So I talked about Skyrim yesterday and it got me to thinking… I have learned a few other things about myself over the past year that I didn’t touch on yesterday or the last time I talked about what I learned playing Skyrim.
I really like modding the game — adding and deleting programs that modify the game — and trying to make it the “perfect” game for me. Like a lot of other people who still play this game… I spend more time modding the game than I do actually playing the game itself. All in search of the ideal gaming experience. Because with these mods one can change the entire look of Skyrim itself. For example, here’s a shot of one of the first cities one sees in Skyrim, and where most of the main quest takes place initially. It’s called Whiterun. I just now went in and took this screenshot with nothing running but the “vanilla” game (and a mod that lets me skip the beginning sequence because that would just be silly to go through all of that to take a picture). That’s how easy it is to start a new game on the PC.
Now take a look at what happens when I add a few mods… one that adds people, one that tweaks the weather, one that tweaks the lighting, another that brings the people who were stuck inside outside, etc… I don’t know if you can see it, but I even have a mod that adds laundry — like hanging laundry outside of buildings and homes. Little things like that. I haven’t added any mods that put in additional buildings or drastically change the appearance of the major cities. The ones you see here merely retexture the existing buildings to a higher definition, so that everything isn’t all blues and grays. So even though I started the character (new game, see how easy it is?) in the exact same spot at the exact same time and moved him to the same camera angle — well as close as I could remember — you can see that a few mods make it look like a completely different place.
Now look at this same town with the mod “Tropical Skyrim” added. Nothing else. This is the vanilla Skryim without mods except this mod that makes everything “Tropical”. It won’t change any quests or make the game harder… it’ll just make it look like my character is walking through a “tropical paradise” or sumthin’. I think it’s funny because sometimes my character is still breathing out “cold” breath and sometimes there’s still snow falling in the colder places where it’s always snowing, but it does make the world of Skyrim look interesting. The thing that made me uninstall it though was the palm trees in the dungeons, often blocking my way. It’s hard to keep a mod when one cannot get through tunnels because there’s a freaking tree in the way. It did make Skyrim pretty though. I didn’t start a new game for this one, I just continued the vanilla game with this mod installed and took the screenshot from the same area.
So why am I showing you all of these pictures of the same town? I mean, why bother? Because I learned something about myself with all of the adding and deleting of mods that I’ve done over the past however many months it’s been since I’ve discovered the world of PC gaming. I’m totally hooked on starting new games. Well, I don’t know if hooked is the right word for it. Okay… yeah… I’m hooked. I mean, I haven’t ever, like EVER played a game past level 50; and with the uncapper, I’m not even limited to the vanilla cap of level 80 anymore. One can play Skyrim and level up forever if they want to, leaving the player to explore forever and take as many radiant quests as their little heart desires. But me, I get to a certain point in the game and say, “I don’t like where I’m taking this character… I’m gonna start a new one.” Or I see a new and shiny mod and say, “Oooo, I want to try that mod, but it totally needs a new game. Okay, I’ll do it.” And it’s so long old character, hello new character. Because the Skyrim engine just isn’t friendly to adding and deleting programs that modify the game. It will bork the game. Big time.
I keep saying to myself that this time I’ll do it. This time, I’ll totally play through until at least level 80. But no. I honestly have never played a character past level 50, and that was on the console before I discovered mods… I didn’t have a choice in the matter. It was do or die (virtually). I think that was my second character. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve created since then. Seriously, lost count. I even stopped making up cute names for them. Why bother if they’re gonna be gone soon? This lovely lady in the picture was called Kaspera because she looked like a ghost. Not very clever at all. Sorry Kaspera, but your game got borked by a bad mod. I had to let you go.
And between y’all and me… I do feel a little twinge of guilt whenever I delete my old characters. I mean, there they were, leading their virtual lives and I just ruthlessly delete them like some fickle god-creature. I know they’re nothing but bits of code in a computer. I know that. Logically I know that. But then I kind of get into an existential funk. What if we’re all just bits of code in some giant computer? Will some fickle god-like creature decide I’m too boring for them someday? Off I go. Then I realize that I’ve got to die sometime. I mean, we all do, right? And unlike my Skyrim character(s), I don’t get reborn at the previous save… or do I? ^_^
Just for fun, here’s an example of what might happen when one doesn’t pay attention to the mods that they’re loading in. I have a mod that adds holidays — not our holidays of course. This holiday incorporates something similar to jack-o-lanterns (obviously); however, on this holiday masked skeletons walk the streets and try to kill you. Definitely not trick-or-treaters ^_^. Anyway, I have another mod that adds extra buildings to the smaller towns (and moves existing buildings). There are “patches” that make them work together. I forgot to load the patch, and got this…