Ultimate Skyrim – Goals
Ultimate Skyrim Part 1
In the introductory post for Ultimate Skyrim, Catreina spoke about the basics behind why she decided to revisit Skyrim, and the goals in doing so. In this post, Catreina goes over the basic installation setup with the Skyrim Total Enhancement Project, or S.T.E.P., why she chose to go with the Extended version over the Standard, and why some mods and entire portions of S.T.E.P. 188.8.131.52. were omitted or passed over.
The number of mods installed in the Ultimate Skyrim package makes a detailed analysis of every mod time-prohibitive, however during this series Catreina will go into detail about as many of the main mods as she can. She will be especially detailed when the posts concerning the difficulty mods are involved.
Setting A Baseline
When deciding on what mods or compilations to start modding Skyrim with, effort was made to have as little gameplay change as possible. Bugs were in need of being smashed, but changing the baseline – the way Skyrim is played in a vanilla state – was unacceptable. When searching for options to make the game more stable and visibly appealing, while also not adding or detracting from the gameplay, very few compilations were found. Sure, there were one-off mods that made things look better or fixed bugs, but overall there were very few all encompassing packages to be found. In 2012, after Catreina had cleared the original game, she started looking for mods to make it look or play better, and found a few; one was the W.A.T.E.R. mod – Water And Terrain Enhancement Redux. The mod struck her as amazing, and so Catreina took to searching for it a bit later, and found a suggestion for the Skyrim Total Enhancement Project. At the time, she was not interested in a lengthy process for updating Skyrim, and there was not all that much out there.
When looking into the current Ultimate Skyrim project, Catreina remembered about S.T.E.P. and W.A.T.E.R., so she took to investigation. It was during that investigation that Catreina realized S.T.E.P. was going to be great for setting up a base to modify Skyrim with. When she started the current project, on December 3 of 2015, The S.T.E.P. was her first stop, and will remain so for some time, as it is very thorough.
What is S.T.E.P.?
As noted above, S.T.E.P. stands for the Skyrim Total Enhancement Project, and the focus is “quality over quantity.” The project aims to stay true to vanilla Skyrim while making changes to visual quality and fixing gameplay bugs. The overall process, even for the core S.T.E.P. install, is fairly lengthy and has a few points where attention to detail is crucial. The reason for using S.T.E.P. Extended however is to give the modding process a stable and visually pleasing base to work with.
As the goal is to have visuals updated and keep a decently high stability the S.T.E.P. Extended version was used, though a few of the mods in the process were skipped over or replaced entirely because mods later in the process will be taking their place.
Immersion, Realism, Difficulty
One of the first things Catreina wanted to make sure was a part of the modded Skyrim set was that it was realistic and immersive. In no way would any human being be able to survive while swimming naked in a blizzard, so why should the player? And who can stay awake fighting, running, jumping, and swimming for 9001 hours?
Keeping these points in mind, Catreina then started looking at survival and difficulty style mods. Difficulty can be approached in many manners: AI improvements, damage scaling, and enemy density are some of the most common. One overhaul reaches above and beyond, and has had Catreina’s attention for a few years. Requiem was a clear and easy choice for Catreina to build the installation around, and so it began.
Setting Up the Basics
Once the main goal was determined, and the overhaul to be used was decided on, the next part of the process was to decide on how to actually select and install the mods in an appropriate manner. Catreina has, in the past, relied on Nexus Mod Manager for her mod organization. However, after being told that Mod Organizer would help do what she wanted in a much more efficient and streamlined manner, while being less buggy, she opted for that as her mod organizer for Skyrim.
After selecting the mod software, a final step in the puzzle was to determine if anyone else had done an installation of the nature that Catreina was proposing. If a mod pack could not be found, then Catreina would have to do the research and installation on her own; such was the case. In the next post, Catreina will discuss the main gameplay changing mods that she is using for Ultimate Skyrim, and why those specific mods were chosen.