The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Edition

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Skyrim

The remastered version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be available in October for PS4, Xbox One and PC, five years after the initial release. Skyrim is an action RPG open world developed by Bethesda Game Studios, fifth chapter into the Elder Scrolls series.

The main story begins with the imprisoned player being led to an Imperial execution in the town of Helgen, alongside a thief, several Stormcloak soldiers and their leader, Ulfric Stormcloak, who murdered the High King of Skyrim with his voice. Alduin, a large black dragon, unexpectedly interrupts the procession, attacking and destroying the town before the player can be executed. The player escapes and journeys to the nearby town of Riverwood, whose residents are now fearful that the dragon could strike their town as well at any moment. Riverwood also serves as a tutorial village in that the player can forge items, trade goods, practice alchemy, and receive miscellaneous quests.

The game can be played in first or third person and offers a huge world full of lands, dungeons, villages and cities to explore. Just like any other open world RPG it gives you tons of side quests to improve your character’s skills and gain money, materials and new items for crafting armors and useful objects.

Players may navigate the game world more quickly by riding horses, or by utilizing a fast-travel system which allows them to warp to previously discovered locations.

Now, if for the console owners the upcoming improved version will require a brand new purchase on the connected stores, who already has the PC Edition installed with all the DLCs will be able to get the new one for free.

“We’re making a game available for Xbox One and PS4. It already exists on PC with high res textures.” Explained Pete Hines, Bethesda’s vice president, when an infuriated fan asked him why who only owns the console version won’t be as lucky.

The Remastered Edition is taking advantage of the improved systems on the newest consoles to finally introduce a better visual quality.

Since I’ve already talked a little bit about Skyrim in one of my first articles regarding the best Character Creators in PC titles, I thought I could create a detailed post and highlight what PC gamers can actually get if they also decide to mod their copy. You will hardly believe this game is five years old, trust me!

First of all, I want you to take a look at these images to see what I’m talking about:

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This is, more or less, how a vanilla female character looks in-game. Not bad you’d say, right? And it’s true, the graphics seem already quite great (except for the hair which clearly looks a bit low res).

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Image belongs to Erika Tschinkel on Flickr. Click on the picture for the original post.

And this is how a modded female character with additional visual enhancements looks.

Want more examples?

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Image belongs to TheBear on Flickr. Click on the picture for the original post.

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Image belongs to TheBear on Flickr. Click on the picture for the original post.

How about some males?

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Vanilla look, nice model and textures once again, but let’s see how a modded character will look:

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As you can see there are tons of different looks you can get using additional files created by a bunch of very talented people, from the classic JRPG ‘Final Fantasy’ style to a very detailed and realistic appearance for both sexes.

This game, however, has 10 different races you can play with. Being a fantasy video game you can get different creatures from humans to elves, vampires, lizards, lycans (Werewolves) and so on.

How to install the mods in Skyrim

The first thing you want to do is clicking on this link to open the Nexus site, which will offer you many quality mods for personal characters, followers, environments and even new maps/locations to unlock and visit.
In order to download any file you have to create an account (you are invited to support the community with a monthly donation, but no worries! You can still register a completely free account). Usually when you try to download a file from the Nexus pages, you also get an additional green button with the suggested way to download that specific mod, and/or what else you need to make it work once it’s properly installed (unless it’s already stated in the author’s description) in a new popup window.
In this case you can download and use the Nexus Mod Manager to locate your Skyrim path and then connect your created account to it. Once you click on the NMM button, Nexus will automatically send the files into the Manager where you can organize everything according to the mod’s category. Alternatively, and I actually suggest you to consider this option instead, you could use the Mod Organizer for a better management.

What’s the difference between Mod Manager and the Organizer? Nexus Mod Manager seems more unstable than the other program to begin with and it is not as accurate as the Organizer when a mod is not installed correctly, the mods order is wrong and your game will crash. Mod Manager also puts all your downloads into the standard Data folder, while the Organizer creates a standalone path which you can easily clean in case you want to start over.

You can test your installed files directly from the NMM and MO simply clicking on the Launch Skyrim and Play buttons on the top. Before doing this though, be sure you don’t have any red text in the Plugin tab (NMM) or a red triangle with ! (MO), because you most likely have one or more conflicts between the mods you’re trying to use. If so, just uncheck those red files and eventually remove them completely from your list or be sure you don’t have an outdated version.

For the Organizer you should read this guide first to know exactly what you’re doing. It may seem a bit confusing in a first approach, but I assure you that if you start using it correctly you won’t have to reinstall the whole game (thing that will surely happen if you use the NMM and have installed too many mods to even try and check them all one by one in case of problems).

Tecnically you could also place the mods manually into the Steam\SteamApps\Common\Skyrim\Data path, especially if you download something from other places like Tumblr, forums or blogs and cannot connect the Manager to them, but I’m not sure about the way Skyrim will handle them if you’re using the Organizer, but the program itself should be able to locate the downloaded files and install them into the game for you.

If you decide to use MO, you ALWAYS have to load the game through it and not from the common game icon. Steam of course will be still required, but if you try to load Skyrim through it normally the game will mark the installed mods like missing files (because they are not in Data, but in a different folder).

Be careful also with the mods that alter the original animations or even add new ones. Some of them may create some conflicts and even currupt your saves. If you use the MO you can create a backup of the mod list that perfectly works and doesn’t crash your game, so you can easily switch back and load everything safely again. Useless to say that even some backups for your save files will prove to be helpful (they are located in C:\Users\[UserName]\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\Saves).

How to shoot Skyrim

If you are a returning visitor you probably already know how much I like taking screenshots in games. If you want to do the same thing with Skyrim and show off your beautiful modded characters, how are you supposed to do so?
If other games require Cheat Engine or other fanmade tools to activate the free camera, Skyrim already has an incorporated cheat that you can activate through a console command, along with other useful codes for more professional pictures.

Press the ~ key (or \) to open the console and type:

tfc for the free camera (or flycam). Use the standard movement keys to play around with it and your left/right mouse buttons to move upward and downward. To close the console simply press its key again and type tfc a second time to use the normal camera again. Same thing with all the other cheats.

Note: Your character will disappear if you are playing in first person mode. To activate the third person press F on your keyboard.

tfc 1 will activate the free camera while also pausing the game. Very useful if you are in an open area where enemies could attack you at any moment.

sucsm <value> will change the free camera speed. The value 50 will make it move 5 times faster.

fov <angle> (Field of View) will change the the Field of View angle value (in degrees). Increasing the value will zoom out, decreasing it will zoom in. The default angle is 65.

csb (Clear Screen Blood) will remove the blood on-screen effect.

set gamehour to <hour> changes the time, with <hour> between 0 and 23 (e.g. “set gamehour to 15” sets the time to 3:00 PM). A superior value than 24 will also advance the day, but negative values crash the game.

tm (Toggle Menu) will hide all the HUD components, including menus, compass, crosshair and even the console menu.

You can optimize the original graphics following this guide and installing an ENB configuration for better effects. If you want to also get a nice depth of field shader, the effect is usually incorporated in almost every ENB preset, if not you can check this video to see a DOF example and download the mod showcased to try it out. The original DOF included in ENB is not always accurate and doesn’t properly appear in some cases, Dynavision can be easily turned on and off according to your needs and it also offers different options to customize.

Note: If you have the Racemenu mod installed you can customize your character whenever you want, simply opening the console and typing showracemenu.

If you want to take high quality screenshots but you don’t have a 4k screen, you can use GeDoSaTo to add some custom aspect ratios. Be careful with it because the bigger your resolution is the slower your machine could get. If your computer has a good amount of RAM, a powerful CPU and a good graphics card you should be more than okay with a resolution bigger than 3000 in width (for example 4480×2520).

Warning: If you want to install a custom ENB preset while using GeDoSaTo, be sure to configure the tool according to this post.

Posing a character

If you were a hardcore The Sims gamer like myself you probably had a +30 GB folder full of mods as well (uhm… okay, I’m actually a basket case here but it’s not my fault if there are so many awesome mods available out there!! 😀 ). One of the things I loved about Sims 2, for example, was the possibility of using fanmade hacks called Pose Boxes, because they included tons of different poses and animations you could use to create nice screenshots. In Sims 3 and 4 they introduced a different way, but you can still apply custom poses through codes and such.
Judging by a few Skyrim screenshots I’ve seen around, I noticed how incredible certain portraits were and I thought those poses were a bit too ‘photoshoot-like’ to be vanilla. You can, in fact, install some cool animation mods to pose your characters and on the Nexus site there already are some useful hacks to achieve this. I don’t know about you, but I honestly can’t wait to try them! 😉

Because:

Again, careful with these in-game alterations! Just be sure everything works smoothly and don’t overlaod Skyrim with too many animations.

System Requirements

Minimum:
CPU: Dual Core 2.0 GHz or equivalent processor
RAM: 2 GB
OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP 32 or 64 bit
Video card: DirectX 9.0c compliant with 512 MB of RAM – NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT & ATI Radeon X1800

Recommended:
CPU: Quad-core Intel or AMD
RAM: 4 GB
OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP 32 or 64 bit
Video card: DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with 1 GB of RAM (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 or higher; ATI Radeon HD 4890 or higher)

Disk space: 6 GB

If you’re interested you can find two different editions on Amazon:

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Any question regarding the Nexus Manager and the mods in general? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll gladly help you! 😀

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2 thoughts on “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Edition

    1. Nika Post author

      The game is great imo, especially if you like massive RPGs. If you are into modding I will post a new article tomorrow about the Special Edition 🙂

      Reply

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