Last updated at 2:24, 21 Dec 2013 Uploaded at 20:32, 20 Nov 2013
Some of you have already heard of Ubanga. It's a huge new landmass (the whole continent, much larger than original Cyrodiil) with a staggering variety of landscapes and flora - many of which you've never seen in TES4 until now. Locations designed and made singlehandedly by AlAnonim are beautiful and inspired – discovery1 (your favourite star of nexus image section) has called it „a screenshooter’s paradise”.
However, with a mod of this size and scope there are some things (like textures) you need to draw quickly without bothering with meticulous details. This is where freaks come in with their narrower fields of interest.
I love taking screenshots, and what I love even better is capturing some flora in these screenies. While Al’s trees and shrubs looked nice from distance, you couldn’t stick your face in the foliage and shoot like crazy...
That was then.
This is a project that aims at replacing leaves textures of plants introduced by Ubanga to your gaming experience (with time it may also extend into vanilla Oblivion, but this is a plan for distant future). The luxury of working in a narrow field of expertise produced some higher quality textures which will hopefully please your eyes. I’m happy to say that AlAnonim likes them enough to make them an integral part of Ubanga, but since he plans his next update for January, I’m uploading some fresh stuff now so you can enjoy it right away. Some of you have been asking about them for some time now, so here you are :)
As a bonus I’m also uploading GIMP files which you can use to tweak or modify these textures, or even make completely new ones based on pre-made elements. Most .xcf files have layers with separate isolated elements which I used to produce these textures.
However, I should mention that my modus operandi is quite chaotic, so some layers may be doubled, or unusable (but I removed most rubbish before making a package). I’m sure you will find a lot of useful stuff there anyway.
As most of the trees and shrubs in Ubanga are endemic (or typical) to the Mediterranean region, and I’m from cold Poland (you know, white bears and reindeers in the streets, huts buried under 20 feet of snow, no TV, and vodka growing on trees ;P), I had to rely on Internet resources. Individual bits and pieces come from wide selection of freely available images. I took care to pick only non-copyrighted ones, but if you recognise a twig or a leaf that I borrowed from your photo without explicit permission, and you want me to remove it, I will. But such a situation is quite unlikely, because all of them are heavily modified which makes them barely recognisable. Anyway, I thought I should mention it.
Requirements and Installation:
Technically, you need Ubanga to actually see these plants in game. (I guess the only exception at the moment is redwood, which is still in development, but the one included here serves as a teaser. I’m cleaning and diversifying the texture, and looking for better quality parts for it.) You can download Ubanga here: http://oblivion.nexusmods.com/mods/42121//? It’s vital, because UBG includes only leaf textures while actual speedtree (.spt) files are a part of Ubanga.
Of course you can use these textures to replace any other tree in Cyrodiil. Simply choose the one you like and use it to replace any existing leaf texture of your choice (a matter of changing UBG leaf name to vanilla leaf name, and copying it to Data/Textures/trees/leaves folder. Remember to back-up your old textures in case you want to revert to them in future!) However, if you do, I can't guarantee it looks cool, because vanilla trunk and branches may make it look funny. One texture you can safely use for a test is Altreewillowoakleavessu.dds. Just rename it to treewillowoakleavessu.dds and drop it into the “leaves” folder. You should now see them even in Cyrodiil (but I haven’t tested it there yet, so I don’t really know if they look right)
If you want to use only the textures, grab the Ubanga Botanic Gardens vol1 – Textures.7z, unpack it somewhere safe and then merge the whole Data folder with its contents with your game’s Data folder (make a back-up copy of your textures beforehand). You can also use Wrye Bash to install these textures. WB is great because you don’t have to worry about back-ups – the utility does it for you.
If you want only to tamper with GIMP files, get the Ubanga Botanic Gardens - DIY kit.7z
Of course you’ll need GIMP (it’s free) and a [URL=http://www.registry.gimp.org/node/70]dds plugin for GIMP[URL]. Probably you can use Photoshop, but I can’t remember if it imports .xcf files (with layers).
If you want the pizza with everything, download Ubanga Botanic Gardens - whole package.7z and have fun. It’s divided into separate plants, so if you want to see them in Ubanga, you need to either copy the .dds’s separately, or download Ubanga Botanic Gardens vol1 – Textures.7z as well and install with no hassle.
Progress aka. You had so much time and it’s all you came up with???:
(any texture can be subject to change at the most unexpected moment ;P)
American Holly – already incorporated in Ubanga. Needs some minor cleaning and perhaps resizing. One of my very first experiments.
Bradford Callery Pear – unpublished. My first steps in texturing. Use only for some funky screenshots. It’s playable but clunky and will be subject to a major facelift. Still, you may like it better than the original.
Bougainvillea – already in game. This is a slightly different version, because after Al’s corrected brightness, the leaves got a slightly reddish/purple hue. Here flowers are the same as in Ubanga, but leaves are green with the same luminosity and brightness.
Crepe Myrtle – already in game. Looks pretty thanks to Al's speedtree model.
Daphne – just a test, but a pretty good one. Other instances of daphne will come soon.
English Yew Shrub – new. Good, but I need to add variety. Expect slight changes.
Eucalyptus – new. I’m happy with it.
Ficus Elastica – already in game. Hiding as pink azalea ;) Facelifting ahead to smoothe the edges. Pink azalea is nearly there, too :)
Grey Poplar – already in game in various incarnations.
Mugo Pine – new. Awaiting some tweaks for variety, better colour and a snow-covered version.
Prickly Juniper – new. I’m quite happy with it.
Redwood WIP – treat it as a teaser or a test. Is undergoing a major facelift at the moment (along with Douglas fir).
Robinia (black locust) – already in game. Cute, innit? Al has made amazing new trunk and branches in speedtree especially for her. Go, check her out.
Willow Oak – new. I wonder what you think. I’m quite happy, but probably will have to redo it in higher resolution.
This mod doesn't include billboards yet. They will be the next thing after all leaves textures are more or less done. But, to be honest, I haven't noticed any glitches or bugs even without these billboards. I may be blind, though.
Plans for future:
I suck big time at planning, but I'd like to master SpeedTree to create brand new amazing plants. But first, when Ubanga is mostly covered, I'd like to have a look at Cyrodiil's vanilla trees and shrubbery.
Huge thank yous to:
AlAnonim for creating such a beautiful, immense and immersive land as Ubanga, and for continuous development of this mod – adding new regions, quests, many innovative solutions, etc.
Brittainy for Lush & Gaudy Floriana Gloria which, apart from being beautiful, showed me how you can change the world, and for teaching me the very first steps in the texturing world. Without you I wouldn’t dare to go as far as to create a mod.
discovery1 for sharing his knowledge with me (after all, learning together is more fun), for Imperial Ecology mod that very nicely complements my baby, and for getting me hooked on nexus (your images, mate – they did it).
vurt for ever-lasting inspiration (why has vurt never done a flora mod for Oblivion?)
To friends who continue to support and motivate me – Tobby, Denny, jobra, seeberg, xrayy, Lookbot, frank, TesaPlus, taepal, to name just a few.
To Bethesda for a game that never gets old or boring, even after years of playing it. It actually becomes younger and more exciting as time flies.
To nexus for such a great community where you can learn a lot and share your passion.
Use it freely and enjoy :)
Helga, your nice garden gnome