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Discovering Modding = Mind Blown!

Discussion in 'Skyrim Articles' started by EleanorUnicorn, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. EleanorUnicorn

    EleanorUnicorn Well-Known Member

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    Discovering Modding = Mind Blown!


    If you are already an experienced modder and need no help in getting started, scroll to the bottom of the article for a list of my favourite mods and their links. The pictures used in this article are from each respective mod, so be sure to look it up if you like it. Also, please feel free to leave a comment with your favourite mods (and their links, please) J

    *This article is a beginners guide on how to download and install mods to your game, it is NOT about how to create your own mods. That stuff is far too complicated for me!*


    For all the PC players out there, there is probably around a 90% chance that you use mods (modifications) to enhance your gameplay experience. After all what’s the point in having Skyrim for PC if you don’t use the resources provided for you? Playing on PC is all about graphics and data files, so why not add more data to make the game even better?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    *Birds of Skyrim*

    No matter what kind of thing or object or enhancement you want to add to your game (Hotter men/women? No problem! Maybe a new castle, new quests, new weapons, new enchantments, new enemies, new places to explore? Take your pick!), there is a 99% chance that someone has already had the same idea as you and created a mod for it. I don’t know how these people do it (for me computer programmers must be wizards, for real) but I’ll be forever grateful to all the mod creators out there for making Skyrim 100 times better than it already is!

    However, and I’m slightly ashamed to admit this, I didn’t even discover modding until March 2011. Seriously. I’d heard of mods, and knew that they added tons of cool stuff to your game, but never really knew how to do it. It seemed waaaay too complicated and I was always scared of ‘breaking’ my data files and losing all my progress, or getting a virus or whatever. It makes me kind of annoyed at myself as I was addicted to Oblivion (TES4) for YEARS and I never knew how to mod it at the time. Imagine all the fun I could have had. Thankfully, some of my amazing fellow SkyrimForums buddies were extremely patient with me and helped me to figure out how to do it.

    [​IMG]
    *Eyes Skyrim*

    So, this article is a short guide on getting started on modding (for the novice modder, or perhaps someone who has played on PS3 or Xbox before and has just bought a PC copy of Skyrim and isn’t 100% sure with where to start) as well as a list of the best mods I have found so far (a list which is ever expanding, as new mods are being created, released and updated every day). I am probably the most technically inept person ever, so if I can learn how to use mods, I’m 100% sure that you can as well J

    (I use the skyrim.nexusmods.com website, rather than the steam workshop. It’s really a matter of preference, as mod creators usually post their work on both websites. I find skyrimnexus to be much more simple and user friendly, but it’s really up to you.)

    1. Go to skyrim.nexusmods.com

    2. Create an account, with a username and password you can easily remember.

    3. Click on ‘Mod Manager’ and Download.

    4. Click the bright green button saying ‘Download Now’.

    5. Follow the installation steps.

    6. I’d also highly recommend watching the mod manager tutorial on this link. The guy explains how to use it and makes it sound so easy, which it is.



    So, once you have the Mod Manger installed and opened, you are ready to begin downloading your first mods J Exciting stuff! I know all the buttons look scary and confusing right now, but trust me, you will get used to it within a few days. You will see the words ‘vanilla’ and ‘lore friendly’ a lot. Vanilla simpy means ‘original, unmodded skyrim’ and lore friendly means ‘in keeping with the history and theme of the game’ (for example, no flying green aliens with lasers etc).

    So, go back to the skyrimnexus site. You can now search for and download ANY mod you like. Type a word into the ‘search’ box to look for something specific. Most first time modders usually click on ‘Files’ then ‘Top Files’ to see which are the most popular, widely used and recommended mods. The modding community is HUGE and has hundreds of thousands of files and users.

    EarthMoon.jpg
    [​IMG]
    *The Earth High Res Tex, Trees for Solitude*

    Click around the site, explore, get used to the layout etc. The only way you will learn about the site is by spending time on it. I can spend hours (seriously) searching through the categories, just looking for something cool or unusual to add to my game, and if I don’t like it I can always remove it afterwards. However, I would recommend only using mods which have at least 1 or 2 endorsements (good recommendations). I wouldn’t download one with 0 endorsements (unless it’s brand new) as there is a chance that the mod doesn’t work or causes bugs.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    *Radiant and Unique Potions and Poisons HD, Coverwomen*

    So, you’ve found a file that you REALLY want to add to your game. It looks safe enough, it has a few downloads and endorsements, you have read the comments people have left, and you have *FULLY *read the description. (Trust me on this. ALWAYS fully read the description as some mods may conflict with each other, cause bugs, or you may have to enter a console command to get the mod to work. It really is much better to take the time to read the whole thing and be safe, than sorry.)


    All you have to do is..

    1. Make sure you’re signed in.

    2. Make sure Nexus Mod Manager is open.

    3. Click the green box saying ‘Download With Manager’ *SOMETIMES DOWNLOAD WITH MANAGER IS NOT AVAILABLE. THIS MEANS YOU ARE EITHER NOT SIGNED IN, OR HAVE TO CLICK ON ‘DOWNLOADS’ INSTEAD AND CHOOSE THE OPTION WHICH YOU WANT. (In some extreme cases, download with manager is still not available and you must download manually with a program called WinRAR, but usually it won’t have to come to that.)*

    4. A security message may pop up, click ‘allow’ or whatever it says.

    5. If you go to the Mod Manager, and look at the bottom, there is a little box which says ‘1/1’. Click this to expand, and it will show you how far along the download is. Most are pretty much instant but others can take up to a few minutes depending on the size of the file you are downloading. I would recommend downloading only one mod at a time.

    6. When it says 100% - Finished Adding Mod, you need to click from Plugins to Mods. Click on the name of the file you have just downloaded, and to the left hand side of the screen there will be a little BLUE jigsaw piece logo with a GREEN arrow. Click on this, and you will hear a kind of trumpet noise, and there you go! Mod Successfully Activated! The next time you play your game, the mod will be there. :D If you ever want to remove the file, do the same, but click the blue jigsaw piece with the RED arrow. This will deactivate the mod *BUT ALWAYS BE SURE TO READ THE MOD CREATORS ADVICE ON HOW TO REMOVE THE MOD SAFELY*

    7. I know it’s tempting to go crazy and download like, 20 mods at one time, but please don’t, for the sake of both your mental and computers health. Firstly, make a save file with zero mods, so you can always go back to it IF you need to.* I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT MAKING A CLEAN SAVE FILE IS! YOU NEED TO DO IT INCASE SOMETHING GOES WRONG.* You must download one mod at a time, go onto your game, check everything is still ok, then exit and download the other mod you want etc. Otherwise you may have a bug or a CTD (crash to desktop, the most frustrating problem ever) and won’t be sure which mod is the problem, and have to sit and deactivate 20, rather than just 1. Most mods work beautifully and there are usually no problems, but as I said before, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Trust me on this one!

    8. If you ever decide to stop using a certain mod (for whatever reason) and wish to uninstall it, DO NOT just go straight to the mod manager and deactivate it! You MUST go to the skyrimnexus site, find the page for the mod you downloaded and read the mod creators advice on how to uninstall the mod. For example, UFO (ultimate follower overhaul) cannot simply be deactivated as it may cause problems with followers in the future. Instead you must go to Riverwood and talk to a dragonfly called Tina (yes, really) to uninstall the mod safely. It’s better to take a few minutes to read things through, rather than spend a lot more time on fixing your game if things go wrong! Also note that when new patches are released, you may have to update certain mods.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    *Mystical Illumination Glowing Signs*

    I sincerely hope that this article helped any first time modders out there (if there are still any by now; it’s probably only me who didn’t know until recently) and that your game experience is vastly improved J I know it’s not the most technical explanation, but hopefully this article is simple and easy to follow for the first time modders out there. Let me know if it helped you! Good luck, and happy modding! <3


    Now, for the rest of you, here are my favourite and most highly recommended mods. Everyone has their own preferences and opinions and I would love it if people could leave comments naming their favourite mods (with a link, please) J This will be in alphabetical order rather than in order of preference. I will put *MUST HAVE* next to the mods I believe to be the best J I won’t bother writing a description for each (as that would take up a LOT more time!) but you can click on the links you are interested in, and read the full description for yourselves.

    1. *MUST HAVE* A Quality World Map With Roads, All Roads (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/4929)

    2. Additional Item Enchantments
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/12383)

    3. *MUST HAVE* Apachii Sky Hair
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10168)

    4. *MUST HAVE IF ARCHER* Auto Unequip Arrows
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10753)

    5. *MUST HAVE* Birds of Skyrim
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17723)

    6. Camping Lite
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/11526)

    7. Colovian Traders
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/11615)

    8. *MUST HAVE* Coverwomen Look 3
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3563)

    9. Crowded Solitude
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/9117)

    10. *MUST HAVE! MY FAVOURITE!* Earth as The Moon
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1212)

    11. Enchanters Merchant
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17262)

    12. *MUST HAVE* Enchanting in Stores
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/11658)

    13. *MUST HAVE* Eyes Skyrim
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1430)

    14. Fast Respawns and Rich Merchants
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/15574)

    15. Flexible Perk Trees
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10773)

    16. *MUST HAVE* Glowing Ore Veins
    (Glowing Ore Veins 300 at Skyrim Nexus - Skyrim mods and community)

    17. Glowing Arrows
    (Glowing Arrows at Skyrim Nexus - Skyrim mods and community)

    18. *MUST HAVE* Goldleaf Pony Farm
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/9488)

    19. *MUST HAVE* Green Water Fix
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/14007)

    20. *MUST HAVE* Harvest Overhaul
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/16553)

    21. Highland Milk Farms
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17865)

    22. *MUST HAVE* Horses Gone Wild
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19108)

    23. Hybrids HD Plants and Herbs
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1546)

    24. *MUST HAVE FOR THIEVES* Ken Mod Lockpick Pro
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/219)

    25. *MUST HAVE FOR KHAJIITS!* Khajiit Speak
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/14513)

    26. *MUST HAVE* Lanterns of Skyrim
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18916)

    27. *MUST HAVE FOR ALCHEMISTS* Magical Alchemy Harvest-o-Tron
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/15899)

    28. *MUST HAVE! AMAZING HOUSE OUTSIDE WHITERUN WITH FARM AND TRADER!* Mammoths Rest Farm
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17847)

    29. More Village Animals
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/8565)

    30. *MUST HAVE! ALSO ONE OF MY FAVOURITES!* Mystical Illumination Glowing Signs
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/15664)

    31. *MUST HAVE FOR PROUDSPIRE MANOR OWNERS! THE BEST!* Proudspire Manor Refurbished (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/14630)

    32. *MUST HAVE* Radiant and Unique Poisons and Potions HD
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18799)

    33. School of Youth and Knowledge (available for Whiterun, Solitude and Markarth)
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10509)

    34. *MUST HAVE* Skyrim HD 2K Textures
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/607)

    35. *MUST HAVE! FOR EVERYONE!* Slofs Horses (also has mods for dogs, wolves, sabrecats)
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18602)

    35. Solitude Public Bathouse
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18811)

    36. *MUST HAVE! DOWNLOAD THEN LISTEN VIA HEADPHONES!* Sounds of Skyrim (the Wilds, Civilisation and Dungeons) (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10886)

    37. *MUST HAVE FOR MAGES* Spell Waterwalking
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18208)

    38. *MUST HAVE* Trees for Solitude
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10698)

    39. *MUST HAVE! INSTALL THIS THEN START A NEW GAME! MIND BLOWN!* Tytanis Ultimate Mod
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1601)

    40. *MUST HAVE IF USING FOLLOWERS* UFO Ultimate Follower Overhaul
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/14037)

    41. Unique Booze Bottles HD
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19922)

    42. Unlimited Bookshelves
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10891)

    43. XCE Xenius Character Enhancement
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/2356)

    44. The Complete Barenziah
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/14885)

    45. Skyrim Redone
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/9286)

    I hope you have enjoyed reading my *first* article, and that it was informative and useful for you! Please feel free to leave comments with your thoughts, and favourite mods, I would love to hear from people. Thanks guys, and happy modding!
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like x 14
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    Latest Given Reputation Points:
    Necromis: 5 Points (This is the best Mod article I have ever read, honestly. I would love to give more rep but alas the max I can is 5 or so it says.) Jul 17, 2012
    Ysarth the watcher: 3 Points (friendly, informative and easy reading. Well written!) Jul 19, 2012
    Melee: 12 Points (Now that I have Skyrim for PC, I can mod the hell out of it. This is a GREAT list of mods to use, and I love that there are plenty of suggestions too!) Jul 16, 2013
  2. Uther Pundragon

    Uther Pundragon The Harbinger of Awesome
    Staff Member

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    YAY ELEANOR!
     
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  3. Mr1cammando

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    OHMAYGODANEWARTICLE.

    Ahem.

    This is going to be a good reference for me when I get my new laptop. It will be awesome. Funny how you seemed to call all the mods I wouldn't use under must have, then you put the ones I would use on the bottom.
     
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  4. Auxilium

    Auxilium In my opinion..

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    I just tried out Project Reality: Climates of Tamriel and it's probably one of the most amazing mods out there when it comes to climate change, weather and lighting in general. New sounds for weather and everything.

    It's amazing.
    One of the huge bonuses for a lot of people is that it causes no FPS lost and just makes the game look x50 better.

    Project Reality: Climates Of Tamriel
     
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    EleanorUnicorn: 2 Points (the 'climates of tamriel' mod you suggested is AWESOME, thankyou for the input :D) Jul 12, 2012
  5. Ilya

    Ilya Article Writer

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    You REALLY have me wanting to get Skyrim for PC now!!!! Great article and awesome pics!! Thanks for sharing!!! :)
     
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  6. Epic Keith

    Epic Keith By Ysmir you're going to FREEZE to death!

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    I heard there was this mod for an XBOX SKYRIM called 3d map. It looked pretty neat. But I don't know how they actually made it for xbox
     
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  7. Renegader

    Renegader Administrator
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    Naaaaaaaaaaice! Troll would be proud!
     
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  8. Epic Keith

    Epic Keith By Ysmir you're going to FREEZE to death!

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    I saw this mod on nexus about dwarven hero armor, I think. That was looking better then the Daedric armor and weapons
     
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  9. Necromis

    Necromis Well-Known Member

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    Awesome Ellie
     
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  10. EleanorUnicorn

    EleanorUnicorn Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to read the article, I'm glad (and hope) you will find it helpful :) To be honest, I think that all of them are must haves, but by the end I realised I'd put *MUST HAVE* next to pretty much all of them! So I decided to leave the last ones plain. Would love to know which ones you start using when you get your new laptop :) Good luck and happy modding x
     
  11. M'aiqaelF

    M'aiqaelF Male, 32 years old, Denver area, CO

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    Very accessible writing style, not too long winded, screenshots are incorporated very well, and the directions seem easy enough to follow.
     
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  12. The_Deadliest_Troll

    The_Deadliest_Troll Melon Lord

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    You worked very hard on this, and it's awesome! Good job Eleanor :)
     
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  13. Omega Dragon

    Omega Dragon Active Member

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    I'd like to make a suggestion to add to your article: always document your mod installation, esp. your mod install order. It makes everything about Skyrim modding easier when you reach and go over the 40~50 amount of mods mark.

    Otherwise, great article!
     
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  14. SilverRhythm

    SilverRhythm Member

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    Thanks a lot for the article. I always have trouble choosing the right mods to make the game better^^ Well written.
     
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  15. Ludwik

    Ludwik New Member

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    guys is it worth having a mode on? I am not really sure if I want it or not
     
  16. EleanorUnicorn

    EleanorUnicorn Well-Known Member

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    Hi :) You asked if it was worth having a 'mode' on (I'm assuming you mean mod). It is DEFINITELY worth downloading mods to add things to your game, imagine a world full of free, easy downloadable content to choose from! I can't imagine playing skyrim now without using mods. Remember, you can always try out new mods and deactivate them if you don't like them. Which mod were you thinking of trying?
     
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  17. perkecet

    perkecet Active Member

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    This seems like a really long winded article that explains something rather simple, while also containing a video that somewhat negates a portion of the reading. The effort is certainly appreciated, and I'm sure people have been helped by this. However, those looking for a tutorial and just that would have to sift through quite a bit to find the basic, simple instructions. These instructions are there, of course, but they are stuck in the middle of the article, and are themselves longer than necessary.

    All in all, this is a good piece, and is obviously written in a very personal style. However, to me, this seems to be more of the way you would verbally explain the process to a friend, and less of a written tutorial. The inclusion of a list of your personal favorites is a nice touch, but again, is more of the type of thing you'd say verbally in conversation instead of an informative article.

    PS: The video is by a modder named Gopher, his Youtube channel is "GophersVids". He puts out mod videos regularly on multiple games, and you will certainly enjoy his Skyrim play through as well.
     
  18. Omega Dragon

    Omega Dragon Active Member

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    If by mode you mean mod, then yes it's well worth it to use mods in Skyrim. It just all depends on personal taste.
     
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  19. EleanorUnicorn

    EleanorUnicorn Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to read my article and leaving a comment. I'm genuinely sorry you found it 'really long winded'. I wrote it how I would have liked it explained to me, I guess, and for a technically inept person this would involve a lot of explaining. Maybe for you it is a basic procedure, but for many people it is a difficult, confusing process until they get used to it. I also had to include a lot of safety and precautions in there, seeing as I wouldn't want anyone to break their game. I had to find out the hard way and lost a lot of my game progress due to a bug caused by modding, and wished people had told me what to do, and how to avoid it. Perhaps if people read only the numbered steps, it will seem less long winded and more precise. Thanks again for reading and commenting!
     
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  20. EleanorUnicorn

    EleanorUnicorn Well-Known Member

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    Found a few more mods that people might enjoy :)

    46. Divine Punishment for Arrows to the Knee! *Strikes down guards who mention anything about taking an arrow to the knee, with a huge bolt of lightning :D worth having just for the comedy value :p *
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/15428)

    47. Vendors Have Arrows *Merchants have hundreds of arrows to sell rather than just twenty or so, and are much more likely to have orcish, glass, elven etc, must have for archers!*
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1575) also, Vendors Have Soul Gems (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/2523)

    48. Climates of Tamriel *as Auxilium suggested, is an incredible mod which adds more weather stages, and casts a whole different, realistic light upon the game. Beautiful, and well worth having! Definite must have!*
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17802)

    49. Cerwiden Companion *Beautiful and intelligent companion who casts defensive spells on you pre-battle, heals you, cures you of disease and uses destruction magic against enemies. She also seems to change her own outfits depending on where you are and what you're doing! Has the voice of Ysolda*
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/20787)

    50. Better Bows *6 brand new bows to choose from! Beautifully crafted and highly detailed, they are available to buy from the Drunken Huntsman in Whiterun. Extremely impressed with these bows, they are a work of art and a joy to own! Much better than any of the vanilla bows! Must have for archers!*
    (skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/13317)
     
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