Ultimate Solitude by grVulture
Skyrim » Models and textures
Added: 07/02/2012 - 06:47PM
Updated: 23/12/2013 - 04:47PM

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v1.1 Latest version

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Uploaded by grvulture


Last updated at 16:47, 23 Dec 2013 Uploaded at 18:47, 7 Feb 2012

UPDATE!!! I added a missing normal map which was very important for the stone wall! ALL who downloaded in the past should upgrade!

PLUS! I added a weathered version, where the textures don't look so "polished".
by Chris grVulture Michaelides
This is a retexture pack for the city of Solitude.
I made it for personal use, here is the story behind it:
Some of you may already know me as grVulture, the author of Ultimate Textures, Real Stars, Real Moons, and many other mods for Morrowind.
Skyrim's textures needed also a facelift, and after downloading a lot of retexturing mods, I mixed and matched, and also created my own.
Everything looked nice, and I was pleased going on with my day-to-day life of adventuring in Skyrim's immersive world.
That changed the moment I stepped foot in Solitude. Everything was very ugly, blocky and bumpy, and none of the current mods I downloaded was satisfying to my eyes.
So, I said to myself, this can't go on, I'll just have to create my own textures, like I did 6 years ago for Morrowind.
And that's exactly what I did!
The result was very satisfying, at least for my taste, and so I decided to share this with the community of Skyrim gamers.

All textures were made by me, and are 2x the original Bethesda textures.
All normal maps have also been doubled (even those for textures that I haven't touched), as this gives more detail to the texture.

I didn't retexture the windows, because I am using Visible Windows. You can find it here:

Please read F.A.Q. for more info.

This is a retexture, which means it will be compatible with all your mods.
You won't get any bugs in game, or compatibility issues.
If you already have a Solitude retexture, it will be overwritten.

Unzip the file in your Skyrim folder. Keep the directory structure intact, overwrite previous files.

Remove the folder /data/textures/architecture/solitude from your Skyrim folder.

F.A.Q. and general thoughts:
Q: Will this affect my performance? Will my FPS drop?
A: No. I haven't noticed any FPS drop at all.
There is a big misbelief that large textures will make your FPS drop. This is not true.
It will add to your loading times, but not lower your FPS.
This means it will make the sudden FPS drop when the engine loads textures longer and more noticeable, but once loaded, the FPS will remain constant as with vanilla textures.
What makes FPS drop is meshes with more polygons than vanilla, because the engine has to process this 3D mesh real time on every frame. The texture on it, once loaded, stays the same.
This is how I understand it, and this is how I experienced it on my system, making the simple test of measuring my FPS with vanilla textures, and then with some 4x bigger ones.
It was exactly the same!
And my system is mediocre by all means.

Q: So, what is your rig?
A: Core2Duo 2.5Mhz overclocked @ 3.5Mhz. This overclocking alone gave me a 10 FPS boost. 4GB RAM, WinXP 32bit, Sapphire RADEON 6850 *non-overclocked*, Catalyst driver 11.2

Q: At what Skyrim settings do you play?
A: I use my own ini file which doesn't fit in a Skyrim setting actually. A lot of stuff added which are not present on Skyrim's default ini files.
I would say my settings would classify between High and Ultra High settings. I play full screen 1080p.

Q: And all this gives you an FPS of?
A: Constant over 30. Normally around 45, on some parts where I'm fighting a dragon, or viewing a river for example with extreme weather conditions, I am around 30.
Inside dungeons, I am constantly over 45, even on battles with more than 10 enemies simultaneously. Yes, there are those, if you haven't experienced yet.

Q: Do you experience any CTDs with this?
A: Never. Actually I never had any CTDs in Skyrim like other people seem to always have.

Q: These textures are too dark or have almost no color! What's wrong?
These textures were made for my personal use and appear perfect on my game. This doesn't mean they will be perfect on yours.
I use ENB + FXAA Post processing + Darker Nights and Bright Skies + Real Lighting Bright Lights.
Real Lighting makes the sunlight stronger, which in turn overexposures and oversaturates most of Skyrim's textures.
To avoid this I've fixed the exposure, the saturation, and the normal maps of all my Skyrim textures, and the textures of Ultimate Solitude have gone also through the same process.
If you don't use Real Lighting, the textures may appear dark and cast no light on your game.
Or it can be your monitor the reason behind this. Each monitor displays colors differently, on default, or even on exactly the same user-defined settings.
I am working with 3 monitors; each one displays Skyrim differently, even if all have the same settings! Acer seems to display warmer colors, while Samsung produces a much colder output.
My main monitor (the one I play Skyrim on) is an Acer 23'. I would play on Samsung, but I don't have a 16:9 Samsung monitor, only 16:10, the Acer is the only 16:9 I have, and I prefer its cinematic feel than Samsung's better color output.

Q: These textures are not very bumpy...
A: Yes, they are made like this on purpose. I'm not a big fan of bumpy textures, the details of a texture get lost with bumping, so I keep it at a level where the bump doesn't affect the texture's details.

Q: Aren't you grVulture, the famous Morrowind modder?
A: Yes, I am.

Q: So will you be modding Skyrim too?
A: No, my modding days are over, this was only made for my personal use, and I'm only sharing it, that's all.

Q: Does this mean we won't be seeing anything more from you in the future?
A: I guess not. Except if I venture into another town, and find it too ugly also. Then if I'm in the mood, I'll retexture it, and I may release my work again.
There are many towns I haven't been yet in Skyrim, I'm still level 29 and haven't seen even the half of Skyrim's world. I'm still at the beginning of the main quest,
and I definitely gonna free my land from those damn imperials as a side quest LOL! But I take my time...

That's all folks! I hope you enjoy a better looking Solitude! :)