If PC gaming needed to be defined by one word only, it would have to be modding. It is the life and soul of the PC gaming community, and is usually the main argument that favours the age old desktop in favour of console gaming experiences. The Elder Scrolls series has always been a popular ground for modding, so the recent release of the Skyrim Creation Kit should change the trends in the modding community for good. Here’s five ways it will do this.
The obvious and all important feature of official mod tools, the increased simplicity and utility of the Skyrim Creation Tools should allow more people than ever to get their mods finished and ready for us to enjoy. Better file management features and funky little gizmos that allow you to move and rotate objects with ease will allow more novice modders to enter the fray as well. It isn’t without its flaws, and the various complexities of the Creation Kit are still likely to put off complete beginners, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. The greater depth and usability of the Creation Kits mean Skyrim mods are going to get more frequent, more intricate and more creative more quickly than ever before. That can only be a good thing for a game that is already making our heads spin on account of its huge amount of content.
Mods are a beautiful thing indeed, but they can be a daunting prospect for those who don’t know what they’re looking for. Scrolling through independent sites for a particular mod can be a real mission, and it’s even worse trying to get your mods out there and promoted if you’re a creator rather than a consumer. As one of the earlier titles to use the new Steam Workshop, the Skyrim Creation kit allows you to release your mods on everyone’s favourite digital distribution platform. With community rating features, and the sheer ease of having everyone’s mods in one place, it should be easier than ever to access the best mods. The fact that Steam Workshop is directly integrated in to the Creation Kit also means that you won’t even have to deal with separately uploading your files. A quick trip to the file menu is all you need.
There are already plenty of mods out there that enhance the graphics of Skyrim. Installing all of them would probably require a PC the size of a small bungalow, but the option is there if you want it. Bethesda have offered us a more legitimate visual enhancement though in the form of the high resolution texture pack they released alongside the Creation Kit. It will still hog your resources like nobody’s business, but at least it’s the official versions. Expect this to get incorporated into a lot of mods now, making unofficial adventures in Skyrim more beautiful than ever.
Bethesda Valve relations
The texture pack was a nice gift from Bethesda, but the real surprise of the Creation Kit goodies was the inclusion of Portal 2’s Wheatley. His presence alone isn’t likely to revolutionise the way we play Skyrim (even if he is a pretty awesome inclusion), but the potential for a greater level of collaboration between Bethesda and Valve could be a real boon for PC gaming in general. Valve and Bethesda are two of the most influential developers around at the moment and, should they start working together more regularly, it could bring PC gaming back up to its former level of glory.
Rights of content
Every silver lining has a cloud it would seem as, for all the good the Creation Kit will do for Skyrim’s longevity, the pesky issue of rights of content has reared its ugly head. It doesn’t seem any more stringent that any of the other hundreds of terms and conditions we willingly agree to day after day, but it still brings up some issues. The terms and conditions for the Creation Kit have a rather pesky clause that claims that any mod created using it will be the property of Bethesda by default, a far cry from the freedoms offered to those who create mods via unofficial means. It’s unlikely that Bethesda will ever take advantage of their loyal fans with this clause, but it may be enough to put people off all the same. As far as side effects go for an otherwise impressive tool set, it isn’t all that bad, but it should be remembered as a potential threat to the rights of modders all the same.