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The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Tweak Guide - Morrowind Game Engine

In our first, of what will become a continuous stream of comprehensive gaming based tweaking guides, our newest writer, Koroush "PersianImmortal" Ghazi, has completed a very in-depth guide on obtaining the best performance from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Since Morrowind is such a demanding game on most systems, this guide goes into detail about improving not only game settings but general system settings so everyone is able to play this game at a decent framerate and in a stable environment on computers with varying specifications. Grab a coffee, sit back and learn with Koroush!

| Guides | Posted: Jul 17, 2002 4:00 am

3. Morrowind Game Engine - One Reason Behind Low Frames Per Second (FPS)

 

In layman's terms, the graphics "engine" - the core programming code which provides all the graphical effects for the 3D Morrowind world - is such that it currently requires a great deal of processing power (both CPU and GPU) to run.

 

Now there are ways in which it could perhaps do more with less, however the fact of the matter is that it is not fully optimised at the moment, and there is probably a great deal of work involved in "fixing" it to run faster. So everyone will experience slower framerates than we are used to with other games. The sad fact is that when a graphics engine is less than optimal in performance, the best we can do is use the tweaks in guides like this one to get the most out of our system and wait for a possible fix. It can only be fixed by the developers. People have complained a great deal about this situation and nothing's been done so far, so more complaining won't achieve much. The Morrowind developers are aware of the situation.

 

I personally have Morrowind running quite smoothly on my modest machine (P4 1.7@1.85/GF3@240/540), so I'm sure if you tweak your system like I have, you'll get it running much more smoothly. However if you're running an older or weaker or unoptimised system, don't expect miracles, and don't blame everything on the engine. After all, a GeForce2MX card is not going to have enough power to render the beautiful Morrowind graphics at high fps no matter how good the engine or your CPU. The better the graphics in a game the more powerful the hardware you'll require. If it looks fantastic you can bet it needs a lot of power

 

 

 

 

4. Crashes to Desktop (CTDs), Lockups, Stuttering and Game Bugs

 

This is the area of biggest concern for most Morrowind players. The main solutions to these problems will be found in Part 3 of this guide below. Almost all CTDs, lockups, etc. are due to problems with your system configuration, Windows settings, and hardware. Morrowind itself may have poor memory management leading to some CTDs and slowdowns, but lockups and stuttering are entirely due to hardware being pushed too far (and the associated heat) or poor system configuration. Even then, I've personally managed to have zero crashes or problems, so if I can do it, you can try too. Or at least reduce the frequency of such problems.

 

However, there are some known issues, and these can be found at the top of the Morrowind Forums, and in the readme.txt file found in the \Morrowind directory.

 

On the topic of game bugs, there were several that were resolved by the Official Morrowind Patch. A "Fanfix" patch is also available, but I would strongly recommend against installing it because it's a workaround and not a fix, and it's not fully tested. I've noticed on the Morrowind forums that a lot of people wrongly think that certain game features or reactions or situations are "bugs". For example, choosing Dispose of Corpse will put all of the corpse's contents into your inventory. This may seem a little annoying, but it's a feature described in the manual and hence not a bug. Other apparent bugs are actually the result of memory corruption or bad installs of the game, or even fan plugins which conflict with the patch.

 

The bottom line is do a search on the official forums first, read the manual again, make sure you've installed the game as suggest above with all the tweaks/optimisations listed here. Ideally, if you're not too far progressed, start a new game if your character was created before the new patch was released (as I did) to ensure there are no conflicts between the versions. If all of this fails then you may have actually encountered a bug, but in my experience, as a level 50 character I have encountered perhaps two actual bugs in the game - and I've completed all the Mages Guild, Fighters Guild and Redoran quests not to mention a whole bunch more. Don't be so quick to jump on the bug bandwagon - do a little reading and some more searching around beforehand.

 

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