Guide:DDSopt/Fallout

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Contents

Fallout QUICK-START GUIDE

 |  Download Fallout 2.8 batch files referenced in this Fallout DDSopt guide

The quick-start guide provides an overview of how to use DDSopt to optimize the vanilla Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3 textures and the textures in Fallout NV and Fallout 3 mods. It summarizes the basic steps needed to get started and the general guidelines to apply when optimizing any textures. The quick-start includes step-by-step instructions for optimizing the vanilla textures, and for optimizing mod textures from a few selected mods in the STEP Fallout guides. It includes a complete set of instructions for these tasks; it is not necessary to read any other DDSopt guide sections for these tasks. It is intended to work with the Fear and Loathing in New Vegas guide for Fallout New Vegas and the Clear and Present Danger guide for Fallout 3. The resource data structures of Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3 are very similar, so the instructions (other than specific folder names) and batch files described here can also be used for both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas texture optimization. Detailed instructions on using DDSopt are available in the Guide:DDSopt

The Fallout QuickStart is intended as

  • the starting point for those that just want to accomplish vanilla texture optimization and perhaps optimize some mod textures, and never really use DDSopt again if possible,
  • the initial set of optimization steps for those who will do further optimization later, and
  • a summary of some of the guide material for more experienced users who will want to read through significant portions of the rest of the guide.

If DDSopt has already been setup for Skyrim there is not need to do so again to use it for Fallout New Vegas or Fallout 3. Skip to the Optimize Vanilla Fallout NV Textures subsection.

Setup DDSopt

To reduce potential issues on Windows OS, the following should be considered:

  1. The user must have Administrative access on the system
  2. Applications installed within User Access Controlled (UAC) directories (e.g., Program Files, Program Files (x86)) may not behave as expected, so consider installing DDSopt and Steam into other directory locations (e.g., D:\Games\DDSopt and D:\Games\Steam). To move Steam follow the instructions here.

DDSopt Setup:

    1. Before using DDSopt the first time with Fallout NV or Fallout 3, launch the Fallout game being used at least once so some important Fallout registry values are set. The Skyrim BSA format used by DDSopt is compatible with the Fallout NV and Fallout 3 BSA formats.
    2. Make sure the 2012 Visual C++ redistributable from Microsoft is installed on the system; the current 32 bit and 64 bit versions are available here. When using a 64 bit version of windows installing both the 32 and 64 bit versions is recommended.
    3. Download DDSopt 0.8 - pre-release - update 4 from the Nexus.
    4. Since DDSopt is completely portable, there is no installer, so extract the files into a folder (e.g., D:\Games\DDSopt).
    5. Create a shortcut to the applicable executable (32-bit or 64-bit, depending on which version of Windows is being used).
    6. Right click on the shortcut, go to the "Compatibility" tab, and check the box labeled "Run this program as an administrator", then click "Apply" and "OK".
    7. Be sure to update to the latest version of DDSopt.ini, and place it into the same folder as the DDSopt executables, overwriting the older version of this file.

The downloaded version of DDSopt does not have the proper initial configuration for the steps that follow, so follow the instructions on configuring DDSopt using the screenshots below so DDSopt will use the parameters that STEP has determined seem to provide the best DDSopt performance. The Interface section of the main DDSopt guide has detailed descriptions of these parameters and the recommended settings, and it's useful to read this section before running DDSopt. The initial configuration can be altered, but these settings are known to produce "good" results for the vanilla textures. Once the GUI settings are changed, they should stay at the same values even when an updated version of DDSopt is installed.The first time DDSopt is used, be certain to select the correct game of interest using the [Game] menu or choose the autodetect option.

The following screenshots are provided for reference. The Ignore borders on optimizing menu setting under the Behave menu should be left at the default value of "1px, max. 1%".

Main Menu Settings

  • Behave

    Behave

  • Apply

    Apply

  • Ignore

    Ignore

  • Compression

    Compression

  • Settings

    Settings

  • Constraints

    Constraints

  • DXTx Constraints tab settings

    DXTx Constraints tab settings

  • Alternate Constraints tab settings

    Alternate Constraints tab settings

Behave Menu Settings

  • Behave - Normal Maps

    Behave - Normal Maps

  • Behave - Foliage Maps

    Behave - Foliage Maps

  • Behave - Color Maps

    Behave - Color Maps

  • Behave - Alpha Maps

    Behave - Alpha Maps

Some of the Constraints tab settings will be modified in the processing steps on this page. The DXTx Constraints tab settings are used when the user wants all the textures to use DirectX compression; this is not typically the case. The Alternate Constraints tab settings are used when uncompressed normal maps are present (e.g., in the Fallout 3 mods by QuazarX); these settings retain uncompressed normal maps but provide a small size reduction. Based on recent testing, the suggested setting for [Behave] > [Raise foliage-map opacity each mip level] is checked for vanilla textures but unchecked for textures from mods.


Note that the DDSopt Browser Tab uses several colors to indicate properties of the individual files in the Browser window:

dark green — unprocessed textures (exist only in source location)
blue — non-texture files of any type
gray — file existing only in the destination
'purple — ignored textures
black-strikethrough — files previously processed by DDSopt

Info-Logo.png      Notice:The foliage settings under [Behave] should be checked for the vanilla textures but disabled for non-vanilla textures like Vurt's Fallout NV Flora Overhaul for Fallout NV and Flora Overhaul for Fallout 3.

The rest of the Quickstart covers using DDSopt to optimize the full set of vanilla Fallout textures, and to optimize textures in some of the key mods in the Fear and Loathing in New Vegas guide and Clear and Present Danger guide that benefit the most from this optimization. Overall, the approaches described in this guide have the goal of selectively reducing texture sizes without noticeable loss of graphic quality. Texture size reduction improves game stability by reducing the VRAM used by Fallout, but only a few categories of textures provide noticeable VRAM usage reduction when texture size is reduced.

Optimize Vanilla Fallout Textures

The first step is to extract the vanilla textures from the BSA files (*.BSA) in the Fallout New Vegas\Data or Fallout 3 GOTY\Data directory. If the vanilla textures for Fallout 3 are being optimized skip the next subsection on extracting Fallout NV textures and move to the following section Extracting Vanilla Fallout 3 Textures from Fallout 3 BSAs.

Extracting Vanilla Fallout NV Textures from Fallout NV BSAs (brief version)

The vanilla Fallout NV textures are in BSAs, so they need to be extracted before use. Using a fast drive with at least 12 GB of available space, create the following directory structure where indentation means a lower directory level (e.g., "Vanilla Extracted" is inside "Working" directory)...

Working
(extracted contents of the Fallout_Batch_Files_for_DDSopt_Guide archive)
Vanilla Extracted
HonestHearts_textures(optional) (contents of HonestHearts - Main.bsa)
DeadMoney_textures (optional) (contents of DeadMoney - Main.bsa)
OldWorldBlues_textures (optional) (contents of OldWorldBlues - Main.bsa)
LonesomeRoad_textures (optional) (contents of LonesomeRoad - Main.bsa)
GunRunnersArsenal_textures (optional) (contents of GunRunnersArsenal - Main.bsa)
CaravanPack_textures (optional) (contents of CaravanPack - Main.bsa)
ClassicPack_textures (optional) (contents of ClassicPack - Main.bsa)
MercenaryPack_textures (optional) (contents of MercenaryPack - Main.bsa)
TribalPack_textures (optional) (contents of TribalPack - Main.bsa)
FalloutNV_textures (contents of Fallout - textures.bsa)
FalloutNV_textures2 (contents of Fallout - textures2.bsa)
Update_textures (contents of Fallout - Update.bsa)

The folder names for the extracted BSAs from the optional DLC are arbitrary. With Mod Organizer 1.2.17 or later the final names for the folders should be different than those of the original BSA (e.g., Optimized_HonestHearts_textures or HonestHearts_textures_opt). This name change can be done before extracting the textures or after the optimized textures are created. If the batch files for compressing the optimized textures are used, "_opt" is automatically added to the file name so this should not be an issue.

Manually extract the contents of all the vanilla BSAs into the respective directories created above using the DDSopt instructions in the Extracting Textures subsection or the simpler BSAopt instructions. The instructions below use DDSopt for this extraction task.

    1. Start DDSopt, then click on the [Browse] button near the top.
    2. Click [Ignore] from the main menu and tick [Don't process any of the known file types]. This will tell DDSopt to extract the contents of the BSA without performing any optimizations.
    3. In [Ignore] also make sure that [Copy unprocessed and ignored files (passthrough] is checked.
    4. If the file type box in the lower right doesn't say "All Documents (*).(*)" or "Bethesda Software Archive (.bsa)", change it so one of these shows.
    5. Navigate to Steam\SteamApps\common\Fallout New Vegas\Data\ (henceforth, referred to as the Data directory”). Select "Fallout - textures.bsa", and click on the [Open] button. It might take up to a minute to scan the BSA.
    6. Change the "Save as type" to "All Documents (*).(*)" if it is not currently the selection. Choose a destination location by clicking on the [Browse] button on the bottom and select the "FalloutNV_textures" folder created previously. Click the [Use Folder] button.
    7. Click on the [Process] button in the lower right to extract the BSA as loose files into the "FalloutNV_textures" folder.
    8. Repeat steps 5 - 7 to extract the contents of the rest of the BSAs from the list above used in the game into the corresponding folders in "Vanilla Extracted".
    9. When extraction is complete, click [Ignore] from the main menu and untick [Don't process any of the known file types]. This option is only ticked when extracting files from BSAs.
    10. In [Ignore] untick [Copy unprocessed and ignored files (passthrough] if the DDSopt guide batch files are being used to optimize textures; otherwise it is typically left as ticked.
Working Folder "Vanilla Extracted" Screenshot for Fallout NV

At the end of the extraction process the "Vanilla Extracted" directory contents should match those in the the Working folder file tree screenshot. Errors in getting the extracted and batch files into the proper folders are the major reason for problems in using the tools provided to simplify the optimization. A portion of the DLC BSAs also contain non-texture assets (e.g., meshes, sounds, scripts, etc.), which will be ignored during optimization.

The next subsection covers extracting vanilla Fallout 3 textures so skip to the following section Preparing for Optimization

Extracting Vanilla Fallout 3 Textures from Fallout 3 BSAs (brief version)

The vanilla Fallout 3 textures are in BSAs, so they need to be extracted before use. Using a fast drive with at least 10 GB of available space, create the following directory structure where indentation means a lower directory level (e.g., Vanilla Extracted is inside Working directory)...

Working
(extracted contents of the Fallout_Batch_Files_for_DDSopt_Guide archive)
Vanilla Extracted
Anchorage_textures(optional) (contents of Anchorage - Main.bsa)
BrokenSteel_textures (optional) (contents of BrokenSteel - Main.bsa)
PointLookout_textures (optional) (contents of PointLookout - Main.bsa)
ThePitt_textures (optional) (contents of ThePitt - Main.bsa)
Zeta_textures (optional) (contents of Zeta- Main.bsa)
Fallout_textures (contents of Fallout - textures.bsa)

The folder names for the extracted BSAs from the optional DLC are arbitrary. With Mod Organizer 1.2.17 or later the final names for the folders should be different than those of the original BSA (e.g., Optimized_Anchorage_textures or Anchorage_textures_opt). This name change can be done before extracting the textures or after the optimized textures are created. If the batch files for compressing the optimized textures are used, "_opt" is automatically added to the file name so this should not be an issue.

Manually extract the contents of all the vanilla BSAs into the respective directories created above using the DDSopt instructions in the Extracting Textures subsection or the simpler BSAopt instructions. The instructions below use DDSopt for this task.

  1. Start DDSopt, then click on the [Browse] button near the top.
  2. Click [Ignore] from the main menu and tick [Don't process any of the known file types]. This will tell DDSopt to extract the contents of the BSA without performing any optimizations.
  3. In [Ignore] also make sure that [Copy unprocessed and ignored files (passthrough] is checked.
  4. If the file type box in the lower right doesn't say "All Documents (*).(*)" or "Bethesda Software Archive (.bsa)", change it so one of these shows.
  5. Navigate to Steam\SteamApps\common\Fallout 3 GOTY\Data\ (henceforth, referred to as the Data directory”). Select "Fallout - textures.bsa", and click on the [Open] button. It might take up to a minute to scan the BSA.
  6. Choose a destination location by clicking on the [Browse] button on the bottom and select the "Fallout_textures" folder created previously. Click the [Use Folder] button.
  7. Click on the [Process] button in the lower right to extract the BSA as loose files into the "Fallout_textures" folder.
  8. Repeat steps 5 - 7 to extract the contents of the rest of the BSAs from the list above used in the game into the corresponding folders in Vanilla Extracted.
  9. When extraction is complete, click [Ignore] from the main menu and untick [Don't process any of the known file types]. This option is only ticked when extracting files from BSAs.
  10. In [Ignore] untick [Copy unprocessed and ignored files (passthrough] if the DDSopt guide batch files are being used to optimize textures; otherwise it is typically left as ticked.
File Tree Screenshot of Fallout 3 Vanilla Textures after Extraction

At the end of the extraction process the "Vanilla Extracted" directory contents should match those in the the Working folder file tree screenshot. Errors in getting the extracted and batch files into the proper folders are the major reason for problems in using the tools provided to simplify the optimization. A portion of the DLC BSAs also contain non-texture assets (e.g., meshes, sounds, scripts, etc.), which will be ignored during optimization.

Preparing for Optimization

Download the BAT files using the link at the top of the page, and extract the entire contents into the Working directory adjacent to Vanilla Extracted/. The batch files are used for two tasks:

  • Remove files from the vanilla textures that should not be optimized, either because optimization would not improve the particular texture(s) or because the texture(s) would not show up properly in the game if they were optimized.
  • Prepare the textures for selective optimization by sorting the textures before optimization.

The optimization of the vanilla textures can be done in one of three ways:

  1. using the DDSopt GUI to manually select groups of textures to be optimized in one or more runs of DDSopt into a Vanilla Optimized/ folder (this folder needs to be created before optimization);
  2. using the 2_Fallout_Pre-optimization_NoSort_2.8.bat batch file which copies all the files that should be optimized to a Vanilla Optimizable folder. TheDDSopt GUI is then used to optimize textures into a Vanilla Optimized/ folder (this folder needs to be created before starting optimization with DDSopt). This option is typically used by experienced users with powerful computers where it is sufficient to perform a single optimization run optimizing all the textures; or
  3. using the 2_Fallout_Pre-optimization_2.8.bat batch file generated for this guide that supports selective optimization of the textures, with different DDSopt processing parameters used with different texture categories. Selective optimization provides better optimization but adds complexity. Both batch files and subsequent DDSOpt steps can be used with the full set of vanilla textures or, if desired, with the textures from a subset of the vanilla BSAs.

If option 1 or 2 is selected, there are no step by step instructions provided since it is expected that the user has some familiarity with the DDSopt GUI. The first 5 optimization steps below for option 3 are relevant for those using option 1 or 2. The directory in step 3 is Vanilla Extracted when using option 1 and Vanilla Optimizable when using option 2, and the Vanilla Optimized folder in step 5 needs to be created manually. The user will need to choose the output texture resolution limit in the Constraints Tab before optimizing, and then click [Process] to begin optimizing the textures. When the optimization using DDSopt is completed move to the Archive or Move the Optimized Vanilla Texture Files section below after optimization is complete.

Organizing the Vanilla Textures for Selective Optimization using Batch Files

If the third option (selective optimization) is used, first run (double click) the previously downloaded "2_Fallout_Pre-optimization_2.8.bat" batch file to sort the textures from the Vanilla Extracted directory into four new temporary directories created by the batch file:

  • Vanilla Ordinary Textures for ordinary textures and associated normal maps,
  • Vanilla Exterior Textures for textures other than normal maps in the textures\architecture and textures\landscape directories,
  • Vanilla Exterior Normal Maps (textures with file names *_n.dds in the textures\architecture and textures\landscape directories), and
  • Vanilla Body Textures for body-related textures.

Textures are sorted into the four separate temporary directories since different DDSopt processing parameters can potentially be used for each of these four sets of textures.

Once complete, which takes 5-30 minutes depending on the system, the "Working" directory structure will look like the screenshot to the left. The batch file performs multiple steps to ensure the quality of the optimized vanilla textures.

Optimize the Vanilla Fallout Textures

The vanilla textures are then optimized using DDSopt.

DDSopt, using the DDSopt GUI to control processing) is run four times, once for each of the four temporary directories. If an SSD is available with at least 40 nbsp;GB of space can be used to to reduce processing time.

These instructions assume that DDSopt is initially setup with the parameters in the figures in the "Setup DDSopt" subsection at the top of the page. In general for the vanilla textures resolution limit parameter of 1024x1024 for graphics cards with 1 GB cards and 2048 x2048 resolution limit for cards with greater VRAM. The vanilla Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas textures require noticeably less VRAM usage than the vanilla textures in Skyrim. The recommended settings are usually adequate for almost all systems.

Fallout New Vegas Working Folder Directory Tree after Vanilla Fallout NV Texture Optimization
Fallout 3 Working Folder Directory Tree after Vanilla Fallout 3 Texture Optimization
  1. Click [Ignore] from the main menu and untick [Copy unprocessed and ignored files (passthrough)] if it is ticked.
  2. In the Browser Tab, select the Browse button in the upper window and # If the file type box in the lower right doesn't say "All Documents (*).(*) or *.dds" change it so one of these shows.
  3. as the initial source folder, select the Vanilla Ordinary Textures directory
  4. If it is not already checked, check the Show Recursive box below the center text-box.
  5. In the lower window select the Browse button and then select the "Vanilla Optimized/" directory as the current destination.
  6. Initially change the Constraints Tab settings to match those of the Constraints tab figure at the top of the page., then change the two resolution limit settings. Recommended values are 2048x2048 for systems with 1.5&nbspGb VRAM or greater, or 1024x1024 for less powerful systems.
  7. Click [Process] to begin optimizing the textures from Vanilla Ordinary Textures into corresponding locations under Vanilla Optimized.
  8. When this processing is complete, using the same procedure choose Vanilla Exterior Textures as the current source in the upper window of the Browser Tab and again Vanilla Optimized remains unchanged as the current destination (lower window)
  9. Change the two resolution limit settings if desired; exterior textures affect VRAM use more than the Ordinary Textures. Recommended values are 2048x2048 for systems with 1.5&nbspGb VRAM or 1024x1024 for less powerful systems.
  10. Click [Process] to begin optimizing the textures from Vanilla Exterior Textures into corresponding locations under Vanilla Optimized/.
  11. In the initial source folder, select the Vanilla Body Textures directory
  12. Change the Constraints Tab resolution limit settings if desired; the existing values are likely adequate.
  13. Click [Process] to begin optimizing the textures from Vanilla Body Textures into corresponding locations under Vanilla Optimized.
  14. In the initial source folder, select the Vanilla Exterior Normal Maps directory
  15. On the Constraints Tab some users may want to change the resolution limit values in DDSopt to 512x512 (or 1024x1024 for typical systems, or 2048x2048 for systems with larger VRAM as discussed above) since reducing exterior normal map sizes can have a noticeable effect on VRAM usage.
  16. Click [Process] to complete the optimization.
  17. Change the Constraints Tab settings back to the default values if they were changed.

The optimization is complete, and the "Working" folder should look like the "Working" folder figure on the right. Compare the counts of files and folder in each directory if there are any issues.

Archive or Move the Optimized Vanilla Texture Files

The optimized Vanilla texture files are then ready to be archived into 2-12 archive files for Fallout NV or 1-6 folders for Fallout 3, or alternatively moved without first archiving them. If Mod Organizer is used the archiving step can be eliminated if desired. Move the 2-12 folders for Fallout NV or 1-6 folders for Fallout 3 inside Vanilla Optimized\ to the directory where Mod Organizer stores mods (typically the Mod Organizer\mods\ folder)' and make sure that any folders with optimized DLC textures have names different than the original BSA name.

If archiving is done it can be done manually or, optionally, using the 3_Compress_Fallout_Mod_7z_2.8.bat batch file to automatically produce one 7zip archive file for each Vanilla BSA. When archiving STEP recommends using the 7zip archive tool with the non-solid option and LZMA2 compression; the batch file uses these parameters. Processing can take a while especially if the files are not on an SSD, but no user intervention is needed once the batch file is started and the "Enter" key is typed after the initial pause.

  1. If the batch file is used, start the 3_Compress_Fallout_Vanilla_7z_2.8.bat batch file. The command window will show its progress. It adds "_opt" to the end of each file name, creates an archive file for each vanilla BSA used, and moves the archive files into a Vanilla Optimized Archive directory (created by the batch file if it doesn't already exist).
  2. After all archives have been created and confirmed, the optimized vanilla texture archive files can be moved to the downloads directory used for (Mod Organizer.
  3. For Mod Organizer 1.2.17 or later the installation instructions for optimized vanilla Fallout NV textures are available in the Fear and Loathing in New Vegas guide and, for optimized Fallout 3 textures, the Clear and Present Danger guide </li>
  4. If desired, the entire Working Directory can be deleted to reclaim drive space. Some users might want to save the Vanilla Extracted folder on a hard drive.</li>

This is a potential stopping point for the first time that DDSopt optimization is used with Fallout New Vegas or Fallout 3.

Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3 Mods and Optimization

This section covers optimizing Fallout 3 and Fallout NV mods. The Fear and Loathing in New Vegas guide includes a short guide supplement on optimizing Fallout NV mods, and a similar guide supplement will be added later to the Clear and Present Danger guide for Fallout 3. The goal when optimizing textures from mods such as those in Fear and Loathing in New Vegas guide and Clear and Present Danger guide is to get some improvements in graphic quality for most of the textures, and to reduce the VRAM use while preserving graphic quality of the small set of textures (mostly exterior textures) that have significant impact on VRAM use. Mods need to be optimized only to the extent needed to meet these goals; all mods don't need to be optimized. The mod batch files for Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3 work the same way as the batch files for Skyrim mods including sorting the textures to the same five folders to support using different DDSopt processing on each of the five texture categories (selective optimization).

Extract Mod Textures

The first step, discussed in more detail below, is to create a working folder and a Mod Extracted directory, then put a folder for each mod in this Mod Extracted directory. This can be done by extracting the mod archive file and then extracting any BSA files with textures (as discussed above), or copying the folder for the mod from the Mod Organizer\mods directory (typically a simpler option).

Mod Optimization Options

Similar to the optimization of the vanilla textures, mod textures can be optimized in one of three ways:

  1. using the DDSopt GUI to manually select groups of textures to be optimized in one or more runs of DDSopt;
  2. using the 4_Fallout_Mod_NoSort_2.8.bat batch file which copies all the files that should be optimized to a Mod Optimizable folder and those that don't need optimization to the Mod Optimized directory, and then using the DDSopt GUII to optimize textures from the Mod Optimizable folder into the Mod Optimized directory (this option is typically used with powerful computers where it is sufficient to perform a single optimization run optimizing all the textures); or
  3. using the 4_Fallout_Mod_Sorting_Pre-optimization_2.8.bat batch file generated for this guide that supports selective optimization of the textures, with different DDSopt processing parameters potentially used with different texture categories. Selective optimization provides better optimization but adds complexity. Both batch files and subsequent DDSOpt steps can be used with the the folders from one or more mods.

If option 1 or 2 is selected, move to the Archive or Move the Optimized Mod Texture Files section below after the DDSopt optimization is complete and the optimized textures are in mod folders, each corresponding to a folder in the Mod Extracted directory, in the Mod Optimized directory.

Organizing the Mod Textures for Selective Optimization

Since this is a QuickStart guide, the following provides instructions for optimizing the subset of mods in the Fallout 3 and Fallout NV guides that gain the most from optimization. These were selected on the basis of improving graphic quality; a list of mods to be optimized to reduce VRAM use would include different mods. Other mods, including those not in these guides, can later be optimized using the instructions below. The list of mods recommended for the initial pass at optimization will be added soon for Fallout NV.

Fallout 3 Mods in the guide that receive more than average benefit from optimization:

  • 20th Century Weapons
  • 20th Century Weapons -Plus- Reborn FWE-WMK-Calibr
  • Better Clutter and Furniture Pack
  • DCInteriors combo Edition Total Merge
  • FWE - FO3 Wanderers Edition
  • A Note Easily Missed
  • An Evening with Mister Manchester
  • To sleep - perchance to dream
  • The Mantis Imperative
  • UHQ Terrain Overhaul (all 3 resolutions)

Other Fallout 3 mods with fairly large collections of textures that gain some benefit from optimization:

  • BetterClutterCollection
  • Citadel Retextured
  • DLC Retextures by QuazarX
  • Dragonskin Tactical Outfit
  • eXcalibr Ammo eXpansion Pack
  • Fallout 3 Hirezd
  • Fort Independence Redesigned
  • Hi-Res_VaultDoorPanels
  • In The Shadow of the Swamp
  • MGs Neat Clutter
  • Mothership Zeta DLC Retextured
  • NMCs Texture Pack
  • Robot Revolution - Protectron HD Re-texture
  • Robots HD Retexture

The user can select the most appropriate versions of each mod from the Fallout 3 or Fallout NV guide when versions are available with different texture resolution. Most users will use either the baseline version from the guide, while those with more capable systems will often use higher resolution texture versions when they are available.

Like the vanilla textures, the optimization of textures in mods can be done in one of three ways:

  1. using the DDSopt GUI to manually select groups of textures to be optimized in one or more runs of DDSopt;
  2. using the 4_Fallout_Pre-optimization_NoSort_2.8.bat batch file which copies all the files that should be optimized to a Mod Optimizable folder, and then using the DDSopt GUI to optimize textures (this option is typically used with powerful computers where it is sufficient to perform a single optimization run optimizing all the textures); or
  3. using the 4_Fallout_Pre-optimization_2.8.bat batch file generated for this guide that supports selective optimization of the textures, with different DDSopt processing parameters used with different texture categories. Selective optimization provides better optimization but adds complexity. Both batch files and subsequent DDSOpt steps can be used with one or more mods.

The two batch files do not optimize textures in BSAs since these might contain non-texture resources. For mods with simple packaging (no complex Fomods or Bain wizards) any BSAs present can simply be extracted into the same folder as the the rest of the mod resources. With complex Fomods or Bain wizards extract individual BSAs, optimize any textures, and repackage the files into a BSA (using the original BSA name) using DDSopt or the simpler BSAopt , and replace the BSA in the mod file with the optimized version.

If option 1 or 2 is selected, move to the Archive or Move the Optimized Mod Texture Files section below after optimization is complete.

The instructions in the rest of this subsection initially use a batch file to separate the textures from mods into 5 folders. The optimization steps in the next subsection use DDSopt to recombine optimized versions of these textures into individual mod folders in a new Mod Optimized directory created by the batch file, similar to the steps used for optimizing the vanilla textures. This set of mod files contains fewer textures than those from the vanilla BSAs, so this optimization takes less time. The texture resolution limit parameters used are suitable for most users; users with limited VRAM might choose smaller resolution limits on some of the texture types.

  1. If this has not already been done, in the "Working" directory (which can be the same one used for vanilla textures if desired) create a new Mod Extracted folder. Extract the mod files from the mod list above into folders in the Mod Extracted' directory, with one folder per mod archive file.
  2. If this has not already been done, Extract the customized batch files including 7zxa.exe into the Working Directory adjacent to Mod Extracted directory.
  3. Run the 4_Fallout_Mod_Sorting_Pre-optimization_2.8 batch file. At the start of the batch file several tests are run to make sure the batch files are in the right folder, the folder structure is correct, and the programs needed are available. The results of these tests are shown in the command window. If everything is OK then hit enter to proceed.
  4. The batch file will soon ask "To separate external textures from other textures enter "Y" at the prompt". The examples include a lot of exterior textures so type "Y" and then "Enter". The batch file will continue running, providing output to the command window showing which batch file step is in process.
  5. When the batch file has completed running it will put The batch file processing is complete. Check the log file (log.txt) for errors. on the command window. As noted in the command window, ignore any errors in the log file with ERROR level of 3 or less as these are normal for this particular batch file. Hit "Enter" to finish the batch processing.

Once the batch file has completed processing, the Working Directory structure should have been updated to (none of these folders will be empty):

Current Overall Recommendations for Selective Optimization of Mod Textures

  • to reduce VRAM use (if needed) optimize exterior tangent space normal maps, and cxterior color maps if necessary, with the constraint menu resolution limit set to half of the value used for ordinary color map textures;
  • optimize non-exterior normal maps at either the same resolution limit value used for non-exterior (ordinary) color maps or at half this value; note that VRAM usage doesn't drop much when doing this size reduction.
  • reducing the size of textures that are 512×512 or smaller doesn't provide much VRAM reduction (except for DDSopt collapsing of monocolor textures to save space, which works well most of the time but can (infrequently) cause corrupted textures); and
  • when optimizing uncompressed textures don't change them to compressed, consider changing format from lossless to lossy vs. reducing texture size, and be particularly careful with any changes to model space normal maps (files with names of the form *_msn.dds) and textures in textures\actors\character and any other *\actors\characterdirectories containing textures. These directories can contain a mix of compressed and uncompressed textures (common with Skyrim mod textures but unusual with Fallout mod textures
Working Directory
files extracted from the archive file that contains the batch files
Mod Extracted
(one folder for each mod that has been extracted)
Mod Optimized
(one folder for each mod being optimized that has textures that don't need optimization)
Mod Ordinary Textures
(one folder with for each mod being optimized that has non-exterior color map textures)
Mod Normal Maps
(one folder with tangent space normal map textures for each mod being optimized that contains non-exterior normal map textures)
Mod Body Textures
(one folder with body-related textures for each mod being optimized that contains these textures)
Mod Exterior Textures
(one folder with exterior textures for each mod being optimized containing exterior color map textures)
Mod Exterior Normal Maps
(one folder with exterior tangent space normal maps for each mod being optimized that contains exterior normal map textures)

Optimizing the Mod Textures

Now that the textures are separated into categories they are optimized with DDSopt.

Additional Batch File Capability

The batch file has one additional capability, although users will generallyto bypass this capability when initially using the batch file as it adds complexity to the processing. A few Fallout mods containing large numbers of replacement textures are available in multiple versions, each with a different maximum texture resolution. These are noted in the two Fallout guides when they occur. Current Fallout mods with a large number of textures available in different resolutions sets are:
  • NMCs Texture Pack, available in 4 resolution sets (both Fallout 3 and Fallout NV);
  • UHQ Terrain Overhaul, available in 3 resolution sets (Fallout 3 only); and
  • the DLC Retextures and a Robot Retexture by QuazarX, available in 2 resolution sets (Fallout 3 only).

With these mods the batch file can take the exterior textures from a version of the mod with lower resolution textures and the rest of the textures from a version of the mod with higher resolution. This eliminates or at least reduces the need to use DDSopt to reduce the resolution of the exterior textures for these mods; instead, textures provided by the mod author are instead used which presumably will have better quality. While the three mods above may seem like a small set, they replace nearly half of all the exterior textures in the Fallout 3 guide list.

To use this feature, create two new directories in the Working directory, Higher Res Mod Files and Lower Res Mod Files. Extract the higher resolution version of the mod(s) into the Higher Res Mod Files folder, and the lower resolution version of the mod(s) into the Lower Res Mod Files directory. Use the same names for the folders with the high and low resolution versions of the mod so their will automatically be recombined after optimization. For these mods nothing needs to be extracted to the Mod Extracted directory.
  1. Launch DDSopt if it is not already running.
  2. Click [Ignore] from the main menu, untick [Copy unprocessed and ignored files (passthrough)], and tick [Don't process any already processed files (DDS only)].
  3. In the [Browser] tab, click [Browse] button in the upper window and as the initial source folder, select the Mod Ordinary Textures directory
  4. If it is not already checked, tick [Show Recursive] below the center text-box.
  5. In the lower window, click the [Browse] button and then select the Mod Optimized directory as the current destination. The DDSopt [Browser] tab will then show the mods being optimized that have ordinary textures.
  6. Initially change the Constraints Tab settings to match those of the Constraints tab figure at the top of the page., then change the two resolution limit settings if needed. Recommended values are 2048x2048 for systems with 1.5&nbspGb VRAM or greater, or 1024x1024 for less powerful systems.
  7. Click [Process] to begin optimizing the textures from Mod Ordinary Textures into corresponding locations under Mod Optimized.
  8. When processing is complete, use the same procedure to choose Mod Normal Maps in the [Browser] tab as the current source (upper window) while Mod Optimized remains the current destination (lower window). The DDSopt [Browser] tab will then show mods being optimized that have normal maps.
  9. The [Constraints] tab resolution limit settings don't typically need to be changec.
  10. Click [Process] to begin optimizing the textures from all sources under Mod Normal Maps into corresponding locations under Mod Optimized.
  11. Choose Mod Exterior Textures in the [Browser] tab as the current source (upper window) while Mod Optimized remains the current destination (lower window). The DDSopt [Browser] tab will then show mods being optimized that have exterior textures.
  12. The [Constraints] tab resolution limit settings don't need to change unless greater VRAM usage reduction is desired.
  13. Click [Process] to begin optimizing the textures from all sources under Mod Exterior Textures into corresponding locations under Mod Optimized.
  14. When processing is complete, use the same procedure as before to choose Mod Exterior Normal Maps in the [Browser] tab as the current source (upper window) while Mod Optimized remains the current destination (lower window). The DDSopt [Browser] tab will then show mods being optimized that have exterior normal maps.
  15. Change the [Constraints] tab resolution limit settings to 1024×1024 for most systems (more powerful systems can use 2048x2048 and less powerful might prefer 512x512).
  16. Click [Process] to begin optimizing the textures from all sources under Mod Exterior Normal Maps into corresponding locations under Mod Optimized.
  17. When this processing is complete, using the same procedure choose Mod Body Textures/ as the current source in the upper window of the [Browser] tab and again Mod Optimized remains as the current destination (lower window). The DDSopt [Browser] tab will then include mods with body-related textures.
  18. Change the [Constraints] tab resolution limit settings as needed. Recommended values are 2048x2048 for systems with 1.5&nbspGb VRAM or greater, or 1024x1024 for less powerful systems.Note that body-related textures are more sensitive than most textures to size and format reductions.
  19. Click [Process] to complete the optimization.
  20. Change the [Constraints] tab settings back to the default values.

The optimization is complete. The Mod Optimized directory will now have folders with optimized textures for all the mods that were extracted.

Archive or Move the Optimized Mod Files

The next task is to package the contents of the mod directories in Mod Optimized into archive files corresponding to each mod folder, or alternatively moved without first archiving them. If Mod Organizer is used the archiving step can be eliminated if desired. Move the mod folders inside Mod Optimized\ to the directory where Mod Organizer stores mods (typically the Mod Organizer\mods\ folder). If the folders that were optimized were originally copied from Mod Organizer\mods\ folder then they can be copied back to that folder to overwrite the textures that will be replaced by optimized versions.

This can be done manually or, optionally, using the 5_Compress_Fallout_Mods_7z_2.8.bat batch file. This batch file will automatically create 7-zip archives of each individual mod, add _opt to the end of each optimized mod file name, and move all the archived mods into a Mod Optimized Archive directory (created by the batch file if it doesn't already exist). These archives can be moved to the folder used to install mods with a mod manager. or to a backup folder.