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Skyrim Modding Guide: Tips for Modders and Suggested Mods

by: Nighthand ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/18/2012 • Leave a comment

PC gamers always have and always will be on the forefront of gaming mods. One of the most modded and most played game series is the Elder Scrolls series. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Mods are already prolific despite the game just recently coming out.

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    The Benefits of Modding Skyrim

    Skyrim's Logo can even be modded   One benefit that PC gamers have over Console gamers is the ability to easily mod their games. This is made even easier with many Bethesda games, when they release things like the Elder Scrolls Construction Kit or Fallout's Garden of Eden Creation Kit. With freely available, easy to use development kits, Skyrim will follow Oblivion and Morrowind as a haven for mods. With the creation kit you can do just about anything: retexture the roads, paint the horses, give all the players wings, build a skyscraper underground, add entire new islands complete with plot and quests, add new weapons, enchantments, and Shouts. Pretty much anything you can imagine can be modded into the game with a sufficient amount of talent, hard work, and graphical ability.

    Skyrim's Creation Kit has not yet been released. According to Pete Hines, a Bethesda employee via Twitter: "Still some work left to do on both the Creation Kit and the wiki that goes with it. In the meantime, enjoy the game!"

    That's not to say there aren't already mods. PC gamers are nothing if not resourceful. The creation kit isn't the only tool available to mod games with -- it just makes everything a heck of a lot easier. None of the mods available are huge, mostly retextures and recolors of existing assets, but they exist.

    So why mod your game? It extends the life of the game by years! People still play Morrowind with mods that make it look as good as Oblivion, if not better. The same will be said of Oblivion in a few years. People will still play Skyrim, with mods to enhance graphics, fix bugs, and add gameplay, for years to come. Not to mention all the additional content. Skyrim has hundreds of hours worth of quests to do and locations to explore, but even that can be added to.

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    Important Tips and Common Issues

    Night Sky Enhancement Mod Comparison   The most important thing to do, before you even think about adding a mod to your game, is back up your folders. The last thing you want to do is cause mod conflicts and have to reinstall the game from scratch. Some of you, I'm sure, won't heed my words and trust your abilities or those of the modders who make the mods you install. Some of you may even never have an issue. Even so, having a backup is a safety net that's invaluable if the worst should happen.

    To change your FOV:

    • Go to your Skyrim folder (My Documents -> My Games -> Skyrim -> Skyrim by default)
    • Back up Skyrim.ini
    • Open Skyrim.ini and scroll until you find [General]
    • Add fdefaultfov=XX to the bottom of the section, where XX is your desired FOV
    • Alternately, in-game press ~ to bring up the console and type FOV=XX there.

    To fix laggy mouse issues:

    • First, make sure that "using a controller" is not checked in the settings menu in-game. If it is unchecked:
    • Go to your My Documents -> My Games -> Skyrim
    • Create a backup of the Skyrim.ini file
    • Open the file, then scroll down to where it says [Display]
    • Add to the bottom of the section iPresentInterval=0
    • Save, exit, and play
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    Great Skyrim Mods

    There's already a thriving modding community for Skyrim, which should come as no surprise. Plenty of mods already exist. Some of them are better than others, of course. The best place to go for mods? Skyrim Nexus. It's a community of modders and a site full of mods you can download and install.

    Smoother Faces Mod Example   Remember: before installing a mod, back up the files it modifies. Until such time as a mod manager is released, there's no easy way to tell if two mods will conflict. Install only one mod at a time, especially graphical mods, and make sure they work as intended before attempting to add another mod. Got all that? Then here we go: several great Skyrim mods to enhance your gameplay experience. For each mod, a link is provided to the download, which usually includes instructions for installation. Support modders! Endorse the mods you like.

    Less Blocky Faces: This mod smooths out the facial maps of various races, giving faces a smoother, more natural look. Very little else is altered, to avoid changing the intended look of the various wrinkles and scars -- everything is just smoother and less polygonal.

    Enhanced Skyrim Night: Ever look up at the sky at night and wish the infinite depths of space were visible to you? Do you lament the cloudy, low-resolution nebulas on your high res monitor? This mod replaces the night sky textures with higher resolution versions. You can choose the color of the nebulas and the star density from among a few options.

    Realistic Water Textures: This mod sharpens and enhances the look of various water textures, with divisions between rivers, puddles, and the ocean. Water is always one of the hardest things to get looking right, and this mod makes Skyim a much more realistic looking place.

    FXAA Post Process Injector: The name is ominous-sounding, but don't let that stop you from giving this mod a look. The FXAA Injector mod is a robust tool for graphical enhancements, tweaks, and changes. You can change a number of options, but be careful. This mod isn't for newbies in the modding scene.

    Weapon Retexture Project Example   Weapon Retexture Project: This mod is still in it's early stages, but it will have a big impact on the game when it's done. This mod is slowly replacing the textures for the weapons, making them higher resolution and much prettier. As of now only a few weapons are completed, but keep an eye on it as it progresses.

    Various nude mods: I'm not going to link them here, but there are a number of nude mods available for Skyrim already. For some, they give an added layer of realism to looting everything off a corpse. For others, they're ridiculous, out of world experiences aimed at making the game erotic instead of fantastic. Choose wisely, if that's the style of mod you want.

    Are there any other up and coming mods you'd like to see featured? Are you making a mod you want the world to know about? Tell us in the comments, and we can share your favorite mods with our audience.

References

  • Modding information from User's Own Experience
  • Specific mods from Skyrim Nexus
  • Logo Copyright Bethesda, Mod Images from Skyrim Nexus

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