Fallout 4
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Androl

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michaelt919

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About this mod

This mod tweaks water settings to make water more physically accurate, removing the fake water color and increasing the brightness of real reflections.

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Description

This mod changes a few settings for every water type in Fallout 4 to make the water more physically and visually realistic.

Here are the details of how this works:

  1. Every water type in Fallout 4 has a "Reflection Color," which is basically a fake water color that is added to the water reflections.  I completely disabled this for every water type by setting it to black (0,0,0).
  2. Every water type in Fallout 4 has a "Fresnel Amount" which basically controls the brightness of real reflections (not the fake water color) when you are looking straight down.  The values for this parameter vary wildly in both the vanilla game and most water overhauls.  In reality, this parameter can be calculated precisely using the index of refraction of water, which is 1.333 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractive_index#Typical_values), and the physics equations for light reflection (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractive_index#Reflectivity).  When you work out the math, it turns out that the "Fresnel Amount" in Fallout 4 should always be about 0.02.  I've therefore set the Fresnel Amount to 0.02 for every water type.
  3. Every water type in Fallout 4 has a "Reflectivity Amount" which controls how bright the real reflections are when looking toward the horizon.  I set this to 1.0 for all water types, since the Fresnel equations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_equations) predict that the amount of light reflected by water always goes to 100% when looking toward the horizon.

While I recognize that these changes may not be for everyone, particularly those who like a little bit of artificial water tint, I personally think that these simple changes make the water look vastly more realistic.  But you can take a look at the screenshots and decide for yourself.  (Incidently, I apologize for not disabling HUD as well as for the lack of any screenshots outside of Sanctuary.  If I get a chance as I'm playing through the game myself, I'll try to grab a few more water screenshots if I see a an opportunity for some good ones.)

Requirements

I used Vivid Waters (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/16425) as a base for this mod, which means that you must have Vivid Waters installed as a prerequisite for this mod.  If you don't have Vivid Waters installed, you'll be missing textures that this mod depends on.

Installation

Add the .esp file to your Fallout 4 Data folder and activate it (or install with NMM).  If you have the Far Harbor and Nuka World DLC, download the optional DLC plugin and activate it too.

Load Order and Compatibility

Load this mod after Vivid Waters and any other mods that modify water types (in my personal load order, Water Enhancement Textures (W.E.T.) and Enhanced Lights and Effects (ELFX) were the primary ones to watch out for.)

This mod will conflict with any other mod that modifies water types.  Provided that the other mods are just aesthetic, the only issue will be that, without a merged patch, the aesthetic changes from only one mod will get used (the one that loads later in the load order).  If any mod changes the functionality of water (like the radiation effect), it should load after Reflective Water and a merged patch may be necessary to keep the aesthetic changes of Reflective Water.

INI tweaks

In order to make water look as good as possible, I recommend the following INI tweaks (Credit to Archimedes23 and others on the comments thread for Real Water Reflections (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/5839?tab=posts) for figuring this out):

In Fallout4.ini:
[Water]
bReflectLODObjects=1
bReflectLODLand=1
bReflectSky=1
bReflectLODTrees=1
bReflectExplosions=1
bUseBulletWaterDisplacements=1
bUseWaterHiRes=1
bForceHighDetailReflections=1
bUseCubeMapReflections=1
bUseWaterReflectionBlur=1

In Fallout4Prefs.ini:

[Water]
bUseWaterDisplacements=1
bUseWaterRefractions=1
bUseWaterReflections=1
bUseWaterDepth=1

Bethesda.net and Consoles

I plan to eventually get around to posting a version of this on Bethesda.NET for PC and consoles, but it may not happen right away.  In part, this is because the Bethesda.net / console version will need to be redone based on vanilla water, rather than Vivid Waters, since Vivid Waters is not on Bethesda.net.

My other Fallout 4 mod

Pacify Overhaul - Nonviolent and nonlethal objective completion - https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/15440