Skyrim Special Edition

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Velanimus

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Velanimus

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About this mod

An extensive overhaul of Skyrim's grass and ground textures. All regions are covered by lush grass fields, while retaining good performance. The file provides a complete set of landscape and LOD textures on top of the grass models, in order to make seamless transitions in the distance. Best used with ExtendGrassDistance from No Grass in Objects.

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A convenient All-in-One solution for Skyrims grasses & grounds for the lazy mod user. It comes with dozens of new high-resolution grass textures, complemented by matching ground textures and pre-crafted, fitting LODs. Every region of Skyrim has its own look with different grasses and colors. To offer optimal performance, the grass models are mostly simple meshes and make use of hand-edited mip maps to give the grass fields a dense look with even moderate density settings.




You can choose between the full version (containing grass, ground textures, LOD) and an only-grass version, if you prefer to stay with your existing ground textures from other mods. While both versions technically work perfectly well, I recommend to use the full version for the best look, alongside with the mod No Grass in Objects from meh321, which allows to draw grass beyond the loaded cell border. Mip maps from my grass textures are hand-edited to make a good fit with the LOD textures, and you need the ExtendGrassDistance setting to make use of that. Refer to his mod page on how to use this setting and how to pre-cache grass.



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                                                                                                   Requirement, recommendations

  • Required: Operating system newer than Windows 7 (for valid reasons my textures are in BC3 format, which will make Windows 7 users crash). I do not support Windows 7, sorry you are on your own. If you want to convert all textures to BC7 yourself, make sure to not redo mip-maps, as they are hand-edited by me.

  • optional: ExtendGrassDistance from No Grass In Objects to make grass grow beyond cell border. Highly recommended if your system can handle the increased draw distance. 

  • optional: Use temporal anti-aliasing (TAA). Some people do not like it because they think it makes things to blurry, however I have the opinion that it is absolutely necessary to keep grass flickering in check (even on my 2k-monitor). I also omitted the 3 smallest mip maps of every grass texture to improve visuals of distant brushes, at the cost of slightly increased flickering (this was a design choice), and TAA is highly recommended to compensate for that!

  • optional: Really Blended Roads in case you use the full version which includes ground textures, in order to remove seams near roads.

  • optional: An ENB preset (greatly enhances grass through shadows). My mod was designed with an ENB in mind. Specifically, I used Silent Horizons ENB for Cathedral Weathers to design the mod, a preset with a rather balanced image space. Keep in mind that the 'perfect' color fit between grass, ground textures, and LOD is always dependent on image space, and thus you might not be able to reproduce my screenshots exactly when using different weather mods and ENB presets.


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                                                                                                   INI settings, performance options


Here is a default setup:

Skyrim.ini
[Grass]
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=10000.0000
fGrassFadeRange=7000.0000
iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure=8
iMinGrassSize=20This setting determines grass density, 20 is my default. Feel free to increase for improved FPS!!!

Skyrimprefs.ini
[Grass]
fGrassStartFadeDistance=3000.0000
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=10000.0000


If you are using the ExtendGrassDistance feature from No Grass In Objects, you want to adapt the values to make the grass grow in the distance, e.g.:

Skyrim.ini
[Grass]
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=20000.0000
fGrassFadeRange=19000.0000
iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure=8
iMinGrassSize=20 

Skyrimprefs.ini
[Grass]
fGrassStartFadeDistance=40.0000
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=20000.0000

If you need more performance, adapt on your own. In the following paragraph, I wanna give you a comprehensive explanation of the relevant ini lines, so you can set them according to your own system:

iMinGrassSize sets general density, higher value means less dense. fGrassStartFadeDistance determines at which distance grass will start to build a gradient of decreasing density up to the distance determined by fGrassFadeRange. Grass will not be loaded beyond fGrassFadeRange. It makes sense to use this gradient as there is no point having high density far away from the player, it is wasted performance. Lower density in the distance still gives a lush look, especially with my special mip maps. fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance determines the distance at which grass that is already loaded will fade out again. fGrassMinStartFadeDistance is believed to be unused by the game.

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                                                                                                      (Un)Installation process

Install the Full version or the grass-only version as usual through your mod manager. 

For uninstalling, simply remove my files as usual. There will be no leftovers in your game. And don’t forget to revert your grass INI changes.

If you are using ExtendGrassDistance, pre-cache your grass after installation.



I want to explicitely thank the following authors / sources for helping me out with some grass & ground textures: Permission was requested where necessary & possible. If I missed something, please let me know.

Pfuscher (author of various texture replacers), 32cm (Tamriel Reloaded), Elinen (Hoddimir Plants and Trees), texturelib.com, cc0textures.com
Furthermore, various public textures that are royalty-free / non-copyrighted were used as building blocks for novel grass textures in this project.

I have no intention to make any form of profit through this project, and I won’t accept donations. This project was done for the free modding community.
Because of the various texture sources of this project and their alteration into new custom grasses, i have to prohibit any redistribution of assets if there was no previous request and discussion. Please respect this decision and contact me if you want to use stuff, e.g. for ports or new grass mods. It is universally prohibited to use any of this mods assets in paid mods!



Q: Future updates?
A: Version 1.0 is pretty flashed out. Future updates might attempt to introduce even more variety without sacrificing performance, when I feel like working on this project again! Or add a heavier, optional add-on. Of course, bug fixes would be immidiate, however, there should be none.

Q: What is the miscellaneous file for?
A: This file is not needed for the base mod. It contains landscape textures that should only be loaded when creating Terrain LOD (leave brightness, contrast, etc. at default in xLODGen) for other world spaces. These textures deviate from the actual ground textures in color because they are meant to fit to the grass textures, not the ground textures. If you still do not know what the file is for, you do not need it ;)

Q: How is performance compared to other grass mods?
A: Difficult to compare, since performance inevitably depends on ini settings. At the same 'perceived density' however, it should give better performance than Verdant, because I omitted ground covers and use textures hand-crafted to give a dense look at even moderate ini settings, for the sake of squeezing out as much FPS as possible.