Better Animal Footsteps by Volnaiskra
Skyrim » Audio, sound and music
Added: 30/09/2012 - 06:02AM
Updated: 26/10/2012 - 04:11AM

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Uploaded by volnaiskra


Last updated at 4:11, 26 Oct 2012 Uploaded at 6:02, 30 Sep 2012

Tired of being startled by loud footsteps behind you, only to turn around to a little bunny? Ever thought that the hooves of a massive elk should make significantly more noise than the soft paws of a tiny fox? Ever wondered why the spiders sound like they're tapdancing? Better Animal Footsteps improves the footstep sounds for many of Skyrim's animals, to make them more appropriate and immersive and/or less annoying and jarring.

(due to youtube compressed audio quality, this only gives an approximation of the sounds in-game)


Improves many of the animal footstep sounds (see video for some comparisons). The goal was to make significant improvements to the sounds using only light modifications to the existing vanilla sounds, so that the sounds provide a more realistic, immersive, and enjoyable experience, while remaining true to the general feel of vanilla Skyrim. I've changed:

Rabbit/Hare:_________________now quieter and more muffled
Fox/Wolf:____________________now quieter and gentler, as befitting a stalking predator with soft feet
Mammoth:___________________bassier, deeper, and slightly louder - now you'll know why the screen shakes when one walks by
Spider:______________________no longer sounds like it's hobbling/skipping/doing a jig. Now sounds like it's creeping on many legs, and is quieter
Troll:________________________mixed in a little bit of human footstep sounds, to make it sound slightly more humanoid
Skeever:_____________________slightly softer
Spriggan:____________________slightly softer
Horker:______________________Now deeper and significantly bassier. Subtly increased reverb, since Horkers are usually found around icy locations
Mudcrab:____________________slightly softer
Deer/Elk/Walking Horse:_______slightly boomier and louder (sprinting horse unchanged)
Bear:________________________slightly louder
Cow:________________________slightly deeper and louder

Chaurus, Chicken, Sabre Cat, Goat, Dog: unchanged - they seem fine to me already,


FAQ: What sounds are changed?

Just the animal footstep sounds. NOT the animal voice sounds and NOT the Human/Argonian/Khajit footstep sounds. Only those animals that I thought needed improving were altered. See above for the full list.

FAQ: But now I can barely hear the rabbit and/or fox at all!

Good. That's exactly how it should be, don't you agree? But if you want to undo some of my changes, see below.

FAQ: I want to keep some of your changes, but modify/delete others. How can I do that?

This mod simply adds a bunch of folders containing WAV files into ..\skyrim\Data\sound. Simply have a look inside the mod file to see what files were added, find the corresponding files in your ..\skyrim\Data\sound folder, and delete/modify whichever you like. For example, the wolf sounds are all in ..\skyrim\Data\sound\fx\npc\wolf\foot. However, if you want to edit the sounds, please be aware of a couple of idiosyncrasies in the way Bethesda has handled animal footstep sounds:

--Both foxes and wolves use "wolf" sounds.
--Elk, Deer, and Horses all use the horse "walk" sounds (there are actually "elk" sounds in the base files, but these don't seem to ever get used by the game).
--horse walking and sprinting sounds are separate. I've only changed the walking sounds - to change horse sprinting sounds, you'll need to dig up the"sprint" sounds from the base files. The sprinting sounds are only used by horses (not elk or deer).

FAQ: The wolves are too quiet!

Foxes and wolves use the same set of sound files, by Bethesda's design. So, I needed to make a choice between wolves that were slightly too soft, or foxes that were too loud. I chose in favour of soft foxes.

Foxes are a small and sneaky animal that shouldn't be heard from 10 meters away as they are in vanilla. Also, there are several mods that let you befriend a follower fox (eg. BFF, Shakespeare, Eevee), and using one of these mods can get really annoying with the default sounds (especially when you're sneaking around a cave but your fox sounds like she's got maracas on her feet!).

Besides, the vanilla wolves are probably too loud anyway. Yes, they're a big animal, but remember that they're a stalking predator with soft padded feet.

FAQ: What exactly did you do to the sounds? What equipment did you use?

First, I identified problems with the existing sounds (eg. rabbits are too loud, foxes sound like miniature horses, spiders just sound ridiculous). Next, I addressed these problems using vanilla sounds (no new recordings were used). On a case-by-case basis, I edited, chopped, re-timed, lengthened, shortened, softened, muffled, cross-faded, combined, and/or adjusted the EQ. Sometimes I added some slight reverb, and sometimes I layered multiple variations of sounds over each other for added depth.

For sound editing, I used Reaper. I did this work using Audio Technica ATH-A700 headphones, fiio E6 headphone amplifier and a (cheapish) dedicated sound card. So, not a high-end audiophile set-up, but a pretty decent one. I didn't do anything too radical, so I think it will sound fine on your system too.

FAQ: What's the image about?

It's Thumper from the movie Bambi. Thumper's great, but he belongs in Bambi, not Skyrim ;)

Use Nexus Mod Manager :)
(if using the "download with manager" button doesn't work, just download manually and load it up in Nexus Mod Manager yourself.)

This just changes some sound files, so should be compatible with basically everything. If another mod adds some more animals to the game, those animals will use BAF footstep sounds too. Unless that mod comes supplied with its own unique footstep sounds, in which case they won't.

-----------------------------------------OPTIONAL FILE
Pets of Skyrim cat patch: If you enjoy Qasiermo's great Pets of Skyrim mod, but find the cats' footsteps a bit too loud and thumpy, then install this file too.

A little mod like this doesn't really warrant donations. But if you're feeling generous, consider donating to the animals themselves at the Humane Society.