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Mod IQ: How to Create a Mod Part 2 - Best Tools to Use

Last week we made a simple clone weapon. This week, we'll look into the tools that will help you make a truly custom weapon from scratch.

Last week I covered a simple how-to tutorial on using the Skyrim Special Edition's creation kit to make a simple custom-weapon mod, where we were able to change the weapons' stats, enchantments and other attributes.

This week, we're going to cover some of the tools that can be used to make truly custom weapons for Skyrim.

Blender

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

Blender is a great option for getting into 3D modeling and learning the basics. Besides being free, there is a very active and thriving community that posts great tutorials and videos to help you along the way. 

The only downside that I've come across with Blender is the amount of importing and exporting of different file types that you have to do so the models are compatible. It can be a challenge to figure it all out at first.

If you're serious about trying to use Blender to make a weapon and import it into Skyrim, this is the best video I've found so far. It's about a 30 minutes long, but it's the most thorough explanation I've been able to find to date.

Autodesk Suite

The Autodesk® Entertainment Creation Suites provide an affordable end-to-end creation solution, packed with tools used by leading artists working in visual effects, 3D game development, and other 3D animation production.

An easier way to do custom weapons and armors is by making use of the Autodesk suite of tools. This includes Maya, 3ds Max and Mudbox, to name a few. If you watch the Blender video above, you'll notice that a number of the extra steps involve you exporting your weapon as a .3ds file extension. This is actually the native file extension for 3ds Max and would cut out a lot of the need to export.

The trade off of using the Autodesk tools is that they are not free -- they are actually fairly expensive if you want to use them for the purposes of making money. However, if you're simply going to use them to make FREE, non-commercial custom weapons for Skyrim, then you can obtain a student copy of the programs on a 3-year usage license.

If this is a route you're thinking about taking, then here is a good video on importing custom weapons into Skyrim using Autodesk tools.

I know that this is a lot of information to take in: That's why next week, I plan on doing another article where I will walk you through creating a custom dagger based off of the Dwarven dagger than can be found in the base Skyrim game. If you can't wait and want to give it a shot yourself before then, these video links should help you on your way. 

And if you want to get started with some great mods the Skyrim community has made over the years, try out these mods while you wait! 

What kinds of custom weapons would you like to add into Skyrim? Let me know in the comments below and keep your eyes out for next week's tutorial on creating our own custom dagger, which I'll be doing with 3ds Max. 

Published Nov. 19th 2016

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