Amazingly Realistic Immersion Mod

First off, I need to give credit to CMDR AD for his initial work in this field, as detailed in his original thread located here. He is the giant whose shoulders I stand upon. Continuing his work, I have further modded Elite Dangerous to provide the following changes:
  • BLACK Space - That's right, space is now BLACK. The clouds of interstellar dust have been removed. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how realistic you want space to mirror the night sky you see IRL, this also removes the galactic core and the few distant galaxies normally visible. All stars, however, are clearly visible. If you normally operate in the Bubble, you may appreciate the black and realistic night sky over the default. If you're an explorer, you may wish to disable this particular option. See the thread below for screenshots (in particular post #16).
  • BLACK Shadows (TOGGLE) - A perfect complement to the black sky is black shadows. This modification removes ambient light from space, making the dark side of objects (stations, outposts, ships, landable planets) black as night. This is more realistic to how shadows look in the empty void of space when there are no sources of reflected light like planetshine. Don't worry, it looks better than I make it sound. Think of is as HDR Mode. This feature is can be turned on and off with the F3 key.
  • No External HUD Elements (TOGGLE)- All circles and labels around planets and ships are disabled, making it feel like you're looking outside a simple glass window. I find this much more immersive, but it also adds a challenge as you'll need to use your cockpit HUD (radar, compass, etc) to navigate. It will also make combat much more challenging without the targeting reticles. Not for the faint of heart, but for those desiring an immersive world outside your spaceship along with the challenge of IFR flight, this mod is for you! Also disabled is the blue "TRON" glow around mapped planets along with the bright, crazy "comet trails" for ships in Supercruise. Toggle with F1 key.
  • Turn Off Cockpit Lights (TOGGLE) - If you want a dark cockpit, or you are annoyed by those flashing red lights, you can now turn these lights off. The side effect is that some station lights will also turn off, so I recommend this for miners and explorers. Toggle with F2 key.
  • Cleaner HUD - Normally our instrument HUD and side-panels have a "drop shadow" behind them, which this mod removes. The result is a cleaner look that doesn't block your view, but it may be harder to read the side panels in certain bright locations. I've also removed those lines that do nothing but clutter the view.
  • Space Snow Removed - The "snow" in space and the blizzards over planets have been removed. However I have retained the "flying warp stars" effect in Supercruise. Like all modifications, you can turn off this mod to keep the "space snow" in the game if you depend on it for your vectors.
  • Cockpit Smoke Removed - No more fires in the cockpit when your ship is only at 80% heat. This also removes smoke in certain places inside the stations, but not others. For example, humidity still can be seen coming from overhead vents, but the mailslot is no longer boiling with smoke.
The way this mod works is that it intercepts calls to Windows graphics subsystem, allowing certain pixel shaders to be turned off. It does not replace or change any of ED's files, rather it adds some new files which ED will use when present. AFAIK this is in accordance with Frontier's EULA, as it's not changing the game files in any way, nor does it allow or promote cheating in any way that I can imagine. If anything, it makes the game HARDER to play, but in a way us realism nuts will enjoy.

The program you need is called 3Dmigoto. Click the name to download the file (version 1.3.16). Extract the file and then copy the CONTENTS of the x64 directory to your elite-dangerous-64 directory (in my case this is found at D:\Steam\steamapps\common\Elite Dangerous\Products\elite-dangerous-64). Next you need to download the d3dx.txt I've attached to this post, rename it to d3dx.ini, and save it to the elite-dangerous-64 directory, replacing the one that comes with 3Dmigoto. That should do the trick! To disable any particular modification, just insert a semicolon ( ; ) in front of the 3 lines of code for that specific mod, thus commenting it out and turning it off.

I highly recommend setting PrototypeLightingBalancesEnabled to 0 and StarInstanceCount to 10000 in your GraphicsConfiguration.xml file (or add these entries to your override file) to compliment this mod.

DISCLAIMER - Whatever you do, you do of your own accord. If your computer catches fire and your Arx disappear and Stigbob knocks on your door demanding cookies, I am not responsible! Blame TJ, or better yet, don't blame anyone. AFAIK there is no risk, but a prudent person would research all of this before installing "alien" software on his/her computer.

NOTE - If you want things like haze in stations removed, see CMDR AD's original mod as linked above. You can copy-n-paste settings from his .ini file to mine to remove haze, "warp stars", etc. Speaking of removing haze, it looks a lot better IMO to remove haze using the game's built-in settings (effects) than this mod.
 

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Here are a couple of images. The blackness of space is even more appreciable in VR.

blackspace1.jpg



blackspace2.jpg


I have my gamma turned down for VR, but there are actually a LOT of stars in my sky, more than these screenshots capture. This is a setting one can crank up in the GraphicsConfig file, which I have :D
 
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Just a note - while distant nebula are no longer visible with the "black space" mod, I don't know what happens to close nebula. There is a different setting in the GraphicsConfig file, so close nebula may use a different shader. I'm not in a position to head out to a nebula to try it for myself, so if anyone would like to test this and get back to me, that would be great.

I'll also research to see if I can assign a hotkey to the 3Dmigoto app to enable and disable these filters on the fly. For right now you'll have to comment out the particular filter / mod you wished turn off and restart the game for it to take effect. Obviously this isn't for everyone, but it for those who like to tinker, it's not that hard to do.
 
Looks pretty good and similar to how I set things up. I've been using Reshade with a few tweaked settings to get rid of the space dust for a while and much prefer the cleaner, darker and sharper look.
I'll give this a go also.
The difference between this mod and reshade is that this mod stops space dust from being drawn in the first place. I prefer this as it looks much more like the sky I see when I look up at night - no nebula, no brown dust, just black space and stars. It also allows one to use something like reshade (I need to play with this someday) to focus on things like planets while not worrying about the sky itself.

Of course if somebody is living in Colonia, then the "black sky" filter probably isn't for them...
 
The difference between this mod and reshade is that this mod stops space dust from being drawn in the first place. I prefer this as it looks much more like the sky I see when I look up at night - no nebula, no brown dust, just black space and stars. It also allows one to use something like reshade (I need to play with this someday) to focus on things like planets while not worrying about the sky itself.

Of course if somebody is living in Colonia, then the "black sky" filter probably isn't for them...
Yes, Reshade can alter parts you'd rather it did not as it affects the connected areas with each change. Fine tuning is possible but often time consuming. Removing the dust as a standalone element then adjusting to your own taste in Reshade could be the best of both. I shall give this method a try after the Jan update drops.
 
What effect does the "black space" part of your mod have on
  1. The background colour tint when in the vicinity of the star?
  2. Brightness levels of planets as observed from the SRV or ship when landed (I found the original mod made everything very very dark even on lit areas)
  3. The excessive "scratched canopy" effect that has been markedly obtrusive in some ships (notably AspX) since the 3.3 update?
Regardless of the answers, kudos on a body of work that must have taken some time and effort, I think the blackness looks very impressive! :)
 
What effect does the "black space" part of your mod have on
  1. The background colour tint when in the vicinity of the star?
  2. Brightness levels of planets as observed from the SRV or ship when landed (I found the original mod made everything very very dark even on lit areas)
  3. The excessive "scratched canopy" effect that has been markedly obtrusive in some ships (notably AspX) since the 3.3 update?
Regardless of the answers, kudos on a body of work that must have taken some time and effort, I think the blackness looks very impressive! :)
1) Tinting is greatly reduced, since there is no dust to tint. Tinted black is still black. I haven't been to a white dwarf to see how the stars look. I'll try that today.
2) Lighting is not affected at all. The ONLY thing I noticed in VR is a bit of a halo effect around brighter stars, which I believe was always there but it blended in with the space dust. Turning down the gamma fixes this if it bothers you (it's more noticeable in VR than a flat screen).
3) There's a separate filter that CMDR AD has for turning off scratched glass. However, I've not noticed scratched glass in my Python even with that filter turned off. I'm not sure why. I actually like the effect in VR, as it makes the glass feel substantial. Maybe the Python just has nice windows. I'll try some other ships like my T7 today.

UPDATE - I took some screenshots of tinting with and without space dust.
 

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Sounds interesting and if easy to switch back to origin I'm probably going to check this out. The most problematic part is space dust though. I can't imagine how flying without assist is possible then, as space dust is some sort of 'visualized acceleration and current movement sensor'. I never would give up flying in FA Off, that's my poor man's VR.
 
Sounds interesting and if easy to switch back to origin I'm probably going to check this out. The most problematic part is space dust though. I can't imagine how flying without assist is possible then, as space dust is some sort of 'visualized acceleration and current movement sensor'. I never would give up flying in FA Off, that's my poor man's VR.
Everything is optional. You can keep the space dust, just comment out the 3 lines of code that turn it off. It's all well documented :D
 
Here are some more screenshots taken from 2D mode rather than VR.

Default:
everything.jpg


Just the dust (to show what I'm removing):
just dust.jpg


Just the stars (to show what the mod looks like):
just stars.jpg


On my crisp 2D screen with very high contrast ratio, one might wonder why I prefer the "only stars" over the default, but in VR, the stars against a black sky looks way better and more realistic IMO.

Also, see my edits to OP about nebula.
 
I may have to look into this. When you listed "comet" ships going away, that peaked my interest (those things are awful). The space dust I dislike but without a vector indicator, the space dust helps me when doing FA off.

Good work.
 
I may have to look into this. When you listed "comet" ships going away, that peaked my interest (those things are awful). The space dust I dislike but without a vector indicator, the space dust helps me when doing FA off.

Good work.
Everything is optional. All you need to do is add ; in front of the three lines of code that turn off space dust, which will disable that particular filter and leave space dust alone.

Do you have any shots of the difference between the shimmer on and off?
I didn't grab a shot of this because I feel it's one of those things best experienced in VR. I don't know if it will have the same sense of scale in 2D.

Speaking of, I think the transparent holograms also work better in VR than 2D because of the depth perception. All these things can be independently enabled or disabled as the individual user prefers.
 
Thanks Old Duck, I'll check it out now. I'll wait until the Tuesday update has settled. Not a good idea to add a potential new error source...

Some times ago I had the opportunity to see ED in VR, not a high end device though. The cockpit view, while sitting on a landing pad in a coriolis station, was absolutely stunning. I was disappointed about how thick the stars were looking. Add to this the blocky textures from close looks and the uncomfortable wearing of the device, the whole thing will need at least 5 more years to be acceptable to me. I'm playing many hours a day, no way doing that with a VR headset on my face... but that's another story and has nothing to do with this app.
 
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