Tinkering with Skyrim

Posted by DJJoeJoe (1317 posts) -

Sometimes I feel like a pageant mother, pushing Skyrim to be more pretty than it ought to be...

Morrowind Saber

A vast or significant amount of the 100+ hours I’ve spent playing Skyrim so far has been tweaking the game back and forth between playable and beautiful, often shifting many times every day. While messing with uGrids in the Gamebryo Engine can destroy save files and create massive instabilities within the game it offers some of the better enhancements to visual quality and is the actual limiter for many standard tweaks. uGrids are literally the game world itself, how much the of the game world the engine will actually render and calculate at any given time, broken up into ‘grids’ around the player with the default being 5 and playable being 7, though more adventurous users going for great still images opt for 13+ uGrid for what I can imagine is not so much a game but rather a crash fest.

Besides playing Skyrim and tweaking it endlessly, taking screenshots has to be the third highest use of my time within the game and while I’ve not focused on this aspect as much I have managed to rack up almost 400 images. I’ve submitted some of the more notable images I’ve taken over at http://skyrimphotography.net/, just navigate over to the Star Photographers section to see some of them. I do sync my Steam screenshots folder for the game to Picasa as well so ‘all’ of the screens I’ve taken thus far will always be located here with newest at the bottom.

A list of the most notable mods I ‘track’ on SkyrimNexus.com:
Better Sorting – renames many items
Bookshelf Patch – attempts to fix ‘floating’ placed objects
Embiggen Skyrim – makes skyrim support borderless windowed mode (most stable)
Enhanced Blood Textures – significantly better looking blood splatters
Essential followers plugins – companions in all beth games seem useles if/when they can die
Immersive HUD – iHUD – dynamically hides/shows HUD elements
JaySuS Swords – some great unique models here, not in use by me but definitely one I follow
Legendary Smithing Upgrades – weapon improvements without exploiting potion system
Lost Art of the Blacksmith – adds upgrades to otherwise none upgradable items
Pure Waters Adaptive Flow – one of the few water texture tweaks that I think are good
SKYRIM ENHANCED SHADERS – takes the enbseries tweaks and makes them look good
Skyrim Flora Overhaul – not worth actually using at the moment, but very good work
Skyrim Incremental Saver – very useful since the game doesn’t have a good save system
Skyrim Online – extremely ambitious project…
SkyUI – great UI replacement, adds valuable sorting options and display of items
TESV Acceleration Layer – extreme increases in game performance and stability via code efficiency
Vals Crafting Meltdown Alpha – new blacksmith functions like reverse smelting, arrow crafting etc
Weapon Retexture Project – WRP – great work on making weapons look better
Weapons of the Third Era – adds great, unique weapons from Morrowind
World Map in full 3D – while cumbersome in practice, full navigation of the 3d map is nifty
XCE - Xenius Character Enhancement – all wrapped up into one, characters look better
#1 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1317 posts) -

Sometimes I feel like a pageant mother, pushing Skyrim to be more pretty than it ought to be...

Morrowind Saber

A vast or significant amount of the 100+ hours I’ve spent playing Skyrim so far has been tweaking the game back and forth between playable and beautiful, often shifting many times every day. While messing with uGrids in the Gamebryo Engine can destroy save files and create massive instabilities within the game it offers some of the better enhancements to visual quality and is the actual limiter for many standard tweaks. uGrids are literally the game world itself, how much the of the game world the engine will actually render and calculate at any given time, broken up into ‘grids’ around the player with the default being 5 and playable being 7, though more adventurous users going for great still images opt for 13+ uGrid for what I can imagine is not so much a game but rather a crash fest.

Besides playing Skyrim and tweaking it endlessly, taking screenshots has to be the third highest use of my time within the game and while I’ve not focused on this aspect as much I have managed to rack up almost 400 images. I’ve submitted some of the more notable images I’ve taken over at http://skyrimphotography.net/, just navigate over to the Star Photographers section to see some of them. I do sync my Steam screenshots folder for the game to Picasa as well so ‘all’ of the screens I’ve taken thus far will always be located here with newest at the bottom.

A list of the most notable mods I ‘track’ on SkyrimNexus.com:
Better Sorting – renames many items
Bookshelf Patch – attempts to fix ‘floating’ placed objects
Embiggen Skyrim – makes skyrim support borderless windowed mode (most stable)
Enhanced Blood Textures – significantly better looking blood splatters
Essential followers plugins – companions in all beth games seem useles if/when they can die
Immersive HUD – iHUD – dynamically hides/shows HUD elements
JaySuS Swords – some great unique models here, not in use by me but definitely one I follow
Legendary Smithing Upgrades – weapon improvements without exploiting potion system
Lost Art of the Blacksmith – adds upgrades to otherwise none upgradable items
Pure Waters Adaptive Flow – one of the few water texture tweaks that I think are good
SKYRIM ENHANCED SHADERS – takes the enbseries tweaks and makes them look good
Skyrim Flora Overhaul – not worth actually using at the moment, but very good work
Skyrim Incremental Saver – very useful since the game doesn’t have a good save system
Skyrim Online – extremely ambitious project…
SkyUI – great UI replacement, adds valuable sorting options and display of items
TESV Acceleration Layer – extreme increases in game performance and stability via code efficiency
Vals Crafting Meltdown Alpha – new blacksmith functions like reverse smelting, arrow crafting etc
Weapon Retexture Project – WRP – great work on making weapons look better
Weapons of the Third Era – adds great, unique weapons from Morrowind
World Map in full 3D – while cumbersome in practice, full navigation of the 3d map is nifty
XCE - Xenius Character Enhancement – all wrapped up into one, characters look better
#2 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

I hope I live long enough to see the day when consoles get mod support.

#3 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1317 posts) -

@Axxol: Technically the playstation 3 supports mods(I think?), but that seems to be more part of Sony's general attitude towards it's online service as a whole. It doesn't care what you or anyone does, they can make something great or do nothing at all and it's all up to developers and users to make that content happen themselves etc. I'd like to see if their methods change for their next console, it's not hard to implement rules that people need to follow in order to deliver a great experience across the board and it's kinda needed if you indeed want that great experience. Microsoft's downside when doing exactly that is the rules they've made don't evolve in a smart way, they provide great things but right now they harm almost half the time that they help something grow.

#4 Posted by BasketSnake (1155 posts) -

I modded my xbox save slightly on PC and brought it back over. Apparently some of the PC settings was ported over too because when I turn around I no longer get that slight lag from the controls. The turning speed is consistent like on PC and I - love - it.

#5 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1317 posts) -

@BasketSnake: Very weird, hope that continues to work out for you.

#6 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

@DJJoeJoe said:

@Axxol: Technically the playstation 3 supports mods(I think?), but that seems to be more part of Sony's general attitude towards it's online service as a whole. It doesn't care what you or anyone does, they can make something great or do nothing at all and it's all up to developers and users to make that content happen themselves etc. I'd like to see if their methods change for their next console, it's not hard to implement rules that people need to follow in order to deliver a great experience across the board and it's kinda needed if you indeed want that great experience. Microsoft's downside when doing exactly that is the rules they've made don't evolve in a smart way, they provide great things but right now they harm almost half the time that they help something grow.

The PS3 doesn't support mods.

#7 Posted by ssj4raditz (1125 posts) -

Why oh why must I not have a good PC?!

#8 Posted by Daiphyer (1307 posts) -
@Axxol said:

I hope I live long enough to see the day when consoles get mod support.

Agreed x100000.  
 Mods make games so much better. Fuck you Microsoft and Sony.
#9 Posted by gike987 (1747 posts) -

@Axxol said:

@DJJoeJoe said:

@Axxol: Technically the playstation 3 supports mods(I think?), but that seems to be more part of Sony's general attitude towards it's online service as a whole. It doesn't care what you or anyone does, they can make something great or do nothing at all and it's all up to developers and users to make that content happen themselves etc. I'd like to see if their methods change for their next console, it's not hard to implement rules that people need to follow in order to deliver a great experience across the board and it's kinda needed if you indeed want that great experience. Microsoft's downside when doing exactly that is the rules they've made don't evolve in a smart way, they provide great things but right now they harm almost half the time that they help something grow.

The PS3 doesn't support mods.

Consoles would not be able to run many of the popular mods anyway. The PS3 version runs bad as it is, I really don't want to see what it runs like with texture that are two to four times the original resolution.

#10 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

@gike987 said:

@Axxol said:

@DJJoeJoe said:

@Axxol: Technically the playstation 3 supports mods(I think?), but that seems to be more part of Sony's general attitude towards it's online service as a whole. It doesn't care what you or anyone does, they can make something great or do nothing at all and it's all up to developers and users to make that content happen themselves etc. I'd like to see if their methods change for their next console, it's not hard to implement rules that people need to follow in order to deliver a great experience across the board and it's kinda needed if you indeed want that great experience. Microsoft's downside when doing exactly that is the rules they've made don't evolve in a smart way, they provide great things but right now they harm almost half the time that they help something grow.

The PS3 doesn't support mods.

Consoles would not be able to run many of the popular mods anyway. The PS3 version runs bad as it is, I really don't want to see what it runs like with texture that are two to four times the original resolution.

This console generation can't, but none of us know what the next generation is going to be capable of or the generation after that. It may take a while for something like this to happen, that's why I stated that I hope I live long enough to see the day it actually happens. I wasn't talking about this generation.

#11 Posted by VilhelmNielsen (1734 posts) -

@Axxol: I think Todd Howard said something about them trying to figure out a system to get mods to the console versions. They'd probably hand pick some, and release them through some sort of service. He referenced Rock Band Network.

#12 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

@VilhelmNielsen said:

@Axxol: I think Todd Howard said something about them trying to figure out a system to get mods to the console versions. They'd probably hand pick some, and release them through some sort of service. He referenced Rock Band Network.

Yeah, I heard about that. It's good that Todd and crew are taking initiative and I hope it runs smoothly.

#13 Posted by JeanLuc (3571 posts) -

Hot damn, those are some impressive mods! I'm going to download some of these right now!!

#14 Posted by Ryuku_Ryosake (202 posts) -

@Axxol: Actually it does the PS3 version of Unreal Tournament 3 allowed you to run PS3 ports of the PC mods. I did it it worked pretty well too. You loaded the mod to a special folder on a usb stick put it in hit the mod option and it would import the mod. Epic would even port the best PC mods to the PS3 if the creator did not. It worked pretty good. It's just that Unreal Tournament failed hard so we never saw it again. However Sony was willing to play ball for mods on it's platform.

#15 Posted by Catfish666 (189 posts) -

Very nice post!

Been thinking of posting a similar one myself, was one day looking back at my FO:NV mod manager and realized I had exactly 100 mods installed. Although the game had gotten more unstable I must say I was pretty happy about what I had changed the game into, pretty proud even, I spent alot of time browsing and testing mods. Tens of hours easy. Knowing what sort of process it is to browse through the mods, I tip my hat to you, dude. That's a good selection of good mods. Are you maybe planning on keeping updating this or posting updates on your modding? Would deffo check back.

I'm still playing through the game vanilla myself. Vanilla in my case being only visual, UI and minor rebalance mods. Thought I'd just use same formula as with FO:NV, first playthrough normal, and then unto mods. Seeing the mod tools are released on january, the timing seems to go just nicely. I might just make a similar blog post then myself as well :)

Always be modding!

#16 Posted by Matthew (1911 posts) -
@Ryuku_Ryosake said:

@Axxol: Actually it does the PS3 version of Unreal Tournament 3 allowed you to run PS3 ports of the PC mods. I did it it worked pretty well too. You loaded the mod to a special folder on a usb stick put it in hit the mod option and it would import the mod. Epic would even port the best PC mods to the PS3 if the creator did not. It worked pretty good. It's just that Unreal Tournament failed hard so we never saw it again. However Sony was willing to play ball for mods on it's platform.

Yeah, I was going to bring up the point that skins are a very basic form of modding. And while UT3 failed hardcore, it did bring the concept of mods to the PS3.
#17 Posted by Gashlycrumb (48 posts) -

that's a pretty nice morrowind saber you got there? might i ask where you got it?

#18 Edited by DJJoeJoe (1317 posts) -

@Catfish666: I have a feeling that we'll only get a large selection of new, unique, and great mods come January. Right now it's mostly what we already have and variants of them. A large selection of Beth game mods have never been for me, the 'clean' skin stuff or the anime girl stuff is crazy to me along with most unique armors because they tend to change things too much. What I want at most is tasteful inclusions into the game world like the Weapons of the Third Era which adds very well done morrowind weapons and explains away a backstory of them being rare and actually not that great stats wise, only slightly better in 'some' cases, but they look unique and great in Skyrim and that's enough for me to perk up when I randomly spot one in a basket in dungeon. Whenever I see a weapon in the game world I can't help but exclaim out-loud, "cool!".

@Gashlycrumb: Weapons of the Third Era by user 747823

The author just added an ebony saber I believe also, which looked pretty rad.

#19 Posted by gike987 (1747 posts) -
#20 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1317 posts) -

@gike987: The realistic water mod seems to have a general goal of making 'better' water, changing the reflectivity and various other things. The pure waters mod seems oriented on a specific aesthetic of calmer water, and I like that look a bit more than the 'just better' water cause honestly the default water was something I didn't have issues with at all. I did use the realistic water at first though, both are fine and I think it's down to personal taste. If I downloaded only the popular mods all the females in my game would have massive tits, creepily clean skin and I'd have various colors robes and photoshop noise on all the game's textures for an "HD" effect :S

#21 Edited by Brackynews (4045 posts) -

@BraveToaster said:

I hope I live long enough to see the day when consoles get mod support.

Already did. That's the past, broster.

Integrity of leaderboards and anti-cheat systems for a fair and balanced gameplay experience is our present and future...

*looks around* *shakes head* *loads NES cartridge*

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