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MMO Money Magazine

Writings on the business of fun: Virtual Worlds and Real Money Makes Online Gaming a Big Business. My economic view on the world of online games - without the hype.

Author: Inktomi

Skyrim, Modding & You - Part 1: Tools of The Trade.

Posted by Inktomi Friday January 4 2013 at 5:29PM
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Happy New Year MMOers! It's nice to be on break and getting a chance to do some ininhibited gaming. I have not gotten into any new MMO's recently, I am biding my time. Instead, I have picked up an old pastime of mine, which is modding single player games.

NOT MMO RELATED! Yes, but no in a way. As online gamers, we ask for a few things in our games; really we come to expect a lot and complain when we don't get it. We want individuality, fairness and the ability to create. Many games do not give us that, but if we sacrifice online playing to customize a game to our liking, then we would enjoy it much more, right? Best of all, they are all free except for the game itself. Yeah, yeah, I know you can get the game free too, but I am not that cheap. I always support my favorite developers.

Help me out here.

I have been modding Bethesda games for as far back as I can remember. Morrowind to the teeth, Oblivion to the point that it was not Oblivion any more. Many others, such as Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, Homeworld, even Doom 3 Sikkmod, gave that a whirl. 

Doom 3 is still Doom 3, just prettier. If you haven't played Doom 3 yet, get it cheap and run through it with Sikkmod for a much more graphically intensive experience. And graphics is what I am aiming for in my latest build for Skyrim. But before I go into the guide which I am writing for both you, fearless reader AND me as well. I've found plenty of "best mods for skyrim" articles, but not many good "how to" or DIY Guides.

My Rig

OS: Windows 7 64 Bit

Intel Core 2 Quad 2.83 Ghz

6 Gigs of DDR2 Ram

Nvidia Geforce GTX 560 (not overclocked)

2 Monitors, 1 HD 1080p

1.5 Terabytes of space for what I don't know.

That is my midrange machine. Works great, less filling and is going to give me the ability to play Skyrim with hi-res graphics.

I played Skyrim to death on the PS3 which I (cough, cough) got as a gift. Since the PS3 has been officially frozen out of all DLC, I felt the best way to really enjoy the game was to play it on PC (masterrace.) Just so happened that Steam had a big winter sale and offered me Skyrim, the Dawngaurd DLC and the tiny Hearthfire DLC for $40.00. Well worth the money, IMO.

On with the show!

Tools of the trade. PS: Always read the readmes

DO NOT GET MODS FROM THE STEAM WORKSHOP! Some are not fully supported, some outdated and most are also posted at Skyrim Nexus. Nexus has set the gold standard in the modding community for years now and I fully support them. Save the link, you are going to use it a lot if you follow this guide.

1) Buy Skyrim, either through Steam or dowload from somewhere or by discs. This is a steam-centric guide, so anywhere you see Steam, just ignore the steam part and focus on the path filename.

2) Installation of Steam (skip if not using steam) Many mods will tell you that putting mods in a \My Program Files folder is not recommended. Keep in mind, I did this from a format and a fresh Win7 installation and Steam installation. So everything is in my C:\Games\Steam folder. 

3) Install Skyrim and additional DLC. DO NOT INSTALL HI RES TEXTURE PACKS! You're going to get better ones from the community. The ones from Bethesda have caused many a crash or CTD.

4) Run Skyrim until you reach character creation. Close it up. That is your test stop if you are testing mods for compatibility. PS: Your are going to be starting a fresh game of Skyrim. I do not recommend adding Mods for games in progress. If you decide to and works seamlessly, good for you.

5) Steam Install: Right click on Skyrim, hit Properties, go to the Updates tab and under Automtic Updates turn it to Do not automatically update this game. I will show you later on in this guide how to update without wrecking your "build." Run from Steam again and adjust your graphics or let the game adjust them for you. This is the last time you will be running Skyrim from Steam or the regular .EXE.

6) Test the game and see if it runs.

7) Download these tools:

8)make sure you have updated Skyrim to the latest or higher build. Install and run BOSS. It should open up a browser screen showing what mods you have installed and the condition. Don't worry about dirty edits, just look for anything red. You should see none since this is a starter build.
9) Install 7zip if you don't have it. Then follow directions and install the above tools to the folder where your Skyrim game is installed to. It should be in C:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\Skyrim
10) If you are installing Wrye Bash and doing a full Python Install, run the installer twice and there is another .dll they need to install for you. The Wrye Bash executable will be in the \mopy folder. Make a copy of that and send it to desktop. Heck, make a copy of all of them and put them on your desktop. One further, make a folder on your desktop and drop them all in it. Keep it clean because modding is like home improvement, always keep your tools handy.
10 b) Read teh readmes. Wrye has an extensive, yellow and indepth readme online and has been keeping it updated for years now. Really talented team.
Mess around with your new toys. Read up around on some bonus websites I am posting below, and play some vanilla skyrim, for this is the last time you will.
Come back tomorrow when we start cleaning house and then start wrecking the joint. 
Disclaimer: These software licenses are protecting by the GNU Public license and by no means am I getting any compensation or recognition for their support. The just taste great together.
Dedicated to Knots the Inane, where ever you are.
reploidx writes: I've had no problems with the Steam Workshop, and i currently run a bunch that are up to date on there. The only problem i did have with it is that one mod got taken down and it ruined my last few saves, so i had to restart all over again. Other than that, I do look for mods on the nexus as well that are not on the workshop. Tue Jan 08 2013 11:49PM Report writes:
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