Tips: Custom Shaders

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So, you want to use custom shaders with OpenMW? What is the benefit of doing this? They have the potential to adjust how the game looks in various ways, sometimes with great effect.

Table Of Contents

Installing Custom Shaders

In order to install any custom shaders, you'll need to locate the shaders folder for your OpenMW installation.

On Windows, this would be inside the resources folder next to the openmw.exe executable. On Linux, it might be next to the executable, or it might be at /usr/share/openmw/resources/shaders if you installed OpenMW via your system package manager. If you built OpenMW from source, it'd be at $PREFIX/share/games/openmw/resources/shaders. On macOS, find those at /Applications/

Once you've located this folder, it's a good idea to make a backup of it in case you want to revert to the default shaders more easily for any reason.

Now, installation is simple. Simply place any shader files (.glsl, or .png for the water normal) into the shaders folder, overwriting the defaults, and enjoy! Note that some shaders have settings requirements, so be sure to consult any available READMEs for them.

Vtastek's Shaders

Vtastek's Shaders introduce vast changes to the game's interior and exterior lighting and shadows. If you're someone who prefers more realistic interior lighting, this will surely satisfy you, and the exterior changes add new life to familiar regions.

Setup requires several steps, assuming you've already downloaded and extracted the files required as described here:

Generating LightFixes.esp: Setup

This process involves using the tes3cmd tool to generate an .esp file that patches lighting in your game.

The plugin included with the shader pack only covers Morrowind cells, so if you're using any mods that add cells you will want to generate a custom plugin to ensure those are covered.

I've created a small bash script (NOTE: Unfortunately, this tool does not support Windows at this time) that will scan a given openmw.cfg file and produce a temporary folder that can be used for a tes3cmd environment, please download that from here, usage instructions are found here.

Generating LightFixes.esp: Get The Plugin

The steps below assume you have either done the setup steps mention above, or you have access to a properly configured vanilla Morrowind setup (meaning all of your plugins are in the Data Files folder and the Morrowind.ini file has a complete load order).

Additionally, you should have already gone through the readme.html file included with Vtastek's Shaders and made any settings changes that it requires.

Please also ensure you've downloaded all the required files for Vtastek's Shaders.

  1. Ensure you aren't loading any conflicting mods like True Lights and Darkness - Necro Edit.
  2. Extract the file from the openmwlightingbeta04.7z archive and put it into your vanilla Morrowind's Data Files folder.
    • If you're using Windows, also copy the tes3cmd.exe file into there as well.
    • If you're using Linux or macOS, make sure you've got a usable installation of tes3cmd on your system, preferrably in your $PATH.
  3. Open a command prompt or terminal, cd into the vanilla Morrowind Data Files folder
  4. Run: tes3cmd modify -program > LightFixes.log
  5. There will now be a file called LightFixes.esp in the vanilla Morrowind Data Files folder. Copy this out, rename it if desired, and so on according to your own setup.
  6. There will also be a file called LightFixes.log which will contain a record of all cells that were modified. It's a good idea to take a look at this to verify there were no major problems.
  7. Add that plugin to your load order just before your OMWLLF plugin.
  8. Copy the contents of the shaders folder from the openmwlightingbeta04.7z archive into the shaders folder of your OpenMW installation - overwrite all files when prompted.
    • It's not a bad idea to make a copy of this folder before you overwrite anything. If you don't do that, you can always uninstall and reinstall OpenMW to get the fresh files.
    • The location of this depends on your OS; Windows users will find it right next to openmw.exe, Linux and macOS users may need to look elsewhere, though (for example, on a Linux system you may find it at: /usr/share/games/openmw/resources/shaders and on macOS these files are inside the OpenMW application: right click the program and select "Show Package Contents").
    • See below for another idea about how to manage this.
  9. Copy the contents of the shaders1211.7z archive into the shaders folder of your OpenMW installation - overwrite all files when prompted.

At this point, you should now be ready to play. Enjoy!

Managing OpenMW's resources Folder

Another option for handling mods such as Vtastek's shaders that require installing files into OpenMW's resources folder:

Rather than overwrite the folder OpenMW comes with, copy it into your mods folder (e.g. C:\games\OpenMWMods\resources), place any modded files into there, add this line to your openmw.cfg:


Keep in mind that files in this folder may change across OpenMW updates, so it is a good idea to make sure you update your copy as well.

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