[PSA/Guide] Why you shouldn't use OptiFine [1.16+]

Discussion in 'Player Guides, Tips and Tricks' started by wafflecoffee, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. OptiFine was one of the best mods, if not the best mod, in Minecraft versions 1.6 through 1.15. It offers some performance benefits, shaders, dynamic lights, zoom, and about a million other things in one neat package.

    However, OptiFine in 1.16 and 1.17 does not meet its former glory.

    Some of the major issues of OptiFine include:
    • It is monolithic. You don't have precise control over what features you do and don't get.
    • It has awful support on Fabric. A large portion of Fabric mods are incompatible with OptiFine. Its support on Fabric even isolated by itself is spotty.
    • It updates slowly. At the time of writing, OptiFine is not yet updated to 1.17. Almost all of the mods I provide as alternatives are updated to 1.17. The only notable exception is Sodium, but Sodium has a fork that works flawlessly on 1.17.
    • It is not Free Software, and it is closed source. Closed source applications have far less opportunity for growth and collaboration than Free & open source projects do. To quote the Free Software Foundation:
    However, by far the most striking thing about OptiFine is the fact that better alternatives exist. That's what this serves as: a migration guide from OptiFine to alternative free & open source mods.

    First, let's go over some of the main use cases of OptiFine, and their replacements.

    I use OptiFine because I use Forge.

    Fair enough. However, I would highly highly highly recommend switching to Fabric. It has better support, a better community, and more overall mods for 1.16/1.17+.

    I use OptiFine for the performance benefits.

    If you use OptiFine for the performance benefits, you should use Sodium, Lithium, Starlight, Hydrogen, and LazyDFU. These mods give more FPS than OptiFine in almost every use case (and even just Sodium alone does absolute wonders). See this video for a demonstration.

    You might also want to follow my guide to maximizing performance on Fabric, which can be found here.

    I use OptiFine for the shaders.

    If you use OptiFine for the shaders, you should use Iris. Iris has great support, and even bundles Sodium within the mod for optimal performance. Metrics that I've seen on Iris's Discord show quadrupling of frames going from OptiFine to Iris+Sodium.

    The thing to note here is that Iris is still in development. This means that only a few different shaders are fully supported, like Sildur's, BSL, or Complementary (no, Jelle, you can't use Chocopix on Iris yet :p). However, Iris is in a constant state of development. The first non-beta version of Iris only released yesterday at the time of writing, so don't lose hope!

    I use OptiFine for the other aesthetic changes.

    A few aesthetic mods work with Sodium & Iris right out of the box, like Fabric Capes and LambDynamicLights. However, some mods require a compatibility layer called Indium, due to technicalities with the APIs that they use.

    If you put Indium on top of Sodium (either with or without shaders), you can also get other mods to work, including the ConnectedTexturesMod and LambdaBetterGrass.

    I use OptiFine because it's easy to install.

    Fair enough, I suppose. However, if you play Minecraft with any level of frequency, you probably should still give these mods a shot. Long-term benefit is better than short-term gain.

    My use case isn't listed here.

    An almost-full list of OptiFine alternatives can be found here. If that still doesn't cover it, feel free to contact me directly. I have quite a bit of experience with going from OptiFine to Sodium & friends because I once used OptiFine too. I learned of these alternatives, and therefore, I wanted to share my methods. :) I haven't spent dozens of hours on research and work for only myself to reap the benefits of 30 to 60 FPS with shaders on a 2013 laptop. ;)

    I'm having trouble installing these mods!

    Please feel free to contact me, either here on the forums or on Discord at Emmaffle#1787 (usually will have a faster response time). I will ask that you contact me for support before contacting one of the official channels (e.g. CaffeineMC), as I may have encountered your issue in the past, and some of these support channels can be... "unforgiving", for lack of a better term.

    Conclusion

    Wait, you actually read through this? I didn't think people actually read through my various Fabric rants. Have some nice Iris shaders screenshots taken by me as a present. I think all of these use Sildur's Medium, but they might use Lite or Extreme-VL, I honestly don't remember.




    Save travels in the Fabric realm!
  2. Those Iris shaders look amazing! ❤️ Thank you for pinging me on Discord with this information!! ^^ Fabric is totally new to me, in fact, the only time I tried it was when Willies helped me install it on my old install of Minecraft. (Which is now gone). Thank you for the very useful information Waffle, I really liked your explanations for why Fabric is superior to Optifine. I'm definitely on the "Fabric Train" now haha~
    wafflecoffee likes this.
  3. nice forum post 10/10
    wafflecoffee likes this.
  4. My personal take on this- yeah, fair point, gg.
    Personal conclusion: i'm too lazy so me use optifine
    sonicol, UltiPig and ConductorConduit like this.
  5. Where is the laughing emoji to react to this thread?
    ShelLuser and TomvanWijnen like this.
  6. @wafflecoffee, you should be on the Contribution Team, Build Team, Coding Team, my Team (I need a builder) :p

    I'm a volunteer helping older and disabled people with IT, digitial issues, I know who to call if I get any MC mod issues.
    wafflecoffee likes this.
  7. Well... wafflecoffee... you've convinced me... I never thought I'd stop using optifine/fabric. But I tried sodium and my frame rate... is so so much better! Thanks so much!
    OriginalScuf and wafflecoffee like this.
  8. U have kinda converted but only to fabric but me doing that was back in last year

    Since then iv kept tabs with sodium and performance on my machine

    As for the difference only on my machine it's a 2-3 fps drop or increase depending on what area I'm in.

    Thanks for the thread and I hope that sodium and fabric do manage to beet Optifine / optafaberic
  9. Have to admit I never tried Iris+Sodium, mostly because I liked my shaders using Optifine, and I was a fan of the easy-to-choose particle list to turn on and off in Optifine (which I will still sort of miss)... but man shaders work TONS better with iris. Normally, Optifine would try to load the shaders and my fans would whir for like a good minute, and even then, shaders could cause my game to get skippy. Iris+Sodium loaded them quickly, no problem, no fans whirring, steady FPS.... while I'll miss the particle effect/animation adjustment based on very particular things, and the connected textures, I think I have a new fav thing to use/will likely continue to use this over OptiFine :oops:
    wafflecoffee likes this.
  10. You mention that this was about a year ago, so are you using Sodium 0.1 or 0.2? 0.2 has about a year's worth of improvements in it, and 0.3 (with 1.17) will have even more.
    Assuming you're using 1.16.5, you can use Sodium Extra to get these back :D
    You can use this guide to get connected textures working with Sodium :)
    JohnKid likes this.
  11. Wasn't sure how to do the Indium thing - I'd seen the link earlier but not an exact way on how you were supposed to get it working/incorporated, so thanks for the guide! And thanks also for the tip about sodium extra :D
    wafflecoffee likes this.
  12. Iv tryed with every major release so beta and 0.1 and 0.2
    With the same performance boost but I must say that's only on my machine others will probably have a performance boost
  13. So. Iris is pretty cool. Being able to switch shaders on and off with a button press is awesome. However, I've noticed that it basically makes my fps go from 120 to about 10-30. Also has some weird visual glitches too. Just fyi for anybody who plays with shaders on all the time, I'd recommend trying Iris first, before committing to it.
    obv, it's a newish mod with lots of stuff to iron out and all that. So yeah.
    Joy_the_Miner and JesusPower2 like this.
  14. I agree Ryko. Iris has potential, but it's underdeveloped right now. It doesn't even have shader settings like Optifine does. (Overall shader render quality settings, AA settings or even shadow settings. Not to mention all those shader-exclusive settings that fine tune each shader pack you have individually.)

    Once Iris gets such settings, I will fully commit to using Iris all the time. As of right now, it's a novelty idea that needs more development to offer the same options in Optifine's shaders engine if it's going to compete/replace Optifine's shader engine.
  15. Sorry, heavy disagree here.

    Since when is being closed source a problem? Do people filter smart-phone apps on being open source? How about PC games? It's a flawed argument. On way too many levels.

    As if open source is so much better (in the end it's often only better for those who want to rip off all your hard work and use it for themselves... sorry, it's the way it is). No offense intended but when I read "it's no longer open source" then my very first (heavily biased!) thought is: "Here we go again". Yah, I've been there too many times myself. And for "reasons" I really don't want to go here right now but.... I also have my own standards... for some reason these comments never come from people actually involved with the project. I wonder why....

    They're still providing OptiFine for free for everyone to use. And it's not as of this thing is phoning home or trying to steal all your personal data or anything (disclaimer: up to version 1.16.5).
    TomvanWijnen likes this.
  16. It's a problem for the reasons I mentioned in the post: mainly that there isn't any room for improvement by others. However, I am someone involved in various communities surrounding modding, and having talked with these developers myself and witnessed their work and struggles: it is a nightmare for developers to support to the point that they straight up don't support it. While OptiFabric itself has tried to resolve these, it's impossible to get them all, as it's quite literally being required to read the decompiled Java code of OptiFine to try and resolve it.
    Sodium, on the other hand? Yes, it has incompatibilities with some mods, but the majority of these are solved with an add-on created by a member of the community called Indium. While mod developers will refuse to support OptiFabric because there isn't really a way to do so in an effective manner, they won't have to do anything to support Sodium.

    Even though I do to some extent (mainly just for things like password managers), I know most people don't, so of course the answer is no (I know it was a rhetorical question but I'm answering anyway). PC games and phone apps are not the same as MC mods, though. When people see a cool mod to use, but also see in bold on the mod page "OptiFine is not supported", then what are they going to do? The lack of being open source, while not my main argument (maybe I should make that more clear) and not the main reason people won't use it, it is the source of many other problems which eventually go unresolved.
    On a side note, I do know the reasons that OptiFine has listed on their website for being closed source, and while it made sense maybe a year ago (why he would need to use a modified version of MCP doesn't make sense to me, that's another argument for another time), it doesn't now. MCP is no longer used; only either Mojmap (which doesn't need modification) or Yarn (which is public domain) are used, so the reasons given by the OptiFine dev himself no longer really make sense. I know that no person is obligated to release source, but he has stated that he wanted to, but can't for this obscure legal reason which is no longer plausible.

    By itself, you're right (for example: Xaero's & Voxel vs LambdaMap), but these people have managed to create better alternatives to OptiFine with the help of the community (which, again, the "better alternatives" is my main point; not the open source-ness, even if one may have caused the other).
    You're forgetting about the existence of copyleft here but that's perhaps something for another time.
    Biased in what way? I'm curious.
    That is the case, and that is intentional, I would say. It's released for the public to use because it's meant to be used by the public. I am the messenger who helps spread the word of it so others can benefit.
    Just so that you can't hold this against me, though, I will say that while I personally have not made any significant contributions to the Caffeine suite of mods themselves, I have had an indirect positive impact by contributing to and helping moderate the open source modding platform on which they are hosted: Modrinth.
    To a lesser extent, by spreading awareness of the Caffeine mods, I have also potentially brought some money to the people who do develop these mods, because of rewards systems on Curse, as well as the potential that I may have brought at least one person to subscribe monetarily via their Patreons, or something similar. (This entire post wasn't actually originally going to be put on EMC, but rather as an essay to give to the broader mod-using community, but I couldn't find anywhere else to put it, really. I don't know why, but I've heard this guide has been seen in somewhat of a widespread manner by many people outside of EMC, which was my original intention.) Either way, the only reason I don't donate or contribute code to these projects personally is because I'm not in a position to give any money to anyone (this is why I use supporter vouchers) and because my Java knowledge is very bad.
    Note that I have been speaking on behalf of myself here, not on behalf of anyone else, because your target here does appear to be me (my apologies if it's not).


    Also, on a closing note, I don't want this to become a debate thread. Please resolve this in my DMs if you would like to go further.
  17. Optifine is superior nothing will change that
  18. I’m sorry, I know you’re trying to prove a valid point here from your perspective, and that’s fine.
    But you see from my experience, Optifine has been so simple, in terms of ease of use, and it’s conveniently powerful.

    Maybe this changes because I’ve always used Forge for mods, and Fabric mods as you mentioned have conflicts with Optifine. Seldom have I had problems running it. I don’t have any reason to replace it, and until I do, I’ll probably stick with it.

    Thanks for sharing the others though. I’m not shutting you down, I’m simply saying they may become useful to me at a later date. :)
  19. What about optifine 1.19.. is that acceptable??
    Nickblockmaster and wafflecoffee like this.
  20. ??

    1.19 is not even in development not even for mc
    UltiPig likes this.