 4 2004, 01:35 PM
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I have a fast computer with a very bad graphics card, and I notice no difference with the FPS. However, I'm used to my morrowind crashing ever 10 minutes or so with a full load of mods, and with this pack I can play for hours without a single death! trophy.gif
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post Dec 4 2004, 05:32 PM
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That's pretty nifty. fing34.gif


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post Feb 1 2005, 09:46 PM
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So, is this still in beta?
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post Feb 1 2005, 09:53 PM
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this is a great idea and a great mod brash...thankfully my computer is pretty good so i wont need to use it. but it will deffinatly help others.


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post Feb 1 2005, 09:57 PM
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All Brash's mods are 'permanent BETAs'. It is probably safe to assume that the mod is about as finished as it's ever going to get.

This post has been edited by Pseron Wyrd: Feb 1 2005, 09:58 PM


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post Feb 1 2005, 10:05 PM
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very interest9ng idea however i don't know anyone who can't run morrowind so i don't think this is too usefull, but obviously a must for people with really horrible systems.
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post Feb 1 2005, 10:10 PM
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So... this makes morrowinds FPS go up?
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post Feb 1 2005, 10:17 PM
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Am tempted to use this on my 2.4 machine just to feel the rush of speed and with all settings on max. smile.gif

Great work brash and thanks for the improved version.
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post Feb 1 2005, 11:14 PM
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Just gave this a try just for the heck of it.The quality of the graphics are really good and the sky with the new clouds looks very gothic especially on a clear grey sunset evening.I was surprised at the improved framerates running at the max res of 1600x1200 and at full distance view.An unexpected great side effect of this is that all the enhanced face/clothes/armor graphic replacements that am using really stand out now but without seeming out of place.Its like everything has just the right shade of light on it.Also some areas have retained their modified texture work from other Mods like BALMORA RETEXTURED i guess because they use ESPs and yours doesnt.I did notice the slowdown in those areas so thats good for comparisons.

Definitely will be using this for awhile.
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post Feb 1 2005, 11:53 PM
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Why? Did something happen to him, or did he just retire from modding?
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Rain_rTw
post Feb 2 2005, 01:01 AM
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The Question: How will smaller textures effect game play on low-end PC's?

Hypothesis: It will idle at more than 6fps in stressful circumstances.

Data:
OK Brash I've got the perfect test PC here.
This machine has a 1G Pentium 3 cpu with 128mg of RAM(which since I use windows 2000, is half what is listed as minimum requirements).
This old beast uses a RAGE 128 GL card(not to sure what the 128 stands for because..) it has 32megs of memory. No this PC hasn't been upgraded in the last two years.

Ahem, on to the test results, basically clean install:
All of these fps readings were taken with view and AI distances set to the MINIMUMS, resolution set to 640 by 480, and both the meshes and textures dirs were moved out. These, unless stated otherwise, are all from exterior cells, as I notice the greatest slowdown there.

In seyda Neen with NPC's in view; 6-8fps
In seyda Neen with no NPC's in view; 10-11fps

In Ald-Ruhn with NPC's in view; 7-10fps
In Ald-Ruhn with no NPC's in view; 14-16fps
In Ald-Ruhn, Guild of Mages main chamber; slideshow-5fps

In Dagon Fel: on the docks; 7fps
In Dagon Fel: basically everywhere else; 6-10fps

In GhostGate: facing the gate; 9fps
In GhostGate, Tower of Dusk; 5-20fps

basically clean install plus your shrunken textures:
All of these fps readings were taken with view and AI distances set to the MINIMUMS, resolution set to 640 by 480, and both the meshes and textures dirs were moved out while your Low-Fat textures were moved in. These, unless stated otherwise, are all from exterior cells, as I notice the greatest slowdown there.

In seyda Neen with NPC's in view; 9-12fps (3-4 improvement)
In seyda Neen with no NPC's in view; 10-14fps (0-3 improvement)

In Ald-Ruhn with NPC's in view; 10-12fps (2-3 improvement)
In Ald-Ruhn with no NPC's in view; 14-15fps (0-1 slowdown... no clue why that happened)
In Ald-Ruhn, Guild of Mages main chamber; 6fps-7fps (infinite-2 improvement)

In Dagon Fel: on the docks; 9fps (2 improvement)
In Dagon Fel: basically everywhere else; 6-13fps (0-3 improvement)

In GhostGate: facing the gate; 10-12fps (1-3 improvement)
In GhostGate, Tower of Dusk; 5-24fps (0-4 improvement)

Analysis: These are ALL taken with the player not doing anything, that is, just sitting there watching the fps counter cycle. These static numbers may not seem too impressive(+1 to +4 fps) but when you consider it from an experiential standpoint, the difference is very considerable. If I take hold the mouse and whirl the view about abstractly in Seyda Neen, the fps stays at about 8; whereas, previously it would drop 5/slideshow/freezing as it tried desperately to load the next batch of textures into its tiny graphics card brain.
Yes the numbers are small but the actual game play improvement is greater than the numbers might sugest... but the chest on imperial chain has got to change, I mean it looked pretty terrible when Bethesda first did it, but aside from a few select bad textures it seems very fine on a low-end PC.

Conclusion: It got noticeable faster during active game play and is well worth the loss of graphic eye-candy.(since if it moves infuriatingly slow, then no amount of eye-candy is going to please you!)


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post Feb 2 2005, 01:08 AM
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This is a great idea! Many times I've wished for a "downgrade" to some of the games I had that ran too slowly for my tastes. Recently, however I bought a new computer and it's so fast it's almost ridiculous so I have little need for this. I could probably still use it on this one though so thanks!


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post Feb 2 2005, 01:09 AM
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From: Michigan, USA



One other thing I've noticed that someone mention earlier.
In my experience the more region/architecture types my game has to load, the slower it goes. After traveling through several regions or three cities with different architecture types, my game moves at about 66% normal speed. This is usually after about an hour of game play.

I was sort of wondering what aspect of the compy was getting loaded down as time went on and I moved through more and more different settings. So I tried adjusting several things and found that having a larger pagefile seemed to reduce this effect considerably. At 500mg pagefile I would notice the gradual slowdown as usual but when I moved it up to 3G then it seemed to be reduced significantly. I'm not really sure what it's storing in a 3Gig pagefile but it seems to like it.


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Eirinjas
post Feb 2 2005, 03:05 AM
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Awesome! I love the the concept and hope you continue to work on it to tweak it out. I do have a suggestion though - between your lowfat graphics and audio replacer you have thousands of tiny files and depending on the cluster-size settings on the hard drive this will eat away excess hard drive space as well as add to disk fragmentation. I found the graphics mod took up 3x the disk space (compared to the actual )data when I checked the Folder properties:

Type: File Folder

Location:: J:\lowfatgraphics\data files

Size: 17.4 MB (18,282,376 bytes)

Size On Disk: 56.7 MB (59,457,536 bytes)

Contains: 3,420 Files, 0 Folders

My suggestion is that, if possible, you consider making a BSA file containing the textures or release a patch that can be applied to the original game files or something of that sort.

In any case, great work!


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TextureFreak
post Feb 2 2005, 03:07 AM
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Hoi brash, nice project! I am surprised to see how it looks. I don't see much difference with the original textures! Neat project. This way we can add even more stuff to crowded areas. wink.gif


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Raveren
post Feb 2 2005, 09:48 AM
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Rain_rTw, you did a great job on testing these, have a cookie 1146.gif

thanx fing34.gif


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abyssmal terror
post Feb 2 2005, 11:30 AM
Post #63


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i tested it on my older machine, and it gave about a 2 frames per second increase on average, some areas even increased by 6 frames nearly steady! what would make this really shine would perhaps be an additional mod to decrease polys of NPCs.
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Soulja
post Feb 2 2005, 02:40 PM
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Joined: 25-January 05
From: Wolves, UK



Well im one of these "low-end Pcs".

My spec is something like

1.6 processor
512 memory
16mb gfx card (so this mod should help) ive just installed both the visual and sound changes and ill let you know how it goes.


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Soulja
post Feb 2 2005, 02:56 PM
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Ok, installed them, and now my morrowind wont load at all.. so no not too impressed... Which is too bad as this probably would have helped me a lot. Im reinstalling now (dnt feel guilty though! I was only using it to test mods until i get my new gfx card neway)


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Pseron Wyrd
post Feb 2 2005, 03:56 PM
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QUOTE
Why? Did something happen to him, or did he just retire from modding?
Brash does modding purely for fun. She is strictly a hobbyist, not at all the 'professional' modder you typically find on this forum. You will never see her adopting phony pseudo-corporate names for her modding teams, tacking 'Gaming Studios' onto her name or trying to append laughably pretentious 'copyright notices' onto websites and readmes (she is such a militant 'amateur' that few of her mods even come with readmes). She mods for the fun of it - that's all, that's it, period. When it's not fun she turns to something else: as I type these words one of her characters is entering the region of Befallen in 'Everquest'. She will continue to play 'Everquest' until it is no longer fun and then she will do something else. Someday, I'm sure, modding will seem appealing and she will mod for awhile, but only for as long as it is fun. Modding is not any kind of job with her, it is not a business, not a service, it is not a responsibility, it is not even a particularly public activity. This is why none of her mods are available on public sites.


QUOTE
consider making a BSA file containing the textures
Brash's first version of 'Fantasy Color Morrowind' was released in BSA format - one of the first mods to use a BSA - but she quickly discovered that Bloodmoon mysteriously alters the way the engine handles BSAs. Those with Bloodmoon were not seeing ground textures, those with Tribunal or vanilla MW were. No one at the time could figure out why this was happening or how to work around it. Eventually she was forced to release a non-BSA version of the mod. As far as I am aware no one has yet come up with a workaround for this problem.



This post has been edited by Pseron Wyrd: Feb 2 2005, 04:06 PM


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Rain_rTw
post Feb 2 2005, 04:11 PM
Post #67


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Joined: 11-December 04
From: Michigan, USA



QUOTE(Raveren @ Feb 2 2005, 09:58 AM)
Rain_rTw, you did a great job on testing these, have a cookie 1146.gif

thanx fing34.gif
*


Yay cookies!
I haven't tried the sound replacer yet but I'm sure it will help and I certainly won't notice any loss of quality with my AOpen onbaord sound.

Normally when I'm MW the biggest active slowdown is greetings. The game runs fine as I cruse about and do whatever but when I come within range of an npc, it stutters for a moment while calculating line of sight/script stuff and loading the greeting. If peoples greetings were faster to load, than it would clear up one of my prime performance complaints.

This post has been edited by Rain_rTw: Feb 2 2005, 04:16 PM


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Rain the WindFlower
Dance, like no one is watching. Work, like you don't need the money. Love, like you have never been hurt.
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bunnythebunny
post Feb 2 2005, 04:13 PM
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a graphics poll? .. (late again)

Inno 3d geforce 4 MX 440

(athlon 2 gig processor)
(512 ram)
(big grey box with some lights)

So any fps help is most gratefully accepted (but on the good side - it's working! morrowind is working! - i'm the nervarine! - dagoth ur here i come! - after 3 (?) years i've finally got it to work for more than 3 weeks! yeay!!!)

I think this is a very good mod release, for us 'older' or 'financially challenged' or '10% geek' type gamers, (to which i apply on all 3 counts) who dont spend on their pc unless it breaks - well done and thankyou brash smile.gif

This post has been edited by bunnythebunny: Feb 2 2005, 04:15 PM
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sectoid101
post Feb 2 2005, 04:39 PM
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Great job, as usual smile.gif


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Thaedyn_Vyr
post Feb 2 2005, 05:23 PM
Post #70


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Joined: 25-February 04



Just in case it was missed (and it may have been me that missed it) these won't benefit you that much if you:

A. run a fast video or
B. Run at a resolution below 1024x768

As Quarl pointed out reducing textures benefits your video card not your system so if your running below 1024 your video card memory is taken almost completely out of the picture.

Another point to be made is that Morrowind has a mostly CPU bound game engine (more system ram is better for the game than a bigger video card)

My point is that you shouldn't expect a 15FPS jump in any area overall. However most people will see at least 3 to 4 fps benefit as a minimum.

All the same when your system is low end every little bit helps.

So I commend Brash on her efforts to help out those who can't upgrade or afford to.

thumbsup.gif


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Eirinjas
post Feb 2 2005, 10:01 PM
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Just wanted to add that some of the reduced sound files suffer from an added hiss. If you compare the original Bell sounds in the Morrowind\Data Files\Sound\Fx\envrn directory with the lowfat version you'll see what I mean. Perhaps they were reduced too much? Not all sound files suffer from this though. The lowfat music sounds great when compared to the original files given the amount of reduction.

I've found you can use the Nullsoft Disk Writer plugin in Winamp and output the sound files to 8 kz, 8bit mono - no hiss, little loss in quality, and the files come out even smaller.

This post has been edited by Eirinjas: Feb 2 2005, 11:12 PM


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"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
-Thomas Paine

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."
-George McGovern
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shadowchylde
post Feb 5 2005, 11:11 AM
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Joined: 31-March 04



I wanted to add that I have a sucky sound card, and the reduced sound files have worked great for me. My card is so bad I can't even hear a difference LOL. It's an on board job and can be pretty tempermental. Great idea and much appreciated here.

~sc



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