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Vanilla Reduced Textures

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by Alt3rn1ty





VRT v25 / DG v25 / DB v25

VRT Legendary v25


Note : For Skyrim SE, I will not be updating VRT for use in that game. Unfortunately its going to need a lot more attention to detail than just a repack, and I do not have the time to spend on it. Sorry if anyone was hoping. I would not try to use VRT with Skyrim SE either, you will see problems with landscape textures ( possibly even causing CTD, the new landscape normals have alpha channels which are necessary ), or maybe water flow textures will not mesh with old optimised water textures in this mod .. And more than likely a few other issues I will not be looking into.

Optimally they really need to be repacked in the new BA2 Texture BSA aswell. LZ4 ( the new BSA compression for SE ) is 7 times faster at decompressing files from the new BA2, than the old zlib BSAs which Skyrim uses.



What does Vanilla Reduced Textures do ?



If your graphics card is struggling with the amount of VRAM Skyrim is using, or you just want to free up some VRAM to enable you to use 'some' Higher Res' textures from mods without overloading your graphics card - Then this is for you.


The objective of this mod is VRAM use reduction, while preserving detail as much as possible. This is not just a "half size everything" overhaul ( if you just want ALL game textures Half sized .. just set the game launchers Options - Advanced - Texture Quality .. to Medium if thats all you want to achieve ). Aswell as reducing VRAM use, I wanted to preserve detail quality as much as possible, so I do not reduce all textures like that setting would. This mod selectively reduces textures.


To test your machine ( before and after ) I recommend

Skyrim Performance Monitor

I would not use this all the time if you just want to play the game, but its a very useful tool to show you how much VRAM your game setup is using. It starts and stops recording when the game is loaded / quit so you get to see how much VRAM you were using during playing Skyrim.


I started making this for my laptop, NVidia graphics card with only 256mb VRAM. Not surprisingly it got a bit "warm" trying to run with vanilla texture sizes filling my graphics card which was under game minimum specification, and needing more VRAM - Now it doesn't.


Since creating the 256 option, I can run the game on my laptop at High texture detail game setting quite comfortably ( albeit in window mode at 800x500 - but that was not possible before, not if I want my laptop to last a few years anyway, full screen 1280x800 I need to run the game on Medium texture detail ).


I have upgraded my Graphics daughterboard to have 512mb along the way, but still use Vanilla Reduced Textures - Even with a graphics card which equals the games recommended minimum specification ( 512mb VRAM ), or border line in your graphics cards capabilities ( old graphics card technology ), it will still help ( especially if you want to add mods with textures higher than vanilla res body/armour/clothing for example ) - I have seen a vanilla skyrim setup (no mods installed) on my family desktop using up to 600mb of its 1024mb VRAM, so even a minimum specification graphics card with 512mb VRAM is not quite adequate for Skyrim IMHO, depends on how much VRAM your Operating System is using aswell ( Windows graphical / animation settings and aero glass etc ).


Textures ( colour maps, normal maps, model space normal maps, reflection maps, glow maps etc ) for all objects in game - They all add up ( depending upon where you are in the game ).



Vanilla Reduced Textures 512 BSA - Replaces 'most' of the Skyrim original textures ( vanilla textures in the Skyrim - Textures.bsa ), which were higher than 512x512, downscaled to 512x512 ...

Not all of them, ( more details in the Changes Tab ). There were some textures above 512 which have only been reduced a little, so not everything has gone down to 512 in these files.

I have tried not to reduce any texture which is already 512x512, or less, in the games original textures (though there are some textures in the 512 option which break this rule for more VRAM saving with no visual loss of quality).


Vanilla Reduced Textures 256 BSA - Includes all the reductions as per the 512 option above, and has included a lot of vanilla 512x512 files reduced to 256x256 for further VRAM savings. Generally anything which is already 256 or less in the games original textures .. Remains 256 ( though again as with the 512 option there are some textures reduced below 256 which break this rule .. but most of these are normal maps - See Changes Tab ).


In both 512 and 256 options, work was done on reducing normal maps, a considerable amount to gain more VRAM, and even more reduction in the normals department in the 256 option than has been done in the 512 option ..



This mod is NOT about performance, its purpose is to save VRAM. Although it does make them more optimal in that they have been reduced in size with GIMP and then re-mipmapped with DDSOpt as part of the final process, by virtue of the fact that you are running most of the textures at half vanilla size for any given game Texture Detail setting .. your machine will perform better.


Have a look at the images, and also check out the user uploaded images too : gdsmth did a good set of comparison images - Thank you :) ( Tip : Right click on the comparison images and open each in a new browser tab so you get a big image, then you can flick between the two tabs to compare )






First decide which set you are going to need ( 256 or 512 ) - Which one do you choose ? Well if you have a graphics card with only 256mb VRAM use the 256 option/s, everybody else use the 512 option/s ( unless you are using quite a few higher res body/armour/clothing mod textures for example, then users with a 512mb graphics card may also benefit from using the 256 option ). Skyrim Performance Monitor linked above will be useful to help decide which to use. And its easy to switch between using either version ( you will not have any of those famous 'baked in your save' problems with this mod ), just overwrite the bsa with the other version and play/test onwards.


If you have all DLCs ( Dawnguard/Hearthfires/Dragonborn ) Then all you need is "Vanilla Reduced Textures 256 Legendary" ( or 512 ), which has Vanilla Reduced Textures/DawnGuard/DragonBorn and Hearthfires reduced textures all-in-one.

If you have one of the DLCs missing from your installation do not use the Legendary options because the esp has all of them as masters ( missing masters = CTD ). If you use one of the Legendary options, you do not need any other files.


For people who do not have all of the DLCs, choose "Vanilla Reduced Textures 256" ( or 512 ), for just Skyrim, plus any DLC options that you may have :


If you have DawnGuard - Then you will also be able to use one of the DG BSAs ( either 256 or 512, to match the version of VRT you have installed ) ..

If you have Dragonborn - Then you will also be able to use one of the DB BSAs ( either 256 or 512, to match the version of VRT you have installed ) ..


VanillaReducedTextures.esp and bsa ( 256 version )


VanillaReducedTexturesDG.esp and bsa ( 256 version )


VanillaReducedTexturesDB.esp and bsa ( 256 version )


( I did not do Hearthfires as an individual option because really there are not enough files in this DLC that needed reducing to warrant having its own plugin )


Ownership of the game Skyrim ( and the respective DLCs for the modifications you download out of my files ) is a requirement of using this mod.



Manual Installation


Unpack the 7zip with your preferred archive utility.

Place the esp and bsa in your game Installation Data folder ...

( ~path to steam steamapps common skyrim Data <-- In here )

Tick it in the Skyrim Launchers Data Files (You can then also left click it here to highlight it, and use the up and down arrows to adjust the Load Order)






Manual Un-Installation


Delete the esp and bsa you previously installed



Nexus Mod Manager, Wrye Bash or Mod Organizer ( or anything else out there now or in the future ) - See the relevant documentation / help files / read me's for your mod manager of choice on how to install / un-install mods.


Both options are Wrye Bash ready ( zipped as simple BAIN's ), and it should be okay installing with Nexus Mod Manager ( though nexus can get flooded sometimes so the download can stall/fail ).


Load Order is important. See the following topics if you have not seen them before ...

BSAs and You

and the linked topic

Load Order and You


The mod has a BSA ( Bethesda Softworks Archive ) and an ESP ( Elder Scrolls Plugin ), the ESP is needed to get the game to load the BSA. The ESP needs to load very EARLY in your load order list, and .. be ticked in the Skyrim Launchers Data Files ...





followed by - UnOfficial Skyrim Patch (USKP)

followed by Dawnguard.esm,

followed by - UnOfficial Dawnguard Patch (UDGP) ( If you have Dawnguard )

followed by Hearthfires.esm

followed by - UnOfficial Hearthfire Patch (UHRP) ( If you have Hearthfires )

followed by Dragonborn.esm,

followed by - UnOfficial Dragonborn Patch (UDBP) ( If you have Dragonborn )

followed by VanillaReducedTextures.esp

followed by VanillaReducedTexturesDG.esp ( If you have Dawnguard )

followed by VanillaReducedTexturesDB.esp ( If you have Dragonborn )

followed by .. any other mods/loose textures you use.


Or : Replace all three Vanilla Reduced Textures plugins above, with just the Legendary one if you use that instead.


Arrange your load order correctly either with your mod manager, or the games launcher, or .. LOOT - This mod is already recognised by LOOT for load ordering, and will be sorted correctly.

Then play.








I think that covers it.


If you are using a pirate version of the game; Don't even bother asking questions about your problems. I cannot solve them.



Other mods you may be interested in


Nude Females - If you need a female body mod to compliment Vanilla Reduced Textures ..

Alt Navetsea UNP Seamless. The Reduced version would work well with VRT 512, and the Severe with VRT 256 ( the one I am currently using )


Nude Males - Roberts male for Skyrim. If you need a male body mod to compliment VRT .. see post #40 here. Includes reduced textures, this is a Wrye Bash BAIN installer for Roberts Skyrim 03 male body replacer. It works well with vanilla head and hand textures and meshes, but may not work so well with other mod head and hands textures and meshes. Best thing about this male replacer .. You will not need vanilla male armour and clothing meshes redone to fit these body meshes, vanilla will be fine :). Robert has hardly changed the vanilla body shape, just made nude possible, with the appropriate nude male parts on the meshes and textures.


ONE MOUNTAIN - To rule them all by Gamwich - BUT, just use the meshes you need, why ?, because we already use Mountain Or Molehill textures ( and the associated LODs ) in Vanilla Reduced Textures .. Which are compatible with this mods meshes.

AND - As you read the description you will discover why I recommend this, some mountains and rocks use the two big textures mountainslab01 and 02, now they only use 02, which means for any given area you will only be loading that one big texture instead of both = VRAM saving :). Have a look at my uploaded comparison images on this mods User Uploaded images.


RUGNAROK by Gamwich - The 1k file would be suitable for VRT 512 users, and the 1k-512 file for VRT 256 users - Better looking rugs, but Gamwich has a trick up his sleeve with this mod : The original rugs with fringes were in some cases using two textures, one for the main rug texture and another for the fringe. Gamwich has included edited meshes in this mod which just call for his rug texture which includes the fringe, so one less texture per rug in game = saving VRAM usage.


Interior and Dungeon Fog remover ( can be used in conjunction with mods like ..

RGabriels Remove Interior Fog v2 ( which does a different bunch of things than Interior and Dungeon Fog Remover, so they can be used together ) ) ..

.. and RGabriels Skyrim Project Optimization - IMHO everyone playing Skyrim should use this.

Colorful Lights - No Shadows - More FPS by TRoaches, really helps with indoors and dungeon areas for machines challenged by Skyrim.

Colorful Lights - No Shadows - DLCs by UWShocks, same goal for the DLCs.


The Ruffled Feather - This is all Sparrowprince mods rolled into one, but what parts of it to use along with Vanilla Reduced Textures ? .. His mods are very good on VRAM considerations :

1. WATER - The textures in this equal vanilla size, so would be good for VRT 512 users, VRT 256 users will be using a bit more VRAM with this installed, but depending on your machine might get away with it.

2. Better Dynamic Snow - Does not install textures, but installs meshes which tell the game to use snow textures ( in our case VRT snow textures ) instead of shaders for some objects = No VRAM use increase.

3. Decrease Those Plants - Basicly these meshes reduce the amount of polygons in various plants ( including underwater kelp ) to improve on performance with little visual loss. Nothing to do with textures, but performance benefit is obvious.

4. Grassias Fixas - Whiterun Default - I just use the default option for this, which include mesh fixes for whiterun. The texture options are hi res so I cannot use them.

Those are the ones I use from the collection.


.. And to compliment Decrease Those Plants meshes -

Insignificant Object Removal - This mod has a few options ( if using sparrowprinces Decrease Those Plants meshes, use the pebbles only option from this mod ). Those small pebbles appear randomly scattered about the landscape ( a bit like how the grass is distributed ) and invariably are the wrong colour shade / dont reflect light / take up processor time for lots of small rocks .. This mod gets rid of them ( and underwater kelp if you choose that option )


No Guard Torches - Reduced Light Flickering also by akkalat85 - May help with game performance issues in some places too.





If you do not need as much VRAM reduction as my mod offers, but just need the vanilla game textures run through DDSOpt in accordance with the S.T.E.P guide .. Try

Optimised Vanilla Textures by Tony971



If you are using Bethesda High Resolution Texture packs ..

Really you need at least a 1gb VRAM graphics card to run those textures


Maybe you have 1gb card but want to cut down the VRAM use a little bit, without having to resort to quite such a drastic decrease as my Vanilla Reduced Textures mod offers :

Bethesda Performance Textures - Armor - Clothes - Weapons by Gamwich

Bethesda Performance Textures - Animals and Creatures by Gamwich

MOUNTAIN OR MOLEHILL ( Also includes custom LOD textures to match ) by Gamwich ( I am using a reduced version of MoM files in VRT )

Rustic Farmhouses by Gamwich

Rustic Windows by Gamwich ..

Keep an eye out for more by Gamwich, some very good work being done which is just as detailled as the High Res packs, but conservative in resolution and VRAM use.








Questions & Answers



Q. Why not just choose Medium in the game launchers Options - Advanced - Texture quality .. Which would set all textures to show their next mipmap resolution down as the top texture ?

A. Because the aim is to try and preserve some detail quality aswell as reducing VRAM usage, setting Medium reduces ALL textures ( except ones without mipmaps ).


Q. Will this be compatible with future game patches ..

A. Textures will not need re-doing so its a none issue, as for the ESP - The esp is just an empty (dummy) esp which does not change any game records, its only purpose is to get the game to realise there is a BSA with the same name and the textures from that should be loaded = Thats a none issue too.

In short - Yes it will be fine.


Q. Why not just replace the Skyrim - Textures.bsa with one made by you -

A. I needed a custom bsa which would contain textures to replace the originals bsa textures, without steam overwriting them when you verify your cache. Having an esp / bsa combination also gives you more flexibility in positioning my mod in your Load Order, so you can make my mod textures load later than another mods textures ( if they are also replacer textures in a BSA, any loose texture files win over everything ).


Q. Will you upload this on steam workshop, or any other sites besides Skyrim Nexus or The Assimilation Lab -

A. No. I do not agree with Bethsoft/Valve Terms and Conditions on Steam Workshop. Currently Steam Workshop would not allow my files sizes anyway, but that may change in future. If you find it there, it has been stolen without consent from me.

And I would need to use Bethsofts method of packing the BSA, which would be less optimal than using BSAOpt's higher compression technology.


Q. Is it legal to manipulate game assets in this way

A. Here's a short topic with the relevant questions Is it Legal topic







Tools used to make this:


Creation Kit (well, just for the dummy esp required to get the game to load the bsa )


DDS Plugin for GIMP

Normal Map Plugin for GIMP

Paint DOT Net

DDSOpt and BSAOpt by Ethatron.

Skyrim Performance Monitor By MNelson

Process Explorer By Mark Russinovich


And Adobe PhotoShop for v25



Special Thanks/Credits:


GStaff = BGS Forums, DarkOne = TESNexus, DarkRider = TESAlliance,

Andalaybay = TAL, Arthmoor = AFK Mods

And all the Moderators supporting the community sites we love.

Bethsoft - Wonderful alternate reality you create.

Martigen, and many contributers to an old topic worth a look if you are just starting with textures

lnki - For permission granted to use two fixed vanilla files which were driving me nuts for a while trying to figure out what the problem with them was.

Lifestorock for permission granted to use his rework of my normal map for the archery target.

Gamwich for BPT AC - The Dragon Textures from these files

Gamwich for Mountain or Molehill The best rock textures out there.

Rennn for Detailled Terrain and Tree LOD

Hanaisse for permission granted to reduce the pie textures in USKP and include in VRT.

Also - Thanks to Emma ... permission granted

and Lycanthrops permission granted

.. for permission to do the optional Vilja files,

Tony971 for permission to include some textures which I had not previously included, into version 23 from Optimised Vanilla Textures

Starac http://forum.step-project.com/user/48-starac - For permission to use textures from SRO ( no longer available on nexus so cannot link )


And last, but not least, all the community members working on the UnOfficial Patch Project ( UPP ), all the hard work and voluntary contributions to those projects are marvellous - Some of which are included in this mod and reduced appropriately.



Permissions Notes:


If you download my files, they are for personal use on your own machine.

Ownership of the game Skyrim ( and the respective DLCs for the modifications you download out of my files ) is a requirement of using this mod.

Do not upload them anywhere else, or as part of another mod.

Redistribution of the files, images or descriptive content is strictly forbidden without prior consent. This means do not upload any part of it anywhere unless you have obtained permission from me.

This includes Steam workshop, I will not be uploading it there; If you find it on there it has been stolen without my consent. And I would appreciate it being reported.

All inquiries regarding this must be directed to me.

I can be reached via PM at the official Bethesda Softworks forum, the forum at TES Nexus, and the forum at AFK Mods under the username "alt3rn1ty".


You must make a good faith effort, both publicly and privately, to establish contact before assuming this mod is no longer being maintained by me. PM me for asset usage. If I do not respond within a few months, AND I have been in-active for more than 6 months then site staff can assume this mod is abandoned, and thereafter permissions can be freed.


Additionally : In the case of all the people mentioned in Special Thanks / Credits above ..

.. permission for use of those files should be sought/credited from the original authors.



olympusgames, GMOD, ModDrop or PlayAsHell sites do not have permission, to upload or redistribute any of my files, images or descriptive content, past, present or future.




User Feedback

Recommended Comments





Notes: V1 


There are many files the game will still use from the Skyrim - Textures.bsa, some of which are still larger than 512x512, because I chose not to replace them ... 


Distant object graphics, there are a few of these textures compiled onto one texture - Imagine a Chess board viewed from above and on each square there is an individual picture, even though the whole picture is 2048x2048, the individual squares are small .. reducing those would look crap. 

Some plants files, same problem as above, they are larger than 512x512 but are compillations of smaller textures. 

Anything Vanilla which is already 512x512, or below, not included in this mod. The game originals will be used.

Statues; I nearly did these, but again they are many part compositions like plants and distant objects, and occur so infrequently in the game I dont think they are worth reducing. If there were many statues in one area .. maybe worth doing. 

I have looked at "every" texture in the game, and decided on a case by case basis. Disclaimer = IMHO 



Notes : V2 


Interface textures (for menus) look really crap when you try to reduce them. For instance the wrap around constellation textures in the skill menu. Not touched by this mod. <<- Now reduced in V2 

Remans wall; Is a huge 4096x512 image. But again, it only occurs in one place, so worth it / not worth it .. Flipped a coin and I left it as is. <<- Now reduced in V2 


V1 - V2 : Besides the ones struck through above from previous V1 notes, there have been quite a lot of re-done textures .. Dragons for example are a little bit better visually, but they are a little bit bigger than the previous version of those textures, half size of the Vanilla but a bit bigger than v1. I believe just like the statues that because dragons appear not so frequently, at this size they do not add much to the texture load. 

I started with the idea of also reducing any Vanilla 512 textures down to 256 so that there would have been another option for those who may have wanted an even more severe option - After a lot of travelling around in game, I found the result of those reduced textures was really crap. And knowing people would be trying them with less graphic detail than my medium Texture Detail setting .. they would have been a bit of a shock to the eyeballs. 

Anyone using these textures at High Texture Detail setting, will have better looking textures than the ones I show in my images - I used Medium ... 


For anyone who has not messed around with textures, a texture has lots of layers called mip-maps, each mip-map reduces the scale of the main texture by half. So the game engine has a reduced version of that texture the further it is away from the player .. On High Texture Detail setting, at close range you see the main largest texture ( for these textures they will be no bigger than 512x512 ). 

Because I have my graphics set at Medium when I took the screenshots, you are seeing 256x256 textures in my images. So they will look better at High if your machine can handle upping the detail. 

Imagine now all the 512 textures reduced to 256 as the main texture .. Further reduced by your detail setting to 128 if using Medium Detail - They were quite bad, which is why I scrapped taking them that far. Apologies if anyone was expecting a major overhaul for v2, but there were quite a lot of re-do's from v1, so it was not wasted effort. 



Notes : V3 


Effects; I did not touch those because .. Basicly they scared me off. Some are like flipbook animations, layers of images designed to be played in sequence - I didn't want to mess up the effects themselves in anyones game.


V2 - V3 : Effects have now had a bit of attention, not all of them, just the ones I felt comfortable having a go at without breaking anything. 

And there are quite a few new / re-done textures - Nothing additional which would improve performance to any great degree, but its progressed a little. 



Notes : V3 256 versus 512 


New to V3 is an added option labelled with 256 

In this version, you get the same as V3 512 (Anything Vanilla above 512x512 reduced to 512x512), and additionally a lot of Vanilla files which were originally 512x512 reduced to 256x256. 

This includes heads, hair and hands, weapons, and a few of the clutter category files like books ... And I cant remember what else :)



Notes : V4 


512 option - This has had just two files added, lnki gave me permission to include two fixed textures for Manhole covers in Solitude, and the dirt edging you see on bridges. Both of these textures had a problematic black edge, which became more noticeable the further away you were from them (mip-maps exagerrated the black edge). 

See this post for details and screenshots. 


256 option - Includes the same two fixed textures by lnki noted above, plus ... 

A lot more 512x512 files reduced to 256x256. The majority of these are in the armour and clothing categories. 

Previously I had abandoned reducing these - This time around, I skipped trying to reduce any armour and clothing which covers the torso (capes, cuirass, armour etc, these remain at 512), and also left shields at 512, but made a lot of VRAM savings by reducing to 256 the following .. 

Shoes, Boots, Gloves, Gauntlets, Bracers, ArmWraps, Helmets, Masks, Hoods, Hats, Caps, HeadWraps - For both male and female (some are shared by both sexes, most have specific gender versions, and there are special variations) 

May not sound like much, but collectively for all the different races, guards and types (beggar, barkeep, children etc etc) thats quite a lot of additionally reduced 256x256 res' files compared to V3. 

The 256 options will reduce VRAM useage quite a bit more than the 512 option. And will probably look okay on High texture setting. If you have your game on Medium texture detail setting then as mentioned previously the game scales all your textures down to the next mip-map - For example the head normal maps which are now 256x256, on medium will be 128x128, on low will be 64x64 - So quite a lot of texture quality detail loss in those setting cases. 



Notes : V5 


Managed to squeeze a bit more out of this, it may not seem like much but I believe where there are concentrations of the files I have done, the following changes will help save a bit more VRAM in those areas ... 

512 Option - A few Vanilla plant files normal maps included in this one. Also rockset_n.dds, mountainslab01_n.dds, mountainslab02_n.dds (I did not touch the colour map textures for mountain slabs) ... reduced from 1024 down to 512 

256 Option - All files above for the 512 options plus - reachtreebranch01_n.dds, icefloes_n.dds, and grass/plants normal maps ... reduced from 512 down to 256. 

Grass/Plants; I was sure I could do something with plants but mostly in the previous attempts could not get satisfactory results - The problem is a lot of them are too thin and twiggy in the detail, not very good quality to start with, and the reduction of colour maps made a very pixellated mess. 

So the biggest reductions with v5 were achieved with reducing just the normal map for the same plant. This way we still keep the colour map texture detail of the Vanilla textures, and reduce VRAM use by down-scaling the normal maps which still give the plants affected bumpiness. Its a bit of a compromise but does achieve more savings on the VRAM use. 

For all options (512 and 256), there were quite a few Architecture, Dungeon and Caves files (Colour maps and Normal maps) done, and in a some cases re-done from earlier versions. I did not keep track of what has been updated among these, forgot to take notes, but suffice to say they add a bit more VRAM saving. 



Notes : V5.1 


Just a small update to the files - A problem was found with books being a bit fuzzy to read. 

When I set upon reducing normal maps in more recent versions to further reduce VRAM usage somehow I also managed to reduce books colour maps, which resulted in fuzzy looking books .. 




Notes : V6 


A bit more work done on effects; I used to link Skyrim Performance Plus as other mods you may be interested in .. You will no longer need that mod because I have done the same reduction on those textures and included them. I knew I could do the same work with those files as the original author did. Rain, Snow and Leaf particle anims have been reduced, though the aspen leaf anim file (fxaspenleafanim.dds) I have only reduced from 512x512 to 128x128 .. in the original mod there is a further reduced 64x64 version of the same file. 

More work done on: 

Smoke anims, fire anims and wispy anims have also been reduced, but not greatly .. I didn't want to lose much in the way of quality on these. 

And I have been pottering about with a few other textures along the way, just re-doing a few I wasn't too happy with the last time. 

Not a great deal of change, but every little bit counts. 



Notes : V7 


From v7 onwards I am only providing BSA options ... Its less bother uploading for me :P

512 and 256 options - Many thanks to SparrowPrince for allowing me to re-work the normal maps from Terrain Bump into this mod. I have been using his normal maps for personal use for a while on our desktop, and found they are true to Vanilla textures but with more detailled bump mapping (similar to Bomrets Detailled Normal Maps for Oblivion .. For those that remember them).

I have given those textures the same treatment as the rest of my mod. Because they are a better detailled bump map to start with than Vanilla textures, after my reduction they afford us a better end result for the few of those that replaced mine, and additionally they add quite a few more normal maps to this set that I had not done before .. Which are also now reduced smaller than Vanilla size .. 

In short, this means even more VRAM saving with a better looking end result. 

The above applies to both the 512 and 256 options, I also re-did a few more normal maps which apply to both options. 

I also wished to use SparrowPrince's Architecture normals ... However for now he is working on those separately which will become new mods 

But I did realise that for the 256 options I have not really looked at architecture normals much, so decided to see what could be gained. Which has resulted in quite a lot of new additions to the 256 option. All architecture normal maps which are 512x512 in Vanilla textures, have now been reduced to 256x256 in my 256 option. Hopefully to be replaced by SparrowPrince's sometime in the future. 

All work on all normal maps noted above - They have been saved as un-compressed normal maps. This may sound alarming (considering the object of this mod is to reduce VRAM use), but does not use any more VRAM. They are at the same size as I would usually apply, but being un-compressed normals they are better visually after reduction. 

And whether they are saved as compressed or de-compressed makes no difference for VRAM usage .. The game has to decompress them to use them so they may aswell be un-compressed to begin with. And as far as making them optimal for loading purposes .. Having them stored inside a highly compressed BSA gives us that benefit. 

256 option - Lastly aswell as the above, I finally got around to including all normal map reductions which I have not done before in the 256 option. Quite a lot of them. 

For those of you using Skyrim Performance Monitor to check VRAM use - I think you will be pleasantly surprised with version 7, I know I was. 



Notes : V8 


Changes to both 512 and 256 : 

These have been bugging me for a while even in the Vanilla game they just look .. wrong. I think they look better now, and reduced ofc .. 

DungeonsCavescavebaseroots01.dds (512x512) and DungeonsMinesmineroots01.dds (1024x1024) - These two are exactly the same texture, the roots sticking down from cave and mine roofs. But the mineroots01 texture is a slightly lighter shade of colour and better defined than cavebaseroots. Cavebaseroots because of its darker colour looks like a bad job of a hair implant, they stick out of roofs in caves like a sore thumb. So reduced mineroots01 to 512x512, and used the same file to replace cavebaseroots which do not look so ugly on cave roofs now. Interesting side note: mineroots01.dds does not have a normal map in Vanilla textures, but because it is the same texture as the cave one it uses the cavebaseroots01_n.dds normal map (which is reduced in this mod). 

Also in texturesterrain some of those distant terrain colour maps (referred to earlier as checkerboard textures which I have not done previously), now reduced to half their original resolution. For the 256 option also further reduced by half the normal maps of the same textures. 



Notes : V9 


Found a few normal maps I had not previously done, for both 512 and 256 options. 

Also decided to have a go at all those files in the Vanilla TexturesTerrain folder (the same sets of files Ethatron includes in his High quality Lods and High quality 3D Map mods .. and some). 

After trying to reduce a few they are noticeably slightly better in the detail than Ethatrons, so I am now confident my version of the same files can be distinguished from Ethatrons files, and went ahead including my own attempt .. 

I have done my own versions of all those files .. and a fair few more which Ethatron did not touch. 

Vanilla files (both colour map and normal map textures) are originally 256x256, I reduced all of them to 128x128 (colour and normal maps) in both of my mods (512 and 256 options) .. 

I wondered whether I ought to break the general rule for the 512 option and include these, personally I think the benefit of VRAM saving versus the barely detectable (if at all) detail loss at distance was worth it .. 

Additionally for Vanilla Reduced Textures 256 option, I further reduced just the normal maps out of all those to 64x64 (separating these normals from colour maps was .. tedious to say the least), and a lot more files to reduce than I expected. But collectively this lot aids reduction of VRAM use again (particularly for anyone who has not used ethatrons sets of files before). 

.. So if you are using either version of my mod, you no longer need Ethatrons files. However if you still wish to use Ethatrons meshes, and for instance maybe use Ethatrons higher res versions of the same texture files with my 512 option .. Ethatrons are loose texture files so will win over the ones in my BSA if you choose to install them aswell ( which also helped me decide to include the bigger version of these terrain files in the 512 option :)

Fact Fans: 

Vanilla Reduced Textures V9 256 BSA - Now includes 8364 files, 411 folders. 

Vanilla Reduced Textures V9 512 BSA - Now includes 3818 files, 235 folders. 

A new performance screenshot is up in the images. 



Notes : V10 


This is not much of an update, running out of things to make better : 

Additional texture replacer for the vanilla Archery Target included (see the screenshots). This texture is not a reduction of the original, but for the 512 option of my mod actually increases the colour map in size from the original 256x256 colour map to 512x512 (the new normal map remains vanilla sized though in the 512 option). Probably controversial, but I haven't gone mad, for what this texture adds (in the few places archery targets are used) versus everything else this mod reduces .. This one colour map texture is hardly worth considering for VRAM saving. And I hope everyone will agree the vanilla target needed replacing. 

The colour map and normal map have also been included in the 256 option, but for the 256 option I reduced the normal map from 512 down to 256, only keeping the colour map at 512. so for the 256 option users, you lose a little VRAM with the colour map, but gain it again from the normal map reduction. 

And, well, you also get a better archery target imho ;)

See the conversation starting .. hmm .. from here http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1411328-relzwipz-unofficial-skyrim-patch-thread-14/page__view__findpost__p__21573389, over the next page or so while I made it for the Unofficial SKyrim Patch (should appear in USKP v1.2.2 onwards). 

Thanks to "Lifestorock" over on bethsoft forum for putting the finishing touches on the normal map (increased the bumpiness a bit more from my attempt) during the process of creating these textures :)



Notes : V11 


Architecture normal maps is the theme of the day for this version, not colour maps. 

For Markarth, Riften, Solitude, Whiterun, Windhelm and Winterhold. Included them in both 256 and 512 options at half vanilla size. Did a similar job on these as per the archery target, increased original to work on, made them more bumpy, reduced and re-mipmapped all to half vanilla size. 

Quite a lot of them. I may replace these with reduced versions of Opticshooters one day when his are done, but for now we have more reduced vanilla normals with more bump which have not been included in Vanilla Reduced Textures before .. So will reduce the amount of VRAM in game compaired with previous versions in those areas. They look quite good too. Had a few days testing them before package and releasing. 

Oh yeah, reduced the normal maps a bit for some of the larger creatures too .. Which is why this version is smaller than v10 even though it contains more files. 

That lot should more than make up for the slightly bigger archery target colour map in the previous version :P


Also I wanted to make mountains and rocks better in the detail at lower res and bumpier than the originals, but decided to have a look around first and see whats out there .. Big thanks for not only sharing but also allowing these to be used with credits, I grabbed Yurils Alternative Rock and Mountains (4096 version) which have more detail than vanilla, have a slight re-colouring to match the ground (dirt stains on nearby rock to the ground looks like it matches better than vanilla textures, vanilla textures contrast the ground at lower res, so stand out more which looks slightly odd), and they have better matching normal maps with more bump than vanilla - Now reduced and included in this mod (though the main reduction with these textures is in the normal map, the mountainslab colour map textures cannot be reduced very much without becoming very shabby looking at close range). 

Without losing any more detail, I think thats about all that can be done with this mod to reduce VRAM usage. 

Tinkered with a few other files besides the above in this version (cant remember which). 

And the list of files affected in the zip has been updated. Enjoy. 



Notes : V12 


In this version I have redone quite a few files in both 256 and 512 options (mostly normal maps again). The cities have been bugging me for a while too, I was sure I should be seeing better VRAM saving, Whiterun was consistently higher in VRAM use than anywhere else in Skyrim, and I could not work out what else needed reducing... 


Faces was the answer; Since starting this mod I have always shied away from reducing too much on bodies and faces (wanting to keep as much detail as possible), and it dawned on me that I havent had a close look at Faces for quite a long time. Both 256 and 512 options were using the same files, so the 256 option has benefitted quite a bit in version 12, just reducing the normal maps for faces a little further has given me a maximum VRAM use in Whiterun of 214mb (compaired with 230mb with v11 of Vanilla Reduced Textures). 



Notes : V14 


Male noses in some lighting conditions with that slight glow, it was in my face, and tormenting my mod authors soul like the Maynards Moose (ehm, google it, but for heavens sake DONT CLICK PLAY :)


Restored my v11 files and checked everything out, still not happy decided to grab the whole bunch of vanilla face files again and ensure everything was in order ... 


.. and found a 'few' more files which could stand a little reduction treatment, there's a lot more been added to this update than just fixing the problem files, facegen and facemod files have had some attention (most of which have never been included in this mod before) .. Suffice to say its more of the same reducing vanilla textures for VRAM saving. Different sets for 512 and 256 options. And I have given them all a good checking out in game before re-uploading. IMHO they look good. 


With the 256 option of this version I am now experiencing only a maximum VRAM use of 205mb in Whiterun (compaired with 214mb in v12). What happened to the missing version ?, it was eaten by the unlucky numbers police :P

Enjoy, this is quite a nice update. 



Notes : V15 


Thanks to Hanaisse for permission http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1420181-relzwipz-unofficial-skyrim-patch-thread-17/page__view__findpost__p__21737630 to reduce the pie textures in USKP and include in VRT. 

Anyone not using USKP (though I cannot imagine why) will just not see this texture in game, its uniquely named so the game engine will not even look at it in the BSA. For those of us that do though, it has been reduced and included, and obviously with USKP installed the game engine will be looking for this texture called for by USKP, and my BSA loading later than USKP will have its pie texture used in game. 

There was one more texture in USKP too which (embarrasingly) I needed to look at and also reduce. Prior to this release, I also asked the BOSS team to reposition this mod after USKP, reason being USKP has some vanilla texture fixes which are larger than the ones I include, and it follows that if USKP is loading later than my mod they would be undoing the VRAM saving .. hence the change in the load order recommendation in my install instructions, and I went through checking that I have actually reduced the same texture fixes which the USKP does where necessary. 

There was one more texture redone, which was a daft mistake on my part. Apparently nobody noticed except me so it shall remain a mystery. 



Notes : Optional Vilja files v1 


(See also included readme in the zips) 

These textures will be installed as loose texture replacers for the original textures in Vilja's BSA (the game loads loose textures last overriding the ones in the BSA) 


There are two options, choose one of them; 

1024 textures are only reduced by half from the originals (at 2048), so will go well with my Vanilla Reduced Textures 512 option. 

512 textures are further reduced to match the same sizing of textures in Vanilla Reduced Textures 256. 


A couple of the smaller Vilja textures are one size larger than Vanilla Reduced Textures equivalent vanilla files, but because they only affect one NPC (ie Vilja), and do not apply to anything else in the game I could afford a file or two not being as reduced as I do everything else keeping some quality for Vilja. It works nicely on my old laptop anyway in the VRAM useage department. 


Requires : Vilja in Skyrim http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/26393 



Notes : V16 


This is just a bugfix version; Since the last version 15 I have been extensively play testing with the objective of finding anything wrong so as to finish all I need to. Some textures saved in the wrong format, a couple of mistakes found, and quite a few textures in the 512 version which were meant to be just for the 256 version have been redone to the resolution they should have been. 

No more reductions here, but the BSA for both version have been packed with the latest BSAOpt. 

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and a prosperous New Year. 



Notes: Vanilla Reduced Textures DG 512 / 256 - DawnGuard 


At long last I am able to support DawnGuard users. 


Vanilla Reduced Textures DG is needed in addition to Vanilla Reduced Textures, so : 


If you use Vanilla Reduced Textures 512 BSA, Dawnguard users 'also' need Vanilla Reduced Textures DG 512 BSA. 

If you use Vanilla Reduced Textures 256 BSA, Dawnguard users 'also' need Vanilla Reduced Textures DG 256 BSA. 


I want to keep these sets of textures separate, for people who do not have DawnGuard, and also for my own sanity organising what has or has not been done on my hard drive. Which means you will have two esp's in your load order. This is not open for negotiation. Yeah I know, one esp would be better for load order but I can think of a few circumstances where modularity is going to have its benefits too. 


Amended the installation instructions. 


Q. What has been done ? 

A. Everything that needs to be, in a similar format to Vanilla Reduced Textures : 


Vampirelord ( male / female / armour ) - Because they are not so frequent in game, I have approached these same as Dragons in VRT, reduced all textures from 2048 down to 1024 in both 512 and 256 options, but further reduced normal maps from 2048 to 512 in the 256 option. 

Same for the new Dragons textures in DG. 

Body textures 2048 down to 1024, hand textures 1024x512 reduced to 512x256 

Face textures reduced from 1024 to 512, normal map further reduced to 256 just for the 256 option. Normal maps in both cases were converted to ABGR8 after rescaling in G.I.M.P ( to prevent artifacting blocky noses etc which DXT compression usually gives ), and then remipped as usual afterwards with DDSOpt. So vamp face normals look as smooth .. as vamps go .. as should be expected after reduction. 

Terrain, for the 512 option just reduced distant objects, normals for LOD and maps; For the 256 option reduced distant objects, and both diffuse and normals for LOD and maps .. 


.. I'll stop there, lots more textures done, suffice to say its had the same treatment throughout as per Vanilla Reduced Textures. Having batch files for G.I.M.P and a folder separation method for sets of textures already established from months of work on VRT has helped me a lot speed up the process of producing the DG version ( in case anyone was wondering if this is a half assed rushed version .. no, I am needing to use it myself too, if anything offends my eye you can guarantee there will be an update ). 



Notes: Vanilla Reduced Textures DB 512 / 256 - Dragonborn 


Vanilla Reduced Textures DB is needed in addition to Vanilla Reduced Textures, so : 


If you use Vanilla Reduced Textures 512 BSA, Dragonborn users 'also' need Vanilla Reduced Textures DB 512 BSA. 

If you use Vanilla Reduced Textures 256 BSA, Dragonborn users 'also' need Vanilla Reduced Textures DB 256 BSA. 


Same deal as the Dawnguard expansion, I want to keep these sets of textures separate, for people who do not have Dragonborn, and also for my own sanity organising what has or has not been done on my hard drive. Which means you will have two esp's in your load order (or three if you also have Dawnguard ). This is not open for negotiation. 


Amended the installation instructions. 


Q. What has been done ? 

A. Everything that needs to be, with a similar formula to Vanilla Reduced Textures, and Vanilla Reduced Textures DG. 


I am not going to list everything, as usual I need the 256 version to stop my laptop melting so you can be assured if anything else needs doing it will be. I have not progressed very far in Dragonborn, but as expected in game the maximum VRAM I have seen being used by the game so far has only gone up to 214mb, and I am confident I have reduced everything that needs to be. 

If not .. There will be updates. Enjoy. 



Notes: Vanilla Reduced Textures DB 512 / 256 - Dragonborn - V2 


A bit of tweaking here and there, and had to reconsider some textures because Bethesda occasionally have some texture sizing inconsistencies, which my G.I.M.P batch processing script does not account for. Sigh. 

Quite a lot of the weapons are 1024 to start with in Dragonborn, reducing all those to 512 would be a simple process you would think .. if a few of them were not already 512. Which means in V1 you had 512 sized weapons mostly but the odd one like Ashmans weapons for example ended up being 256. 

I am trying to reduce without losing quality not turn the game into marioland. 

There were a few more ( Some Armour / Clothing inconsistencies ), and a few textures in V1 which really did not need doing, so removed those few. 

Stahlrim Armour is another inconsistency, but rather than reducing them too low in V1, some parts of this armour need further reducing. Generally Cuirass / Robes ( whole body covering textures ) you would expect to be larger than Gloves / Helmets / Hoods / Boots. I have seen this inconsistency before, with Dragonborn the Stahlrim Body armours are 1024 .. and so are the rest. So smaller armour pieces could stand to be reduced a little further than the body pieces which was not the case in V1. 

Skaal_outfit_girl ( body clothing ) is 512 vanilla, and I reduced it for V1 which was not necessary. Now removed. 

Also I have now ventured a lot further in the DLC, and have been monitoring VRAM use with Skyrim Performance Monitor and can confidently say the highest VRAM use seen so far with the V2 256 set has been 246mb. A little over what I would like to achieve, but I think it only occurs in a couple of places, will continue to study it more see if there are one or two more textures which can get those instances down another 10mb, but for now its safe and will not be melting anyones computer. My laptop is still running cool. 



Notes : VRT v17 / VRT DG v2 / VRT DB v3 


With the expansions to the game ( Dawnguard and Dragonborn ), it became obvious that tweaking just their own texture sets was not quite enough in some DLC areas, and needed a few files reduced a little further in the VRT files aswell as DG and DB files. 

All done, and VRAM saving is more consistent throughout. Found a couple of specific DLC textures ( normal maps ) which could stand a little more reduction too. 



Notes : Vanilla Reduced Textures v18 - 512 and 256 


DG and DB have not been touched with this update, just the VRT 512 and 256 

Reason for the update .. Caves textures have been bugging me. 

Back in version 11 of VRT I went on the hunt for better mountains and rocks better in the detail at lower res which were also close to vanilla, and Yurils Alternative Rock and Mountains were perfect for the job .. 


For a couple of month I have been trying Hectrol's Caves Deluxe 


They are very close to vanilla in the detail 

They are high res ( to reduce from, unlike vanilla textures ) 

They have excellent normal maps 

And look better detailled than vanilla textures when reduced to the sizes I need for this mod. 


Go have a look at the originals for comparison screenshots, a couple of them are slightly different in colouration to vanilla, but work really well with the rest of VRT at lower res. Having played with them for a while now before doing this update the overall feel of caves is slightly darker. I have visited many different caves which use these textures, including Falmer themed caves, and I think this is a nice complimentary addition to VRT without deviating too much from vanilla textures. 


What has been done with these additional textures - Using Hectrols 4096 textures : 

For the 512 option .. 

Reduced and remipped diffuse maps to vanilla size 1024 ( same as v17 VRT, I dont reduce everything ) 

Reduced and remipped the normal maps to 512 

For the 256 option .. 

Reduced and remipped diffuse maps to 512 

Reduced and remipped the normal maps to 256 


No difference in VRAM use between v17 - v18, just much better looking caves at low res. To get the best out of them though see my description reference .. 

Recommended mods - No Stretching mod by Langley 

The meshes in that mod correct a lot of texture scaling which cannot be done with textures alone. 

( These may be included in the Unofficial Skyrim Patch at some point in the future, keep an eye on changes ). 


Just in case anyone does not like this change for some reason, I will leave v17 up as old files on Nexus. But even if you dont like the idea initially, just humour me and give them a try, I dont know if Hectrol is a professional graphic artist but he has done a fine job of making higher res more detailled cave textures which do not deviate too much from the vanilla flavour. 


Permissions are in accordance with Hectrol's wishes in his description, mention author and link back to original. 


There have been a few other changes since last update I have tinkered about with over the last few months, I dont recall them all but maybe just a tiny bit more VRAM saving overall, and a couple of textures redone. 


Some of you will know I have now upgraded my laptop to have 512mb VRAM ( same machine but the graphics daughterboard is upgradeable ) .. And maybe curious if the 256 version of VRT is still getting the same love - Yes it is, and is still my preferred option for a smoother / cooler running machine, I am using the 256 option.



Notes: Vanilla Reduced Textures DG 512 / 256 - DawnGuard - v3 


An update to the Dawnguard options to include more work from the UnOfficial patch fixes to textures 


Reduced appropriately for this mod. 


And thanks to Princeshroob on BGS forum, I have now placed the DG Prisoner clothing correctly in the folder structure ( these two dds files in the official BSA are in textures dlc01 clothes prisoner, but the 'mesh path' for these textures ( if you edit a mesh with nifskope you will see paths for the textures the mesh needs ) is actually textures clothes prisoner .. So the Dawnguard DLC without the UDGP will not show the correct clothing texture for the prisoners clothing mesh. 

Now it will. And obviously if you are using UDGP ( highly recommended, as are all the UnOfficial patches ) my reduced textures will replace the UDGP ones now too. 


They are actually duplicated ( in both folder locations within my BSA ) .. Reason for this is at some point after I put this up and if UDGP team decide to solve this by making the mesh point at the texture as it is placed in the Dawnguard BSA folder structure instead, then one of my duplicates will cover each location as a replacer. 

And additionally, if you as a user of this mod install somebody elses idea of where the mesh should be pointing, that will also use one of my duplicates. The one not in use as a replacer texture will just be redundant in the BSA, and after being compressed in the BSA is not really taking much room at all .. 

Reference conversation starting here ( Edit: Looks like the mesh path will be changed in UDGP, so either way my mod has it covered when the next UDGP comes along, because the two textures are in both locations as of this v3 ) 


A few more textures have been done besides those two aswell. 

I did not include any of the dawnguard facetint textures, UDGP already fixes the ones that need to be fixed, and there is no need to reduce/include those for this mod ( vanilla size 256x256 ). 



Notes: VRT / DG / DB - v19 


A bit more work done on Terrain textures for Dawnguard and Dragonborn, and a few other bits n pieces in Vanilla files .. 


But the main reason for this update is the snow textures, my fault somewhere along the line I introduced a bit of repetitive detail into the snow normal maps - Have a look at the 2 new screenshots for the difference this update makes. 


Also bumping all options to v19, for the benefit of Nexus Mod Manager users notification ( not sure if it works the same way these days and just looks for the Mod version, as opposed to individual file versions, but seeing as this will probably be the last update to all files .. might aswell bump the lot to the same version number )



Notes: VRT / DG / DB - v20 


Final version ( I know, said it before, but I reckon this is it ) 


A few more normal maps worked on / redone. I cant find anything else to make this better at what it does. This update might save you a few bytes of VRAM in a few places, but not much. 


This version also includes new textures ( reduced as needed ) from the UnOfficial Patches v2.0 ( currently in beta, but you can start using my files now because until you install the new UnOfficial patches any new unique textures will not be seen by the game, when you do install them .. You already have the textures the game will look for. So its okay to use this version of VRT with or without the new UnOfficial patches ) 

Also modified my description for load ordering, as the new UnOfficial patches will be fake esm. 


I'll leave you all to play 'spot the difference' with the trees :)

Vanilla distant trees were horrid previously, I made an attempt at doing an Alt exclusive retexture, but was not happy and I haven't the time to dedicate to doing them from scratch, so did a scout around for something better out there which does not deviate from vanilla too much but addresses the glaringly clashing tree LODs ( especially the ones around Riften which just stand out like a sore thumb in the distance ). 

I settled on reworking Rennn's Detailled Terrain and Tree LOD http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17984//? files, which include Dawnguard and Dragonborn aswell as vanilla trees ( placed them in VRT / DG / DB appropriately ). And are free to rework so long as credit is given. 

I like these ones ( much better than my attempt ). There are others to choose from out there you could use as replacers. 

I did change them a bit though : Rennns originals add a little detail to the base of the trees, so it looks like there is a bit of foliage and / or rocks on the ground close by to the base of the tree trunk. Good idea by Rennn and they were really well done, but there was a problem .. If you see a tree on the side of a steep hill, that bit of extra LOD sticking out at the base of the tree is floating out in fresh air. So, regrettably I removed those bits. 

Rennn also did an accompanying noise.dds, which is a little too heavy - Looks great when you are not moving, it makes the middle distance landscape look like it has further away detailed Grass LOD .. but sort of makes the distant ground shimmer when you are moving, so I reworked this a little also to still look like distant grass noise better than vanilla does, but without the shimmer effect. 

Couple of screenshots uploaded to show the difference why I did this. 

Have a look at Rennn's mod page also for more comparisons. 


Maximum VRAM being used with V20 I have seen : 

With all 256 options installed = 228mb VRAM. 

With all 512 options installed = 325mb VRAM. 


I believe I have achieved the aim, enabling lesser machines to run the game, without deteriorating the graphics too much, and leaving a little overhead room for a few mods textures to replace these. 



Notes: VRT / DG / DB - v21 


Gamwich gave me permission to use some of his textures and reduce them for VRT.


There are a few textures which always annoyed me because I need better textures to start with before reducing .. Dragons textures from BPT AC will be giving us a little more detail up close ( after my reduction of these textures they end up having more detail than the vanilla textures similarly reduced - See the new screenshot images on Nexus ), and I have also used Gamwich's Mountain or Molehill textures and LODs which closer match adjacent vanilla textures than the ones I previously used, and look better in the distance.

Personally I think v21 textures are much better, and do not veer away from the vanilla artistic design.

There has also been quite a few other textures tweaked since last upload, and inclusion of a couple more textures from the Unofficial patches which have been reduced for VRT.



Notes: VRT 256 and 512 - v22 


Apologies for this one, this is just a bug fix version. It only affects VRT 256 and 512 ( so no need to grab DG or DB options again ). I found a couple of textures in 512 which should not have been reduced as much as they were ( copy pasta from the 256 version )

But also a glaringly over reduced wall texture in Bleak Falls Barrow ( and no doubt wherever else it was used in game ). If you have been anywhere near the word wall in there recently you will probably have noticed it. One of them was Hectrols Cave textures so I am reverting cave textures to reduced Vanilla textures so that they all match up when adjacent to each other again.



Notes: VRT 256 and 512 Legendary 


I was gifted Hearthfires, and after having a look at the textures there really is not much that can benefit our goal of saving VRAM ( not enough to warrant making a new plugin and BSA for as a standalone option anyway ). But I decided its about time I did an all-in-one Legendary.

These two Legendary options ( 256 and 512 Legendary ) have an esp which is named the same as the first VanillaReducedTextures.esp and has Skyrim.esm/Update.esm/Dawnguard.esm/Hearthfires.esm/Dragonborn.esm as masters ( The original VRT just has Skyrim.esm/Update.esm as masters ). So do not use it if you do not have all the DLCs installed. Missing masters = CTD.

It is named the same as the original VRT to make it clear that it should replace the others, and because it will keep the same Load Order position as VRT as far as BOSS/LOOT is concerned ( ie we dont need to go bugging anyone to add a new esp name to any masterlist or give it a priority - It already has them ).

So if you use either Legendary option, you also have textures in there which have been reduced for Hearthfires ( a couple of diffuse textures and few normal map textures ).

Also you will not need VRT, or DG, or DB installed. So one plugin replaces three plugins.

These Legendary options have everything all-in-one.



Notes: Version 23 - All files


Recently Tony971 did a mod "Optimised Vanilla Textures", using DDSOpt and the S.T.E.P guide just to optimise all the textures without much in the way of reduction ( some normal maps where reduction would not be noticed, and a lot of changing the format of some textures to more optimal formats which DDSOpt can be rather good at ).


OVT includes every Vanilla texture, and previously, I have only included all the textures which I actually had reason to reduce or change.


I wondered if I tried OVT, with my Vanilla Reduced Textures over-writing them - Would there be any additional VRAM saving from the files I have not optimised before .. I found it did, walking around all the usual test regions in the game I could get between 5-10mb more VRAM saving on top of the huge amount we already save with VRT. This is going to be more beneficial to people who still need to use my 256 options, where every little bit of VRAM does count, but I thought I may aswell do the same for all options, your choice if you want to re-download or not.

So, I decided to do the same to all the files I previously have not included.


For the individual options of VRT it has increased the file count a bit, not significantly because we already included the majority of them.

But the Legendary files have increased quite a bit in file size.


So tl;dr - v23 = Everything you had before, plus textures done with DDSOpt I have not previously included = A bit more VRAM saved throughout the game. Tony971 has given me permission to overwrite his 31000 texture files with my 28000 files, and include the surviving textures from Tony's mod in VRT. In the case of VRT and the DLC individual options, the same method has been used for textures I did not previously include in those sets. All files are updated.



Notes : Version 24


UnOfficial Patch Project ( UPP ) team included more fixed textures in the unofficial patches version 2.0.7 - VRT 24 includes the same textures reduced appropriately for this mod. All VRT files affected.

There were a number of Terrain textures ( also present in DLCs textures ), Khajiit normal map textures have had a fix to the tail ( both male and female ) whereby the tail bump mapping was inverted causing shadows to be on the top of the tail instead of underneath, hagravenveins is a texture which shows on the inside of foresworn tents if the sun is shining through the fur, this is a redo of a previous fix which was still pixellated.

And I have been tinkering with a few more textures, just redo's of previously done textures I was not happy with.

Additionally - The job of integrating some of Tony971 OVT textures in version 23 .. I missed a bunch of them in one or two of the individual VRTs ( as opposed to the Legendary sets ).

Hopefully, fingers crossed, prays to the nine .. This is the final version.



Notes : Optional Vilja files v4 


This version updates all textures to include new additional textures contained in Vilja v4.


All the old textures have been redone from scratch too, with slightly better detail on the lower resolution.


These textures will be installed as loose texture replacers for the original textures in Vilja's BSA (the game loads loose textures last overriding the ones in the BSA) 


2048 textures reduced to 1024, and as with Vanilla Reduced Textures some smaller textures have also been reduced on a case by case basis. A couple of the smaller Vilja textures are one size larger than Vanilla Reduced Textures equivalent vanilla files, but because they only affect one unique NPC ( Vilja ), and do not apply to anything else in the game I could afford a file or two not being as reduced as I do everything else keeping some quality for Vilja. It works nicely on my old laptop anyway in the VRAM useage department. 


Requires : Vilja in Skyrim http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/26393 



Notes : VRT Update Patch - Loose Files v1


A couple of normal maps which had artifacting redone. These are the same for either VRT 512 or 256 so users of either setup can use these patch files. They will install with Wrye Bash or NMM or MO as Loose files ( so will override the buggy textures in my VRT BSAs no problem ). One day when I have enough time to reupload all the big files again these files will be included in the BSA again, I just have not enough time to reupload the whole lot at the moment ( takes roughly two days on my current internet setup ).


Notes : VRT Update Patch - Loose Files v2


Quite a few more textures redone : V2 Update Patch files replace v1 files

The main reason for these revamps is I found somewhere in the last couple of updates to the main files I have introduced a bit of artifacting into some normals ( probably accidentally run files through a process more than once which would be enough to do this ). The thing that made me notice was doing the work for reducing Pure Weathers included snow textures, the road became obviously worse, and it was not due to Pure Weather textures or my reduction of those .. But the equivalent normal map in VRT was making them look bad.

Also needed to split this now into 512 and 256 varieties because some need to be redone specifically for those sets.



Notes: Version 25 - All Main files updated


See the new images on the last couple of pages of nexus mod page images


The update patch loose files I uploaded previously .. Remove those from your installation if you used them, they are no longer needed.


Many thanks to Starac, who has given me access and permission to use reworked high res vanilla textures from SRO ( no longer available on Nexus ) which blend beautifully, retaining the artistic theme of the games originals, and already saved in their optimal format for each texture. Starac has put in a lot of effort and time on his textures. Now reduced and included in VRT. Land textures in particular benefit, where they fade into adjacent land textures, and also cutting down a lot on the amount of repetitional patterns in those textures when viewed from a distance. There are still some slight patterns detectable if you look carefully ( I dont think its possible to get rid of such problems entirely ), and we are still talking VRT Lo Res so dont expect the game to look amazing on old machines ... but they are vastly improved over v24.

I have had his original 2048 sets ( updated to v1.6 ( and not including anyone elses optimisation of the original SRO textures ) ) in use on the family desktop, and decided to just ask - Glad I did, not only has he agreed, he sent me a very nice bunch of updates to those too.


Before anyone asks - The answer is no, I am under promise not to upload the originals for anyone, otherwise I will be asked to take down VRT.


The conditions of use are I do not use them with anything other than vanilla textures

( so that they match in the blending with adjacent textures in game )

And that I do not pass the originals on to anyone.

So I have used them to the advantage of reducing the amount of repetition that you see in middle distant landscape textures, where patterns become more obvious.

Staracs work on those has eradicated quite a lot of those problems, so when reduced they similarly look better than just reducing vanilla textures.

I have not used all of his textures, mostly just the landscape, but I have used a few more, where the ground texture edge needs similar dirt to the architecture / wall or step for instance.


I also redid all male and female body textures ( from vanilla textures ), the size of some particularly for the 512 versions were wrong in the scheme of things.

+ Lots of other little changes and an odd fix here and there.


All of the above textures have been done individually one-by-one with Photoshop this time, I wanted to preserve every bit of detail I possibly could for these texture updates. This is the last version :)





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Skyrim Tips


My laptop setup : Using the games Launcher, options - Game in Window Mode, at 800x500 (16:10 Widescreen), Anti-Aliasing ( AA ) off, Anisotropic Filtering ( AF ) x2, Advanced setting FXAA on ( which is a lot more performance friendly than AA ).

.. Or, you could run with FXAA switched off aswell, and instead use SMAA which is better optimised than the games AA, looks better ( imho ) than FXAA .. and comes with a few post processor effects too if you want to try some :
Install SweetFX Shader Suite 1.5.1 by Ceejay.dx, then edit the SweetFX_settings.txt file with notepad, and just have SMAA enabled ( all other Effects set to off 0 ).

See what you think. If you have been used to running the game with AA and FXAA on, and now with both of those off but using SMAA instead you will notice the game performs much better.
Switching on other effects will affect performance, some more than others ( Bloom and HDR I think are the biggest hitters ). I use a little vibrance adjustment but nothing else.

Always keep a bit of Anisotropic Filtering ( AF ) on in the game launcher, the game needs at least a touch of AF to be on for some lighting effects to work.

With those settings, and windows desktop theme in classic mode, I can comfortably run the game using Vanilla Reduced Textures (256 option) in High Texture Detail game setting, with graphics ram to spare, along with a few mods (as seen in the performance screenshot).

Windows Vista/7/8 - Classic mode : Go to your windows Display settings, and choose a Windows Classic Theme, turns off Aero and saves a bit more VRAM. For more Classic themes to bring a little variety back from older windows classic themes - grab these
It doesn't look as nice but it certainly saves you some VRAM, I gain circa 80mb on my machine, thats a fair chunk out of 256mb ( or even with minimum spec machine 512mb VRAM that will leave you with 432mb VRAM ) if Aero is on.

If running in window mode, you will have to play around with a couple more settings depending on your screen resolution, in Skyrim.ini

Look for ..
In that section of the ini you will find iLocation y=* and iLocation x=*

These two settings are the top left corner of the window screen offset, y being how many pixels down from the top of your screen, and x being how many pixels across from the left edge of your screen.

My laptops native screen resolution is 1280x800
With game window mode at 800x500, I have the following offsets
iLocation y=35
iLocation x=235

Which puts the game window in the middle of my screen. Obviously if your native screen resolution is different you will need to adjust iLocation x and y accordingly to offset it to a better suited central position.

If you run full screen with only 256mb VRAM, you will use more VRAM, so will have to compensate by reducing game Texture Detail setting from High to Medium. Your choice.

The biggest Performance Tweaks by far to a vanilla game in my experience ...

No.1 = Reduce the Steam clients activities:

On a minimum spec laptop or below, I found turning off a load of steam 'features' helps performance.

Running Steam in Offline mode is a big contributer to a smoother game in Skyrim

Official advice is here

Using Offline Mode on a PC.Please follow the instructions below to configure Offline Mode on your PC:
Start Steam online - make sure the Remember my password box on the login window is checked
Verify that all game files are completely updated - you can see the update status for a game under the Library section (when the game shows as 100% - Ready it is ready to be played in Offline Mode)
Launch the game you would like to play offline to verify that there are no further updates to download - shut down the game and return to Steam once you have confirmed that the game can be played
Go to Steam > Settings to ensure the Don't save account credentials on this computer option is not selected
From the main Steam window, go to the Steam menu and select Go Offline
Click Restart in Offline Mode to restart Steam in Offline Mode

Additionally I would also ...
Go through all steam settings and turn off what you do not need, its a single player game anyway so you dont need all the crap steam is trying to introduce, taking up processor time which can be better used by the game ..

I would recommend doing the library view game properties first before the Steam Menu settings

First start up steam in online mode

Go to Library view
Right Click "The Elder Scrolls v : Skyrim", and choose Properties
General :
Enable Steam overlay - Unchecked. Its a single player game, but steam want to justify their existance by adding features the game does not need.
Updates :
Steam Cloud - Uncheck it so it is not enabled. If you have loads of saves this will be using your internet in the background to upload your saves to a steam server. CPU / Internet use = less optimal game performance. Personally I just keep down to a regular ten or so saves, and copy them somewhere as a backup.

Next go to the Steam Client Steam Menu, and choose "Settings"
Account :
Dont save account credentials on this computer - Unchecked
(If you check it, you will not be able to go into offline mode)
Friends :
Everything unchecked
In Game :
Enable the Steam overlay in game - Unchecked
As for the screenshot options, I just use PrtSc key as usual for games, steam does not need to perform this function.
In host Streaming :
Enable streaming - Unchecked
Interface :
Every check box - Unchecked
Downloads :
Every check box - Unchecked
Cloud :
Every check box - Unchecked
Voice :
Use a push to talk key to transmit voice
Music :
Remove the auto configured music library locations
Every check box - Unchecked

Now click Okay, and go to the Steam menu again and choose Go Offline

Steam client should restart and ask you if you want to go Online or Offline
Choose Restart in Offline mode. Once its loaded you can exit the client.

Now every time you start it, or a game starts it before the game loads, it will ask you the same question so just always choose offline. The Steam client will still update its own software even though it is in offline mode, but it just wont attempt to update Skyrim - Bethesda have finished updating the game anyway so there is no need for Steam to check for updates.

Obviously if you have other games which need any of the features switched on .. Thats your prerogative, personally I just have Skyrim with Steam so do not need any of the steam client crap trying to justify its existance on my machine.

I then start the game with its desktop Icon, which will fire up steam first ( because I dont have it start with windows ), at which point it asks if I want to start in Online or Offline mode - For playing I start in Offline mode.
And then periodically check for updates just by launching steam from its own icon instead of the game launch icon - Letting it go online; After any updates, go to the steam menu and choose Go Offline, then shut down steam ... Ready for the next launch of the game when I want it to be completely offline again.

Of course if you are running on a laptop you can also switch off your wifi button before starting steam, preventing it getting all excited about uploading your data to the cloud when it finds you have no communication method with mother :).

No.2 = A couple of INI Tweaks

First IF you have messed around with INI settings, and used someone elses idea of INI settings on your machine, that may be causing you some problems ( especially if you copied some elses whole ini file from nexus which was ideal for their machine, not yours ).With each game update patch, Bethesda have improved how the game detects and adjusts its settings for your machine. Its not precise, but the game does give a very good balanced idea of how they should be set for your machine. If you have not done this for a while, delete them, and let the game regenerate new ones :

In My Documents \ My Games \ Skyrim \ folder
Delete SkyrimPrefs.ini
Delete Skyrim.ini
Delete RendererInfo.txt

When you next run the game Launcher ( Yes the actual game launcher, not anything else which may bypass the launcher ), it will regenerate all three of those ini's with the current game patches idea of a good balance.

After they have regenerated in game you will have to set your in game settings again, then quit the game.
Edit SkyrimPrefs.ini file
Edit with NotePad - And look for the following series of entries ( values will differ for your machine ) ..

iMaxDesired=750 <<-- This setting

If [Particles] is not there you just need to add ..
before [saveGame]

*** = 750 is the game default, reducing this value will increase performance especially indoors, where you have candles / fires / smoke / dust / fog and water effects.
On our desktop I have it set at 450, better laptop at 350 and our worst case laptop at 150.

This is a CPU speed performance adjustment, so not really relative to your graphics card performance.
Minimum I have used is 150, any lower and you will see a very marked reduction of effects - Most easily seen on Torches, below 150 a torch will start to look like its just a stick with glowing embers on the end instead of flames and smoke.

Adjust and test for your machines capabilities.

One more INI setting which will help outdoors, as of Skyrim version 1.6 patch ( and all after ) a new setting has been added to the Skyrimprefs.ini

bShadowsOnGrass=1 <<-- Make sure its set to 0 ( zero ) to turn grass shadows off.

I always spread the grass out more thinly too with the following setting .. The game will have to render less grass clumps per area viewed because setting this to higher numbers means the grass clusters are spread further apart :

In Skyrim.ini

This setting will not be in Skyrim.ini by default, so you need to create this entry. Default is 20 ( clusters are closer together so the game has to render more clusters = less performance ) setting it to 40, or 60 would make the clusters further apart, so less grass to render - But then it comes down to personal choice, how much performance gain do you wish versus losing grass by thinning out its occurrence too much.

The settings menu in-game ( press Esc ) also has a slider setting for grass view distance, which if you reduce it fades grass out in the distance a bit closer to you ( less distance ). This also reduces the amount of grass to render overall, but again has a visually negative impact because as you bring the distance closer you start to see where the game is fading it in which looks naff. But so long as you dont reduce it too much, this combined with the grass size ini setting does help performance a bit more.

There is actually a grass noise texture, which has been designed to give detail to the landscape further out like distant tiny specs of grass clusters, which is supposed to trick the eye where the grass fade out distance meets this noise texture so that it looks a bit like the 3D grass continues way beyond that setting into the distance. The grass noise texture included in VRT ( borrowed from Rennn and reworked slightly ) has upped that detail slightly, to compensate for people with low end machines more than likely reducing grass distance slider .. Though there was only so much I could do in this regard without ruining the noise texture ( which can cause a distant shimmer on the landscape if you are not careful and try to make it too detailed, or less random which looks bad at a distance ).

See this screenshot

You can tweak other settings in your INI's depends upon your understanding of your machine and what you are tweaking, shadows for instance are a major contributer to bad performance in Skyrim .. I have my formula for my machine but cannot really advise for anyone elses preference / setup, the subject has too many variables.

But after letting the game regenerate your ini's just give the above set a try and see how it feels.

ENBoost :

I have been asked before if I use / recommend using ENBoost : Short answer - On my laptop no.

I have three machines in my home running Skyrim. The family desktop is running ENBoost, and it does contribute quite noticeably to good performance ( on that machine I would not do without it )

In terms of performance and capability the next machine down would be my eldests laptop, Win 7 64bit OS, NVidia card with 1 gig VRAM, and a 2.8ghz Core I5 with 4 gig system ram - Yep we use it here too and would not do without it

On my laptop machine - During its life I have upgraded it to mimimum specification for this game
2.2 ghz Core 2 Duo
Win 7 32 bit OS
NVidia 8600M GS 512mb VRAM
3 gig System ram

This machine used to have the same graphics card but with only 256mb VRAM ( this was the only thing making my machine under specification for Skyrim, and the reason I started making Vanilla Reduced Textures )

With the old specification I would not attempt to use ENBoost, why ? ..

Have a look at S.T.E.P Project Editing ENBLocal.ini Guide ( this has been updated recently after members asked Boris to specifically explain each setting, and is the best guide anywhere for this subject, even compaired to Boris original documentation )

Particularly the following setting :

ReservedMemorySizeMb=(64, 128, 256, 384, 512, 640, 768, 896, 1024)

This setting reserves that much mb of VRAM, and also is mirrored in system ram

So for instance if you were to set 128, if you have a graphics card with only 256mb VRAM you have just reserved half of its capacity as a buffer :(

If you are using Vanilla Reduced Textures 256, and not using more than 220mb VRAM throughout the game ( helped by running windows in classic mode so that it takes less VRAM, AND even after extended game play when the game starts to cache more and more graphics as time goes on ) - You could set that setting to 32 and probably 'just' get away with using ENBoost without filling up your graphics card completely and causing stuttering because of the VRAM bottleneck.
But with such a low setting, and depending upon what else you set for ENBoost tailored to your system .. 32 bit or 64 bit .. Is it going to be worth it ?. I would say not. The game runs fine without it anyway.

I have no first hand experience, but I know there are people out there without dedicated Graphics cards ( Intel Integrated Graphics for instance ) who are trying to run this game with VRT in hopes that they will not burn out the machine .. I would not recommend it for them either ( in fact I think ENBoost binaries would probably not run if it did not find a dedicated graphics card )

I did run ENBoost for a while on my laptop, with 512mb VRAM I could afford to have that setting at 64 on my machine and I thought it helped a little with performance, but it was not really remarkable improvement on the good performance the vanilla game already already gives me. So I believe what I may have thought was slightly better was more than likely placebo on my old machine.

As for stability of the game - No idea if it helps in that department, my game is always stable for hours of gameplay without problem, before I started using ENBoost. So for me there has been nothing to improve in that regard.

Not overmodding, and generally sticking with the games recommended ini settings for my machine keep the game stable for me ( and cleaning with TES5Edit ofc .. but thats another story :) ).

IMHO Sheson's patch, and ENBoost are more for helping people with x64 bit OS, and wanting to break the 4gb bounds of the game, stuffing their machine with many mods, lots of hi res textures and processor intensive scripts which would bring lesser machines to their knees, but even top of the range spec machines need more help .. and that is where these tools are best used.

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SweetFX Performance Tip

If you have had a read of my other article Skyrim Tips, you will be aware I do not recommend ENBoost for low x32 bit Operating Systems, there is another injected booster going by the name of HiAlgoBoost, which apparently can be good, but I find it is annoying to my eyes. Recently I went back to trying something old to improve the visuals a bit, without losing on performance :

CeeJay.dk's SweetFX Shader Suite ( I am using v1.5.1 )

If you normally run the game with :
AntiAliasing ( AA ) on,
and Anisotropic Filtering ( AF ),
and FXAA in the advanced settings ..

Then what I am about to suggest will not improve the visuals for you,
but it will make your performance better without degrading visuals.

In the Skyrim Launcher, click on Options
Turn off AA, set 2 x AF ( or 4 x AF ), and turn off FXAA in the Advanced Settings


Install SweetFX Shader Suite 1.5.1

Then edit the file SweetFX_settings.txt with Notepad or Notepad++
All you need to edit is the Choose Effects section
The only ones enabled you need are :
#define USE_VIBRANCE 1

All the rest of the effects set to disabled with a 0 ( zero )

Sub Morphological Anti Aliasing ( SMAA ) is a very efficient method of AA
And the Vibrance Shader can be tweaked just a little to improve the look of the game overall

To tweak the vibrance try the following, scroll down to the Vibrance settings section and edit this setting
#define Vibrance_RGB_balance float3(1.10, 1.10, 1.10)

Note the default setting before you change the Red Green Blue ( RGB ) values, they can be set in the ranges
-10.00 to 10.00, -10.00 to 10.00, -10.00 to 10.00

But you dont need much change to notice a difference, try my setting of (1.35, 1.40, 1.10)

Play the game for a few hours and see what you think to :
A ) The performance versus the games original AA combinations
B ) How it looks, if not happy .. You dont need Vibrance really, just use SweetFX for SMAA

All other shaders I switch off because the more you have ( and it depends what shaders you use ) the less performance. Some are heavier than others in degrading performance. But just Vibrance on its own can give you a preset which looks similar to some ENB setups out there, with a lot less performance impact, and due to SMAA being more efficient than the games AA you have already improved the performance which gives you a bit of leeway to add a shader or two.

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Updated the Recommended mods section of the description :


Shezrie's Old Hroldan has been removed from Nexus, so cant link it currently ( I think it will be on a new mod page when the next version is done .. Not sure )


And a few more additions for better performance.

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Arissa optional files on Nexus are no longer supported, the Arissa mod is now a paid for product on steam workshop which I will not support with my freely contributed work, they were originally given in support of a non-paid for mod. I have asked the author to remove them also from his mod page.


Edit - Update to this : The author has apologised for not getting prior consent to use them as his "appearance pack 1" on steam workshop, so as far as I am concerned now that he has apologised to all concerned ( it was not just my files included ), and the paid for mod does not exist anymore, he can still use my optional files on the free mod .. I no longer have them to upload.

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Note : This mod is now final. It has been seven months since the last version was uploaded, and I have had no reports of any problems on any sites where there is a VRT topic ( 7 of them ). And personally I have not found anything else to improve upon what this mod does, its now a done thing :).

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