Oblivion Ultimate 2011 – Episode 1: OBGE and ENBSeries

Hey there !

I recently wanted to reinstall Oblivion, seeing as Skyrim is soming in a few month but there is just so much out there to make a good Oblivion installation. It has become pretty hard to get the most of the game, because of the size of the modding community.

I mean, you can pretty much turn up Oblivion the way you want with a few mods and .ini tweaks.

And that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. But there is a catch.
This is somewhat of a “What can I get from Oblivion in 2011” mod list. Well, it’s not really a mod list, but more like  a log of what I’m doing, along with my personnal mod list..
It can be really useful to follow it if you want to get the most from Oblivion as I’m doing extensive research for everything and that will spare you some time. I’ll link each and everything I used and explain how I installed what and how I resolve potential conflicts.
As such, it can be considered a “guide to the ultimate Oblivion experience”. (Modesty, what is that ?)

My aim here is to get the most out of the engine as far as realism and immersion goes. That will cover pretty much any category of mods available.

Obviously, you need to have the game, it’s expansions and the latest patch to follow this.

So, I decided to begin by testing some shaders replacement “modules”. I found 2 that gave me what I needed, so I’m going to compare them and choose one.
I know I should begin by installing patches to fix some things, but I’ll do that just after. It’s not going to break the game if it looks a little more pretty before applying the unofficial patches, right ?

Vanilla Oblivion + SI + DLCs - Fraps reports ~40fps, but this is due to ENBSeries. Without it, the game runs at a steady 60 frames per second.

Here we have Oblivion, in all it’s vanilla glory. It’s looking pretty ugly these days. Especially with Skyrim coming soon…

So, we’ll spice it up a bit !

The main thing it’s lacking is plenty of GPU intensive shaders to make it look more realistic. You know, like Ambient Occlusion, Indirect Illumination and stuff like that.

We thus have two options to remedy that:

  • ENBSeries – A DirectX .dll hook that applies all kinds of modern effects on all games.
    Advantages: All in one, no fuss apart from correcting some settings in the .ini file.
    Disadvantages: Looks ugly, IMO. It’s over saturated, the shadows look really bad and it’s VERY hungry on GPU power. Il lost 15 to 20 FPS running it, even when disabled.

    ENBSeries

  • OBGE – Currently in version 3 (Which is likely to be the last major version, as I understand it.) works directly from within the game.
    It uses and requires Oblivion Script Extender and can add shaders on top of those already in the game or replace shaders from the game with it’s own.
    It’s totally modular, and the performance cost depends on what you have running. I noticed a light impact of ~10fps on the Vanilla game with Volumetric SSAO, Volumetric SSII, Light Shafts, Bokeh Circle Depth of Field, Bleach Bypass, Color Grading, Vignette, Physically Correct Sky, Luminance HDR and Parallax Occlusion Mapping with an ATI Radeon HD4890. But keep in mind I’m running vanilla game as far as textures, models and everything. So, you should expect a major loss of FPSes if your installation contains some mods.

    Oblivion with OBGEv3

    The thing I like about OBGE, other than it’s modularity is the fact that you can add your own shaders on top of the game.
    For example, on top is the original water and on the bottom is a mod that adds a totally new shader for the water.

    Only downside of the mod is that it removes all the shaders that are automatically loading through OBGE, thus you’ll have to reactivate everything from the menu. I don’t know why and I don’t know if there is a way to fix it
    Edit 07/16/2011: It’s actually really easy to fix. Just disable the OBGE support plugin and use the shaderlist.txt file. Everything should look normal and work correctly.
    For reference, here is my shaderlist.txt:

Volumetric_SSAO.fx
Volumetric_SSII.fx
LightShafts_PCS.fx
HLSLbleachbypass.fx
HLSLColorGrading03.fx
HLSLvignette.fx
MDLAA.fx

We have thus 2 modules that are very good at what they are doing, however, my choice would go towards OBGE, as it’s modular and can replace any shader of the game. It’s also, it seems, less GPU hungry than ENBSeries.

The two things that I would like to see included in OBGE in the future are a new hair shader and a new skin shader with subsurface scattering. The regular skin shader is just normal render. A fake subsurface scattering would make it look much better, with maybe support for wet surfaces, so that when the character enters in the water, his body gradually becomes wetter where the water touched him. Though this would probably be very hard to do, it would look awesome. For the hair, better shading, better specular pass, light passing through thin hair strands, hair moving with the wind, etc.
The possibilities are endless and Oblivion could pretty much become a game that “always looks good, new and fresh”, as long as people continue to work on it.

Obviously, you shouldn’t use both ENBSeries and OBGE at the same time.

Next time, we’ll install a load of utilities and tweak the game.

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Posted on 16 July 2011, in TESIV: Oblivion. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. patricksgamer

    I’m on board with your strategy here, less intensive less mods, better play. I currently have installed oblivion last couple day’s I’m learning HOW to use the notepad++ and running a loader with a couple fun much needed fighting role playing mods> this is my build up to Skyrim> KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK and thank you so much for helping us to enjoy this great game even more.
    /cheers =)
    so far I have these mods installed:
    OBMM LOADER
    OBSE Scriptor
    OSR stuttor remover works w/OBSE
    Streamline
    4GB patch
    unofficial oblivion patch for OBMM
    unofficial mod patch for OBMM
    shiveringisles patch v1.2.0416 (I installed this patch after oblivion/ knights/ and shivering isle and have had no problems with CTD..
    I plan to install next the MMM with all that creatures content and the OOO thats so popular I plan to lol if all goes well, if my slow pc rig can handle it.
    HAPPY HUNTING!!!

    • I do not exactly plan on “less” mods, really. I install what I feel is necessary for immersion and realism :)
      But you can follow this and still have a very minimal installation. I plan to divide each category of mods into major things.
      What I have in mind currently (ie. What I’m installing before writing the articles.) is:
      – Better Cities (With many of the optional mods like Blood & Mud, etc.)
      – FCOM (Big, big part.)
      – Unique Landscapes
      – nGCD, Progress, LAME, etc.
      This is for the basics. I’ll probably add a bunch of quest mods and other stuff too.
      But you can always take what you want and screw the rest of the mods.
      Everyone’s modlist is different, after all :)

      Edit: Also, I’d like to give it more of a roleplaying game feel. Vanilla, it seemed like a hack n’ slash sometimes… I’ll check for mods that change this, too.

  2. patricksgamer

    GREAT!!!
    I can’t wait what is your pc spec’s TIMSCAMPI =)
    I have just a simple pc:
    Intel Core Duo CPU E7500@2.94GHZ
    4.0GIGS Installed Memory (3.25)useable
    Nivia GEForce 7600GS APPROX Total Memory (1656)
    Windows 7 Ultimate

    LOL I have such a simple rig I will look into a better Vid Card with alot more memory on it so I can play FCOM and more!!!

    Yes, Find a more roleplayin mod I played DragonsAge: Origins and I loved it!!!
    Plus I’m a SEASONED EverQuest player =)
    lol, those were the GOOD O’ DAY’s I miss my EverQuest=)

  3. patricksgamer

    I just saw your pc specs on page 2 here =)
    I forgot to add my mobo:
    Intel Core Duo CPU E7500@2.94GHZ ASUS P5Q PRO TURBO
    searching for a the best Vid Card for my cpu/mobo =)

    • Decent specs :)
      I usually go with ATI because their cards are way cheaper.
      I ran into some major slowdowns on Oblivion, though. So I’m thinking about starting again. (We’re talking like 10 fps and less in a city.)
      I’ll continue the guide though. It might just take a little bit more time to complete.
      And I don’t know where the hell it comes from… My computer should run Oblivion at way higher fps than that. Even with mods.
      I’m thinking about changin my mobo and cpu. I’d go for a Core i7 2600k and an Asus Sabertooth. I won’t change the rest of my config, though, because it’s still pretty good. I’ll update my ram to 8go pf DDR3; while I’m at it.
      This should get me set for at least a few years.

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