Long ago, on a website far away, a man named dev/akm made a list called TOTO (The Oblivion Texture Overhaul); its intent was to be "a guide to a lot of great mods that improve the appearance of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion." Unfortunately, dev became busy with other things, and the site fell into disuse and gradually became outdated.
And that's where this site comes in. The Elder Scrolls Texture Guide (TESTG) will pick up where TOTO left off, but it will be much expanded - instead of just listing the texture mods *I* think are the best, I'm going to list them all and let *you* pick what you want. That said, this site only includes serious mods - nothing like, for example, mod that changes Masser to look like the Death Star (yes, there are a couple of them). I'm sure some folks would find it amusing - and I'm certainly not bashing it - but that wouldn't fit the tone of this site.
This site covers all the Elder Scrolls games - Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. Each game has its own set of categories (see below), so you don't have to worry about turning up replacers for Skyrim if you're playing Oblivion.
If you're new to texture replaces or the TES games in general, start with General Information to get an understanding of common terms and concepts (they can be trickier than you think), glance over the Utilities for some useful tools, and then browse through the mods to see what you'd like to add (click on the game title on the sidebar; this will take you to the game's main page, which has a list of categories for that game).
Mods on this site are split into several categories for ease of use:
- Architecture: Buildings and any parts thereof (windows, doors, roofs, etc.); includes bridges, farmhouses, etc., but not dungeons or sewers.
- Armor: Includes armor and shields.
- Characters: Eyes, hair, faces, body textures. Includes all mods that beautify/alter NPCs and dremora (dremora are NPCs, not creatures), but not body replacers (those are meshes, not textures, and it would take an entire wiki just to cover those).
- Clothing: Any item that can be worn that isn't armor (clothing, jewelry, etc.). Does not include unique items that are retextured from vanilla (a set of clothing in a barrel, e.g.).
- Creatures: All animals, creatures, and monsters. Does not includes playable races like dremora and xivilai (those are listed under Characters).
- Dungeons: Ayleid ruins (Oblivion), caves, Daedric shrines (Morrowind), Dwemer ruins (Morrowind & Skyrim), fort ruins, Nord tombs (Skyrim), and sewers (Oblivion & Skyrim).
- Environment: Sky (day and night), sun/moons/stars (includes sunglare/godrays), and clouds. Does not include weather mods.
- Flora: Plants (grass, trees, flowers, etc.).
- Items & Objects: Items that can be taken/carried that aren't armor, clothing, or weapons - clutter, art supplies, tools, coins, etc. It also includes statics like furniture, banners, rugs, tapestries, and signs.
- Landscape: All terrain replacers, including rocks, snow, mountains, and roads, but not water or cave interiors. Includes Oblivion realms and mods that overhaul Cyrodiil/Skyrim's appearance (jungle realm, etc.).
- Magic: Spell FX and shaders. Does not include weapon shaders - those are under Weapons.
- Miscellaneous: Detailed normal maps, fire, blood, furniture, statics, and other stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else including "packs" covering a wide range of sub-categories.
- UI: Mods that improve the User Interface, including the HUD, inventory, maps, icons, fonts, and books.
- VWD: All mods that have improved Distant LOD (far.nif) files.
- Water: Any mod that improves water, including lava.
- Weapons: All weapons, including staves.
Each entry has its own page, and each page uses the same entry format:
- Author(s): Who made the mod.
- Current Version: Note that this may not be up to date.
- Last Updated: Newer mods are more likely to be optimized, but that doesn't mean that they're objectively "better" - there are plenty of older mods that are just as good as their newer counterparts.
- Links: Sites where the mod can be found. If you find a broken link, please report it so we can fix it.
- Resolution: The size (512 MB, 1K, 2K, 4K) of the textures used, if known.
- Description: The description, as it appears in the readme.
- Patches/Addons: Any patches (UOP, other mods, hotfixes, etc.), as well as mods made by other users.
- Notes: Anything worth noting, like conflicts/incompatibilities, known issues, etc.