Today we’re going to look at some excellent environmental mods. While customizing your character may be important, what makes Skyrim unique are the thousands of environmental mods out there to make the game look like it just came out in 2016. Despite Skyrim’s age the modding community is keeping it up to date visually and in terms of gameplay thanks to the vigilance of our fantastically talented modders.
Water is essential to making Skyrim look fantastic. Your flora and roads can look top notch, but pan over to the water and it looks like a kitchen sink at best. Realistic Water Two by isoku cranks all your water to 11 and makes it look drinkable, clear, vibrant, and down right real. This is by far some of the best looking water I have seen in any game. If you care about the looks of your game or water this is a must have. Take a look at the video at the bottom of the page for some video footage of this water in action in my own Skyrim setup.
Not only is water important but the flora as well. Skyrim is just chalk full of flora of all kinds and Renthal went above and beyond to handcraft each and every plant in the game to make it look realistic and gorgeous. I highly recommend installing this on top of Vurt’s Skyrim Flora Overhaul or any grass mod you have. The amount of detail in this mod is actually scary as the plants look freakishly too real. An up close investigation will show you just how advanced Skyrim’s engine can be and how far modders are taking it. I highly recommend having a lot of VRAM (at least 2GB) to be able to pull this off as the textures are in a whopping 4k resolution. In addition downloading renthal’s High Definition Skyrim pack is a must as it compliments this mod by updating various ground textures like vines and leaves. Check out the video at the end for some up close looks at these plants.
Did you ever wish you could walk through fields of golden or green grass and take an epic screenshot? Unbelievable Grass Two is the mod for you. While this may stunt your FPS if you don’t have a a high end rig the Ultra Edition is well worth the looks if you have the hardware to run it. Gone are the barren patches of crap littering your game. Now you can have epic dragon battles in flowing blades of glory. I highly recommend combining this mod with Renthal’s HD Flora and Vurt’s Skyrim Flora Overhaul for best results. Watch the video at the end of the page for some up close action on this mod.
You may not think of it much but the night sky of Skyrim is pretty dull. You may not look up at the sky much, but go ahead and do it and notice how lifeless it feels? CptJoker remedied that for us with the most beautiful Skyrim skies you will ever see. Multiple sky texture colors to choose from you are in for quite a treat. This is perfect for night time screenarchers or anyone who wants the most beautiful setup.
You may not think about it much, but all that stuff in dungeons actually looks quite dull and ugly. All those empty vases you star at or silly pillar puzzles are just an everyday thing in Skyrim, but did you ever think it could look better? Combined with all your other texture and mesh improvement mods this one can make a stark difference in dungeons, especially for screenarchers. Every piece of the dungeons from floor to ceiling has been de-uglified and smoothed out and perfected thanks to raiserfx.
Oh yes, this mod is legendary. This was one of the first mods to ever overhaul Skyrim’s plants and flora and it was done beautifully. I have been using this mod ever since Vurt first released it and it’s always been one of the first mods I download for the game. Vurt has adapted to the way the game has shifted over time with ENB patches and complimenting other flora patches which is very humble of him. With the summer edition, regular, and basic there’s something here for everyone and even users who have weaker PC setups so they can at least enjoy some better looking plants. The video down below has a showcase of Vurt’s work.
This mod is probably the most common and most widely used. This is the number one mod you go to and download when starting your modded setup. I have been using this mod since day one and love it to death. This is your base texture pack you add others on top of as most texture packs rely on it. The textures are gorgeous and are solely responsible for turning Skyrim into a beautiful work of art. Without this mod the entire game would be stuck in 2011, and thanks to NebuLa we can stay in 2016 and bring Skyrim with us. Screenarchers, this is a must have no questions asked.
Riverwood on my own setup.
This mod completely changed the way fire should look in Skyrim. I used this mod on day one and can’t play the game without; it’s just too awesome. Everything fire related in Skyrim from braziers to fire spells have been changed to look like real fire. No longer will your game look like clouds of yellow and red plasma. This is a must have for gamers who want to keep Skyrim in 2016. Watch the video below to see this mod in action.
While ENBs are great for making your Skyrim look like a game from 2016, this mod enhances it that much further (there’s also a non-ENB version available). This mod will help your game look more realistic or fantasy like depending on the ENB you choose. I can’t run my Skyrim setup without it and it’s a must have mod for lighting aficionados.
…because why the hell not? Some people may say this is ridiculous, but this is what makes Skyrim so unique in the gaming world. Every little thing has been modded and changed in the game. Footprints in the snow can be more immersive than you think and help bring the game into 2016. It’s a small detail sure, but the little things are what matters in the modding community and jonwd7 gets this. The textures look gorgeous and they really look like footprints, see for yourself.
While the Skyrim HD – 2K Textures is a must have, this mod is the second must have if you have the rig to run it. Parallax textures add that much more detail to make your game look gorgeous. Parallax textures add depth to an otherwise flat image. Parallax texturing is the sequel to bump mapping which was introduced in the early 2000’s with games like Half-Life 2 and Halo. Parallax is a DirectX 11 effect that you probably noticed in games like Crysis 2. It’s not noticeable really on it’s own, but if you turn it off you will notice a stark difference in the depth of textures around you.
Rain may not seem all that important in Skyrim, but once you have this mod you will almost be able to feel the rain. It looks wet and heavy, and is perfect to use while it’s actually raining outside. In fact, I have personally done this. While playing Skyrim with the real rain pelting down outside I almost feel the cold and moisture that my character could be feeling in the game. I can almost smell the wet grass and dirt, it’s a great experience and that’s immersion at its finest.
The sun is another aspect of Skyrim you may not think looks terrible. Just an orange texture with a light source hanging from it in the sky? Where’s the glow of the sun because you don’t always seen the orange ball. Realistic Sun is the mod you need to make your Skyrim sunrises and sunsets look that much more beautiful. Screenarchers, this is a must for you so don’t forget to pick it up. Something as small as the sun can make a huge difference in keeping Skyrim in 2016.
Remember when I said Skyrim HD – 2K Textures is a must have mod for anyone even thinking about making Skyrim look good? SMIM is the second one that goes with that. This makes ropes, bridges, fences, chains, and anything else you may not realize looks ugly, look better. No more flat ugly ropes, 2D chains or anything else of that matter. This mod is one of the few that makes you stop and realize just how outdated Skyrim was when released in 2011. Sure, it looks all right in general, but the up close details felt rushed and did not take advantage of hardware back in the day. Just skim through the screenshots on the page and bask your eyes in the hideousness that is Bethesda’s idea of quality modeling.
If you have Realistic Water Two and/or ENB this is a must have. It makes the water look like natural water and not just good water. It adds an organic feeling like there is algae or plant life underneath. It helps with the sun scattering effect from ENB and looks so beautiful it makes me cry. Check out the video below for the full effect in motion.