Vanilla Reduced Textures by alt3rn1ty
Skyrim » Models and textures
Added: 06/04/2012 - 07:58PM
Updated: 24/04/2015 - 07:39PM

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Uploaded by alt3rn1ty


Last updated at 19:39, 24 Apr 2015 Uploaded at 19:58, 6 Apr 2012

Vanilla Reduced Textures

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by Alt3rn1ty

VRT v25 / DG v25 / DB v25

VRT Legendary v25

( See changes tab for version details, plus the last couple of pages of images, right click the new comparison images each in their own browser tab page so you can flick between the two to compare differences between v24 and v25 )

What does Vanilla Reduced Textures do ?


If your graphics card is struggling with the amount of VRAM Skyrim is using, or you just want to free up some VRAM to enable you to use 'some' Higher Res' textures from mods without overloading your graphics card - Then this is for you.

The objective of this mod is VRAM use reduction, while preserving detail as much as possible. This is not a "half size everything" overhaul ( if you just want all game textures Half sized .. just set the game launchers Options - Advanced - Texture Quality .. to Medium if that's all you want to achieve ). Aswell as reducing VRAM use, I wanted to preserve detail quality as much as possible, so I do not reduce all textures like that setting would. This mod selectively reduces textures.

To test your machine ( before and after ) I recommend
Skyrim Performance Monitor
I would not use this all the time if you just want to play the game, but its a very useful tool to show you how much VRAM your game setup is using. It starts and stops recording when the game is loaded / quit so you get to see how much VRAM you were using during playing Skyrim.

I started making this for my laptop, NVidia graphics card with only 256mb VRAM. Not surprisingly it got a bit "warm" trying to run with vanilla texture sizes filling my graphics card which was under game minimum specification, and needing more VRAM - Now it doesn't.

Since creating the 256 option, I can run the game on my laptop at High texture detail game setting quite comfortably ( albeit in window mode at 800x500 - but that was not possible before, not if I want my laptop to last a few years anyway, full screen 1280x800 I need to run the game on Medium texture detail ).

I have upgraded my Graphics daughterboard to have 512mb along the way, but still use Vanilla Reduced Textures - Even with a graphics card which equals the games recommended minimum specification ( 512mb VRAM ), or border line in your graphics cards capabilities ( old graphics card technology ), it will still help ( especially if you want to add mods with textures higher than vanilla res body/armour/clothing for example ) - I have seen a vanilla skyrim setup (no mods installed) on my family desktop using up to 600mb of its 1024mb VRAM, so even a minimum specification graphics card with 512mb VRAM is not quite adequate for Skyrim IMHO, depends on how much VRAM your Operating System is using aswell ( Windows graphical / animation settings and aero glass etc ).

Textures ( colour maps, normal maps, model space normal maps, reflection maps, glow maps etc ) for all objects in game - They all add up ( depending upon where you are in the game ).

Vanilla Reduced Textures 512 BSA - Replaces 'most' of the Skyrim original textures ( vanilla textures in the Skyrim - Textures.bsa ), which were higher than 512x512, downscaled to 512x512 ...
Not all of them, ( more details in the Changes Tab ). There were some textures above 512 which have only been reduced a little, so not everything has gone down to 512 in these files.
I have tried not to reduce any texture which is already 512x512, or less, in the games original textures (though there are some textures in the 512 option which break this rule for more VRAM saving with no visual loss of quality).

Vanilla Reduced Textures 256 BSA - Includes all the reductions as per the 512 option above, and has included a lot of vanilla 512x512 files reduced to 256x256 for further VRAM savings. Generally anything which is already 256 or less in the games original textures .. Remains 256 ( though again as with the 512 option there are some textures reduced below 256 which break this rule .. but most of these are normal maps - See Changes Tab ).

In both 512 and 256 options, work was done on reducing normal maps, a considerable amount to gain more VRAM, and even more reduction in the normals department in the 256 option than has been done in the 512 option ..

This mod is NOT about performance, its purpose is to save VRAM. Although it does make them more optimal in that they have been reduced in size with GIMP and then re-mipmapped with DDSOpt as part of the final process, by virtue of the fact that you are running most of the textures at half vanilla size for any given game Texture Detail setting .. your machine will perform better.

Have a look at the images, and also check out the user uploaded images too : gdsmth did a good set of comparison images - Thank you :) ( Tip : Right click on the comparison images and open each in a new browser tab so you get a big image, then you can flick between the two tabs to compare )


First decide which set you are going to need ( 256 or 512 ) - Which one do you choose ? Well if you have a graphics card with only 256mb VRAM use the 256 option/s, everybody else use the 512 option/s ( unless you are using quite a few higher res body/armour/clothing mod textures for example, then users with a 512mb graphics card may also benefit from using the 256 option ). Skyrim Performance Monitor linked above will be useful to help decide which to use. And its easy to switch between using either version ( you will not have any of those famous 'baked in your save' problems with this mod ), just overwrite the bsa with the other version and play/test onwards.

If you have all DLCs ( Dawnguard/Hearthfires/Dragonborn ) Then all you need is "Vanilla Reduced Textures 256 Legendary" ( or 512 ), which has Vanilla Reduced Textures/DawnGuard/DragonBorn and Hearthfires reduced textures all-in-one.
If you have one of the DLCs missing from your installation do not use the Legendary options because the esp has all of them as masters ( missing masters = CTD ). If you use one of the Legendary options, you do not need any other files.

For people who do not have all of the DLCs, choose "Vanilla Reduced Textures 256" ( or 512 ), for just Skyrim, plus any DLC options that you may have :

If you have DawnGuard - Then you will also be able to use one of the DG BSAs ( either 256 or 512, to match the version of VRT you have installed ) ..
If you have Dragonborn - Then you will also be able to use one of the DB BSAs ( either 256 or 512, to match the version of VRT you have installed ) ..

VanillaReducedTextures.esp and bsa ( 256 version )
VanillaReducedTexturesDG.esp and bsa ( 256 version )
VanillaReducedTexturesDB.esp and bsa ( 256 version )

( I did not do Hearthfires as an individual option because really there are not enough files in this DLC that needed reducing to warrant having its own plugin )

Ownership of the game Skyrim ( and the respective DLCs for the modifications you download out of my files ) is a requirement of using this mod.

Manual Installation
Unpack the 7zip with your preferred archive utility.
Place the esp and bsa in your game Installation Data folder ...
( ~path to steam steamapps common skyrim Data <-- In here )
Tick it in the Skyrim Launchers Data Files (You can then also left click it here to highlight it, and use the up and down arrows to adjust the Load Order)

Manual Un-Installation
Delete the esp and bsa you previously installed

Nexus Mod Manager, Wrye Bash or Mod Organizer ( or anything else out there now or in the future ) - See the relevant documentation / help files / read me's for your mod manager of choice on how to install / un-install mods.

Both options are Wrye Bash ready ( zipped as simple BAIN's ), and it should be okay installing with Nexus Mod Manager ( though nexus can get flooded sometimes so the download can stall/fail ).

Load Order is important. See the following topics if you have not seen them before ...
BSAs and You
and the linked topic
Load Order and You

The mod has a BSA ( Bethesda Softworks Archive ) and an ESP ( Elder Scrolls Plugin ), the ESP is needed to get the game to load the BSA. The ESP needs to load very EARLY in your load order list, and .. be ticked in the Skyrim Launchers Data Files ...

followed by - UnOfficial Skyrim Patch (USKP)
followed by Dawnguard.esm,
followed by - UnOfficial Dawnguard Patch (UDGP) ( If you have Dawnguard )
followed by Hearthfires.esm
followed by - UnOfficial Hearthfire Patch (UHRP) ( If you have Hearthfires )
followed by Dragonborn.esm,
followed by - UnOfficial Dragonborn Patch (UDBP) ( If you have Dragonborn )
followed by VanillaReducedTextures.esp
followed by VanillaReducedTexturesDG.esp ( If you have Dawnguard )
followed by VanillaReducedTexturesDB.esp ( If you have Dragonborn )
followed by .. any other mods/loose textures you use.

Or : Replace all three Vanilla Reduced Textures plugins above, with just the Legendary one if you use that instead.

Arrange your load order correctly either with your mod manager, or the games launcher, or .. LOOT - This mod is already recognised by LOOT for load ordering, and will be sorted correctly.
Then play.

I think that covers it.

If you are using a pirate version of the game; Don't even bother asking questions about your problems. I cannot solve them.

Other mods you may be interested in


Nude Females - If you need a female body mod to compliment Vanilla Reduced Textures ..
Alt Navetsea UNP Seamless. The Reduced version would work well with VRT 512, and the Severe with VRT 256 ( the one I am currently using )

Nude Males - Roberts male for Skyrim. If you need a male body mod to compliment VRT .. see post #40 here. Includes reduced textures, this is a Wrye Bash BAIN installer for Roberts Skyrim 03 male body replacer. It works well with vanilla head and hand textures and meshes, but may not work so well with other mod head and hands textures and meshes. Best thing about this male replacer .. You will not need vanilla male armour and clothing meshes redone to fit these body meshes, vanilla will be fine :). Robert has hardly changed the vanilla body shape, just made nude possible, with the appropriate nude male parts on the meshes and textures.

ONE MOUNTAIN - To rule them all by Gamwich - BUT, just use the meshes you need, why ?, because we already use Mountain Or Molehill textures ( and the associated LODs ) in Vanilla Reduced Textures .. Which are compatible with this mods meshes.
AND - As you read the description you will discover why I recommend this, some mountains and rocks use the two big textures mountainslab01 and 02, now they only use 02, which means for any given area you will only be loading that one big texture instead of both = VRAM saving :). Have a look at my uploaded comparison images on this mods User Uploaded images.

RUGNAROK by Gamwich - The 1k file would be suitable for VRT 512 users, and the 1k-512 file for VRT 256 users - Better looking rugs, but Gamwich has a trick up his sleeve with this mod : The original rugs with fringes were in some cases using two textures, one for the main rug texture and another for the fringe. Gamwich has included edited meshes in this mod which just call for his rug texture which includes the fringe, so one less texture per rug in game = saving VRAM usage.

Interior and Dungeon Fog remover ( can be used in conjunction with mods like ..
RGabriels Remove Interior Fog v2 ( which does a different bunch of things than Interior and Dungeon Fog Remover, so they can be used together ) ) ..
.. and RGabriels Skyrim Project Optimization - IMHO everyone playing Skyrim should use this.
Colorful Lights - No Shadows - More FPS by TRoaches, really helps with indoors and dungeon areas for machines challenged by Skyrim.
Colorful Lights - No Shadows - DLCs by UWShocks, same goal for the DLCs.

The Ruffled Feather ( Decrease those Plants ) - This is all Sparrowprince mods rolled into one, recently he did a separate mod called Decrease That Grass, which has now been bundled with the rest of his mods.
Basicly these meshes reduce the amount of polygons in various plants ( including underwater kelp ) to improve on performance with little visual loss. I download this mod bundle just for the Decrease Those Plants meshes.

.. And to compliment Decrease Those Plants meshes - Insignificant Object Removal by Akkalat85 - This mod has a few options ( if using sparrowprinces Decrease Those Plants meshes, use the pebbles only option from this mod ). Those small pebbles appear randomly scattered about the landscape ( a bit like how the grass is distributed ) and invariably are the wrong colour shade / dont reflect light / take up processor time for lots of small rocks .. This mod gets rid of them ( and underwater kelp if you choose that option )

Guard Torch Remover - Reduced Light Flickering also by akkalat85 - May help with game performance issues in some places too. Personally I like this because guards making themselves into illuminated targets at night seems a bit daft.


If you do not need as much VRAM reduction as my mod offers, but just need the vanilla game textures run through DDSOpt in accordance with the S.T.E.P guide .. Try Optimised Vanilla Textures by Tony971

If you are using Bethesda High Resolution Texture packs ..
Really you need at least a 1gb VRAM graphics card to run those textures

Maybe you have 1gb card but want to cut down the VRAM use a little bit, without having to resort to quite such a drastic decrease as my Vanilla Reduced Textures mod offers :
Bethesda Performance Textures - Armor - Clothes - Weapons by Gamwich
Bethesda Performance Textures - Animals and Creatures by Gamwich
MOUNTAIN OR MOLEHILL ( Also includes custom LOD textures to match ) by Gamwich ( I am using a reduced version of MoM files in VRT )
Rustic Farmhouses by Gamwich
Rustic Windows by Gamwich ..
Keep an eye out for more by Gamwich, some very good work being done which is just as detailled as the High Res packs, but conservative in resolution and VRAM use.



Questions & Answers


Q. Why not just choose Medium in the game launchers Options - Advanced - Texture quality .. Which would set all textures to show their next mipmap resolution down as the top texture ?
A. Because the aim is to try and preserve some detail quality aswell as reducing VRAM usage, setting Medium reduces ALL textures ( except ones without mipmaps ).

Q. Will this be compatible with future game patches ..
A. Textures will not need re-doing so its a none issue, as for the ESP - The esp is just an empty (dummy) esp which does not change any game records, its only purpose is to get the game to realise there is a BSA with the same name and the textures from that should be loaded = Thats a none issue too.
In short - Yes it will be fine.

Q. Why not just replace the Skyrim - Textures.bsa with one made by you -
A. I needed a custom bsa which would contain textures to replace the originals bsa textures, without steam overwriting them when you verify your cache. Having an esp / bsa combination also gives you more flexibility in positioning my mod in your Load Order, so you can make my mod textures load later than another mods textures ( if they are also replacer textures in a BSA, any loose texture files win over everything ).

Q. Will you be uploading this on steam workshop, or any other sites besides Skyrim Nexus or TES Alliance -
A. No. I do not agree with Bethsoft/Valve Terms and Conditions on Steam Workshop. Currently Steam Workshop would not allow my files sizes anyway, but that may change in future. If you find it there, it has been stolen without consent from me.
And I would need to use Bethsofts method of packing the BSA, which would be less optimal than using BSAOpt's higher compression technology.

Q. Is it legal to manipulate game assets in this way
A. Here's a short topic with the relevant questions Is it Legal topic



Tools used to make this:


Creation Kit (well, just for the dummy esp required to get the game to load the bsa )
DDS Plugin for GIMP
Normal Map Plugin for GIMP
Paint DOT Net
DDSOpt and BSAOpt by Ethatron.
Skyrim Performance Monitor By MNelson
Process Explorer By Mark Russinovich
And Adobe PhotoShop for v25

Special Thanks/Credits:


GStaff = BGS Forums, DarkOne = TESNexus, DarkRider = TESAlliance, Andalaybay = The Assimilation Lab, Arthmoor = AFK Mods
And all the Moderators supporting the community sites we love.
Bethsoft - Wonderful alternate reality you create.
Martigen, and many contributers to an old topic worth a look if you are just starting with textures
lnki - For permission granted to use two fixed vanilla files which were driving me nuts for a while trying to figure out what the problem with them was.
Lifestorock for permission granted to use his rework of my normal map for the archery target.
Gamwich for BPT AC - The Dragon Textures from these files
Gamwich for Mountain or Molehill The best rock textures out there.
Rennn for Detailled Terrain and Tree LOD
Hanaisse for permission granted to reduce the pie textures in USKP and include in VRT.
Also - Thanks to Emma ... permission granted
and Lycanthrops permission granted
.. for permission to do the optional Vilja files,
Tony971 for permission to include some textures which I had not previously included, into version 23 from Optimised Vanilla Textures
Starac - For permission to use textures from SRO ( no longer available on nexus so cannot link )

And last, but not least, all the community members working on the UnOfficial Patch Project ( UPP ), all the hard work and voluntary contributions to those projects are marvellous - Some of which are included in this mod and reduced appropriately.

Permissions Notes:


If you download my files, they are for personal use on your own machine.
Ownership of the game Skyrim ( and the respective DLCs for the modifications you download out of my files ) is a requirement of using this mod.
Do not upload them anywhere else, or as part of another mod.
Redistribution of the files, images or descriptive content is strictly forbidden without prior consent. This means do not upload any part of it anywhere unless you have obtained permission from me.
This includes Steam workshop, I will not be uploading it there; If you find it on there it has been stolen without my consent. And I would appreciate it being reported.
All inquiries regarding this must be directed to me.
I can be reached via PM at the official Bethesda Softworks forum, the forum at TES Nexus, and the forum at AFK Mods under the username "alt3rn1ty".

You must make a good faith effort, both publicly and privately, to establish contact before assuming this mod is no longer being maintained by me. PM me for asset usage. If I do not respond within a few months, AND I have been in-active for more than 6 months then site staff can assume this mod is abandoned, and thereafter permissions can be freed.

Additionally : In the case of all the people mentioned in Special Thanks / Credits above ..
.. permission for use of those files should be sought/credited from the original authors.

olympusgames, GMOD or ModDrop sites do not have permission, to upload or redistribute any of my files, images or descriptive content, past, present or future.