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Welcome to Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul FAQ
The following is the FAQ for OOO 1.2 and 1.23. Click in the link above for FAQ to 1.3
Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, also known as OOO or O3, is a popular gameplay, content additive, plug-in for the much awaited and finally released The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a computer Role Playing Game developed by Bethesda Softworks
Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul was designed to enhance the immersion, variety, realism and difficulty of TES IV: Oblivion through extensive changes to its gameplay structures and aided by the addition of high-quality content.
This plugin changes the way that TES IV: Oblivion plays in several areas. The main focus is to change the aspects of the game that condition its content to progressively appear trough time invested in playing. "Scaling" is the term commonly used to name this concept. Essentially what it means is that the player unlocks higher difficulty enemies, higher quality items and higher level quests through the process of "leveling."
Leveling is a common feature of RPGs, whereby the abilities and characteristics of the player's character are upgraded and also measured in easily quatifiable segments. Levels represent ranks of specialization and expertise in those abilities and skills that the game assigns to a given type of Player Character (PC) In this system, a PC of lvl 1 is weaker than a PC of lvl 10, for example.
TES IV: Oblivion reveals new content to the PCs as their level increases. Thus, level acts as a hard-cap below which specified items, quests, creatures and so forth can appear in the game world. Anything that is specified to belong above the PCs' level does not appear in the game world until the PCs reach the appropriate level threshold.
Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul seeks to erode the hard-caps placed on the possibility of encountering content in the game world. Essentially, it makes almost all content available at any given time. The hierarchy of item quality, quest and creature difficulty is preserved by balancing the difficulty in acquiring, completing and defeating them, respectively. The result is a world with less boundaries, more diverse and mysterious, where excelling in exploration, skill, wit and resourcefulness leads to higher kinds of rewards for the effort spent in attaining them. The world does not reward you, or place difficulty against you, solely based on chance or a solidified scale based on level, which tends to equate to how much time you have invested in the game. Now you can experience at any time the thrill of facing almost unsurmountable odds and receiving a well deserved reward for your courage and skill.
Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul also adds many new things to the game world, ranging from new creatures and NPCs, to new sets of armors and even new text books. The addition of all of these actors and objects are carefully balanced against the original design of TES IV: Oblivion, as well as attempting to fit within the Lore of the TES series as much as possible. Many of these new additions are product of the modding community of texture and model artists, programmers and other miscellaneous roles. I am very grateful for their work and for featuring it within the world of Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul.
Finally, this plug-in balances many smaller and less sweeping aspects of TES IV: Oblivion's gameplay. These changes affect things as diverse as combat AI, previously lackluster skills, character birthsigns, quest difficulty design, random bug fixes and enhanced functionality. As always, the detailed readme files inside the uploaded files contain very specific and extense information detailing the extent and nature of all changes.
This plug-in is featured in several TES IV: Oblivion fansites. You can visit them through the Links Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul Downloads' Page
At this time, Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul is released only in English version. However, there is a French version available in the download's page. I am aware of an Italian and German version, although I did not have any input in their making. The Spanish version will be available in V. 1.3's release.
The first thing to do is to read carefully the installation instructions inside each zip that you download. All the necessary information is included in them. For common questions about each release, and special installation notes, you can visit the Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul Installation Instructions' Page.
If you still have troubles figuring out what to do, you can check out the TES Oblivion Mods Forums where you can ask me and many other experienced players and modders about how to proceed with the installation steps.
You have to make sure to enable the use of Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul through your Oblivion Launcher utility. Check the list of mods available in the "Data Files" tab of your Oblivion Launcher, verify that Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul's .esp file is listed therein, then check its corresponding box and hit "OK" Now you can proceed to start TES IV: Oblivion as usual.
7. The plug-in works, but I see big yellow exclamation signs and/or plain purple textures over NPCs in the game!
This is a common problem for those that have not installed the content files appropriately. Purple textures appear when the game cannot find the specified texture for a given model. Big yellow signs appear when the game cannot find the specified model for a given NPC.
You have to make sure that you have unzipped all included content files into your /Oblivion/Data folder. Inside this folder you should see two new folders after installing Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul's content files for the first time. These folders are named "textures" and "meshes" Each of these has its own folder tree structure. Check to verify that this structure is in place. For example, inside "textures" you should see another folder named "armor" and inside it you should see several other folders, such as "WornSteel" or "FPGoblinShield" A very similar folder tree structure exists for the "meshes" folder as well.
If unzipping files with WinZip, make sure to enable the box labeled "Use Folder Names" before unpacking the files to your /Oblivion/Data folder. WinRar does this operation automatically for you.
If problems continue even after verifying that the content files are in their appropriate folders, then download the ArchiveInvalidation.txt utility found in this link.
This utility will create an ArchiveInvalidation.txt file for you that will automatically include the appropriate folder paths for Oblivion to recognize which folders contain the data that must be prioritized for the proper function of added content. This step is not necessary, but in certain setups it seems to resolve all problems related to missing textures and meshes from the game.
There are only two types of files that you absolutely need to run Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul. The first is one of the two main .esp files. These are labeled as Full and Lite. You must use only one of these to run the plug-in. As of V 1.3, these two files have the same name, but come in different zips, named accordingly, within the main zip that you download. The second kinds of files necessary for the proper function of Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul are the content files included in the main zip, which are also packed within their properly named zip files.
All of the remaining .esp files are optional. Each main download zip contains a readme that specifies what each optional .esp does. You can choose to use the Lite version and then customize the core functions of Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul by selecting your preferred .esps. You can also simply use the Full version, in which case, there is only a handful of optional .esps that are not included within it.
I designed the Full version of Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul for the most enhancing and rewarding play experience. This is, of course, a matter of opinion, and the reason of why I included a Lite version that can serve as base for your own preferences.
There are hundreds of mods out there. Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul will not be compatible with all. In fact, it runs the risk of having conflicts with a lot of other mods because it affects so many things in how TES IV: Oblivion behaves. Even so, there are also many mods that have absolutely no conflicts, and even more whose conflicting variables are negligible. I regularly receive reports and lists of people who use more than sixty mods at the same time and they do not have any problems or incompatibility conflicts with Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul. The mods that are highly incompatible are those that change many loot/npc tables, as well as those that change a lot of NPC/creature settings. Usually these kinds of gameplay mods are very incompatible amongst themselves because they change the same objects.
The following link will take you to a post in the TES forums specifically dedicated to compatible mods. There are dozens of these posts in those forums, but unearthing them can be quite a long task. The lists here are far from complete, but they will give you some direction when checking for mod compatibility, as they feature some of the most popular mods out there. Go here for the latest V. 1.23 compatibility thread.
Also, it is important that you download and learn how to use mod manager. This utility can be downloaded here and it will allow you to set the load order of mods when Oblivion launches. The load order specifies what mod's conflcting changes with other mod will overwrite each other's specifications. Mods that load last overwrite previous mod's conflicting changes. This way you can use mods that show conflicts in the Conflict Detector with Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul while keeping the changes that you prefer.
I am adding here the link to a utility that is able to reset NPC level data off your savegames. This means that you can use Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul without having to restart the game if it is your first time! This is indeed awesome news. Thanks Wrye for the expertise and imagination necessary to pull this one off! Here's the linky to Wrye Bash !
Last, but also very important, of all of these plugins is the Mod Merger Utility. This new program is still in its infancy, but already has very powerful uses, through which you can blend and merge two conflicting plug-ins into one that assimilates the changes of both into a single plug-in. This program will be, for the remainder of ES IV: Oblivion's modding scene, a completely must-have jewel.
10. Why do I need to start from scratch if it is the first time that I play Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul?
Wrye has developed a program that can edit savegames so that you can reset all NPC level data from them. This means that you can now use Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul without having to start a new game if you wanted the NPC level changes to take hold. This is great news! Thanks Wrye! Linky to this jewel is right here!
(This information is not as relevant, now that Wrye has created a program to solve the issue with how Oblivion's savegames work, but I still would like to leave the information here for future reference and explication)
If it is the first time that you use Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul then I recommend that you begin a new game instead of using an already existing savegame. The reason for this has to do with how savegame files work in ES IV: Oblivion.
All current NPC Level data gets stored in each savegame file. This means that if you play with the original ES IV: Oblivion and save a game, the default level range for every NPC in the game becomes part of that savegame. Every time that you load that savegame, ES IV: Oblivion will use that data to determine the level (base difficulty) of NPCs in the game.
Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul changes the level ranges for most NPCs in the game, stopping them from leveling infinitely with the player, and also assigning minimum levels to certain NPCs to make sure that a variety of challenges is present from the very first moment that you begin a game. If you use a savegame from your non OOO-enabled game, then the changes that OOO specifies to NPCs' level data will not take hold.
This means that NPCs will still level with you infinitely and will still begin at level one and not have minimum and maximum levels assigned. This has very important effects on the gameplay flow of Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul. The most important problem created by this is that the design of difficulty vs reward is thrown out of balance. (i.e. NPCs that are supposed to be very difficult and thus have high-quality items will appear as lvl 1, NPCs that are supposed to stay weak after a certain point will continue to get stronger as you progress, but their items will continue being as low as they would have to be if they were to meet their level caps) Also, this will create incongruent situations, where lowly NPCs, such as a common bandit, will be very powerful in the later stages of the game.
This is the reason why I strongly advice that you begin a new game if it is the first time that you use Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul. The choice is ultimately yours. If you do not care about the resulting imbalances in risk vs reward equations and logical incongruencies in world continuity, then, by all means, go ahead and use your savegames. This is the only feature that is affected in this way, all other changes designed by Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul do affect savegames.
11. Fair enough, what about compatibility between previous and future releases of Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul?
I designed V. 1.2 to be the last release where a fresh restart was adviced even if you were a user of V. 1.01 or below. All releases after V. 1.2 are compatible amongst themselves. You can use savegames stored while using any version above, and including, V. 1.2 without having any problems with the balance of NPC level data.
This one is easy. Check the amazing Oblivion Mod Faq by dev_akm for very detailed information on the nature of mod files, utilities designed to work with them and a lot of other very pertinent information that will save you much time in trying to figure out all sorts of questions related to using mods with your ES IV: Oblivion.
If you have any questions, problems or concerns not answered in this FAQ, please feel free to post in the TES Oblivion Mod Forums and I will be able to address them.