Thursday, 9 April 2015

Skyrim Mods: "Immersive" Armors?

This is a WIP post that I'll update periodically

One of the things that gets under my skin about some mods is the overuse of the word "immersive".
An immersive mod would be one that increases your belief in the world of Skyrim. However the way the word is used is as a synonym for "realistic".

One mod that really doesn't fit under either is Hothtrooper44's Immersive Armors. Now don't get me wrong Immersive Armors v7 (IA) is a GREAT mod but it has major issues for a mod claiming to be immersive.

One of the big problems is a lack of CBBE compatibility and generally poor models for female characters.  With version 7 of IA Hothtrooper has integrated his armors with a number of armors and shields made by others. The models made by others tend to be very good (the Storm Lord & Imperial Knight armours by Gechbal & Dragonbone Ebonsteel by Dreogan) the only group of armors not by Hothtrooper that I have a problem with are the lore friend Morrowind Armor Compliation by Thusky. These armors are far too close to the TESIII Morrowind style and I don't mean that in a lore way, I mean that they look dated in a graphics sense.

Hothtrooper's own armors are mashups and retextures (nothing wrong with that BTW) but they are very hard to edit/fix because of this.  And while they make great male armors they are not all appropriate for female bodies.  For example, the Red Guard Knight armor is a fantastic and lore friendly and immersive armor but it looks like crap on women. The same goes fro Trollsbane (which looks great on guys but stupid on women).

So what is the solution? Well if you can't fix them without 3DS Max and 3d modelling skills then replace them. Below is a list of the possible alternative models for this. It's also worth noting that since Hothtrooper44 release v7 a cbbe patch has been made by Nerd of Prey. It converts some of the easier to fix armors to cbbe (or whatever body-type you want using bodyslide). These armors are the Bosmer set; the Barbraian armors; shaman; ranger; and ringmail.

The armors that need replacement are as follows. A possible replacer is linked beside it:

  • Redguard Knight (replace female with Crimson Twilight by Bloodfree)
  • Crimson Archer (replace with Dream Burrow's Regal Huntsman or Regal Assassin for both genders)
  • Seadog
  • Paladin (the most dated looking at this point)
  • Viking Chainmail (Replace with Simple Hauberks by VaultMAn30 for female)
  • Vanguard
  • Vagabond
  • Alduin scale
  • HedgeKnight
  • Glacial crystal
  • Vvardenfel Glass
Having said all that one of the very best armors in the collection is Hothtrooper's very own Warchief set - it's what caught my eye years ago and it's what keeps me with IA despite the problems with some of the female armors. Hothtrooper and the team deserve special praise for the MCM menu and the level of customization they built into it for their end users.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Skyrim Mods: My must have body mod list

First off there are 2 must have lists. Those for male player characters and those for female player characters.

For Female Player characters

Body mod: CBBE. This my own personal taste. However CBBE with Bodyslide will allow you to mimic the body types SevenBase Bombshell and UNP or UNPB. Why is this important? Because with Bodyslide all bodyslide enabled armours can be batch converted to match the custom body shape you've designed for your play through. The best mod for this is the Skyrim Enhanced - High polygons- armours (although some of the armours from this mod will have gaps - e.g the Blades armour - most will be an excellent improvement on Vanilla armours).

For CBBE I recommend you use the XPMSE skeleton and the HDT physics extension (HDTPE) and RaceMenu (3.0 or higher). Use the RaceMenu pligin from the XPMSE mod not from RaceMenu for the best customizability of your character's body. Also the RaceMenu Overlay Compilation will add tattos, beauty marks, skin effects and makeup to your character creation experience.

The skin textures I use for females are SG Renewal. Other addons worth getting are SG Female Eyebrows, Smile in HD, XCE's HD Dirt and Warpaint, Feminine Hands,

For male characters

XPMSE, HDTPE, Smile in HD, XCe's HD Dirt and Warpaint, RaceMenu (3.0 or higher) and Better Males

There are other body mods but these are the ones I use. CBBE + Bodyslide are not simply reommend due to my taste but due to their built in flexibility.

Skyrim: Gopher's videos

For all your modding and mod organizing needs you MUST watch Gopher's videos. His tutorial are 100% necessary for safe, reliable modding. He explains SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender), Mod Organozer, ENB, Wrye Bash etc etc.

There are a lo of videos but I'm afraid you do need to watch as many as you can. All my future posts will take for granted that you've done this.

Gopher's Mod Organizer videos
Gopher's Beginner's Guide to Modding Skyrim
Gopher's Skyrim Tweaks and Fixes
Gopher's ENB mods

Other than these Gopher also does Mod reviews and lets plays these are great quality and I recommend them. You can see them all on his Youtube playlists.

Skyrim Mods: Mod Organizer

What ever mod manager you're using if it's not Mod Organizer stop using it. Mod Organizer is the ONLY manager you should be using. It's 100% safe and will save you days of work when mods go wrong (and mods will go wrong)