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I love RPG lore. I walk into a virtual library in pretty much any game you care to mention, and I'm stuck there until I've read every single book in the place. And there are few games with more voluminous lore than The Elder Scrolls series, which is why the two series of books recently announced by Bethesda—The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel and The Elder Scrolls V: The Skyrim Library—represent such a dire threat to my wallet.

Bethesda didn't actually reveal how much these books will cost, but they sure don't sound cheap. There are five "lavishly bound" volumes in total, two for TESO: Tales of Tamriel—Vol. 1, The Land, and Vol. 2, The Lore—and three in The Skyrim Library—Vol. 1, The Histories, Vol. 2, Man, Mer and Beast, and Vol. 3, The Arcane. The books will collect all in-game text from both TESO and Skyrim, plus concept art and, for the TESO books, nearly 100 pieces of all-new art "illustrating the lives, the land, and the lore of Tamriel at war."

The series is being created by Titan Books, which has previously published licensed novels and art books for other games including BioShock, Crysis, Halo, Dead Space, Resident Evil, Thief, Titanfall, and two Elder Scrolls novels, Lord of Souls and The Infernal City. The first volumes are expected to launch in March 2015.

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Where next in Skywind's ongoing tour of a Skyrim-built Morrowind? It's West Gash; home of cliffs, canyons, hot springs and ruins.

If you've thus far managed to miss the mod, its aim is to recreate—even redesign—the entirety of Morrowind in Skyrim's younger engine. Quests, NPCs, and environments will all be brought over, although it's the latter that the most recent trailers have focused in on.

Previously, the mod's official video archivist has previewed Bitter Coast. You can keep an eye on the official channel for more.

Thanks, RPS.

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title="Permanent Link to Skywind trailer shows Morrowind’s Bitter Coast get a Skyrim makeover">Skywind



Hey, even swamplands can be pretty. Kind of. Here's the latest trailer for Skywind, the Skyrim total conversion that aims to port Morrowind in its entirety into Bethesda's newer game. This time, we're being shown the Bitter Coast home of swamps, smugglers and slaughterfish.

As the trailer's description explains, Skywind is still in closed alpha development. Many of the video's assets are placeholder, and likely to change between now and the final release.

For a less directed look at the project, the team previously released a 13-minute exploration-based video.
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title="Permanent Link to Mod of the Week: Legendary Cities, for Skyrim">lch



There are nine main cities in Skyrim, seven large towns, a dozen smaller settlements, plus scads of farms, mills, shacks, camps, caves, lairs, and ruins. All together, the game sports over three hundred locations, so naturally we all have the same thought: that's just not enough, is it? The Legendary Cities mod adds ten beautiful and historical cities to Skyrim from The Elder Scrolls: Arena (the first Elder Scrolls game from 1994). This mod has been around for a while, but a recent update makes some major improvements to optimization and fixes an incompatibility with popular follower mods, meaning it's the perfect time to check it out with your favorite companion.

It's always good to have new cities to plunder.

Each of the locations added by Legendary Cities is rooted in the original The Elder Scrolls: Arena and placed in roughly the same spot they appeared in on the original map. A lot of effort has been made to ensure the new cities are both lore-friendly and fit in with Skyrim's aesthetic. I think the modder has done a wonderful job in that respect: the new locations are lovely, creatively designed, and bustling with NPC activity. Plus, they fit in wonderfully with the surrounding landscape, giving the impression they've always been there even if you've never seen them before.

A nice stopover when you're visiting a friend in college.

My first stop on the historical tour of Skyrim was Amol City, between Windhelm and Winterhold. Built right into the snowy cliffside, it sports a smattering of buildings and points of interest, including a treasury that even the most noble and heroic of Dragonborn will immediately want to burglarize. There are a number of new NPCs, from simple guards to townsfolk with personalized stories. There's no custom voice acting, which isn't really a problem -- sometimes custom voices can be a little distracting.

A giant wall safe? Yeah, no chance I'm not robbing that.

After gazing appreciatively at Amol, I snuck away (with my pockets clanking with their gold) and moved on to Blackmoor Fortress (Black Moor in the original game), west of Whiterun. With its back to the mountains and its looming walls, it's an impressive and imposing sight. According to the modder, the city was abandoned ages ago and then rebuilt just before the Oblivion Crisis. The sabre cat who attacked me while I was trying to take pictures of it didn't seem particularly impressed, though.

Be with you in a moment, kitty.

It's equally enjoyable strolling around inside as well. The heavy portcullis lifts open as you approach, the interior of the city has some great walkways and overviews, and you can easily imagine enduring a long siege within it's towering walls.

Massive walls send a clear message: go attack some other city.

From Blackmoor I visited Granite Hall, a former above-ground Dwemer settlement which is truly spectacular looking and provides a safe haven from the local Forsworn population, who attacked me while I was on my way there, and from bears, who attacked me roughly three milliseconds after I took this picture.

Those Dwemer dude were pretty cool.

Just look at this place, it's amazingly well-made.

Would take an arrow to the knee and retire here A+++

Other cities include Nimalten, North Keep, Helarchen Creek, Vernim Wood, Dunparwall, and Pargran Village. I'd almost advise you to not simply install the mod and hop from city to city, but just play your game and come across these locations in the course of your natural travels. Seeing them in the distance and then slowly approaching them is exciting, and I'd imagine the effect is even more pronounced if you're not deliberately headed there or if you've forgotten you've installed the mod altogether. The new cities feature plenty of appealing interiors as well, from homes to temples to shops, all carefully and thoughtfully designed.

A statue that's not of me? Hmph.

As far as the new NPCs go, they're a little hit-or-miss, as many of their lines have typos and capitalization errors, which I'm hoping will be fixed at some point. Still, it's nice to see so much custom flavor added instead of just populating the cities with standard NPC templates.

Dragonborn approves. You may all live.

I looked at this mod a while back, when it consisted of individual cities, but there's a handy all-in-one version now that makes installation much easier, and there has been a marked improvement in optimization from what I remember. There's a still a bit of an FPS hit (for me anyway) in a couple of the cities that have new textures, but for the most part exploring these locations was an impressively smooth experience, especially considering they're all built right into the world (as opposed to Skyrim's major cities, which are instanced locations).

Installation: Download is here. I installed using Nexus Mod Manager, as always, but you can also manually install by dropping the downloaded files into your Skyrim data directory. The download also has a modular installation option if you'd prefer to add certain cities but not others. Happy travels.
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title="Permanent Link to Skyrim mod Skywind gets length exploration-focused video">Skywind



Skywind feels like such a fragile prospect. It's an ambitious idea: recreating Morrowind in Skyrim's newer engine. As with all formidable total conversions, it's hard to shake the fear that it will ultimately never happen.

Maybe this 13 minute stream VOD can help quell that fear. In it, we get to see thirteen minutes of a character just wandering about the world. It makes the whole thing feel more tangible; more real.



Unfortunately the quality isn't super-crisp, this being a version of the Twitch stream. If you want a more elegant look at the mod, you'll find plenty of trailers on its official YouTube channel.
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title="Permanent Link to Skeletal PS1 adventure Medievil is being reborn as a Skyrim mod">Medievil mod



Medievil was one of the highlights of the Playstation era for me: a Tim Burton/Danny Elfmanesque comedy romp through a medieval...sorry, a medievil fantasy world. It's one of those games I'd rather preserve the memory of rather than attempt to play again, but I'm thrilled to see it reborn, after a fashion, in Skyrim. Modder KorinOo is remaking the first four levels in the Construction Set, along with its undead hero Sir Daniel Fortescue and the various skellies and pumpkins he encounters along the way.



KorinOo elaborates that their intention is "NOT make it a 1 to 1 conversion of the original game in to Skyrim engine. I want to make all the levels/areas recognizable and close to original, but at the same time i want to update some archaic mechanics (combat, interactions, etc.) to modern standards. The main goal is to have this creepy graveyard feeling and then add some specific details to make it more Tim Burton style."

Only the first four, particularly graveyardy levels are going to be recreated in the mod, but I'd love to see a sequel one day that tackles the game's field and town areas, my favourite sections I can remember from the game. While it's a shame that Medieval's whimsical art style and bandy-legged Fortescue running animation don't seem to be represented in the mod, I'd say the trailer (above) does a pretty good job at capturing its atmosphere. Hopefully there'll be a suitable soundtrack to accompany it: Jeremy Soule's soaring Skyrim music would feel a little out of place here.

Here's a trailer for the original game:



Ta, Reddit.
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title="Permanent Link to Skywind trailer shows coasts, creatures and clutter">Skywind



When we last caught up with Skywind, it was for its second official development diary. But as interesting as the internal workings of this Skyrim mod team are, I'm more interested in the results a full recreation of Morrowind in Bethesda's latest engine. You can see how far the team have come in this new trailer, which not only provides long and sweeping shots of its alien locations, but also gives a look at the creatures and clutter that will populate the renewed world.

Skywind currently isn't available to the public, but, as announced at the end of the trailer, a "public developer alpha release" will be coming soon. What's a public developer alpha release? Good question, and one that the mod's makers aren't answering saying only that "it will be revealed in time".

For more on Skywind, check out last months Daedric ruin-focused "Remnants" trailer, embedded below.

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title="Permanent Link to Skyrim looks better than ever in this new RealVision ENB showcase video">Skyrim



Every few months, I get ambitious; abandoning my modest selection of must-have Skyrim mods, and embarking on a grand plan to build it into something impossibly beautiful. Inevitably, it all goes wrong. The lighting isn't quite right, the distant mountains look a bit off, or whole sections of water have just vanished. But its videos like this a showcase of what can be achieved with RealVision ENB that make me want to try all over again.

ENBSeries mods can be difficult to install properly, but, if you'd like to give it a go, there's a great step-by-step guide on the RealVision ENB forum page. And if you really want to get the game looking like it does in the video, be sure to go through the recommended and optional mod lists, too.

See some of the previous showcase videos below, and for more Skyrim mods, check out our guide.





Thanks, VG247.
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