Skyrim, one of the most popular games to ever be released, with a storyline and DLCs to give you hours upon hours of gameplay to a vast community of people creating mods to add new content, it’s no wonder why this game is classed as one of the greatest games to have ever been made. This blog will tell you about the various tools that exist today to help you mod your Skyrim Game. But first we’ll talk about why you’d want to mod Skyrim.
Why Mod Skyrim?
The answer to that question is simple. Mods allow the user to add new content, whether it is simply new armours and weapons or entirely new questlines to give you hours of gameplay, with mods the possibilities are endless. Perhaps you are unhappy with the graphics of the game or simply wish to test the limits of Skyrim. Well, there are mods that exist that retexture the game to look more next-gen, mods that add in new land or even mods that completely change the game as people know it such as the infamous “Enderal”, or even mods that replaces every dragon in the game with Thomas the Tank Engine.
Where to get mods?
There are thousands of websites that exist that provide mods for not only Skyrim but various other games as well. However, Nexus Mods is the website that is by far the safest and the most popular in the modding community. Nexus Mods has various mods for both the original (sometimes known as Legendary Edition) and the Special Edition of Skyrim.
For beginners, the prospect of modding a game can be extremely confusing but luckily this guide will not only compare different mod managers to use to make your modding experience easier but will also take you through step by step how to install mods.
Now for installing mods, there are various tools known as mod managers to make this as user friendly as possible. Some popular mod managers are Nexus Mod Manager, Mod Organizer 2 and Vortex. But before this the user will have to download SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) in order to run some mods as well as download the latest ENBSeries if the player wishes to have an ENB enabled on their game.
SKSE can be downloaded here.
To install SKSE, the user just has to drag the Data Folder, src Folder, skse64_steam_loader.dll, skse64_loader.exe and the skse64_1_6_342.dll into their game directory.
*For the skse64_1_6_342.dll, the numbers may be different based upon what version of skse you've downloaded, please ensure it is the latest version you download, otherwise the game will fail to run. Also ensure that you choose either the SKSE built for Special Edition or the SKSE built for Anniversary Edition. As of writing this blog, SKSE AE Version is called Preliminary AE build 2.1.4*
ENBSeries can be download here.
To install ENBSeries, the user just has to drag the enbseries Folder, d3d11.dll, d3dcompiler_46e.dll, enblocal.ini and finally the enbseries.ini into their game directory.
*With these 5 things in the Game Directory, your game is now ready to have an ENB installed.*
Nexus Mod Manager
Nexus Mod Manager remains today as one of the most popular and useful mod managers that exists. Not only does this mod manager handle mods for Skyrim, but it works for various other games as well such as Fallout 4, Subnautica, The Witcher 3 and countless other games.
Nexus Mod Manager provides a very easy-to-use interface that helps you download, install and organize your mods in the already set up categories or custom categories created by the user. One of the most important features of this mod manager is its ability to keep your game directory as clean as possible when mods are updated and reinstalled. If there's an error with installing a mod, then this mod manager will also clean up properly after itself to ensure your game directory does not suffer from any corruptions or unnecessary files that can slow down or even crash your game.
Although Nexus no longer supports Nexus Mod Manager with its release of Vortex, it's still available to use and still regularly gets updated by the community. You can find the latest community release of the Mod Manager on GitHub here.
Next on the list of mod managers is Vortex. Vortex, made by Nexus Mods, is one of the most versatile mod managers available to download with mod support for over 65 different games. One of the pros to this mod manager is that it is much better and more convenient with dealing with mod conflicts than its counterpart, Nexus Mod Manager.
Whereas Nexus Mod Manager simply presents the user with an override prompt during installation of mods when there is a mod that edits the same files as another mod, Vortex allows the user to choose which files there want to override in much more detail allowing the user to have multiple mods that would do the same thing but choose which part of that mod there want enabled. For example, the user might have a mod that retextures the entire Skyrim landscape but have another mod to override the files for stones if there prefer the texture from a different mod.
Vortex also has LOOT built-in, meaning it's even easier to ensure you have the correct load order as well as to check if there are any issues with any of the installed mods.
You can download the Vortex Mod Manager here.
Mod Organizer 2
Finally on our list of mod managers, we have Mod Organizer 2. Easily one of the community's favourite mod manager to use. Mod Organizer 2 was developed by Tannin to support 4-bit games as well as all the 32-bit games that were supported by Mod Organizer 1. Mod Organizer 2 is now an open project and being developed by the community, just like Nexus Mod Manager, since Tannin was hired by the Nexus Team to help develop their Vortex Mod Manager.
Mod Organizer 2 was specifically designed for those who like to experiment with mods in mind, therefore this mod manager has an easy and reliable way to install and uninstall mods. Mod Organizer 2 also does not modify the vanilla game installation in any way making this mod manager different to traditional one. Mods installed by this mod manager are installed in their own folders separate from the actual game folder. The mod manager also utilises its own .ini files (Configuration Files) rather than edit the base games. By doing this mods are only active when the game is booted up from within the mod manager. The mod manager also comes with an integrated ini editor meaning users who want to mess around with .ini files should do so from within the mod manager. However, we recommend that you know what you're doing before touching these as there can break your game or stop specific mods from functioning correctly.
You can download Mod Organizer 2 here.
Tools You'll Need
And finally, after installing mods and running LOOT, to optimize your load order, you may need to run some mods through what is called SSEEdit in order to fix some issues with mods. When the user boots this tool up it will display a list of mods that the user has installed. The user can then look through the list and click on the mod that LOOT says there's an issue with and once the user presses “OK” the tool will run through and cleanup the mod therefore preventing any further issues and giving the user the cleanest possible playthrough so there don’t have to suffer through their game crashing.
You can download SSEEdit here.