Modding Skyrim #2

Part #1 is here

Skyrim seems like a slightly easier game to modify than Civ V, or perhaps I’m just getting used to whole thing. Anyway, the challenge from Week 1 was simply to have a change appear in the game. Did I succeed? The answer may surprise you….

…but it’s yes, I did.

Prepping for making mods was a simple affair, I needed a clean, unmodded version of Skyrim (using any other mods runs the risk of accidently modifying files that shouldn’t change) and a copy of the Skyrim SDK (which they call the Creation Kit), both of which I could simply download from Steam. I started up the game and took a character through the tutorial as fast as possible, which both generates files the game needs and gives me a save which I can use to test mods in.

As a side note, playing through the tutorial with no mods whatsoever reminded me that it has probably been a literal half decade since I’d done that last. It also reminded me that whoever designed Skyrim’s user interface is really, really bad at their job because it’s ugly and hard to use. Alas, I must suffer for my art~~~

With the prepwork out of the way, it was time to fire up the mod tools. The Creation Kit has a reputation for being powerful but complex and it certainly has a lot of options and menus I don’t understand. It definitely seems capable of more than Civ’s ModBuddy, but on the other hand Skyrim has a lot more going on than Civ.

Luckily, once again there’s a lot of help and resources I can call on and in this case, there’s an entire wiki complete with tutorials galore! Starting at the “So you’re a total beginner” one, I was quite pleased to see how much I could skim past as already familiar to me. I definitely got the basics down making Dunwall, but I’m sure there’s enough differences in implementation to trip me up!

I’ll spare you the exact details of me fumbling through my first mod creation session- after all, the tutorial was just linked if you want to mod too! – and we’ll skip to the results of loading the grandly named “testmod.” We start in the village of Riverwood, familiar to all Skyrim players as the quaint little settlement where you get your first quests.

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Delightful! But wait, there’s someone new at the General Store?

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Oh, it’s not someone new at all! The familiar old shopkeeper simply had a name change.

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Also, some idiot dumped a pile of longships at the village exit. How strange.

I think it’s safe to say that Week 1’s goals were met.


Goals for Week 2

  • Add a new NPC…
  • …who gives you a Quest…
  • …which takes you to a new location.

 

Ramping up fast here! Now that I can get things in-game, these are the 3 major things that I’m interested in doing: new NPCs to talk to, new quests to challenge you and fancy new places in which to do those things. This is again going to be a throwaway test mod to get my head around the methods of implementation, so expectations should definitely be more “the quest to recover junk from this basement I’m standing next to” than “epic quest to slay dragons in a dazzling dimension of wonders”.

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