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(updated August 02, 2011)

         
Arwen's oblivion tips
         
Index to Arwen's Tips

MODs 101 - The Basics (updated 2/23/09)

- What Exactly Is a MOD?
- How This Site Can Help
- How To Add a MOD To Your Game
- My Goals
- Updating an older MOD (with the Elder Scrolls Construction Set)

The Oblivion.ini File: Basic Edits

- How to take screenshots
- Changing the dialog zoom

Console Commands

- Crashing on Exit (and Oblivion.ini file not being saved)
-
Naming a Saved Game -
- More Console Commands

Graphic Tweaks Page (opens a new page):

My attempts to get good graphics, while still having playable FPS
- on my older, not-so-fast-laptop (with only a couple of mods installed)
- on my much faster gaming PC (but with over 100 mods installed, including a number of graphically demanding ones)

Page Menu: | MODs 101 | Oblivion.ini Edits | Console Commands
MODs 101 (The Basics)

What Exactly Is a MOD?

One of the best things about Oblivion is that it came with a program called "The Elder Scrolls Construction Set." This program is used to create, modify, and edit data in the game. And these changes and additions are added to your installed game through MODs. (Note: you do not have to use the construction set to install and use mods that were made by other people.)

So MODs are used to modify your game (the term "MOD" is just short for "modify").

-

MODs can make graphic changes, like the ones that change the appearance of the characters in the game.
- MODs can even add new characters, and change or add new buildings, plants, clothing, weapons, wildlife, weather, and many other types of items.
- MODs can even add entire villages, cities, and even new land masses to the game.

All that is pretty amazing, but MODs can do way more than just make graphic changes/additions. MODs can also change the way the game plays.

-

There are MODs that change combat, the behavior of the wildlife, the way that you level up, change how endurance works.

- There are MODs that change the speed in which time passes in the game, change the way that magic and potions works, add new spells, make arrows travel faster.
- There are MODs that even change the way that the entire in-game economy works (and even add a bank)

And that's just the beginning.

- MODs can also make it so your character needs to eat food, drink water, sleep and even bathe.
- MODs can change the lighting in the game - and make nights and dungeons darker - so you will need torches to see.
- MODs can add and change sound effects, voices, and music.
- There are MODs that do all that and even more.

There are now thousands of MODs that are available for Oblivion.

Ok, so how do you even begin to know which ones to use?


How This Site Can Help:

You see, my Oblivion Journal is more than just a fantasy story - it's also meant to be a role-playing guide. Oblivion is a Role-Playing game (or RPG) - but, in my opinion, it isn't a very good RPG (Morrowind was much better). That's where mods come in.

Adding the right combination of mods to your game can change Oblivion into a really good RPG.

And that has been my goal, since the first day I played Oblivion (and was so disappointed with the game). Fixing Oblivion with mods has not been at all easy - and I'm not even making the mods. I've just researched what mods were available, downloaded and installed them, and tested them in my game. But I've spent a great deal of time trying out a huge number of mods to fix this game.

And I've contacted many of the mod makers about their mods, and have beta tested a number of mods I've even helped in making a few.


How To Add a MOD To Your Game:

Basic instructions below - for more on this see the Oblivion MOD FAQ on the Elder Scrolls Forums.

1.) Find the mod and download it to your desktop. (Note: a mod can be just a single esp file, but most mods contain a number of files in what is called an archive - which is usually in compressed format, to make the archive smaller in size, so that it will be faster to download.)
I have included the download links for all the
mods that I have listed, so locating and downloading should be easy.
2.) Unzip the mod (extract the compressed files).
You unzip the
mod archive with a program like 7-Zip
NOTE:
if you use the Oblivion Mod Manager to install mods, you usually don't have to unzip the archive.
3.) Read the ReadME (the text file that came with the mod).
The ReadMe contains information on how to install, configure, update, and uninstall that specific
mod.
4.) Install then mod.
I highly recommend that you use the Oblivion Mod Manager to install mods - follow the ReadMe instructions.
5.) Activate the mod.
With the Oblivion Mod Manager all you have to do is highlight the mod and click the "Activate" button.
6.) Put the esp and esm files in the correct load order.
The correct load order is sometimes given in the ReadMe, but it also depends on what other mods you have installed (due to compatibility). All esm files must load first (before any esp files). When two mods make some of the same changes, the last one loaded with overwrite the earlier change (wi
With the
Oblivion Mod Manager just select the file and use the "Move Up" or "Move Down" buttons (you can also drag the esp up or down with your mouse) - the mods further down the list load after any mods above them.
If you're not sure what order to put your mods in, you can use my
MOD Load Order Page as a guide.
6.) Play Oblivion.
Start your game and see if the MOD (and the game) works properly.

My Goals:

My main goal in adding MODS has always been to make the game more fun!

The MODs that I'm using have all done at least one of the following:

1.)

Made Oblivion more balanced (Rebalancing and Leveling Mods)

2.)

Corrected or improved the game quests (Quest Fixing Mods)

3.)

Made Oblivion a better Role-playing game (Realism Mods)

4.)

Improved the way information was presented to the player (Interface Mods)

5.)

Improved the appearance of the game (Graphic Mods)

6.)

Added some new things to the game (Expansion Mods)

I wanted Oblivion to be a Role Playing Game that would be a real adventure for me, and I think that I've finally found the right combination of mods that give me that.

I also have my own ideas about what is wrong with Oblivion (and what needs to be fixed), so my preferences in selecting mods might be very different from what others might want in their game.

So look at this more as a mod review (for a very small percentage of the mods that are available for Oblivion).

Are you new to Oblivion?

Do you need some help with mods (or with anything else)?

Or do you just have questions or comments about this journal?

I've put together a place called Arwen's Realm,

and you're invited to stop by and become a member of our group

For the MODS that I am using, along with their download links, my reviews on them, and screenshots, check out my MODs Page.


Updating an older mod (to work with your current version of Oblivion)

This is how you update an older mod, using the Elder Scrolls Construction Set:

1.) Open Construction set. (start the Elder Scrolls Construction Set program)
2.) File->Data Files (select file from menu at top - then click on Data.)
3.) Click the checkbox next to Oblivion.esm (if the plugin you want to update require an additional master, check that mod as well).
4.) Find the plugin you want to update and click on it to highlight it
5.) Click the Active file button.
6.) Make sure that just the Oblivion.esm and the plugin you're fixing have X's in their boxes, nothing else on the list should be checked (other than any other master the the plugin needs).
7.) Click Ok. (wait for everything to load - this takes a while - wait on the timer icon.)
If you get error messages at this point, click through them. (click on the "yes" in the warning/error window.)
8.) Once it's done loading the files, do File->Save. (select file from menu at top - then click on Save.)
9.) The plugin is now updated.
 

 
Page Menu: | MODs 101 | Oblivion.ini Edits | Console Commands
Oblivion.ini File - Basic Edits

Since I would feel terrible if you messed up your game, I really need you to do a couple of things before you do any edits:

The default location of the oblivion.ini file and your saved games is: \My Documents\My Games\Oblivion
(for example, on my computer it's located in: C:\Documents and Settings\Arwen\My Documents\My Games\Oblivion)

- Make an Oblivion backup folder.
- Copy your entire saved game folder (Saves) to your backup folder.

- Copy the Oblivion.ini file to your backup folder.

Ok, now you are ready to begin messing with the settings. (If you mess up anything, all you'll have to do is copy the backed up file to back into the default folder, which will restore your original settings.)

Open (double click on) the Oblivion.ini file (the original one, not the backed up copy).


Non-Performance edits:

To take screenshots:

You need to find where it says:

bAllowScreenShot=0

and just change the 0 to 1 (If you're having trouble finding this line, it's in the second section, under [Display])

Save and exit the file.

When you want to take a screenshot, just press the PrintScreen key.
The screenshots will be saved as bmp files, in your Oblivion game folder
(default location: C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Oblivion)

Camera Zooms in too close:

In Oblivion, whenever you speak to someone, the camera zooms in on their face, which is sort of cool. The only problem was that I felt that I was a bit too close - as in "right in their face". If you feel the same, here's a little trick that will fix that issue:

Find: DlgFocus=2.1000

I changed the value to 3.5000, which feels much better to me.

Page Menu: | MODs 101 | Oblivion.ini Edits | Console Commands
Console Commands

Crashing on Exit (and Oblivion.ini file not being saved):

After adding many mods, most people find that the game will not quit properly. This is very common and generally doesn't cause any harm. The only real problem is that the Oblivion.ini file is not saved on exit - which means that any changes that you make while playing the game are not saved (changes in options, like in the graphic settings, and the screenshot numbering).

Fortunately there's an easy work around:

- Before quitting your game, open the consol (enter ~) and type "saveini" (without the " ").
- Your ini changes (and screenshot numbering) are now saved.
- Close the consol and exit the game.

Updated 1/31/09: Now there's a mod that allows you to quite the game without crashing:

Exit Oblivion With No Crash Guaranteed


Naming a Saved Game:

I hate the way that Oblivion saves your game. Perhaps this is due to my language issues, but the default naming of saves is confusing to me (plus I end up with like a gazillion saves).

Console work around:

Example: to save your current game with the name "wilds"
1.)

Open the consol (enter ~) and type "save wilds" (without the " ").

A message should appear that the game is now saved.

2.)

Close the consol and exit the game.

This works sooo much better for me.

What I do is name my saves by where I am such as using the name "wilds" when I'm in the wilderness (or "town", "cave", "inn", or "whatever").

If I save again when I'm still in the wilderness, I use "wilds2" (or "town2", or "wherever2").

And, if I save it yet again in that location, I use "wilds3"

That way I don't overwrite my files while I'm in the wilderness.

The next time that I'm in the wilderness, if I feel that I no longer need my old "wilds" saves, I just start over again (at "wilds), then "wilds2", and so on).


More Console Commands:

Arwen Note: For all the toggle commands, entering the command a second time toggles things back on or off. When entering a consol command, "X" refers to a variable that you have to put there (in place of the X)

To do the following: Console Command

Comments / Options

Toggle Frame Rate on/off (show debug info) tdt Hitting the scroll lock key (after returning to the game) changes the amount of debug info displayed.
Toggle GUI on/off tm Hides menus (great for taking screen shots)
Change Weather (only temporary - reverts back to normal over time) sw 38eee Clear weather (when you're sick of bad weather)
sw 38ef0 Cloudy weather
sw 38eec Overcast weather
sw 38eef Foggy weather
sw 38ef2 Rainy weather
sw 38eed Snowstorm
sw 38ef1 Thunderstorm
Show Game Speed show timescale Gives the current game speed setting (default is 30)
Change Game Speed set timescale to X Default is 30 (lower number makes game days longer)see Changing Timescale Settings
Toggle Grass on/off tg Use to find stuff hidden by grass and to improve fps

 

Page Menu: | MODs 101 | Oblivion.ini Edits | Console Commands
 
Graphic Settings

These are all found on my Oblivion Graphics Tweaks Page -

my attempts to get good graphics (while still having playable FPS).


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