Okay so this is going to be massive. Lets think of this as a technical specifications document first and journal of my fortunes.

Skyrim is going to be crazy good if I can tweak the game I think it currently is (never played) into my perfect game.

I want to achieve:

Visual and functional tweaks

  1. Fix the UI so that things are much much more accessible, sortable, informative and direct. I want to see exactly what I will lose and gain from any given item of kit. I'd quite like an automatic value/weight calc so I can carry the most valuable items without fucking around.
  2. Menus that don't pause the game
  3. Straight to Inventory on 'Tab' Fixed by Skyrim Key Helper.
  4. Fix the talent UI so that it is not a complete pain in the balls. Ideally, the entire talent system could display on one screen and be navigable with a mouse.
  5. Fix the graphics so that shadows aren't pitch black. Honestly, the game engine looks like it's caked in some catastrophic oil spill.
  6. Remove 'bloom' lighting
  7. Fix the map so it's an actual map, not a cloud spotting device. I want to be looking at a paper representation of a region, not a fucking lahdidah rendering that tells me nothing. Also included in this is fixing the map controls.
  8. Rebinding of all keys, sensitive to the location in which I am rebinding. This means that I could have G as 'drop' while in menus, but R as sheath/ready weapon in combat. Fixed by Skyrim Key Helper. Some small keys hardcoded for whatever reason.
  9. Update the on screen UI so that I can see my health stam and magic much clearer. Same goes for enemy health. Remove that mirrored bar effect that's so popular in Bethesda games.
  10. Assign two weapons to one key bind so that I can press '1' for sword A and Shield A, '2' for Sword A and Sword B, '3' for Sword B and Spell 1, '4' for Spell 1 and spell 1, '5' for Spell 2 and Shield A, ETC to the ends of time. This would also be correct hand sensitive. - Favourites menu pretty much circumvented or reinvented to allow this so keybinds can be assigned a left and right hand item.
  11. Add something that resolves popular bugs (this may be a decent knowledge of some key console commands.)

Balance and gameplay affecting changes

  1. Add something that requires me to eat / drink basic food and water and sleep
  2. Fix the value of items to make sense in regard to the rest of the economy. I don't want to play this game like a kleptomaniac, for once.
  3. Fix the economy so shops have money. Everywhere, all the time. Console code: click on a vendor then type 'additem F 1000'. The F means money, 1000 is the amount. Finally shops are reasonably well endowed. This does break the pointless speechcraft tree. But it's pointless, so that's cool.
  4. Fix the Talent balancing so that top tier talents are worth it and can be earned in a timely fashion / when they are still of use.

This is what I did

  1. Trying to fix the inventory UI.
    1. Downloaded Nexus Mod Manager on recommendation from SkyUI.
    2. Installed NMM into Skyrim DIR C:\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\Nexus Mod Manager
    3. Set mod dir to C:\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\Mods
    4. Set install info dir to C:\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\Nexus Mod Manager\Install Info
    5. Downloaded SkyUI from here.
    6. Added manual Download of SkyUI to mod manager.
    7. Downloaded Script extender from here.
    8. Followed Script extender install instructions (dll and exe files to install dir, other data files copied as well.)
    9. Now running game through script extender.
  2. Tweaking Skyrimprefs.ini in C:\Users\Steve Roberts\Documents\My Games\Skyrim
    1. iBlurDeferredShadowMask=2 was 3
      Sharpens shadow lines
    2. fShadowDistance=3000.0000 was 8000
    3. iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=2048 was 1024
    4. bMouseAcceleration=0 was 1
    5. fInteriorShadowDistance=1600 was 3000 Value of 1200 left terrible hatching on many lightsources / characters faces
      Value of 800 meant shadows (or rather lights) would pop in well within visible distance. Jarring, crappy.
  3. Tweaking Skyrim.ini in C:\Users\Steve Roberts\Documents\My Games\Skyrim
    1. added fdefaultfov=90. This only works sometimes...
    2. Added map cvars:

      No longer working in latest patch. I wonder if any of the glaring errors with the game have been patched in this update?
  4. Trying to fix shitty overactive bloom view
    1. Downloaded (and activated with NMM) this mod: SkyrimSDR. Deactivated as interiors and night exteriors become viciously underexposed.
  5. Randomly added Steam Workshop mod 'Only 1st person finishers' (rouhgly speaking to check how the Steam Workshop works). Checked in NMM. ... 'Tis a bad mod.
  6. Added Quality Map Mod via NMM. Can be found here.
  7. Installed .net Framework and FXAA post process injector. Now running FXAA post process injector before running game.
  8. Tried out 'Pro Hotkeys' mod from here.
    ... Requiring this program.
    Turns out Skyrim Key helper is incredibly good for rebinding keys. Slight bug where my map key rebound in game from M to F1 tends to mean map opens with local map up first. Usually what I want to see, so not that bad.
  9. Adding to view distance of all things. This makes the world map insanely immersive (actually, actor fade set as high as possible does). Not recording performance drop off any more than 'this is tolerable'.
    1. fTreesMidLODSwitchDist=50000 was 5000
    2. iWaterReflectHeight=1024 was 512.
    3. iWaterReflectWidth=1024 was 512.
    4. fMeshLODLevel2FadeDist=10000000.0000 was 3072
    5. fMeshLODLevel1FadeDist=10000000.0000 was 4096
    1. And in skyrim.ini:
      uExterior Cell Buffer=64 was 36 (maths is cell * cell + 1)
    2. uGridsToLoad=7 Line not present in original file, but default value is 5.
  10. Trying out Unread Books Glow mod. And I see that it is good.
  11. Trying out Expanded Favorites Menu mod. Followed instructions on mod download page prior to activation (creation of favourites.cfg in skyrim/data/interface). Not quite categorized, which I am now trying. Found here. Not downloaded with NMM, copied files into data/interface/ and tweaked the favouritesmenu.cfg file. Tweaking requires multiple reloads of game, but good. Unfortunately keybinds and equip sets do not work as well as they could. Might have been the holy grail of mods (hack keybinds to 1-8, then continually update equipsets to be perfect one button duel equip commands. Not bothered that I have to edit a text file if I can charge about the landscape with perfect spell binds).
  12. Quick note to self: skyrim redone mod and warburgs paper world map