I have removed a handful of mods from the VISUALS section. Here's why...
As the guide continues to grow, I'm figuring out step by step in which direction I want to go and while I still value modularity / different options a lot (pretty much all mods are optional after all), I need to streamline some sections of the guide a little. This will also reduce the amount of time I have to spend on ensuring compatibility - and, on top of that, improve consistency.
Consistency is actually what I value most and it is not easy to achieve with mods. While testing different VISUAL setups, I was extremely irritated by two mods in particular - JK's Skyrim and Expanded Towns and Cities. Both are beautifully crafted and enhance the cities and villages they rework in so many ways - yet they still stick out like a sore thumb. Walking through an improved Falkreath made me notice the untouched towns and locations in Skyrim so much more, being fully aware that this region was touched up by a mod.
Both of those mods can still be installed and run with the rest of this guide, but I will remove them from the guide itself. JK's Lite plus Arthmoor's suite of town additions (soon to be merged, hopefully) will be the standard combination. In the future I might add mods to subtly improve the smaller towns (and perhaps re-add ETaC) but until then everything except JK's Lite is not supported by the guide. If you still want to install the full JK's Skyrim suite, Dawn of Skyrim or any other overhaul, you will have to do so on your own.
For pretty much the same reason, I'm kicking out the EEK Interior Overhauls. Beautiful they are - but it throws me off to see those pretty versions of my standard shops and then have the rest of the interiors in the game be so massively inferior visually. Distint Interiors on its own has exactly the kind of subtle but clever improvements that maintain """immersion""".
Thoughts on the future of VISUALS
I hope this doesn't throw off too many people. After considering this for quite a while, I finally made this decision after receiving a comment as feedback on the guide which had me think quite a bit:
It's true - the statement that the VISUALS account for "everyone's preferences" was an exaggeration on my part. I have changed the wording of some descriptions of this guide in different places and no longer attempt to go as broad as possible. I'm happier with this.
Now mind you, I still plan on adding more weather overhauls (Climates of Tamriel, Aequinoctium) and lighting mods (Relighting Skyrim, Luminosity) plus the other parts of the OMEGA overhaul, more retexture mods and other things to the VISUALS. The appearance section will probably remain as is for a quite a while yet, mostly because I'm not sure what else to add. I'm not too much of a fan of NPC overhauls that turn every female into a twenty-year-old sexy model and Bijin mostly changes the NPCs in ways that I think are appropriate. In the future I would love to have the appearance section include a 'mix-and-match' of different overhaul mods for specific NPCs to get the best of everything (Lydia from Bijin, Hulda from Ordinary Women, etc).