PC Gamer

Making a mod for Skyrim actually isn't that hard, and Bethesda are making it even easier with a series of 15 minute video tutorials. This is part 3 - if you're just joining us, see part 1 of the Skyrim Creation Kit video tutorial first. We'll be posting part 4 this time tomorrow.
PC Gamer
After weeks of contentedly walking everywhere at a snail's pace, I suddenly feel an overwhelming urge to rush. With my wedding over, I'm eager to leave Riften behind and start my new life in Whiterun. I can't wait to move into my new home, to find a place to store my various collected possessions, and to get back to a quiet life of smithing and hunting. Oh, and also to find my wife, I guess, who wandered away halfway through our wedding ceremony and hasn't been seen since. (You can watch the entire ceremony here on YouTube.)

So, I'm in a hurry, for a change. It feels like a cheat to hire the wagon outside the city, so I decide instead to buy a horse from the Riften stables, and moments later I'm galloping along the trail, with Jasper following. It's strange to be traveling this fast, mostly because I'm zooming past all these flowers and herbs and thistles. I should be picking them. I'm... compelled to pick them. It's almost making me tense, passing them all by like this. But, like I said, for once I'm in a hurry.

Besides the speedy travel, the horse I bought provides another useful service: it desperately wants to kill anything that threatens me. After dismounting to face some wolves, both Jasper and the horse sprint off ahead of me, kicking and biting the wolves to death before I can even contribute to the effort. A little later, a few bandits ambush us, and once again I'm late to the party, having to trail my ferociously loyal pets into battle.

The blood lust I inspire in my four-legged companions can also be a bit of a nuisance. After galloping too close to a fort, I notice Jasper has stopped following us. I ride back, and see him staring up at the fortress walls, where a bandit is perched, trying to loose arrows at us. I climb off my horse, and it joins Jasper, both of them staring longingly up at the figure but unable to reach him, like a couple of cats who have batted a toy mouse under the fridge.

I manage to kill the bandit with a few arrows, but still, my pets can sense other evil-doers inside the fort and won't leave with me. Sighing, I scramble up some rocks, jump inside the crumbling fortress walls, and kill off the remaining bandits myself. Okay? Everyone happy that I've brutally slaughtered the bad men? Can we leave now?

A little later, I help my two violent animals kill a novice fire mage who made the fatal mistake of being angry at me from a distance. Searching her body, I find she has a staff that lets me summon a familiar. Cool! Now I can conjure up a ghost wolf who will smite my enemies as well. If I could just train one of them to pick flowers, I could retire.

We cover an astounding amount of ground in just a few hours of riding, and it's mid-afternoon when we come across a familiar sight: the bandit fort Jasper and I encountered on our first trip to Whiterun. It consists of two towers on either side of the river, with a stone bridge connecting them. Last time we passed it, a female bandit demanded payment for safe passage, which I paid before being drawn into a fight. As I gallop past, I notice the place has been repopulated, and the replacement female bandit waiting by the trail doesn't ask me to pay a toll. Instead, she just runs up to my horse and attacks.

I climb down off my horse, and I can already tell this bandit is an upgrade over the original. She's spinning and hacking at me, weapons in both hands, landing several blows before I can even get my shield up. Before I know it, my health is flagging. With Jasper's help, I manage to kill her, then chug my entire inventory of health potions, and try to get back onto my horse and flee before the rest of the bandits hidden in the fort engage us.

It's too late, though. My horse has sprinted down to the river bank, for some reason: maybe a mudcrab is clacking around ominously down there. Jasper is gone as well, dashing into the tower to attack the hostile bandits inside, just as he did the last time we were here. Great, here we go again. I follow him inside, and find him halfway across the bridge, going snout-to-sword with two bandits.

I join him, hacking away at the bandit as arrows from the other side of the river clatter down, around, and into us. One bandit drops, the second steps forward to take his place, and I draw back my axe for a power attack. And then...

I see what's about to happen, but too late to stop it from happening. Jasper, ever loyal, gets between us. Already sporting an arrow in his side, he leaps at the bandit just as I swing my axe. I connect, tragically, with both of them, and Jasper, the dog who never stops making noise, falls silent and collapses to the stones. He's dead, just like that. My poor dog. His terrible epitaph, "Search Stray Dog", hovers into view, as the game now sees him as just another object to be rifled through and reminds me that I never even looked up the console code to rename him. Sorry, Jasper. You deserved better.

Well, great. This is all going great! At least I can avenge my dog by tearing this bandit jerk a new axe-hole. I step forward to start hacking when suddenly, surprisingly, my horse appears next to me. He's somehow made it into the fort, climbed the stairs, and rushed out onto the bridge to do battle. Great! Except he's so eager to kick the bandit to death that he shoves past me, and his giant fat ass knocks me right off the bridge! Also great!

I fall. Is this it? Am I about to die? I know the bridge extends out over the land quite a bit before it even reaches the river. A second later, though, I splash safely into the water below, missing the rocks by a few feet. Stupid horse! Stupid bandits! Stupid everything! This fight is going terribly. I swim to shore, rush back into the tower, climb to the second story, and head toward the doorway that leads out onto the bridge, determined to hack every last one of these bandits to death. As I reach the doorway, I'm met by my horse coming through in the other direction.

Or, I should say, I'm met by the airborne corpse of my horse, which comes sailing through the doorway and into the tower, crumpling against the far wall. I see why a moment later: a heavily armored bandit chief runs into the tower, wielding a giant two handed war hammer that absolutely looks capable of sending a horse flying through the air.

The chief bashes me once, then hauls back his giant hammer to have another try. I attempt to raise my shield, but I must be staggered from the first blow because it just won't seem to come up. I press the key for my Battle Cry power but it's far, far too late. Again, I can see what's about to happen. I just can't do anything to prevent it.

The bandit chief finishes his swing and the head of his hammer drives into my chest. Clong. I sail across the chamber, along the floor, and into the next world.

And so, just like that, Nordrick's strolling days come to a bloody, brutal end. Crushed in a heap next to his dead horse, still dressed in his ceremonial wedding armor, hand-crafted for a marriage he'll never get to enjoy. Goodbye, Jasper. Your moronic barking was irritating, but you were a good boy. Goodbye, horse. I'm sorry I never had time to name you or project a personality onto you. And goodbye, my wife, my lovely Ysolda. If I had one wish it would be that you were here with me now, dying horribly beside me, because I'm still kind of annoyed that you walked out in the middle of our wedding.

Goodbye, Nordrick. In keeping with the rules I laid out in Part 1, there's no reloading from an earlier saved game. You lived like an NPC, and so you must die like one: permanently. Still, your life, though brief, can't be seen as a failure. You survived the dangerous world of Skyrim for 52 days. You killed 37 people, 122 animals, and 3 bunnies. You crafted 92 pieces of armor, mixed 281 potions, and picked just shy of 1,000 flowers. With the exception of a couple minor tasks, you avoided quests, and with the exception of being pounded to death by the giant hammer of a heavily armored bandit chieftain, you avoided adventure.

On a personal note, may I just add this statement: DAMMIT. I can't believe that happened! I was so close to getting Nordrick everything he ever wanted, and I was genuinely looking forward to continuing to play Skyrim with him for a good long while. And now, in the blink of an eye, it's all gone.

That's death in Skyrim, though. It comes suddenly, it comes shockingly, and it comes, often, at the hands of some dickweed with a giant hammer. Thanks for reading.

PC Gamer

Making a mod for Skyrim actually isn't that hard, and Bethesda are making it even easier with a series of 15 minute video tutorials. This is part 2 - if you're just joining us, see part 1 of the Skyrim Creation Kit video tutorial first. We'll be posting part 3 this time tomorrow.
PC Gamer

Making a mod for Skyrim is easier than you might think. The Creation Kit, released this week, lets you create new monsters, quests, buildings, landscapes and weapons without having to take up programming. Grab it by selecting 'Tools' in your Steam games library - it's under C for Creation Kit rather than S for Skyrim.

Best of all, the developers themselves are doing a great series of video tutorials on how to use the Creation Kit, aimed at absolute beginners. They're in easily digestible 15 minute chunks, so we'll be posting a new one every day. Until Bethesda can't keep up, of course, at which point we'll start calling them and asking "Is it out yet? Is it out now? How about now?" until they do. Part 1 is above.
PC Gamer

This video is from Todd Howard's speech at the DICE 2012 keynote in Las Vegas, spotted on Eurogamer. It shows the results of a week-long Bethesda game jam, in which developers were given one task: "Do anything you want, and add it to the game." The results were impressive. Enormous crab monsters, a lycanthrope skill tree, seasonal foliage, moving platforms, adoption and house building were just a few of the ideas the team came up with.

Our first reaction to most of them is "why didn't you just PUT THIS IN THE GAME?" Watching spear-fighting work for five seconds on a demo reel doesn't sum up the number of bugs that it might cause over the course of 50 hours, of course, but surely some of them could be slotted in without too much trouble.

Todd Howard mentions in the video that these features could appear in future updates. If they're not, Skyrim's modding community is bound to take up the challenge. The release of the Skyrim Creation Kit yesterday has given even more encouragement to Skyrim modders. There are now more than 700 mods currently listed on the Steam Workshop, check out our round-up of the best and weirdest Steam Workshop creations for highlights.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

John said  he couldn't look at the giant crab, so I'm putting it right on the front page of his site. Tee-hee. Fus Ro My! This is the second Skyrim video of the day that’s had me all wibbly. Bethesda‘s Todd Howard was on stage at the Dice Summit yesterday, and talked about an internal, company-wide gamejam Bethesda held: the Skyrim team took a week off from carving out individual fork tines and working out the perfect cloud wisp equation to make whatever they wanted for Skyrim. There’s no guarantee we’ll get to play with the results, but the buildable houses with skeletal butlers, Thief-style water arrows, combination spells, mahoosive Mudcrabs, and much more all look amazing. I’m considering starting a Kickstarter that’ll fund my trip to sit outside Bethesda for a month holding a sign that just reads: “Do It!”. Video is, you know, down there.


Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Be very afraid, Space Core.Alongside the Skyrim Creation Kit and the HD Texture Pack that was officially released last night, Valve added their own little addition to Skyrim: Fall of The Space Corp, Vol. 1 adds Portal 2′s jittery little Space Core to the Nord world, voiced by the man that holds the patent on all gaming voiceovers, Nolan North. It’s both proof that clicking things in Skyrim’s Steam Workshop works just like they said it would, and that Valve’s punmasters are missed a trick by not calling him Nolan Nord. When you add the mod to the game, you need to find him. Here’s a video I made that shows you how. (more…)

PC Gamer
Skyrim Steam Workshop Mods
Last night, the Steam Workshop was updated to support Skyrim mods. It's a central repository for community made content, from tiny tweaks to total overhauls. After one night, there are already 459 mods up that you can add to the game with a click.

Steam handles downloading, installing and activating them in-game, and will even automatically update them when a new version comes out. But the sheer volume is kind of daunting right now, so we've trawled through to find you the highlights, divided into three categories that broadly reflect the trends in what people have made so far.

Fun stuff

Useful mods

Oh God Oh God Oh God

Fun stuff

Posh mudcrabs
Gives all Mudcrabs a tophat and monocle. Commenter Coward Duck: "This mod changed my life."

Valve's Space Core
Valve themselves have added the space-obsessed personality core from Portal 2 into Skyrim, who now rockets down from, yes, space, just outside Whiterun. You can kick him around, pick him up or Fus-Roh-Dah him, while he mutters Skyrim-appropriate things about space. "Also, since Skyrim was the only major release of 2011 without Nolan North in it, you should consider this mod a patch to fix that problem."

Less Condescending Guards
At last. Guards no longer comment on your skills unless you have over 75 points in them. I don't know about you, but when they'd comment on my Destruction magic when it was only level 32, it would rend my soul.

Pickupable Forks
Not sure how we lived without this one.

Lusty Argonian Maid teaches one and two handed
"Lusty Argonian Maid vol.1 teaches one handed, vol.2 teaches two handed." Bethesda wish they'd thought of this.

Rabbit Rage
Gives rabbits the voice and ultra-aggressive AI of the Dremora demons. They still have no attack.

Bigger giants
Makes giants bigger. "V1.1 Now BIGGER!"

Clam Chowder
"There's something distinctly wrong when there are clams in the world but nobody knows how to make clam chowder. "

Blackreach Cheese Pack
"Supplements your Skyrim experience with four addtional sacks of mammoth cheese, convieniently located outside Sinderion's shack in the depths of Blackreach. A must have modification for gamers who hunger for additional content."
Useful ones

Midas Magic
An incredible suite of new abilities, including a spell to cause huge chunks of ice to fall and crush your enemies, and one that causes plant life to erupt from the ground and walls wherever you point it.

New: Relentlessly Unrelenting Force
Commenter Alphasim points outs this awesome version of the Unrelenting Force shout: it's now a spell, and it fus-roh-dah's people for as long as you hold the key.

Lydia no longer says "I am sworn to carry your burdens"
87% less sass.

Dwarven Robot Spider Follower
"He cannot be killed and his name is Skittles."

All NPCs Killable
Lets you kill even quest-essential NPCs.

Mark & Recall
Two super-handy teleportation spells last seen officially in Morrowind. Mark saves your current location, Recall summons you back to it later.

Open Cities
Integrates cities into the general landscape of Skyrim, which means there's no loading screen when you wander into them.

Ice Island
Someone's made a whole island out of ice, with a village on it and everything.
Oh God Oh God Oh God

Spiders turned into Spidermen
Or more specifically, 'pidermen. Spider removal mods are generally for arachnophobics, but it's hard to imagine anyone finding this replacement less terrifying. Copyright infringement is the least of this mod's worries, this infringes the human body.

Sir Dwarf
"Adds a dwarf follower in High Hrothgar. Not really a dwarf, more of a small nord." The picture is priceless.

Killable children
Warning: the image for this one is pretty horrible. Equally disturbing is the unrestrained enthusiasm in the comments for it. Remember, making it possible doesn't make it acceptable.

Argonian Skin Shoes
Does it bother you when there are creatures in the world whose skin you can't use as footwear? This mod is apparently for you.

Found any other fun/useful/ohgodohgodohgod ones? Let us know in the comments.
PC Gamer
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
Last week Bethesda mentioned that the Skyrim Creation Kit would arrive with a "special surprise." Rumours immediately appeared which hinted at an official high-res texture pack, rumours which turned out to be entirely true. You can download it now from Steam.

It could tax your machine a bit. Bethesda recommend the mod to those with "a minimum of 4GB of system RAM and a DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with at least 1 GB of RAM and the latest drivers."

The pack adds three gigabytes worth of sharpened surfaces, which should hopefully clean up some of Skyrim's smeary walls and blurry rock textures. I quickly booted it up to have a look, but was stabbed by a barbarian while I was busy pushing my face into a wall :(
PC Gamer

The Skyrim Creation kit is live! The Steam Workshop is already filling up with dozens and dozens of mods, some of which are quite mad. Not enough goats? Download the goat summoning mod. More dog eyebrows? Mod some in. Giants not big enough? Download the bigger giants mod. Skyrim is going nuts. In a very good way.

If you'd rather help stock the Steam Workshop with new mods, you can download the creation kit now from the Tools section of your Steam library. Check out Bethesda's series of Creation Kit tutorial mods on the Skyrim YouTube channel for a guide to getting started. and take a look at Bethesda's list of best practices for new modders.

Bethesda level designer Joel Burgess has written a blog post that explains how to upload new mods to the Steam Workshop, and how to install mods you like the look of.

"Bethesda is committed to supporting Skyrim for years to come," writes Burgess. "This includes supporting our already-thriving mod community. It’s our hope that Workshop provides the perfect meeting place for mod-makers and players — even those who have never tried a mod before."

It's an exciting time for Skyrim fans. If you haven't picked it up yet, it's on sale on Steam to celebrate the release of the mod tools. Which mod will you install first? What mods would you like to see made? What do you think of the Creation Kit?