Nothing like taking apart a new toy as soon as you get home. Skyrim’s been out for less than a day and there has been a flood of information on everything from mods, to tweaks, to common sense settings that never made it into the game’s instruction booklet (looking at you Favorites system). So we took some time today and put together a small compilation of a variety of tweaks and guides to help you get the most out of your new toy known as Skyrim.
How to Set Favorites to Number Keys
During our Skyrim review we thought there was no way to assign weapons, items, and spells to the number keys — we were wrong. Turns out GameSpy fan, KronicCusador, figured it out in a matter of minutes. First, assign a weapon, item, or spell to your Favorites. While in-game open your Favorites (Q) and highlight an object name. Now press a number key on to assign that object. That’s it!
But what if you want to assign these objects to a specific hand? By default the above description will only hotkey something to your left. In order to assign an object to your right hand, you must press Shift + number key.
How to Change FOV
According to reddit this is a fairly simple five step process that both IGN and Rock, Paper, Shotgun have talked about as well. In case you’re not in the “know,” FOV is your field of vision. In this case, it’s the field of view from the perspective of your playable character.
If you want to see more of your character’s hands and weapons, you’ll want to follow these instructions (we found 80 to 85 to be a good range). While in-game, press the ‘~’ key and then type “FOV=XX” minus the quotes with XX denoting the FOV number you wish to enter. Experiment with it for awhile to find a viewpoint that suits you.
Should You Turn FXAA On or Off?
This stands for Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing. If you’ve been PC gaming for awhile, you’ve no doubt run into anti-aliasing options in the past. Typically, if you turn AA off you’ll increase performance at the risk of running into a whole bunch of jagged texture images. FXAA is kind of the same thing, except its performance hit to your machine tends to be minimal with comparable quality to playing with anti-aliasing turned on.
To see if there really was a difference, we used a copy of FRAPS for benchmarking and then had AA and FXAA settings battle it out. The rig that we ran this test on is a decidedly mid-range machine powered by a AMD Phenom II 1055T 2.8 GHZ processor, 6 GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 460 786 MB GPU with a resolution set to 1920 x 1080 at Skyrim’s ultra settings.
Ultra Settings, FXAA On, 8 Sample Anti-aliasing Off
We completely turned off anti-aliasing and turned on FXAA, then ran around the open world of Skyrim for about a minute and came away with an average framerate of 41.6 (min: 21, max: 64).
Ultra Settings, FXAA Off, 8 Sample Anti-aliasing On
Using the exact same setup and settings, we then set anti-aliasing to 8 samples and then turned off FXAA and came away with an average framerate of 35.216 (min: 18, max: 46).
Overall it’s not a huge gain but we’ll continue to play the game with FXAA on instead of using anti-aliasing. This can vary depending on your rig of course, so see which setting works best for you.
What’s Up With Radial Blur Quality?
When you are hit in combat you’ll see your screen blur slightly. Well, that’s Radial Blur, designed to give the effect of you becoming disoriented when you’re getting knocked around by an enemy. You can reduce the quality of the effect if you want to improve combat performance, especially if you’re noticing some slowdown.
How to Modify Your Skyrim.ini
GameSpy fan, wazups-2x, has provided some other nice tweaks in our comments and we’ve re-purposed his contributions here. This involves modifying the Skyrim.ini file, so make sure you make a copy of it first in case you wind up breaking something. You can find the Skyrim.ini file in Documents -> My Games -> Skyrim. Edit the .ini file by opening it in Notepad (as seen in the screenshot above).
Fixing Mouse Lag
If your experiencing mouse lag you’ll want to disable vsync — this isn’t included in the game options. To do this go to the part of the Skyrim.ini that says “[Display].” Copy “iPresentInterval=0” (minus the quotes) to the very bottom of the .ini, then save, and close the file.
Improve Shadows on Trees and Land
Open the SkyrimPrefs.ini. You won’t have to look far: it’s located in the same Skyrim directory and remember to make a copy of it first before you start modifying it. These instructions will allow you to improve the look and shadows of trees and some land objects by allowing them to receive shadows.
Under “[Display]” there are two commands you need to change to a value of 1:
There’s some other variables that you can adjust as well and they’re fairly descriptive as to what each one will do (i.e. improving depth of field, how many times the game will auto-save, etc.):
bMouseAcceleration=1 (recommended setting is 0 for better mouse movement)
Know of any Good Mods or Tweaks?
Skyrim Nexus is a great place to start as well as our sister site FilePlanet. As for tweaks, SegmentNext has put together a fairly in-depth guide on how to increase performance, so we recommend you check that out as well. If there are other sites you’ve come across, feel free to post them in the comments below and share with everyone else. That way we could continue to update this story as need be.