So, I just released Skyrim Project INI (aka spINI), and I thought I might as well release an article to explain why.
You see, Skyrim has like a lot of INI settings, far more than any of the previous games. It also has far more bogus
settings than any of the previous games. When I say that a setting is bogus
, I mean that that setting is either obsolete or entirely nonexistent.
Now, you can tell if a setting does not exist via the in-game console, and it's rather simple. All you need to do is open the console and type
If the setting exists, it will return the value of the setting. If it doesn't exist, it will return NOT FOUND.
Unfortunately a large amount of extremely popular settings that people are told to put in their INI files simply don't exist at all. Let me talk about a few of thembMouseAcceleration
This setting has not existed in the Skyrim game since 11/11/11. But, for years and years, we've been content to be told and also tell others that Bethesda was such a dumb developer as to ship the game with this feature, Mouse Acceleration, on by default, causing the mouse to accelerate as it moved. In reality, this feature is not a part of Skyrim at all, and this setting is entirely bogus.
Now, the official 1.2 patch released 11/28/11 "[f]ixed occasional mouse sensitivity issues," so Skyrim indeed did have some mouse issues on the PC. However, Bethesda simply changed the default value of fMouseHeadingYScale from an extremely low value of 0.01 to 0.8500000238. Anybody experienced any mouse acceleration lately? Didn't think so.
Now mouse acceleration does exist in both the Fallout games, but not even in any of them does bMouseAcceleration exist.
So what is the origin of bMouseAcceleration? Well, Bethesda must have had the setting in the game at some point, because they included it in their SkyrimPrefs.ini template stored in Skyrim\Skyrim\SkyrimPrefs.ini. Yes, as a noob you probably got confused about which INI file to mess with and tweaked this file in vain. This file's sole purpose is to serve as a template for the Skyrim Launcher to create your INIs. Unfortunately, that means that everything in it, including 20 (actual count) nonexistent settings are automatically added to your SkyrimPrefs.ini file at creation.
That is one of the main reasons why I created spINI. Skyrim Project INI not only removes these nonexistent settings from the template but also sorts the sections and settings into a sensible order, pairing Booleans with Booleans, floating points with floating points, integers with integers, and unsigned integers with unsigned integers... and placing the sections in alphabetical order for a much easier read.
The obsolete settings that were removed are as follows. You can find more information about these bogus settings in the SkyrimPrefs INI Guide
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary and iShadowMapResolutionSecondary
Ah! So you have tweaked your shadows a hundred times probably! I wonder how many times you tweaked iShadowMapResolutionPrimary and iShadowMapResolutionSecondary in vain! Alas, these settings also have not existed since 11/11/11, so these have never been anything but a bone tied to a rope hanging from a tree. Except that the bone is made of plastic and the tree doesn't exist. iShadowMapResolution is the only setting that adjusts shadow resolution in Skyrim. Sadly, whatever plans Bethesda had for these values never worked out.
Now you might say, "What about the iShadowMapResolutionPrimary in Skyrim.ini?" Well, it turns out that Bethesda's template file for Skyrim.ini, which is Skyrim_default.ini sitting in the main Skyrim directory, is the source of this bogus line. It, like our little SkyrimPrefs.ini template friend, is also copied to become your brand new, shiny and official Skyrim.ini along with any bogus lines within. Thankfully this was the only bogus setting they put in Skyrim_default.ini, or else we'd have as big a mess as we do with Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas (which are even messier). Skyrim Project INI removes iShadowMapResolutionPrimary from this template so it won't stare you down with its false promises again.
"Why hasn't this information come to light before?" Nobody bothered to check! There are over 1500 INI settings for Skyrim, so who would?
Me, that's who. Stupid, insane DoubleYou.