[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 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. The list has slightly outdated information, but it's still an amazing resource.

    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.


    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?
    TomvanWijnen likes 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!
    wafflecoffee likes 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