The Elder Scrolls

Cathedral Assets Optimizer 6.0 released

I've been working on this update for a full year. More than the time from CAO 1.0 to 5.0. Of course, it could have been faster, but I'm not an experienced developper, only a student.

So… I'm proud and satisfied to at least release CAO 6.0 (beta)

I'd like to thank all the people who have helped. This is not a comprehensive list, but to Alsa, Deorder, Feles Noctis, Kerber, Syer10, Vinditus, and many others: Thank you for helping me making CAO what it is now. Thanks to all the people who translated CAO, who gave advice or who tested alpha builds.

Until recently, I considered my work wasn't enough to deserve money. Since I have now spent several thousands hours on it, I set up a Ko-Fi page. So if you love my work, please consider buying me a coffee (well, I don't drink coffee, but you get the point :p). Thanks

This version has numerous changes. Let's start with what took the most time, but is valueless to users.

The code was entirely (> 75%) rewritten. Why? Because the previous one was hard to build upon. So now, we have better foundations.

Let's review each new feature one by one


Patterns is, imo, the most important feature of 6.0.

Patterns are an advanced feature that allows to have different settings based on the filename / filepath. This means you can resize textures in "/textures/clutter" and "/textures/architecture" to different sizes. Or ignore the animations in /Nemesis_output that you know for sure they are already converted. Or only optimize some meshes. Or… etc.

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This is a niche feature, but it will hopefully be helpful to advanced modders out there.

More details here (any help to improve this page would be welcome)

Modular GUI (Graphical User Interface)

The GUI is now separated in three parts. "Quick auto port", "Intermediate mode" and "Advanced mode".

Quick auto port is the one most people will use. It simply applies default settings. This is just a convenience feature, but it will be particularly useful to beginners who just want to get their mods ported

Intermediate mode has a bit more customization options, while still being easy to use

Advanced mode is for advanced modders. More customization, more options, more power, but also more complexity, especially with patterns that can sometimes be confusing.

The UI was also revamped, especially the log window

Select output location

This one is very useful for making patches, meant to override the base mod.

It redirects all the optimized files to the selected folder. The result will be a folder containing only optimized files, so meant to be used as an override. Personally, if I were still modding, I'd use it to put optimized files in separate mod in MO2, instead of optimizing in place.

Process BSA in memory

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That one does not look very useful, but is has some advantages for SSD users.

Instead of extracting the files on the disk, processing them, and repacking them, files are extracted to memory, processed, and repacked.

Yes, it's pretty much the same. But in theory, it might be faster. And it avoids useless write cycles, preserving disk life. Also, in some edges cases where two BSAs contain different versions of the same file, it will correctly preserve the order.

Landscape textures porting (LE -> SE)

Have you ever encountered shiny landscapes in SSE? If you have used LE landscape textures, probably. Then you might have found that adding an opaque alpha channel to normal maps could fix it. Or deleting "_n" textures could work, too. Since, as an average modder, you don't know what an alpha channel is, you chose the second solution.

(Note: This is not a criticism of people who don't know this terminology. It's perfectly fine)

It worked, but that's not perfect. By deleting the normal map, you are loosing some data.

In the other case, you might have added an alpha channel yourself. You might have even written a photoshop script to automate it. Quite tedious

Anyway, that's all over. CAO is now able to port landscape textures correctly

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(Note: this feature has not been thoroughly tested. Please tell me in case you encounter a bug)

Select GPU for textures processing

That's a small feature, but that can be useful. If your computer has two or more GPUs, the default one could be the less powerful, meaning longer processing. So now, you can ensure the selected GPU is the right one

Much more (mostly bugfixes)

Thanks for reading this post. I hope CAO 6.0 will help you mod your game the way you want it to be!


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