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.
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 Some are not fully supported, some outdated and most are also posted at Skyrim Nexus.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:
- BOSS (Better Oblivion Sorting Software) or get it from the Google Code Page.
- Nexus Mod Manager
- Wrye Bash
- SKSE or SKyrim Script Extender. Read the readme in the zip file to follow the install, don't just use NMM (nexus mod manager) to install it, it will not run. Make a shortcut and send it to your desktop, that is where you are going to run Skyrim from now on.