5. Optimising Morrowind Settings
The resolution in Morrowind doesn't play a major part in performance. I compared the three resolutions from 1024x768 to 1600x1200 and performance was almost identical in my case. In particular, any resolution from 1024x768 upwards shows almost no difference in framerates, so choose a higher resolution (if your monitor supports it) to achieve a smoother picture - instead of running Anti-aliasing (FSAA) for example, which will show a small performance hit. NVNews recently did a "Benchmark" of Morrowind at different resolutions and came up with the same conclusion.
- Real Time Shadows
Real Time Shadows are only cast by people and creatures. Turn off Real Time Shadows completely (slide to full left) for a noticeable performance improvement. Most of the time they're cast badly and sometimes you can see shadows of people or creatures a level above you through the floor, which can be a bit of a "cheat". In any case, turn them off and you'll still have all the lighting effects such as torchlight on people, light shining on your blade and armour, etc.
- View Distance
The View Distance determines how far you can see. The lower the setting, the more "fog" you walk around in on a sunny day. Keep the View Distance at a reasonable length. However, you will get a noticeable decrease in fps if you set it above 80%, and any lower than around 50% and you're wandering around in fog all the time. I have mine at 80% and I would recommend it as a good balance of realistic viewing and performance.
View Distance 0%
View Distance 50%
View Distance 100%
- Gamma Correction
Keep the Gamma Correction low to avoid that washed out look. Halfway or just a bit below is best. Also, set your monitor's Contrast to 100% and reduce your monitor's brightness (on mine around 70) for crisper pictures without blasting your eyes. The right brightness and contrast really brings out the colours in Morrowind.
For nVidia based graphics card owners who have the newer Nvidia Detonators installed, go to Control Panel>Display>Settings>Advanced>Color Correction and set Digital Vibrance to Low or Medium to dramatically improve in-game and desktop colours. Then tick Automatically Apply These Settings At Startup.
- AI Distance
Set the AI distance lower for better fps, without any impact on image quality. Mine is set at 50%, but you can lower this if you need the extra fps. Try to keep it above 25% for some realism.
- Pixel Shaders (GeForce3 and above, but not GeForce4 MX)
If you have a GeForce3 or above, turn Pixel Shaders on for spectacular water effects. This is done by double clicking the Morrowind icon, and in the initial launcher menu, selecting Options. If the option for Pixel Shading is grayed out then your graphics card doesn't support this feature, as it's a hardware-based feature, there's no "software hack" to enable it.