Better Dynamic Snow by SparrowPrince and Brumbek
Skyrim » Visuals and graphics
Added: 19/02/2012 - 11:42AM
Updated: 18/03/2014 - 07:48PM

20,527 Endorsements

2.20 Latest version

625,359 Unique D/Ls

1,033,473 Total D/Ls

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Uploaded by OpticShooter


Last updated at 19:48, 18 Mar 2014 Uploaded at 11:42, 19 Feb 2012

I'm currently taking a long break so I might not see your comment. I have also disabled my inbox for
a while. Hope you understand and thank you very much!

Also check out the Ash Rocks add-on for DLC by michaelrw!

A mod that changes the ugly, pure-white dynamic snow effect to actually use the default snow texture ( This minor change greatly improves the visual appearance of dynamic snow. See for yourself:

It is recommended to download the mod using the Nexus Mod Manager (NMM). Simply click on the "Files" tab of this page and click "Download with Manager". Then once the mod downloads, simply click the "Activate" button. Pick "Yes to all" if NMM asks if you want to overwrite any files.

For a manual install, locate your Skryim installation directory, usually at Program Files (x86) / Steam / steamapps / common / skyrim. In this folder is a folder called "Data". Unpack or drag the contents of the mod archive file into "Data". Allow BDS to overwrite any file conflicts.

Uninstallation is easy to do via Nexus Mod Manager. For manual uninstallations, delete the files you installed. If you can't remember what you installed just re-download the mod and look at the file structure!

There are about 1070 total objects that Skyrim applies "Dynamic Snow" to (not actually dynamic but a static shader effect). This applies a pure-white color on the object. The result is sometimes nice but more often the result is a very ugly "white-washed" appearance as if someone took white paint and plastered it on the objects. Smaller, more complex objects with curves and angles tend to look decent with the vertex-based snow, but large, flat surfaces like floors tend to look absolutely terrible since they appear nearly pure-white, totally obscuring the underlying texture.

The better method is to apply an actual snow texture to the object surfaces. The problem is there is a serious engine limitation that doesn't allow a texture to be applied on top of part of a mesh that already uses an alpha transparency. This is most likely why Bethesda didn't use the actual snow texture method.

Better Dynamic Snow (BDS) version 1.0 to 1.6 basically changed all 1070 objects to use the snow texture, which looked great but resulted in many objects missing the dynamic snow entirely because of the alpha transparency issue.

Therefore, version 2.0 of Better Dynamic Snow only applies the snow texture to almost exactly 60% of the 1070 meshes and leaves the other 40% with the pure-white-vertex snow. We went through all 1070 objects one by one and changed only those that wouldn't result in missing snow. The good news is almost all of the worst-looking-vertex-snow objects now use the snow texture.


If you find a place that uses vertex-snow and you think it is exceptionally ugly, please take a screenshot and post it along with your location. Then we can address fixing it to use the snow texture shader.

If you find a place you think is missing snow due to BDS's changes, please take a screenshot, then disable BDS and take another screenshot of the vanilla game and compare. If BDS does cause snow to become missing (very unlikely), please post the information.

BDS will conflict with mods that edit the snow shaders. No mods like this are known.


1) If you want Ruins Clutter Improved, install it first.
2) Install Better Dynamic Snow - if it asks you to overwrite shrinebase.nif from RCI, choose "yes" (as recommended by RCI author).
3) If you want, install SMIM. Let SMIM overwrite any meshes from BDS. SMIM may also ask you to overwrite a lantern mesh from RCI, so choose "yes" if you want the pretty new lantern mesh.
4) If you want, install ELFX. Let it overwrite all meshes from BDS (and SMIM if you're using it).
5) If you're using SMIM, make sure you download the SMIM-compatible meshes from the ELFX page and install those last - let them overwrite everything. It's also a good idea to keep an eye on the version numbers of ELFX and SMIM to make sure ELFX's SMIM meshes are up-to-date.
6) Make sure you activate any related plugins!

BDS version 2.1 should work just fine, but we had to remove our mesh splitting edits that we included in version 2.0 because the Skyrim engine isn't working as expected. We are researching the issue.

Video by Arsenalrobert. Thank you very much!

Since Better Dynamic Snow uses the default snow texture (, it can benefit from using alternate high-quality snow texture replacer mods. We recommend Snow HQ Texture Pack by Erik, but you can use any snow texture replacer mod you wish.

Version 2.20 - Feb 13, 2013
  • Enabled BDS on farmhouses, settlement stores and bars. Not sure why this wasn't enabled
  • before because it looks okay.
  • Gave the snow shader some properties it was missing (reverted some old changes).
  • Removed now defunct entries for static objects in .esp.
  • Updated .esp and made it also Update.esm reliable.

Version 2.13 - Jan 27, 2013
  • Cleaned .esp file to remove leftover objects that were flagging errors.

Version 2.12 - April 12, 2012
  • Updated wooden walkways for non-SMIM users so dynamic snow now collects upon it. If you
  • are using SMIM you have no need to overwrite anything.

Version 2.11 - April 06, 2012
  • Fixed HighHrothgarTowerFloor.nif lower section not being enabled to use dynamic snow.

Version 2.1 - March 26, 2012
  • Reverted all mesh splitting and new mesh placement in the CK. Skyrim engine freaked out for unknown reasons causing buildings to disappear at certain angles. Most likely a severe engine bug but possibly can be overcome.

Version 2.0 - March 25, 2012
  • Complete rewrite. All objects using Dynamic Snow checked to see if they can use BDS snow textures without issues. Overall, 60% of objects use the BDS snow shader.
  • Split many meshes into separate parts, the alpha and non-alpha elements, in order for the BDS snow texture to be applied to the non-alpha parts, leaving the alpha parts to use the vertex-color snow.

Version 1.6 - February 28, 2012
  • Re-added textures to the shader.
  • New enhanced snow shader with extra sheen effect to make it look more realistic.

SparrowPrince - Discovery, original concept, testing, general help, and a few mesh edits/fixes. Original author and creator of BDS.

Brumbek - All the mesh work in 2.0, including painstakingly going through any object that required fixing. Fixes included breaking apart meshes, removing redundant alpha channels and also using the CK to replace any object instances. Brumbek also had to test these objects one by one to make sure they worked properly.

faeriexdecay - For generally helping out in the comments and with the description.


Use on a 'as is' basis unless I say otherwise. I give full permission for anyone to use or upload
this mod as long as full credits are given to me as the original author. Please do not steal or
claim my work as your own. It is very degrading to me and other people who put in hours of
their own time for the community. You can translate this mod and upload it as long as you give
me notice first.


As my inbox is closed at the moment, if you are a modder that wants permission to use anything in
this mod - please go ahead! All I ask is credits (as listed above). Best of luck with your mod. :)