Skyrim Mods: the 20 best so far

Tom Hatfield at

6. Realistic Smoke and Embers

Realistic Smoke and Embers won't make Skyrim look this good, but it helps.

Another neat little improvement to Skyrim's effects, Realistic Smoke and Embers completely overhauls the appearance of fire in the game, improving it greatly. It's the mod that screenshotmancer Duncan 'Dead End Thrills' Harris used to create this stunning image (along with plenty of other mods and tweaks). If you're playing Skyrim as a fire throwing destruction mage, you must install this mod.

7. Realistic Water

[embed width="610" height="340"][/embed]

The water in Skyrim already looks pretty lovely, but Realistic Water pushes it that little bit further. Based on high resolution photography, Realistic Water makes Skyrim's streams foam and bubble in a beautiful and convincing way.

8. Skyrim Sunglare

[embed width="610" height="443"][/embed]

If you like lovely sunlight effects Skyrim Sunglare is the mod for you. It makes the game's sun produce delicious rays of beamy goodness, including optional lens flare effects for those who favour the 'cinematic' look. There's something special about cresting a mountain and watching the sunbeams break through over the horizon, and this mod makes it even better.

9. Nicer Snowflakes

Nicer snowflakes has several settings, this one makes Skyrim look like a Christmas card.

There's a lot of snow in Skyrim, so it's a shame it's mostly represented by vague white blobs floating past. Nicer Snowflakes fixes that problem completely, replacing the default snow with beautiful, high resolution flakes. There's several flavours to choose from, but I like the 'Whimsical' version best. It might not be what snow really looks like, but it's what we all wish it did.

10. Glowing Ore Veins

Never miss a mining opportunity again with Glowing Ore veins.

If you're like me, you probably played several hours of Skyrim before even realising mining was in the game. The problem is that ore veins don't actually look that different from the surrounding rock. Thankfully, Glowing Ore Veins solves that problem, tweaking minable rocks to make them stand out more from the background. As an added bonus it'll fade back to normal once you've extracted all the ore, once again blending harmlessly into the background.

11. Map in Full 3D

Not so much a mod as a set of tweaks, Map in full 3D shows you how to modify Skyrim's ini file to make it possible to zoom the in game map right down to the ground. The result is essentially a free camera mode that lets you roam anywhere in the world. It's like the google street view team was let loose in the frozen north.