As sort of an intermission, I’d like to take the time to discuss the mods I use but don’t plan on taking the time to create in-depth posts or videos for. Naturally this is going to much more like a list than anything else, so feel free to ignore this if you just prefer reading my discussions or watching my comparison videos.
I’ll begin this list with beautification of characters. The vast majority of people who use mods for Oblivion always are lead to believe that when they add these things into the game, it automatically makes the world and the people who live in it as flawless as they appear in the screenshots. Sadly the vast majority of people who use mods also discover that this really isn’t true. There are simple mods, and then there is character beautification. A few mods that I’ve discussed in great detail sound very complicated when put to words, but once the initial setup is complete, they run relatively flawlessly. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend them if they didn’t. That being said, there are quite a few tricks and minor details involved in the process of adding beautification mods to the game, and even then, the results tend not to be perfect. However, I still fully support them and personally use them quite a bit in my game. The reason for this is simple; to get the more desirable results in life, we generally are forced to do a bit of work ourselves. Because of this undeniable fact, I consider the process worth the effort. And now that I’m done with the disclaimer, I’ll move on to the mods themselves.
As an improvement to the bulky and unrealistic original male bodies, I use Robert’s Male Body Replacer. If you have any interest in replacing the original body, this mod is basically the only fully supported option available. This body comes in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes, but I tend to choose the average model. And luckily for me, when the mod is downloaded and installed, the average model is the default preset. Included with the package is a nude lower body option, but it isn’t installed by default, so just ignore it if you aren’t interest in that sort of thing. I personally have no problem with nudity in the game, but I tend not to go out my way to put it there. One important step before going on is to use the head meshes included in the resource package instead of the original ones. This ensures that the textures will be mapped the same way on both the bodies and the heads. If correctly replaced, there should be a less noticeable seam between the neck and the body of your character.
Also for the men, I use Robert’s Male Body Normal Map Replacer to have better muscle definition. The muscles are already there in Robert’s models; this mod just makes them more noticeable.
With female bodies, you have a much wider variety to choose from. I used to use Hentai Gentleman’s Eye Candy Female Body Replacer (now that’s a mouthful) due to its popularity and wide-spread support, but I decided to shift gears more recently to focus more on making bodies as seamless as possible. One flaw with HGEC was that the hands and feet were too separated from the body, thus producing visible lines where the limbs ended and the new meshes began. The same occurred around the base of the neck. Although this isn’t a huge issue, when I found out that there were a few ways to reduce or eliminate the problem, I decided it would be worth a switch to a less supported mod. Robert’s Female Body Replacer (yes, it’s the same author) is more seamless by design and works very well with its much more popular male counterpart. The mod doesn’t have as any different body types, but other female body replacers tend to focus more on breast size differences than anything else, which I never had much interest in anyway. Again, the package does include a nude model if you so desire, but it isn’t set to replace the original body with a nude one by default. And also, like I made note of for the male mod, be sure to replace the head meshes once again with the heads included in this mod’s resource package. This will ensure that the neck seams in-game will be as seamless as possible.
And finally, my last act to make neck seams as invisible as I can is to install Improved Facial Textures and Improved Argonian Facial Textures, but only the age maps. If you’re unsure of which these files are, they tend to have an “f” or an “m” with a number at the end of the file name. The reasoning behind this is because both body replacers I’ve mentioned include their own face textures. The implication of this is that the mod author must have believed that their face textures would look best with their body textures. Replacing them will only make the difference between textures more visible. If you’re too confused about this part, it’s entirely option. The result without it is still very nice. The wrinkles just are a bit too edgy for my taste.
Another important thing to make note of is that a few of the original outfits and armors of Oblivion may look a bit off when using them with the male body replacer. Robert’s Female Body Replacer includes a replacer for the clothing and armor, but in order to fix this problem for the men, be sure to get Robert’s Male Average Stock Clothing and Armor.
And now for everything else. After the process of beautifying characters, the little mods never seem to get as much attention. I love what all of them do, though, so they really shouldn’t be ignored.
For extra bit of atmosphere, I add the Natural Habitats section of Natural Environments, which adds more insects and birds to Cyrodiil. You can’t interact with them, but seeing them around really adds to the experience.
Visually Realistic Lava replaces the original lava in the Oblivion realms with a much more molten texture. There’s an optional plugin that I use that comes with it that makes it much more dangerous to fall into the lava. It only makes sense, though; I’m sure most of us would die if we ever fell into a pool of molten lava.
I use Enhanced Vegetation to give the trees of Cyrodiil a much more impressive and believable height. The mod is easily installed using the Oblivion Mod Manager and gives you a few different size options to chose from. I choose to make mine 125% of the original foliage size.
Deadlier Creatures prevents you from easily walking away from a fight against a creature. It does this by changing the animations to include a running attack. This makes animals like wolves and boars a lot more irritating, but it definitely adds a lot of realism to the game.
For even more realistic combat, I combine the damage mods I discussed earlier with Lyrondor's Combat Behavior Mod. It makes NPCs more likely to dodge, use power attacks, block or rush at you. I've found that it also seems to help in making NPCs more aware of their health, so they'll run away or back up if they think they might be getting weaker. According to the author's description, it also make guards much more of a challenge, though I personally haven’t tested this claim myself.
And finally there’s Willful Resistance, which adds partial susceptibility or immunity to magicka depending on your willpower level. This helps to make magic do a bit more damage to the right people, but I’m still looking for more mods to further improve the magicka system.
That’s all that I haven’t covered so far in my previous posts, but there will be more discussions of individual mods that I add in the near future, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. Until next time, goodbye for now.