The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

94 ratings
(PC) Skyrim INIs Ins & Outs
By a4nic8er
Skyrim.ini or SkyrimPrefs.ini? What goes where, and do I dare touch that?
Can I get better performance and improve the visual appearance? Let's try and find out.
   
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Introduction
============================================================================

After months of searching for facts and finding incomplete, contradictory, and just plain wrong information, I became rather frustrated. It was impossible to keep track of where those few small correct pieces of information were hidden amongst the many incorrect ones, and which were which. My Skyrim and SkrimPrefs ini files had an increasing number of matching and contradictory entries. So I pasted my favourite .ini edits into a text file with a few notes, cleaned out my Wrye Bash 'INI Edits' folder, and deleted my Skyrim ini files and backups.

Thus, a fresh start. Make a record of it so it will be easier if I ever have to do it again. Approach it logically. Make a list. Go through it from top to bottom. Google everything. Test every claim. Upload images that show results. Maybe someone else will find it useful.

Some of us are fortunate to have high-end computers and enjoy tinkering with things. It can be fun to push resources to the point that performance is reduced, and then find ways to improve efficiency or relieve bottlenecks. Many people only have access to more moderate systems for play, and want to get better visual performance. Sadly, there is no list of magic.ini file entries that can change a Compaq Presario into a Cyberpower Black Pearl. Whatever your reason for looking at this guide, I don't promise to give you answers. I am just trying to provide the information for you to make your own choices.

This is taking weeks. I should have learnt from doing that {LINK REMOVED}.


I have personally tried and tested each of the tweaks mentioned in this guide.
= I use the tweak in this section.
x = I don't use or recommend the tweak in this section.

============================================================================
==== Rule #1 ====
============================================================================
NEVER, EVER ALTER OR MODIFY ANY OF THE .ini FILES IN YOUR \SteamApps\common\Skyrim FOLDER!
  • high.ini
  • low.ini
  • medium.ini
  • Skyrim_default.ini
  • VeryHigh.ini
If you alter any of those files, the following process will probably not work correctly - you will not get default settings.

============================================================================
== First Launch - Default INIs Created ==
============================================================================
When you first launch Skyrim, it uses the above-mentioned files and the choices you make in the launcher window to create 3 files in <UserAccountName>\My Documents\My Games\Skyrim folder.
  • RenderInfo.txt
  • Skyrim.ini
  • SkyrimPrefs.ini
============================================================================

'Skyrim.ini' and SkyrimPrefs.ini' are the files that dictate the settings when you start your game.
If you have altered settings in either or both of these two .ini files and are experiencing problems with your game crashing, becoming unplayable, or just looking very ugly (and forgot to backup the two .ini files before you altered them) you can delete these files and launch the game to create a new default copy of each file. Use "SkyrimLauncher.exe", "TESV.exe", or the "Play" button within your steam library - not a shortcut to 'skse_loader.exe', as it tends to bypass the game's first loader/setup screen. This will require you to select the settings you want as your defaults again.

I don't know whether 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' overrules 'Skyrim.ini' or vice versa (and neither does anybody else, judging by the many contradictory instructions advising which .ini file should have what line added to it). It seems logical that 'Skyrim.ini' should load first then be overruled by any conflicts within 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' (same way that .esp files work - last one wins every conflict) but I can't find any confirmation. It is possible to create a 'SkyrimCustom.ini' file to override 'Skyrim.ini' (but not 'SkyrimPrefs.ini'). More about that later.

============================================================================
= Graphics Cards =
As with CPUs, GPUs come in two main flavours. However, the variations between different families of the ATI and nVidea graphics chipsets and the VRAM utilised, in combination with the wide range of CPUs, motherboard chipsets, and memory modules in use today make it impossible to create a "one size fits all" guide for any contemporary game. I'm not trying to.

That said, your graphics card is one of the components that determines what performance tweaks will work best for you.

============================================================================
"RenderInfo.txt" contains some useful details about your graphics card.
============================================================================

---------------------------------------------

I have read a lot of comments criticising Skyrim's Anisotropic Filtering. Most recommend that it be disabled in all game settings and instead controlled by using your Graphics card's control software settings.

You can disable Antialiasing and Anistropic Filtering in 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' (although this is not strictly necessary) ...

SyrimPrefs.ini
[Display]
iMultiSample=0
iWaterMultisamples=0
iMaxAnisotropy=0

... then use graphics card control software to overrule or 'force' the application to use the highest setting that the graphics card is capable of.
  • ATI: Catalyst Control Centre » Gaming » 3D Application Settings » + Add » TESV.exe

  • nVidea: nVidea Control Panel » 3D settings » Manage 3D Settings » Application Settings » Manage Program Settings » Add » TESV.exe

Forcing 'OpenGL Triple Buffering' is pointless. Skyrim is not an OpenGL game.

============================================================================
=== Hope for the best, plan for the worst ===
============================================================================
A few minutes spent wisely before making changes can save hours of trying to find and fix a mistake.
============================================================================
In preparing to make this guide, I created complete default ini files for all four settings, renamed them for easy identification (from Skyrim-dflt-LOW.ini SkyrimPrefs-dflt-LOW.ini to Skyrim-dflt-ULTRA.ini SkyrimPrefs-dflt-ULTRA.ini), and set them to 'read only.

If ever I wanted to reset my game settings back to any default, I could just delete the current .ini file(s), then copy and rename one or both of the relevant files (remove the '-dflt-XXXX' part of the name).

I now use the Import/Export feature of Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Tweaker by fallenzeraphine[skyrim.nexusmods.com] to manage and rapidly backup/restore default & my own modified .ini files.

============================================================================
== SkyrimCustom.ini ==
============================================================================
We know not to let Steam "Verify Integrity of Game Cache" for Skyrim because it restores .ini settings to default, but that's not the only time it happens.

We've all had those moments when we think "This doesn't look right, I am sure one of my .ini tweaks changed that there". It happened to me (again) just yesterday in the middle of testing some 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' settings. Steam went offline for maintenance so I had a break for an hour then resumed where I had left off. Noticed my MouseWheelZoomSpeed had slowed down so I checked my 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' and, sure enough, several of my tweaks had reverted to default.
============================================================================

Here is a little known fact that may be of some help...
"Changes to automatically created INI files are reverted by Steam when validating the local game cache. User defined INI files can be used to prevent this. Settings defined in a user defined INI file override settings in a regular INI file."

Used by the game
  • My Documents\My Games\Skyrim\SkyrimCustom.ini (overrides Skyrim.ini).
source[www.creationkit.com]
After a little experimentation, it is apparent that only entries specifically applicable to 'Skyrim.ini' will work in a 'SkyrimCustom.ini' - and no entries in 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' will overridden by 'SkyrimCustom.ini'.

So, 'SkyrimCustom.ini is only useful for duplicating/preserving 'Skyrim.ini' entries that you don't want to be inadvertently altered by Steam. When you are sure you've finished tweaking your 'Skyrim'ini', you could copy 'Skyrim.ini' to 'SkyrimCustom.ini' but would have to remember to make any further alterations to 'SkyrimCustom.ini' as well any time you wanted to alter 'Skyrim.ini' again (or the changes may not work).

  • 'SkyrimCustom.ini' entries must also have a corresponding line in 'Skyrim.ini'
    ('SkyrimCustom.ini' won't override a blank space).
  • Some 'Skyrim.ini' entries are not overridden by 'SkyrimCustom.ini'
    (e.g. sIntroSequence, bReflectLODTrees).

Seemingly of little use if, like me, you use Wrye Bash to switch INI Edits on/off, right? Wrong.

============================================================================
INI Editing With Wrye Smash (Wrye Bash For Skyrim)
============================================================================
I use Wrye Smash (Wrye Bash for Skyrim)[skyrim.nexusmods.com] for modding and configuring my game.
It makes life easier by allowing the user to control and adjust mod install order and identify installer conflicts via its 'Installers' tab, enables quick and easy activating/deactivating of mods via its 'Mods' tab, and allows rapid changes of .ini settings via its 'INI Edits' tab. It also integrates with BOSS[skyrim.nexusmods.com] to give correct mod load order and has the wonderful Bashed Patch.
============================================================================

To add a 'SkyrimCustom.ini' to Wrye Smash:
  • In your <UserAccountName>\My Documents\My Games\Skyrim folder, make a copy of 'Skyrim.ini' and rename the copy 'SkyrimCustom.ini'.

  • Then in Wrye Smash open the 'INI Edits' tab and (at the top right) click on the button that has 'Skyrim.ini' or 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' and scroll down and click on 'Browse...'. It will pop up a window focused in your 'SteamApps\Common\Skyrim\Data' folder.


  • Browse to your '<UserAccountName>\My Documents\My Games\Skyrim' folder select the 'SkyrimCustom.ini' file and click 'Open'.


  • This will add 'SkyrimCustom.ini' to the list of files available via that button.
You can apply any INI Edit to both 'Skyrim.ini' and 'SkyrimCustom.ini' (check/change which .ini file is being operated by using the button). Take care not to apply 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' edits to 'Skyrim.ini' or vice versa.

While not necessary, you can convert 'Skyrim.ini' INI Edits into 'SkyrimCustom.ini' INI Edits in Wrye Smash:
  • Select 'SkyrimCustom.ini' in the button.
  • Select a 'blah, blah [Skyrim].ini'
  • Right-click and select 'Open'
  • Select 'File', scroll down and click on 'Save As'
  • Rename (insert Custom) so the file is named 'blah, blah [SkyrimCustom].ini'
  • Close the file
  • Select the new 'blah, blah [SkyrimCustom].ini' file
  • Right-click and select 'Apply'
  • Verify the result

  • Rinse and repeat for any other [Skyrim].ini edits you wish to convert to [SkyrimCustom].ini edits.

Note: When using Wrye Smash, always ensure that the correct .ini file is being operated on before applying an edit. Do this by checking which .ini file is named in the button.

============================================================================
== Pt.1a Skyrim.ini - Default settings ==
============================================================================
This is a list of default Skyrim.ini entries automatically generated when the game is first launched and the quality setting is chosen in the launcher.
============================================================================

Skyrim.ini (ULTRA)

[General]
sLanguage=ENGLISH

uExterior Cell Buffer=36

[Display]
fShadowLODMaxStartFade=1000.0
fSpecularLODMaxStartFade=2000.0
fLightLODMaxStartFade=3500.0
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=2048
bAllowScreenshot=1

[Audio]
fMusicDuckingSeconds=6.0
fMusicUnDuckingSeconds=8.0
fMenuModeFadeOutTime=3.0
fMenuModeFadeInTime=1.0

[Grass]
bAllowCreateGrass=1
bAllowLoadGrass=0

[GeneralWarnings]
SGeneralMasterMismatchWarning=One or more plugins could not find the correct versions of the master files they depend on. Errors may occur during load or game play. Check the "Warnings.txt" file for more information.

[Archive]
sResourceArchiveList=Skyrim - Misc.bsa, Skyrim - Shaders.bsa, Skyrim - Textures.bsa, Skyrim - Interface.bsa, Skyrim - Animations.bsa, Skyrim - Meshes.bsa, Skyrim - Sounds.bsa
sResourceArchiveList2=Skyrim - Voices.bsa, Skyrim - VoicesExtra.bsa

[Combat]
fMagnetismStrafeHeadingMult=0.0
fMagnetismLookingMult=0.0

[Papyrus]
fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS=500.0
bEnableLogging=0
bEnableTrace=0
bLoadDebugInformation=0

[Water]
bReflectLODObjects=1
bReflectLODLand=1
bReflectSky=1
bReflectLODTrees=1

===========================================
Skyrim.ini Differences between ULTRA and HIGH

[Water]

bReflectSky=0

===========================================
Skyrim.ini Differences between ULTRA and MEDIUM

[Water]
bReflectLODObjects=0

bReflectSky=0
bReflectLODTrees=0


===========================================
Skyrim.ini Differences between ULTRA and LOW

[Water]
bReflectLODObjects=0
bReflectLODLand=0

bReflectLODTrees=0

============================================================================
============================================================================
SKYRIM.INI DEFAULT ENTRIES DETAILS.
  • DESCRIPTIONS
    • With notes to myself.
============================================================================

[General]
sLanguage=ENGLISH

uExterior Cell Buffer=36
  • The number of cells around the player to be buffered (loaded into memory) while in exterior world, including the cell you are in.

[Display]
fShadowLODMaxStartFade=1000.0
  • MAXIMUM distance that shadows will begin to fade.
    • Related to 'fShadowLODStartFade=200.0000' in default 'SkyrimPrefs.ini

fSpecularLODMaxStartFade=2000.0
  • MAXIMUM distance that object specularity (reflections of light sources) will begin to fade.
    • Related to 'fSpecularLODStartFade=200' in default 'SkyrimPrefs.ini

fLightLODMaxStartFade=3500.0
  • MAXIMUM distance that direct light from light sources will begin to fade.
    • Related to 'fLightLODStartFade=200' in default 'SkyrimPrefs.ini

iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=2048
  • Primary resolution of shadows (blockiness).
    • This entry also appears in 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' - beware of contradictions?


[Audio]
fMusicDuckingSeconds=6.0
fMusicUnDuckingSeconds=8.0
fMenuModeFadeOutTime=3.0
fMenuModeFadeInTime=1.0


[Grass]
bAllowCreateGrass=1
  • Grass enabled. Disabled =0 to turn all grass off.

bAllowLoadGrass=0
  • On/off switch for forcing all types of grass to load, or 1,2,3,4 for # of types?

[GeneralWarnings]
SGeneralMasterMismatchWarning=One or more plugins could not find the correct versions of the master files they depend on. Errors may occur during load or game play. Check the "Warnings.txt" file for more information.
  • Content of on-screen warning given if game is started with incorrect or missing .esm files.
    • No need to touch this.

[Archive]
sResourceArchiveList=Skyrim - Misc.bsa, Skyrim - Shaders.bsa, Skyrim - Textures.bsa, Skyrim - Interface.bsa, Skyrim - Animations.bsa, Skyrim - Meshes.bsa, Skyrim - Sounds.bsa
sResourceArchiveList2=Skyrim - Voices.bsa, Skyrim - VoicesExtra.bsa
  • The resource archive files required for the game to run.
    • No need to touch this.

[Combat]
fMagnetismStrafeHeadingMult=0.0
  • Something to do with archery? Haven't found a mention of it without "=0.0"
fMagnetismLookingMult=0.0
  • Something to do with archery? Haven't found a mention of it without "=0.0"

[Papyrus]
fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS=500.0
  • Controls how much time is added onto the load screen to do additional script processing in case the cell being loaded into needs to set itself up.
    • No need to touch this.

bEnableLogging=0
  • 1st of 3 script logging functions (disabled). Turns logging on and off.

bEnableTrace=0
  • 2nd of 3 script logging functions (disabled). Turns on and off the script trace commands. System error and warning messages will still be logged to disk. If bEnableLogging is false, this setting is ignored as nothing will be written to disk.

bLoadDebugInformation=0
  • 3rd of 3 script logging functions (disabled). Turns on and off the loading of additional debug information - essentially line number information. If this setting is off, error messages cannot generate line number data.

[Water]
bReflectLODObjects=1
  • Enables reflections of objects (bridges, buildings, ruins) on water.
bReflectLODLand=1
  • Enables reflections of mountains on water.
bReflectSky=1
  • Enables reflections of sky on water.
bReflectLODTrees=1
  • Enables reflections of trees on water.

============================================================================
But wait, there's more.
============================================================================
== Pt.1b In-game Preferences Alter SkyrimPrefs.ini ==
============================================================================
The first time you access the settings via the in-game Menu when playing Skyrim, changes will be made to 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' (no changes to 'Skyrim.ini').
============================================================================

If you chose Ultra settings in the launcher and then, in game...
  • ...open the Menu » Settings » Gameplay, and disable...
    • Vibration
    • 360 Controller
    • Save on Rest
    • Save on Wait
    • Save on Travel
    • Save on Character Menu
  • ...Then go to Settings > Display and alter nothing..
  • ...Then go to Settings > Audio and alter nothing..
  • ...Then exit (it 'Saves')
... the following alterations and additions are made to your 'SkyrimPrefs.ini':

ALTERS
[Display]
fShadowDistance=8000.0000
(was =8000)
fTreesMidLODSwitchDist=10000000.0000
(was =1e+007)
fSpecularLODStartFade=2000.0000
(was =2000)
fLightLODStartFade=3500.0000
(was =35000)
fMeshLODLevel2FadeDist=10000000.0000
(was =1e+007)
fMeshLODLevel1FadeDist=10000000.0000
(was =1e+007)
fShadowBiasScale=0.1500
(was =0.15)

ADDS
[Display]
iShadowFilter=3
bShadowsOnGrass=1
bTransparencyMultisampling=0
bDeferredShadows=1
bDrawShadows=1

ALTERS
[Grass]
fGrassStartFadeDistance=7000.0000
(was =7000)

[MAIN]
bGamepadEnable=0
(was =1)
fHUDOpacity=1.0000
(was =1.000)
bSaveOnPause=0
(was =1)
bSaveOnTravel=0
(was =1)
bSaveOnWait=0
(was =1)
bSaveOnRest=0
(was =1)

ADDS
[MAIN]
fSkyCellRefFadeDistance=150000.0000

[Interface]
fMouseCursorSpeed=1.0000
bShowCompass=1

ALTERS
[Controls]
bGamePadRumble=0
(was =1)

ADDS
[Controls]
bUseKinect=0

ALTERS
[SaveGame]
fAutosaveEveryXMins=60.0000 (doesn't actually disable Auto save. Set to =0 if you want to)
(was =15.0000)

ALTERS
[AudioMenu]
fVal3=1.0000
uID3=94881 (may differ: hardware dependent?)
(was
fVal3=1.0000
uID3=0)


[TerrainManager]
fTreeLoadDistance=75000.0000
(was =75000)
fBlockMaximumDistance=250000.0000
(was =250000)
fBlockLevel1Distance=70000.0000
(was =70000)
fBlockLevel0Distance=35000.0000
(was =35000)
fSplitDistanceMult=1.5000
(was =1.5)

[LOD]
fLODFadeOutMultObjects=15.0000
(was =15)
fLODFadeOutMultItems=15.0000
(was =15)
fLODFadeOutMultActors=15.0000
(was =15)

ADDS
[LOD]
fLODFadeOutMultSkyCell=1.0000

[Water]
iWaterReflectHeight=512
iWaterReflectWidth=512
bUseWaterDisplacements=1
bUseWaterRefractions=1
bUseWaterReflections=1
bUseWaterDepth=1

============================================================================
☺5 Tweaks I always use ='Skyrim.ini'=
============================================================================
Skyrim.ini

[General]
sIntroSequence=
  • Disables Bethesda startup logo screens, similar to Steam's -novid switch.
  • This is a standard Wrye Bash 'INI Edit'
  • (default =BGS_LOGO.BIK)
  • Must be modified in 'Skyrim.ini' (fails to override if only placed in 'SkyrimCustom.ini')
iLargeIntRefCount=99999
  • The number of items allowed within an internal cell.
  • The standard Wrye Bash 'INI Edit' =999999
  • (default is 1000)
fFlickeringLightDistance=8192
  • Increases the distance that the light from torches and fires pop into view.
  • You might prefer =4096
  • Default =1024
[Actor]
fVisibleNavmeshMoveDist=12288
  • The distance that arrows can hit enemies.
  • This is a standard Wrye Bash 'INI Edit'
  • (default =4096.0000)
[Camera]
fMouseWheelZoomSpeed=100
fMouseWheelZoomIncrement=0.120
f1st3rdSwitchDelay=0.1
iHorseTransitionMillis=001
  • Switch between 1st and 3rd person views instantly when using 'F' key, while having a fast and relatively smooth zoom with mousewheel.
  • Defaults
    • [Camera]
    • fMouseWheelZoomSpeed=0.8000
    • fMouseWheelZoomIncrement=0.0750
    • f1st3rdSwitchDelay=0.8000 (or something like that)
    • iHorseTransitionMillis=0.8000 (or something like that)

============================================================================
☺ Map Tweaks ='Skyrim.ini'=
============================================================================
Settings to disable clouds and blur and enable 360 degree rotation of view on the world map, plus improve zoom speeds on both world and local maps.
============================================================================

Add these to the bottom of the 'Skyrim.ini' file, below whatever is last. The [MapMenu] section shouldn't exist unless you or a mod have already created it.

Skyrim.ini
[MapMenu]
bWorldMapNoSkyDepthBlur=1
fWorldMapNearDepthBlurScale=0
fWorldMapDepthBlurScale=0
fWorldMapMaximumDepthBlur=0
fMapWorldYawRange=3600.0000
fMapWorldInitialPitch=90.0000
fMapWorldMaxHeight=130000.0000
fMapWorldMinHeight=5000.0000
fMapWorldZoomSpeed=0.7500
fMapLookMouseSpeed=3.0000
fMapZoomMouseSpeed=15.0000


You may want to adjust the zoom settings (I have mouse acceleration disabled and might use a different screen resolution).

I have no idea what the defaults are. It should be safe to just delete these if you don't want them (including the [MapMenu] header), as long as they didn't exist before you added them.


============================================================================
☺ Shadows Update Realtime ='Skyrim.ini'=
============================================================================
This will eliminate the shadow flicker that occurs every few seconds.
============================================================================

Skyrim.ini

[Display]
fSunShadowUpdateTime=0.0100
fSunUpdateThreshold=0.0200
  • Settings for (almost) realtime shadows.

  • Setting these to =0.0000 causes constant shadow jitter.

  • You will still see exterior daytime shadows moving, as the sun moves quite rapidly in game, unless you alter the timescale.**

Defaults
[Display]
fSunShadowUpdateTime=1.000
fSunUpdateThreshold=0.500



** You can alter the timescale via the console (~ key).

Type "set timescale to X" (without quotes) where X is a number between 6 * and 20. Default Timescale is 20:1 (1 minute real time = 20 minutes in game).

As with most console commands, you will need to create a game save to make it permanent. If you load a game that was saved before the change was made, the timescale will be reverted to the active setting when the save was created.

* Setting timescale below 6 may create problems with actors AI and cause quests to become uncompletable. Reducing timescale from the default also decreases the frequency of random dragon attacks. I use 10.

If using Wrye Bash, you can set timescale in 'Tweak Settings' when rebuilding the bashed patch.

============================================================================
☺ So Many Scripts (Papyrus) ='Skyrim.ini'=
============================================================================
If, like me, you love tweaking and cramming mods into your game there may come a time when you find that the game is sometimes a bit unresponsive. Maybe it stutters as you travel through exterior cells, or you occasionally end up staring at an endless load screen when trying to load a save. These symptoms can be the result of having a large number of scripts running which are using the available default resources. Here is a tweak to give a little more head room.
============================================================================

Skyrim.ini

[Papyrus]
fUpdateBudgetMS=800.0
fExtraTaskletBudgetMS=800.0
fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS=2000.0

  • May increase load times and/or decrease framerate (although my framerate increased).

Defaults
[Papyrus]
fUpdateBudgetMS=1.2
fExtraTaskletBudgetMS=1.2
fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS=500.0


fUpdateBudgetMS

This setting controls how much time the main Papyrus update loop gets. This loop mainly controls function dispatch. If a lot of function calls are being made and a lot of scripts are running, increasing this value may improve script performance at the cost of reduced game framerate. However most of the time the VM won't take this entire time slice and increasing the value will have no effect.

Default: 1.2

fExtraTaskletBudgetMS

This setting controls how much time taken out of another game thread is taken up by running script tasklets (the code that runs the raw script byte code). This time is on top of the time that the tasklets normally get in their own thread, but because that thread is shared they may end up being starved if other systems are highly stressed. If the game is not stressed, this time will not be used. Increasing this value may improve script performance in high-stress situations at the expense of framerate.

Default: 1.2

fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS

This setting controls how much time is added onto the load screen to do additional script processing in case the cell being loaded into needs to set itself up. Adjusting the time will adjust your visible load screen time. Adjust this setting if a cell with very complicated scripting is not getting quite set up in time by the time the player loads. This also may depend on the story manager since quests may not start until the load screen finishes if they are started up right before the player hits a load door. If the quest initial stage has a lot of scripting then it may need the extra time to run before the load screen is pulled down.

Default: 500.0 (on PC), 2000.0 (on Xenon and PS3)
source[www.creationkit.com]

============================================================================
☺ SkyUI: Prevent Error Code 4 ='Skyrim.ini'= (Max. Memory Settings).
============================================================================
Skyrim.ini

[Papyrus]
iMinMemoryPageSize=128
iMaxMemoryPageSize=512
iMaxAllocatedMemoryBytes=76800

============================================================================
Graphics Tweak ='Skyrim.ini'= FPS/Performance hit.
============================================================================
POTENTIALLY RISKY - Definite FPS hit - USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!
============================================================================


DHJudas
"The function/switch/command "ugridstoload" basically referres to the section of landscape that include specific details/models/animations and so forth pertaining to it. The more you load, the further/more of these will be shown, the further the LOD style (and terrible looking) placeholders are put back. Higher value, Significantly higher levels of detail and quality and of course more stress on your computer in total... I've found personally that the video card is only a minor if not medium factor in this, and that the CPU/RAM/VRAM etc play a huge role.

If you have anything less than 1GB video card, don't bother trying anything beyond 7, it's not going to be worth it."

FORMULA:
uExterior Cell Buffer=(X+1)^2
uGridsToLoad=X
iPreloadSizeLimit=(X*1024)^2


DEFAULTS:
Skyrim.ini
[General]
uExterior Cell Buffer=36
uGridsToLoad=5
iPreloadSizeLimit=26214400

  • You can ALWAYS load a save from a lower "uGridsToLoad" value (an uGridsToLoad=5 save will load if you changed to 7 9 or 11).

  • You can NEVER load a save from a higher "uGridsToLoad" value (an uGridsToLoad=9 save will load if you changed to 11 but crashes if you changed to 7 or 5).



While this tweak does improves visuals, it comes with a performance cost and the risk of making any consequent game saves unusable should you wish to revert the settings. Failing to incorporate or revert these settings correctly can also lead to the entire game becoming unstable and causing it to CTD (Crash To Desktop).



Skyrim.ini

[General]
uExterior Cell Buffer=64
uGridsToLoad=7 *WARNING*: Not easily reverted! #
iPreloadSizeLimit=51380224
  • I use this setting.

OR, if you have a very powerful computer:

[General]
uExterior Cell Buffer=100
uGridsToLoad=9 *WARNING*: Not easily reverted! #
iPreloadSizeLimit=84934656

OR, if you have an extremely powerful computer and you want to really hammer your hardware:

[General]
uExterior Cell Buffer=144
uGridsToLoad=11 *WARNING*: Not easily reverted! #
iPreloadSizeLimit=126877696


# If you need to revert to a lower "uGridsToLoad" setting:

METHOD:
  • 1: Start the game with the current ugrids value..
  • 2: Load the save game that you'd like to revert/change back.
  • 3: Once the game is loaded, ALT+TAB or minimise the game.
  • 4: Navigate to your Skyrim.ini file located typically in the documents/my games/skyrim/
  • 5: Input the Ugrids value you'd like to use, DEFAULT is "5", otherwise if you want to go from 9 down to 7, put in 7.
  • 6: Save the file and then maximise/tab back into skyrim that is already running.
  • 7: hit the "~"/console key and type in "refreshini"
  • 8: Save the game as a new save file.

=============================

Source: Bethesda Softworks Forums[forums.bethsoft.com]

============================================================================
x Field Of View
============================================================================
ALTERING YOUR FIELD OF VIEW CAN HAVE A DETRIMENTAL EFFECT ON APPEARANCE, CAUSING SWITCHING OF SHADOWS TO LOWER LEVEL OF DETAIL. ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE NON-DEFAULT SHADOW SETTINGS.
============================================================================

Skyrim.ini:
[General]
fDefaultFOV=75
fDefaultWorldFOV=75
fDefault1stPersonFOV=75
  • (Default =65)

However, some say FOV can only be reliably adjusted ingame via the console
(and you may have to do this if the above settings don't "stick").

To change from default to 75 degree field of view:
  • use tilde (~) key to enter the console.
  • then type "FOV 75" (without quotes).
  • Use tilde key again to exit the console.
  • Save game.
Once a game is saved changes to the FOV will carry over between reloads and sessions (unless you change it again or load a saved game created before to the last saved change).

============================================================================

Feeling a bit nauseous? Is your brain telling you it should be seeing more? Feel the urge to increase your FOV? Maybe you could just sit a bit further away from your screen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blZUao2jTGA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1XsPYPGcl0
============================================================================
Skyrim.ini - FYI: Other Random Stuff.
============================================================================
For reference only - ADD THESE SETTINGS ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK!
============================================================================
This is a list of some further Skyrim.ini settings that are not automatically generated, and/or not covered elsewhere.

Skyrim.ini

[General]

uInterior Cell Buffer=
  • The number of cells around the player to be buffered (loaded into memory) while in interior world, including the cell you are in.
  • (Default =3 )

[Papyrus]

fUpdateBudgetMS=
  • This setting controls how much time the main Papyrus update loop gets. This loop mainly controls function dispatch. If a lot of function calls are being made and a lot of scripts are running, increasing this value may improve script performance at the cost of reduced game framerate. However most of the time the VM won't take this entire time slice and increasing the value will have no effect.
  • (Default: 1.2 )

fExtraTaskletBudgetMS=
  • This setting controls how much time taken out of another game thread is taken up by running script tasklets (the code that runs the raw script byte code). This time is on top of the time that the tasklets normally get in their own thread, but because that thread is shared they may end up being starved if other systems are highly stressed. If the game is not stressed, this time will not be used. Increasing this value may improve script performance in high-stress situations at the expense of framerate.
  • (Default: 1.2 )

iMinMemoryPageSize=
  • This is the smallest amount of memory the VM will allocate for a single stack page, in bytes. Smaller values will waste less memory on small stacks, but larger values will reduce the number of allocations for stacks with many small frames (which improves performance).
  • Max: 2147483647
  • (Default: 128 )
  • WARNING: Increasing this setting will cause SkyUI Error Code 4.

iMaxMemoryPageSize=
  • This is the largest amount of memory the VM will allocate for a single stack page, in bytes. Smaller values may force the VM to allocate more pages for large stack frames. Larger values may cause the memory allocator to allocate differently, decreasing performance for large stack frames.
  • Max: 2147483647
  • (Default: 512 )
  • WARNING: Increasing this setting will cause SkyUI Error Code 4.

iMaxAllocatedMemoryBytes=
  • This is the maximum amount of memory the VM will allocate in total for stack frames. If an allocation would push memory usage over this limit, the VM will instead wait for more memory to be freed. Increasing this value may improve performance in high-stress situations with lots of scripts running, but will use more memory. Note that it is possible to exceed this value temporarily while loading a save game due to slightly different allocation ordering.
  • Max= 2147483647 ) 2GB
  • (Default= 76800 ) 75kB)
  • WARNING: Increasing this setting will cause SkyUI Error Code 4.
  • WARNING: This setting is for stack size not heap size, so there is no reason for setting this to a huge value even though it is possible. Increasing iMaxAllocatedMemoryBytes to values much larger than default can cause stack thrashing (stack buffer overflows), intermittent game stuttering, erratic game behaviour and CTDs. Stack thrashing will produce stack dumps in the Papyrus log. The dumps can be very large if many scripts are running, producing a very large log file.

uTraceStatusOfQuest
  • 4th script logging function (disabled). This setting sets a quest to track for script changes by form ID (converted to decimal). The quest that this setting specifies will spit out a Papyrus stack trace to the log every time a Papyrus script tries to change something with it like starting, stopping, setting a stage, or showing an objective.
  • (Default: 0 )

============================================================================
== Pt.2a SkyrimPrefs.ini - Default settings ==
============================================================================
This is a list of the default SkyrimPrefs.ini automatically generated when the game is first launched and Ultra setting is selected, then the in-game Settings are set (as discussed in section Pt.1b).
  • Sometimes with a description.
  • (and the comparative results for the other three choices)
  • Plus a note to myself.
============================================================================

[General]
fBrightLightColorB=1.0000
fBrightLightColorG=1.0000
fBrightLightColorR=1.0000
iStoryManagerLoggingEvent=-1
bEnableStoryManagerLogging=0


[Imagespace]
bDoDepthOfField=1
iRadialBlurLevel=2


[Display]
iBlurDeferredShadowMask=3
  • The higher the number, the more blurry the shadows are and the less FPS you get.
  • (HIGH =3 : MED =1 : LOW =0)
  • Reduces jagged shadow edges. Maximum recommended =7, can cause grainy shadows.
fInteriorShadowDistance=3000.0000
  • Interior cell shadow & lighting visibility range.
fShadowDistance=8000.0000
  • Exterior cell shadow & lighting visibility range.
  • (HIGH =4000.0000 : MED =2500.0000 : LOW =2000)
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=1024

iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=2048

iShadowSplitCount=2

iMaxAnisotropy=16
  • (HIGH =8 : MED =1 : LOW =1)
fLeafAnimDampenDistEnd=4600.0000
fLeafAnimDampenDistStart=3600.0000

fTreesMidLODSwitchDist=10000000.0000
  • (HIGH =5000.0000 : MED =3600.0000 : LOW =3600.0000)
fGamma=1.0000
fDecalLOD2=1500.0000
fDecalLOD1=1000.0000

fSpecularLODStartFade=2000.0000
  • (HIGH =1000.0000 : MED =500.0000 : LOW =200.0000)
fShadowLODStartFade=200.0000

fLightLODStartFade=3500.0000
  • (HIGH =2500.0000 : MED =1000.0000 : LOW =200.0000)
iTexMipMapMinimum=0

iTexMipMapSkip=0
  • (HIGH =0 : MED =0 :LOW =1)
iWaterMultisamples=4
  • (HIGH =4 : MED =1 : LOW =1)
iMultiSample=16
  • (HIGH =8 : MED =4 : LOW =1)
iShadowMode=3

bTreesReceiveShadows=0
bDrawLandShadows=0

bFull Screen=1
iSize H=
<Your screen resolution height>
iSize W=<Your screen resolution width>
fMeshLODFadePercentDefault=1.2000
fMeshLODFadeBoundDefault=256.0000
fMeshLODLevel2FadeTreeDistance=2048.0000
fMeshLODLevel1FadeTreeDistance=2844.0000


fMeshLODLevel2FadeDist=10000000.0000
  • (HIGH =10000000.0000 : MED =3072.0000 : LOW =3072.0000)
fMeshLODLevel1FadeDist=10000000.0000
  • (HIGH =10000000.0000 : MED =4096.0000 : LOW =4096)
iScreenShotIndex=1

bShadowMaskZPrepass=0

bMainZPrepass=0

iMaxSkinDecalsPerFrame=25
  • Maximum number of blood splatters per frame on pc/npc.
  • (HIGH =10 : MED =3 : LOW =0)
iMaxDecalsPerFrame=100
  • Maximum number of blood splatters per frame on ground, walls, etc.
  • (HIGH =30 : MED =10 : LOW =0)
bFloatPointRenderTarget=0

sD3DDevice="<Your graphics card name>"

bFXAAEnabled=0
  • FXAA disabled. On/off switch for FXAA.
  • (HIGH =0 : MED =1 : LOW =0)
iShadowMapResolution=4096
  • (HIGH =2048 : MED =1024 : LOW =512)
  • Increasing this (especially above 4096) can cause FPS loss in interior cells.
fShadowBiasScale=0.1500
  • Affects exterior cell shadows look and position depending on the relative angle of player viewpoint.
  • This controls how much shadow is applied to an object, and controls overall shadow placement.
  • (HIGH =0.2500 : MED =0.3000 : LOW =0.500)
  • Lower = sharper, higher = smoother.
iShadowMaskQuarter=4
  • The lower the number, the softer the interior cell shadows.
  • This controls shadow quality and structure at distance, where 1 is the lowest and 4 is the highest and best quality.
  • (HIGH =4 : MED =3 : LOW =3)
iAdapter=0

iPresentInterval=1

iShadowFilter=3

bShadowsOnGrass=1

bTransparencyMultisampling=0
bDeferredShadows=1

bDrawShadows=1

[Grass]
b30GrassVS=1

fGrassStartFadeDistance=7000.0000
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=7000.0000
fGrassMinStartFadeDistance=0.0000


[MAIN]
bGamepadEnable=0
bCrosshairEnabled=1
fHUDOpacity=1.0000
bSaveOnPause=0
bSaveOnTravel=0
bSaveOnWait=0
bSaveOnRest=0
fSkyCellRefFadeDistance=150000.0000


[GamePlay]
bShowFloatingQuestMarkers=1
bShowQuestMarkers=1
iDifficulty=2


[Interface]
bDialogueSubtitles=0
bGeneralSubtitles=0
fMouseCursorSpeed=1.0000
bShowCompass=1


[Controls]
fGamepadHeadingSensitivity=1.0000
fMouseHeadingSensitivity=0.0125
bAlwaysRunByDefault=1
bInvertYValues=0
bGamePadRumble=0
bMouseAcceleration=1
bUseKinect=0


[Particles]
iMaxDesired=750

[SaveGame]
fAutosaveEveryXMins=60.0000

[AudioMenu]
fAudioMasterVolume=1.0000
fVal7=1.0000
uID7=0
fVal6=1.0000
uID6=0
fVal5=1.0000
uID5=0
fVal4=1.0000
uID4=0
fVal3=1.0000
uID3=94881
fVal2=0.4000
uID2=466532
fVal1=1.0000
uID1=554685
fVal0=0.8000
uID0=1007612


[Clouds]
fCloudLevel2Distance=262144.0000
fCloudLevel1Distance=32768.0000
fCloudLevel0Distance=16384.0000
fCloudNearFadeDistance=9000.0000


[TerrainManager]
fTreeLoadDistance=75000.0000
fBlockMaximumDistance=250000.0000
fBlockLevel1Distance=70000.0000
fBlockLevel0Distance=35000.0000
fSplitDistanceMult=1.5000
bShowLODInEditor=0


continued in next section...
== Pt.2b SkyrimPrefs.ini - Default settings ==
...continued from previous section.

[NavMesh]
fObstacleAlpha=0.5000
fCoverSideHighAlpha=0.8000
fCoverSideLowAlpha=0.6500
fEdgeFullAlpha=1.0000
fEdgeHighAlpha=0.7500
fEdgeLowAlpha=0.5000
fTriangleFullAlpha=0.7000
fTriangleHighAlpha=0.3500
fTriangleLowAlpha=0.2000
fLedgeBoxHalfHeight=25.0000
fEdgeDistFromVert=10.0000
fEdgeThickness=10.0000
fPointSize=2.5000


[Trees]
bRenderSkinnedTrees=1
uiMaxSkinnedTreesToRender=20

[Decals]
bDecals=1
  • On/off switch for blood decals on ground, walls, etc.
  • (HIGH =1 : MED =1 :LOW =0)
bSkinnedDecals=1
  • On/off switch for blood decals on pc/npc
  • (HIGH =1 : MED =1 :LOW =0)
uMaxDecals=1000
  • Maximum number of blood splatters on ground, walls, etc.
  • (HIGH =250 : MED =100 : LOW =0)
uMaxSkinDecals=100
  • Maximum number of blood splatters on pc and/or npc.
  • (HIGH =50 : MED =35 : LOW =0)
uMaxSkinDecalPerActor=60
  • Maximum number of blood splatters per npc.
  • (HIGH =40 : MED =20 : LOW =0)

[LOD]
fLODFadeOutMultActors=15.0000
  • (HIGH =6.0 : MED =3.0 : LOW =2.5)
fLODFadeOutMultObjects=15.0000
  • (HIGH =7.5 : MED =2.5 : LOW =2.5)
fLODFadeOutMultItems=15.0000
  • (HIGH =4.5 : MED =3.5 : LOW =1)

[TerrainManager]
fTreeLoadDistance=75000.0000
  • The distance at which trees are no longer rendered. Higher number = more further trees.
  • (HIGH =40000.0000 : MED =25000.0000 : LOW =12500.0000)
  • Affects FPS.
fBlockMaximumDistance=250000.0000
  • The distance at which mountains are rendered with low polygon meshes.
  • (HIGH =150000.0000 : MED =100000.0000 : LOW =75000.0000)
  • Affects FPS
fBlockLevel1Distance=70000.0000
  • The distance at which bridges, buildings, ruins are rendered, lower polygon.
    (HIGH =40000.0000 : MED =32768.0000 : LOW =25000.0000)
  • Affects FPS
fBlockLevel0Distance=35000.0000
  • The distance at which bridges, buildings, ruins are rendered, higher polygon.
  • (HIGH =25000.0000 : MED =20480.0000 : LOW =15000.0000)
  • Affects FPS
fSplitDistanceMult=1.5000
  • Affects the overall level of detail in distant landscape.
  • (HIGH =1.1000 : MED =0.7500 : LOW =0.4000) Can be raised above =1.5000
  • Affects FPS

[Grass]
b30GrassVS=1
  • On/off switch to use Vortex Shader 3.0 for grass.
  • (HIGH =1 : MED =0 : LOW =0)
fGrassStartFadeDistance=7000.0000
  • Distance that grass begins not being rendered.
  • (HIGH =5000.0000 : MED =3000.0000 : LOW =0.0000)
  • Affects FPS

[Imagespace]
iRadialBlurLevel=2
  • (HIGH =1 : MED =0 : LOW =0)

[Launcher]
bEnableFileSelection=1
bShowAllResolutions=1
uLastAspectRatio=4


[BlurShaderHDR]
bDoHighDynamicRange=1
  • On/off switch for some HDR effect parameter.
  • (HIGH =1 : MED =1 :LOW =0)

[BlurShader]
bUseBlurShader=0


[Water]
iWaterReflectHeight=512
iWaterReflectWidth=512
  • Texture size/resolution for reflections on water.
bUseWaterDisplacements=1
  • ?
bUseWaterRefractions=1
  • On/off switch for refraction of water.
bUseWaterReflections=1
  • On/off switch for reflections on water.
bUseWaterDepth=1
  • On/off switch for displaying depth of water.

============================================================================
☺ Mouse Lag: VSync or what? ='SkyrimPrefs.ini'=
============================================================================
Disabling VSync can improve framerate and eliminate or reduce mouse lag.
Disabling in-game mouse acceleration can eliminate or reduce mouse lag.
============================================================================


SkyrimPrefs.ini

[Display]
iPresentInterval=0
  • Disables VSync.
  • Should always be last entry in [Display] section.
  • Default =1 (enabled)

[Controls]
bMouseAcceleration=0
  • Disable mouse acceleration
  • May require increasing in-game mouse sensitivity. *
  • Default =1 (enabled)


* To increase mouse sensitivity ...
  • In game:
    • open the Menu » Settings » Gameplay » Look Sensitivity (move slider).

  • In SkyrimPrefs.ini:
      [Controls]
      fMouseHeadingSensitivity=0.0200

      • Affected by screen resolutions and Windows mouse speed settings.
      • Default =0.0125


    ============================================================================
☺ Simple Graphics Tweaks ='SkyrimPrefs.ini'= (FPS hit).
============================================================================
Display Settings
  • Land and Tree shadows
    • Causes rocks, some walls, and trees to cast shadows on themselves, improving 3D appearance.

  • iShadowMapResolution=8192
    • Gives interior cell shadows smoother edges (exterior shadows are hard-capped at 4096)
    • Can reduce FPS in interior cells (if so try =4096).

Grass Fade Distance settings
  • Improves realism, can reduce FPS in exterior cells.
============================================================================

SkyrimPrefs.ini

[Display]
bDrawLandShadows=1
bTreesReceiveShadows=1
iShadowMapResolution=8192

[Grass]
fGrassStartFadeDistance=14000
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=28000
fGrassMinStartFadeDistance=1000



---------------------------------------------

DEFAULT SETTINGS

SkyrimPrefs.ini
[Display]
bDrawLandShadows=0
bTreesReceiveShadows=0
iShadowMapResolution= Ultra=4096 : High=2048 : Medium=1024 : Low=512

[Grass]
fGrassStartFadeDistance= Ultra=7000 : High=5000 : Medium=3000 : Low=0
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=7000.0000
fGrassMinStartFadeDistance=0.0000

============================================================================
Blocks & LODs Visual Tweak ='SkyrimPrefs.ini'= (FPS Hit)
============================================================================
Based on Ultra settings, these tweaks can improve the mid to long distance view, and are safer than adjusting uGrids in the other .ini file. There will be a performance hit and it may cause some texture popping at distance. Good for improving screenshots.
============================================================================

SkyrimPrefs.ini
[Display]
fSpecularLODStartFade=2000.0000
  • Ultra default (recommended maximum).
fLightLODStartFade=3500.0000
  • Ultra default (recommended maximum).
fTreesMidLODSwitchDist=10000000.0000
  • Ultra default (recommended maximum).
.
[TerrainManager]
fTreeLoadDistance=131250.0000
  • ☺ Most effective tweak to improve and fill out view, can rarely see beyond this distance.
  • ☺ Works even better with a Tree LOD mod installed. *
  • Ultra default =75000.0000

fBlockMaximumDistance=250000.0000
  • Ultra default (recommended maximum).
  • Won't see beyond this number of blocks.

fBlockLevel1Distance=70000.0000
  • Ultra default (recommended maximum).
  • Setting higher can cause mountan peaks to pop in & out while changing viewing angle (turning left/right, looking up/down).
  • Increases detail at extreme distance.

fBlockLevel0Distance=70000.0000
  • Ultra default =35000.0000
  • 2nd most effective tweak to improve distant view.
    • Increasing default by 100% (this tweak) adds detail at mid to extreme distance (less snow blanketing some steep rock faces).
    • If too much of an FPS hit, try =52500.0000 (default + 75%).
    • Increasing default by 50% only adds detail at extreme distance (not really any use).

fSplitDistanceMult=1.5000
  • Ultra default (recommended maximum).
  • Any higher than =1.7500 produces artifacts at extreme distance.


Difference between Ultra default & with tweaks applied.


* Installing a tree LOD mod adds further improvement (find a mod to suit your taste in colours).


Tweak with 'less dark' version of Trees LODs with shadows by Xtudo[skyrim.nexusmods.com]



Tweak with Detailed Terrain and Tree LoD by Rennn[skyrim.nexusmods.com]



Tweak with 4k version of AOF HD Tree LODs by AnOldFriend[skyrim.nexusmods.com]


============================================================================
Shadows Pt1: ='SkyrimPrefs.ini'= The art of compromise.
============================================================================

SHORT VERSION: Watch defosh369's video on youtube ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc2FLhRnTLY
... and then try his High Settings Tweaks at TesNexus[skyrim.nexusmods.com] and/or Ultra Settings Tweaks at TesNexus[skyrim.nexusmods.com]

============================================================================

The long-winded, boring, full of detail but without any definitive answer at the end of it version.

By themselves each of the settings in this following section often appear to make little or no difference, but combinations of small adjustments can have a major effect on both visual appearance and performance (FPS and stutter caused by bottle-necking). In the end, preferences come down to each individuals' personal tastes, and computer hardware limitations. Some like sharp shadows, others prefer softer ones. Some like to see shadows at a greater distance while others only care about their immediate vicinity. Personally, something is wrong if I'm looking at the quality of the shadows while playing. Shadows should be just for atmosphere and not distract or pull me from my immersion into the game.

One rule of thumb is: You can't have high quality shadows all the way to the horizon in exterior cells.
Compromise has to be made somewhere. If you increase the shadow quality, at a certain point you must lower the shadow draw distance (fShadowDistance) or your Field of View. Conversely, you can only increase the FOV so long as you decrease the shadow distance and/or the shadow detail/quality. For a better explanation, watch defosh369's video on youtube that I linked to above. The final decision is up to you.

====================================

Let's take a look at these default settings ...

[Display]
iBlurDeferredShadowMask=
  • Ultra =3, High =3, Medium =1, Low =0
fInteriorShadowDistance=3000
  • Same for all.
fShadowDistance=
  • Ultra =8000, High =4000, Medium =2500, Low=2000
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=1024
  • Same for all.
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=2048
  • Same for all.
iShadowSplitCount=2
  • Same for all.
fShadowLODStartFade=200
  • Same for all.
fLightLODStartFade=3500
  • High =2500, Medium =1000, Low =200
iShadowMode=3
  • Same for all.
iShadowMapResolution=
  • Ultra =4096, High =2048, Medium =1024, Low =512
fShadowBiasScale=
  • Ultra =0.15, High =0.25, Medium =0.3, Low =0.5
iShadowMaskQuarter=
  • Ultra =4, High =4, Medium =3, Low =3

... and (for now) drop the ones that are the same for all ...

[Display]
fInteriorShadowDistance=3000
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=1024
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=2048
iShadowSplitCount=2
fShadowLODStartFade=200
iShadowMode=3
iShadowFilter=3

... leaving ...

------------------------------------------

iBlurDeferredShadowMask= ( Ultra =3, High =3, Medium =1, Low =0 )
  • Affects both interior & exterior shadows.

  • Blurs jaggies on shadow edges, at a cost to FPS. Some people suggest setting up to 7.

  • Can reduce background detail: Look at the rocks and steps in the background (and the top left tree branches) in this image pair.


    Default Ultra settings, only 'iBlurDeferredShadowMask' altered to 7.

  • Can also increase the glow effect or shadow displacement around objects: Look at the basket on the shelf to the right of this image pair.


    Default Ultra settings, only 'iBlurDeferredShadowMask' altered to 7
------------------------------------------

fShadowDistance= ( Ultra =8000, High =4000, Medium =2500, Low=2000 )
  • Shadow visibility distance for exterior cells.

  • Reducing this will improve performance (FPS) particularly in heavily forested areas.


    Default Ultra settings, only 'fShadowDistance' altered to step through the four default settings.

  • NOTE: This setting, in combination with the current POV setting, can determine whether or not shadow LOD (level of detail) intermittently switches to low quality.
------------------------------------------

fLightLODStartFade= ( Ultra =3500, High =2500, Medium =1000, Low =200 )
  • Affects the distance from the player that light from light sources is visible. Most noticeable in interior cells.


    Default Ultra settings, only 'fLightLODStartFade' lowered to 200.

  • Can reduce background detail in exterior cells (similar to 'iBlurDeferredShadowMask', above) without blurring shadows. Look at the rocks and steps in the background (and the top left tree branches) in this image pair.


    Default Ultra settings, only 'fLightLODStartFade' altered to 200.

  • The default ratios compared to 'fShadowDistance' are (43.75%, 62.5%, 40%, 10%).
    I aim for 'fLightLODStartFade' to be 50%-60% of my 'fShadowDistance'.
  • Reducing this will improve performance (FPS) particularly in interior cells with multiple light sources.

  • Probably should not be set higher than
    Skyrim.ini
    [Display]
    'fLightLODMaxStartFade'
------------------------------------------

iShadowMapResolution=8192 ( Ultra =4096, High =2048, Medium =1024, Low =512 )
  • This setting appears to have more overall direct affect on shadow quality than 'iShadowMapResolutionSecondary' & 'iShadowMapResolutionPrimary'.

  • Gives finer detailed external cell shadows (turns each jaggie into two smaller jaggies).
------------------------------------------

fShadowBiasScale= ( Ultra =0.15, High =0.25, Medium =0.3, Low =0.5 )
  • How much shadow is applied to an object, and overall shadow placement.

  • Only affects exterior cells.

  • Mildly affects jaggies on shadow edges. Lower = sharper, higher = smoother. Setting this too low causes shadow 'striping' effects, and too high causes disconnected shadows.

  • Can affect background detail and mid-to-foreground details (3D appearance). Note background rocks, thatched roof midground right, and the foreground latticework in this image pair.


    Default Ultra settings, only 'fShadowBiasScale' altered to 0.5 (Low default).
------------------------------------------

iShadowMaskQuarter= ( Ultra =4, High =4, Medium =3, Low =3 )
  • Supposedly similar to 'fShadowBiasScale' & 'iBlurDeferredShadowMask' and applies to interior cell shadows. 1 (softest) to 4 (sharpest).
  • defosh369
    "setting this value above highest game setting, will help with "aura" shadows in most situations and configurations, but it can cost you some performance."
  • I spent several hours over two days testing and could see no difference at all to shadows when altering this. Tried Ultra, High, Medium, Low defaults with this set to 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Tested in 3 different interior and 2 exterior cells. Possibly cumulative with another setting, but seemed to do nothing by itself.

============================================================================
Shadows Pt2: ='SkyrimPrefs.ini'= Those Other Bits.
============================================================================
Thought I had forgotten about those shadow settings I 'dropped' in the last section, huh?
============================================================================

Actually, I hit the character limit - so here they are ...

[Display]
fInteriorShadowDistance=3000
  • Why change what's perfect? Increasing this affects performance, decreasing it doesn't improve performance as much as reducing the affect of other changes covered in the previous section.

---------------------------------------------

iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=1024
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=2048
  • Doubling these to 2048 and 4096 gives an infinitesimal improvement.
  • Some recommend setting both of these to 4096 but I have not been able to see any obvious visual benefit from doing so.
  • Pointless to set these higher than 'iShadowMapResolution'
  • That said, they don't seem to have any affect on performance either, so fill your boots if you want.

---------------------------------------------

iShadowSplitCount=2
  • Primary/Secondary - what more do you need?

---------------------------------------------

fShadowLODStartFade=200
  • This may be increased to make shadows 'pop' into view further away.
  • Should not be higher than:
    • Skyrim.ini
    • [Display]
    • fShadowLODMaxStartFade=1000.0

---------------------------------------------

iShadowMode=3
  • Increasing this to 4 appears to add depth to distant shadows.
  • Increasing this with higher iShadowMapResolution settings results in a loss of FPS in interior cells.
  • So many of the "Please help me AAAARGH shadows!!!" posts I read have this at a high non-default setting that I am just not interested in messing with it. (Unless I get confirmable detailed information about what it is, does how it works.)

---------------------------------------------

iShadowFilter=3
  • Very minor effect on the fuzziness of shadows at distance.
  • 1,2,3,4. Supposedly like an anisotropic filter for shadows.
  • Setting to =4 makes distant shadows minutely sharper for a small FPS hit.
  • Does it require in-game AF enabled to be effective?

============================================================================

I intend to post the shadow tweak settings I use here, in a few weeks when I have been back to actually playing Skyrim again for a while and have tuned out any glitches I find.

Skyrim.ini
[Display]
fSunShadowUpdateTime=0.0100
fSunUpdateThreshold=0.0200

SkyrimPrefs.ini
[Display]
iBlurDeferredShadowMask=5
fInteriorShadowDistance=3000.0000
fShadowDistance=8000.0000
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=4096
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=4096
iShadowSplitCount=2
fShadowLODStartFade=50.0000
iShadowMode=4
bTreesReceiveShadows=1
bDrawLandShadows=1
bFXAAEnabled=0
iShadowMapResolution=8192
fShadowBiasScale=0.3500
iShadowMaskQuarter=3
iPresentInterval=0
iShadowFilter=3

Those entries are from my 'differences' file, so any others affecting shadows that aren't mentioned are default ultra. I play with Timescale set to 10.







============================================================================
☺ Water Reflections ='SkyrimPrefs.ini'=
============================================================================
A tweak to give more detailed reflections on water.
============================================================================

SkyrimPrefs.ini
[Water]
iWaterReflectHeight=1024
iWaterReflectWidth=1024

Pushing these to 2048 and 4096 just seems to add noise/speckle to the middle of reflections.

Personally, I prefer =1024

---------------------------------------------

DEFAULT SETTINGS

[Water]
iWaterReflectHeight=512
iWaterReflectWidth=512


============================================================================
Contrary to popular belief, the following do nothing, don't bother adding them.
============================================================================

[Water]
bUseWaterReflectionBlur=1
iWaterBlurAmount=
  • Reputed to add blur to reflections on water. 1,2,3,4 options.
  • Does nothing when added to 'SkyrimPrefs.ini'

[Water]
bReflectExplosions=1 or 0
  • This switch does nothing in either .ini

[Water]
bAutoWaterSilhouetteReflections=1 or 0
  • This switch does nothing in either .ini

[Water]
bForceHighDetailReflections=1 or 0
  • This switch does nothing in either .ini

bUseWaterLOD=0 or 1
  • This switch does nothing under [Water] or [Display] in either .ini

bUseWaterShader=1 or 0
  • Is from Oblivion, I didn't even bother testing it.

============================================================================
SkyrimPrefs.ini - FYI: Other Random Stuff.
============================================================================
For reference only - USE THESE SETTINGS ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK!
============================================================================
This is a list of some further SkyrimPrefs.ini settings that may not be automatically generated, and/or aren't covered elsewhere.

SkyrimPrefs.ini
[Display]

fShadowLODStartFade=200.0000 (default).
  • Distance that shadows begin to fade.

bFloatPointRenderTarget=0
  • Disabled. Probably do not want this enabled.
  • Allegedly described as "Advanced Lighting".
  • It can apply a heavy GPU load for negligible benefit (a very slight improvement to water, fire, and spell effects at heavy FPS cost).
  • The only possible exception I can think of is if you are using an ENB injector or wrapper.

bTransparencyMultisampling=0
  • Transparency MS disabled (default).
  • Enabled =1 (Perhaps, if your graphics card supports it - check your "RenderInfo.txt" file)

bDeferredShadows=0
  • Defunct switch setting?
  • Early game versions had 'bDeferredShadows=1' which caused shadow popping (setting to 'bDeferredShadows=0' rectified this)

bShadowMaskZPrepass=0
  • Defunct switch setting?
  • Early game versions had 'bShadowMaskZPrepass=1' (set to 'bShadowMaskZPrepass=0' )
  • "Skyrim Tweak Guide 2.3" has this activated (under [Trees]!) for Multicore CPU tweak.

bMainZPrepass=0
  • Defunct switch setting?
  • Early game versions had 'bMainZPrepass=1' (set to 'bMainZPrepass=0' )

For Z pre-pass, all opaque geometry is rendered in two passes. The first pass populates the Z buffer with depth values from all opaque geometry. A null pixel shader is used and the color buffer is not updated. For this first pass, only simple vertex shading is performed so unnecessary constant buffer updates and vertex-layout data should be avoided. For the second pass, the geometry is resubmitted with Z writes disabled but Z testing on and full vertex and pixel shading is performed. The graphics hardware takes advantage of Early-Z to avoid performing pixel shading on geometry that is not visible.

Performing a Z pre-pass can be a significant gain when per pixel costs are the dominant bottleneck and overdraw is significant. The increased draw call, vertex and Z related per pixel costs of the pre-pass may be such that this is not a suitable performance optimization in some scenarios

My theory is that 'bDeferredShadows', 'bShadowMaskZPrepass', 'bMainZPrepass' may together be part of the game's early developement, possibly for one more more of the console port versions and were redacted from the PC version.


============================================================================
= Recovering Some FPS =
============================================================================
Exterior Cells

Skyrim.ini
[Grass]
iMinGrassSize=60
  • Increases the distance between clumps of grass, improving FPS in grassy cells.
  • (Default =20)
  • Use multiples of 20 (20, 40, 60, 80, ...)



Note: This entry only works in 'Skyrim.ini'. and overrides any iMinGrassSize= entry in 'SkyrimPrefs.ini'

=============
Interior Cells

You may want to try lowering ...
SkyrimPrefs.ini
[Display]
fLightLODStartFade= (Ultra =3500, High =2500, Medium =1000, Low =200)

============================================================================
☺ Multi-core CPU Settings = BOTH .ini Files =
USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

============================================================================
These settings, if done correctly, can considerably improve performance
(but only on PCs with Multi-core CPUs and multi-threading architecture).
============================================================================

Skyrim.ini

[General]
bUseThreadedTempEffects=1
bUseThreadedMorpher=1
bUseThreadedParticleSystem=1
bMultiThreadMovement=1

[Animation]
bMultiThreadBoneUpdate=1

[BackgroundLoad]
bUseBackgroundFileLoader=1 <--- On/off switch for background loading).
bBackgroundLoadLipFiles=1
bLoadBackgroundFaceGen=1
bUseMultiThreadedFaceGen=1
bBackgroundCellLoads=1
bLoadHelmetsInBackground=1
bUseMultiThreadedTrees=1

[HAVOK]
iNumThreads=
  • One thread per CPU core (Maximum =5).
  • Setting this above 5 can lead to game freeze, CTD, inability to load saved game when saves are larger than 15 MB
  • I set this to one thread per physical CPU core + 1

[Decals]
bDecalMultithreaded=1

==========================

SkyrimPrefs.ini

[Navmesh]
bUseThreadedMeshes=1

[Trees]
bUseMultiThreadedTrees=1

[BackgroundLoad]
bBackgroundLoadLipFiles=1
bLoadBackgroundFaceGen=1
bUseMultiThreadedFaceGen=1
bBackgroundCellLoads=1
bLoadHelmetsInBackground=1
bUseMultiThreadedTrees=1

[General]
bUseThreadedParticleSystem=1
bUseThreadedBlood=1
bUseThreadedMorpher=1
bUseThreadedTempEffects=1
bUseThreadedTextures=1
bUseThreadedMeshes=1
bUseThreadedLOD=1
bUseThreadedAI=1
bUseThreadedMorpher=1

[Decals]
bDecalMultithreaded=1

Source : Skyrim Tweak Guide 2.3[itcprosolutions.com]

The following images were each taken after loading the same (exterior cell) game save and waiting 5 seconds.


Vanilla (before tweak applied).
  • Memory Usage 3.57 GB
  • TESV.exe CPU average usage 0.10


Tweak with 'iNumThreads=5'.
  • Memory Usage 3.64 GB
  • TESV.exe CPU average usage 6.41


Tweak with 'iNumThreads=9'.
  • Memory Usage 3.65 GB
  • TESV.exe CPU average usage 16.04

============================================================================

For users with Windows 7 & Hyper-threading (HT) Multi-core CPU (i7), further improvemants can be gained by 'unparking' cores.


Tweak with 'iNumThreads=5' and 'unparked' cores.
  • Memory Usage 4.13 GB
  • TESV.exe CPU average usage 11.29


Tweak with 'iNumThreads=9' and 'unparked' cores.
  • Memory Usage 4.36 GB
  • TESV.exe CPU average usage 13.56

See next section for details.

============================================================================
☺ SKSE.ini - Gamesave Bloat Reduction.
============================================================================
If using Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) v1.6.10 or later, there is a command for progressively removing orphaned script entries (often created by disabling or removing mods) that cause bloated game saves.
============================================================================

  • 1: Find Skyrim\Data\SKSE folder (or create if not already there).

  • 2: If not already there create "SKSE.ini" file (without quotes).
    i.e. Create New text document, change SKSE.txt to SKSE.ini

  • 3: Add these two lines ...

      [General]
      ClearInvalidRegistrations=1

  • ... and save.


1.6.7:

- add console command ClearInvalidRegistrations to remove invalid OnUpdate() registrations
This prevents orphaned OnUpdate() events and the resulting bloated/broken saves when removing certain mods.
When applied to an already bloated save, it will stop growing further and instead shrink over time
as the game processes all queued events. This may take hours depending on the amount of bloat.
To execute automatically after each reload, add this to \Data\SKSE\skse.ini:
[General]
ClearInvalidRegistrations=1

Source[skse.silverlock.org]

============================================================================
☺ Micro-stutter: NOT an INI EDIT (Windows 7)
============================================================================
Windows 7 has a default behaviour of 'parking' the second thread of each core on Hyper-threading (HT) CPUs whenever the computer idles. This can cause micro-stuttering in some software applications (e.g. games).


There is a cure BUT it requires you to edit your registry.
If you are not comforatble with this, don't do it.
============================================================================

How to prevent Windows 7 parking cores when idle:
  • Open Regedit (with administrator privileges).

  • Select 'Edit' > 'Find'... and search for "Specify the minimum number of unparked cores/packages allowed (in percentage)." (WITHOUT QUOTES)

  • Within this key, there is a value called: " ValueMax " This value represents the % number of cores the system will park

  • Change the value of " ValueMax" to 0 so that, it matches " ValueMin "

  • You will have to find the key a few times and repeat the process for each time it is found - the number of instances will depend on the number of power profiles in your system. To do this go back up to Edit > Find Next. Or hit F3 key.

  • I had 3 instances of this key in my registry.

  • Do a full shutdown and power-off and cold-re-start.

===================================================

How to determine if you have a hyper-threading multi-core CPU:

You can use a CPU identification utility like CPU-Z[cpuid.com] to determine how many cores you have. As you can see near the bottom of this screenshot, my CPU has 4 physical cores. If the number of threads is higher than the number of cores, Hyper-threading is enabled. To date, all consumer oriented CPUs with Hyper-threading have 2 threads per core, so if HT is enabled, the number of threads will be 2x the number of cores.



Intel Multi-core CPUs with Hyper-threading[ark.intel.com]
i7 (233), i5 (68), i3 (71), Xeon E5 (64), Xeon E3 (35), Atom (19), Itanium (15), Pentium (5)

============================================================================
++ Quirks, Hits and Myths ++
============================================================================

When the default 'Skyrim.ini' and 'SkyrimPrefs.ini' are created...

[Display]
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=
  • Appears in both the 'Skyrim.ini' and 'Skyrimprefs.ini'
  • I assume the latter overrides the former if they are altered to differ.

[Display]
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=
  • Only appears in the 'Skyrimprefs.ini'

[Display]
iShadowMapResolution=
  • Only appears in the 'Skyrimprefs.ini'

I am guessing here, but I think that it should have been
  • iShadowMapResolution= in 'Skyrim.ini'
  • iShadowMapResolutionPrimary= & iShadowMapResolutionSecondary= in 'SkyrimPrefs.ini'
Could this be a part of the reason why some have difficulty getting shadows how they want them?

============================================================================

When the default 'Skyrim.ini' is created...

Skyrim.ini
[Water]
bReflectSky=
  • HIGH settings create bReflectSky=0 - should be bReflectSky=1 (enabled)?
  • LOW settings create bReflectSky=1 - should be bReflectSky=0 (disabled)?


============================================================================

True or False? nnnn - NOT nnnn.0000

Using only whole numbers in your 'Skyrim.ini' can sometimes prevent or fix bugs, like this one causing very diffused light sources.



============================================================================

SkyrimPrefs.ini
[Display]
bFloatPointRenderTarget=0
  • Disabled (SkyrimPrefs.ini). Probably do not want this enabled (=1).
  • Allegedly described as "Advanced Lighting"
  • It can apply a heavy GPU load for negligible benefit (a very slight improvement to water, fire, and spell effects at heavy FPS cost).
The only possible exception I can think of is if you are using an ENB injector or wrapper.

============================================================================

'ActorShadowCountInt=' & 'iActorShadowCountExt=' are Fallout 3 .ini settings (don't do anything for Skyrim).

============================================================================
==== Credits ====
a4nic8er created this article over many days by crawling laboriously through the interwebs armed only with a googleonium pickaxe and a droptorch, delving into the deepest sewers and underwater grottoes and, eventually, examining the residue and scabs scraped from his tired aching body. He then tasted some of the results in various concoctions and recorded them for his future reference and, being a sharing kind of person, uploaded them here so others can use the information too.

============================================================================
He would like to thank the following characters who left huge nuggets and small tidbits to be discovered by our intrepid adventurer along the way.
============================================================================


a4's rig:
O/S » Win7 Pro 64
CPU » Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4GHz
Mobo » Intel DZ87KLT75K
RAM » Kingston HyperX Beast 16GB DDR3 2133
GPU » SAPPHIRE TRI-X R9 290 4GB GDDR5 OC(UEFI)
SSD1 » Intel SSD 520 SERIES 60GB SATA3
SSD2 » Corsair P256 CMFSSD-256GBG2D
PSU » Silverstone OP1000-E 1000W

============================================================================

a4's complete list of his current INI differences from Ultra default settings:
---------------
SKYRIM.INI
[General]
uExterior Cell Buffer=64
fFlickeringLightDistance=8192
iLargeIntRefCount=99999
sIntroSequence=
bUseThreadedTempEffects=1
bUseThreadedMorpher=1
bMultiThreadMovement=1
bUseThreadedParticleSystem=1
iPreloadSizeLimit=51380224
uGridsToLoad=7

[Display]
fSunShadowUpdateTime=0.0100
fSunUpdateThreshold=0.0200

[Papyrus]
fUpdateBudgetMS=800.0
fExtraTaskletBudgetMS=800.0
fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS=2000.0
iMinMemoryPageSize=128
iMaxMemoryPageSize=512
iMaxAllocatedMemoryBytes=76800

[Camera]
fMouseWheelZoomIncrement=0.120
iHorseTransitionMillis=001
f1st3rdSwitchDelay=0.1
fMouseWheelZoomSpeed=100

[Actor]
fVisibleNavmeshMoveDist=12288

[MapMenu]
fWorldMapDepthBlurScale=0
fMapWorldInitialPitch=90.0000
fMapLookMouseSpeed=3.0000
fWorldMapMaximumDepthBlur=0
fMapWorldZoomSpeed=0.7500
fMapWorldMaxHeight=130000.0000
fMapZoomMouseSpeed=15.0000
bWorldMapNoSkyDepthBlur=1
fMapWorldYawRange=3600.0000
fWorldMapNearDepthBlurScale=0
fMapWorldMinHeight=5000.0000

[Decals]
bDecalMultithreaded=1

[Animation]
bMultiThreadBoneUpdate=1

[BackgroundLoad]
bUseMultiThreadedFaceGen=1
bLoadHelmetsInBackground=1
bLoadBackgroundFaceGen=1
bUseMultiThreadedTrees=1
bBackgroundLoadLipFiles=1
bBackgroundCellLoads=1
bUseBackgroundFileLoader=1

[HAVOK]
iNumThreads=5

-------------------------
SKYRIMPREFS.INI
[General]
bUseThreadedParticleSystem=1
bUseThreadedBlood=1
bUseThreadedMorpher=1
bUseThreadedTempEffects=1
bUseThreadedTextures=1
bUseThreadedMeshes=1
bUseThreadedLOD=1
bUseThreadedAI=1
bUseThreadedMorpher=1

[Display]
iBlurDeferredShadowMask=5
fInteriorShadowDistance=3000.0000
fShadowDistance=8000.0000
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=4096
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=4096
iShadowSplitCount=2
iMaxAnisotropy=0

fShadowLODStartFade=50.0000

iMultiSample=0
iShadowMode=4
bTreesReceiveShadows=1
bDrawLandShadows=1
fMeshLODFadePercentDefault=1.0000
fMeshLODFadeBoundDefault=2048.0000
fMeshLODLevel2FadeTreeDistance=16384.0000
fMeshLODLevel1FadeTreeDistance=22752.0000

bFXAAEnabled=0
iShadowMapResolution=8192
fShadowBiasScale=0.3500
iShadowMaskQuarter=3
iAdapter=0
iPresentInterval=0
iShadowFilter=3

[Grass]
b30GrassVS=1
fGrassStartFadeDistance=14000.0000
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=28000.0000
fGrassMinStartFadeDistance=1000.0000

[MAIN]
bGamepadEnable=0

bSaveOnPause=0
bSaveOnTravel=0
bSaveOnWait=0
bSaveOnRest=0

[Controls]
fMouseHeadingSensitivity=0.0200
bMouseAcceleration=0

[TerrainManager]
fTreeLoadDistance=131250.0000

[NavMesh]
bUseThreadedMeshes=1

[Trees]
bUseMultiThreadedTrees=1

[Decals]
bDecalMultithreaded=1

[Water]
iWaterReflectHeight=1024
iWaterReflectWidth=1024


[BackgroundLoad]
bUseMultiThreadedFaceGen=1
bLoadHelmetsInBackground=1
bLoadBackgroundFaceGen=1
bUseMultiThreadedTrees=1
bBackgroundLoadLipFiles=1
bBackgroundCellLoads=1

-------------------------

With FRAPS running, Ultra default FPS of 60 reduced, now 35-40.

============================================================================
X Random Unknowns X
This is a temp dump for random data of dubious pedigree that I intend to look into.
Some of these things may be for different games (not Skyrim).
---------------------------------------------

From 'Oblivion.ini'
[BackgroundLoad]
bSelectivePurgeUnusedOnFastTravel=1 (Could also work for 'Skyrim.ini' ?)

--------------------------------------------
[General]
iPreloadSizeLimit=26214400
bPreloadIntroSequence=1
fMasterFilePreLoadMB=40.0000

[Grass]
iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure=5
iGrassCellRadius=8 (in skyrim.ini improves grass)

[Particles]
iMaxDesired=750 (default - reducing improve FPS ?)

[BlurShaderHDR]
bDoHighDynamicRange=1

[BlurShader]
bUseBlurShader=0

[Water]
bUseWaterReflectionBlur=1
bReflectExplosions=1
iWaterBlurAmount=4
bAutoWaterSilhouetteReflections=0
bForceHighDetailReflections=1
bUseWaterHiRes=1
bUseWaterLOD=0
bUseWaterShader=1


---------------------------------------------
[Trees]
bRenderSkinnedTrees=1
uiMaxSkinnedTreesToRender=100
bForceFullDetail=1
bEnableTreeAnimations=1- Trees gain lighting animation, and the sway in the wind is more noticable.
bEnableTrees=1
fUpdateBudget=2.5000 / fUpdateBudget=4.0000

---------------------------------------------

bEquippedTorchesCastShadows=1 (torches/flames cast shadows)

bDynamicWindowReflections=1 (window lighting change at time of day)

bGrassPointLighting=1
bDrawShaderGrass=1 (increases the lighting detail of grass)


--------------------------------------------------------
< >
15 Comments
a4nic8er  [author] Aug 16, 2016 @ 8:45pm 
For the sake of clarity, I considered all default settings as being valid. Several of your points are moot.

I'm not going to get into a point-by-point defense of this guide, written
3 years ago. It enabled me to improve my Skyrim game then, and still does. As far as I know, no computers were harmed by it.

Please read the Guide's introduction again.

"I am just trying to provide the information for you to make your own choices."
toad_004 Aug 16, 2016 @ 8:01pm 
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=

These settings literally do nothing. They aren't even valid settings.

bUseThreadedX
bMultiThreadedX
Any setting in [BackgroundLoad]

Most of these settings don't work. The ones that do are on by default.

iNumThreads=

Controls how many threads are used by the physics engine (not the entire game!) The setting you actually want is iNumHWThreads= (under [General] in Skyrim.ini).

iPreloadSizeLimit=

Controls how much memory is assigned to preloading the intro video. Increasing this value is a complete waste of memory.
Calm Yo Tits Sep 12, 2015 @ 8:16pm 
easily one of the best INI tweak guides I've read, well done indeed. Take my thumbs up for a guide well written sir !
cinnadude May 23, 2015 @ 5:08pm 
...You could of made a pun with the INI thing.
Skyrim INIs and Outs!
Rein Akane May 5, 2015 @ 6:41pm 
Since this shows up early in bing when searching "iShadowMapResolutionPrimary"...


FYI for you searchers iShadowMapResolutionPrimary/Secondary appear to be for times when multiple lights are creating shadows at once (discovered through experimentation). Does not seem to override iShadowMapResolution, but if you find yourself getting performance drops indoors (especially in rooms with multiple light sources) try lowering iShadowMapResolutionSecondary.
Shentar Mar 29, 2014 @ 8:42pm 
are there any in the workshop? Can you send me a link please.
a4nic8er  [author] Mar 29, 2014 @ 7:54pm 
@ Blue Phoenix: I wouldn't even attempt to alter water fog by editing .ini files. I use a water mod for that. Search nexusmods.com for Skyrim water mods - there are some excellent ones there.
Shentar Mar 29, 2014 @ 6:04pm 
how do you fix the fog look under water?
V3n0urS Mar 9, 2014 @ 3:57pm 
Thanks a lot for this considerable work :)
Shadowblade001 Jan 25, 2014 @ 6:52am 
FRAPs causes a lot of fps drop. I use MSI Afterburner for recording video and taking screen shots. You can use it with nVidia cards.

I like the way that this was done after patch 1.9 as well. A lot of stuff changed with various patches, like the map initial pitch etc is ignored after patch 1.8 and needs a separate mod by Allana.

I was painstakingly going through my ini and Prefs.ini files and comparing them with a save.ini in Excel to see what is actually used, but this will save me a lot of time.