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A Real Explorer's Guide to Skyrim



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#1 CJ2311

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 06:10 PM

Latest version: 4.0.3 (October 21, 2014)
 

Most people will surely have seen it coming by now, but I'm sorry to say that this guide is now officially dead.
There are plenty of reasons behind this, the most important ones being :
- The lack of time/motivation to keep the guide updated (This applies both to Nearox and me, I would assume). As it turned out, uni life in France takes a heavier toll on my free time than I expected.
- The absence of an internet connection which makes it very difficult for me download all those big mods and keep them updated (I'm relying on wifi hotspots atm)
- The final nail in the coffin which was the inclusion of Immersive Citizens in STEP; That mod is virtually incompatible with half of the mods in the guide. patching some of them would in fact be relatively easy, but mods such as ETaC or JK's would take hundreds of hours to patch (and would need updates to these patches every time a mod is updated).
I know that missjennabee has released a patch for IC, but I'm afraid it is nowhere near perfect to say the least (even though I only checked it on Tes5Edit, not in the actual game). It seems to just fix the most blatant issues, which is good for most people but doesn't really hold up to the STEP standards.

But ultimately I would like to thank everyone who supported this guide. I've really learned a lot more about modding by creating it, and it enabled me to finally give something back for this great community. I'm really grateful to all the people who participated in this thread.
And I'd like to especially thank Nearox for co-authoring the guide and going through all of those hundreds of mods with me at the start of the project, as well as all the following people (in no particular order) as I consider REGS to be the result of our collective effort :
MonoAccipiter, Gandaganza, Keithinhanoi, Kelmych, Astakos, Malouz, Noobzor, Thernn, TheBloke, & Ogham.

That's pretty much all I have to say... D:
If anyone is interested in reviving the guide, I would gladly welcome the offer and even help with theoretical knowledge (especially concerning the process of patching mods/navmeshes)


You can read it and download the patches here.

Let's be honest here, Skyrim might be a great game, but it is nonetheless lacking when it comes to the world itself. The villages and cities seem incomplete, the number of quests is pretty limited if you remove the guilds stuff and the generic FedEx/favor quests.

This pack will cover all cities and towns and limit itself to clean/cleanable mods (sadly, a lot of quest mods murder the game’s navmeshes)
It aims to better the game overall by improving the cities and towns, as well as adding a few quests, without derailing from the vanilla feel, or modifying any of the player homes (that way you’re still able to install any house mod you wish to)

Mods that add giant factories, airships, overpowered items, crazy followers etc. are deliberately left out.

Compatibility notes: This pack aims to be fully compatible with STEP: Core, STEP: Extended, and other gameplay/visual packs such as SR:LE.

The pack will provide you with:
  • An easy installing and patching process, with the inclusion of a FOMOD installer for all available patches.
  • Brand new and fixed navmeshes for all the mods that needed it.
  • Cleaned and CTD-free mods.
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Grey face bug fixes.
  • Optimal mod combinations
  • Proper NPC behaviour packages.
  • Removed incompatible or low quality content.
  • Revamped versions of outdated mods.
  • The Explorer's Guide has been made explicitly compatible with:
    • STEP Core
    • STEP Extended
    • Better Fast Travel - Carriages and Ships
    • Touring Carriages
  • Mods currently included :
    • Expanded Towns and Cities
    • Nernie's Cities
    • Better City Entrances and Better Docks
    • Dawn of.. Series
    • Most of ThirteenOranges places mods
    • Cutting Room Floor
    • Immersive Settlements
    • Immersive College of Winterhold
  • ...As well as many other great mods.
    Have a look at the wiki for a full list of the included features.

Edited by TechAngel85, 04 December 2015 - 10:20 PM.

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#2 DoubleYou

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 06:23 PM

Looks good. I was wondering when someone would make a pack that had most of the new quest/dungeon/land mods in it. If I were you, I would split this into two packs: I and II to overhaul existing places, and III and IV to add new places. Then people could simply use both packs together.

#3 CJ2311

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 06:32 PM

[quote name=''DoubleYou' pid='68601' dateline='1391901796']Looks good. I was wondering when someone would make a pack that had most of the new quest/dungeon/land mods in it. If I were you' date=' I would split this into two packs: I and II to overhaul existing places, and III and IV to add new places. Then people could simply use both packs together.[/quote']
That's actually a good point, guess I'll separate the two parts as you suggested before making the actual packs on the wiki. Thanks :)
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#4 EssArrBee

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 06:33 PM

Looks ambitious. This is the kind of pack I would use. I don't have time to test all the STEP stuff and find new mods for  my own playthrough so this sounds good to me. I've been wanting to update a few towns, there is also a new Winterhold mod out, Qaxes Winterhold Rebuild.

#5 CJ2311

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 06:47 PM

Looks ambitious. This is the kind of pack I would use. I don't have time to test all the STEP stuff and find new mods for  my own playthrough so this sounds good to me. I've been wanting to update a few towns' date=' there is also a new Winterhold mod out, Qaxes Winterhold Rebuild.

I did see that one, but Expanded Towns and Cities has an update coming up hopefully in a week or two, which will add Winterhold support, and will work with Winterhold Expanded Ruins (which adds a quest there). I'd rather wait to compare both options before choosing one :)
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#6 Smile44

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 06:56 PM

Great idea and some good finds mod wise, I will be trying them out. :)
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#7 Allsunday

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:18 PM

I like this idea.  Expanded Towns and Cities: it isn't good in my opinion. It adds just TOO MUCH. Performance drop is noticeable and it's really big in places like Dawnstar. Immersive Settlements: Orc Strongholds and Stonehills are a must. I personally use all modules this mod has to offer after I compared every single one with ETaC. Still in development tho. The Whiterun module could be added to your Whiterun as it's compatible with any Whiterun modification inside walls. Thirteenoranges: why did you only mention his quests? His entire An Elder Scrolls Collections seems like a good fit here (all but the faction maybe, if you don't want that). Just my two cents. 
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#8 CJ2311

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 08:38 PM

[quote='Smile44' pid='68611' dateline='1391903783']Great idea and some good finds mod wise, I will be trying them out.

:)[/quote]
Thanks :D

[quote='Allsunday' pid='68612' dateline='1391905096']Expanded Towns and Cities: it isn't good in my opinion. It adds just TOO MUCH. Performance drop is noticeable and it's really big in places like Dawnstar.[/quote]
I haven't noticed any performance drop (60FPS at dawnstar, the only problem was before the memory patch where I'd get CTDs there), but then again my system is tanky. Guess I'll have to take that into consideration. D:

[quote='Allsunday' pid='68612' dateline='1391905096']Immersive Settlements: Orc Strongholds and Stonehills are a must. I personally use all modules this mod has to offer after I compared every single one with ETaC. Still in development tho. The Whiterun module could be added to your Whiterun as it's compatible with any Whiterun modification inside walls.[/quote]
I didn't mention immersive settlements Whiterun, because if all goes well, I'll get permission from Nernie to distribute a patch for her take on the Whiterun outskirts. It's not that I don't like Pymous' work, it's just that the fact that you can't get into the houses is a deal breaker, since it would make no sense for a thief to be unable to lockpick his way into a farmer's house. Also, ETaC and Nernies cities both have delicious pies :3

[quote name=''Allsunday' pid='68612' dateline='1391905096']Thirteenoranges: why did you only mention his quests? His entire An Elder Scrolls Collections seems like a good fit here (all but the faction maybe' date=' if you don't want that).[/quote']
I actually did mention all of his mods, they're just not in the same category :p

Thanks for the feedback :D
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#9 Nearox

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 09:09 PM

Great looking pack so far. Was actually talking about doing something like this in the future with DoYouEvenModBro, but glad you're taking the work out of my/our hands :P

I've actually played with most of those mods in a recent playthrough. WOuld like to recommend one of the most fitting mods that add a new place and NPCs to Skyrim, in my opinion: Aurora Village.

Whiterun Outskirts Market is also worth considering. You need this updated patch for it to work without CTDs though. 

Winterhold Destruction Ruins is also fantastic. The author of ETaC is currently doing Winterhold and she has announced that ETaC's Winterhold will be complementary to WDR. 

That said, I would personally not put in mods that add empty houses and no indoor clutter or NPCs. Immersive Settlements for instance has basically been in alpha stage for like 4-5 months and the author is mostly absent. If anything, ETaC is going to cover all cities and most villages eventually - though missjennabee usually finished a city/village update approximatel once every 3 months or so. ETaC, Immersive Settlement and other exterior additions are very performance heavy even on medium-high systems especially when combined with mod compilations as STEP Core or SRLE. Yu must have a good system or few texture mods if you still run 60fps with ETaC in Falkreath :)

Just some suggestions and tips. Everything's your choice in the end (of course :P). 
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#10 Allsunday

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 09:15 PM

[quote='CJ2311' pid='68630' dateline='1391909905']
[quote='Smile44' pid='68611' dateline='1391903783']Great idea and some good finds mod wise, I will be trying them out.

:)[/quote]
Thanks :D

[quote='Allsunday' pid='68612' dateline='1391905096']Expanded Towns and Cities: it isn't good in my opinion. It adds just TOO MUCH. Performance drop is noticeable and it's really big in places like Dawnstar.[/quote]
I haven't noticed any performance drop (60FPS at dawnstar, the only problem was before the memory patch where I'd get CTDs there), but then again my system is tanky. Guess I'll have to take that into consideration. D:

[quote='Allsunday' pid='68612' dateline='1391905096']Immersive Settlements: Orc Strongholds and Stonehills are a must. I personally use all modules this mod has to offer after I compared every single one with ETaC. Still in development tho. The Whiterun module could be added to your Whiterun as it's compatible with any Whiterun modification inside walls.[/quote]
I didn't mention immersive settlements Whiterun, because if all goes well, I'll get permission from Nernie to distribute a patch for her take on the Whiterun outskirts. It's not that I don't like Pymous' work, it's just that the fact that you can't get into the houses is a deal breaker, since it would make no sense for a thief to be unable to lockpick his way into a farmer's house. Also, ETaC and Nernies cities both have delicious pies :3

[quote name=''Allsunday' pid='68612' dateline='1391905096']Thirteenoranges: why did you only mention his quests? His entire An Elder Scrolls Collections seems like a good fit here (all but the faction maybe' date=' if you don't want that).[/quote']
I actually did mention all of his mods, they're just not in the same category :p

Thanks for the feedback :D[/quote]
Oops, there it is: - The Elder Scrolls Places Series (Workshop only)

:P
 
[quote='Nearox' pid='68637' dateline='1391911778']Great looking pack so far. Was actually talking about doing something like this in the future with DoYouEvenModBro, but glad you're taking the work out of my/our hands :P

I've actually played with most of those mods in a recent playthrough. WOuld like to recommend one of the most fitting mods that add a new place and NPCs to Skyrim, in my opinion: Aurora Village.

Whiterun Outskirts Market is also worth considering. You need this updated patch for it to work without CTDs though. 

Winterhold Destruction Ruins is also fantastic. The author of ETaC is currently doing Winterhold and she has announced that ETaC's Winterhold will be complementary to WDR. 

That said, I would personally not put in mods that add empty houses and no indoor clutter or NPCs. Immersive Settlements for instance has basically been in alpha stage for like 4-5 months and the author is mostly absent. If anything, ETaC is going to cover all cities and most villages eventually - though missjennabee usually finished a city/village update approximatel once every 3 months or so. ETaC, Immersive Settlement and other exterior additions are very performance heavy even on medium-high systems especially when combined with mod compilations as STEP Core or SRLE. Yu must have a good system or few texture mods if you still run 60fps with ETaC in Falkreath :)

Just some suggestions and tips. Everything's your choice in the end (of course :P). [/quote]
You're right, we haven't seen any progress in Immersive Settlements and that's a shame because I really love it, but they're still working on it afaik.

ETaC does an amazing job. missjennabee is great and really knows her business (is "SHE" correct?), but the mod adds just a little bit too much for my taste, and that hits performance as well. I would love a "lite" version with less things but I don't think that's going to happen.
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#11 CJ2311

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 09:24 PM

Great looking pack so far. Was actually talking about doing something like this in the future with DoYouEvenModBro, but glad you're taking the work out of my/our hands :P

Well I did tell you on that same topic that I had already started working on this then :p

I've actually played with most of those mods in a recent playthrough. WOuld like to recommend one of the most fitting mods that add a new place and NPCs to Skyrim, in my opinion: Aurora Village.

I will definitely have to take a look at this tomorrow. I see that it's south of lake illnata though, so that'd mean I'd have to pick one between this mod and Oakwood to avoid crowding the area. Will test both mods' with Touring Carriages to see if they ruin the ride :)

Whiterun Outskirts Market is also worth considering. You need this updated patch for it to work without CTDs though.

Ah nice, I had not noticed there was a CTD fix for that so I dismissed it. Now I feel silly.

Winterhold Destruction Ruins is also fantastic. The author of ETaC is currently doing Winterhold and she has announced that ETaC's Winterhold will be complementary to WDR.

Yup, already mentioned I'd be comparing those two to the newly released Winterhold, since Jenna's patch will replace Winterhold Expanded's esp, that could result in breaking the quest if someone were to install the original mod and overwrite mid playthrough.

Thanks for the suggestions, really appreciated. And as far as I'm concerned this pack will not reflect just my preferences, but instead will be based on your feedback :3

ETaC does an amazing job. missjennabee is great and really knows her business (is "SHE" correct?), but the mod adds just a little bit too much for my taste, and that hits performance as well. I would love a "lite" version with less things but I don't think that's going to happen.

did the "miss" and the "jenna" in her name give it away? hehe. Anyway, I wouldn't get my hopes high up for a lite version seeing as Mrs Jenna really wants her mod to reflect her vision of the various settlements.

Also, I currently installed Touring Carriages and am trying to see if any of these mods break any route. So far I've noticed some hiccups with Solitude, so I guess I'll have to try and fix the navmesh as well in the nernie patch... Not looking forward to that as I never even used the CK before...
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#12 Nearox

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 09:48 PM

Happy to seeyou take into account other people's comments. As for TC, I recently had a navmesh issue with Dawnstar of ETaC. The end of the cart ride would get me stuck on the cart. Not everyone has had this issue. One of the admins was nice enough to make me a patch. heven't tried it yet though... You can download it here and see. http://www.mediafire...iages Patch.esp
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#13 Allsunday

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 09:57 PM

[quote='CJ2311' pid='68639' dateline='1391912675']
[quote name=''Nearox' pid='68637' dateline='1391911778']Great looking pack so far. Was actually talking about doing something like this in the future with DoYouEvenModBro' date=' but glad you're taking the work out of my/our hands :P[/quote']
Well I did tell you on that same topic that I had already started working on this then :p

[quote name=''Nearox' pid='68637' dateline='1391911778']I've actually played with most of those mods in a recent playthrough. WOuld like to recommend one of the most fitting mods that add a new place and NPCs to Skyrim' date=' in my opinion: Aurora Village.[/quote]
I will definitely have to take a look at this tomorrow. I see that it's south of lake illnata though, so that'd mean I'd have to pick one between this mod and Oakwood to avoid crowding the area. Will test both mods' with Touring Carriages to see if they ruin the ride :)

[quote='Nearox' pid='68637' dateline='1391911778']Whiterun Outskirts Market is also worth considering. You need this updated patch for it to work without CTDs though.[/quote]
Ah nice, I had not noticed there was a CTD fix for that so I dismissed it. Now I feel silly.

[quote='Nearox' pid='68637' dateline='1391911778']Winterhold Destruction Ruins is also fantastic. The author of ETaC is currently doing Winterhold and she has announced that ETaC's Winterhold will be complementary to WDR.[/quote]
Yup, already mentioned I'd be comparing those two to the newly released Winterhold, since Jenna's patch will replace Winterhold Expanded's esp, that could result in breaking the quest if someone were to install the original mod and overwrite mid playthrough.

Thanks for the suggestions, really appreciated. And as far as I'm concerned this pack will not reflect just my preferences, but instead will be based on your feedback :3

[quote name=''Allsunday' pid='68638' dateline='1391912137']ETaC does an amazing job. missjennabee is great and really knows her business (is "SHE" correct?)' date=' but the mod adds just a little bit too much for my taste, and that hits performance as well. I would love a "lite" version with less things but I don't think that's going to happen.[/quote']
did the "miss" and the "jenna" in her name give it away? hehe. Anyway, I wouldn't get my hopes high up for a lite version seeing as Mrs Jenna really wants her mod to reflect her vision of the various settlements.

Also, I currently installed Touring Carriages and am trying to see if any of these mods break any route. So far I've noticed some hiccups with Solitude, so I guess I'll have to try and fix the navmesh as well in the nernie patch... Not looking forward to that as I never even used the CK before...[/quote]
I might give Touring Carriages a chance. I remember it was really buggy when I first installed it.

About Jenna being a girl, I discovered she was a girl thanks to her name indeed, AND I DID IT BY MYSELF.

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#14 CJ2311

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:34 PM

Happy to seeyou take into account other people's comments.

As for TC, I recently had a navmesh issue with Dawnstar of ETaC. The end of the cart ride would get me stuck on the cart. Not everyone has had this issue. One of the admins was nice enough to make me a patch. heven't tried it yet though... You can download it here and see.

http://www.mediafire...iages Patch.esp

Hmm, weird. I literally just finished riding from Whiterun to Dawnstar and back and didn't encounter any problem. Maybe your problem was a one time occurence? I mean I did just get stuck in the middle of a Riften to whiterun ride a few tries ago, at that necromancer's fort near darkwater crossing, despite there not being any mod on my list that affects that area.

Count of stuff ran over during testing so far : 31 people (one dead), 9 wolves (2 dead), 3 elks, 1 deer, 1 fox, 3 chickens (all crushed),1 goat and 1 skeever (went flying off a cliff)
Touring Carriages isn't the most eco friendly way to travel if you ask me. On the bright side, I didn't encounter a single issue other than the one with the fort I've mentioned before and the solitude one.
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#15 Nearox

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:34 AM

Happy to seeyou take into account other people's comments.

As for TC, I recently had a navmesh issue with Dawnstar of ETaC. The end of the cart ride would get me stuck on the cart. Not everyone has had this issue. One of the admins was nice enough to make me a patch. heven't tried it yet though... You can download it here and see.

http://www.mediafire...iages Patch.esp

Hmm, weird. I literally just finished riding from Whiterun to Dawnstar and back and didn't encounter any problem. Maybe your problem was a one time occurence? I mean I did just get stuck in the middle of a Riften to whiterun ride a few tries ago, at that necromancer's fort near darkwater crossing, despite there not being any mod on my list that affects that area.

Count of stuff ran over during testing so far : 31 people (one dead), 9 wolves (2 dead), 3 elks, 1 deer, 1 fox, 3 chickens (all crushed),1 goat and 1 skeever (went flying off a cliff)
Touring Carriages isn't the most eco friendly way to travel if you ask me. On the bright side, I didn't encounter a single issue other than the one with the fort I've mentioned before and the solitude one.

Yeah the issue was reproducable on my system but not on the admins'. ETaC just removes a lot of navmeshes around Dawnstar and so I still think that was the issue but have no idea why it has been a problem on my install. Either way, this is something I'll look at again in the future. Also TC just got updated a few times during last days so who knows maybe it's complete gone now :) Thx for trying out the ride to Dawnstar CJ123

That said, TC will always have small random issues along most routes. They may not occur every time you take a ride. I think this whole mod was a very hard thing to make and so I am very happy all the great work wasite put into it. Running over npcs and animals is unavoidable however. This is because TC is almost entirely based on vanilla assets (riding carriages was an unfifnished project of bethesda, I think even a bethesda dev used to work on Scenic Carriages, the predeccesor to TC). 

Oh yeah, by the way Aurora Village is designed to be 100% compatible with TC. 


EDIT: have you already made a pack on the Wiki? Thinking about it, I would actually like to offer you to co-develop this pack! For a long time I've been meaning to to do something like this, and it's time to bring out a definite working and compatible pack for ourselves and the community. I do believe that there will be great public interest in a pack like this as well so that the effort put into it will surely not be in vain.

I should probably update the VEGA pack first but I lost interest in that recently.
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