Natural Environments is my personal attempt to enhance and improve environmental components of Elder's Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The 2.0 version of the mod introduces dozens of new features, such as 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.
2.0 Due to enormous amount of changes and modifications introduced with this version, I'll skip the technical details this time, and catalog the main features instead.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Birds and Insects More than a dozen of new creatures now inhabit vast expanses of Cyrodiil's airspace. These 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 in-game immersion and realism. Although all aerial creatures tend to hide from severe weather conditions, their individual endurance levels may vary. All new creatures are sensitive to the seasonal climate changes. For example, all insect types hibernate and cannot be seen during winter months, and some birds can be observed traveling in flocks during the spring and fall migration seasons. Natural Habitat is the most recent addition to the package, and, although it's stable and safe to install, it has not been tested properly at the time of release. If you notice any severe abnormalities in the birds' behavior, please contact me though the mod's official forum thread or email me.
Natural Water General description: 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 (Extras) that makes torches emit twice the light. If you find the nights too dark, you may want to try to enable this mod.
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