updated June 14th, 2018
Welcome to The Official Elder Scrolls General Modding Guide: Oblivion Editon!
In this extensive guide, we will teach you how to make Oblivion both fun AND good looking! First things first, I'm gonna have to teach you how to install mods and how each file works. The perfect way for a scrub like you to efficiently organize and sort your mods, is a mod organizing program! There are several of these programs we can use. You can even sort them manually if you're experienced or bold enough!
Remember to ALWAYS read the mod description on how to install, activate, and use the mod if you don't know. The same rule apply to README's in the mod packages.
In this section, we will discuss:
-Tools and Utilities
-Extra UI Mods
Where to start?
First of all, it's mandatory that you have the Oblivion: Game of the Year edition. This includes all of the game's big expansions and tiny little DLC packs. Practically every single one of these mods in this guide will require the expansions, so you better have them. If you're also using the physical copies of the game and expansions that are not the Game of the Year edition, make sure you download the final patch for the game on the official Bethesda site or from the Oblivion nexus. If you have the Steam version of Oblivion, you will not need to worry about this.
Now down to business. Let's assume you know how to mod Skyrim, right? How you usually just plop stuff into your data folder and run? Well throw that mentality away, you'll still need to do this most of the time but it's not your main priority. Unlike Skyrim, you absolutely need to use some sort of mod manager because manual installations are virtualy impossible.
NEXUS MOD MANAGER IS STILL A BIG NO NO.
Remember your good old friend Wrye Bash? Well you better get reacquainted fast, because he's your new best buddy from now on. Wrye Bash is one of the oldest running mod managers. You can sort your mods and load order, get conflict notifications, edit INIs, and organize your saves. There are a few key features that seperate this from the rest of the mod managers. First off, you can merge mods and make bashed patches. A bashed patch is when you combine features with several different mods and make them not conflict or interfere with each other. It's a really great tool for someone who likes variety in there game. For Oblivion's case, Wrye Bash is required to make ANYTHING work together properly because mod conflcits happen all the time with Oblivion mods and Wrye Bash will clean that mess up for you.
*TIP* - Make sure you set Wrye Bash to display your mods in load order format.
Oblivion Mod Manager
OBMM is basically Nexus Mod Managers father, a very dissapointed in his son type of father. It's not a bad bad manager in its own regard, but Wrye Bash surpasses it in almost every way. However there is one key trait that seperates this from Wrye Bash and other mod managers, it can use OMODs.
What's an OMOD? An OMOD is an archive that's specifically made for Oblivion Mod Manager. It's fairly easy to install, just click on it and it will promt you to a some options that you can choose depending on your personal preference. Now you don't have to use OMODs all the time, some mods aren't packed in as an OMOD file and are just structured as one, saying that it's ready to be installed as an OMOD. However you can use a little tool that comes with Wrye Bash called BAIN to install other archive files such as 7z, RAR, and ZIP. But just in case you don't want to go and deconstruct an OMOD archive to use with BAIN because it's too much trouble, then just keep Oblivion Mod Manager handy.
There is also the matter of ArchiveInvalidation. This issue can be fixed with just a few steps, but it's VERY important that you follow these steps or else none of your mods will work. Click on the link to learn more on how to validate your archive.
The Construction Set Wiki is a great source for all things related to Oblivion modding. It's best to read up on the beginners guide if you're not sure where to start.
Q: Can I still use Mod Organizer for Oblivion?
A: It's time to put on the big boy pants and leave Mod Manager behind. Seriously, just use Wrye Bash.
Here are a few words of wisdom before we move on. MAKE SURE you know what mods you plan on using. This is very important because if you forget something, you'll have to go back and check for compatiblity issues, load order, etc. So make sure you look over everything and pick what you want.
It's the exact same thing as SKSE, but for Oblivion. However, you must activate it differently if you don't have a physical copy. Normally you'd just click on the OBSE.exe and everything would be fine, but if you are using the Steam version of Oblivion, all you have to do is run the Oblivion launcher normally through Steam.
The absolute BEST Oblivion UI overhaul mod. You're torturing yourself if you don't get this mod since the Oblivion menus are small and unoptimised for PC usage. The first picture links to the normal DarNified mod. The second leads to the dark version which basically changes the parchment menus into a leathery red-ish brown. The last picture leads to DarNified UI Config Addon which you should get, regardless of which of DarNified UI you get. The addon mod saves your menu preferences so that you don't have to re-input the settings everytime you start playing again.
Oblivion Stutter RemoverThis plugin makes Oblivion not "stutter" as much, and making it generally feel smoother or perform better. It prevents or mitigates a number of issues related to stuttering and framerates, and can reduce the frequency of stutter related crashes.
MoreHeapThe game engine allocates a static block of memory at startup for use in its various insufferable processes. Once this block of memory runs out, it ends up behaving in ways that are considered to be impolite in modern society, viz., CTDs, et al. Or so goes the theory.
EngineBugFixesEngineBugFixes is an OBSE plugin containing bug fixes for the Oblivion game engine.
It distinguishes two types of engine modifications:
1) Fix Fixes something that probably everyone would consider a bug.
2) Patch Changes something that may or may not be considered a bug but which I felt could be improved.
BlockheadAn OBSE plugin that adds support for gender variant head models and textures for NPCs. And allows free camera movement in the race/sex menu. And enables pain-free inventory idle overriding. And per-NPC/Race/scripted body/head texture/model overriding. And animation overriding.
Fast ExitAn OBSE plugin that allows you to instantly quit the game without it having the game hang on you or crashing. Don't get this if you're gonna get Oblivion Reloaded.
Pluggy Dev v132Pluggy is a multifunction OBSE plugin that adds new functions to Oblivion, and is a further extension to Oblivion Script Extender. Modders.
OBSE Universal Silent VoicePlays a 8 seconds duration silent voice for any missing voice file and uses generic lips moves for 8 seconds for any missing lip synchronization file. This is required for many mods that add new dialogue but no new voices.
Clean upPrevents saved-game file-size bloating by cleaning the game of actor and item references that are no longer required. (e.g. inactive references created from dropped items that were picked-up by the player.) Cleans long-dead actors that may have been corrupted somehow.
Open kuerteeCleanUp.ini located at \Oblivion\Data\Ini and change the first line to the following:
set kCUQuest.cleanActors to 0
CTD and Memory patch ENBoostx64 optimized patch for heavily modified game, it much more efficiently utilize memory. Specially for users with HD textures
NVACImplements structured exception handling and sanity checking to reduce frequency of game crashes.
Simply copy nvac.dll into your OBSE folder.
TrifleOverhauls how music playback works and gives you the ability to edit settings for music as well.
Oblivion UncapperThis mod increases the hardcoded ATTRIBUTES and SKILLS, level caps from 100 to 200 for all actors in game including the player.
COBLAdds a few new items, but the most important thing it does is add a shared library that several other mods use as well as in-game menus for them.
Extra UI Mods
Darn might cover a lot of bases for the UI, but there are still more options for you to choose from.
Display StatsDisplays hidden stats of all items in the item popup menu when your mouse points at an item in the inventory/container/barter menus.
Map Marker OverhaulGives you more map marker abilities such as setting multiple markers, name tagging them, and giving them different icons. This also includes new map marker replacers as well.
Quest Log ManagerQuest Log Manager adds a button at the upper right corner of the "Current Quests" log, named "Show hidden". If you click on this, instead of viewing the current quests, you now get to see all the hidden quests, and you can click on their buttons to move them back to the current quests.
Dynamic MapDynamic Map makes the world map reflect your installed mods. It reads your active mod list, and modifies the world map accordingly, by placing sub-map components for the supported mods, onto the main world map so it looks exactly like the world map was made that way.
Realistic Player Dialogue OverhaulChanges the player dialogue options to be more like a full sentence instead of just one word.
TTYM - Think To Yourself MessagesThink To Yourself Messages is a small file that changes all the immersion-breaking third-person messages into not just first-person messages, but messages that are more descriptive and actually sound like thoughts from your character. Something like "You find nothing of use" when harvesting for alchemy becomes "There's nothing useful here."
Expanded GreetingsThis mod will allow NPCs to recognize all of the player character’s talents and make the skill-based dialogue greetings (such as “you’re a sneaky looking sort” and “look at the muscles on you!”) less redundant once the player has reached high levels.
Dialogue Tweaks Fixes and RestorationsRestores missing dialogue the NPCs say to add some extra variety.
HUD Status BarsAdds a few new HUD styles that you can customize with the ini files. There's a few preset options already such as Skyrim style and Diablo style.
Dialogue IdlesNPCs will use their conversation idles when speaking to the player. If they are currently using an object, they will continue to use that object while in conversation. You might need to adjust the fDlgFocus value in Oblivion.ini.