Saturday, February 1, 2014

Modding Skyrim

As I was roaming through Skyrim with my newly-mapped out controller, I decided that the world I was experiencing was a bit too bleak for my tastes. It was then that I remembered the great jewel in the crown of PC gaming-- mods. Mods are alterations or additions to a game that are made by players for players. Skyrim has mod support from the Steam Workshop, so it was to the Workshop I went in search of changes to make my world more fantastical.

I started out with some small conveniences-- a better map system, some travelling merchants, and better combat AI for NPCs. Then I went for graphical and audio improvements, adding more ambient sounds, improving graphics, and adding more detail to cities. I got a mod that made NPCs flee for their lives whenever a dragon attacks.

More large-scale changes were in order, though. I added some floating sky-islands and the city of Atlantis. I got another mod that makes the whole continent of Tamriel accessible, no longer limiting the player to the land of Skyrim. New creatures, new spells, new quests-- I downloaded 68 mods in total.

When I started up Skyrim, things were different. It's a wonder the game didn't instantly crash, for one thing. There was a bit of a surreal moment when a guard calmly leapt into the air, flapping his arms, and glided around above my head (I'm not sure which mod that came from). Overall, I'm happy with the changes and confident that the rest of my playtime in Skyrim will be much more engaging, if slightly more buggy.

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