I am unhappy with the current patch and "modularity" situation. Here's what I'm about to change.
What's the problem?
The short answer: Too many confusing patches.
I'm at the point where I'm confusing myself with the amount of patches I offer and that's a major red flag.
How will I solve it?
By sacrificing some of the 'modularity' and options.
Now before you scoff and give up on the guide, I still intend to keep as many choices as possible. Basically, the kind of mods that don't require patches will continue to have lots of available alternatives - but my original intent of making EVERYTHING optional can no longer be reasonably hold onto. It becomes overwhelming, both for me as the author as well as for you guys as the users.
At the very beginning, back when I first released Chapter 1 of The Phoenix Flavour on the Nexus, I put up a poll. One of the questions was whether people would prefer the guide to develop more towards a 'compilation' (e.g. Nordic Skyrim) or towards a STEP-like guide. Back then the result was pretty much 50/50. Considering the fact that less restrictive compilation guides were useful to a larger amount of people, I tried to structure my guide in a way that it could be used as a compilation.
Almost a year later, The Phoenix Flavour has grown in size and complexity, and I'm at a point where I finally need to make a choice between guide and compilation. I choose guide.
What is going to change for the CORE section?
What is going to change for the VISUALS section?
It is no longer going to be optional. GAMEPLAY will require you to have gone through the VISUALS first. That being said, it's a rather small amount of mods that you will be required to install. Essential this means that the APPEARANCE and CITY sections will have a lot less alternatives, but still some optional mods.
The following mods are going to be essential:
- a lighting overhaul - you will be able to choose between different options, all patches will be based on your choice here
- Static Mesh Improvement Mod - requires patches and is the base for many other mods
- Book Covers Skyrim - too many mods affect books for this to be optional
- Realistic HD Beverages - to avoid an additional patch
- Unique Uniques - to avoid an additional patch
- Aetherial Crown - to avoid an additional patch
- Windsong Immersive Character Overhaul - because it edits tons of NPCs directly
Seranaholic - edits Serana directly
- Embers HD - because it touches cells directly and requires patches
- Realistic Water Two - the most complicated of all water overhauls, but undeniably the most beautiful one
- Immersive Dawnguard Dayspring Pass Entrance - to avoid two more patches
- Arthmoor's Villages - the full suite will be counted as one, all required
- Distinct Interiors - touches cells directly as well
The following mods are going to be removed:
- Ethereal Elven Overhaul - WICO on its own does a good job, EEO will get the boot for simplicities' sake
- RS Children Overhauls - needs many patches and edits children quite drastically (replaced by RUSTIC CHILDREN)
- Bijin AIO - hurts muh consistency, some NPC reworks might return in the future (e.g. Lydia)
- all the other water options - I know they were only just added, but with RW2 as an essential mod, everthing is easier
- Terrain Lod Redone - better suited for light modding setups that are closer vanilla, might return when I've found the time to weed out the textures that don't look good with the rest of this guide
The following mod types are still going to be optional and offering different alternatives:
- weather overhaul
- ENB / ReShade / SweetFX and presets
- almost all retextures
- a number of texture- or mesh-only retextures in the APPEARANCE section
- tree overhaul
- grass mod
What is going to change for the GAMEPLAY section?
This is the only part of the guide that will actually have MORE options than before. We'll get to this once the VISUALS were reworked as planned.
I really hope that these changes will not discourage too many people. They are meant to streamline the guide.
UPDATE - 24.10.2018
So I already changed my mind again in a few matters. Basically there are three areas where - based on your choices - a lot different patches have to be offered. I ended up breaking them down so that there are two options each that you can choose between. This will make patching significantly easier for everyone involved. Here are three 'areas':
- LIGHT - choose between Luminosity + Relighting Skyrim OR Enhanced Lights and FX + Relighting Skyrim
- WATER - choose between Lightweight Water Overhaul OR Realistic Water Two
- APPEARANCE - choose between WICO OR seperate retextures (not direct NPC edits)
I just started another poll on the Skyrim modding subreddit which will hopefully confirm that the choices above are the most popular.
Here is the poll. Please take a minute and fill it out if you can!