Bethesda Performance Textures - Animals and Creatures by Gamwich
Skyrim » Creatures
Added: 12/10/2013 - 01:11AM
Updated: 12/04/2016 - 12:39AM

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1.2 Latest version

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Uploaded by Gamwich


Last updated at 0:39, 12 Apr 2016 Uploaded at 1:11, 12 Oct 2013

UPDATE 4: Version 1.2 - Revised all the diffuse (color) textures to add more definition and dimension to the animals and creatures. Changed the trolls default black eyes to versions better matching their appearance and environment. It seemed odd that only the Udefrykte troll had colored eyes. Cave Trolls now have red eyes and Frost Trolls have blue eyes. Living in dark caves, the trolls would need eyes that can pierce the blackness and find their prey. I thought that they would see into the infrared spectrum, and therefore their eyes reflect red. As the snow bear has blue eyes, I thought it appropriate that the Frost Troll would as well.

UPDATE 3: Added retexture for the Argonian male, female, and tintmasks. Textures are the same size as the default with the exception of the male head model-space normal map, and the tintmasks. For some unknown reason, Bethesda has a 1024x1024 female head normal, but only a 512x512 male head normal. My retexture fixes that oversight..... both are now 1K. The tintmasks have been redone and are now 512x512, rather than the default 256x256. Textures have been enhanced, and the male feathers are no longer plain and boring.

UPDATE 2: Added retexture option for Khajiits. Textures are the same size as the default, only more detailed. Head, body, and hands color textures are redone. The head "skin" texture is also redone to allow more of the fur texture to show through. That was done to prevent the tintmasks from looking painted on as in the default. The new tintmasks are 512x512, so they are double the resolution of the default. This should be performance friendly for everyone.

UPDATE: Version 1.1 now available with missing Dawnguard textures. For some unknown reason, Bethesda split up their Dawnguard creatures into two sections. I overlooked the ones that were in the hi-res pack #2, so version 1.1 adds the missing textures. Oddly, the file path is different than the ones in hi-res pack #3. Bethesda's methodology remains a mystery.

Bethesda Performance Textures - Animals and Creatures is a mod that takes the Bethesda hi-resolution textures for these two categories and enhances and resizes them for maximum performance while maintaining as much detail as possible. It was designed for people who couldn't run the official hi-res packs (like me), as well as offering performance gains for those with 2GB of VRAM or more. Skyrim, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn sets included.

It was designed to compliment my Bethesda Performance Textures - Armor - Clothes - Weapons mod.

Two of the most common creatures you will face in combat are Draugr and the Falmer. By using both of my BPT mods, you get even better FPS in combat, since both of these creatures wear armor and use weapons. Compared to the Bethesda hi-resolution packs, your graphics load in combat will be greatly reduced.

The main goal was to improve the appearance at a smaller file size (to save resources and improve combat), and to get a consistent level of detail across the board. Textures are scaled appropriately to the relative size of the beast. Human sized animals and creatures are resized to 1024x1024, while some smaller ones are 512x512. Most larger than human sized animals and creatures are left at 2048x2048, but their normal maps are reduced to 1K. The normal map gives shape to the object, but is lesser importance compared to the color texture. For the biggest creatures (like Giants and Mammoths), it wasn't practical to reduce their normal map textures without degrading the appearance, so I just worked at enhancing the color detail instead.

I originally created this mod for myself, since I had only 1GB of VRAM in my setup, so using Bethesda hi-resolution textures was not feasible for me while running other mods. What I've done is go through all my textures, one by one, and optimize them - both in file size, and appearance.

This is not a simple downsizing of the Bethesda hi-resolution textures. I examined each texture and enhanced the detail, color balance, and contrast before resizing and saving them to get the maximum performance and appearance possible. For the majority of animals and creatures, you will get better performance in combat using my textures over the official hi-res textures. It's only in the largest creatures that you won't get a FPS boost. Fortunately, Mammoths and Giants are fairly slow moving to begin with. Since I had already done retexture mods for the bears and sabrecats, I used my textures instead, just reducing the normal maps to 1K for better performance.

This mod was created for people like myself who have a limited amount of VRAM, and for those using the hi-res packs who want better performance. Now that we've learned that Skyrim has a 3.1GB hard memory cap, it makes sense to save resources where you can. Any memory saved, can be used to either improve performance (FPS), or allow the use of bigger textures where they will be most useful.... on large textures.

Where performance lag is most noticeable (and annoying), is in combat. That's where my two BPT mods offer the biggest gains. With reduced memory needed for armor, clothes, weapons, animals, and creatures, your FPS in combat should be improved over the Bethesda official hi-resolution packs.

What I learned in reworking the Bethesda hi-resolution textures was surprising to me. You'd think that a big game studio like Bethesda would have clear standards for how textures were created (and saved). Strangely, there doesn't appear to be a real standard for sizing or compression with the hi-res textures. And not all 2K textures are created equal. A high pixel count doesn't necessarily mean it's a quality texture.

There's also no consistency when it comes to the size of Bethesda's hi-res textures. Some creatures have 2K textures for every piece... body, armor, helmet, and gauntlets in the case of the Reikling. That's a ton of resources wasted on a tiny creature that your character could knee in the face. What's worse, they are 5.6MB textures... that's a bunch of memory wasted on one creature. There are a number of creatures that have reflective textures to their armor sets, which push the resource use even higher (such as Vampire Lords). It's no wonder that combat can become sluggish. I'm a firm believer that the size of a texture should be directly proportional to the size of the object. Bethesda seems to have an anything goes attitude when it comes to game textures.

Sadly, you have "hi-res" textures that are just poor quality textures - ill-defined, or just plain ugly. This also applies to the missing animals and creatures. There are no hi-res textures for the chicken, rabbit, highland cow, elk, or horse. I felt it was wrong to omit them, so I made improved textures for these animals. For the horse, I combined my textures with Bellyache's excellent textures (thank you Bellyache). There are also a few creatures missing from the hi-res packs. I improved the vanilla textures in those cases too..... the frostbite spider, ice wraith, and wisp.

Sometimes, it was necessary to sacrifice a little detail for the sake of performance. This was only in the case of the large animals/creatures. A clear example of this, is the horse. Bethesda didn't make a hi-res version of the horse textures, so I got permission to adapt Bellyache's excellent 2K retexture. The problem is that for performance sake, the file sizes needed to be reduced. For the horse, you have not only the main body texture (plus normal map), but also the mane/tail texture (plus normal map), and the saddle texture (plus normal map). These textures have complex alphas, so a 2K texture is 5.6 MB. That's a lot of resources tied up in just one animal. Especially, when it's an animal that your character can ride into combat.

What I did, was keep the body color texture at 2K (also enhancing the texture), while reducing the normal map to 1K (after optimizing the detail). The mane/tail texture is of lesser importance, so I reduced it to 512x512 (after improving the detail). What you have now, is a horse that's improved in appearance from the vanilla, but still is a manageable file size for good FPS in combat.

NMM or manual installation. To install the textures, you have to choose which option is for you. If you have Skyrim and all the DLCs, then you can use the BPT_AC_All option. If you just have Skyrim, use the BPT_AC_Skyrim option. I also have the Dawnguard and Dragonborn sets as seperate options, so if you have one and not the other, just pair the one you have with the BPT_AC_Skyrim option.

For manual installation, just download the appropriate options and drag, drop, and overwrite (if needed) the textures in your Skyrim Data folder.