Modding Skyrim Part 1

Work

Real life work commitments have kept me from playing anything in the last few months save from 90 hours of Bravely Default which still remains unfinished and Lightning Returns, however, this week I must have pumped some considerable time into modding Skyrim and tweaking its system files.  I thought I would share the results and briefly run through what it is I have done to get it looking this good.

Skyrim

I’ve recently rebuilt a gaming PC so first off I’ll drop the specs just so you can gauge what I’ve done, with your own rigs, and maybe tone it down a bit / up a bit give or take.

  • Intel I7 4770k 3.5ghz
  • MSI Radeon R9 290x Gaming Edition
  • 16Gb DDR 3 2133mhz

When you come to start looking at mods and tweaks the first thing that will ultimately come up from any google search relating to this is the nexus mod manager and the nexus modding community: http://www.nexusmods.com/

Simply put, this is one of, if not the best modding sites for Skyrim.  Everything is in order, rated, comes with its own download manager/mod installer/launcher and makes the whole modding experience pretty smooth and requires no additional technical knowledge to get everything up and running.

So first, Nexus & the mods I am using:

The program itself is only in beta and crashes on me frequently but that still doesn’t stop it from being the best.  Crashes have never resulted in any data loss or mod corruption, only 30 seconds of wasted time waiting for it to re-open.  When you first install it the program will setup your mod folder where you will need to be saving all of your mods or alternatively you can make you own one and have the program read from there, whatever tickles your fancy.

The screenshot shows what I currently have installed

Mods

 A Matter of Timehttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/44091/?

This mod will give you an in game clock letting you know what time of day it is.  That’s essentially it.  If you’ve been in a dungeon a while and you’re wondering whether or not you’ll be emerging in darkness or day light then this mod is going to let you know.  This is almost untaxing of any computer so installing this won’t bring your system to a crawl.

A Matter Of Time

 A Quality World Maphttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/4929/?

This mod enhances the visual appearance of the standard world map and will show you where the main roads are.

Map

Audio Overhaul For Skyrim 2http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/43773/?

Very difficult to take a screenshot of this one however this mod seems to enhance, add or replace many of the sounds in the game with better quality or more appropriate versions.  I’ve not played the original enough to gauge whether or not this makes any significant difference but if modders have deemed it necessary to “Overhaul” the sounds of Skyrim, who am I to argue with their work?

Bandolier Bags & Pouches: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/16438/?

This mod enables you to do more with hides you skin from animals and makes it worth doing a spot of hunting any chance you get.  Essentially this is a very similar mechanic to that found in Farcry 3, skin some animals, turn their leather into pouches.  The pouches you craft can add, 25/50/75 extra points worth of carry capacity and can be customised in a variety of greys, up to 3 can be equipped and are visible on your character in 3rd person.

Bads02Bags01

 

Book Covers: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/35399/?

Essentially pointless but hey, if you’re wanting the exterior to look nice you might as well make the interior nice as well.

Books

Ceramic Style Potions / Poisonshttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/4259/?

Very similar to the book covers, makes potions and poison pots that little bit more shiny.

Potions

Cloaks of Skyrimhttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/12092/

A couple of the screenshots above show the cloaks.  These can come in a variety of colours and display the emblems of different factions.  Cloaks can be enchanted like any other item and can be equipped in addition to the usual equips although it doesn’t add anything to your armour value.  If you are using this mod in conjunction with Frostfall which I will talk about later, cloaks provide you additional protection from the environment and make you look a bit like Ned Stark.

Enhanced Distant Terrain: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/1598/?

Pretty straight forward – allows you to see further into the distance

Enhanced Night Skyrimhttp://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/85/?

I can’t remember what the old skies looked like but this gives you a lot more to gaze at.  What goes on in the sky will change and depending on what is happening way above you, may give you a red/green hue on the scenery around you.  Unfortunately for this screenshot I was only treated to a collection of stars.

Stars

Frostfall – Hypothermia Camping Survival:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11163/?

This is one of the best mods I have installed.  Wind rain or shine this mod will track whether or not you are wet, cold, hot and affect your character’s performance, vision, health, stamina accordingly.  To counteract this, the mod comes with its own built in Ray Mears crafting simulator which will allow you to collect firewood, ruined books, torches, build campfires, different tents, walking sticks etc.  This mod will make climbing mountains in the cold feel like a real trek and make you think twice about running out in the rain or jumping off a waterfall.  The mod will also take into account what armour you are wearing.  A complete set of fur armour will offer you the best protection from the elements but by the same token won’t offer you a great deal of defense if you are attacked by a bear.

FXAA Injector: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/131/?

This mod will enhance the overall sharpness of the onscreen visuals, better lighting and shaders.

Enhanced Terrain: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/29782/?

Enhanced terrain makes the overall look of the outside world that little bit more real and sharpens up some of the objects in the distance

Immersive Armours & Weapons & Cretures:

 http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/19733/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/27644/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/24913/?

I would recommend clicking the links for these two mods as I’ve not come across anything like what is shown in their screenshots yet but essentially, the immervise series makes old weapon and armour types look new and adds a range of additional weaponry and armour types as well.  Immersive creatures will add additional enemies to the world, dictate when and how they spawn and also modify their difficulty.  Some of them are right bastards early on.

Lush Trees & Grass: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/27644/?

The lush trees and grass mod is exactly that, adds more leaves to the trees and blades to the grass. This is a matter of taste though.  While the trees in your immediate surroundings do indeed look lush, the game itself struggles to maintain this level of detail when looking over long distances the lush trees resemble levels from Fez.

Climates of Tamriel: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/17802/?

Adds additional weather systems, storms, sounds and visuals to all areas of Skyrim.

Pure Waters / Pure Weather:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/1111/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/52423/?

Skyrim

Pure water and weather again enhance visuals and immersion.  The above screenshot shows just what it can do with water.

Real Vision ENB: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/30936/?

If you’re wanting to improve your Skyrim experience by improving the visuals then you are going to want this mod.  Screenshots won’t do it justice.  Visit the link and watch the videos.

Real Ice & Snow: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/13466/?

Another “Ronseal” mod that enhances ice and snow effects.

Flora & Fauna Overhaul: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/141/?

This is my mod of choice when beautifying the outside world.  I prefer the way the trees look in this mod over lush trees and grass due to the distance factor mentioned above.

Skyrim HD: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/607/?

Download all of these.  This will improve every texture in the game for all areas to 2k resolutions.

 SkyUI: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/3863/?

UI

The normal UI of Skyrim is relatively unintuitive and cumbersome, this mod replaces that and makes everything viewable in a user friendly menu.  If you really enjoyed how the originally UI got things done then give this one a miss as it really is only down to a matter of preference

Sounds of Skyrim, Dungeons & Wilds:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/8601/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10886/?

The sounds of collection adds additional sound effects when you’re wandering through the relevant areas.  Nice touch.

Static Mesh: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/8655/?

smm

The screenshot the author of this mod uses sums it up perfectly.

 Sword Of The Ancient Tongue: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/52700/?

Now I’m assuming that this mod adds an awesome looking sword, however, as I am still yet to to craft it, I have no idea how good it is.

Unofficial xxxxxxxx Patch:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/52700/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23491/?

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/31083/?

Fixes a number of bugs that Bethesda are yet to address

Wearable Lanterns: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/17416/?

Bit dark at night?  This mod allows you to attach lanterns that burn oil, which can be bought from shops, or, collect the glowing bugs and stuff them in a jar!  Whatever takes your fancy.

Winter Is Coming: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/13486/?

Adds a number of additional wearable armour types to make your trip through Skyrim a tad warmer

Xenius Character Enhancement: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/2356/?

Makes faces more face like.  Not that you view your own too often but everyone else looks a tad better because of it.

 

That’s it for the complete run down of mods I have installed although that’s not all you can do to make Skyrim that little bit better.  My next post will concentrate on the editing of the system files, again, to improve system stability, frame rates and further graphical enhancements you can squeeze out of notepad.exe.

Cheers

It’s Been A While

Image

Hey!  You still OK?  Good.  It’s been a while since I’ve put something substantial on here and I’ve found myself with an unexpected sick day and have been sent home from work.  When did wordpress change?!  I’ve got 4 posts in unfinished draft form and to be honest they are so out of date now it would be pointless to put em up so I’ll briefly go over what I’ve left out and then more on to what I’m playing now.  So if you want to hear about Gungnir and Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time, scroll to the bottom now.

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The Sleeping Playlist

This is not a picture of the sleeping playlist – oh no – this is an A4 page of the greatest songs ever written.  The sleeping playlist is something that I’m sure many people have their own name for.  The playlist of songs they put on when they want to just chill out.  For me it was a mix of video game music, anime and mainstream and over the years the sleeping playlist has grown and grown and I’m sure it will continue to do so.  Below unfortunately isn’t the complete playlist, however, for those that care – enjoy.

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Tales of Symphonia HD

Tales of Symphonia has been around for a while and yet I’ve never given it a fair shot.  Every time I sit down with it something else comes a long and I often get sidetracked and forget what it is I’m doing and have to start over.  This is likely to be the case with Tales of Graces as well as that is still sitting unfinished next to me.  So why a blog about Symphonia?  WELL.

Recently due to my Diablo venture I’ve splashed out on a new PC capable of playing games on full whack making the visuals look noticeably better then their console counter parts.  With that in mind I’ve applied the same to getting the most out of my old console games.

Using a Gamecube emulator and the physical disk copy of Tales of Symphonia I legitimately bought and own, I’ve been able to res up the visuals to a Vesperia and Graces standard and they look fantastic.  I’ll let you be the judge.

 

These two taken very early on in the game show the level of detail applied by the emulator.

If I find anything else particularly beautiful looking I’ll be sure to post it.

NEWS: YouTube

The Shuvlarse YouTube channel is now up and actually has a video on it now.  In response to Konami’s request earlier (Something about gaming when we were younger) I posted a short video of me playing a segment from Silent Hill 2, the Theme of Laura.

Here it is for those who care.

It’s likely Ill be doing more videos in the near future so If you’re interested then subscribe, if you’re not then don’t.

😀

NEWS: New Job

So not much is happening in the world of gaming this end.  Pretty much still engrossed in Diablo 3 (Shuvlarse#2346) however in other news, I now have a full time job which will give me some disposable income to once again build up a stack of games I will either hate or end up not playing.  Great eh?   On order at the moment:

  • Theatre Rhythm, the Final Fantasy rhythm game for the 3DS which I’ve just been told has a demo on the eShop.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3DS, another bastard unloved son of an entry into the Kingdom Hearts franchise which continues to be relentlessly butchered on handheld devices across the board since its departure from mainstream home consoles.
  • Tales of Graces f Day 1 Edition, which I already own an American copy of and I’m sat looking at it
  • Borderlands 2 Uber Big Red Ultimately disappointing box edition.
  • Dark Souls PC Day 1 Edition – I’m in it for the mods.
  • Agarest 2, which will remain sealed
  • Agarest 2 (American) for the doll.

So expect at least one of the above to make a hate filled appearance on here in the near future.

Peace 🙂

My Favourite Game Tracks

I noticed earlier that someone I follow on Twitter had written a blog about their favourite video game soundtracks and favourite individual tracks so I thought I would do the same.  I’m pretty sure Hidden Away and myself will have some cross overs but I thought I’d through my two cents in anyway!  His post is right here and mine is just below.

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