About this mod

Is your graphics card struggling with the amount of VRAM Skyrim is using, or do you just want to free up some VRAM to enable you to use 'some' Higher Res' textures from mods without overloading your graphics card - This mod cuts down on VRAM use.

Permissions and credits
Vanilla Reduced Textures

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by Alt3rn1ty

VRT v25 / DG v25 / DB v25

VRT Legendary v25

Note : For Skyrim SE, I will not be updating VRT for use in that game. Unfortunately its going to need a lot more attention to detail than just a repack, and I do not have the time to spend on it. Sorry if anyone was hoping. I would not try to use VRT with Skyrim SE either, you will see problems with landscape textures ( possibly even causing CTD, the new landscape normals have alpha channels which are necessary ), or maybe water flow textures will not mesh with old optimised water textures in this mod .. And more than likely a few other issues I will not be looking into.
Optimally they really need to be repacked in the new BA2 Texture BSA aswell. LZ4 ( the new BSA compression for SE ) is 7 times faster at decompressing files from the new BA2, than the old zlib BSAs which Skyrim uses.

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 ) - Also 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 )



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Questions & Answers


Tools used to make this:


Special Thanks/Credits:


Permissions Notes:


I will only be uploading any of my mods to the following sites : Nexus, TheAssimilationLab and AFKMods. All other sites including GMOD or ModDrop ( and users thereof ) DO NOT have permission, to upload or redistribute any of my files, images or descriptive content, past, present or future.