The Elder Wows: Two Million Skyrim Mods Downloaded

By Craig Pearson on February 14th, 2012 at 4:24 pm.

This is Jango. He's my kitty.
I keep meaning to write about how remarkable the Skyrim Steam Workshop is, but it seems everyone knows: since the launch last week, the workshop has served over two million mods to Steam users. To put that in perspective, that’s a gigaquad of proto-Peggles. I’m still going to write nice things about how you can basically build your own game with it, but only after I’m done watching Bethesda’s multi-part tutorial on how to use their Skyrim Creation Kit to make and bundle mods for the Workshop.

This is the first video. So far there are six. If you make anything as cool as Jango, I’ll be adding it to my download list ASAP.

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62 Comments »

  1. dangermouse76 says:

    I really really really want a dense forest like Mirkwood. Is this possible because one has not turned up yet.
    Does it conflict with paths and meshes too much ?

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      That sounds pretty nice. They could always make it an area that you’re magically transported to, like Shivering Isles or Mournhold. You’d save a lot of headache doing it that way.

    • dangermouse76 says:

      Yeah through one of the worlds locked gates in the hills might be an idea. A darkly light wood, so you have to use a torch, then put a spider den in it some where would be amazing. Ugh and scary.

    • Mistabashi says:

      Depending on how dense you want it I’d imagine you would have issues with AI. For a start it would require a pretty complex Navmesh, and based on my (brief) experiences with the Geck they tend to be problematic (I seem to recall there was also a limit on how many vertices the engine could handle). Also the constant breaking of line-of-sight would likely make NPCs act pretty dumb too.

      This is all based on the assumption that Skyrim’s engine is basically the same as Fallout 3 / NV/ Oblivion, which appears to be the case.

    • iasdfvsd says:

      The great thing about Bethesda games are mods. The lousy thing about mods is this: The first 20 or so you make and/or download, are just fixing things in the game, not adding content. http://sup.im/wg

    • Belsameth says:

      Wow. That’s a pretty amazing spambot :)

    • araziel says:

      That was way to on-topic and didn’t contain nearly enough puns to be a real post on rps, I saw right through it. Oh, and “insert obscure Uplink reference here”.

  2. Unaco says:

    Good stuff! Great to see this sort of thing happening. Well done Bethesda and Valve for getting together on this. I started the CK for all of a minute, just to see how familiar the interface is from MW/OB days. Haven’t got the time, and haven’t put enough time into the game yet, to really lose myself in it yet… maybe in a few months.

  3. pakoito says:

    All of them fixing and balancing the game.

    • mouton says:

      This is called crowdsourced cloud development model.

    • Blackcompany says:

      This is likely more right than either of us know.
      .
      The great thing about Bethesda games are mods. The lousy thing about mods is this: The first 20 or so you make and/or download, are just fixing things in the game, not adding content.
      .
      I am losing my passion for these games, and losing it quickly. When a game like Amalur can give me more choice and consequence than a Bethesda game, where does that leave me as a fan of real RPG’s?
      .
      /rant

    • Eleven says:

      I’m willing to bet the mods that you’ve downloaded to balance or fix the game aren’t the same mods I have downloaded to balance or fix the game. I bet we won’t even agree what “balance” or “fix” actually means, and that both of our opinions differ vastly from Bethesda’s vision for the game.

      The thing about mods is that you don’t have to take my opinion on what should or shouldn’t be fixed, or even Bethesda’s, you can tailor a solution entirely for yourself.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      I’ve played the game for around 20 hours so, which is a lot for me, and I’ve not had any issues. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t get why people have this attitude.

    • pakoito says:

      If you haven’t downloaded the 2K Texture Pack, the FPS enhancer & filter injector, Crafting Balance Tweaks and Midas Magic you’re just doing it wrong. You can play without them, and you can play the game unpatched with bad drivers too. Bethesda have no excuse for the crafting problems, the low-res textures and bad FPS on cities.

    • sebmojo says:

      They’ve fixed the framerate and the bad textures already with official patches. And the crafting problems… I dunno, I mean sure you can break the game with a flick of your wrist… but if you’d don’t want to break the game then you don’t have to. Working as intended, seems to me.

    • pakoito says:

      So game is made out of 10? pieces or “mechanics”. You have to purposely avoid two of them altogether because they are broken, but once you forget about that…and not using magic…everything is fine.

      And their texture pack is still subpar, the FPS fixes insufficient, community has added better postprocessing.

      I love the game but…c’mon. Community fixed.

    • Lemming says:

      Fans have been making mods to ‘fix’ and ‘balance’ rpgs for years. All the infinity engine rpgs of old, and the Fallout series all have fan patches that claim to fix and balance. This isn’t a modern issue.

  4. Creeping Death says:

    Now I have a kitty in Skyrim, thanks Craig! :P

    • mondomau says:

      Why limit yourself to just the kitty? The pet mod scatter rings and scrolls around that allow you to summon pretty much any wild animal a pet. Including Mammoths…..

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Does the pet mod have some obtuse name? Can you point us at it? I WANT A MAMMOTH!

  5. kurtcocaine says:

    I dont like the steam workshop… :/
    Nexus>>>steam workshop..

    • Buttless Boy says:

      The problem with Steam Workshop is mostly that if you use it you’re going to break your game. Being unable to change load order or manage the installed files is insane.

      If they combined it with a functional launcher I wouldn’t have a problem with it. As it is, I’m afraid to use it.

      EDIT: Okay just the launcher problems then. :)

    • dangermouse76 says:

      Buttless: Search is included now.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      I’m afraid that because of the problems with the launcher though, people will be scared off. I remember the dark days of Morrowind modding before I knew what I was doing, when I’d install thirty different mods at once and my game would immediately become an unplayable clusterfuck of broken meshes, glitched controls, and floating buildings.

      It wouldn’t be so bad if Bethesda wasn’t forcing people to use an utterly broken packaging system to get on the Workshop; but because they are, incompatibilities are practically impossible to avoid.

    • HothMonster says:

      @fright, yeah the mod workshop only allows you to alter files that are under the data folder, I imagine for security reasons. The script extender modifies stuff in the root skyrim folder so needs to be manually installed. It’s worth it, that sky UI is great. Not perfect but a HUGE step in the right direction.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I want to like Steam Workshop. I want to use it as my primary place for mods. That, and Skyrimforge/Curse, perhaps. I love those sites and I like the workshop.
      .
      But until someone comes up with a mod manager/launcher that can handle load order issues, I simply…can’t. I actually am not a fan of the Nexus mod manager. I don’t want my mod manager tied to a website that way, I want it neutral and supporting the entire community at large.
      .
      Hopefully Valve and Bethesda will get together and come up with something that works. Or the maker of the former mod managers (Timeslip, was it?) will return with a new, unaffiliated mod manager for Skyrim.
      .
      I appreciate the Nexus and what they do for the community, but sometimes I dislike their stance that indicates that they ::are:: the community.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      Blackcompany: Try Wrye Smash, it’s pretty much exactly what you describe; although the interface isn’t nearly as slick as NMM or its predecessors.

    • Davie says:

      It would be, except their servers are apparently pitching a fit lately, and it’s become impossible to use their own mod manager to download stuff.

  6. westyfield says:

    Here’s the best mod (be ready with the volume, it suddenly spikes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5iX4tFDmrJ4

  7. Sp4rkR4t says:

    And yet there is still no good UI overhaul, still having to use QD Inventory which has always had bugs but at least none of them are game breaking and it doesn’t rely on script extensions.

    • HothMonster says:

      What’s wrong with SkyUI? Or are you discounting it because of the script extender?

    • Bonedwarf says:

      What does SKyUI actually use SKSE for? Since I see it bitch when I don’t load it with that, but can’t actually notice anything which isn’t working without it.

    • HothMonster says:

      Not sure, only used it with the extender active.

    • skalpadda says:

      I found SkyUI a bit unwieldy, but perhaps that’s because it’s designed more for mouse work and I’ve become so used to the standard one and using the keyboard to navigate it.

    • Zenicetus says:

      IIRC, SkyUI uses the script extender just for the little custom icons for each item in the list. The basic functionality is still there without it, I think, but those icons are useful.

    • sebmojo says:

      SkyUI seems to work fine without SKSE when I try it, so I don’t know either.

      Oh, maybe the item pictures in the inventory are a little wonky? Apart from that it’s fine.

    • Amped91 says:

      I’ve been using it without SKSE since the workshop was opened, and the only trouble I’ve noticed is when moving your inventory and a container’s or shop keeper’s you can only move once. Moving back overlays the icons above and your inventory stays in the inventory window, even though you have the container’s inventory selected. Confused me a little when it first happened.

    • PeteC says:

      I think the filter function relies on the SKSE. Or that’s what I read in amongst the bitching in the comments on the workshop for SkyUI anyway. Not sure why using SKSE is considered such a ballache for so many though. Couldn’t be easier to install.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      probably because SKSE is only compatible with the current version of Skyrim and would break when/if skyrim automatically updates, then needs re-installing when a new version is released to match. Not a stretch for people used to modding perhaps but when the idea of the Steamworks store is presumably to make installing mods so much more convenient it rubs the wrong way for people I guess

    • Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

      110 hours in, and I’m starting to avoid the game now, because I hate wrangling with the inventory system. And yes, I have SkyUI installed and a few other mods too. Someone needs to mod a cross between WoW’s bag system and Fallout New Vegas’ equipped items pip-boy screen. And keyboard shortcuts that let you switch between preconfigured combinations of armour and weaponry.

  8. Blackcompany says:

    I have decided I want a Jango. I don’t really care about balance or fairness in combat. I want a wizened, sage-like Magus who relies far too much upon Illusion and Alteration to avoid Confrontation and the Proliferation of Altercation across the Skyrim Nation. Or some such.
    .
    Basically, I want to rely upon Illusions. Well, illusions, and Jango.

  9. davidgilbert says:

    I think at the moment its too chaotic – until it has categories and favourite mods that are broken down into smaller chunks than 1…100 odd pages, then the skyrim nexus is still the king.

  10. nimzy says:

    “a gigaquad”

    Oh you. Now I have to go play Uplink again.

  11. Auru says:

    Why is there so much babble over which is better.. steam workshop or nexus? It should make Skyrim gamers happy that there is a choice.. I have friends who adore this game but never touched a mod until this week because of how unwieldy it can be to get what you want from nexus, out of curiosity some of them have ventured onto there to dig up more mods

    It’s good for everyone, stop whining!

    • Chaz says:

      Yep, I’m in that boat; love the game but until now I hadn’t bothered with Skyrim mods as getting on Nexus and having to download a mod manager and then all the files etc has always just seemed like too much hassle. Probably me just being lazy I know but on the workshop all I have to do is click a button and it automatically does the rest. So far everything has worked fine for me. Might even have a go at making a mod myself sometime.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      Getting mods from the Nexus or another site means managing the files yourself, so any compatibility problems among mods and/or Bethesda’s files can be fixed during the installation process. It’s unfortunately complicated, but that’s because the mods are huddled precariously on a decade of Bethesda’s bugs.

      The more that people have access to mods, the better; it’s just worrying when the “official” way of accessing mods will cause problems for some people. I love the idea of the Workshop, and if Bethesda ever fixes the file management issues I expect I’ll use it exclusively. Until those are fixed though, I don’t wanna risk damaging my 100+ hour save.

      All that said, as long as you stick to fairly small mods, and I’m sure most people do, there shouldn’t be any problems.

    • Chaz says:

      Yeah I must admit so far I’ve been careful not to download stuff that makes any drastic changes, mostly minor changes, bug fixes and graphics tweaks. Nothing that will break my game should I decide to ditch them.

      If there is one problem that I’ve noticed, it is that it automatically updates the mods whether you want them to or not. So if one of the mod makers changes a range of stats or whatever on one of your mods then you’ll get those changes without notification. Unless before you boot up Skyrim you check the details page of each and every one of your subscribed mods, which is unlikely if you have subscribed to over 15 mods.

      Once I’ve finished my first play through and embark on a second, then I’ll probably try and get into the mods thing a bit more properly, but at the moment it’s a case of give me convenience.

  12. Eddy9000 says:

    What I’d like is a mod that adds some interesting role-play perks.
    In fallout new vegas I created:
    - Dr. Jekyll, a polite doctor who secretly craved human flesh and raged when his health was depleted, using his newfound strength to wield a minigun and mow everything down.
    - Crazy Ivan, a misanthropic russian explosives expert that hated humanity, doing extra damage to humans, but loved the innocence of animals and was never attacked by them.
    - Goggles, an energy weapons technician who spent so much time exposed to radiation through his work that he healed and had better reflexes when irradiated.

    In Skyrim I played:
    - A warrior that hits things with a sword and used to block with a shield until his sword got so good he just hits things with it and kills them
    - a warrior that just hits things with a big sword and kills them
    - A thief that used to backstab but now just hits things with two swords at once and kills them
    - A mage that used to throw fire at people until it killed them until it didn’t, and now summons demons and waits until they kill them instead.

    • Wubble69 says:

      You’ll be completely at home in the Skyrim tool then so stop posting here on RPS and get cracking on with your new NPC’s.

      Man/Woman up or stfu?

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Being completely tech-illiterate I thought instead I might make a valid criticism of the game and express a desire that people with more ability improve on them. Obviously this offends you and I’m sorry.

    • Wubble69 says:

      You’ll have to excuse me then.

      You said “In fallout new vegas I created:”

      I just carelessly assumed you meant what you said, since those characters don’t (iirc) exist in the boxed unmodded game.

      I thought I was talking to someone who had understanding of the GECK.

      Clearly I was wrong and you are just the sort of person who expects others to use the tools provided to create exactly what you want and if they don’t, you’ll spend some of your self-entitlement time posting about it rather then downloading the tool yourself and finding out how easy it is.

      My Bad! I apologise!

    • Mistabashi says:

      “You said “In fallout new vegas I created:”

      I just carelessly assumed you meant what you said, since those characters don’t (iirc) exist in the boxed unmodded game.”

      What Eddy9000 is saying is that in New Vegas there were already lots of interesting perks and character traits that allowed him to create those characters without having to mod the game, whereas the character system in Skyrim seems to be somewheat less interesting and well balanced.

      I don’t see the problem with expressing the desire for a mod that changes this, sure the tools are there for everyone, but you could say the same about the software development tools used to create games in the first place – it doesn’t make you “entitled” to voice an opinion about games or mods.

    • HothMonster says:

      Really it just sounds to me like he lost his imagination between playing NV and Skyrim.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Mitsubashi has the measure of it. I said “I created” as in created a player character whilst playing the game, nothing to do with the GECK. I think that Skyrim was rather limited in the options allowed to the player in creating the character, as the perks only really seem to serve to make the skills better, rather than add any character flavour or different ways to play the game.
      I wouldn’t have a clue where to start with mods and that kind of thing, and I didn’t expect anyone to make any mods for me, I simply said it would improve the game for me if they did and I hope they do, so I’m not sure where all of this entitlement stuff came from.

      Disagree with my opinion by all means if you think character development in Skyrim was the best thing ever and you don’t think mods could improve it, I’d be happy to debate it with you, but there’s no need to talk like a dick.

    • Wubble69 says:

      My replies to you were unneccessarily cunty and for that I’m happy to apologise.

      A mixtured of being pissed, pissed off and Valentine’s day.

      To take a more helpful shot at answering your question I’d say actually the perk systems between the two games are a lot more similar than they actually appear. In NV there were perks that didn’t become available unless your SPECIAL and Skill numbers made the grade and I think the stupid star constellation thing just makes it more glaring. Plus the perk descriptions are certainly more clinical and not fun in Skyrim.

      From a mod perspective it’s quite easy to create new perks but without actually modding the stupid constellation I wouldn’t know how to get the new perks onto your single player character.

      Certainly you could fairly accurately create your three example characters as NPC’s in Skyrim but that’s not what you are looking for.

  13. Shooop says:

    Great success.

  14. jjujubird says:

    Are there any or are there going to be any mods which make combat in Skyrim actually interesting / dynamic? I’d love to play this game again if the combat was good.

  15. outoffeelinsobad says:

    And I’m Nick Breckon And I’m Nick Breckon And I’m Nick Breckon.

  16. Vjaas says:

    The workshop still cannot fathom the awesomeness of nudemodding tho :(

  17. Dlarit says:

    Skyrim Posh Mudcrab mod! why have RPS not told me about this??? i feel very let down….