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LOD Guide

Generating/installing new LOD is NOT a requirement, but it will add detail in the distance by increasing the amount of objects that appear in the distance while also making all LOD match your modded textures. You can also generate terrain LOD, which will allow mods that edit the game's landscape to have LOD that reflects their changes. Terrain LOD creates a much larger file size and will take longer to generate.

Viva New Vegas (even with VNV Extended) does not need new terrain LOD, but this guide will explain both the object and terrain LOD generation to account for custom modlists or if you just want better looking terrain LOD. Extra resources for Tale of Two Wastelands users are included.

What is LOD?

LOD stands for Level Of Detail.
In the context of Bethesda games, LOD mainly refers to Cell LOD, not geometry LOD. It's used to represent whole cells (the game's "chunks" of land) in the distance.

Cell LOD is not based on distance - it's a binary state of whether cell is either loaded or not. The LOD Block distance settings control the max draw distance of LOD itself, not the point where it begins.
This means that you will see LOD pop-in at the same distance regardless of the settings.

Cell LOD is split into 3 categories:

  1. Object LOD - All flagged objects in a group of cells are represented as one geometry block. This LOD has only one constant quality level. Fast generation time.
  2. Terrain LOD - These blocks represent landscape of cell groups. This is the only LOD that has quality levels that change with the distance - higher levels cover more cells (LOD4 - 4x4, LOD8 - 8x8, etc.). Due to the sheer size and texture count, it takes the longest to generate.
  3. Tree LOD - All flagged SpeedTree objects are merged into one block. Works similarly to Object LOD, with the difference of using simple 2D planes instead of actual geometry. Fastest to generate.
    Despite the name, Tree LOD is horrible for trees. It's only good for bushes and other small flora objects, for this reason trees themselves are most often made as Object LOD.

Why generate LOD?

Bethesda's LOD relies on pregenerated meshes, and thus is inherently static. This decision is due to offering better performance, since game doesn't have to combine meshes and textures of individual objects on the fly.
The drawback is obvious - the game can't reflect any changes made to the landscape or objects on its own. That's where LOD generation comes in.
Thanks to LODGen, you are able to generate LOD meshes that reflect your modded game, and thus have a much more consistent experience.

Another reason for generation is due to the fact that the original LOD is pretty low quality, and many objects lack LOD meshes entirely, which causes them to appear out of thin air on cell load.
This is covered by individual LOD mods, which add LOD meshes to objects that lack it and/or improve the quality of existing ones.

INI Tweaks

This will increase the LOD draw distance, and remove jarring transitions of SpeedTree flora.
  1. Click the MO2 INI button button at the top of MO2 and select INI Editor.
  2. Select the FalloutCustom.ini tab, which should have the settings copied from the Mod Organizer 2 page.
    • Make sure you are in the FalloutCustom.ini tab and NOT the Custom.ini tab.
  3. Paste in the following at the end of the file:
  4. Coco blockquote
    IMPORTANT:
    Increasing LOD distances means that the object LOD will now reach the impostor meshes in Camp McCarran, making them clip into each other!

    Install Impostors and LOD Flicker Fix to fix this problem, then move Impostors and LOD Flicker Fix.esp above DNWeathers.esp.

Creating a Separator in MO2

  1. Right-click the empty space in the left pane of MO2 and select Create separator.
  2. Name the separator LOD.

Installing LOD Resources

In following order:

  1. LOD Fixes and Improvements - NVSE
    • Main Files - LOD Fixes and Improvements - NVSE
  2. FNVLODGen Resources
    • Main Files - FNVLODGen Resources
    • Optional Files - Trees LOD Billboards Vanilla
    • After installing the main file, open the mod in Mod Organizer 2, and hide FNVLODGen.esp file.
    • To hide a file:
      1. Open the mod in Mod Organizer 2 by double-clicking it on the left pane.
      2. Go to the Filetree tab.
      3. Right-click the file you want to hide and select Hide.
  3. Much Needed LOD
    • Main Files - Much Needed LOD
    • After installing the main file, open the mod in Mod Organizer 2, and hide MuchNeededLOD.esp file.
  4. Much Needed LOD fixed rocks color
    • Main Files - Much Needed LOD fixed rocks color
  5. LOD Additions and Improvements
    • Main Files - LODadditions
    • After installing the main file, open the mod in Mod Organizer 2, and hide tmzLODadditions.esp file.
  6. LOD Additions and Improvements - Billboard LOD Fix
    • Main Files - LOD Additions and Improvements - Billboard Fix
  7. FNV LOD Supplementation
    • Main Files - FNV LOD Supplementation
    • Optional Files - Optional Overpasses
  8. TCM's LOD Overhaul
    • Main Files - TCM's LOD Overhaul
  9. More LODs Additions and fixes
    • Main Files - More LODs Additions and fixes
  10. Wasted LOD - Cliffs of Mojave
    • Main Files - Version 1.0
    • After installing the main file, open the mod in Mod Organizer 2, and hide Wasted Mojave Rock LOD.esp file.
  11. Different LOD mods little tweaks and additions
    • Main Files - Different LOD mods little tweaks and additions
  12. LODIFY - Level of detail improvement for your Fallout
    • Main Files - LODIFY
    • Optional Files - LODIFY FNV Wall_SoGB Editon
    • After installing both files, open them in Mod Organizer 2, and hide TTWLods.esp and LODIFY_FNV.esp files.
  13. VNV - LOD Patches
    • Main Files - VNV - LOD Patches
If you are modding Tale of Two Wastelands, also do the following:
  1. Disable or uninstall FNVLODGen Resources.
  2. Install LOD additions and improvements - TTW Patch.
  3. Install Wasted LOD - Cliffs of DC.
Coco blockquote
IMPORTANT:
Make sure to enable all resources in MO2 before continuing!

VNV Pre-Generated LOD

If you use a VNVE modlist with no changes to textures or the game world, you can skip manual LOD generation by using this file. Simply install it as a normal mod in MO2 and put it under the resources listed in the previous section (which you still need).

You can then ignore the rest of this page.

FNVLODGen

  1. Download the latest xLODGen from here.
  2. Once the download has finished, extract the contents of the archive anywhere outside of the default Windows folders.
  3. In MO2, select the MO2 executables button at the top of MO2 to open the executables menu.
  4. Click the + at the top of the window and the select Add from file...
  5. From the pop-up, navigate to where xLODGen is installed and select xLODGen.exe.
  6. In the Arguments box in the right pane, enter -FNV -O:"C:\Output"
This argument will send the LOD output to a folder called Output on your C drive (the drive Windows is installed on). You can change this path if you would prefer the files to be generated elsewhere (do not use a UAC protected folder or the game folder).
  1. Select xLODGen from the executables drop-down in the top right of MO2 and click Run.
  2. Copy all settings from the image below:
  3. Main LOD Settings - Objects and Trees
    Terrain LOD Generation instructions (Optional but Recommended)
    Show
      Generating Terrain LOD is very time consuming and CPU intensive.
      It's needed only if you have mods that edit the landscape or landscape textures.
    1. In the right pane, check Terrain LOD.
    2. Lansdcape LOD has 4 quality levels for different distances (with LOD4 being the closest to you, and LOD32 being the farthest).
      All LOD levels are generated at once! You don't have to do anything besides configuring every level.
      Copy the settings for each LOD level from images below:
      • LOD 4:
      • Landscape LOD Settings - Level 4
      • LOD 8:
      • Landscape LOD Settings - Level 8
      • LOD 16:
      • Landscape LOD Settings - Level 16
      • LOD 32:
      • Landscape LOD Settings - Level 32
    Settings Explanation
    Show

    Objects:

    • Atlas size: The atlas is what contains all textures for the Object LOD meshes, increasing its size means that you can have more textures on the atlas (from the new resources) and they could also be higher resolution.
      Keep in mind that the tool will create this atlas with just the resolution it ends up needing (e.g. if you only need 1024x512 for your atlas, that will be the final resolution of it, what we set is simply the max allowed).
    • Max texture size: Object textures above this resolution will not be allowed on the atlas, we increase this to make sure everything makes it there.

    Landscape

    • Protect borders: Prevents ugly terrain drops at the cell borders.
    • Size: As a result of using mipmaps, the benefit of high terrain LOD resolutions will be miniscule, 512 on LOD4 and 256 on the next levels will suffice.
    • Bake normal-maps: Roughens the terrain LOD textures to match the actual terrain's normal map.
    • Mipmap: Mipmapping textures prevents pixel crawling artifacts at a minor VRAM and storage utilization cost.
    • Quality: This controls the amount of detail in the LOD's geometry. Lower values have more detail and have a minor performance cost because of the amount of triangles in the mesh.
  1. Click Generate.
  2. When complete, the log will stop and at the end you will see a message saying "LOD generation complete", you can now close xLODGen.

Installing the LOD

  1. In MO2, right-click on the Overwrite folder at the bottom of the left pane and select All Mods -> Create empty mod above.
  2. Title the mod FNVLODGen Output.
  3. Navigate to where the LOD files were generated and select both the textures and meshes folders.
  4. Cut them to the FNVLODGen Output mod you just created (right-click on the mod and select Open in Explorer).
Coco blockquote
IMPORTANT:
Do not disable the LOD resources you installed previously, the game needs them for the LOD to work properly.

Generated LOD must always be loaded last in your modlist! (Bottom of the left pane in MO2)
If it happens to be overwritten by any mod, the in-game result will be broken.
This is notably common with texture mods like NMC's Texture Pack.