Setting Oblivion up for Mods & ENB

After installing mods and ENB settings, some changes need to be made before launching Oblivion. If you launch Oblivion before making these changes, the game will most likely not start, and if it does, it definitely will not be able to load a save-game without CTD.

With the exception of number 1, these changes are absolutely necessary for Oblivion to work after modding.

1: Tweaking System: Windows (Optional)
2: Tweaking System: Drivers Settings
3: Tweaking Oblivion: Load-Order
4: Tweaking Oblivion: Oblivion INI-File
5: Tweaking Oblivion: Launcher

 


1 - Windows (Optional)

Having a fast and stable system is absolutely necessary to run a heavily modded Oblivion. If you have a high-end system, you should have nothing to worry about, even with all mods installed. But if you have a semi-old or medium-spec system (like mine), it will be put to the test, so you want to give Oblivion the best possible conditions to get the most out of it. If you already have a fast and stable system, proceed to the driver settings instead.


Cleaning/optimizing Windows is of course a huge subject, so I will not go into details, but rather give suggestions what to look out for. This is written for Windows 7 x64, but most things apply to XP/Vista/Win8/Win10 (32/64bit) as well.

1: Make sure your system is virus/mal-ware free. (It's a given, but I'm writing it anyway)
2: Have as few unnecessary programs running in the background as possible. Preferably non.
3: Never have real-time anti-virus programs running. They slow down any computer with at least 10-20%, and most of them does an extremely poor job at protecting against viruses anyway. The best way to protect a computer against mal-ware and viruses, is by having a great firewall, preferably at router level, so nothing gets to the computer in the first place.
4: If you have to use a firewall at computer level (Not all routers have great firewalls), use one that doesn't require a lot of resources, and turn off Windows built-in firewall & services. I can recommend Comodo Firewall. It's free, and comes in both 32 and 64bit versions.
5: Get rid of all junk-driver-programs. Keep the drivers of course, but uninstall or disable all the useless services that constantly run in the background. Like scanner, printer or audio "service" programs that comes with the drivers.
6: Get rid of junk-apps. Weather apps, search bars and joke apps etc., They use your connection to bring you useless commercials and junk, which takes up recourses.
7: Get rid of PunkBuster, if you have it. Go to services, and check if "PnkBstrA" and/or "PnkBstrB" are running. If they are, stop and disable them. (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services) *If you use Comodo Firewall, you can block PunkBuster from ever being installed again, and prohibit execution of any PunkBuster services. You would be surprised how many games silently install this junk program.
8: Clean the temp-files. I can recommend CClean. It's free, and comes in both 32 and 64bit versions.
9: Check Windows Start-up list. I can recommend CClean for this too. (Tools - Startup)
10: Clean Windows Task Scheduler. Get rid of all the useless checks that makes your system slow down at randomly when Windows hit a timer. (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Task Scheduler)
11: Don't use iTunes. Besides being the slowest, most featureless, incompatible, ugly, and absolute worst media player ever made, it will also decrease performance on any system, and try to run the weirdest and most useless tasks at random. Stay far away from any Apple products. No offence about running Apple products on Apple machines, I guess it's a match, but Apple is just not capable of writing efficient code at PC standard.
12: Stop and disable useless background services. (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services)
12-1: Stop and disable all junk-services, like updaters and support services from drivers and programs. (Examples: Acronis Scheduler2 Service, Adobe Acrobat Update Service, Creative Audio Service, Skype Updater, SwitchBoard, etc..)
12-2: Disable the worst Microsoft services. Like: Application Experience, Background Intelligent Transfer Service, IP Helper, Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), Media Center Extender Service, Office Source Engine, Offline Files, Program Compatibility Assistant Service, Remote Registry, Routing and Remote Access, Superfetch, Tablet PC Input Service, Windows Firewall (Most useless firewall ever made), Windows Media Center Receiver Service, Windows Media Center Scheduler Service, Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service, Windows Search (This has nothing to do with "Search", it's just another name for the horrible and complete useless "indexing service").
13: If you have a multi-core CPU, like a Core-i5 or i7, make sure to disable Core parking. (Google how, there are lots of guides)
14: Always have the latest graphics card drivers installed. Don't use the ones from Windows update. Go to the manufactures website and download the latest drivers specifically for your card.
15: Update Direct-X, XNA Framework, Visual C++ Redistributables and .NET Framework. All these can be found at the Microsoft Download Center.

 


2 - Drivers Settings


This is only for nVidia drivers. If you have an ATI or an Intel graphic card, you might want to Google how to obtain the same settings.

Open up the nVidia Control Panel, and go to "Manage 3D settings". Then click the "Program Settings" tab, and add the "obse_loader.exe".
*If you have the Steam version of Oblivion, you need to apply the same settings to the Oblivion Shortcut.
Set the following parameters:
Antialiasing - FXAA                                (Off or Application-controlled)
Antialiasing - Gamma correction           (Off or Application-controlled)
Antialiasing - Mode                                 (Off or Application-controlled)
Antialiasing - Setting                               (Application-controlled)
Antialiasing - Transparency                    (Off)
*ENB has it's own AA settings, so no worries, AA will be active anyway. If you enable the driver AA, ENB will be disabled completely.
Threaded Optimization                           (On)
*If you don't have a multi-core CPU, set this: "Off"
Vertical sync                                             (On)
*If you prefer higher FPS instead of tear-free smooth game-play, set this: "Off"

*ENB also has an option for handling V-sync, but I prefer nVidia's V-sync. If you want to use the ENB V-sync instead, just go to the Oblivion game folder and open up "enblocal.ini" with a notepad and find:
EnableFPSLimit=false
Change this to:
EnableFPSLimit=true


 


3 - Load-Order


Info: The load-order is a list that determines in which order Oblivion loads additional content. (Mods) The load-order has 255 slots which are loaded into the memory one by one in the exact order they are listed. If identical data appears (If two mods contain the same data), the mod listed last, overwrites whatever came first. Also, if a mod has references to another mod, this other mod HAS to be listed in the load-order before the mod with the dependency. If a mod is depending on something that is missing or listed later in the load-order, Oblivion will either not load those mods, load them with errors, or not even start up. This fact makes it VERY important to have a 100% correct load-order. Besides dependencies, some mods edit the same location space cells too, and often have different lighting settings, even if the mod has nothing to do with lighting. This doesn't cause the game to crash, but it might cause graphical, lighting or weather errors. Having a correct load-order is absolutely necessary for Oblivion to work.

It would take a long time to write about all the dependencies and references for each mod, so I have put the load-order in text below instead.

This load-order contains ALL mods. If you for instance only installed mods with black and green text, no worries, you just won't find all the items listed below in your own load-order. Whenever you stumble upon a missing item, just skip it, but keep everything else in the exact same order. It's a boring job, sorry, but it's absolutely necessary and you only need to do it once.

Load-order location: "C:\Users\(USERNAME)\AppData\Local\Oblivion\Plugins.txt"
You can edit it in a notepad, but it's easier to use NMM, as you can see which mods are active/deactivated.
 

Correct Load-Order:
Start
NMM and click the "Plugins" tab. Then sort everything according to this list

oblivion.esm
CM Partners.esm
Better Cities Resources.esm
DibellasWatch.esm
IceElfRace.esm
Knights.esp
DLCShiveringIsles.esp
DLCMehrunesRazor.esp
DLCFrostcrag.esp
DLCHorseArmor.esp
DLCBattlehornCastle.esp
DLCOrrery.esp
DLCThievesDen.esp
DLCVileLair.esp
DLCSpellTomes.esp
Specular Fix 1.1-2019.esp
DialogTweaks.esp
Unofficial Oblivion Patch.esp
UOP Vampire Aging & Face Fix.esp
Oblivion Citadel Door Fix.esp
Knights - Unofficial Patch.esp
DLCVileLair - Unofficial Patch.esp
DLCThievesDen - Unofficial Patch.esp
DLCThievesDen - Unofficial Patch - SSSB.esp
DLCSpellTomes - Unofficial Patch.esp
DLCOrrery - Unofficial Patch.esp
DLCMehrunesRazor - Unofficial Patch.esp
DLCHorseArmor - Unofficial Patch.esp
DLCBattlehornCastle - Unofficial Patch.esp
DLCFrostcrag - Unofficial Patch.esp
Unofficial Shivering Isles Patch.esp
boethia custom race.esp
GrassFix.esp
DLCSpellTomes - OBSEfixer.esp
Coolsims627.esp  *Leave this unchecked
VipCxj_HighHeels.esp  *Leave this unchecked
VipCxjHHTest.esp  *Leave this unchecked
unlimitedbetachar.esp
VampireRaceReloadedDV.esp
Oblivion_Character_Overhaul.esp
EVE_ShiveringIslesEasterEggs.esp
EVE_StockEquipmentReplacer.esp
EVE_KnightsoftheNine.esp
_Ren_BeautyPack_full.esp  *Leave this unchecked
Abriael_Human.esp  *Leave this unchecked
CM Partners More NPCs.esp
CM Partners NPC.esp
CM Partners Special NPCs.esp
CM Partners.esp
CM Partners Extra NPCs.esp
QQuix - Rock, rock, rock your ship - V3.esp
BrumasNorthernLights.esp
Colourwheels Sexy Oblivion OverHaul.esp
Better Cities Chorrol - Knights of the Nine.esp
DMRA BBB RHH Colourwheels Sexy Overhaul.esp  *Leave this unchecked
Weapon Improvement Project.esp
Dominatrix Suit.esp
Colourwheels Sexy Holy Knight Armor.esp
EY_AoD.esp
Princess line Dress.esp
VortexDMZArmors.esp
Witch LongDress.esp
Extended Chorrol.esp
Extended Imperial City Version 1.0.esp
Extended Skingrad.esp
Crowded Roads Advanced.esp
DID3_DoubleTrouble.esp
Housewives v101.esp
More Female Servants.esp
Populated Prisons.esp
Tavern-Goers 2.esp
ABCompilation.esp
ambreskav02.esp
ambreskav02_default_anim.esp
CM Pellena Trader Twins.esp
BloodLady.esp
CM Partner Remara Taywiin.esp
DAXendersAngels.esp
companion_iceelves.esp
DiabloEF 6 in 1.esp  *Leave this unchecked if you plan to start a new game (Win10 only) ..Enable again after first save.
SnusAmbience_Water.esp
Grass Overhaul.esp
Unique Landscapes.esp
1em_Vilja.esp
1em_ViljaCool87.esp
1em_Vilja_Neck_Seam_Concealer.esp
AleswellHomeQuest.esp
ViljainAleswell.esp
LakesideHome.esp
ViljainLakeside.esp
EMLeyawiinhouse.esp
EM_RedRoseManor.esp
ViljainRedRoseManor.esp
Castle Eltz.esp
Castle Eltz - Mannequin Stands.esp
Castle Eltz - Filled Booksets.esp
Castle_Seaview.esp
DWIngameMap.esp
DWAnvilTransport.esp
DibellasWatchAdditions.esp  *Leave this unchecked
DibellaCMParters.esp
Apachii_Wigs_MaleFemale.esp
Dungeons of Tamriel.esp
Millstone_Farm.esp
Rolling_Hills_Manor.esp
Shadowcrest_Vineyard.esp
ScarletMonastery.esp
Better Dungeons.esp
Unique Dungeons - Lichs Lair.esp
Unique Dungeons - Lost Glory.esp
CWRaceFix.esp
CM_Better Wine_SI.esp
Improved Fires and Flames - Increased Sound.esp
VAs Better Gold with no Menu Icon.esp
ImprovedSigns.esp
Alternative Start by Robert Evrae.esp
BrighterTorches_v1.2.esp
KT_CustomRaceFix.esp
Dancer_Undress0_6-10194.esp
FOV Modifier.esp
Harvest [Flora].esp
Harvest [Flora] - DLCVileLair.esp
Harvest [Flora] - Shivering Isles.esp
Harvest [Flora] - DLCFrostcrag.esp
Mark & Recall.esp
Modified Junges Nudespell-2992.esp
Q - Carrying Capacity x20 v1.0.esp
ThingasTime 1-5 Scale.esp
xulAncientYews.esp
xulArriusCreek.esp
xulAspenWood.esp
xulBlackwoodForest.esp
xulBravilBarrowfields.esp
xulBrenaRiverRavine.esp
xulCheydinhalFalls.esp
xulCliffsOfAnvil.esp
xulCloudtopMountains.esp
xulColovianHighlands_EV.esp
xulEntiusGorge.esp
xulFallenleafEverglade.esp
xulImperialIsle.esp
xulJerallGlacier.esp
xulPantherRiver.esp
xulRiverEthe.esp
xulRollingHills_EV.esp
xulSilverfishRiverValley.esp
xulSkingradOutskirts.esp
xulSnowdale.esp
xulStendarrValley.esp
xuldarkforest.esp
xulTheEasternPeaks.esp
xulAncientRedwoods.esp
xulLushWoodlands.esp
xulTheHeath.esp
xulBeachesOfCyrodiilLostCoast.esp
xulPatch_AY_AC.esp
Better Cities .esp
Better Cities Full.esp
Better Imperial City.esp
Better Cities - Leyawiin Flooded.esp
Better Cities - IC Imperial Isle.esp
VaultsofCyrodiil.esp
Grass Overhaul_xUL_Imperial_Isle_patch.esp
CastleEltz-EasternPeaks patch.esp
CastleSeaview+LostCoast Patch.esp
Millstone-AncientYews patch.esp
Rolling_Hills_Manor_ULAY_patch.esp
Better Cities - Unique Landscape Barrowfields.esp
Better Cities - Unique Landscape Cheydinhal Falls.esp
Better Cities - Unique Landscape Skingrad Outskirts.esp
Better Cities - Unique Landscape Snowdale.esp
Better Cities Bravil - Unique Landscape Panther River patch.esp
Better Cities IC Waterfront - Unique Landscape Imperial Isle.esp
OSPS-BC_IC-II_UL-II_Patch.esp

 


4 - Oblivion INI-File


Some mods require certain settings in "Oblivion.ini". You can either edit everything manually with a notepad, or you can download and use my personal ini file.

Option 1: Download: INI-File

Unpack and copy the ini file to: "C:\Users\(USERNAME)\Documents\My Games\Oblivion\". Overwrite existing files.
Open "Oblivion.ini" with a notepad, and find the following lines:

[Display]
iSize W=1920
iSize H=1080
*Change them to any resolution that match your graphic card & monitor

Option 2: If you want to keep you own .ini file, open it with a notepad instead, and add/change the following lines below:


Oblivion.ini
File path: C:\Users\(USERNAME)\Documents\My Games\Oblivion\Oblivion.ini
Add/change the following lines:

[General]  *Needed for a couple of mods
bBorderRegionsEnabled=0
uInterior Cell Buffer=24
uExterior Cell Buffer=284

[Display]  *Needed for the ENB
iMultiSample=0
fGamma=1.0000
iTexMipMapMinimum=0
iSize W=1920   *Change this to match your graphics card & monitor
iSize H=1200   *Change this to match your graphics card & monitor

[Display]   *Add/Change these for better shadows
fShadowBiasScale=0.1500
fInteriorShadowDistance=2500.0000
fShadowDistance=2500.0000
iBlurDeferredShadowMask=3
iShadowMaskQuarter=4
iShadowFilter=4
fShadowLODStartFade=500.0000
iShadowMode=4
bTreesReceiveShadows=1
bDrawLandShadows=1
bDrawShadows=1
bShadowMaskZPrepass=0
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=2048
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=2048
iShadowMapResolution=2048
fGrassStartFadeDistance=8000.0000
fGrassEndDistance=10000.0000

[GamePlay]   *Highly recommended. Auto saving can cause CTDs, especially during data load
bSaveOnTravel=0
bSaveOnWait=0
bSaveOnRest=0
bSaveOnInteriorExteriorSwitch=0

[Fonts]   *Recommended settings ONLY when using "DarNified UI"
SFontFile_1=Data\Fonts\DarN_Kingthings_Exeter_28.fnt
SFontFile_2=Data\Fonts\DarN_Kingthings_Petrock_14.fnt
SFontFile_3=Data\Fonts\DarN_Kingthings_Petrock_16.fnt
SFontFile_4=Data\Fonts\DarN_Oblivion_28.fnt
SFontFile_5=Data\Fonts\Handwritten.fnt

[BackgroundLoad]  *Stability tweak
bSelectivePurgeUnusedOnFastTravel=1

[Grass]   *These are recommended settings. If they negatively impacts FPS, lower start/end distance, and set "GrassTypesPerTexure=7"
iMinGrassSize=60
fGrassStartFadeDistance=8000.0000
fGrassEndDistance=10000.0000
bGrassPointLighting=1
bDrawShaderGrass=1
bShadowsOnGrass=1
iGrassDensityEvalSize=3
iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure=12
fWaveOffsetRange=1.7500
fGrassWindMagnitudeMax=125.0000
fGrassWindMagnitudeMin=5.0000
fTexturePctThreshold=0.3000

[Archive]   *Make sure you have ALL these listed, or you will get missing textures/voices
bInvalidateOlderFiles=1
bUseArchives=1
SArchiveList=BSARedirection.bsa, Oblivion - Meshes.bsa, Oblivion - Textures - Compressed.bsa, Oblivion - Sounds.bsa, Oblivion - Voices1.bsa, Oblivion - Voices2.bsa, Oblivion - Misc.bsa

[Water]   * Needed for water effects
bUseWaterDisplacements=1
bUseWaterReflectionsMisc=1
bUseWaterReflectionsStatics=1
bUseWaterReflectionsTrees=1
bUseWaterReflectionsActors=1
bUseWaterReflections=1
bUseWaterDepth=1


 


5 - Change Launcher (*Not needed for the Steam version)


In order to use the Oblivion Script Extender (OBSE), Oblivion needs to be launched via the OBSE launcher instead of the original Oblivion launcher.

If you have the Steam version of Oblivion, and have already installed the alternative loader, then you don't need to change anything.

If you are NOT running the Steam version of Oblivion, then open the Oblivion game folder and make a desktop shortcut to "obse_loader.exe". Use this shortcut to start Oblivion from now on. *Just don't start the game yet.

 

 


- END OF LINE -



Oblivion is ready for launch!
*
If you CTD on the very first load, don't worry. CTDs sometimes happen at the very first launch after file changes. This happens because of inconsistency with game-cache. Start Oblivion up again, and everything will be fine.

When launched, go to video settings before starting a game. Make sure these settings are set:

Bloom = OFF
HDR = On
Self Shadows = On


Check out the Galley for art & screenshots