Robbie mostly writes about Skyrim but also occasionally sheds light on the oddities of Microsoft applications such as Excel and Outlook.
How to Install Skyrim Mods: Script Extender, Skyrim Unbound, the Unofficial Skyrim Patch, and Sky UI
The Elderscrolls V Skyrim is an amazing game. Bethesda, since beginning the Elderscrolls series with Arena has created wonderful open worlds for action role-playing game players with unparalleled freedom to play exactly how you want to play. Skyrim, the fifth game in the series is no exception. In Skyrim, the player will battle dragons to become the Dragon borne, defeat the dragon Alduin and save the world.
Since the Elderscrolls III: Morrowind, Bethesda also included their Construction Set with the game. The Construction set is a tool with which they created the original game. Using this tool, talented and passionate modders take up the mantle and have extended the scope of the game far beyond its original form by creating literally thousands of mods enhancing and expanding the game in hundreds of different ways. Everything from small single changes to massive landmasses and even total conversions have been created by modders.
Game developers no matter how talented cannot implement everything they wanted to include and squash every bug in the game in the time they had available. Today, I am going to look at mods that make improvements that Bethesda either didn't have time for or didn't think of including in the original game. The mods in this hub are mods that I feel no-one should play Skyrim without.
There are a number of mods that I consider to be essential for any one playing Skyrim. These will fix hundreds of in game bugs, improve and enhance the User Interface and allow you to avoid the in game start (which is a bit long once you have seen it once) and customise your starting position and character.
- The first mod is Skyrim Script Extender or SKSE. This powerful mod extends Skyrim's scripting abilities and is essential for a large number of the best mods available
- The second is Sky UI which incorporates MCM (Mod Configuration menu). This not only greatly improves the User Interface it also allows you to configure your mods in game using MCM
- Skyrim Unbound allows you to customise and even randomise your starting position, equipment and character class when beginning a new game in Skyrim
- Lastly, the Unofficial Skyrim Patch, the Unofficial Hearthfire Patch, the Unofficial Dragonborn Patch and the Unofficial Dawnguard Patch fix literally hundreds of bugs in game, greatly improving the stability and playability of Skyrim
Tools to Install Mods
Nexus Mod Manager
First, let's look at the mods themselves before we learn how to install them using Nexus Mod Manager. If you are not familiar with Nexus Mod Manager, it is an excellent mod manager that allows you to download (with its built in download manager), cleanly install, uninstall and update mods with a single click. It also ensures that your mods are loaded in the correct order and organised into configurable categories.
If you are an experienced modder, you may like to use Mod Organizer which contains a number of advanced features not available in Nexus Mod Manager. Mod Organizer installs mods in their own folder to allow easy removal, fixes load order issues, helps install mods with installation errors and even has profiles that can have save games associated with them to allow you to test multiple different mod lists.
Skyrim Unbound: A Mod for Elderscrolls V Skyrim by Chinagreenelvis
The first mod we will look at today is Skyrim Unbound. This wonderful mod allows you to configure how and where your character starts when you begin a new game in Skyrim. The opening movie and the mini tutorial which takes place at Helgen is great fun the first time, but when you begin subsequent new games it can become unnecessary.
With Skyrim Unbound:
- The opening sequence can be skipped entirely
- You can choose from a number of character classes (this simply defines your starting gear, so classes start with gear appropriate to their class)
- Rather than starting in Helgen, you can start in any town, city, inn or hold as well as in military camps, the wilderness or even jail
- The main quest can be switched off should you not wish to do it (it can be switched on at any point provided you have installed Sky UI)
- Random dragon encounters can likewise be switched on or off using this mod
How to Install Skyrim Unbound
- Browse: http://www.chinagreenelvis.com/gaming/mods/skyrim/skyrim_unbound/
- Download the latest version (5.4 at the time of writing this hub)
- Launch Nexus Mod Manager
- Copy the mod’s zip file into C:\Games\Nexus Mod Manager\Skyrim\Mods or your Nexus Mod Manager Mods Folder if you chose a different location
- Select Add Mod from Folder
- Activate the Mod
Skyrim Unbound needs Skyrim Script Extender (commonly known as SKSE) to function. So before launching Skyrim to use Skyrim Unbound, we need to install SKSE.
How to Install Skyrim Script Extender SKSE for Elderscrolls V Skyrim
In order to run many mods, including Skyrim Unbound, you need to install Skyrim Script Extender (commonly known as SKSE). SKSE extends Skyrim’s scripting capabilities allowing modders to go beyond the restrictions of the original executable.
- Install Skyrim Script Extender from the following URL http://skse.silverlock.org/
- Select the installer from the link and also click the readme which includes the troubleshooting and compatibility notes.
Note: Ensure that your Steam version (if you are using Steam) is the same as required by this mod.
- Launch the installer and browse to your Skyrim installation folder. If you are using Steam, it will be:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Skyrim.
- Then click Next.
- Deselect Desktop Shortcut if you are using Nexus Mod Manager
If you are using Windows Vista, 7 or 8 you will need to ensure that SKSE is set to "Run as Administrator."
To do this:
- Right click on skse_loader.exe
- Select Properties
- Click on the Compatibility tab and then Run this Program as an Administrator
How to Launch Skyrim Script Extender Using Nexus Mod Manager
If you are using Nexus Mod Manager, in order to launch both mods using Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE), launch as shown below.
How to Use Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) With Steam
If you are trying to launch Skyrim and are using SKSE, you will need an additional step for SKSE to work
- First download SKSE Patcher for Steam from the Skyrim Nexus website
- Copy the file to your Skyrim directory
- Click Patch
Now, when you click Play in Steam, it will run SKSE which in turn loads Skyrim. You will be able to run all of your mods that depend on SKSE without any issues.
How to use SKSE for Skyrim if you don't use Nexus Mod Manager or Steam
For people who choose not to use Nexus Mod Manager or Steam:
- Copy your Skyrim Desktop Short cut
- Rename it SKSE or Skyrim Script Extender
- Change the target field to "<The location of your Skyrim installation>\SkyrimLauncher.exe"
You can see how I configured mine below
Sky UI: A Mod for Skyrim by the SkyUI Team
Bethesda, when they designed the Skyrim User Interface had consoles uppermost in their minds. Sky UI was created to make it work better for those of us that play Skyrim on a PC using a mouse and keyboard. It makes better use of the space available on the screen. You can see the differences below between the vanilla Skyrim UI and Sky UI.
In addition to arranging your inventory, your available magic spells are similarly re-organised.
Where Sky UI really shines is when it is combined with other mods such as Skyrim Unbound. Sky UI allows you to configure compatible mods on the fly. This feature is known as MCM and is very popular with modders and players of Skyrim. You access another mods configuration by:
- Hitting Escape to launch the game menu
- Select Mod Configuration
- You will see listed all the compatible mods you have installed
- If you select Skyrim Unbound, you can see below that it is fully configurable.
Without Sky UI, you are stuck with your choices once made, but with it you can make changes later in the game.
How to Use Skyrim Unbound With a New Game
Without Sky UI installed:
- When you start a New game, Skyrim Unbound will ask you a number of questions which you cannot change once selected without starting a new game.
Using Skyrim Unbound With Sky UI Installed
When you combine Skyrim Unbound with MCM from Sky UI, you get far more freedom of choice. You could for example, decide not to trigger the main quest, or turn dragon encounters off until your character is more powerful. When you want either enabled, you just open MCM and turn then on.
To use Skyrim Unbound with Sky UI:
- Select New to start a new game
- Press Escape to launch the game menu
- Select Mod Configuration (MCM)
- Choose Skyrim Unbound
This allows you to select from all the available options that this mod grants you.
Class: Choose your characters starting weapons and equipment
Starting location: Select where you want to start the game
Options: Decide whether your character has staring spells and whether there will be dragon encounters and also if the main quest will be triggered.
The Unofficial Skyrim Patch: A Mod for Skyrim by the Unofficial Patch Project Team Skyrim
The last mod I am going to strongly recommend for anyone installing Skyrim is the Unofficial Skyrim Patch. This mod is now actually part of a series that covers Skyrim and its three expansions.
Now the Unofficial Patch Project Team Skyrim have the following patches available:
- The Unofficial Skyrim Patch
- The Unofficial Hearthfire Patch
- The Unofficial Dragonborn Patch and
- The Unofficial Dawnguard Patch
This mod fixes hundreds of bugs in the original game, fixing bugs with quests, NPCs, items and objects and of course game play bugs. It has also been thoroughly tested. These mods should be the first mod downloaded by anyone playing Skyrim, as the fewer bugs your game has, the better your gaming experience will be. To download this crucial mod, navigate to http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19/?
The only prerequisite is that your game has to be patched to 220.127.116.11.8 or higher for the patch to work.
In today’s guide, I have introduced a number of mods that will greatly enhance your enjoyment of Skyrim which is already brilliant game. The mods I recommend are:
- Skyrim Unbound, which greatly increases your choices when you start a new character and also allows you to side-step the game's opening sequence.
- Sky UI updates the User Interface which was designed for consoles primarily and on a PC results in a lot of wasted space. In addition, it allows for on the fly mod configuration of compatible mods through MCM.
- The the Unofficial Skyrim Patch, the Unofficial Hearthfire Patch, the Unofficial Dragonborn Patch and the Unofficial Dawnguard Patch fixes hundreds of bugs which affect every aspect of the game including game play, quests and objects among others.
- Finally, I introduced Skyrim Script Extender or SKSE which allows modders to extend Skyrim’s scripts so that they can create mods that would not otherwise be possible.
I hope that you have found this guide useful and that these mods are now all installed and enhancing your playing of Skyrim. Thanks for reading, please feel free to leave any comments you may have below.
© 2013 Robbie C Wilson