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Default Modded Morrowind brings my framerate to a crawl. Help!

February 4th, 2013, 23:27
Hello. I need some help.

Here's the deal, I'm running Morrowind GOTY with Morrowind Overhaul 3.0 and a bunch of mods on my laptop. Here's the problem. For the most part I have to play with the draw distance on the lowest possible value in order for the game to be playable, and by playable I mean I average around 12 FPS outdoors in heavily populated areas like Balmora, around 15-17 in the wilderness (where I'm subsequently able to crank up the view distance quite a bit), and 30+ indoors (which runs completely fine).

I would like to increase the draw distance in cities and not be slowed to a crawl. I've tried everything. Morrowind FPS Optimizer, disabling all the graphics extenders in the overhaul, turning off shadows, etc. And none of it seems to make any difference at all. I still get around 10 FPS outdoors in Balmora. If I crank up the draw distance I get about 7 FPS and it becomes choppy.

I have checked my graphics card on the Morrowind Overhaul site and it ranks 76, which actually puts it in the "Fast" category (there's Very Fast, Fast, Medium and Slow). So I should be able to get more bang out of this. I know it's a laptop with an integrated card, but I just know I can squeeze more juice out of it. I have a feeling the low FPS is more of a glitch due to some of the mods interacting, or just some setting somewhere is causing it. My gut tells me I can get more out of the performance than I'm currently getting.

Here's the mods I'm running:

-Less Generic NPCs Seyda Neen (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Ald Velothi (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Khuul (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Maar Gan (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Gnaar Mok (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Hla Oad (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Aldruhn + Supplement (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Pelagiad (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Tel Mora (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Vivec, Foreign Quarter (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Indarys Manor (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Vivec Redoran (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs PAX Redoran (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Secret Masters (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Less Generic NPCs Tel Uvirith (More NPCs and better dialogue)
-Tamriel Rebuilt Map 3 - Sacred East (New Land and quests)
-Tel Magus (House in Grazelands)
-Uvirith's Legacy (New quests and areas to explore)
-Rise of House Telvanni (New quests)
-Nymeria's Faster Walk (10% Faster Walking)
-Necessities of Morrowind (The need to sleep, eat and drink)
-Morrowind Crafting + Graphic Herbalism (Craft over 1230 different items)
-Where are all birds going (Adds birds in the sky)
-Antares' Big Mod (special privileges with the lower ranking members of your faction)
-Delayed Dark Brotherhood Attack (You won't be attacked by the Dark Brotherhood assassins until some conditions are met)
-Healers (Healers heal you at the temples)
-Starfires NPC Additions (Adds NPCs to various settlements and parts of the wilderness)
-Hold it (Randomly gives NPCs an item to hold)
-Water Life (Adds various water-related creatures)
-Guars (Talk to Ashlander guar tamers for mountable guars)
-BTB's Game Improvements (Makes significant changes to the game's birthsigns, races, spells, spell effects, alchemy ingredients, potions, equipment, enchantments, and GMSTs)
-Darknut's Greater Dwemer Ruins (Larger ruins to explore as well as traps, puzzles, and a completely new final battle with Dagoth Ur)

Along with Morrowind Overhaul 3.0.

So I don't know what to do. Can anyone help me? Is there a way to reduce texture quality? That would be a last resort but if it makes a significant difference I would definitely try. If there's a way to lower it though, I haven't found it. There's got to be something I can do to get more performance.

Have any of these mods been known to cause lag in the past? I think Starfires NPC might be a place to start. It adds a bunch of NPCs which could slow things down. Any other ideas?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to get that draw distance out a little further so I can admire some of the beautiful scenery. Thanks!
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February 4th, 2013, 23:42
What are the exact specs for your laptop? What OS?

You have a lot of mods installed, and Morrowind Overhaul by itself is pretty demanding.
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February 4th, 2013, 23:56
My specs are :

2.1 ghz dual core AMD processor
3 gb RAM
ati radeon 3100 (considered "fast" by Morrowind Overhaul's specs) integrated graphics
Windows Vista 32-bit

Here's the thing. I'm able to extend the draw distance to 100% maximum when I'm outside of Balmora and get good FPS. It's once I'm in the cities with the NPCs that the distance has to be reduced to minimum again.

I'm thinking about disabling Starfire's NPCs mods and see if that helps. It adds a ton of NPCs to the game world and I think that could be causing a hit to my FPS in cities.

I'm also going to try clicking "Keep FPS constant" in the MGEui.exe program and see if that does anything.

Other than that I've tried nearly everything I can think of except for disabling more mods.

Edit - the "Keep FPS Constant" mode made things pretty smooth, but overall the draw distance was once again kept at minimum. When I would extend it to full the program just scaled it back to minimum

I didn't try disabling Starfire NPCs but I don't think that's the problem. I loaded my Balmora save and none of the Starfire NPCs spawned in Balmora, yet the framerate was still low. It doesn't seem to have any impact on FPS at all.

I'm stumped.
Last edited by Fluent; February 5th, 2013 at 00:17.
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February 5th, 2013, 07:50
The problem is that those specs are fairly low-end, regardless of what MO's suggested specs claim. It doesn't surprise me that it's not running all that great for you.

I was messing around with MO last year, and with no other mods installed, it was still a little choppy in places when I had everything maxed out. That was with an AMD 3.4 ghz quad core and a Geforce GTX 470 OC, which is more than twice the speed of a Radeon 3100.

I did notice that it ran much smoother on my Windows XP partition though, so there's a possibility that the OS might also play a significant role.
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February 5th, 2013, 17:03
Would running the game in XP compatibility mode make any difference? Maybe I'll try that.

I know my laptop isn't that great, but I figured since I turned off all the graphic-intensive additions in Overhaul, that I would at least be able to run the game at a max view distance. That said, running as an administrator upped my FPS a little bit. Still not where I'd like it but it's playable. I've logged about 10 hours of playing so far and it's been fine.

I guess I'll just stick with what I got. I should be happy that my laptop can play it at all. The game is very pretty but sadly outdoors I can only see a little bit of it at a time in towns. Once I'm out of towns it's much better.

Oh well. If anyone has any other ideas feel free to throw them my way. In the meantime I'll just continue my play-through and deal with it.
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February 6th, 2013, 06:17
The radeon 3100 is the problem. My cell phone has a faster video card.
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February 7th, 2013, 01:23
Why does the Morrowind Overhaul site consider the Radeon 3100 a fast card I wonder? Weird.

I realize it's not a great card but there is a video on Youtube of the 3100 running Skyrim on low settings. I figured if the card can handle Skyrim on low it would work with Morrowind Overhaul. Guess I was wrong.

Oh well. I have it working good enough to play, just have to deal with some low draw distance in big towns. No biggie. Thanks for the insights fellas.
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February 7th, 2013, 02:48
If you read graphics card requirements you should consider that you have a notebook. Mobile components are not the same as desktop components. They're usually much slower even if the name is the same.
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February 7th, 2013, 02:59
Not sure how Morrowind Overhaul works, but is there a way you can use lower res textures?

The texture mods for Oblivion and Morrowind make those old games even more demanding than vanilla Skyrim or other modern games.
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February 7th, 2013, 16:08
From what I can tell there is no way to change the resolution of the textures. There is a "Mipmap" setting that determines how detailed the textures are. I changed it to a lower number and the game looked like Minecraft or something with very little detail, but I also still got the same FPS for some odd reason.

Now I'm getting pretty heavy lag in Ald'Ruhn. Even at times when there aren't a lot of NPCs around. I checked how much CPU and memory Morrowind is using and it's only 60%. It's not bogging down my system yet I'm still getting lag. (Note - turning collision off doubles my FPS in Ald'Ruhn)

I searched online and found others reported lag in Ald'Ruhn. Even people who had much more powerful computers than mine. It doesn't really make sense. I have seen countless posts by people reporting poor FPS with Morrowind Overhaul and Graphics Extender who have setups that definitely should be able to run this stuff.

I've tried every setting in the Overhaul and Graphics Extender and have had no impact on my FPS.

I don't know what to do next, other than just hold off on playing until I get a better computer…
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February 7th, 2013, 16:41
Keep in mind that innefficiencies in the way Morrowind was originally programmed hold back its performance significantly. My current pc runs skyrim better than it does stock morrowind. (Morrowind may hit higher fps peaks than skyrim, but skyrims average framerate is much more consistent)
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February 7th, 2013, 20:05
Yeah, I kind of figured the old engine of Morrowind has something to do with it. It's one of those weird things, though. I've read quite a few posts in the last few days about people having powerful gaming systems, yet struggling to run a modded Morrowind. Others have no problems at all. And it seems like those who had problems, their problems were completely different from system to system. Welcome to computer world, I guess.

That's pretty much the reason I've held out hope that I can run the game better on this laptop. I was hoping I would find that magic setting that makes everything run smoothly, but so far I haven't found it. Others have found it for their systems, but when I try those same techniques I don't get the same results. I am continuing to experiment with settings but I'm thinking that I will just wait and install it on a new computer when I get one. I'm sure on a faster graphics card many of these problems will disappear.
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February 7th, 2013, 20:11
Maybe try to play without the graphics overhaul and just the regular game + non-graphics mods? That should run much faster.

There are a lot of mods that improve the gameplay features or add new quests without affecting performance at all. Excluding Morrowind Overhaul, almost all of those mods you mentioned in your list above should have no performance cost.

And I would imagine there are probably also some different texture mods that improve the appearance without as much performance cost as Morrowind Overhaul. That mod can make the game more demanding than modern 2012 games.
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February 7th, 2013, 20:14
You should stop playing Morrowind and go back to Realmz
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February 7th, 2013, 20:30
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
Maybe try to play without the graphics overhaul and just the regular game + non-graphics mods? That should run much faster.

There are a lot of mods that improve the gameplay features or add new quests without affecting performance at all. Excluding Morrowind Overhaul, almost all of those mods you mentioned in your list above should have no performance cost.

And I would imagine there are probably also some different texture mods that improve the appearance without as much performance cost as Morrowind Overhaul. That mod can make the game more demanding than modern 2012 games.
This is good advice - pretty much what I was about to say. Morrowind still has a lot of charm even without any graphics mods. In some ways I feel the shorter default draw distance adds to the mystery and atmosphere of the game. I kind of like the foggier look.

You might be able to put in just some upgraded character models without too much framerate impact.
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February 8th, 2013, 01:06
I don't know… as much as I like Morrowind, I don't feel it has aged well at all from a visual standpoint. To be honest, I couldn't play it now without the graphics mods.

Maybe there's a different mod he can use that will update the textures without being as demanding as MSGO.
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February 8th, 2013, 01:30
You might want to wait for skywind mod to be completed(Morrowind in skyrim engine someone already spoke about this on forum).IDK how far is from being completed but it's definitively worth a wait especially since you said that you laptop can run skyrim on lower settings.
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February 8th, 2013, 05:15
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
There is a "Mipmap" setting that determines how detailed the textures are. I changed it to a lower number and the game looked like Minecraft or something with very little detail,
Are you somehow intimating that Minecraft has bad graphics? Minecraft is beeeaaautiful!!@!!!

As to your PC, aside from an upgrade, have you tried closing all unecessary background services, a defrag, and lowering your game's screen resolution?
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February 8th, 2013, 05:17
Morrowind Overhaul is great but the added shaders will crush that laptop. The game looks pretty darn great without it. I'd revert. BTW, I played it with the graphics extender on a 9800 GTX laptop and the framerate was typically around 30FPS max, with dips into the low 20's frequently. Its that brutal. The old MW engine was just never designed for the shaders. Looks great though doesn't it?

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February 8th, 2013, 05:45
Fluent I dredged up some old notes about Overhaul that may or may not be useful for you.
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧
From a post about 2 years ago…
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧
Did some more tweaking and I think I've found a decent graphical balance, closer to the true Morrowind and friendlier FPS.

A note on FPS: FRAPS says my wilderness FPS is around 20, which for Morrowind is actually just fine. My intown is 16, pretty borderline but there is no combat so its workable. Bottom line is the engine was never meant for this kind of thing so you take the good with the bad. My machine can play Nehrim at 40FPS so what can I tell you. Some NPC animations are jilting in the distance, not sure why. I think I'm almost at the point where I'd stop tweaking and start playing.

A note to KINGPIX:
I highly recommend some king of tweak guide. Way to many things to choose and some debilitate performance for no gain. Again, just an opinion.

Here are the key changes I made MGE:
1. Grass in MGE to 0. It doesn't belong in Morrowind anyway.
2. Kill all shaders in the list except Occlusion and GodRays. Frankly, the HDR and other shaders were doing nothing but killing performance. I don't see a noticeable difference really.
3. Distant land to 400 (orginal MGE default)
4. AA to 2x
5. AF to 8x
Changes in MGSOO:
1. turn off all the extra trees, color and bushiness. There is too much object pop with all that stuff anyway. You can't see it in the screenshots but it is bothersome.

Checkout the cool god rays







覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧
More tweaking about 6 months later…
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

I must have done something right this time because I'm getting a better framerate. I decided to select a bit less on the texture packs (the roads look like MW roads again and the foliage is not drastically changed) and I dropped the Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) shader and went with 2x AA, 4x AF. I still have godrays, HDR and water effects.

It is where I want it. Looks amazing in Widescreen, hi res textures, godrays etc. Really looks fantastic. 1.3 patch installed.

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