Dark Souls 2

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About this mod

Updates DS2: Scholar of the First Sin's lighting engine with the following features:
1. Volumetric fog/New Distant Geometry/Many lights now cast shadows.
2. Updated ambient occlusion algorithm to high quality GTAO.
3. Lots of post process and atmosphere settings to configure areas.
4. Improved material rendering for metals/non-m

Permissions and credits
An update to Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin's lighting engine which updates its shading model techniques to the latest ones. The mod has dynamic shadows for the entire game. Almost all torch sconces/bonfires, ambient lights now casts shadows. Distant scenery has been added to multiple levels in the game. The mod includes pre-configured presets for each area, but you can also configure the settings yourself; however, note that areas are detected based on the original lighting data DS2 provides. DS2LE also includes other features, such SMAA support, improved bloom, LUT-based post-processing support, and the option to customize DS2's UI.
DS2LE has it's own its own in-game GUI. Pressing "F1" will bring up the GUI so you can customize the mod's features and settings to your liking - and easily share those changes with other users by sharing your atmospheres.ini file. Press "save atmosphere" to save your changes. This will save all atmospheres. See the "Advanced" section for more details.

Important, please read:
  • This is an alpha version of the the mod. Uploading the mod as an alpha helps to provide feedback, detect and fix bugs, and improve its default lighting, effect, and post-processing configurations in preparation for its full release. Expect settings to change. There will be weird rendering errors in some places, as listed below in known issues. Thank you for your constructive feedback, bug reports, and patience.
  • The mod only updates shaders, lighting, and fog effects. There are no gameplay changes and none are planned for this mod. The idea is that this mod will be used by other mod creators to make it easy for them to customize visuals.
  • Leave a Like and / or feedback on the Nexus page or on Discord. If you find issues, please report them under the "Bugs" section.
    Official Discord server: (Share presets, configuration settings, discuss the mod, and provide feedback!)
  • Thank you all for trying the mod!

  • Backup your "shader" folder in the Game directory. Usually this is "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin\Game".
  • Copy the "shader" folder, "ds2le_atmosphere_presets" folder and "dxgi.dll" to your game directory from (1)
  • If you face issues updating to new version of the mod. Please delete your previous "shader" folder and paste the new contents in.
  • Set in-game video settings to "High",  and turn off anti-aliasing if you're using the SMAA feature. You can enable/disable motion blur or depth of field effects

Texture Pack Installation:
  • DS2LE starts in override mode by default on first install. There should now be a "tex_override" folder in your Dark Souls 2 "game" directory (not in the "shader" folder within the "game" directory).
  • Extract any .dds textures you've downloaded directly into the "tex_override" folder
  • The next time you launch the game with texture override mode enabled, it should automatically load any textures in the override folder.
  •  To use iGP11 mods with DS2LE use this tool to convert the textures  - iGP11 to DS2LE Texture Converter
  • Here is a Rockmih texture pack which takes advantage of DS2LE specular rendering features - Rockmih Texture pack

Compatibility with other mods which enable shadows/visuals.
       1.  LE Handles all shadow casting with the latest release 0.9.14. You dont need to install any mod which enables shadows. Also note that when the shadows are done through base game renderer LE has to do additional work to handle them. Hence the recommendation is that you do not install any mods which enable shadows directly using map files.

Compatibility with Seeker of Fire and other Overhaul mods using ModEngine:
1. Extract Seeker of Fire mod files into game directory. This directory will be same as the Game folder and where Lighting engine should also be installed.
2. Go to SeekerOfFire2 folder. Delete the folder "Filter" from directory.
        3 . Now Lighting engine preset will work as expected. Make sure to select atmosphere-extended-no-mapedits.ini and not the atmospheres-extended.ini.

Legacy GPU
1. The newer version has map edits and uses some shaders which are not yet ported to Old GPU > 10 years old. Please use the version 0.8.10 from nexus for these GPU's.

Online Play:
  • The mod is safe for online play. It does not change touch the game data files, only the shader files are modified. It does not trigger the Anti-Cheat system. However we cannot guarantee it won't cause a ban. Please use at your own risk.
Incompatible Recording software:
  • Medal.tv (You can still use Nvidia ShadowPlay and OBS, however.)
Minimum Requirements:
  1. 1050 TI at 1080p 60 FPS with Volumetric Fog.
  2 . For legacy cards(>7 years old) like GTX 460, Fermi, Kepler. Please disable volumetric fog (shaders/addon_config/settings.ini-> vol_fog_render_mode = 0). You should get >30 FPS at 1080p. Or use the F1 settings UI.

Latest Version:
  • Updated No-map edits preset to be same as extended for lighting settings however Map edits are not loaded.

[Geometry added - Notable Locations]
  • FOFG
  • Majula

[Modders only]
  • [Editor Mode] - Press "F3" to access the menu. The camera can be moved around and all objects which are visible on screen are displayed.
  • It would be better if you can join discord if you have questions on editor mode usage. As questions can be answered faster there.
  • [Editor Mode - KnownIssue] - Disable Motion Blur if you are adding new lights
  • [Editor Mode - KnownIssue] - Realtime Sun shadows are disabled during editing. However precomputed shadows are still rendered

Important please read :  If you are facing a constant crash in a area. Use the atmopshere-extended-no-map-edits.ini in that area to clear it. You can switch the preset in the main menu any time, no-map edits preset can now be safely confirmed for stability with the latest version. 

Previous Stable Version: 0.8.10 (10/08/23)

  • @RageVitamins - Engine programmer & mod creator.
  • @Duke Bilgewater - Default Color grading and Atmosphere configuration preset.
  • LordRadai :  Due to his work on DebugManager. Some advanced dynamic effects are possible such as player light repositioning. He Also setup the discord and has immense knowledge of the base game. Please follow him on twitter
  • @Ry DS2LE Configuration guide.
  • @Trivia Vanille - For feedback on development features. Also for creation of texture pack/preset. Download here
  • @Rockmih - For help with some model edits. Like distant trees, textures. Download texture pack
  • Peter Mcphile - UI Editor Icons for Level Editor. Check out his Modern UI for DS2LE. Most of the recent screenshots have been using that mod.
  • Yabber Tool by JK Anderson(TKGP): Used for unpacking and repacking shader .bnd files.
  • @Fromsoftserve - Tutorial creation for upscaling, texture tools.

And thanks to those members of the Dark Souls and DS2LE communities who helped improve the mod by testing beta releases and providing feedback on Discord:
POOLOO73 , Noxi, Saikou, Aleph Nole, Aiden, Vidanjor, DarknessRadio, Arx, SilentPrayerCG, Anonim01, Zed, Michael, OathOfRevenge, Syzerix, Deyrax, Bill Nye , Aoi Yozora. DesolateCheez, Micencronin.
Need062 - For figuring out issue with medal compatibility.
Deggial Nox : For helping test GUI Scaling on Ultrawide monitors.

Advanced Usage: (for mod creators on top of this engine)

DS2LE Configuration Guide
It would be easier, if you are a mod author, to join the Discord to have questions answered directly re: presets, texture mod creation, etc.
Links to documentation will be posted here as they're finished.

Watch for updates on this page!