Skyrim Special Edition

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Mihail

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MihailMods

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About this mod

Replace the ugly lowpoly Hawk vanilla model with a new and detailed version, with custom model, textures, nest and sounds.

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The Hawks are the creatures that in the vanilla game have the lowest graphic quality. Their models look like if they came from a Super Mario game, from the 90s, besides their nests are also of low quality, part of the animations is problematic and they don't have sounds. Part of this is even understandable, as they were probably initially thought of only as a part of the scenario that would hardly be seen up close, let alone interact with them, something that changed during the development of the game, but the models almost practically of LOD kind of quality were kept in the final release.


Changing this proved to be complicated by the very way the Hawks are implemented in the game, and attempts to retexturize the vanilla model had little effect due to the model's very low quality and quantity of polygons. This mod solves all these and many other problems simply by (among other things) adding new models and new textures in place of the previous ones.


But, let's go by parts, so that users understand perfectly
what this mod does, and how the Hawks work in the game:



How Hawks are implemented in the vanilla game? - They are implemented as critters, not read as
creatures/actors, but rather as activators, essentially being collision animated objects that can be activated; 


Is it possible to interact with them? - Yes, because being activators, they differ from simple movable objects in that they can be activated by actions, be they chat, arrows, shouts, etc., in the specific case of Hawks they have destruction data, that is, they can be destroyed, and have a script that notices that the activator has been destroyed, disables it and instead spams a container type static Hawk, which can be looted, as if it were a creature, but that actually functions as a chest, with ragdoll collision.
This "Hawk-chest" will land on a spot close to the player, or on the ground below where the Hawk itself was shot, with the position alternation occurring randomly;


Was this the initial plan? No, because initially they were implemented as movable objects, that is, it was not possible to interact with them, therefore, it was impossible to attack them by dropping them from the sky  and looting their bodies. This explains why the first ones to be placed in the game are still in this category, and therefore cannot be killed. In the course of development they changed their minds, but they didn't change the ones already placed in the world, only from then on they started putting the Hawks activators on the map, and no longer the movable objects. This explains what I said before, justifying the poor graphic quality of the Hawks by the simple fact that initially they were not intended to be ever seen up close, and would act similar to bats and other vanilla low quality bird critters;

What about the absence of sounds and poor quality of the nests? - While we can use the same argument for the nests that we used for the Hawks, in general it all comes down to laziness and neglect;

What types of Hawk are found in the vanilla game? - Except for the Bone Hawks from Dawnguard (that will be re-worked in another mod, not on this one), all the Hawks that appear in the game are equal, belonging to the same species, and differ only from each other in that some fly constantly, while others have a nest and stay in it until someone gets close, when they fly away and return after a while;

Are there more instances where Hawk related content appears in the game? - Yes, there are 3 Hawk's Nests that don't have Hawks linked to them (also using a different nest model), and that work just like the other bird nests you find in the game. They are on the roofs of the houses of Hearthfire, and only there, being the only place where you can get the rare Hawk's Egg ingredient.



Knowing this, what this mod does:



- Replaces Hawk vanilla's low-quality lowpoly model with its 512x512 resolution textures,

with a new good quality model with textures and normal maps in 2k resolution. The model is
faithful to the original vanilla's Hawk species, having similar coloration, size and shape. (check image above)
(You may notice that these animals' necks are a little longer than their real counterparts. This is nothing that notorious or jarring, but indeed they're a little bigger, and that's necessary for them to adjust to the possibility of having head and neck animations, otherwise they would be static, and it's a ridiculously low price to get paid for such a huge improvement);

- Replaces the low quality nest linked to some of the Hawks, with a new,
higher quality nest that looks more like a real Hawk nest; (check the image bellow)




- Adds sounds to Hawks, a feature absent in the vanilla version;

- Because it is difficult to locate all the Hawks that were added in the early stages of the game as
movable objects to replace them with the Hawks activators, this mod adds destruction data to these problematic Hawks movable objects as well, finally allowing them to be hunted like the normal ones, but not being possible to loot them, nonetheless being already an improvement over the vanilla version in which they were immortal and not interactable.



Known issues:

Only one, and there is a long explanation: as I always say, if something takes many years to be done, it is probably because it is very complicated and has many barriers. If takes 10 years, it's because it really is a headache. In this case, I bypassed almost every one of these barriers, leaving only one last: with this mod the Hawks can no longer land and stay in their nests, taking flight when someone approaches. I consider this an insignificant price to pay for such a huge improvement in the Hawks' game, but I must explain why:

- It all starts with how the model was conceived, made and animated, and later implemented in its Nif's navigation route and idles, which are quite prohibitive to manipulate, and the reason we haven't had a Hawk replacer until now;

-This was in most part worked around, but the problem remains that the animations are primitive and outdated, of very low quality and realism when the bird is in the nest. It has its wings and body totally deformed when it's on there, fitting roughly into the nest. (check the image bellow) This is commonly not known because it is usually an object seen from a long distance, but because of the shape of my model, not only does it not fit completely into the nest (with part of it clipping to outside), but the deformation of the wings is ugly, and breaks the immersion;




- Despite that, and using the argument that they are seen from a long distance, especially when landed, I tried to keep the feature of some of the Hawks landing on the nest, but I found very difficult to adjust the own animation structure specific to my model with the way how the nest landing and resting works, given the drastic differences between the positioning of the bones and the animated nif's own root structure between my Hawks and vanilla ones, due to the impossibility to simply copy-paste my more complex model into the simple animation struture of the vanilla low-poly one, so I ended up giving up.

-Furthermore, the new nest model, being very different in its structure, would fit even less with the shape of the Hawk when resting in the nest;

- The two types of Hawk were kept, those that fly continuously and those that have a nest, but with this mod those that have a nest just fly past it, as if inspecting if everything is ok, and continue flying, until they pass through it again. It was the best I could do, and I think it is a very small price to pay.



Extra features and final details:




This mod also adds 3 types of eagles (check image above), bigger than the Hawks, and with different sounds, they are the Golden Eagle (native to the forests), the Black Eagle (native to the mountains of the Reach) and the Bald Eagle (native to the northern coast ). Their loot is Eagle Feathers and Eagle Beak, which have qualities slightly superior to Hawks loot, but share the same models for convenience; 


The aforementioned vanilla Hawk's Nests not linked to Hawks have not been changed because they originally have a good quality model (check image bellow), and do not appear next to Hawks, the difference in appearance may be due to having been made by some other species of Hawk, and not the one we see flying in the skies very often. 








This mod is NOT compatible with ABSOLUTELY ANY mod that in any
way modifies
ANYTHING AT ALL in the Hawks. If you want to use it
in combination with any of these mods, use it at your own risk.

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Attention:

I do not supervise or test translations made by other users for my mods, not even those linked 
on my mod pages. So, before using them, make sure they are in the same version as the current 
version of my mods, if not, do not install them or they will mess with my current official version.
The same applies to ports for XBOX, I do not do the ports or test them myself, 
so you should also make sure they are up to date with my official PC releases.

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Author: Mihail- models, textures, animations, sounds, game implementation

Some assets used on this mod belong too: Phiit and Tamira (Phiit's Sheogorad Resource Part One)-
i used the more complex Hawk animations made by Phiit and converted/ported to skyrim by Tamira in
order to give to the Hawks neck and head animations besides the vanilla wing and body movement






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