Modding Skyrim!

Sarafan

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Jan 14, 2020
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Back to Skyrim! After some break I've decided that it's time to continue playing the game. I started my current playthrough without any mods except SkyUI. And while I was fully satisfied with this, after 80 hours it's time for some variety. So here I am... Heavily modding Skyrim for the first time in history! :)

The most important thing is to pick an appropriate mod manager. I found that Nexus Mods Vortex is rather inaccessible (at least for me). Lots of options that I'll never use and unclear, complicated design. So I decided to go for something simpler. Mod Organizer 2 is an ideal tool for me. It leaves original game files intact and "tricks" the game executable that the mod files are merged with them. Installing modifications with MO2 is very easy. You download the packed mod file, select it in MO2 and voila! All that is left is to drag and drop them in the desired order (which is quite important as sometimes mods overwrite each others files).

Right now I ended up with more than 20 mods installed and the game looks... I don't have words to describe it! I have a feeling that the effect is better than in The Witcher 3 next gen update. Take a look yourself!







What more, the game works in a stable 60 fps! I can provide a full list of mods that I'm using, if someone wants to follow my trail. ;) Of course it's possible to mod everything even further, but you have to be prepared to pay the price both in performance and time (needed especially to select mods and download them for free in the rate of 3 MB/s from Nexus ;)).

I'll update this thread with even more screenshots as I progress further. Maybe even I'll add a mod or two. Adding mods is so addicting. :D At first I planned only to upgrade textures, but the effect was only spectacular when you looked on them from close distance. That's why I decided to do a major overhaul. And now probably I got addicted. :D Beware of modding! ;)
 
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Actually that gives the game a new look. It's enough to keep me entertained! :D
I suppose that's why remasters are so popular. And being entertained is really the only thing that matters when playing games.

Now that's a great idea! I'll give it a try, probably when I finish Dragonborn. :)
I must admit I haven't actually tried it myself, but I'm starting to feel like picking up Skyrim again now...
 
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Sarafan

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The most important thing is to pick an appropriate mod manager. I found that Nexus Mods Vortex is rather inaccessible (at least for me). Lots of options that I'll never use and unclear, complicated design. So I decided to go for something simpler. Mod Organizer 2 is an ideal tool for me.
Yeah, being comfortable with your mod manager is really important, especially with Bethesda games I think because of the volume of mods you can potentially install as well as sorting them for the load order. It's weird, I had the exact opposite feelings you had when comparing Vortex Mod Manager to Mod Organizer 2. For me, Vortex was fairly easy to understand and I love how it handles mod downloads, deployment, disabling or removing, and sorting load orders. Whereas I found MO2 just too confusing for my taste. It's just personal preference I think. On the Nexus Forums people seem to swear by either one or the other, as they're both excellent, it just comes down to what an individual feels comfortable with.

I can provide a full list of mods that I'm using,
I'm always interested in what mods others are using for Bethesda games, so I would like to see you mods and/or load order if you have the time. That last shot of Whiterun is really nice, the quality of the lighting almost looks like you've installed an ENB (?).
 
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There's also Enderal - a total conversion module for Skyrim that evolved into standalone game! It's also fan made and quite impressive. It's available for free if you own Skyrim Special Edition: https://store.steampowered.com/app/976620/Enderal_Forgotten_Stories_Special_Edition/.
That looks awesome. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll probably wait until I do my PC build later in the year, but I'll definitely try this out. I have Skyrim SE, so there's no point in not trying it.
 
You Skyrimmers sure are well catered for in the mod dept!
Obviously that's because the base game is so bad that everyone immediately said "OMG we gotta fix this!", and there, poof!—out of thin air, 1,000 mods on Day 2. Right?
Yes, that's gotta be it—same as that decrepit old gate in one of our fields long ago, couldn't just scrap it since it filled a gap…

quality of the lighting almost looks like you've installed an ENB
Are you talking about Enhanced Night Brightness, or the Extra New Bulb? I use both with MS Office, so acronymically confused :unsure:
 

Sarafan

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I'm always interested in what mods others are using for Bethesda games, so I would like to see you mods and/or load order if you have the time. That last shot of Whiterun is really nice, the quality of the lighting almost looks like you've installed an ENB (?).
Actually I am using ENB along with a particular preset from Nexus. :) I’ll post the list of mods and their order tomorrow because I’m going to sleep right now. Today I added two mods: one dedicated to dynamic lighting and one to fires, but the second one gives a quite mediocre effect. It’s maybe due to the ENB preset I’ve selected.

That looks awesome. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll probably wait until I do my PC build later in the year, but I'll definitely try this out. I have Skyrim SE, so there's no point in not trying it.
Only played Enderal for a few hours (it’s still in my backlog), but I have to say that it’s impressive.

Are you talking about Enhanced Night Brightness, or the Extra New Bulb? I use both with MS Office, so acronymically confused :unsure:
It’s a custom renderer available for many games. There you go: http://enbdev.com/ :)
 

Sarafan

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I'm always interested in what mods others are using for Bethesda games, so I would like to see you mods and/or load order if you have the time. That last shot of Whiterun is really nice, the quality of the lighting almost looks like you've installed an ENB (?).
Here's a complete list of mods that I'm currently using:

Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE)
High Poly Project
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
Skyrim 2018 by Pfuscher
Skyrim 202X by Pfuscher
Skyrim Terrain Parallax
HD Urns Textures
ENB Light
Inferno - Fire Effects Redux
Address Library for SKSE Plugin
ENB Helper SE
Cathedral Weathers and Seasons
SkyrimSE Re-Engaged ENB (for Cathedral Weathers) (it uses some files from original ENB series)
Generic Inventory Sound Fix
SkyUI
Achievements Mods Enabler

As for mod order:



Basically everything runs smooth like a butter. No in-game errors, very decent performance and satisfying end effect.
 
I'm really liking the look of the ENBs you're using, I'm going to have to check them out. I'd love to see some more landscape shots taken in different weather situations. I use Cathedral Weathers as well, and it'd be nice to see how the ENB affects the look of those weathers. If you have the time of course, I love looking at Skyrim screenshots.

Are you running the Anniversary Edition (the free update) V.1.6.353 or the original version of Skyrim V.1.5.97.0? The reason I ask is because @Krud (in his topic a few lines down) was having trouble finding mods to use that had been updated to AE from the original SSE version. I had blocked my AE update because I still had a good working mod list that I didn't want to lose, but at some point I'm going to want to start from scratch again and I'd like to move on to the AE version if enough mods have been updated.
 

Sarafan

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Is there a reason you aren't using the unofficial patches?
Good question! :) Actually no particular reason apart from the fact that I rarely encounter any bugs in the current version of the game. And maybe fears about compatibility with the Polish version, but these are mostly unjustified as the most popular unofficial patch supports this version. :)

I'm really liking the look of the ENBs you're using, I'm going to have to check them out. I'd love to see some more landscape shots taken in different weather situations. I use Cathedral Weathers as well, and it'd be nice to see how the ENB affects the look of those weathers. If you have the time of course, I love looking at Skyrim screenshots.
No problem. :) I'll try to make some screenshots in different weather conditions, but they're usually less spectacular than those in clear weather. ;)

Are you running the Anniversary Edition (the free update) V.1.6.353 or the original version of Skyrim V.1.5.97.0?
I'm using the Steam newest Anniversary Edition (1.6.640) with all of the content that it introduced. I had zero problems with mods so far. I think that things have settled down a bit after the first problems with AE. GOG edition of the game has a different version number and requires different SKSE version, but I believe Krud is using the Steam version. I don't know how's the compatibility with gameplay changing mods however.
 
@Sarafan - very nice! Keep posting when you can. Since you're using Cathedral Weathers, have you taken a look at Improved Rain & Fog for CW: Improved Rain and Fog for Cathedral Weathers at Skyrim Special Edition Nexus - Mods and Community (nexusmods.com) ?

There's also a lightening mod that greatly intensifies the feeling of thunderstorms: Storm Lightning for SSE and VR (Minty Lightning 2019) at Skyrim Special Edition Nexus - Mods and Community (nexusmods.com)

I heard mixed opinions about the mod. Is it really that good?
I certainly liked it. It's good to have a Scandanavian accent around when in Skyrim. Acting is not professional grade, but it's good enough to be fun. Plus she sings!

There are a few super-companion mods out there, you might want to look around.
A lot depends on what you're looking for when modding Skyrim, whether you're primarily concerned with graphics/lighting, or also want to also upgrade your followers/companions. Vilja is one of the best companion mods I've ever experienced with a distinct personality (and voice), her own series of personal quests, better AI, and the best thing (in my opinion), is how she interacts with NPCs or other companions.

Another unique companion mod is Inigo who has a distinct personality and often makes fun of your other companions or NPCs.

Vilja & Inigo


Not my video, but an example of how Inigo can make fun of companions:
View: https://youtu.be/KEet922zPE8
 

Sarafan

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@Sarafan - very nice! Keep posting when you can. Since you're using Cathedral Weathers, have you taken a look at Improved Rain & Fog for CW: Improved Rain and Fog for Cathedral Weathers at Skyrim Special Edition Nexus - Mods and Community (nexusmods.com)
Tried it and I prefer the original rain from Cathedral Weathers. Maybe it's a little less visible, but seems more natural to me. Thanks for the suggestion though! :) As for lightning storms I don't like when there's too much flashes on a dark screen. It's simply annoying for me.

A lot depends on what you're looking for when modding Skyrim, whether you're primarily concerned with graphics/lighting, or also want to also upgrade your followers/companions. Vilja is one of the best companion mods I've ever experienced with a distinct personality (and voice), her own series of personal quests, better AI, and the best thing (in my opinion), is how she interacts with NPCs or other companions.
To make most out of a companion, you have to actually carry one with you! :D I dropped Lydia for the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood questlines and now I realized that I don't need a companion at all. :p With double enchants on weapons and armors, I have no problems with enemies and when it comes to carry weight, I use a backpack, a perk from the Steal tree and an appropriate stone. So probably companion mods will have to wait for the next playthrough in a few years...
 
To make most out of a companion, you have to actually carry one with you! :D I dropped Lydia for the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood questlines and now I realized that I don't need a companion at all. :p With double enchants on weapons and armors, I have no problems with enemies and when it comes to carry weight, I use a backpack, a perk from the Steal tree and an appropriate stone. So probably companion mods will have to wait for the next playthrough in a few years...
I hate companions in Skyrim.
 
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Sarafan

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Another round of screenshots:











I started Dragonborn and it was as I expected - none of the mods that I've installed so far re-textured the assets from the DLC. The ENB renderer did it's job even without the textures, but I wanted a full upgrade. :p I didn't have to look for long: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/34292?tab=description. In the description there are links to other parts of Solstheim texture mods by this author. Starting from my next post, I'll be providing screenshots from this island, as I progress forward. :)
 

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