Laying the Groundwork
Last year I tried to make Skyrim as immersive as possible using 106 mods, which you can read here if you want. Most of them altered small things like individual textures or altering individual weapons such that, when combined, they created a massive difference. Other mods changed the way terrain was rendered and how the lighting worked, creating a world of difference. However, there were problems. The draw distance of Skyrim is tiny so the sweeping vistas I’d intended fell apart. The water still looked a bit crap, with no life to it. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t set up Climates of Tamriel right. The combat was still a number generator pretending to fight with swords.
But it has been a long 7 or 8 months since my last attempt to make Skyrim the game our imaginations pretended it to be. There are new challenges; there will be more mods, over 150 if things go to plan. I will be using an ENB, which works all kinds of behind the scenes magic. If possible, I will use all the mods and tricks I can to increase the draw distance. I know it can be done in the .ini file but that causes a wealth of other complications, mostly in the form of my GTX 970 screaming ‘I cannae take it!’
And there is the elephant in the room. Between my last attempt to mod Skyrim to perfection and now, a little game by the name of The Witcher 3 released, setting my imagination aflame with what might be achieved. I have expectations now, a goal: get Skyrim to feel like The Witcher 3, only in first person. I want settlements filled with life. I want combat that doesn’t involve me just spamming the left mouse button. I want each and every quest to feel worthwhile.
And I’m disabling fast travel. *gasps of horror and admiration*
Seriously though, RPGs are so much more immersive when fast travel isn’t an option.
So, in a new weekly series I will be modding Skyrim to perfection or at least until it rivals The Witcher 3. Dreamweaver said of my last attempt that 'you're probably never gonna be satisfied', but we will see. 7 months is a long time in the world of modding communities. Once I have Skyrim as good as I can get it, I’ll play and see what happens as I balk at the beauty of the trees and try to get with Serana, or more accurately, how I will inevitably find a flickering tree texture somewhere and wish I’d installed a mod to flip it off as I walk by - then complain that Serana's hair still looks like a low resolution mop. Or not, it might all come together, you never know.
Next week I’ll run down the mods I’ll be using, and how I’m trying to stop them from turning Bethesda’s aging Creation Engine to dust.