Fallout 4
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Ablaze666

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Ablaze666

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About this mod

This mod fixes the flickering water puddles - without disabling their reflection and specularity! And takes care of blood puddles too. Comes with an installer, packed or loose files, esl flagged esp.

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Description

This bug probably doesn't need any introduction. We've all seen them. We all hate them.
These damn flickering water and blood puddles.
If you don't know yet what I'm talking about:

Spoiler:  
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And this is how it should look like:

Spoiler:  
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I've tried to fix this bug for 4 years now. Sorry that it took so long.



Installation

You can install this mod with any mod manager.

In the installer, you can choose between a vanilla version and one that fixes the Nuka World puddles as well. Furthermore, you can choose between loose files and packed ba2 archives. A patch for Enhanced Blood Textures is included.

If you encounter dull reflections on metal surfaces (like Codsworth) uninstall the main version and try the version under the Miscellaneous section. The reason is that since the last update in Decmber 2019, the game is having trouble to render certain cubemaps. The alternative downlaod comes without a vanilla version of the mipblur_DefaultOutside1.dds texture. Reflections should be back to normal. However, if you have said texture (mipblur_DefaultOutside1.dds) installed by another mod, you will likely see flickering puddles again because their mipblur_DefaultOutside1.dds texture and my fixed EyeCubeMap.dds must be absolutely identical or the fix won't work (see the technical mumba jumba below).



Load order and compatibility with other mods

You should place this mod after any other mod that changes puddles and blood decals.

The following textures must not be overwritten by other mods:
  • Textures\Shared\Cubemaps\mipblur_DefaultOutside1.dds.
  • Textures\Shared\Cubemaps\EyeCubeMap.dds
See the explanation below.

Works with ENB's puddle reflections.
Works with Enhanced Blood Textures. A patch is included in the installer.

The following mod is technically compatible:

Redundant mods:
(if you want to stop the puddles from flickering but don't like my mod, go and check them out)

Incompatible mods (they edit the same texture):



Explanation (technical mumba jumba)

Bethesda had a brain fart when coding the puddles. No really, that bug is so damn weird. The used cubemap for water puddles is mipblur_DefaultOutside1.dds but at certain angles it shifts to EyeCubeMap.dds. After some brain storming I extracted all cubemaps from all texture archives and replaced them one by one with a neon green one. That way I could identify to which cubemap the engine is shifting when the flickering kicks in. Turns out when both mipblur_DefaultOutside1.dds and EyeCubeMap.dds are one and the same texture, the flickering on water puddles stops. That's why I included a vanilla mipblur_DefaultOutside1.dds texture in this mod to make sure it matches the modified EyeCubeMap.dds texture.

The best part is when a puddle switched to the 2nd cubemap and you'll pause the game, it switches back to the correct 1st cubemap but as soon as you'll unpause the game the cubemap switches back into flickering mode. And guess how puddles are rendered in the Creation Kit? Of course without flickering! Why this cubemap switchereeno happens can only be answered by Todd.

To summarize:
Puddles flicker ingame but not in the pause menu and the Creation Kit. Good job Bethesda!


A small addendum

There's even more strange stuff going on with those cubemaps on decals. A puddle in Sanctuary shows a cubemap in the Creation Kit but if it's moved towards Red Rocket Truck Stop, the very same puddle somehow forgets that it should show us a cubemap and turns darkgrey instead, reflecting only the sun. This happens without my fix installed. Ingame this puddle constantly switches from no cubemap to mipblur_DefaultOutside1.dds which we see as flickering. With my fix, the flickering is gone. Now the puddle looks exactly as in the Creation Kit. Drakgrey without a cubemap... The other way around works the same. If you move a puddle near Red Rocket into Sanctuary, it suddenly shows a sky in the Creation Kit. The question is why the same puddle shows a sky in Sanctuary but no sky some steps ahead. This can only be answered by Todd. It's those small little things that drives me insane with this game. Maybe if I spend another 4 years I can figure out why cubemaps on decals aren't rendered under certain circumstances lol.



Special credits

They all came up with good workarounds for the flickering puddles. Go and give them a Kudos!

I used some of their textures to track down which vanilla cubemaps are causing flickering.






This mod is not made, guaranteed, or supported by Zenimax, Bethesda Game Studios, or any of their affiliates.