Retexture - Part 3 : Caves



- Retexture Part 3 -

Caves

Hi,

You know what? I like to create my articles about retextures. It takes some time to do a list of all necessary mods and all recomendations but it's worth it.
As usual, I like to share my experience  and my infernal experimentations in my lab. Yes, I have a secret laboratory like the Dr. Frankenstein.

I had a lot of support (personal messages) to continue this theme. I thank you for that. This allows to my blog to be very unique, personal and generous.
My retexture articles are only recommendations. You can follow them...or not. Maybe you prefer other mods? It's up to you.
My recommendation is based on my experience and my numerous tries. 

Important :  I never recommend the High Resolution Texture Pack on Steam. It's old and outdated.
Welcome to the cave
                                                   -------------------------------------------

Today , we study "caves". Caves are important and very current/standard in the game. You have 2 sorts of caves: Rocky caves and Icy caves.
Both share the same folder, so the retexture will be easy.
You can easily test  your final result in the "White River Watch" for rocky caves (east of Whiterun) and in the "Bleack Coast Cave" for Icy Caves (south East of Winterhold).
Rocky cave
Icy cave : AmidianBorn 2K

Caves are interiors. So, this retex is FPS friendly. 


Caves files are located :
Meshes →  data/meshes/dungeons/caves
Textures → data/textures/dungeons/caves

So ,what do you need?

To retex fully your caves, you need several mods. Indeed, none standalone mods retex fully all caves. So, you must pick  up textures from various mods to obtain the best, the most complete. If you only take one mod, your caves will be incomplete/ not fully covered. With my method, all will be covered and cleanly 😀
A beautiful retexture will give you the desire to explore caves with more interest. And you will probably discover a new visual if you use an ENB. Some caves can become really amazing and breathtaking.

First, in your big hard drive, create your own folder to store all you need. Call it what you want (example : Caves retex). That's simply for a better management. I don't recommend you to use an organiser. This is shorter to do it manualy. You can do it with mod organizer but that's not really intuitive and NMM is not the tool to be precise. The human hand stays the best solution.

Important : Before all instalation, it's better to have SMIM installed https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/8655
SMIM is a MUST HAVE. The article is not about SMIM, but it's better to use it. SMIM improves meshes and provides some great textures. So, install it. But I think everybody use it in 2018😁 And SMIM is always updated frequently.
If you don't have SMIM, don't worry, my article will work perfectly. SMIM doesn't have a big impact on caves.


Download these mods and put them in your new personal folder:

- Hectrol Caves Deluxe Highres Retex -
https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/29145 

- Noble 2K (main file only) -
https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/45807/

- Amidianborn Caves and Mines 2K -
https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/39190

- Skyrim 2016 Wip by Pfuscher (2K new or 4K old) -
(We will use this mod mainly for meshes/parallax)

Note : Mods I don't use to retex caves

- Skyland https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/87417/
Interesting mod but mods above are better for the same performance.

- Skyrim HD https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/607 
Skyrim HD doesn't retex caves.

- The Beauty of Skyrim - Caves and mines https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/30631 
I tried it. Too much close to vanilla textures. No added value, no vivid, no relief.

- Vivid mods by Hein84 https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/users/3212020
The Vivid collection doesn't retex caves.

- Tamriel Reloaded 2K/4K https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/61995
I love the mod for some textures but caves are too much incomplete and textures are a little bit stretch. Pixelated too.

AmidianBorn 2K

1) First Step: Meshes

  • Pfuscher and SMIM

First,  The base is MESHES. I totally recommend you to install Pfuscher 's Meshes (Skyrim 2016 Wip by Pfuscher). Mainly to obtain the parallax effect. In interior, the fps cost is zero.
So, explore Pfuscher's file and go to meshes/dungeons/caves and copy the green folder and put it in your Skyrim/data/meshes/dungeons/caves.
These meshes are only for rocky caves. These meshes overwrite Smim meshes. You can do it. If you see some flickering walls/grounds in caves, just reinstall SMIM green meshes folder.

Meshes for Icy caves must come from SMIM. So, you should already have them in your Skyrim/data/meshes/dungeons/caves/ice.

Small conclusion: you have parallax for rocky caves (pfuscher) and you don't have parallax for Icy Caves (smim).

Congratulation!!! you have done the hardest part of the work! (that's the good moment to take a coffee. Me I take sugar.)
Hectrol textures


2) Second step : Amidianborn caves and mines 2K

AmidianBorn 2K is the best mod to apply first textures. The mod is almost complete, clean and rock walls are real rocks. Reacts very well with lighting system and it's friendly with a lot of ENB.
So, in Amidian folder, copy all textures from the "caves" folder and put it simply in your Skyrim/data/textures/dungeons/caves. This folder contains 40 textures. You can already see that this folder mix rocky and icy textures. It's easier compared to meshes.
Icy cave : AmidianBorn 2K

Rocky cave : Wall by Hectrol, ground by Noble 2K

3) Third step: Adding parallax textures and change your cavebaseground with Pfuscher.

Open again your Pfuscher (2K or 4K) file.
Go to textures/dungeons/caves. In this cave folder, you can see some very strange grey textures. These textures are needed to activate parallax. Take all the content (17 textures) of this folder (all parallax and all cavebaseground01 and 02) and put it as usual in your Skyrim/data/textures/dungeons/caves.
This should overwrite some of your new AmidianBorn textures. Yes, do it.

Good new, now your caves are fully parallax and they start to be decent.

4) Fourth step: Hectrol - Upgrade the level

This is optional. In the list to download, you can find Hectrol Caves Deluxe Highres Retex.
I'll be honest on both points. These textures are amazing...but they may cost some FPS with weak rigs. GPU with 4GB and more can handle it easy. Small GPU can suffer.
Hectrol textures are 4K .....pretty heavy. One main dds is 21.3mb, one n_dds is 21.3mb too, combined with Pfuscher parallax......
Hectrol walls

Hectrol's masterpiece

So,
- You have a GPU with 4GB or more. Use Hectrol. Explore Hectrol's folder and copy, as usual, the content in textures/dungeons/caves. These 11 textures covers walls mainly.  Paste Hectrol's textures in your Skyrim/data/textures/dungeons/caves.
They will overwrite AmidianBorn 2K textures.
Hectrol's textures are superb. The best you can find for caves. Your caves will be very impressive.
-  you have a GPU with less than 4GB. Don't use Hectrol's textures and stay with your AmidianBorn 2K cave textures.
AmidianBorn 2K Icy cave

A falmer in a cave 50% rock 50% ice

5) Details with Noble Skyrim 

Your caves start to be good. But not completly. All is not covered. This step allows you to finish details to have a prefect Skyrim on all points.
Noble Skyrim will help us to finish the job and to clean some parts.
My recommendation is Noble 2K version. Because Amidian is 2K too, so, the mix is good and textures will mix themself like a glove.

Open your Noble folder. You need to pick up only some textures (not all).
So, in Noble, as usual, go to data/textures/dungeons/caves and take:

- cavebaseground01 and cavebaseground01_n (they will overwrite Pfuscher's textures. They are better because Pfuscher 's cavebaseground01 creates an ugly repetition on the ground.

- Cavebaseplants01 and cavebaseplants01_n (they are higher resolution compare to AmidianBorn : 1K VS 2K)

- Cavemossshader01 and Cavemossshader01_n (Only Noble has this texture)

- Caverocktile01 and Caverocktile01_n and Caverocktile02 ( They will overwrite AmidianBorn. I compared, Noble is a little bit superior on these one)
Potato, wine, bread and apple on AmidianBorn textures

Cavemossshader by Noble Skyrim

Rocks : AmidianBorn 2K + hectrol 4K

6) The devil is in the details

Your Caves are 98% covered. A last texture is missing. This texture is not in the caves folder strangely...probably an error by Bethesda.
But Marmotte is here, don't worry!

You just need to copy your cavebaseground01 and cavebaseground01_n from your caves folder to your landscape folder. Some rare caves use this texture for the ground. Don't ask me why it must be placed in the landscape folder, it is as it is 😐

7) The job is done and well done

You have done the job. Your caves are now 100% completed and 100 % covered.
To be sure all is done, my caves folder contains 60 files (main, _n, _p)
Light well

Test in game and watch the beauty. Results are better with and ENB of course. With a good ENB, rocky walls will shine and icy caves will be.....glacial 👍
With this solution you'll not meet any ground seams or wall seams.
A hole in the wall

8) Conclusion

You can see that only one mod does not cover all parts. Maybe you understand why I mix and match textures. Mainly to select my favorite textures AND to retex FULLY my game. Even the most famous mods are not perfect. So, mix them.

9) Coup de Coeur

I need to speak about one modder. Unfortunatly, I have never tried his caves mod. However, I really like his mountains textures, so, maybe his caves retex are great.
- The mod : Northfire's Dungeons 2K -

The mod can probably be used as a replacement as AmidianBorn 2K. His images looks great but I have never seen textures in game.
So, give it a try. You can combine it with all mods in this page.

10)Sharing

I hope you appreciate the article. It takes some time to do (texts mainly ). But I like quality and precision. The positioning of my blog.
Well, now , don't forget your torch when you'll enter in a cave. Or maybe do you prefer light spells?
Me, I like light spells with a big radius. With this solution I can illuminate all big interior caves and admire all details of the rock.

That's what i'm talking about!

Thank you 
MARMOTTE (cave raider)

Comments

  1. Good guide! Unfortunately I am lazy.. I just use AMB Caves and Mines 2k overwriting my Tamriel Reloaded. I am sure I could make it look better with the effort you've gone into.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wnise,
      In your case only AMB is necessary. Tamriel reloaded 2K or 4K with the esp may cause crashes and doesn't add added value to your caves.
      It's better to use Tamriel reloaded with indepedant mods (TR trees, TR mountains).

      Very glad you like my guide.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Chubby. A lot of work for me, mainly to write "correct" sentences. Enormous tutorials are sometimes too big and can become indigestible for readers.
      So, I only focus on what I like and on what I know with these short and precise tutorials.
      These articles is useful to learn how the game is build.

      The next will be probably about forts/imperial forts and ships.

      Thank you for your presence.

      Marmotte

      Delete
  3. Smokeybear187January 09, 2018

    Hello Marmotte, Thank you very much for your retexture series. They have been extremely informative and I have learned alot by reading them. I hope to see alot more of this series in the days to come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Bear,
      The next article will be probably about forts/imperial forts and ships...or maybe something else.
      I haven't decided yet :)

      These articles contains informations about what to use and how the game works.
      My visitors are just free to use how they want.

      Glad you like.

      M

      Delete
  4. Hey Marmottte, good morning. Im talking from Brazil so my english is not good too. ehheeh.

    I was reading your Texture articles and I have a question: When you said to copy and past the textures in the Skyrim folder, you mean directly ? I mean instead of use MO or NMM ?

    Thanks for your efforts to make these guides. I really apreciate your job man!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Roni. Your english is excellent. I understand you completly and clearly :)

      Yes, I mean directly.
      If you paste textures in your skyrim folder manually, this takes priority on everything. Textures are loose files and have priority on MO or BSA folder.
      This allows to be very precise.

      I like to use organizers (MO or NMM) for mods with esp and for mechanics gameplay.

      But for retexturing, organizer are not the best way to make it precise.

      Oi!!

      Delete
  5. Hi, I was thinking is there a texture replacer for the large door of bleak falls barrow?
    i have the The Beauty of Skyrim - Dungeons & ruins clutter improved mods which manage to meet my demand but that 1 door is missing. Real bummer that one. Same door also used for Labyrintian entrance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This large door is about Ruins. I still not have created an article about Ruins. Probably one of my next article. This will be a big article...lots of meshes and textures....and folders.

      The mesh you are speaking about is probably the " ruins_largedoor01" in data/meshes/dungeons/nordic/doors/animated/largedoor.
      Its texture is "ruinslargedoor01"....dds and n.dds.
      Mine is actualy HD

      If yours is not HD, that means the beauty of Skyrim is incomplete.

      You can find this texture in SRO easily.

      However, in my case I use this mod to retex the lage door https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/68561/
      It's about Words Walls, but the mod retex doors too :) I agree, it's hidden :)

      Delete
  6. AnonymousJune 12, 2018

    Hi again,
    Many thanks for your retexture advice. Those caves look like a new game now. Merci!
    greetings from the Lowlands, bits01

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bits01 is here!!!!!! Champagne!!!!!!!!

      Delete

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