How to use Skyrim mods to increase immersion including Frostfall, Wet and Cold, Hunterborn, Open Cities and Realistic Needs and Diseases
Hi and welcome to my latest hub on the Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. Today, I am going to look at immersion and how to use some of the fantastic Skyrim mods available to improve it. To be fully immersed in a game, everything needs to be fully fleshed out and believable within the game world itself. Some of the design decisions made on Skyrim and also some of the game play choices made have detracted from the games immersion and it is those shortcomings that we will resolve with mods today.
Although Bethesda did a wonderful job with Skyrim, it is, like all Elder Scrolls games perhaps not as polished and feature complete as we would like. Thankfully, literally thousands of mods have been created, giving you the ability to add to Skyrim in almost any way conceivable.
Today, I am going to look at some of the very best immersion mods available. All of these excellent mods add immense immersion to Skyrim and are fun to play. They are all highly configurable through MCM, so any aspects that you don't like can be turned off.
- Frostfall is a totally configurable survival mod which brings hypothermia, cold weather survival and camping gear into Skyrim. It seamlessly tracks your condition and shows you your wetness, temperature and exposure on screen.
- Wet and Cold adds dynamic effects for both wet and cold to Skyrim. NPCs will wear cloaks and gloves. You can even see their breath when it is cold. When it is snowing, snow will build up on your body and NPCs will even wear snow shoes!
- Hunterborn greatly enhances hunting in Skyrim. You can now loot animals in a variety of ways including dressing, skinning, harvesting, and butchering. You can cook their meat and a number of new alchemical ingredients are available.
- Open Cities is a Skyrim mod that removes the load screens you normally get when you enter a city. The gates will also be open during the day and you can just walk (or ride) straight in. What may on the surface be a small change is huge in terms of immersion
- Finally, Realistic Needs and Diseases adds hunger, thirst, sleep, inebriation and progressive diseases to Skyrim. You will need to sleep, eat and drink regularly to survive. This mod works extremely well with Hunterborn.
Frostfall and Wet and Cold, two Skyrim mods that change the way that player characters and non player characters react to weather in Skyrim
The first and in my opinion, the biggest thing that breaks immersion in game is the fact that cold has no real affect on your character or the inhabitants of Skyrim. Skyrim is a world defined by snow and yet you can run around wearing anything you like and not be adversely affected. We will look two fantastic mods that endeavour to resolve this.
Frostfall by Chesko, is a wonderful mod that aims to do a number of things seamlessly and without making Skyrim less fun to play than it already is.
- It is a survival mod which adds exposure to the game much like health and stamina. Your exposure will increase when you are cold and or wet, and decrease when you are warm and dry
- Frostfall constantly checks your location, the current weather, the clothes you wear and the time of day to calculate your current exposure level which is shown on screen
- You can craft a wide variety of survival gear using Frostfall including backpacks and tents
- The mod also adds a shout called Survival skills which allow you to do a number of things including lighting campfires, crafting items, harvesting wood and checking your survival equipment
- Frostfall is totally configurable, if you don’t like a feature you can turn it off, if you think something needs tweaking, you can do exactly that
In order to be able to configure and enjoy Frostfall, you need to install two mods. The first is Skyrim Script Extender or SKSE, a mod that extends the scripts that modder can utilise, and SkyUI (pictured right), a mod that enhances the User Interface and giving you the ability to configure mods through MCM (Mod Configuration Menu) during game play. Both of these essential mods are discussed at length in my hub on the essential mods for Skyrim which can be found here.
Alongside SKSE and SkyUI which are both essential for Frostfall, you should also consider installing a Mod Manager to assist you in installing all these wonderful mods. There are two main mod managers.
The first is Nexus Mod Manager. This will allow you to download and install mods easily, configure your load order and also obtain mod updates automatically. It has a nice clean interface (pictured right) and is very easy to use. My hub on Nexus Mod Manager can be found here.
Mod Organizer is another mod manager. This is for more advanced modders and adds a number of features not available in Nexus Mod Manager. Using it you can:
- Fix incorrectly installed mods on the fly
- Check for load order issues automatically
- Have different profiles with different mods installed and saves that run just in that profile
- Create backups of your ini files to test changes
In addition, each mod is installed in its own folder, making mod removal simple and clean.
I have a hub on Mod Organizer which can be found here.
Once installed and started, Frostfall adds three meters in game:
- Firstly, a wetness meter
- Next a meter that shows your current level of exposure
- Finally, a temperate meter to show how warm it is where you are currently located
Once Frostfall is initialised in game, I suggest that you bind a key to Weathersense and Survival Skills as in order to survive in Skyrim you will need to know the weather, your current condition and you will need to use your Survival skills to chop firewood, craft survival gear and light fires.
In order to better illustrate how Frostfall works in game, suppose my new character decides to go for a swim in the icy sea.
You can see from the picture below, my brave Nord is very wet and is suffering from exposure. By activating Weathersense, Frostfall tells me exactly how wet I am (98%), my current level of exposure -33 and the fact that the air is cold.
Deciding that I need to warm myself up, I walk to the nearest Inn and warm myself next to the fire.
You can see from the pictures above that the fire warms me and also dries out my clothes. That in a nutshell is what Frostfall does in game. With it installed and activated, you will have to be aware of your environment and act accordingly. If it is snowing, raining, cold or dark you will have to wear warm clothing, a cloak or sleep in a tent or risk dying of the cold.
Wet and Cold a mod to add dynamic wet and cold effects to Skyrim
The modder Isoku has created a Skyrim mod that adds dynamic effects for both wet and cold to Skyrim. NPCs will now react to changes in weather, they will go home when it rains, and they will equip fur hoods and gloves if they are cold. Other effects include:
- Water will drip from your player character in the rain and after swimming. If you shelter out of the rain, the dripping will stop
- When you walk in the rain or after swimming the sounds of your footsteps will change to more of a splodge
- If you look up into the rain, it will get in your eyes so that at times you won’t be able to see
- NPCs (aside from Argonians) will equip rain hoods in the rain
- If you or any NPCs or many types of creatures are outside in the cold, their breath will be visible
- If you are outside and it is snowing, snow will build up on your head and armour / clothes
- In a blizzard the wind will slow you down and also snow may blind you
- When walking in the wilderness in the cold, all NPCs will have backpacks and even snowshoes
With all these changes and additions, the way that NPCs and your Player Character are affected by the rain and snow is altered to greatly improve the games immersion. NPCs will now behave as you would expect them to react when it is raining or snowing.
Open Cities a Skyrim mod that removes loading screens from the cities and towns
The next mod I will look at is Open Cities by Arthmoor. This mod simply removes the loading screens that occur in the vanilla game whenever you enter or exit cities in Skyrim. The changes to Skyrim that this mod makes may seem subtle or simple, but its effect on immersion is immense. For me, this is the first mod on my list of installed mods, it is that important to my immersion and enjoyment playing in the world of Skyrim.
- With Open Cities installed:
- You can ride a horse into a city
- Guards will come to your assistance if you are attacked near the city gates
- Should a dragon appear near a city, guards will run to attack it
Note: When playing for the first time, you will need to wait or sleep for 24 hours to initialise Open Cities. You may also need to fast travel to start Open Cities. If after 24 hours of waiting you are unable to open any doors in game, fast travel to anywhere will resolve this
Realistic Needs and Diseases a Skyrim mod that adds hunger, thirst, cooking and progressive diseases
Realistic Needs and Diseases by perseid9 adds as the name suggests, realistic needs and diseases to Skyrim. Your player character will:
- Go through six stages of hunger, depending on when they last ate
- Experience five stages of thirst, based on when they last had something to drink
- Suffer from five stages of inebriation with visual and stumbling effects if they drink alcohol
- Be able to cook and also camp
- Be affected by penalties for being hungry, sleepy or thirsty
- Enjoy benefits for being quenched, satiated and well rested
- Suffer from diseases that get progressively worse if untreated
The author of this mod (as did the author of Frostfall) has gone to great pains to ensure that this mod does not make the game less fun, the mod is simple to use and intuitive. There is also a shout created by this mod which as with Frostfall will tell you your characters current status (thirst, hunger and how tired they are).
Hunterborn a Skyrim mod that changes the way you loot dead animals
Hunterborn a mod created by dragonsong, fundamentally changes the way that you loot animals that you have killed while playing Skyrim. Now when you kill an animal you get several options:
- You can skin the animal and keep the pelt
- Ingredients can be harvested from the corpse
- The animal can be butchered
The list of things that can be harvested is far longer than in vanilla Skyrim and adds 45 new alchemical ingredients including antlers, hearts, test, eyes and more. The mod also adds new meat types and cooking recipes. Hunterborn works very well with Realistic Needs and Diseases and Frostfall and requires SKSE and Sky UI.
As with many aspects of Elder Scrolls games past and present, talented modders from around the world have taken what Bethesda has created in Skyrim and added to it to make the games greater and far more feature and content rich.
Today I looked at immersion and the best mods available to increase immersion in game. Many of these excellent mods add effects that seem simple, but enrich the game enormously.
The mods I looked at today included:
- Frostfall introduces the threat of exposure, survival gear and ensures that you pay attention to your characters condition and to the weather. You need to plan journeys into the wilderness carefully to ensure that you don't perish from the cold and the wet
- Wet and Cold ensure that the NPCs react to the weather and adds effects such as NPCs wearing hoods and Player Characters dripping when wet
- Open Cities removes the loading screens from cities so that they become a part of the larger world, allowing guards and NPCs inside a city to interact with things from outside the city such as dragons in a much more believable way
- Realistic Needs and Diseases adds the need to sleep, eat and drink alongside diseases that get worse the longer you leave them without getting treatment. You will receive penalties if you don’t eat, sleep and drink often enough and bonuses if you do
- Finally, Hunterborn extends the looting of dead animals and expands the options available. Carcasses can be skinned, harvested for ingredients and then butchered. This mod adds 45 new alchemy ingredients and new meat types
Skyrim immersion mods
© 2015 Robbie C Wilson