Last updated at 9:08, 21 Aug 2015 Uploaded at 6:02, 30 Sep 2012
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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.
A few of the new footstep sounds showcased: Brodual review:
(due to youtube compressed audio quality, these videos only give an approximation of the sounds in-game)
-----------------------------------------WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
QUOTEOne of those "must have" mods. Endorsed. -Verme Sujo
QUOTEI never realized how lousy the animal sounds were until I watched your video. Now I HAVE to DL this mod since I won't be able to play Skyrim with the vanilla animal sounds any longer. A very cunning way to get people to use your mod. ;) -Thasic
QUOTENow spiders don't have the density of a dying sun anymore, thanks for this man. -HeavyDude
QUOTEFirst time posting a comment, and I feel that this mod truly warrants it. Something that many likely did not know they wanted or had need for. It truly assists with immersing you in Skyrim as a whole. Endorsed! -jjman5
QUOTEmammoth sound = amazing -Sindrie
Better Animal Footsteps Improves many of the animal footstep sounds (see videos 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; it's now barely perceptible
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
Horker:______________________Now deeper and significantly bassier. Subtly increased reverb, since Horkers are usually found around icy locations
Deer/Elk/Walking Horse:_______slightly boomier and louder (sprinting horse unchanged)
Cow:________________________slightly deeper and gentler, since it spends most of its time ambling at a lesuirely pace.
Chaurus:_____________________slightly softer than vanilla.
Cat (requires Pets of Skyrim):___now quieter and more muffled.
Chicken, Sabre Cat, Goat, Dog, Sprinting Horse: unchanged - they seemed fine to me already
The NMM installer will allow you to pick and choose which footsteps to install, if you don't want all of them.
FAQ: What sounds are changed?
Just the animal footstep sounds (and Spriggans and Trolls, which probably don't qualify as "animals"). Only those animals that I thought needed improving were altered. See above for the full list.
FAQ: What sounds are NOT changed?
The animal voice sounds; the Human/Argonian/Khajit/Orc footstep sounds.
FAQ: How does this mod work? Could it cause any performance/compatibility issues?
This mod is a straight file replacer: it replaces some of the vanilla WAV files with modified WAV files. So by its nature, it will be compatible with almost everything, and is highly unlikely to cause any performance issues. There is no .esp, no Creation Kit edits, no scripting, no save game bloat. See the Compatibility section below for information about specific mods.
FAQ: I want to test these sounds out in game. What's the best way to do that?
If you don't want to be constantly looking up #baseID codes on the wiki, then I recommend downloading Wolverine's batch files for spawning NPCs. This will let you spawn, for example, 5 horkers by typing in "bat AV/add/Horker/5" into the console. When in the console, you can click on a creature and type TC to start controlling that animal (useful if it refuses to move on its own).
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 the installer will allow you to exclude any animals you don't want.
FAQ: Why are Fox/Wolf and Deer/Elk/Walking Horse listed together in the above description?
There are a few quirks in the way Bethesda have handled the animal footstep sounds.
1) both foxes and wolves use "wolf" sounds.
2) the elk, deer, and horses all use the horses' "walk" sounds. There are actually "elk" sounds present in the base files, but these don't seem to ever get used by the game).
3) horses have a separate set of sounds when sprinting. These are used exclusively by horses, and not by elk or deer. Better Animal Foosteps modifies the horse "walking" sounds, but not the horse "sprinting" sounds.
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. As one of my users nintai83 put it:
FAQ: Sometimes my horse-step sounds dissappear.
QUOTEAbout the sound of the wolves. I think you are spot on. When I was a growing up our family dog was a lab/retriever mix. I grew up very far in the country and roamed the countryside/woods with that dog for about 8 years before I was no longer able to, and the dog was silent in the woods. So quiet he could catch birds from the brush without fail. I am sure if my domesticated dog could be silent when he wanted that any hardcore-survivor predator could also maintain the same level of stealth.
This is a problem with Skyrim's engine, and various people have reported it happening both with and without using my mod. It seems related to the max limit of concurrent sounds being hit. Unfortunately, the older (1.0) version of my mod probably exacerbated the problem because my files were unoptimised and larger than they needed to be (hence took up more RAM). As of version 1.5, this has been fixed, and the files are now small, just like the vanilla ones.
It seems that the latest version of IHSS fixes this problem. You can also look through that mod's posts to see info about how to make the fix yourself in Tes5edit.
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 (update: my 2014 changes were made using improved equipment: an ADL Stride headphone amp and SRH1840 Shure headphones). 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.
For manual install, copy all the files from "00 all footsteps" into your Data folder.
In general, Better Animal Footsteps should be compatible with basically everything, as it just replaces some WAVs. 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. Here are some specific examples:
Audio Overhaul 2 - AO2 is a high quality piece of work, and you should download it! It also redoes a few animal footsteps (though not as many as my mod), so installing both mods will prompt you to overwrite some files. As its author LoRd KoRn explained to me, he didn't put as much effort into the footsteps as he did into other areas of his mod, and he actually recommends that you let my mod overwrite his.
IHSS - Improved Horsestep sounds - The mods work fine together. IHSS uses its own more customised horsestep sounds, so horses will simply ignore my sounds and use IHSS sounds. However, my sounds will still be used for elk and deer and, potentially, creatures added by other mods that rely on vanilla horsestep sounds.
Pets of Skyrim - I found the cats added by Pets of Skyrim too loud and thumpy for my tastes, so have included an optional patch (included in the main installer) in Better Animal Footsteps to make them quieter. The wolf and rabbits it adds will use my footsteps. The dogs it adds will use vanilla footsteps, as I haven't altered them.
Skyrim Immersive Creatures - It doesn't come with its own animal footsteps, so it presumably uses vanilla ones that will in some cases be replaced by my sounds. I assume that its The Plague Wolves use "wolf" sounds, for instance. And, looking at the pictures, I would guess that the Grahl might use "troll" sounds, and the Ash Hunter might use "Chaurus" sounds.
-----------------------------------------OTHER RECOMMENDED MODS
Height adjusted races with True Giants - Makes giants actually look like giants. Also gives you bigger mammoths.
Automatic Variants - Add visual variety to your animals.
Chaurus Lights - Makes Chauruses glow - looks awesome. Works great with Automatic Variants.
Less Annoying Merchants - My other mod.
-Converted all sounds to mono (Skyrim plays them all in mono anyway, since stereo wouldn't work with positional audio)
-Converted all sounds to 22kHz (Skyrim's native bitrate) for better optimisation and compatibility. Sound quality is very slightly poorer, but filesize (and hence RAM usage) are dramatically smaller now (about 10 times smaller).
-Cow has been made softer and gentler, after people pointed out (rightly) that it was too loud
-Added some more complexity to horker sounds, including subtle 'wet' slap effects
-added chaurus sounds (basically same as vanilla but slightly softer)
-Created a proper NMM (fomod) installer which lets you pick and choose which sounds to install
-Cleaned up a few minor clicks and flaws that were left over from vanilla
-Some other minor tweaks to some of the sounds
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.