Monday, April 11, 2011

Liquid Water

So a lot of things have been having on the official Bethesda forums these past few days, specifically with the mod that I'm about to discuss. It's a very stable mod at this point, but it wasn't initially, which is why I waited a while to talk about it. I try not to bring up mods that overlap or conflict with others that I bring up on here, but when I saw the first screenshots of Liquid Water, I knew this would be the exception.

For all the years that I've been dealing with mods for Oblivion, there was never a doubt in my mind that Enhanced Water was the best water was going to get. Even the team for the Oblivion Graphics Extender, which this mod is dependent upon, initially thought the idea of further improvement was hopeless due to the way the water system works in the game. The author of Liquid Water went beyond this wall by completely recreating the water. This isn't an exaggeration; part of the installation process of this mod is to disable the original game's water rendering. The main difference between this and Enhanced Water is that the new water has smoother transitions. This includes removing the sharp edges along the shoreline, providing a more realistic approach between going over and underwater, and blending the water in better with the surrounding environment. In the interest of time, I used my video from Enhanced Water to give you a good comparison between the three different options rather than taking completely new footage in each of the three cases. Be sure to pay attention to the difference in the shoreline, the surface from underwater, and the visibility of objects underwater from above.

There's a lot more to this mod than just the concept of prettier water. Since the water replaces the original system, several different variables can be completely customized using a file included in the mod. This includes but isn't limited to the level of reflection, the amount of fog underwater, and the color tint, both underwater and on the surface. For those that want the underwater to look more like what you see when using Enhanced Water, you can do this by lowering the blue tint and increasing the redness. And of course it does have a couple drawbacks, but it's nothing that should keep you from enjoying the mod. I haven't encountered anything unusual, but the author does a better job at explaining downsides than I do.

I'm sure seeing this video after reading my discussion may confuse you, especially since it sounds so complicated but looks so good. There are two ways of installing it, and I know both of them are explained in the document included in the mod much better than anything I could describe to you. However, just so you know I'm not just teasing you with this beautiful work and that you actually can use this for yourself, I'll briefly touch on what you need to know.

Before anything, be sure to remove Enhanced Water, Visually Realistic Lava, or any other mod you might use to change the way water or lava looks. For those of you who never tried going underneath the lava pools in the Oblivion Realm, they're actually just a colored variation of water with a different texture used on the surface. Because of this, though, Liquid Water is incompatible with anything that affects either of these.

After that step, you need to decide whether you're going to use any other shaders (visual effects) that can be employed using the Oblivion Graphics Extender or whether you would prefer to just use the new water. Note that I won't be discussing the Oblivion Graphics Extender in detail on this blog. The link should provide plenty of further information about that. If you decide you would just like the water, a package that can be easily installed with the Oblivion Mod Manager can be found on the same page as the full version. If you aren't scared off by my terrible explanation of the mod's requirements, or you'd rather just read what the author has to say about the mod, you can find Liquid Water right here. It's worth it. Promise.

For those of you that miss my discussion of tiny, simple mods, I'll be coming back to those in the very near future. The only reason I had to discuss this first was because of the need to spread word of its success. Until then, have a fantastic Monday.


  1. I like the look of Liquid Water but I still prefer Enhanced Water, for now. Most water mods seem to make underwater way too blue for my tastes, which just doesn't strike me as very realistic. Enhanced Water strikes a good balance, the water is suitably murky but not so much that you can't see what you're doing.

  2. Thanks for calling that to my attention; I've added more details about the customization available with Liquid Water in a paragraph right under the video. The blueness underwater is the default setting, which I figured I should keep for the video. It's very simple to change the settings to look more like Enhanced Water, and I've already done it for my personal game. Let me know if anything else needs further clarification.

  3. Hi Matthew, thanks for adding those details about customizing OBGE Liquid Water, I saw your post in the thread on the forums and the underwater screenshot you posted with the tweaked settings looks amazing! Thanks again for taking the time to do that, I'm just reinstalling Oblivion after a fresh reformat (new graphics card yay) so this will definitely be one of the first mods I install.