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Last updated at 20:49, 11 Dec 2011 Uploaded at 16:17, 16 Apr 2011
Mod: Improved Fires and Flames
Date: 20 April, 2011
This mod retextures the fires and flames.
From the arcane fires at Arcane University and the big open fires in Kvatch, to the burning effect when using flame spells and the fire of the torch - all has been retextured.
Together, a total of 177 textures!
The reason I did this was because I thought the fires and flames could use a big overhaul.
There's already another mod that overhauls the fires as well, namely "Refined fires": http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=35355
I tried this mod, but I personally thought it could be improved further.
What the mod "Refined fires" basically do with the textures is that it sharpens everything and boosts the contrast of dark areas.
What my mod does, is that it instead completely adds a new, more detailed look to all the fires and flames in Oblivion.
The resolution is increased, and all fires and flames look more fiery, real and improved in general.
There are many comparison screenshots available for you to judge before downloading!
In addition, there is also a "Performance" version that doesn't take up as much VRAM as the original version.
The resolution has therefore been decreased with this version, but I still think it looks very good.
Note that the "Performance" version only affects some fire types and not all.
The fire types that are affected are: medium open fires, small open fires, arcane open fires, ghost/dungeon open fires and torch open fires.
The rest are the same as the original full resolution version.
The full resolution version is called "Original version" in the screenshots you can see under the images tab on TESNexus.
Along with this, I've also changed a few sounds and included an .esp file with some volume changes.
Some fire sounds were so quiet before that you could barely hear them.
Now you can actually hear them, and fully enjoy fires the way they have always deserved!
Let there be fire!
In addition to creating "Improved Fires and Flames", I have also fully updated two of my previous retexture mods, namely "Skeleton Key retexture" and "Mandrake retexture"!
Skeleton Key retexture: http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=36023
Mandrake retexture: http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=36024
Also, make sure you haven't missed my mod "Improved Skulls and Bones and Ironwork"!
Improved Skulls and Bones and Ironwork: http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=36075
Since all the textures have increased resolution, your performance may or may not take a hit.
I tested this a lot during the time I made this mod.
My goal was to make things look as good as possible while not hurting the performance.
I've done several tests on my computer and I have suffered zero FPS-hit.
But, because this is a texture mod, your VRAM (Video RAM) is used.
The difficult thing with how fires and flames work in Oblivion is that each fire/flame mesh uses about 20 textures.
Therefore, to make a fire/flame detailed, you need to increase the resolution for each and every one of these textures.
The result is that more of your VRAM is being used.
Once your VRAM reaches the maximum limit of what your graphics card can handle, your FPS will most likely begin to drop.
To find out how much VRAM you have (if you don't know it already), take use of this guide: http://www.watchingthenet.com/display-video-graphic-adapter-memory-size-in-windows.html
To find out how much VRAM you're using in Oblivion (this changes depending on what location you're at), take us of this guide: http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:SetDebugText
In short, open up the console (by pressing ~, ¬, |,^, \, §, depending on what keyboard layout you have), write "SetDebugText 13" without quotation marks, and then write "tdt" without quotation marks in the console.
This requires the Oblivion.ini setting "bAllowConsole" to be set to 1.
The amount of VRAM "Improved Fires and Flames" generally take is: 80-130 MB.
Normally, this shouldn't be a problem, and it should have absolutely zero effect on your FPS as long as it's under your VRAM maximum limit.
This goes for any retexture mod out there that increases the resolution, but since the fires and flames meshes each use about 20 textures, this is especially relevant for this mod.
I've also created a "Performance" version.
These textures have lower resolution, and don't look as detailed, even though I've tried to minimize the effect.
The amount of VRAM "Improved Fires and Flames - Performance" generally take is: 30-50 MB.
If you realize you don't have much VRAM to spend, or just want to minimize any kind of performance hit, you can always try to change the settings "fLightLOD2" and "fLightLOD1" in the Oblivion.ini. These settings change the range of within you can see fires and other lights like candles and fireballs (also affects lights for instance from the mod Illumination Within, if you're using it.)
The bigger the value, the longer range you can see fires and other lights. Therefore, the bigger the value, the bigger the performance hit as well (in theory).
The default values are "fLightLOD2=1500.0000" and "fLightLOD1=1000.0000". You can try and experiment with these.
I tried several different values at several different locations, but I didn't notice one difference at all in terms of spent VRAM.
So, personally, I recommend you to keep these at default, but I thought I could mention that it could be a possibility.
I personally play with the "Performance" version myself, simply because I like keeping my VRAM as low as possible and I think it still looks very good.
I also very strongly recommend you to use the mod "Oblivion Stutter Remover": http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=23208.
It can help a lot with lag and stuttering in Oblivion in general. If you don't have it already, you should really try installing it now.
This mod comes in a few different files, as you can see under the "Files" tab.
The "Improved Fires and Flames" file includes all the textures with original resolution and the sound changes.
The "Improved Fires and Flames OMOD" file includes all textures with original resolution and sound changes through an OMOD.
The "Improved Fires and Flames - Performance" file includes all the textures with lower resolution and the sound changes.
The "Improved Fires and Flames - Performance OMOD" file includes all the textures with lower resolution and the sound changes through an OMOD.
To install this, simply drag all the included files in the "Data" folder in your Oblivion directory.
If you use the OMOD file, simply double click on the OMOD or drag it to the "Oblivion\obmm\mods" directory.
If you want to combine different versions, then you can do so, as long as each fire texture type has the same textures from the same version (for instance, don't use 10 textures from the "Performance" version and 10 textures from the original version that are the same fire texture type, like the arcane fire).
After that, use archive invalidation and make sure the .esp file for the sounds is ticked.
If you are new to Oblivion and have no idea what this is or why this could be needed, read: http://devnull.sweetdanger.net/archiveinvalidation.html.
The load order for the .esp file should be late and after any other sound mods you have.
It only changes the volume of a few fire sounds and nothing else.
As far as I know, there is one known big conflict, namely the mod "Refined fires", as mentioned before (http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=35355).
This mod does the same thing as mine, but as I said before - I thought it could be improved further.
Therefore, the conflict is intentional.
If you want of course, you can always try both and see which one you prefer.
I definitely prefer mine, since it has a lot more detail.
To see the differences between the mod "Refined fires" and this mod, check the available screenshots!
Moreover, the mods: "REALISTIC FIRE" (http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=25655) and "Improved Fire Spell Texture" (http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=18607) conflict with "Improved Fires and Flames", because they change one same texture (fireflameparticle.dds).
You can try those mods if you want as well, but I personally prefer mine over theirs.
In any case, the conflict is intentional and nothing to worry about.
Concerning the "Improved Fires and Flames - Increased Sound" file, there should be no serious conflicts.
I've compared my sound .esp file with other major sound overhauls (for instance "Atmospheric Oblivion" and "More Immersive Sound") and found out they conflict.
The conflict is nothing to worry about though. It can't harm your game.
These major sound overhauls also change the volume of the fire sounds, so if one overwrites the other, it should be nothing to worry about.
You'll simply just hear the other mod's changes to the sound instead of mine, or the opposite.
It's a matter of taste, but I prefer my changes to the sound than the other major sound overhauls, even though there are no immense differences.
So go ahead and load the "Improved Fires and Flames - Increased Sound" file late in the load order.
You should be perfectly safe doing so, without having to worry.
If you're still unsure, you can always check for possible issues and exact changes with TES4Edit: http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=11536
If you absolutely don't want to use my sound changes, then you can of course just skip installing the .esp file and the sound files that comes with this mod.
Improved Fires and Flames was hard to do.
It was definitely the hardest thing I've retextured so far.
As mentioned before, this difficult thing with how fires and flames work in Oblivion is that each fire/flame mesh uses about 20 textures.
Therefore, this resulted in several problems and difficulties.
Firstly, it took a lot of time.
In order to see how something looked, I had to create about 20 textures, just to see if I was doing it right or wrong.
Each fire/flame have had several test versions, so in total I think I've made about a thousand textures, due to all the testing.
This mod was originally delayed for several weeks, just because it took so much time and I had so little time because of my studies. I apologize for that delay.
Moreover, the VRAM as mentioned before took a hit because of this situation, and therefore I decided to make a new version called Performance as well.
Finally, the biggest difficulty was to make each fire look good and feel good.
The fires in Oblivion work like as if they are flashing all the 20 textures before you in a fraction of a second.
Each of these 20 textures must "fit" accordingly with each other. If one of these fire textures has a different "structure" than the other, the fire in-game will look "hacky".
Because of this, it was simply impossible for me to completely change the fire and flame textures.
I had to create several layers and use different filters to make the fire itself look more detailed, while keeping the exactly same "structure" as the vanilla fire.
If I was to create a whole new detailed "structure" for fires, I would have to have a completely dark big room, with some kind of fire in it, and a very expensive camera that is able to take about 20-30 pictures in a second.
Unfortunately, I have neither of this.
Even though, a few fire types weren't able to be done as good as I hoped for.
I couldn't increase the detail of the torch fire without making it look "hacky" or too detailed, so therefore it looks more like the vanilla fire.
In addition, the fire blast textures from fireball spells weren't able to be given a fully satisfactory result, so after several tries with different methods, I decided to skip doing those entirely.
Still, I'm really pleased about the final results.
There were a lot of difficulties, tests and problems along the way, but I'm happy about the result.
If you think the textures in this mod still look too undetailed, then at least now you know why.
I hope though you'll be happy about the results as I am, giving the circumstances.
Frasio for his "20 high resolution fire textures" package, at: http://frasio.deviantart.com/art/20-high-res-fire-textures-74524703
Suicidecrew for his "Fire Seamless tile" resource, at: http://suicidecrew.deviantart.com/art/Fire-Seamless-tile-116721709
Paloetic for the picture "flaming gold", at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paloetic/3253665749/
Bethesda Softworks for making this wonderful game and all the vanilla textures and sounds which this mod was originally based on.
Special thanks to:
true highlander for testing this mod, commenting on it at an early stage and being supportive.
LittleBaron for testing this mod, commenting on it at an early stage and being supportive.
Pushkatu for being supportive and commenting on my previous work.
20 April, 2011 - Optional torch version added.
16 April, 2011 - Initial release.