Last updated at 1:25, 3 Jun 2014 Uploaded at 20:42, 23 Jan 2014
NOTE: This is a modular version of just the magic changes from Immersive Sounds - Compendium. For more in depth information please refer to Compendium's description page.
The module should have the same content found in Compendium, but it's good to always assume that Compendium is the most up to date version.
This is one of the most dramatic and instantly noticeable changes. Skyrim's vanilla footstep playback suffers severely from relying on a pre-loaded, generic dirt sound no matter what type of terrain you're moving on, or what type of armor you're moving in. This is taken care of so that you will always hear the correct terrain and armor type. In addition the amount of terrain types covered has been expanded to include metal and sand surfaces should you ever come across them.
In addition to player footsteps, NPC footsteps have also been overhauled. NPCs use their own unique set of footstep sounds, since both types are always heard from the perspective of the player the NPC ones should sound different with much less of a proximity effect (and it was also important to make them not so distracting).
I think situations where you're running around with follower NPCs and hearing the exact same footsteps behind you is just too jarring and confusing so that's why I consider this extra important. Just like the player ones, the NPC footstep playback system has been expanded so that NPCs wearing heavy or light armor will always have the appropriate armor sounds when moving around, and cover more terrain types instead of just pulling from a shared generic pool of sounds.
It's not just the player and humanoid NPC races that have recieved attention. Many animal and creature footsteps have also been reworked. I did not plan to touch this originally since we already have Better Animal Footsteps for that, but upon further inspection I unfortunately noticed that those sound files are extremly unoptimized and are much larger than they need to be. Several of them are as large as almost 1mb each, when in reality they could be as low as 20-30kb (sometimes even less) without losing quality. Added together these files take up a lot of unnecessary memory while playing. Since it's an old mod with no activity for years, at this point it seems unlikely that the mod author will return and adress this problem, so I took it upon myself to create new sounds with the same goals in mind that are much more memory-efficient.
And finally, skeleton footsteps recieved a bit of special treatment compared to other creatures. They now have unique footsteps for dirt, stone, wood and snow instead of just 1 universal set. I thought this would be worth it for necromancer type characters having a skeleton follower running around, so they don't have to listen to the same 4 footsteps repeated over and over.
Please remember that there are volume sliders for both player and NPC footsteps before commenting on the volume levels!
Q: Footsteps are way too loud/quiet! Can you fix it?
A: Unfortunately this can be a pretty complicated problem to which there is no universal solution. Skyrim's audio playback behaves pretty different depending on what sound card and what sound drivers you are using. To call it unoptimized would be an understatement. Also, if you have fiddled with the .ini settings to raise the volume multipliers beyond the maximum amount the ingame sliders allow (this solution is sometimes used by people with a computer setup where Skyrim's audio is super quiet even when maxed ingame), the volume scaling on the sliders will behave in a weird manner. Personally I have to set the footsteps slider to near zero to have them on a sensible volume level compared to the other sliders, but when I was trying Skyrim on a different sound card I didn't need to do that.
Q: Why can't I always hear my footsteps in third person view?
A: Are you using custom animation mods? Chances are some of them don't have sound triggers assigned to them, so that can only be fixed by editing the animations.
Q: Why am I still hearing light armor footsteps when wearing certain heavy armors?
A: For vanilla armors, use the Unofficial Skyrim Patch to fix this weird oversight. For mod armors, that's really up to the respective mod authors to fix so I recommend you report it to them.