5 mods to enhance your Skyrim VR experience
The Elder Scrolls games are designed to be experienced from a first-person view, and Skyrim is no exception. Despite its clumsy combat and writing hitches, the game is praised for its brilliant world design. Skyrim is a treat to explore until players become completely familiar with little nooks and crannies over repeat playthroughs. Its strong points, thankfully, all translate well into a VR environment.
With the help of mods, you can further accentuate the joys of Skyrim VR. In fact, there are a number of VR-specific mods that can do things that are outside the scope of the vanilla PC version of the game.
5 essential mods to add while playing Skyrim on VR
1) HIGGS - Enhanced VR Interaction
HIGGs is a one-stop solution for object physics in Skyrim VR. It implements a few fixes to the base game - including dynamic physics sync with frame rate, meaning that the player no longer needs to tinker with fMaxTime or fMaxTimeComplex in Skyrim.ini to match their VR refresh rate.
It also adds collision data of weapons and miscellaneous objects so that flinging them around makes them collide realistically with in-game objects. It also massively expands on the grab feature. When the Dovah-Kiin grabs an object, their fingers realistically clasp around it in-game.
While this in itself would be enough, HIGGs goes the extra mile by adding advanced interactions, such as the ability to pull armor off bodies by grabbing the body with one hand and tugging at the armor with another. HIGGs stands for Hand Interaction and Gravity Gloves, which means there is a gravity gloves add-on as well to play around with the re-polished physics.
2) VRIK Player Avatar
While HIGGs takes care of physical interaction with the in-game world, VRIK focuses on the in-game physical recreation of the player. With VRIK, the player's hand movements will now be accurately reflected by an in-game avatar. Moreover, the avatar will represent the physical player in scale - including their height and real-time body posture.
To build off of this newfound input method, players can physically sheath or draw weapons by reaching the holster with their hands. The second part of the mod uses this real-time VR input to bind 26 gestures per hand to eight configurable actions.
3) Navigate VR
Oblivion, the fourth Elder Scrolls installment, emulates navigation with the illusion of a hand-drawn map on its map menu. Skyrim, on the other hand, reinforces the open-world game trend of cartographic omniscience by quite literally panning the camera out above the clouds.
For players who want something more immersive, Navigate VR is the perfect solution. The mod's implementation of navigation is much like Far Cry 2. Instead of the Ubisoft-eque open world map, the player is equipped with an individual compass on one hand, and on the other, a map of the province that does not track the player's position. Players can also purchase individual hold maps from local merchants, as well as unlock different levels of detail with maps bought from Khajit caravans.
Both the maps and the compass are compatible with the aforementioned VRIK mod, which lets these be stowed away into arm-mounted sheaths.
4) Spellsiphon - Immersive Combat
Skyrim did away with the stratified class system of previous Elder Scrolls games. Instead, its generalized approach incentivizes a jack-of-all-trades character that uses both magicka and stamina. Efficient gameplay, therefore, involves a lot of shuffling through menus to use these resources properly - be it an alteration tank, or an archer who uses the occasional fireball.
Inventory-browsing can break the flow of combat and take away immersion - an effect felt most harshly in a VR experience. Spellsiphon addresses this by introducing a completely alternative system of magic that can be used by itself, or as a supplement to melee and archery.
With Spellsiphon, players can "bind" themselves to the elements of their surroundings. The whole mod is complex enough to warrant a full playthrough with it. But to summarize, players can harvest elements from Mundus - like "world," "life," and "death," and then unleash it with spells. Different elemental combinations interact with each other, and casting them in succession also builds a stacking "combo" buff.
Upon installing the mod, the player will get all the basic tools to use Spellsiphon as well as an in-depth tutorial when they next load up the game.
5) Dragonborn Speaks Naturally
Compared to other mods on this list, Dragonborn Speaks Naturally has a much simpler idea. The mod focuses only on one function: enabling the player to select dialog by simply speaking it into the mic.
This is handled by Windows Speech Recognition Engine, which is integrated into Skyrim with a custom dll loader that the player needs to install into the game archive. The mod works almost flawlessly, since the dialog windows are generally separated from the rest of the gameplay.
Dragonborn Speaks Naturally is also available for Skyrim Special Edition.