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Natural Environments is my personal attempt to enhance and improve environmental components of Elder's Scrolls IV. The 2.1 version of the mod includes dozens of features: seasonal weather patterns, improved visualization of most celestial features found in the game, more than 40 new weather types (the default number is 7), and additional ambient wildlife species, such as birds and insects.
Natural Environments also takes care of several minor annoyances that were present in the original product, such as opaque water surfaces, muddy underwater vision, visibly pixelated cloud textures, unrealistic meteoric conditions, and random weather changes. Most of the changes are cosmetic and should not affect the game�s performance noticeably.
Natural Weather: responsible for all meteorological modifications.
Natural Water: provides various tweaks for in-game water types.
Natural Habitat: adds and controls more than 20 different types of birds and insects.
Natural Vegetation: alters scaling characteristics of trees and shrubs.
It is a very simple, yet highly effective modification that completely changes the visual look of the game. It alters several characteristics of trees and shrubs, making them appear much taller and more foliose. The overall effect drastically changes the game environment and adds a great amount of immersion to the gaming process. Proceed with caution: extensive canopy coverage and dense foliage can make it very easy to veer off the path and get lost in the forest.
Natural Vegetation is the most recent addition to the package that has not been tested properly at the time of release. It should be completely stable, but some minor glitches may occur.
Key facts you need to know about Natural Vegetations:
- This mod won't affect your fps numbers. If it will, the difference should be nearly unnoticeable.
- There are two versions of the mod: regular and 200%. The latter (found in Extras) produces much taller trees, but it also creates and amplifies several clipping issues that many people don't like.
- Natural Vegetation (and all other Natural Environments components as well) can be turned on and off whenever you feel like it.
- If you have any objections to the visual effect it provides, just disable this part of the package. I really enjoy the new look, but everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
"One of the most spectacular light shows observed on Earth" now can also be observed on your monitors. Rainbow arcs can only be briefly seen immediately after showers, right when the sun comes out.
Since it's the newest addition to the package, some minor visual glitches may occur. If you choose to provide me with a detailed explanation of the problem, I may take my time to fix the problem.
Seasonal weather patterns and Climate changes
Each season affects probability factors of different weather types. Winters are characterized by periodic snowfalls and 'colder looking' environments. Summer days look more lively and saturated with vivid colors. Falls and springs are transitional periods characterized by more often occurrences of severe weather conditions, such as rains and thunderstorms. Snow-covered Bruma region is confined to the 'deep winter' weather conditions. In addition, there are some time changes for all in-game sunsets and sunrises that allow them to last longer and look more natural.
Birds and Insects
More than twenty types of birds and insects now inhabit vast expanses of Cyrodiil's airspace. These winged creatures are subjects of numerous limitations, they can't be killed or interacted with in any way, and they serve no other purpose but to provide players with additional levels of immersion and realism. Although all aerial wildlife tends to hide from severe weather conditions, individual endurance levels may vary. New creatures are also sensitive to the seasonal climate changes. For example, all insect types hibernate and cannot be seen during winter months, and birds can be observed traveling in flocks during the migration seasons.
Additional weather types
Here's the breakdown on the new types. The total number of possible weather variations went from 7 to 44. There are 31 completely distinctive weather types. Each of the original 7 classes has been completely remade and improved; in total, they contain 7 Clear, 6 Cloudy, 3 Fog, 4 Overcast, 4 Rain, 4 Snow, and 3 Thunderstorm unique weather types. There are 13 additional types that copy cloud formations of the new Clear and Cloudy types mentioned above, but apply paler lighting than their counterparts, which makes their use more suitable in colder regions or during winter months.
Multiple Visual Improvements and Fixes
All sky, moon, and stars textures have been replaced with better looking versions. Color and luminescence properties of the sun have been dramatically altered. The nebula has a new high-resolution texture and the moons no longer have unrealistic black borders around them.
New Precipitation Effects
There are several new subtypes for each precipitation class. Snow and Rain particle emitters now produce more realistic weather effects. Raindrop size varies with each rain subtype, but generally, all of them look thinner, smaller, and more transparent than the original.
This part of the package adds transparency to default opaque water surfaces, changes underwater visibility settings, and considerably improves quality of water reflections.
HUD Elements and Extras
There are new visual styles included for the health/mana/fatigue bars and for the compass. Those who want to try an alternative visual style for the in-game Breathmeter, may find it in Extras.
There is also a file named Bright_Torches.esp (also in Extras) that makes torches emit twice the light. If you find the nights too dark, you may want to try to enable this mod.