Insane Skyrim Mod With Dragons In 16K Textures
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is over 10 years old, but remains by a space the most famous title on the mod database NexusMods. The fact it’s been out so long also means that most of the things you could think of doing with it have already happened, and so you get some slightly unusual stuff in these twilight years.
Creators wrig675, XilaMonstrr, and I2edShift are behind the snappily named ‘Bellyaches 16K-8K Dragon Replacer Pack‘, which retextures all dragons in vanilla Skyrim, “now cleaned of compression artifacts and upscaled to a maximum of 8K resolution. Original textures were BC3 compression and an ix of 1K, 2K, and 4K resolution. Now they’re in 4K, 8K, and 16K resolution, with BC3 compression and full mipmaps.”
Now, this might seem like a tiny bit of overkill. 4K may be more widely adopted now, but plenty of folks still play in 1080p, and who plays in 16K? The mod team behind these 16K dragons, however, have their reasons.
“All resolutions specified are the maximum resolution, and most of the texture files are twice as long as they are wide. So the 16K version has files that are 8192×16384. Dragons are VERY large, and I would recommend that you think of this as two 8K files next to each other rather than a full 8K.
“With 16K, a dragon wing is 7380x4020px, a head is 3320x2480px, and the entire rear body and legs is only 6080x4580px. If you are fighting a dragon up close and want to see it in 4K resolution, then you need the dragon to be in 16K.”
So there you go: As the Dragonborn gets up in a dragon’s armpit (wingpit?) and shoves a sword into the scales, you will be able to see that thing’s carapace in incredible detail. The point about why you might want 16K is a good one, even if this is all a bit daft because as the modders point out the ‘standard’ texture is the same size as one for a suit of armor.
Interestingly, the modders have been in contact with Jonah Lobe, the artist who originally created the dragon textures, that the original assets were in 4K with much better meshes, but were downgraded many times for performance issues associated with the console versions.
The modders’ description reads more like a call-to-arms at points, and there’s something undeniably PC about a gamer getting so annoyed with crappy dragon textures that they decide to make them super high resolution themselves.
“In all my time playing around with dragons, I noticed a lot of minor nit-pick issues with the models & textures. Horns had mismatched colors, the eye textures were atrocious, everything looked too washed out, the details were blurry, there were seam issues all over the place, the translucent files were terribly small, and there is some strange “grease-like” effect applied to several of the meshes.”
Some more of the differences this mod makes:
- The coloring looks more natural and less desaturated than before. Many horns/spines were poorly colored or completely the wrong color.
- Fixed/Reduced as many bad texture & mesh seams as possible.
- Removed or significantly reduced the ‘Grease-like’ look on some dragon models, which exacerbated seam issues.
- Odahviing’s gotten a facelift. He was completely missing an eye texture, his coloring was terrible (he was pink), and corrected several seams.
- Blood Dragon was just plain ugly. Fixed the Alpha-channel, gave it eyes that don’t look like a frog, and introduced some yellow coloring in the wings and membranes for added contrast & detail.
- Alduin is slightly darker and completely grey-scale, enhancing his stylized theme that is inspired by volcanic rock & glass.
- Completely new eye texture for most dragon types.
- The Ancient Dragon never had a high-resolution texture, it does now.
- Increased resolution of the translucent file for the various dragon wings, creating exponentially higher detail within the wing membranes.
- Changed the color of the mouth/gums from purple to a more traditional pink, and filled in some ugly holes where teeth apparently used to be.
- We tried to fix up the Revered, Serpentine, and Legendary Dragons from DLCs… But they’re bad, even after the final HD DLC update, it didn’t help very much.