Last updated at 20:12, 7 Jan 2017 Uploaded at 0:27, 4 Mar 2015
RUSTIC CHILDREN is my attempt to retexture the children of Skyrim in a way that makes them more realistic and more lore-friendly. It's obvious to anyone who's played Skyrim, that children were a very low priority for Bethesda. Why that is, is anyone's guess. What's always bothered me about the children was not only their unattractiveness, but how they didn't really resemble the adults at all. Not just their faces, but their clothing as well. The children look as if they were ported from another game entirely.
In fact, that is exactly the case. These are not the children of Skyrim, they are from the older generation of Bethesda games. The children don't have model-space normal maps for their heads and bodies like the adults, they have regular normal maps, like the older Bethesda games. These children have the same textures as you'll see in Fallout. What's worse, Skyrim doesn't even have unique sets for the two sexes like those earlier games did. There's a reason all the kids look alike... they're all using the male child textures. There's only one texture in the female child folder, and that's the male body texture with a different style of underwear. Therefore, the females are using the male body normal map, which is awkward to say the least. Fortunately, your children should be clothed at all times, so this will go unnoticed.
There have been a number of excellent children overhaul mods on Nexus, and they have been popular for obvious reasons. Who wouldn't want to be rid of those cabbage patch/troll doll abominations? But, these mods have not worked well for everyone. They tend to be rather complex, with new meshes and textures that require an .esp and often multiple patches. Even then, they won't be compatible with certain other mods you may be using. I personally tried a number of these children overhaul mods, but I always ran into problems.
That's what led me to create RUSTIC CHILDREN. I wanted to see if it was possible to improve the appearance of the children significantly by just retexturing them. No new meshes, no .esp files, just a simple retexture that anyone could use. Something that wouldn't require a bunch of patches for other mods. That is what I've done.
UPDATE: I added download options for just the face and body textures for people who are using the children clothing textures in my RUSTIC CLOTHING mod.
Gone are the pubescent Klingon head ridges, the bulbous noses, the swollen lips, and the perpetual frowns. These are lore-friendly children that look like that might've actually come from the same species as the adults. Since the boys and girls share the same (male) textures, I endeavored to make them as attractive as practical with the default meshes. Therefore, the boys may appear more "pretty" than some may prefer. It was a tradeoff I was willing to make for better looking girls.
One decision I made in retexturing the bodies was to revise the underwear. In a climate as harsh as Skyrim, a proper undershirt seems a lot more practical than just a skimpy pair of briefs. I think this revision is more lore-friendly (and modesty protecting), while also having the added effect of eliminating any neck seam issues. Even with Mindflux's ENB patch, you'll still occasionally see child heads that don't blend well with their body. With this retexture, that is no longer a problem.
It wasn't just the Bethesda faces that bothered me, it was the children clothing as well. They looked just as much an afterthought as the body textures. What really bothered me, was they weren't even lore-friendly... something you can't accuse Bethesda of very often. The dresses and tunics didn't resemble the adult clothing in design or level of detail. They just looked thrown together at the last minute. My retextures are based on the adult styles, so they properly fit the look of Skyrim. With the original clothing textures, all three styles used the same normal map (another sign that Bethesda didn't put any effort into these textures). The three styles are actually recolors of the same exact outfit. The one change I made to the clothing meshes was a minor one. For styles 2 and 3 (for both sexes), I assigned a unique normal map to fit the new retexture. Style 1 (both sexes) stays with the original normal map for greater compatibility with other mods that use that normal map texture (such as Prince and the Pauper). All the styles are based off the original normal map, but the unique details of the new retextures have been added for greater dimensionality.
So, there you have it. Sorry for the long-winded explanation, but I like to tell people what my rationale is for creating my mods. There is a method (and a reason) for my madness. I made 2K and 1K versions these retextures to accommodate as many people as possible, so download whichever suits your setup.
I hope people enjoy this latest edition to my Rustic retexture series.