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About this mod

A simple edit so that the dragons in the game always use their high quality textures and models instead of that ugly mess. Now supports one, both, or not DLC.

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  • Polish
Update.ESM (1.9)
Dawnguard.ESM (optional)
Dragonborn.ESM (optional)

Skyrim, like most games, only renders the immediate area in high quality. If you're exploring, you may notice that the grass doesn't cover everything that you can see, or that there's an area in a valley below the mountain top you're sitting on where the ground looks blocky and just generally bad. That happens because the edge of the draw distance (uGridsToLoad) has been reached and objects past that use a lower quality texture and/or model to keep performance nice.

Dragons, for some reason, have LOD textures and models. At a very far distance these may look fine or even indistinguishable from their high quality ones, but if you're fighting a dragon, you're going to notice him popping back and forth from bad quality to good quality. Sometimes, you'll even have this or this happen.

This mod fixes that.

TL;DR: makes dragons look good no matter how far or close they are to you.

Q: Is there an impact on performance?
A: Probably, but nothing that you'll be able to notice. It will depend on your system, but if Skyrim typically runs smoothly for you, I doubt you'll have any issue with this. In my experience I've actually had less occasional stuttering because the dragons aren't popping back and forth between qualities.

Q: What dragons does this affect?
A: By list of their enemy name above the health bar:
Blood Dragon*
Frost Dragon*
Elder Dragon*
Ancient Dragon*
Revered Dragon**
Legendary Dragon**
Serpentine Dragon***

*vanilla dragon
**Dawnguard dragon
***Dragonborn dragon

Named dragons (e.g. Alduin, Odahviing, etc) already had their actor traits set to stay high quality, so they didn't require any editing.

Q: What about dragons from mods?
A: This ESP doesn't effect any dragons from any mod. From what I've seen, most modded in dragons don't even have LOD textures/models to use, so they never do the quality popping thing.

Q: There's a dragon from a mod that I don't want using LOD textures/models. Can you fix this?
A: Sure, why not. I would, however, need to know what mod it is from and to make sure the author is okay with such an edit.

Q: I don't have Dawnguard/Dragonborn. Can you make a version that doesn't require either?
A: I DO plan to make a version for specific Skyrim.ESM+(insert DLC name).ESM set ups, but I still can't get the Creation Kit to work well for me, so you'll have to wait a bit.
EDIT: The experimental .esp should work for you.

Q: Is this mod compatible with X texture pack?
A: Yes, yes, yes, and yes. This mod doesn't modify textures or models in any way; it only tells the game to always use non-LOD textures and models with the dragons. You can use any texture or model you like, so long as it doesn't change anything else (e.g. using the Thanatos replacer for either Odahviing or Durnehviir, or the Behemoth mesh replacer for Odahviing that comes with changed behavior, may or may not have adverse effects)

Q: Will you make a texture pack to go with this?
A: I'd like to. Someone teach me how DDS files work. Alternatively, you can use your favorite dragon texture pack and it should work just fine. Even more alternatively, you can use Realistic Dragons by frozunswaidon.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I don't bite.

V1: initial release
4/6/2014: Uploaded edited .esp files for vanilla, vanilla+DB, and vanilla+DG set ups of Skyrim.
9/29/2014: Edited some text here and there and edited all the optional files.