The modding community dedicated to the Elder Scrolls series is probably the most productive and creative in the whole gaming playfield. Morrowind and Oblivion had hundreds of thousands of mods available, and some are still in production.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is no exception and while Bethesda just announced that the Creation Kit won’t see the light of day until January, the community is already using whatever it can to improve the game over the already amazing original. There already now nearly 3800 mods available for download, and that’s counting only the ones that I could personally find.
The purpose of this column is to help those that may be a little disoriented with the size and scope of what the Skyrim modding community offers. You’ll find here on DualShockers every Wednesday.
But, as every week, it’s time to let the mods do the talking, so without further ado, head past the cut for this week’s highlights.
Better Females by Bella Version 3
I already talked about this mod last week, but Bella expanded and improved it considerably, evolving it to version 3. By the way, this week I’m changing my model, letting Lydia take a well deserved rest and having the Sword-Maiden Jordis step in.
Besides improving the textures and solving a few glitches and issues, Bella added several options to her “Glamazon” beautification mod, starting with a version without make up for those that feel that make up artists shouldn’t exist in Skyrim, and four more make up options, that go from the fairly tame of option 1 to the glamorous eyelashes of option 3 and the very visible blush of version 4. As usual, the quality is simply awesome, even if this mod may not be for everyone.
You can pick your favorite style here.
Let’s get into a different style of beauty with this new mod by mrLenski that still aims to beautify the ladies of Skyrim but with a little less glamorous style. The textures are definitely well made, and it comes with three alternative styles of make up (Gloss, Glitter and Soft), the mod page styled as pretty much like that of a make up company is a plus.
You can download it here.
Immersive HUD – iHUD
Despite the name, this mod by Gopher isn’t an HUD for Applesnobs, but a lovely, lovely tweak to the UI of the game that will cause elements like the mana/stamina/hb bars, the crosshairs or the compass to simply disappear when they aren’t necessary, letting you immerse in the beautiful world of Skyrim without extraneous elements in the way, and take some beautiful and clean screenshots without having to access the console (because a “Hide UI” key was too hard to code for Bethesda, apparently).
The mod can be downloaded here and comes with installation options that will let you keep the fixed compass or crosshairs, depending on what you prefer.
Deadly Spell Impacts
The Impact decals of spells in Skyrim are a tad lackluster. Not only their resolution is low, resulting in a quite muddy effect, but they also lack in differentiation. This mod by Isoku adds both detail and variation, improving a lot the satisfaction of burninating stuff with your deadly spells. It will also influence other elements, like the impact of the breath of dragons, and believe me, looking at the battlefield after you killed one will be a lot more fulfilling with this mod.
You can download it here.
Monster Retex Pack
Some took serious issue at the name of this mod by Aerumnosus as, for some reason, they decided that the word “Retex” should only apply when textures are completely replaced from scratch. This is not the case for this mod, as the author applied instead several different filters to the original textures of beasts and monsters to make them look crispier and arguably better. While the change may be more or less welcomed depending on taste, I like it and feel that, reading the comments, some should take the naming of a mod (or their own personal idea of what a mod’s name should mean) a little less seriously.
You can check it out here. I didn’t add screenshots here simply because this mod changes too many and too different creatures. Give a look to the examples provided on the mod’s own page, and decide for yourself if you like them or not.
Improved NPC Clothing – High Res
The resolution and detail of the clothes of NPCs in Skyrim can only be defined sad… Luckily BaronDavid came to the rescue, retexturing all the “civilian” outfits of the game, from barmaids to kids and executioners, adding a level of detail that is really pleasant to see. And considering that you’ll talk with those guys a lot during your adventures, this mod proves simply invaluable.
Not only fabric finally looks like fabric, and not like a pixelated mess, but also small details like studs and threads look much more crisp now. There’s also a version with more dirt, if you like people that don’t really do their laundry that often. Thanks BaronDavid, from the bottom of my heart.
You can thank him too and download the mod here.
HQ Towns and Villages
Most modders seem to focus on improving the looks of the big cities, but Skyrim is dotted by small villages and hamlets, that can definitely use some love… or a lot of love. That love has been given by Anarin, that replaced most textures used in smaller villages with better, high resolution ones, ensuring that Riverwood and the other hamlets will finally look a lot better than console-standard.
You can, and should, download the mod here.
Amazing Ebony Armor Redone
The Ebony Armor set is probably the best looking in the whole game. Unfortunately it’s also one of those that suffer the most from the compression and low resolution of the textures. This mod by Zalzama “restores” the armor to the glorious eyecandy it deserves to feature, by improving the detail tenfold and by making everything look more defined and crisp.
It’s definitely a must-have, and you can get it here.
The Nightingale Armor is the premium fashion statement of the Skyrim Ninja wannabes and, just like the Ebony set, it’s also quite horribly affected by the low resolution and detail of the original textures. Zerofrost decided to address the issue with this beautiful retexture mod, that turns that very useful but muddy mess into something you’d proudly wear at a fashion show… of Ninjas.
You can grab the mod for yourself here.
Glass Weapons with Transparency
Glass is see-through, so why glass weapons in Skyrim aren’t? That’s a good question, and one that will probably never be answered. If you think like I do that solid glass weapons don’t make much sense, this mod by Foxey will make you feel much better about them, as it adds the much needed transparency to the glass parts of your favorite implements of destruction.
You can download it here.
And that’s it for this episode 4. I hope you found something useful to improve your game. As usual remember that full and exclusive credit for the mods listed above goes to their talented authors. Do come back next week for more mods at the Skyrim Mod Forge.
Read More Episodes of The Skyrim Mod Forge: Episode Zero – Baby Steps, Episode 1 – Large Address, Steady Growth and Lips, Episode 2 – Mod Managing, Beauty and Dragons, Episode 3 – More Beauty, Divorce and Small Details, Episode 5 – Hair, Flora and Weapons from Morrowind, Episode 6 – Handsome Men, More Hair and Armor From The Witcher 2, Episode 7 – Swords, Ice, Spells, Fashion and Realistic Light, Episode 8 – Cats, Shouts, Hideouts and Swords from LOTR, Episode 9 – Armor, Soul Gems and More Swords from LOTR, Episode 10 – Rainbow Colors, Weapons, Armor and Witcher Gear, Episode 11 – Companions, Pretty Faces and More from The Witcher 2, Episode 12 – Houses, Lovely Hairstyles and Riding Like a Boss, Episode 13 – Lovely Hair, Armor from The Witcher 2 and Hundreds of Books.