Skyrim: Better Males
Click the image above to go to the download page.
Ah yes, now we get to what you all came here for…as long as you’re a gay male, or a straight female, or a bi leaning towards male, or a pansexual in which case you probably don’t care about how they look anyway because that’s apparently the point of being pansexual if John Barrowman has taught me anything. Anyways, let’s not waste any time here…
The Better Males pack by Chris57 is an all-in-one collection of mods intended to improve your male characters. It’s a bit special really, as it’s currently the only compilation mod of it’s kind for Skyrim. There isn’t even an all-in-one mod for the women, instead you have to track down all the separate pieces yourself. I think that says quite a lot about how the modding community has grown away from it’s old “obvious female bias”.
As said before, this is a collection of various mods from different people, some of which do the same thing, so it’s a bit of a “mix n’ match” really. It consists of mods for the face, body, and hair.
Let’s get the simplest one out of the way first. There’s only one mod for the hairstyles, so your only choice really is “yes or no”. If you’re the kind of person who reads Manly Guys Doing Manly Things or browses Baraspot, you might not like these. They’re a bit on the FABULOUS side. Most of them are converted from other female Skyrim hair mods, and as such are very effeminate. There are some hairstyles in there created by Ren, a couple of which were directly inspired by the characters of Kadaj and Yazoo from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, that might work well for your male characters, but the others just seem…odd. If you’re playing as an effeminate male character, or have a twinky side-kick, then you may get some use out of these.
Embarrassingly enough, i’ve only just remembered that I don’t have the hair pack installed. Once Nexus Mod Manager is working again (as I said before, it broke itself as soon as I tried to create this blog), i’ll try it out and give a review of how it works ingame.
Oh and by the way, yes, that’s Lightning’s hair. Don’t ask why.
The pack comes with six options, four of which you see in this screenshot (the fifth and sixth options were added in a later update…which doesn’t explain why the screenshot claims there are five choices…I don’t think you can count “Default” as a choice).
No More Blocky Faces: Effects only the normal maps, smoothing out the blocky appearance caused by compression. If you’re using the official Skyrim HD Texture Pack, which includes uncompressed normal maps for the faces, then there’s no need to bother with this.
Younger Faces: “Maybe she’s born with it. No, i’m pretty sure it’s photoshop.” This basically gives all your men the sheer perfect photoshop treatment. It takes it’s name literally; men who are supposed to be old end up looking like they’ve barely hit 20. There’s no denying it looks nice, but I prefer my men with character. And skin pores.
Genox: This is the one I personally use. It adds more detail and skin variation to the face without making them look incredibly young. I also like how it adds a bit more depth to their faces. My only complain is that the shading around the eyes can make them look a bit more effeminate, providing the illusion that their eyes are slanted inwards more than they actually are (this can be quite noticeable on characters such as Belathor, who’s eyes are already a bit on the effeminate side). Still, it’s certainly the best one in this pack if you want to up the attractiveness of your man without reducing masculinity. Comes in both stubble and non stubble versions.
Genox + Younger Faces: A combination of the two above, though mostly Younger faces. The difference between this one and the normal younger faces is very subtle, though it’s most noticeable around the eyes. Due to using Genox, this too comes with both stubble and non stubble versions.
For a full comparison of these faces amongst others, please make your way to the Male Face Mod Roundup.
The cream of this crop, the body mods. Two main body mods are included; FavouredSoul and Sundracon.
FavouredSoul’s is a typical bodybuilder shape, with broad shoulders, thick thighs, and a big tush. This is very good for those who like exaggerated hero proportions, but you may find the obvious difference in shape between a clothed man and a nude man to be a bit annoying (those big thighs disappear as soon as you put on so much as a pair of ragged pants). The body has some lovely back muscles, and admittedly the ass is very nice to look at in 3rd person mode. As you might be able to tell in the above screenshot too, is that this one also has a much nicer blend from pubic bone to penis with no obvious seams. If you prefer circumcised penises, then this one is perfect for you.
If you prefer uncircumcised penises however, you will be severely disappointed. It’s obvious that the uncircumcised dick was taken from Sundracon’s body and simply plopped on there with no care given whatsoever to shape or texture seams. It is a completely different shape to the circumcised penis, and the mesh seam is very obvious. It even uses Sundracon’s texture, so there is a texture inconsistency. The worst part is that the screenshot used to show off the uncircumcised option deliberately hides this problem by using a really awkward camera angle, so it’s obvious whoever made this edit knew of these issues but didn’t think to correct them.
There are also some alternative body shapes labled as Body Builder shapes. These include heavy, light, and wide shoulders. While the heavy and wide shoulder ones simply make the shoulders a bit bulkier and a bit wider respectively, the light one, for some inexplicable reason, makes the arms longer. It’s very noticeable and looks quite ridiculous. It should also be noted that all three of these variations are not alternate meshes, but alternate skeletons. Because the mod doesn’t install any skeleton files by default, Nexus Mod Manager will not remove them upon uninstallation.
Sundracon’s shape is a lot closer to the default Skyrim shape…and that’s because it IS the default Skyrim shape. Basically this originally started out as the Fig Leaf Male mod by Jajajajaja (a.k.a Yesyesyesyesyes). This was basically just the default Skyrim mesh edited to remove the loincloth and have a very basic willy. What Sundracon did was take that mesh, remove the little lump of flesh, and instead added on a penis taken from one of Robert’s older meshes for Oblivion/Fallout 3. With that said, there is of course a seam in the groin area, though this is usually hidden by the very thick pubic hair (not to mention much less obvious than the uncircumcised FavouredSoul body). Because it’s based off the default mesh, the shape of their body will stay consistent when both clothed and nude. The tush isn’t as nice as FavouredSoul’s, but it’s still got some nice back muscles and leg muscles which are further emphasised by a stronger specular map.
As for variations, there is of course an uncircumcised option. Again, there is a seam, but it’s hidden just as well as the circumcised version. There’s also five types of option bodyhair that are noticeably darker and thicker than the FavouredSoul versions, so this also the better one to use if you like your men hairy (not so much if you like them hairless, as all five options have bushy pubic hair to hide the mesh seam). It also contains the exact same bodybuilder skeleton files included with the FavouredSoul, which also suffer from the exact same problems.
There is also a fat option for those who prefer their men with a bit of a belly, which I don’t recommend using unless you don’t mind every man in the game being fat and instantly becoming thin whenever they wear clothing. Interestingly enough however someone is working on a Unique Bodies mod that, when finished, will allow you to set specific characters (or yourself) to use a particular nude mod, so that might be worth looking into if you’re a fan of men with more to love. It should be noted though that the fat version has a very low quality penis mesh and only one texture option.
Um, yeah, there’s a body which is basically the default body with more simple underwear. Moving on.
Although this mod claims to be compatible with Nexus Mod Manager, it’s only partially compatible. Although the faces and hair can be installed with one click, the bodies take a bit more if you want something other than “circumcised, minimal body hair”. Rather than include an installer that allows you to easily select which options you want (like the Static Mesh Improvement mod does), you are instead required to go into your Data folder, go to the [OPTIONS] folder (great naming there Chris), and there you will see further folders for the various options available to you (in my case, [BODY HAIR TEXTURES], [BODY VEIN REMOVAL], [FAT MALES], and [PENIS SIZES OPTIONS]. After finding the one you want, you than have to manually copy and paste them back in the data folder, allowing Windows to overwrite any files that come up. Here’s hoping Chris57 compiles all this all into one, easy to use installer.
Me personally, I use the uncircumcised version of Sundracon’s mesh with the fifth bodyhair option (maximum bodyhair). This is namely because I prefer uncircumcised dicks (that and I believe it’s more realistic for the time period), and out of the two…well…you already know how I feel about the FavouredSoul version.
Before I go I also want to inform you that Robert, the guy responsible for the most popular male nude mod for Oblivion, is currently working on his own, new body mod for Skyrim. Once that’s done and finished, i’ll definitely be giving it a once over. Maybe even a twice over.