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HOW TO: Tweak Skyrim's Ultra PC graphics and install mods

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skyrim_dragon_fight.jpg

So you have got Skyrim on your PC and it looks good. In fact it looks pretty impressive. But for those of you out there with some top-end hardware sitting on your desk, you may want to make it look even more glorious as you watch the sun set over a high off mountain range, watch the shiny blood gush from the open wounds of your enemies, or just have a bit of fun with some mods. Whatever the motivation, the following guide will help you tweak your PC settings to get the very best ultra graphics package.

Step 1: Install Patch Large Address Aware Patch

Like many Bethesda games, Skyrim is capped to use no more that 2GB of RAM; even if you have 12GB the game will reserve the rest for other uses on your computer. But if you're playing a game you're unlikely to be doing anything else all that intensive. Using a Large Address Aware patch will solve this, allowing the game to make full use of your RAM. It's a slightly lengthy process but it's the best start to getting the most from the game. Here's how to make it work:

- Before making any patches always backup your original exe just in case something goes wrong.
- Download and install CFF explorer (which can be found athttp://ntcore.com/exsuite.php)
- Run the CFF Explorer
- Click the folder icon on the left hand side and browse your PC for TESV.exe.
- Click on File Header on the left, find Characteristics on the right and click the "Click here" button highlighted in blue.
- Tick "App can handle >2GB address space" and click OK
- Save by clicking the disc icon and overwrite the file when prompted

You will need to keep the backup copy of your. exe file that was changed with CFF explorer because when you update your game, you will need to copy the backup .exe back to the main folder and replace the edited .exe file.

Locate the folder which has the executable file you changed, delete the current .exe file, rename the backup executable back to the original name, and then you're ready again to update.


Step 2: Turn off Vsync for better frame rates

Vysnc is a tool to limit your fps to match the refresh rate of your monitor, making sure that your monitor can handle the amount of frames it is being given by the graphics card. If you have a high-end card you may want to turn off Vsync in order to get a better frame rate from your game.

Here's how to find and change your Vsync configuration:

- Go to My Documents - My Games - Skyrim (Directories may differ depending on your personal install preferences, or if you're playing the game through Steam)
- Locate SKyrimPrefs.ini, make a back-up copy of it, and open it with Notepad.
-Under the heading [Display], insert the line 'iPresentInterval=0" to switch off Vsync and save the .ini file.

Note that this change can potentially lead to excessive screen tearing. If that occurs, just remove the line you added and re-save the file.

Step 3: Change shadow settings for trees and land objects

Skyrim_Forest_Stream.jpg

For every tree, rock and flower there is always a shadow to go with it in Skyrim,That is, o course, unless you are a nocturnal adventurer. But using this tweak to change the shadowing effects on trees and other land objects will offer a noticeable improvement to the look of some of the large forest areas of the world map:

- Open the SKyrimPrefs.ini again, and again back it up.
- Under the [Display] tab there are two commands that you will need to change to the value of 1.
- For trees, change the line bTreesReceiveShadows=0 to bTreesReceiveShadows=1
- For objects out in the world, change the line bDrawLandShadows=0 to bDrawLandShadows=1
-Save the .ini file, close and enjoy!

Step 4: Field of View

skyrim_field_of_view.jpg

Want to take in more of Skyrim's beautiful settings? Increasing the Field of View will increase the angle from which you see the world, giving you a wider perspective of your surrounding area and also seeing some more of your characters hands and weapons.

To adjust the field of view, while in game press the '~' to bring up the console and enter 'FOV XX'. XX denotes the FOV number you wish to enter. Experiment, but from a lot of forum opinions 80-85 seem to do the world justice. But it is all down to personal taste, or in this case personal view.

Step 5: Install high-res blood textures and a "no spiders" mod for arachnophobics

For some PC gamers they want to make a game their own by installing mods. Some are very simple such as changing blood to a green colour but some are a bit more interesting and often down-right hilarious.

skyrim_blood.jpg

One for those who like to admire a kill is the enhanced Blood Textures which will improve the resolution of the blood textures in the game, and it one of the most noticeable of all the mods.

- Download the file from Skyrimnexus and they will be downloaded as a rar. File.
- If you're not using Windows 7 you will need a programme to extract the files
- Inside the rar. file will be both a data file and a "Read me", and all you have to do is drop the data folder into the directory where Skyrim is installed and replace folders when prompted.

Spider_Bears_skyrim.jpg

Skyrim has a great one for anyone with arachnophobia. The game is full of rather large spiders wanting to get their fangs into you but how about replacing them with something far less creepy and skin crawling, like bears? Replacing every spider in the game with cuddly bears will help with any fears; they just want a hug. And your blood too...

Here's how to install it:

- Download the file from Skyrimnexus and they will be downloaded as a rar. File.
- If you're not using Windows 7 you will need a programme to extract the files
- Inside the rar. file will be both a data file and a "Read me", and all you have to do is drop the data folder into the directory where Skyrim is installed and replace folders when prompted.


Optional: Install MSI Afterburner

MSI's Afterburner easy overclocking application enables all graphics cards to boost their performance and is completely free. If you want to be getting the most out of your upgraded card then download the program and toggle the settings in order to get the maximum potential from the card. You can control everything from core voltages to fan speeds, pushing your card to the max. A word of warning though: this can actually burn out your graphics card so is really not advised unless you know exactly what you're doing.

Download MSI Afterburner by clicking here.

Check below for a quick YouTube guide on how to use the program too, which also shows a little about GPU Z, a great tool for monitoring the temperature of your system:

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  • Dakax43

    "If you have a high-end card you may want to turn off Vsync in order to get a better frame rate from your game." - uh, shouldn't it be the other way around?
    If you have a low-end card you may want to turn off v-sync -_- high end it won't matter, if it's chewing through Skyrim like it's nothing.

  • MrAwesome

    Shit tutorial

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