Today I’m taking a look at the AI Overhaul Mod for Skyrim and Special Edition. AI overhaul is a work in progress mod that seeks to make the NPCs in towns and cities more immersive and lifelike. It does this by overhauling their AI to allow for a wider range of tasks and chores. This mod does not utilize scripts so it is performance friendly as well. Currently three cities and two towns are supported, in special edition at least–Whiterun, Solitude, Windhelm, Riverwood and Iverstead but it looks like the mod author is looking to support more. So that’s the Nexus description but that’s not really satisfying is it? No, let’s check out some comparison footage.
To test this mod I decided to take it upon myself to become the ultimate Skyrim stalker. I headed to Whiterun and inconspicuously starting following the first person I saw. First up, vanilla. Right so this wasn’t very fun. Ysolda was the first NPC I stumbled on, you know she’s the one that’s always talking about wanting to become a merchant. And boy she wasn’t kidding she hangs around the market stalls all day. Going back and forth between to stalls and once in a while carrying dialogue between the vendors. As you can see, I this was getting old real quick and I was actually thinking of breaking up the monotony of her everyday life and just shooting her. But, I resisted temptation and decided to wait a little to see if her routine would change. It didn’t. At one point she walks around the city with a basket of flowers but that’s about it. I should have shot her. So testing the other NPCs was out of the question, I wasn’t going to sit through another 10 minutes of back and forth pacing. Let’s move on to AI overhaul and compare Ysolda’s behavior.
To start things off, I actually founder her in the bannered mare rather than the merchant stalls. Alright let’s continue following her and see where she ends up. She walks around the Inn for a bit. Sits in a few places and heads out. After which she heads home, to take nice quick rest from her daytime drinking and puts some food on the fire. She stirs it a bit, decides she’s a terrible cook and she doesn’t actually want to eat it. After which she begins walking around the city, leaving her fireplace unattended and she does that for quite a while. The route appears to be more dynamic than before. It’s at this point that I notice the changes this mod has made to the Companions. They actually leave the Jorrvaskr now. The changes this mod made to Farkas in particular is one of the most immersive to date! This guys really, really likes little girls now. A few vampire changes and this could be a REALLY nice beast race overhaul too. I think that was Twilight reference, I can’t be sure I’ve never actually seen it. Anyway, the changes you see to Ysolda are added to many non quest essential NPCs so the changes are quite stark. Aside from the companions, other specific changes include: some innkeepers actually going to bed and eating, NPCs visiting stores, NPCs traveling between towns, Klimmek now actually visits High Hrothgar once a week like he says he does and more. Did I mention that guards now actually drink on the job? So realistic! Aside from that, apparently many of the NPCs have more conditions to their AI packages so their routines should be more varied day to day.
Download Special Edition: AI Overhaul
Download Oldrim: AI Overhaul