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Ambershore

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Ambershore

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Variant meshes for Whiterun market place. Diverse central wells to choose from, improved vendor stand, waterstairs and gate, and more to come

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This mod offers new meshes as possible variations for the Marketplace of Whiterun.


It is created, and can be used, in a modular way. Meaning that the following four steps are all optionals, and presented to reflect the evolution of the mod , in a merely practical order (from center to outer market place assets). But you can install any or all of them in whichever order you want, some will just overwrite each other, obviously (ie: the "wells"/first step option)


First Step, you have different options for the main terrain mesh and its central water well:

- Default file : slightly more detailled version of the vanilla well. Less harsh angles, improved UVs, meshes fixes, etc.
- Option 'GroundWell':   a less obtrusive ground well, letting characters walk over it without issues. Similar to some historical castles "grid" wells.
- Option 'Nowell' : only a central platform, no dissimilar to the ones found in the Wind District. Only slightly more detailed.
- Covered well, with a slightly reduced diameter and without the large platform, making the market place look a bit larger (in my opinion). The cover mimicks the market stands to fit Whiterun style.
The last three options might be of particular interest to modders wanting more space at this location.



Second (as of Update3+), you can also have pick my meshes for the vendor stands.

These are remodeled with, again, slightly more shape details yet a much better polygons management. They pose no perfomance concerns, as they actually have a smaller memory footprint and total vertice count compared to the vanilla assets. The later simply suffer from the usual gazillion of duplicated vertices, unnecessary UV seams splits, etc, which have been corrected.

In fact, I personally consider them as a 'patch' (they include similar UV fixes as the USLEEP, so yes, you can overwrite in NMM/MO).

Another notable change is that they now offer storage space under their main table. Modders can add interesting stuff there, merchandise, money, etc.
Two more vendor stands are included, one short with a different cover support, and the long angled one with the added storage space on the other side. They are obviously shared as a modder ressources, though they may end up being added to the marketplace at a later point, when I release my first .esp.


Third (as of Update4+), you also get to consider another mesh replacement for the twin dragons totem of Whiterun.
In Vanilla, this asset is used at least 3 times in the town, with a couple more of variations. Besides the usual mesh corrections, I decided to make its stone bases thiner - from personal tastes - it now crushes a bit less the curbstones of the stairs (usually) where it's sitting on. It also correct the messed up vertex normals of the vanilla asset so as to better fit the vanilla baked normal map, making it more faithful to the orginal Zbrush sculpt. As such, do NOT edit its normals in nifskope or you'll just destroy that work.


Fourth (as of Update5+), A mesh replacement for wrstairswater01.nif. The large gate, stairs and canals flowing from the Cloud district right into the marketplace.
With about 150% of the vanilla mem footprint, it is still perfomances friendly. I do enough tests, with a couple of metalfatigued to "venerable" PC to verify that. Main features are: better UVs, taller towers, small crenelations, and a stair collision without stuttering (compared to vanilla). The ground part also give more space behing the vendor stalls - which was the initial motive for recreating this asset (then one thing leads to another...).

I might do another (and only one) variation, with rebuild tower tops, an bit less "slim" towers, and a some reasonable differences in style... but this would require an .esp to move some nearby things a bit; we'll see).

One caveat with this one though: so far, its the only asset of this mod that isn't compatible with OpenCities, (according to my tests); I need to mull over this  for a bit.  Update v1.55 offers an OCS compatible file (AmberStairsWater_4OCS_1.55.7z in the files section). It was required since OCS used their own modified substitute for the 'stairswater' nif file, one without the "high collision" on top of it.

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So far, the vanilla navmesh has not been touched. That's not really a handicap for regular users wishing to test this mod though, since unless otherwise specified the meshes does not take more  footprint space than their vanilla counterparts (the reverse, for some of them)
...and I thought that modders would prefer it that way.


to sum up:
for the terrain/well : Pick and use one of the four main files.
for the  new vendor stands, the file includes both replacements and two variations.
for the totem, use it or not, as simple as that!
same for the stairs&gate mesh.

- Compatible with most, if not all, Whiterun Texture Overhauls.



Planned for upcomming updates:
- the whiterun 'totem', with the twin dragon heads and its annoyingly sharp and bulky stone base.
- one last main option for the central place, with an elevated tax collector/grannary/whatever little building.
- a more intersting fortified gate to the Wind District, at least partially repaired too (I'll go with two options), with it's slightly adjusted waterstair (if only to finally let Carlotta not risking her hankles in it anymore). I actually started working on this one.
- adjustment to the bannered mare base terrain mesh...  getting a bit more space for the market place again, and to prepare the next one:
- a new bannered mare inn model (we're talking long term plans for the last two).
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