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New to modding


MidnightHallow

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Hi!

 

So I've been playing Skyrim for over a year now. I love it, but recently... I've been wanting more. I've been playing on the ps3 and while wandering around on different sites I've found several mods that I'm extremely interested in. Through research I've found I can't mod my ps3 version, but am considering buying a pc version to utilize some of these mods. However... I've been getting a bit overwhelmed with all of the instructions and everything else prior related to modding. I was wondering if you guys could help me understand the process a little more. I've only ever really modded one other game: Sims 3 which is ridiculously simple. I love the realistic mods, things I found on the nexus, sex, and pregnancy mods. Not because I want to run around fucking everyone, but I just want more depth... almost like sims but with the epicness of Skyirm. Does that make any sense?

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MidnightHallow, I would love to help you get set up! What specifically are you planning to install, and do you have anything installed at the moment? Also, how much do you want to get into modding? If you're willing to put in the time, you can run a completely Skyrim with 256 mods (perhaps more stable than vanilla). It may be easier to talk via private message, if you'd like; either way works for me.

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So far, these are the ones I've tagged as interesting. I'm hesitant to jump right into it because I don't want to end up way over my head because if I buy the PC version it will be solely because of the mods. 

 

From Nexus:

* Command Dragon - Ultimate Dragon Riding 

* Convenient Horses

* Helgen Reborn

* Winterhold - Expanded Ruins

* RS Children Overhaul (also considering ones that pretty up some of the characters, like I can't find any attractive guys that are marriage eligible)

* Obedient Ulfric

* A Quality World Map - with Roads

* Frostfall

 

Then from on here:

* Sexlab Romance

* Sexlife

* Beeing Female (seems complicated but it was the only pregnancy one I could find)

 

From my experience with modding the sims, the more you add... the slower the game gets but the easier it is to mod the game itself. I feel like once I have instructions I can follow, I should be fine, but its getting it. These mods especially threw me because it seemed like so many were interrelated and require a dozen other mods.

 

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Preamble

 

It's great that you're asking this before you've even downloaded Skyrim, as you can avoid many pitfalls this way. I wish I had been as intelligent when I was starting out. So, I'm going to start at the basics, if you're not interested in all the minor details, please skip to the bottom of this post for a "Too Long; Didn't Read" section.

 

Before you even buy Skyrim, think about the expansions, too. If you like Skyrim enough to purchase it again on PC (I've actually bought it three times- long story), then I'd say it would also makes sense to buy the DLC (specifically, buy the Legendary edition, as that'll be cheeper). If it's a little too much to spend on a game you already own right now, you could hold off for the Steam summer sale, since it'll probably be down to $5 again this year. The reason I suggest buying the DLC, is many mods do require Dragonborn, Dawnguard, or Hearthfire, and it's good to be prepared (plus, building your own house is fun).

 

After you download Skyrim, run the launcher once, so the game will create the necessary settings and set your graphics to the suggested levels for your computer. You don't need to start the actual game. Then, don't touch the launcher again.

 

 

Essentials in Detail; Required Tools

 

Step 1: Download and install Mod Organizer (don't install it in your Skyrim folder)

 

Modding Skyrim is essentially as easy as modding The Sims 3, but there are a few extra things to keep in mind; load order, priority, and compatibility, namely. Unless you want to be super hardcore, and do everything yourself (pro tip: you don't), a mod manager will help you keep everything straight. And, as far as mod managers go, I really can't suggest anything other than Mod Organizer. Quite a few people use the Nexus Mod Manager instead, but as I learned first-hand, one slip up with that, and you'll be downloading Skyrim again. For getting a foothold in Mod Organizer, please see these videos. Don't be put off by his "not for beginners" warning, by asking for tips before even starting, you've proven that you're a step above.

 

Mod Organizer doesn't actually touch your Skyrim folder, so even if you override the wrong file, you can just reset and start again. Of course, the trade-off with "MO" is a slightly higher learning curve, but trust me, spending the time to get to know it is better than redownloading Skyrim every other week.

 

Step 2: Download, install, and point Mod Organizer to LOOT

 

Here we are, you've downloaded Skyrim and installed MO, we're ready to go, right? Well, no, not quite yet. Mod Organizer will help you manage your mods, and will keep your Skyrim folder clean, but there are a few other preliminary steps before you can get into Skyrim. As I said above, there are three main parts to managing mods, load order, priority, and compatibility. Addressing the first of the three, how do you make sure that the mods are loaded in the correct order- and, why do they need to be ordered in the first place?

 

Skyrim doesn't really do you any favours when it comes to modding it, so if Mod 2 requires Mod 1, but Mod 2 is loaded first, Skyrim will outright crash. To prevent this from happening, you need to order the mods so that each "foundational mod" is given to Skyrim first. There are a few tools which will largely automate the process, but my personal preference is LOOT. Assuming you're using Mod Organizer, you'll simply download LOOT, install it, and then show MO where it is. Once you've done that, just run LOOT from Mod Organizer, have it sort your mods, apply the sort, and you're golden. Keep in mind, you'll need to run LOOT every time you add a new mod, so that it can be placed correctly in your load order. For help setting it up (it can be confusing at first), please refer to this video.

 

Step 3: Know How to Prioritize Mods

 

The second part, mod priority, is somewhat specific to using MO. If you're using the Nexus Mod Manager, rather than managing priority, you'll have to manage which mods override the files of others. Again, I don't recommend "NMM", due to it actually working in your Skyrim directory. If you do override something in your Skyrim directory, you can't get it back without redownloading. You can probably see how that may cause problems. 

 

How do you manage mod priority, I hear you ask. Manually, I reply. Isn't not bad, though, and if you're mindful of mod priorities as you go, it won't take any extra time. In MO, all of your installed mods are shown in the scrollview on the left. I didn't actually figure this out until a few weeks after using MO, but that left view is also for sorting mod priority. I might be getting ahead of myself, though. Mod priority is the second half of load orders. In my previous analogy, Mod 2 requires Mod 1, so Mod 1 needs to be loaded before Mod 2. Loading Mod 1 first is what load order is about, but you need to make sure that Mod 1 is installed first, too, because Mod 2 might require some of it's assets.

 

Mod Organizer creates a virtual directory at runtime, which keeps your Skyrim safe, and also makes it a lot less painful to change which mod is installed first. You mentioned that you're interested in using Beeing Female (it's a great mod, I definitely recommend it!), that requires the SexLab Framework to function, so you will have to install that first. Back in MO, in the view on left, click and drag SexLab Framework to a lower position (it's priority should be closer to 1 than Beeing Female's). If you're wondering how you'll know the priorities for other mods, I'd suggest running LOOT first, which will sort your mods by which need to be loaded before the others, and just copying that (match the priority of each mod to the sorted values that LOOT will give you). For a better look at how to do this, please refer to this video.

 

Step 4: Be Certain You Have Prerequisite Mods/Checking Requirements via TES5Edit

 

Are we there yet? No. Close, though! The third thing to keep in mind while modifying Skyrim is mod compatibility. This is a pretty simple point, but it is important. Before you install a mod, be sure you know what it requires, and what it conflicts with. As I mentioned above, Beeing Female requires the Sexlab Framework, so that's something you'll need to have installed, lest your Skyrim "crash to desktop". To avoid these "CTD"s, just be sure you have the required mods, and don't install any that conflict with eachother.

 

Step 5 (Optional): Download and Install TES5Edit, and Clean Your Mods

 

All of the best mod authors provide information on what mods their mod relies on, but you may want to install some that don't provide that information. This is where TES5Edit comes in. The ElderScrolls 5 Edit is a very useful program, which is mostly used for cleaning mods (I'll come to this later), but it will also tell you if a mod is missing a "master". Finding mods that don't provide information about requirements is rare, though, so you don't really need to worry about that. Cleaning mods is also not vital, but doing a one-time clean of the official DLC (and update file) will make your game more stable, and I'd recommend it. For information about cleaning mods, this is the very same video from which I learned how.

 

Necessary Third-Party Tools

 

That is pretty much all you need to keep in mind for modding Skyrim. Kind of. Essentially, that really is it (load order, priority, and having requirements), but there are cases where mod requirements are a bit more complicated. Of course, it's nothing difficult, but I'd like your modding experience to be as smooth as possible, so I'll go over the biggest "offenders" here.

 

Step 6: Download, Install, and Run FNIS

 

Any mods that add new animations to Skyrim will require a third-party tool for any of those animations to show up in game. It just so happens that Beeing Female is one such mod (as is the SexLab Framework), so hopefully I'll be clear enough for this to make sense. The user Fore on the Skyrim Nexus made a tool which allows for custom animations, FNIS, and has gone to great lengths to make it as user-friendly as possible. You'll download it like any other mod from the Skyrim Nexus, and install it in Mod Organizer, just the same. However, there is an extra step to get animations to work. Once FNIS is installed, you'll need to find the GenerateFNISforUsers.exe in MO. I'd suggest making a shortcut it, as outlined in the following video about Mod Organizer and FNIS. Every time you install a mod which adds new animations to the game (or remove a mod that has custom animations), you'll need to run FNIS. Note: if you're adding a large number of custom animations at once, the FNIS application may throw an error about it's array index being out of bounds. This can be safely disregarded, if you try again, and it succeeds. A great tutorial for setting it up can be found here.

 

Step 7: Download, Install, and Use Caliente's BodySlide

 

BodySlide is not actually required by any account. I'm mentioning it here, because if you decide to use Caliente's Beautiful Bodies Edition -CBBE-, you'll want to have a bit of know-how with BodySlide, as it will allow you to create the exact body you want your player to have. In following with the third "rule" of modding, before you even download BodySlide, take a look at it's requirements. Now, BodySlide is not that clear about what it requires, but that's because it doesn't technically require anything. You do, however, need a new body mod, and as CBBE is my preference (and the easiest to use with BodySlide), I'll explain the process using that.

 

Maybe I should say "provide a quick rundown using that", because there isn't actually much to it, when using BodySlide with CBBE. Initially, install CBBE (which has other prerequisites- I'll get to that later), and choose the presets you like best. After CBBE is installed, run BodySlide. I had a bit of trouble getting BodySlide to work at first, but running it as an Administrator (subsequently, running MO as an Admin) fixed all my problems. Once it's running, select the body preset you'd like to start with at the top, then click "Preview Small", or "Preview Large". This will allow you to see the edits you're making in real-time. The rest is fairly self-explanatory; adjust the sliders until you're happy with the result, then click "Batch Build". Provided this succeeds, you're free to close BodySlide, and you should have the new body in-game.

 

 

TO-DO: Outline suggest mods, install order, and debugging

 

 

TL;DR

(I don't blame you)

 

Modding Skyrim is simple, and is essentially as easy as modding The Sims 3, so you'll be a pro in no time.

 

Use Mod Organizer, unless you want to reinstall Skyrim twice a day. See this video for help setting it up.

 

There are three things to keep in mind for a stable modded Skyrim: load order, priority, and compatibility (having prerequisite mods).

 

Load order is about which mods Skyrim loads first, and should be managed through LOOT. It is genuinely as simple as running LOOT whenever you install new mods.

 

Priority is about making sure mods can find assets from other mods that they rely on. This is done manually (just drag and drop in MO), but is as simple as matching mod priority to the load order that LOOT gives you.

 

Compatibility is just installing any prerequisite mods, and avoiding mods that conflict. Information about this can almost always be found on a mod's download page.

 

This is getting a bit long, so I'm going to post it as-is, and add a better outline/more information in a bit. Right now, it's probably not going to be beneficial at all, so please don't mind it.

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This helps tremendously. I kept reading about different programs like that and I think that's what confused me the most. With Sims, it was as simple as download the framework, make mod folder, and cram everything in there (double checking if they were compatible of course). Basically, Skyrim is Sims OCD sibling: it just needs more structure. When it comes to the LOOT and MO (I haven't watched the videos yet so forgive me if it will be covered there), I can download all of the mods I mentioned above right out of the gate, double checking compatibility and prerequisites, and those programs will relatively sort themselves? Side note: does it matter what windows version I have? Windows 8 will be compatible?

 

Thanks so much for all your help in walking me through this. I was afraid I was going to sound like a complete noob posting a "help me I'm poor" forum. 

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I'll try to finish an outline for your specific mods in a little while, but I'm going to take a break right now. I'm assuming that you'd like to figure things out for yourself, and my post probably reflects that, but if you'd prefer more of a "do this, then that" explanation, do let me know. Also, if anything isn't clear, please tell me so I can update it, or provide images, or something.

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Welcome,

 

Yeah I totally get it.  Modding Skyrim is pretty easy as long as you follow a few simple guidelines. 

 

1.  Texture packs are over rated and tend to eat up valuable memory.

2.  Modding skyrim does require some basic file editing if you want the game to run great.  This is probably the biggest thing you can do to make skyrim stable and prevent CTD's or freezing.  Search nexus for Real uGrids to load solution and more by Umbrecht.  Read the information and paste the lines into your Skyrim.ini located at /documents/my games/ Skyrim/  I suggest getting Notepad++ as its a very helpful program to make it easy.  Just follow his instructions based on your PC setup.  Seriously I have 200 mods installed and I never crash.

3.  Next is your ENB of choice.  There are tons, but if you are looking for realism, True Vision is a good one, but I suggest looking on youtube, just search top ENB's for skyrim, and find the one you like, they all have pro's and cons.  First you will download the ENB itself, just google ENB Skyrim, download the latest version.  You will pull the d3d9.dll and enbhost file from the wrapper version and paste them to your /steam/steamapps/common/skyrim/ folder where your skyrim launcher and skyrim.exe is located.  Follow the instructions with the ENB  you choose and make sure to set your files accordingly.  Its very simple and they provide detailed information on all of it.

4.  Create a Mod folder for your mods.  I just made a folder on my C drive that says MODS.  You will point your Mod program whether Mod organizer or Nexus mod manager to that location. 

5.  get yourself Nexus mod manager, some prefer Mod Organizer, but I find NMM more user friendly.  This will allow you to download directly and make it super simple to activate/deactivate mods.

6.Next you want to get the tools you will need to make modding easy.  Google Skyrim LOOT (this program corrects your load order and prevents CTD's due to out of order load orders).  It will also tell you if you have dirty edits, dirty edits are not always bad, be sure to read the Description of the mod that has a dirty edit for more information.  Perkus Maximus for example has a dirty edit but it is needed so you do not want to clean it.)

7.  Get yourself Tes5edit.   Google it as well.  Tes5edit will help you clean your dirty edits (if you need to)  I currently have 11 and I don't worry about it.  I never crash.  Its pretty simple to do, just follow the instructions exactly.  There are helpful videos on youtube explaining the entire process.

8.  Now that you have a good foundation to start modding, you will want the basics.  You mentioned you wanted a pregnancy body, If you are going that route I highly highly recommend getting Scivirus's Body replacer for a functional vagina.

9.  One tip I give with Nexus, is never just download using the Download with NMM, always Manual install and read the description, there may be additional files you need.  Just be sure to always follow each mods instructions.

 

First you will need to get the following:

SKSE -Google it

FNIS-  Nexus (there are 3 files you want, behavior, spells, and creatures-follow instructions)

SKYUI-Nexus

Google Scivirus female genital texture replacer.  It is here on Loverslab.   Follow his instructions.  Once you have the files needed, and activated via NMM.

 

You will also want to get Bodyslide.  Scivirus has very detailed instructions.  Once you activate his file that includes textures, you can use whatever body texture you want,  So activate his body, install the texture you want, open bodyslide,   The left side is what your body will look like at minimum weight, the right side is what it will look like at maximus weight of 100.  if you install armors, such as remodeled armors for hdt body, make sure you batch build, and when your done setting your Outfit/Body to SLFCVagina and your Preset to CBBE, click the Build and that will save your body and make all the wonderful things happen for you in Skyrim.  You will have a pregnancy capable body, working vagina, just don't forget to run the FNIS Generate tool once your done and before you start SKSE.  The Fair skin texture works really well but its up to you.  Just remember if you use a CBBE body, get a texture that fits it.  If you use a UNP body, get the correct textures. 

 

This is just the basics to get you started with having the pregnant body and what not, I know im all over the place with this response but its 5:31 in the morning and tired.  If you need more help or have questions just ask and Ill get back to you. 

 

 

 

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