Re-visiting Skyrim: A Modders Guide Part 3 – NPCs, Animals, Monsters and Extended Immersion
By this point you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re doing. However, it’s worth pointing out that too many mods can cause problems. Unforeseen conflicts and simply just to much strain on the games engine can produce unwanted results. There is nothing quite as infuriating as wandering through your creation only to have it regularly CTD or refuse to load and/or corrupt save files and so forth.
Ideally you’ll not want to push past 100 installed mods. Becoming carried away with modifications is easily done and at one point I hit 149 total mods which lead to a bit of a nightmare resulting in a few hours un-installing and re-installing mods, re-doing load orders etc until the issue was resolved. I’m currently sat on 110 mods and all is dandy with only a slight frame rate dip here and there. Some mods might look cool, but ultimately you have to question whether or not risking a stable game is worth the hassle – which I can tell you it isn’t. Once you have reached a satisfactory point with how your game looks, feels and plays it’s time to begin choosing your mods more carefully. That additional level of immersion and polish can really bring your Skyrim to life, but don’t over do it!
None of the mods in this final part of my guide are essential, however if you want to bring a bit more character and depth to your world then experimenting with different world changing mods can really bring your Skyrim to life.
Once again while there are literally hundreds of modifications to choose from the following mods are those I’ve chosen for my own version of Skyrim and you might want to have a different take on what you add. Having said that these particular mods are, I feel, some of the best out there and you won’t regret incorporating them.
Skyrim NPC Overhaul All In One – A brilliant mod that not only cleans up all the existing NPCs found within the game, but one that also adds quite a few new NPCs; some of whom are just hanging about blurting out random dialogue and others who have totally new quest lines for you to follow.
Ultimate Follower Overhaul – This is an essential mod if you wish to use custom followers found on the Nexus. UFO is a set of tools that allows you to have much better control over any followers you may have. Everything from dialogue, armour & weapons to how they react in any given situation can be finely tuned given them a much better chance of survival on your adventure. You can also ask them to train so as to improve their stats, tell them when they’ve done a good job or bollock them if they fuck up.
Horses Gone Wild – Adds herds of wild horses to various locations.These horse can also be captured and tamed for your own use.
Birds of Skyrim – This mod adds a whole host of new birds to the world of Skyrim. Different types of birds spawn once you visit a location and remain a permanent feature; every thing from Pigeons in cities, Red Robins in the snowy woodland areas and Seagulls at ports. Spawn points and how many birds spawn can be controlled via SKYUI. You don’ want you world ending up like Hitchcock’s “The Birds”!
Farm Animals – This is a great little mod that really brings your villages and farmsteads to life, adding all manner of cows, chickens, ducks, pigs, geese and so forth. Just don’t go skewering a cow with your trusty sword as the villagers won’t take too kindly to it!
SkyBirds – This gives Skyrims birds, (including those spawned with Birds of Skyrim), more character. Birds will now hop about, chirp, sing and fly away when you approach them. They’ll also build nests, find safety in stormy weather etc and they can be hunted for alchemy ingredients.
Monsters & Creatures:
Fairies of Skyrim – Adds Fairies all over Skyrim. They’re both friendly and make an excellent light source if you’re using Climates of Tamrial and have selected the “proper night time” option. The mod also adds a Fairy Obelisk south of Rorikstead which allows you transform into a Fairy if you so wish. Naturally the transformation isn’t permanent.
Better Dragons – Given that Dragons play a huge part in Skyrim they were pretty rubbish overall. This mod improves Dragon’s hit points, makes them more resistant to magic and shouts and they also deal out far greater damage.
Ultimate Dragons – This mod overhauls dragon combat which is not so unreasonable. It also adds 15 new animations as well as improving melee combat and adding new shouts.
Skyrim Immersive Creatures – Adds dozens of new creatures into the game as well as variations of existing ones.
Enhanced Lights & Effects – Adds a more dramatic to Skyrim lighting, improving smoke, volumetric lights and so forth.
Lanterns of Skyrim – This adds a series of logically placed lanterns on roads near settlements as well as randomly placed ones on roads and path ways to light the way for weary travellers.
Enhanced Wetness & Puddles – This mod adds a more realistic finish to areas that have bodies of water, waterfalls and when it rains.
Sounds of Skyrim – There are three files to download for this mod giving Skyrim a much more sense of immersion.
Civilisation – Adds 223 new sounds to towns, villages, bars, shops, farms etc
The Dungeons – Adds 115 new sounds. Everything from the sound of creatures and monsters echoing through passageways to exterior weather near entrances and exits.
The Wilds – Adds 115 new sounds covering everything in addition to the sounds already present within the game. Insects found on fauna, birds, foxes and the like in woodland areas etc with each new sound playing out according to weather and time of day.
And that is it. As I say your vision of Skyrim might be very well different from mine, but I hope these guides at least help you in wasting hours of your life both improving and fixing Bethesda’s epic RPG.
And don’t forget when you use a mod to endorse it with a good old ‘thumbs up’. The folks behind the mods work hard and for free.