Exciting news for PC Skyrim players, the Skyrim mod tools have finally been released. It has been nearly three months since Skyrim’s launch date, and yet the mod tools were not available until today. As Skyrim is a Steamworks game, the mod tools are only available through Steam. On your Library screen, click the drop down to show Tools instead of Games. As long as you have Skyrim, the Creation Kit should be listed.
One of the new features in Skyrim’s mod tools is the Steam Workshop. Once you are satisfied with your mod, you can publish it to the Steam cloud. I had thought that the workshop would be available within the game similar to Civilization 5’s mod browser, but it looks like you have to go to the Steam Workshop website. You simply “subscribe” to a mod, and then the Skyrim launcher downloads the mod the next time you start Skyrim. If the mod author updates the mod, the launcher will automatically download the new updated version.
This seems like a handy system for end users. It will be much easier for them to get mods. I only wonder how it does with conflicts. Frequently, mods will modify the same things. This is called a conflict. The effects of conflicts can be as minimal as the wrong texture being used but as bad as causeing the game to crash.
The workshop is still pretty new; Skyrim is only the second game to support it. Hopefully, they will fix any bugs and add new features over time. I expect the more advanced mods will stay on the Skyrim Nexus as the Steam Workshop is not required to use Skyrim mods. It just makes things easier.
Other big news is the High Resolution Texture Pack. I have been looking around for some videos or screenshots of it in action, but have not found any. It is being released as a free DLC on Steam. I compared two of the same screenshots: one from the Skyrim base page, one from the High Res Texture page.
The difference was very subtle. The high resolution textures were just a tad more crisp. I imagine most players will not be able to tell the difference. I could only tell by having both screenshots side by side and switching from one to the other. I have read it is a 3GB download. Compared to the size of the download, it looks like the better visuals do not really pay off that much, but I am sure some people will appreciate them.
Finally, Steam has a new Midweek Madness (Tuesday 10am through Thursday 4pm) to celebrate Skyrim mods being added to the Steam Workshop. For the duration of the sale, all of the Elder Scrolls games on Steam are available as The Elder Scrolls Collection for $50. Alternatively, you can buy them individually with 50% off Morrowind and Oblivion, and 33% off Skyrim.
I decided to buy Skyrim for $40. I was thinking about waiting for Game of the Year edition, but Bethesda has done pretty well with the patches, and some great mods should be released soon. This does mean I probably will not buy the DLC until it goes on a good sale.