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Morrowind Tech/Hacks

19 February 2011

This page contains technical/hacking information related to the game (such as file formats). Feel free to Contact the Webmaster to contribute any suggestions, spoilers not included here, or links to sites that include technical info.

Major Topics, Seperate Documents
ESM Format - 10 May 2003
A general text document on the ESM/ESP/ESS formats.
Minor Topics, Contained Below on the Page
Improving Performance - 12 May 2002
Tips on how to achieve a higher frame rate within the game.
Links to Tech/Hack Related Sites


Improving Performace
12 May 2002

Many people, even those with relatively high-end machines, have complained about general poor performance of the game. Here are a few tips to possibly squeeze out a few extra FPS. Note that when editting the MORROWIND.INI file or changing EXE's, please remember to backup the original file in case something goes wrong.

  1. To enable the display of FPS (Frames Per Second), edit the MORROWIND.INI file in the main game directory, changing the line Show FPS=0 to Show FPS=1. The FPS number will show up in the lower-right corner of the screen.
  2. Use the Morrowind NOCD hack (1.6 MB) to disable the SafeDisc copy protection used in the game. Safedisc causes general slowdown and occasional pauses while it checks for the game CD. Using this patch can increase performance by around 20%. Note that you still need to have the game CD in drive with this hack.
  3. Most people have found that adjusting the in-game video options do not result in much performance increase. Generally reducing the screen resolution and view distance have the greatest effect on the performance, but this may depend on your computer speed and graphics card. Play with these settings until you get a good balance between graphics quality and speed.
  4. Change the way the game computes light attenuation by editting the MORROWIND.INI file and change to the following settings:
    	UseLinear=0 
    	LinearMethod=1 
    	LinearValue=3.0 
    	LinearRadiusMult=1.0
    
    	UseQuadratic=1 
    	QuadraticMethod=2 
    	QuadraticValue=16.0 
    	QuadraticRadiusMult=4.0 
    	
    This might improve performance slightly, again, depending on you computer/graphics card. It does, however, seem to improve the general look of lighting (in my opinion anyways).
  5. If you have plenty of performance you can increase the number of shadows by again editting the MORROWIND.INI file and changing the settings to:
    	Number of Shadows=32
    	Maximum Shadows Per Object=4 
    	
    or other values to suit your taste.
  6. Though this does not affect performance, the game's colors can be improved on a GEForce card (2 or higher?) by modifying the card's Digital Vibrance settings. This setting is usually in the devices Color Correction tab in Display settings (open from right-clicking the desktop and choose Properties or select the Display from the control panel), but it varies from card-to-card, and device driver version.
  7. Simarily, those with performance to spare may wish to enable Anti-Aliasing for the game. Aliasing also makes a remarkable difference in the game if your card supports it (Geforce users at least) - even at the lowest setting (2x) the graphics are almost twice as good as playing with them off. Most people probably just leave the setting and "Application controlled" - but I highly suggest you set it to 2x or Quincunx if you have the resources available. Im currently playing the game on an Athlon 1.2Ghz Geforce4 128 Ti4600 with digital vibrance on medium, AA set to quincunx, all visuals set to max, and 1280x1024x32 - and Morrowind is probably one of the most amazing representations of computer graphics/water/weather effects I have ever seen - now, if I could just get rid of the nasty hits to my FPS whenever I step outside...

Original text written in part by Jason



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