Image by: Mystis
Detailed Guide: Lifell

Stormshade

Stormshade is a custom Reshade build compiled using reshade’s open source files.
It has an unlocked z-depth buffer that allows some of reshade’s shaders (that uses depth information) to work in online games.

By default, Reshade’s z-depth buffer is disabled when networking is detected to disallow cheating in online games.
For FFXIV however, that’s unnecessary. Z-depth Buffer is used by shader effects such as MXAO. On a normal reshade build the MXAO will flicker on and off when network connectivity is detected.

NOTE: It is NOT possible to use Stormshade and ReShade together. You can use either ReShade or Stormshade, not both.

Prerequisites

  • Install this and this. These are Directx runtimes that installs missing directx files and can fix issues. This is in prerequisites section because it can prevent annoyances in the future.
  • Make sure there is no overlap in reshade versions. This is to prevent crashes and other issues. Both d3d11.dll and dxgi.dll being present in the “game” folder isn’t going too work.
  • Make sure that your FFXIV client runs in Directx 11 mode. Start your FFXIV Launcher and press “config” and then switch the “Directx 11 Support” to “On”.

Installation

Note that some of the steps are there to ensure no problems occur during installation or after installation.

4.X

  1. Press the green “Clone or download” button and then press “Download ZIP” to download Stormshade.
  2. After your download is complete, right click the .zip and click “properties“. On the “General” tab check the “Unblock” box and press “Apply“. After that close the window.
  3. Now open the .zip file (with either WinZip, WinRar, or 7Zip). Extract the CONTENTS of the “stormshade-master/v4.X” folder in the .zip file to your “game” folder. The “game” folder is a located inside your Final Fantasy XIV Online directory. Mine is for example located at: “C:\Steam\steamapps\common\FINAL FANTASY XIV Online\game“. The files that you will moving to your “game” folder are “dxgi.dll“, “ReShade.ini” and the “reshade-shaders” folder.
  4. Open up the “..\game\reshade-shaders\Shader Library\Recommended\” folder and then copy the shaders you would like to use to your “..\game\reshade-shaders\Shaders folder. Copying all of them is fine but I recommend only moving the shaders that you’re going to use.
  5. Now launch the game and press the “Home” key on your keyboard to open up the ReShade menu. The “Home” key is located above the arrow keys and next to the “PgUp” key.
  6. Go to the “Settings tab to configure everything to your liking. Screenshot key, toggle effects key and so forth.
  7. You can download a preset and drop it in your “game” folder or you can click the little “+” button next to it to create a new preset. Then select your newly made preset from the drop-down menu.

3.X

  1. Press the green “Clone or download” button and then press “Download ZIP” to download Stormshade.
  2. After your download is complete, right click the .zip and click “properties“. On the “General” tab check the “Unblock” box and press “Apply“. After that close the window.
  3. Open the .zip file (with either WinZip, WinRar, or 7Zip). Extract the CONTENTS of the “stormshade-master/v3.X” folder in the .zip file to your “game” folder. This is a folder located inside your Final Fantasy XIV Online directory. Mine is for example located at: “C:\Steam\steamapps\common\FINAL FANTASY XIV Online\game“.
  4. The files that you will moving to your “game” folder are “dxgi.dll, ReShade.ini and the “reshade-shaders” folder.
  5. Open up the “..\game\reshade-shaders\Shader Library\Recommended\” folder and then copy the shaders you would like to use to your “..\game\reshade-shaders\Shaders folder. Copying all of them is fine but I recommend only moving the shaders that you’re going to use.
  6. Launch the game and press combination Shift+F2 to open up the ReShade menu. Navigate to the “Settings” tab.
  7. At the “Effect Search Paths” add “\reshade-shaders\Shaders” at the end of the already existing entry. My default entry was “C:\Steam\steamapps\common\FINAL FANTASY XIV Online\game” and is now “C:\Steam\steamapps\common\FINAL FANTASY XIV Online\game\reshade-shaders\Shaders“.
  8. At the “Texture Search Paths” add “\reshade-shaders\Textures” at the end of the already existing entry. My default entry was “C:\Steam\steamapps\common\FINAL FANTASY XIV Online\game\” and is now “C:\Steam\steamapps\common\FINAL FANTASY XIV Online\game\reshade-shaders\Textures“.
  9. Go back to the “Home” tab and press the “Reload” button at the bottom of the window.
  10. You can download a preset and drop it in your “game” folder or you can click the little “+” button next to it to create a new preset. Then select your newly made preset from the drop-down menu.

Usage

Performance Mode/Configuration Mode

On 4.x Located on the “Home” tab at the bottom aside the “Reload” button and for 3.x located in the “Settings” tab “Performance” mode compiles the shader files to improve performance (who would’ve thought). It can be toggled any time and can provide quite a lot of FPS increase depending on what shaders you’re using. “qUINT_Lightroom” won’t get the same performance benefits as something like “qUINT_mxao”. Note that when “Performance” mode is active, configuring shader values is impossible.

Global Pre-processor Definitions

On 4.x Located on the “Home” tab on the lowest column. On 3.x it’s on the “Settings” tab. Can usually be left alone. Values should be set like so:

RESHADE_DEPTH_INPUT_IS_UPSIDE_DOWN=0
RESHADE_DEPTH_INPUT_IS_REVERSED=0
RESHADE_DEPTH_INPUT_IS_LOGARITHMIC=0

Shader preprocessor options

Some shaders have extra options that can’t be activated/deactivated in the ReShade menu and are present in the file itself. qUINT mxao is such an example. Open “qUINT_mxao.fx” with workpad (NOT Notepad) and there will be more options available. Indirect lighting, smoothnormals and so forth. Just replace the “0” with a “1” or the other way around to activate and deactivate the preprocessor settings for that specific shader. A reload of ReShade is required for the changes to take effect.

How to use presets

Presets are small .ini files that have values for effects stored. To use them simply copy them in your “game” folder and start your game or reload ReShade using the “reload” button on the “Home” tab. Then select your preset on the “home” tab through the drop down menu at the top.

Troubleshooting FAQ

Q: My game crashes!

  • The most obvious thing to try first is to rename “dxgi.dll” to “d3d11.dll” if you haven’t done so. This is a default fix for the Steam version of FFXIV but can also help with other crashes or problems.
  • Make sure there is only one of the following 2 .dll files in your “game” directory: “d3d11.dll” or “dxgi.dll”. If not, you probably have 2 overlapping installations.
  • Mods installed by TexTools can cause issues. But usually don’t. If the game crashes with a “KERNELBASE32.dll” error when you launch FFXIV or it crashes when you’re midgame than it’s very likely a corrupted game installation but that doesn’t have to be so. However, updating DirectX and making sure your GPU driver works correctly is something that’s definitely worth checking out. Updating or reinstalling should be sufficient for the GPU driver. For updating Directx 11 just follow the links at the top of this guide in the “Prerequites” section
  • Overlays can cause issues. Try disabling every overlay you have temporarily to see if that is where the problem lies. You can try and determine later what overlay causes crashes.

Q: My settings don’t save. They revert to what it was previously on restarting FFXIV!

  1. Go to your “boot” folder in your Final Fantasy folder and right clickffxivboot.exe“, click properties, go to the compatibility tab and then check “Run this as administrator“. Click apply and then ok to close the window.
  2. In the same “boot” folder do the procedure in step 1 again with the “ffxivlauncher.exe
  3. Go to your “game” folder. Same place as where you installed Stormshade. Same procedure but with “ffxiv_dx11.exe
  4. Enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

Q: The shaders are applied over my User Interface. Why?

Shaders are applied over the game afterwards. See it as a semi transparent piece of paper that you lay over your screen that is highly customizable and alters the look without touching the game rendering itself. The “depth buffer” is used to apply the more 3D effects like MXAO but it can not filter out the user interface parts of the screen.  There is an easy way to fix it. The KeepUI shader downloadable here can filter the UI out.

  1. Copy the .fx file in your shaders folder and start FFXIV or reload ReShade.
  2. Determine what shaders you don’t want to apply to the UI. You don’t want these shaders to alter the UI’s look.
  3. Place these shaders between “FFKeepUI” and “FFRestoreUI”. “FFKeepUI” being on top, shaders in the middle and FFRestoreUI being last.
  4. Enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

Here is an example of a good load order:

FFKeepUI [KeepUI_FFXIV.fx]”
MXAO [qUINT_mxao.fx]”
ADOF [qUINT_dof.fx]”
FFRestoreUI [qUINT_lightroom.fx]”
Lightroom” [qUINT_lightroom.fx]”
SMAA [SMAA.fx]”

With this example, “MXAO” and “ADOF” won’t effect the UI. Lightroom and SMAA will.

Q: The game’s lighting seems weird/incorrect. The game feels really dark.

Make sure the “global preprocessor values” are correct. Check the “Global Pre-processor Definitions” under the “Usage” section in this guide.

Q: MagicBloom deactivates all my effects?!

Put Magic Bloom higher in the load list. Just go to the “Home” tab and drag MagicBloom higher or on top.