This video serves as a bridge, if you would, between my last video, where we installed SKSE64 and my next video which will be about a tool called LOOT. Before I can get into LOOT though, I want you to really be comfortable with the process of installing a variety of different basic mods for your game. With this video, you will get you to a level where you’re comfortable downloading some mods on your own and trying them out. In fact, after this video, I really encourage you to that very thing. Go online, look up some popular mods, read about them and find a few that you’d really like to experiment with in future videos. As I’ve stated before, I’m not here hold your hand and tell you exactly which mods you need. I want to make you capable of doing that on your own.
That being said, if you’re new to modding and this is the first guide you’re following, this isn’t the end and I still have a lot more videos coming down the pipe with a whole lot more for you to learn. My takeaway is: know your limitation but also don’t be afraid to be independent and make yourself think a little bit.
Right, so let’s get into it. This video is continuing from my previous guides and at this point, you should know the installation processes for the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch and the Skyrim Script Extender. These are covered in the Mod Organizer 2 Intro video and SKSE64 video respectively. So check them out in the top-right if you need a refresher.
Now I didn’t just choose these mods as your first installs for any reason. First, of, they’re both very important for users of this guide but secondly, and most importantly, they represent the easiest and one of the most difficult mod installations for MO2 users. That’s right guys, this is pretty much as hard as gets when it comes to most downloads and installs. Not too bad right?
So let’s go ahead and solidify the knowledge you learned from the last videos by installing a couple more essentials mods. Again, these are mods that just about every user should have so most of you will want these.
Let’s start simple. The first mod is very easy to install now that we have SKSE64. It’s called Sky UI and I’m sure most of you have heard about it. If not, I plan to dedicate I separate video to it in the future where I’ll be going over its features in-depth. For now, though, let me just say that it reworks the inventory user interface to better fit PC players. It does this by rescaling things, expanding lists, adding filters, a search box and tweaking the favorites menu. It’s just a cleaner interface that honestly is still better than vanilla even when using a controller.
The other important thing that it does is add a settings menu for mods. The popularity of this feature is so great that many mods require Sky UI for complete functionality. With it, you don’t have to use powers or books to configure setting to your liking. Again, a very powerful feature and an absolute must for my guides.
Head over to the Special Edition Sky UI Nexus page. As you can see, it’s number is 12604. Links are down below as always too. The description is pretty barren aside from an unsupported alpha warning but you can ignore that message as it’s is outdated. It was only there because SKSE64 was in Alpha at the time of the mod’s release. I suggest also checking out the original Oldrim page for the mod’s description as this is just a port to SSE. Go over to files and download with the mod manager. Once the download is finished. Install it in MO2 like you would any regular mod.
Download: Sky UI
A Quality World Map
The next mod we will be installing is called A Quality World Map and its installation process is a bit different. First, however, let me explain what it does. The map in vanilla Skyrim is actually very unhelpful if you think about it. The above-ground view is quite cool but where are the roads? And how come there are clouds blocking your view? This mod fixes those issues. On top of that, it also increases the texture detail.
Go to A Quality World Map’s Nexus page. It’s Mod ID is 5804. Read the description and go to files. You’ll see that there are quite a few main download options. The three main ones are A Quality World Map 8.4 (this is the oldrim legacy port) 9.0 paper, and the new 9.01 vivid. We’ll be downloading the vivid with stone roads for this tutorial. The paper one looks fantastic but it’s not as compatible with some other mods so I suggest avoiding it if you’re a beginner. Also, because we’re practicing different installation process, we’ll also be downloading the Clear Map Skies optional file. This is what removes the clouds to improve map visibility. As you can see, MO2 downloads these as separate mods but we’ll be merging them so our download order looks cleaner.
First, install the base A Quality World Map 9.01, this is done like any regular mod. Then, go ahead and install the Clear Map Skies. Make sure, it has the same name as the base mod and install. You’ll get a prompt saying the mod already exists, we know that we just want to combine them so we select merge. Now you should see nothing new in the left side pane and that just what we want. The Clear Map Skies files were placed into A Quality World Map. You may notice that the version number is in red. That can be safely ignored as we know we downloaded the most recent.
Download: A Quality World Map
Now in most cases, merging is only necessary if a mod has a separate patch file that is designed to overwrite the base mod or, in this case, where we probably wouldn’t want to use the two mods apart from one another. Sometimes, however, you may want to use mods found on the same Nexus page individually, without merging them. Let’s use Clear Map Skies again as an example. Say you want to toggle just those clouds without touching the base Quality World Map mod. In that case, we would simply reinstall A Quality World Map again and Clear Map Skies but this time we name them something different.
Let’s name Clear Map Skies just that. Now as you can see they appear as separate mods in the left pane so we can toggle them individually but now they take up twice the room. So if you have hundreds of mods and you want to keep things clean, merging certain mods together is always a good idea. To clarify, this isn’t the same as merging ESP files to fit the plugin limit, this is just for MO2 neatness. Don’t worry if you don’t know what I mean, I just know that someone in the comments will say something if I don’t make that disclaimer.
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
The third mod of this video is called Static Mesh Improvement Mod or SMIM for short. This is one of those mods that has been around since the early days of modding and still hasn’t gone out of fashion. What does it do? It improves the meshes and textures on many static objects in the game, static meaning stationary. Like buildings, walls, containers, and chains. This is a very brief description so I would definitely recommend reading the description to get the full list of changes.
The easiest things to compare are the log house ropes and the chains on the Whiterun bridge, both of which are now 3D. In my opinion, this mod really stretches the limits of what I consider essential as it doesn’t provide fixes or patches, but trust me I have a good reason for making you install this mod. And that reason is a FoMod installer.
Let’s go over to the SMIM Nexus page and download the mod so I can show you what I’m talking about. It is mod number is 659. Again, read the description and download with Mod Manager from the files tab. Install SMIM from the MO2 downloads tab by double-clicking. As you can see, the page that we are used to seeing when installing mods is a little different this time around and this is what’s known as FoMod installer. This is basically a small program that runs during installation and allows you to pick and choose which parts of the mod you want to install.
Behind the scenes, this program takes files from the mod’s archive where all the options are packaged and only copies the ones you want to the installed mod. Simple right? Absolutely. FoMod installers are most often seen in mods that have many patches for other mods or, like in this case, graphical mods where mod authors sometimes create multiple textures so the user can pick one based on their personal taste. Some FoMod installers even detect the mods you are currently running and automatically select the files or patches that need to be used with them.
The basic procedure for using FOMOD installers is simple, just go through and check what you want to use. The problem I see though is that many beginner modders will often just go through and quickly choose their files without actually reading what they do. And while for mods like this, that only modify textures and meshes nothing truly game-breaking can happen, mods that have many patches need to be navigated with care to avoid mod incompatibilities. Usually, mod authors are even kind enough to write a paragraph or two about each specific option so you may as well go through, take your time and choose what’s right for you. It will probably even save you some frustration later on down the line.
Ok, let’s go ahead and walk through SMIM’s FoMod installer. As you can see, the first page asks what kind of installation we prefer. We can choose everything, lite, very lite or custom. Under normal circumstances, I recommend installing everything, but because we are learning about FoMods, we’ll select custom. Remember, if you want to just get the recommended everything files after this tutorial, you need only uninstall and reinstall the mod. Hit next. Now this page contains anything and everything included in the mod. As you can see, there are categories for different objects with all of their options. The main thing I want to point out is that bubbled lists can only have one item selected while square checkboxes can have multiple files selected or none at all in the same category.
For this mod, there are no such categories but I thought I’d let you know for the future. So go ahead pause the video, read the description and choose which options you would like. With this mod, there nowhere you could go wrong so go nuts… Alright, you get everything you want? Cool. Go ahead and install. As you can see, there’s really not much to FoMods so long as you read the descriptions. After you activate the mod in the left pane, you’re good to go.
SSE Engine Fixes
We’re finally at our final mod: SSE Engine Fixes. This mod fixes numerous bugs behind the scenes of the game engine. These are rather difficult to explain quickly but I can give two examples. The first issue is when you set the game’s timescale, that’s how fast the day goes by, the animation of the water is also adjusted. And this is something that many people like to change. The second example involves reloading a game during combat. When this happens, the NPC’s actually have their perks multiplied by two giving them an unfair advantage. I believe this can actually keep stacking as well. This is as far as I’ll go, you can read over the rest on the mod page. The gist of it is, this mod is for everybody.
Since you’ve already watched the last video and installed SKSE correctly, this one should be a breeze. Go over to the mods Nexus page. The ID of this one 17230. After reading the description, in the file’s tab, you’ll see two main downloads. Part one and part two. Part one is installed like any other mod through MO2. I’ll let you do that on your own since by now you’re more than capable. Part two, on the other hand, is installed manually into the game folder. Basically, this is installed in the exact same way as SKSE64 but in this case, the mod author was kind enough to separate the data folder from the other files. If you’re a little foggy on the data folder installation, don’t worry I’ll be going over that part again.
Manually download part two and open it up with 7zip. Be that directly from chrome or from your downloads folder. As you can see, this mod has 3 files that are to go into the game folder. These are all DLL files that contain code necessary for the mod to function properly. Now after you’ve opened up your game folder, simply drag these files in there making sure not to accidentally drag them into any folder. And that’s it. Now that you have both parts installed, the mod should work correctly.
Download: SSE Engine Fixes
Let’s recap the takeaways of this video. We’ve reviewed the basic mod installation procedure by downloading and installing Sky UI. We’ve then learned about mods with multiple files and how to merge them into one mod for MO2. Next, we tackled a FoMod installation with the help of SMIM and finally, we’ve reviewed the game folder and data folder installations for special case mods. Be sure, to take this knowledge with you to the next video.
That just about wraps it up for this one guy. Remember to check out my Discord channel if you have prolonged questions, the link for that is down below. If it’s something brief go down below and throw it in the comments. I try to get back to those as quickly as possible. Like the video, subscribe and all that fun stuff. The next video is to your left if it’s out and the overview of my guides is to the right if this is your first video. See you in the next one.