I know this is old, but I'm still going to be the first person to leave a comment in Livefyre, making me temporally last but practically first. Don't worry, I'm sure none of the 27 comments posted under the previous comment system mattered.
Among the other loot that I got for Christmas, my loving and oh so patient and understanding wife got me an EVGA Nvidia GTX-570 video card and a Collector's Edition of Skyrim.
I think everyone reading these words can see where this is going from here.
I vaguely remember my life before Skyrim. I remember concepts like "fresh air", "sunshine", "people" and, of course, "sex". I remember that I used to experience all of these things. Of course, these things all happened prior to two things:
1. My Christmas loot
2. The new "Nexus Mod Manager" and how unbelievably and tear-inducingly easy to mod games like Skyrim became.
But I fear that I am getting ahead of myself in my enthusiasm. Allow me to start from the beginning. Some of you may be aware that I could have certainly picked up Skyrim on release day, but that I am completely and fully aware of the fact that Bethesda doesn't exactly have a stellar track record for their games being, shall we say, completely ready to be played on release day.
Because of this, I decided NOT to pick up the game on that day and instead make the strategic decision to put the game on my Christmas list on the assumption that the game would have had multiple patches by that time AND that the game would have had plenty of attention from the modding community by that time as well. I'm pleased to report that these things are mostly true.
Skyrim is not fully free from bugs. I've encountered one, for example, in my playing of the "Companions" questline in Whiterun that prevents me from finishing the questline. I've also had "essential" characters die on me by accident due to their getting caught in the water on an object and drowning. The latter I managed to fix through the research of the appropriate console commands on the PC version of the game. The former remains a vast, throbbing, canker sore of irritation.
But what really differentiates Bethesda games on the PC is the mods. Dear. Sweet. Zombie. Savior. Jesus. On. A. Pogo. Stick. Eating. Blue. Twinkies. The. MODS!!!!
If you're anything like I was a couple of years back, then getting into the modding of games, even as a user and not a mod creator, can be more than a little intimidating. The instructions given for the installing of mods can be obscure and aren't always written with newbies in mind when the modder him/herself puts the mod out for public consumption.
'Lo and then the clouds did part and the angels did sing! For unto us, a Mod Manager is born to clense the world from the sins of computer savvy people assuming the rest of us know what the flying "purple gumdrops" they're talking about when they spout their arcane gibberish.
What I am about to give you, ladies and gentlemen, is the sort of thing that inspires the throwing of panties at rock stars. Yes, it's that damned awesome.
Nexus Mod Manager
It should be noted that if any of you feel the need to throw your panties or underwear at me after trying this thing out and seeing how easy it is to use (with a little help from the rest of this blog) please do put your name somewhere on them. I fully intend to start a collection on my bedroom wall beneath a nicely carved oaken sign that simply says "Conquest!" upon it. Having names attached will, simultaneously, make that both 10x more juvenile and 20x more awesome.
Okay, so, a little instruction. Here's how that mod manager works.
Here is a list of the current top-100 endorsed mods of all time for Skyrim. If you've downloaded and installed that mod manager above, then "modding" your Skyrim experience is as easy as taking the following steps.
1. Click on a mod.
2. Decide if you want it.
3. Select downloads
4. Choose "Download with Mod Manager"
5. Choose "Nexus Mod Manager" when the box pops up.
6. Wait for the download to complete.
7. Open your Mod Manager
8. Click "Mods" tab
9. Click button to install
Seriously, it makes it that damned easy. Even an evil genius created Experiment 626 can manage it.
So, what are the things to consider as you're selecting and implementing your mods?
1. Keep in mind your system's capabilities.
Sure, swapping in High Definition resolutions for the "vanilla" (game default) ones anywhere and everywhere you can sounds badass. But the reason why developers go with lower resolutions is that they try and put out a game that looks good, but that the vast majority of people can actually have their computers run.
I'm lucky in that, due to my wife's OTHER gift, my computer can pretty much run anything I damned well please on Skyrim, but not everyone is so fortunate. Many modders out there have "Lite" versions of their mods for lower juiced PCs. Consider this and read the descriptions of the mods carefully when determining which ones to use.
If necessary, uninstall your mod (via clicking a single button in your mod manager) if you suffer an unacceptable performance hit.
2. Install ONE MOD AT A TIME.
As awesome as some of these mods are, they are not exactly professionally done and tested. The quality of the mods and the competency of the people creating the mods vary widely.
Some mods are relatively benign. For example, mods that replace the default textures in your game are relatively harmless on a game that is connected to Steam. Don't like the results? Undo and let the Vanilla stuff take over again.
But other things can cause unforeseen conflicts, bugs, unexpected quirks, etc. Mods that change dialog, or impact the storyline, for instance can corrupt things that you don't anticipate. Best advise is to do ONE mod at a time, start your game, see if the mod has caused any issues, and then move onto the next.
This way if something gets screwed up with your game you know EXACTLY which mod caused it and can go back and adjust as necessary. This is as opposed to downloading and installing ten different mods and then trying to figure out which one is causing the flying villagers with missing faces in your game.
3. Backup your save files
With a mod manager like the one I linked to earlier, your choices of causing irrevocable harm to your game are substantially reduced since it has you messing around with far less stuff than you would be if you were installing these mods manually yourself.
But "far less" doesn't necessarily mean you, or the program itself, can't cause an unforeseen fuuck up. As a general rule of thumb, back up your save files in a safe place every so often to avoid losing the hundred hours or so of your life that you've invested.
4. Understand what the mods are doing.
This can give you a general idea of when you might have a "conflict" between your mods. "Conflicts" occur when you have multiple mods trying to do the same thing. Let's take a depressingly common example to drive the point home.
Due to it's desire to avoid "NC-17" type ratings for its games, Bethesda makes some compromises with the content of its games in places. For example, children in their games tend to be "essential" which is a fancy way of saying "the game doesn't let you kill the little bastards no matter how annoying they are or how much you've been playing your character as an evil douchemonger".
Another example is that Bethesda games show no boobies. If you loot a corpse, it doesn't matter if you take everything on the corpse, it will be decently clad afterwards to avoid the inadvertent nipple making an appearance. To many modders (and frankly to this author) this, like unkillable children, is an insult that must not be allowed to stand. This is not because I can't stand to go without naked pixelated dirty pillows, but because it represents an outside interference with the choices involved in how I play the game and an offense against realism.
To put it a different way, I don't typically always play my rpgs as a child killing, nipple ogling psychopath but I will DEFEND TO THE DEATH my right to do so! Viva la revolution!
So a very common mod out there is to swap body textures for nude versions...or even nude versions with RIDICULOUS attention to detail being paid to things like nipples or genitals. If you download and install two different mods that both replace those textures, then you're not going to get both.
In the best case scenario, the most recently installed one will overwrite the existing one. (And the Mod Manager typically warns you when this is happening.) But in some cases this doesn't necessarily get caught. So, when you're installing your mods, think about what you already have in place and that will tell you the likelihood of causing problems.
So, with those simple rules in place I bid you the best of fun and experiences playing this, and other Bethesda games, with the benevolent help of the Nexus modding community. My wife just got home. I need to go pretend to pay attention to her for a few minutes and then go play more Skyrim.
In my next episode, I will talk about a few mods out there that I think very highly of and would recommend to my readers.
@nocoolnamejim And here I though all mods were some stuck-up old bores ;) Yeah,true art challenges you,and when too much money gets into something,like it did to gaming,self-censorship starts,out of fear of bad publicity and money loss.Too bad,but hey,at least we have mods to give some freedom to our games... I prefered the old days,when gaming was much smaller,and gamer meant that weird and nerdy kid who never leaves the house :P Sure,by gaming going mainstream,some good things happened to the industry,but the problem,most huge and mainstream games fully lost that subtle artistical touch they once had since money is all that matters...
@yeah_write Because I know you care about these things, have you seen the Multiplayer Mod for Skyrim yet? Link @nutcrackr Indeed it is. Just an amazing amount of community support. @31160618 Well...they don't have that one yet. But they DO have one that makes the dragons look like Macho Man Randy Savage. Link @biggest_loser Yes...yes it is. It made me remember why I love Chili even when she's being a bit.ch. @s_h_a_d_o You said it brother. My feelings exactly.
@Rocker6 I'm a horrible person for finding that picture as hilarious as I do. I miss the days when gaming companies weren't afraid of offending. People talk about video games as an art form all the time, but true art challenges you. True art is not afraid of offending. @Baconbits2004 Drop me a line when you get the updated rig. I'll help you get started. What were you expecting BTW? @raven28256 Yeah, heard the news on X-Com. Totally psyched, but cautious. (My comment on the news article is one of the really early ones.) As for Skyrim...you should see how purdy I'm making my PC Skyrim with the appropriate mods. I'm a happy guy. @ChiliDragon Ironically, he's right. U.S. version was the uncensored one. That's why we install my copy of the game when you feel the desire to play it here. Jackhammer shotgun the little bastards. @Allicrombie You can transfer saves between versions? Seriously? How? @Legolas_Katarn Not yet, but there will be. All the mods that I linked to...they were created before Bethesda has even released their creation kit. (More replies coming.)
Despite it's flaws, Skyrim has proven to be the game I've been waiting for (oh so long) to satisfy my craving for an extensible PC-centric experience. Roll on the Creation Kit.
I've been running quite a few textures mods and some other mods (like the ui mod) certainly improves things just like mods helped oblivion. It's incredibly how many mods it had weeks after launch.
@Legolas_Katarn Not if you install [url=http://www.nma-fallout.com/forum/dload.php?action=file&file_id=78]this[/url] ;)
I haven't messed around with mods yet, but I have screwed with the console a bit. I used it to change the fov from the default 70 to a more spacious 85. I also used it give myself a skeleton key. I still have to pick locks, which takes forever because I have zero lock picking skills, but now I don't have to worry about breaking and buying lock picks. I also used it to give Lydia heavy, enchanted dwarven armor. She follows me everywhere and I wanted her tough. It's tempting to max out skills and stuff, but I'm going to try and keep it vanilla for now. I love Skyrim because it lets you actually role play. I have two characters, a destruction-based Nord mage and a thief Kajiit. Both characters offer totally different play styles, and their quest lines (Mage college/Thieves guild) are different as well. I'm not sure which one I'll take all the way through the main story, or if I'll create a third pure warrior for that. Also, I can't wait for the creation kit. Apparently mods will tie in to Steam, so installing them will be a piece of cake. Then we'll have a never ending stream of awesome content. Skyrim is more than a game, it's a freaking hobby.
Is there a mod to replace all enemies with children that keep telling you that you better stay on their good side? @ChiliDragon It was the US version that had the children in it. Europe should have had the invisible ones that would steal your stuff and you could see text appear where they should be standing.
I havent played Skyrim in three weeks. I want to play it on PC but I have a 70 hour save on 360 and Ive been a bit nonchalant about transferring my save. I would like to get back to it eventually.
@raven28256 Not really, no. It's nearly midnight, I've been playing Neverwinter Nights 2 all evening/night, and I'm tired. :P What I am sure of is that I was able to kill the children the first time I ever played Fallout 2, before I left Sweden, but I also know that I'm the kind of gamer who always installs community patches and mods, so... it could be either way. :)
@ChiliDragon You sure about that? I thought it was the other way around...I thought that the US version allowed you to kill children and the European version (Actually, the UK and German versions, not Europe as a whole) were edited to either make the children invincible or removed them entirely. Maybe I had mods or something, it has been ages since I played Fallout 2, but I distinctly remember being able to kill children and get the perk in question. Actually, I think the German version made the kids INVISIBLE, so they still ran around and stole your **** and there wasn't a thing you could do about it because you couldn't even see the little bastards to avoid them.
@ChiliDragon Hah,good that Im from Europe then,the Fallout Collection I bought some time ago allows everything just fine.I also installed the unofficial community patch,running the game on modern hardware was a nightmare,but I managed... On the other hand,I never thought I would be discussing children killings with a mod couple ;)
@Rocker6 Oh, there were. The US version of Fallout 2 had invincible immortal children, that was the only way they were allowed to release it. European versions of the game, on the other hand, allowed us to exterminate the obnoxious little brats. :twisted: My very first random wilderness encounter after I killed those despicable little pick-pockets was of me waking up at camp, in the middle of the night, literally surrounded by bounty hunters. Since they had my camp circled it was impossible for me to evade them. Since they all had combat shotguns and I was level 2 or 3 or so, it was impossible for me to survive... multiple shot gun blasts to the face at close range are quite fatal. There is a patch/mod that US gamers can install that reinserts the killable children into Fallout 2. Kill the brats at your peril... the bounty hunters are fricking brutal.
By the way, did you hear the great news? Firaxis Games is making a TRUE X-COM reboot due out later this year, called XCOM: Unknown Enemy! Details will be in next month's Game Informer.
The start of this blog is much like my own current experiences. I got Skyrim for Christmas for largely the same reason, but I got the 360 version. I really need to get around to updating my PC...Anyway, I'll probably pick up the PC version in a few years when I have a better rig and the game is cheaper, primarily so I can hit all the good mods. Hell, Skyrim has so much content that even the vanilla version on the 360 will keep me busy for a very long time. Playing Skyrim is pretty much the only thing I've been doing since Christmas; I finally started going up to the game store (And getting out of the house and away from the TV) this week. And, like Oblivion, despite the ridiculous amount of time I've put into Skyrim I've barely touched the main quest line so far. Or even the big side quests. Much of my time has just been exploring the world and ogling the beautiful night sky before being mauled by a bear. Like I said during my own Christmas blog I got tons of games on Steam and Live Arcade/Indie, but I haven't really touched many of them because of Skyrim...And probably won't for at least another month.
Hmm, will try and keep some of this stuff in mind when I eventually get my copy. In the process of saving up money/building a gaming computer atm. I must say though, I was expecting something a little... different from the title. >_>
@nocoolnamejim [url=http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Childkiller]Here[/url] are its effects.Yeah,it sends bounty hunters after you,but also makes NPC interaction harder,so yeah,can be considered negative after all. Also,take a look at the cut F2 perk image.Guess even then there were some censorship standards(I haven't been a gamer yet when F1&2 were released).
@Rocker6 Depends on how you define negative. The "Child Killer" perk (if I remember right that is what it was called) basically meant that bounty hunters would try and hunt you down and kill you. (Again, going on memory here.) That's both a good and a bad thing. Bounty Hunters were pretty well armed and dangerous, but that also meant some absolutely awesome loot when you took them out.
@nocoolnamejim If we were all doing video game stuff in RL,we would kill ourselves very fast,someone would eventually earn the MW2 Tactical Nuke Killstreak :P When thinking about it,I wonder how some ppl can live without gaming awesomness.... Yeah,Bethesda makes kids very annoying,that's true.Little Lamplight killing spree in F3 was one of the game highlights ;) If I remember right,F1 and F2 even gave you A PERK for killing children,but I think its effects were negative.Now that's awesome,not only allowing you to kill them,but also acknowledging it! OK,I better stop now,I said enough...
@Rocker6 Part of the fun of gaming is doing things that you wouldn't necessarily do in real life! @pokecharm You sound like my wife! But you're right. Computers hate me and I hate them as I'm generally not the most patient of individuals, and working with computers requires a very patient, methodical approach with a minimum of corner cutting. @Legolas_Katarn Thank god for mods that let you kill the little annoying bastards! Also...ah Fallout. I refer, of course, to Fallout 1 and 2. Brings a tear to my eye thinking about them. To be fair though, if you DON'T include kids in your games then you get criticized for a lack of realism. If you DO include them, and let players murder them, then you take heat from people looking to point the finger at and blame games for the ills of society. Tough spot to be in. What Bethesda COULD do though is what you alluded to and make them less annoying.
If Bethesda isn't going to let you kill kids, they should do one of these two things. 1: Not include them at all. 2: Don't go out of your way to make them so damn annoying. Why are children pointing guns at me, taunting me, and threatening me in Bethesda games if I can't kill them. Don't they know that many of the greatest games ever made allow you to kill children? Baldurs Gate series, Deus Ex, Bioshock (not a fan but most people love it), Ultima, Fallout, etc.
Nice Christmas loot,570GTX is a great card,and Skyrim CE looks nice,with that huge map.I got a Steam version,a gift from a friend,but will grab GOTY edition when it comes out,I like retail game packages :) Glad you're enjoying Skyrim,and that was a nice modding guide for begginers,part 4 gave me some good laughs.I also don't usually play as psychopath killing everyone,but when my character gets strong enough,I create a save to have fun,and go on a psychopathic child killing-"playing" with women spree,and I have every right to do so! :P