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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Modding Tools, Getting Started [ModStart]
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<< Modding Tools, Getting Started [ModStart] >>
Where do I find mods?
You can find them on various websites, but the most well known site is http://skyrim.nexusmods.com which hosts a LOT of great mods. Nexus allows for free registration and also hosts the Nexus Mod manager, allowing newcomers and veterans alike to get into modding easily. There are also other alternative websites like steam's workshop, however the files in the workshop are very limited in numbers and size (not to mention Steam's dreaded auto-update). You can also find other specific mods in sites such as loverslab (which mostly has NSFW content, mind you) or japan's own modding blog site dragonporn (which has no dragon porn whatsoever, so don't let the name fool you). All in all, Nexus is probably the most reliable site for modding Skyrim.
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How do I get started in modding?
First things first you will need a mod manager to organize mods, install them easier, and can also download mods via that manager. I also need to remind you that not every mod out there can be installed with a mod manager, but conveniently the mod author will always put in instructions on how to manually install these types of mods. There are a couple of mod managers like Wyre Bash or BAIN that you can use, but the most easy and popular one to use is...
NEXUS MOD MANAGER [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/modmanager/]
This is a modding tool you can find on the Nexus website for free (like any other mod manager). One of the easiest to use managers, you only need a few clicks to install mods you have downloaded from nexus. You can rename mods, manage load orders, endorse, check for updates, download mods, and most importantly install and uninstalling mods without any hassle. There are detailed instructions on how to use it on it's site (even though it's already really easy to use to begin with).
NMM VIDEO TUTORIAL by GophersVids
SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) [http://skse.silverlock.org/]
From the official ReadMe file: The Skyrim Script Extender, or SKSE for short, is a modder's resource that expands the scripting capabilities of Skyrim. It does so without modifying the executable files on disk, so there are no permanent side effects. In other words, some mod relies in having the user have SKSE installed for it to function properly. With the number of mods depending on SKSE increasing in numbers, it is recommended that you always have SKSE installed. However there are also lot of mods that also does not require SKSE. Even so, having SKSE installed on your Skyrim doesn't hurt, especially when some of the best mods use it.
SKSE VIDEO TUTORIAL by GophersVids
BOSS (Better Oblivion Sorting Software) [http://code.google.com/p/better-oblivion-sorting-software/downloads/list]
Boss is a load order tool designed to avoid conflicts between mods that may produce bugs and errors to the game. It's a one-click tool that automatically sorts your mods' load order. It will also show warnings, dirty edits, and other important information about your installed mods that you should know. basically, all you need to do is to run BOSS (and update the masterlist occasionally) every time you install a mod for Skyrim. This is an essential tool for anyone modding Skyrim.
BOSS VIDEO TUTORIAL by GophersVids
WYRE BASH [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1840]
Wyre Bash is another, more powerful mod manager for Skyrim. It has more complex features that you won’t find on NMM (Nexus Mod Manager). It might be daunting for newcomers at first glance, however once you learn how to truly use this mod manager, you might come to find that this is the best mod manager for Skyrim. Some of the features you don't see in NMM is being able to install more than 255 mods, increased compatibility, and being able to merge mods (known as a Bashed patch). To learn more how this mod manager works, you can take a look at the ReadMe posted on the mod's page.
SCRIPT DRAGON [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/8221]
Similar to SKSE in some functions, Script Dragon functions as an extender for Skyrim's engine to run Script Dragon dependant mods. Most of which involving moves or animations. Get this should you need to install a mod that relies on Script dragon.
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Now that you're ready with modding tools, it's time to start modding. You're free to look for mods on your own will, however I will list some very useful and recommended mods that may improve your Skyrim modding experience. These mods are both from my own personal picks, along with user suggested mods. One last thing, if you liked a mod you've installed, be sure to endorse the mod on their respective pages. It's always good to encourage a mod author to improve and appreciate his work.
// RECOMMENDED MODS LIST //
Unofficial Skyrim Patch [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19]
Unofficial Dawnguard Patch [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/23491]
Unofficial Hearthfire Patch [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/25127]
First, you are suggested to get these and install unofficial patches as they are essential to fix several bugs and glitches present in Skyrim. Only install patches you need. That means, you don't have to install Dawnguard or Hearthfire patches if you don't have them on Skyrim.
NOTE: I recommend turning on the “clickable URLs” setting on your message board settings for easier and quicker access to the links. Also best viewed by setting your board display to 50 posts per page.
<< User Interface [UImods] >>
SkyUI is a mod that changes the default Skyrim User Interface (menus) into a much more PC friendly design, notably the inventory menu. The reason for this is because the original UI is just unpractical for PC users. It feels like the original UI was designed around consoles, which used gamepads for navigating menus. Complete with a search feature, this mod has been endorsed by many players and labeled as a must-have for Skyrim PC players. Requires SKSE.
Categorized Favorites Menu [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/4862]
This mod replaces the horribly small favorites menu with a larger one with additional features added. Each type of equipment and item or skill are categorized into different categories for easier access, infinitely better than the original favorites menu. This mod is essential for any player that makes use of the favorites menu a lot. Requires SKSE.
Immersive HUD (iHUD) [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3222]
Immersive HUD or iHUD, is a mod that hides the player HUD (crosshair, compass, health, magicka, and stamina) when you don't need them. The compass for example, can be hidden with a press of a button. You can then also set the crosshair to activate depending on what weapon you use (melee or ranged), or your target. Just like the mod author says it, HUD when you need it, hide when you don't.
Better MessageBox Controls [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/28170]
Enchant this item? *clicks arrow keys* Nothing happens. A really convenient mod for those that use the keyboard much more than the mouse. Basically it gives gamepad controls to message boxes that allows you to navigate choices with the arrow keys. It's compatible with any mod that has message boxes to configure settings or options. A must have mod if you're using keyboard and mouse controls.
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Better Dialogue Controls [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/27371]
Ever experience when you click using the "E" key during dialogue choices, instead the WRONG key gets selected? This issue has been in Skyrim since day one, and finally... FINALLY someone created a mod that fixes this small but annoying issue. Essential for people who navigate menus with their keyboard more than their mouse.
Skyrim Configurator [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/814]
Remember when people suggest tweaks to your Skyrim .ini files? If you want to avoid editing text configuration files, you can go the much more convenient route using this mod. Skyrim Configurator basically makes tweaking Skyrim easier by creating it's own menu to adjust several hidden options you will not find on the normal Skyrim launcher. Complete with previews and short explanations when you hover over an option, this mod is a must have for those that do not prefer editing text configuration files. I'm surprised that a lot of people I've ever came across never used this before. Try it out, it allowed me to fix a lot of issues and create my own optimal settings for my PC.
A Quality World Map - With Roads [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/4929]
This mod as it says, adds a better quality world map with roads. Also with options to remove the clouds from the map, and a classic map version (a work in progress). Has options on high or normal resolution maps, so performance isn't an issue.
Player Home Map Markers [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/2723]
Adds landmark markers to player homes to allow you to fast travel right to in front of your house. A really convenient mod to fast travel users wanting to avoid the short walk to their door house.
More Hotkeys Please [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/23416]
A mod that allows you to add and configure more hotkeys than the basic 1 to 9 number keys. Requires SKSE
The Paarthunax Dilemma [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18465]
This mod gives an alternate option to a quest near the end of the Dragonborn quest line. SPOILER WARNING
Enable Local World Map [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/25901]
This mod removes the ownership of items of NPCs when the said NPC dies. For example, if you kill an NPC, everything in his/her house no longer has the "Steal" option. It becomes a free item laying around for anyone including the player, to take.
The Joy of Perspective [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/6002]
A lot of first person games gives the impression that you are a floating head with arms. But with this mod, you'll finally be able to see your own feet in first person! What it really does is give the first person camera, while the player model is loaded just like in third person. The problem with the first person camera is that you are literally a floating pair of hands. That's why you cannot see all your other body parts in first person. This mod aims to create a true first person perspective.
<< Graphics, Visuals, and Environments [GVEmods] >>
WATER (Water And Terrain Enhancement Redux) [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/13268]
A mod that changes the terrible water textures ( jelly rivers and oceans...) from the original game into a far more realistic one. You really can't play Skyrim on PC without it.
Project Reality - Climates of Tamriel [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17802]
A weather and lighting mod that overhauls the look, sound, and feel of Skyrim's nordic terrain. It adds a new weather system, new sound effects, and visual effects to simulate a realistic northern climate. It also adds a new lighting for interiors like dungeons and houses. This mod is best used along with an ENB. Incompatible with Realistic Lighting with Customization or RCRN.
Enhanced Lights and FX [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/27043]
This mod makes changes tight sources and add some special effects in interiors. Some of which are indicating the time of day with visible light from windows changing depending the time of day. It also adds new light sources that was missing in the original game (I.E candles now truly emit light and can cast shadows). It is also compatible with Project Reality - Climates of Tamriel or Realistic Lighting with Customization, and any ENBs.
Realistic Lighting with Customization [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/7654]
"A mod that makes the lighting more realistic without the use of screen shader injections or other post-processing. So this means there will be no performance decrease at all, in fact, some people might even get an FPS boost from using this mod due to the removal of bloom which takes up considerable processing power from older machines." taken directly from the mod page.
Better Dynamic Snow [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10383]
Replaces the flat dull snow textures of Skyrim with a much better more varied looking snow textures.
That's Ice [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/5594]
Changes the original Ice textures with a much more realistic one, with several options and looks to choose from. There are several resolution options available, so that you can run it without any performance impact at all.
Skyrim Flora Overhaul [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/141]
An environmental overhaul that changes and adds more varied plant life with optional higher resolutions to recreate a much more varied look to Skyrim's landscape.
Lush Trees [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3385]
This mod increases the density on branches and pine leaves in tress. Creating an overall more dense and realistic look to the trees scattered around Skyrim. Compatible with Skyrim Flora Overhaul.
Skyrim Bigger Trees [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17168]
Makes trees larger in various sizes to give a more “forest” feel to areas with a lot of trees like Riften or Falkreath. Also has different options to pick which areas to affect.
Lush Grass [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3288]
Like Lush Trees, this mod increases the density of grass in Skyrim's terrain by adding more patches of grass. Compatible with Skyrim Flora Overhaul.
Immersive Grass [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/22582]
An alternative to Lush Grass, but can also be used in conjunction with Lush Grass to even make grass denser. The mod author also lists really helpful tips to tweak grass and performance. Also compatible with Skyrim Flora Overhaul.
More Rain [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/8562]
As the title says, it adds more rain. Just not any rain though. You can pick different options to adjust how windy, dense, or your view distance when rain occurs in game. Aside from looking brilliant, it’s also looks fantastic if you add WATER to the mix. Rain droplets splashing on rivers and lakes have never looked much better in Skyrim.
Supreme Storms [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/27022]
Rain not enough for you? Then look no further at Supreme Storms. This mod simply adds more realistic rain and snow storms to the game. Now you’d think twice before fighting dragons in heavy storms.
Wet and Cold [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/27563/]
Used to be the Get Wet mod (after the author decided to pick it back up and improved the mod). What it does is allows people to get wet with water droplets falling from them. Also gives blurry vision whenever rain droplets and blindness when your face gets hit with snow during storms. Also a few other neat features like NPCs wearing warm clothing in cold areas, and running for cover during rain. SKSE is optional.
Supreme Volumetric Fog [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/24460]
Adds volumetric fog to the environments of Skyrim that really affects your vision and atmosphere of the game, unlike vanilla fog. It also adds fog near docks and morning fogs depending on the time of the day (I.E you will see fog more on early mornings) and in some cities like Riften. It truly enhances the feeling you get on what mornings should look like and of course, immersion as well.
Enhanced Distant Terrain [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1598]
This slightly improves the bad looking distant terrain in Skyrim for practically no performance cost at all. No reason not to install it.
Better Distant LOD Waterfalls [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/6161]
If you played Skyrim for a while, you may realize the terrible looking frozen waterfalls on the distance. This mod doesn't make it move 9animated). It’s just replacing the LOD textures to make it less noticeable and blend in more with the backgrounds better.
No Stretching [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/26126/]
This fixes bad stretched meshes/textures on the default Skyrim walls, caves, buildings, and other rocky places. It’s not a high res texture replacer, but just corrects stretching on several areas.
Have you seen those people using this mod? They have footprints. Foot. Prints.
Lanterns of Skyrim [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18916]
This mod adds lanterns to house exteriors and the main roads near cities and towns in Skyrim. More or less it functions as roadside lamps to guide travelers on night time. A compatibility patch with Climates of Tamriel is available.
Realistic Smoke and Embers [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/836]
This mod improves smoke and ember textures, replacing them with a better looking one (with optional resolution sizes) than the original textures.
Static Mesh Improvement Mod – SMIM [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/8655]
This is a graphical mod that replaces some of the static (non-moving) textures and models to something with better quality. A small example would be barrels and tables that are rounder with better textures, because it increases the number of polygons and texture quality of these objects.
Deadly Spell Impacts [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/2947]
A texture replacer for spell impacts (special effects when you cast magic on a wall or object), this mod replaces the original textures to something slightly more realistic. Embers from burnt wood looks more real and ice effects don't look too blue anymore. An optional mod, but you may like it.
Ultimate HD Fire Spells [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/28642]
A retexture for the fire effects in Skyrim. Best used along with an ENB.
Gildergreen Reborn [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/12254]
A mod that allows you to see the Gildergreen sapling growing into a full grown tree should you go with the peaceful route of the Blessings of Nature quest.
Crimson Tide – Blood [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/12798]
Crimson Tide is a blood mod that enhances how blood looks and works in Skyrim. Everything from stab wounds, cuts, critical health, dripping blood, pools of blood, and many more will turn Skyrim into a much bloodier game than it ever was.
Enhanced Blood Textures [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/60]
Another blood mod to enhance your bloody experience. Also has multiple resolutions to pick from.
Glowing Ore Veins 300 [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/193]
The ore veins in vanilla Skyrim is stupidly very hard to see. It just blends too easily with the surrounding rocks. What this mod does is make it glow so that you can find it easier. It may not be very immersive, but certainly helpful for those just in it for the game.
Destructible Bottles Extended [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/26017/]
Allows wine bottles an some items to be breakable. Also affects your surroundings with the breaking sound able to attract enemies, and the ability for NPCs to become “angry” when you break too much stuff.
<< Character Enhancements and Animation [CEAmods] >>
XCE - Xenius Character Enhancements [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/2356]
A mod pack containing all of character enhancement mods by Xenius. It improves facial textures and also gives higher detail to character faces, getting rid of the blocky-ness you get from low quality models and textures. Affects both the player and NPCs like most character texture mods.
Extended Slider Colors [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/6923]
Allows a wider/larger color selection to the character creation menu. Only affects sliders that has the ability to change color palletes like hair and skin.
Adds dozens of new hairstyles both for male and female to the character creation menu.
The Eyes of Beauty [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/13722]
Adds a lot of new eye texture selection to the character creation menu
A female texture enhancement mod for Skyrim's female characters. Let’s be honest, Skyrim doesn’t exactly have the best female character faces (pretty ugly even). This mod enhances the look of female characters while still saying true to the art direction and close to vanilla Skyrim’s look. Can’t stand the sight of a strong Nord woman? Well now you can.
For those looking for more a more eastern or japanese look to their female characters:
RANs Eye Reflection Extender [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/20343]
Extends the range position where eyes will reflect off light (shine). Most useful for those who alters the Eye Height slider on the character creation menu.
Face Light [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/13457]
Ever notice how bad female character faces (and some males) look on darker areas? This mod basically makes faces look better in darker areas by giving them some light (glow actually, but you won’t notice it much). It has a darker version too if you want your character faces to still look good, but not too bright. Helps especially during character creation for more accurate shaping. A side effect (which is pretty cool to me) is because your character’s face give of light, anything in front of your character’s face will light up a little. It allows you to look at objects and NPCs with better detail visible thanks to the light (especially in the dark areas you get from lighting mods or ENBs). It’s a toggle spell, so you only need to activate it once and no need to re-cast it.
DIMONIZED UNP Female Body [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/6709]
WARNING, LINK IS HAS NUDITY. That aside, this is one of the two best female body mods out there. Don't worry, because mods like this have a non-nude option as well. Also make sure to get the armor patches to fit the body shape for this mod.
CBBE - Calientes Female Body Mod [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/2666]
WARNING, LINK HAS NUDITY. This is the other two of the female body mods. Same as above, this mod has non-nude options and armor patches as well. These mods also has body sliders to make custom body shapes and proportions of your preference. Those who prefer a japanese look tend to go with this mod.
Better Beast Races [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/944]
This mod fixes some texture and shape issues on non human/elf races because of texture compression. Basically makes them look better (not that you can really tell how a good looking Argonian and Khajit looks like, but hey, you get the point).
Xvision Children [Is not hosted on nexus, but google it very easily]
Tired of those potato head children? Another stranger to lick my father's boots? Well look no further as this mod may lessen your killing intent towards those annoying children by making them look more cute/prettier.
Fores New Idles – FNIS [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/11811]
This mod lets players (and modders) to add new animations to the game (instead of replacing animations like non-FNIS animation mods). This mod is used also as a resource for modders to get their new animations running correctly in the game. One of the features this mod can give are gender specific animations that or player specific animations unlike normal animation mods that applies to all NPCs when installed. Required for FNIS based animation mods.
Puppeteer Master [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10870]
Allows you to execute different animations for your character and/or NPCs. Also being able to customize scenes and manipulate with over 400 animations (all vanilla animations, so no new animations are added).
Pinup Poser [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17174]
Contains a variety of poses (which are more female suited) for your character to execute. Mainly used for screenshots. Requires FNIS to be installed first
Player Headtracking [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/23600/]
This mod allows the player to automatically look towards a point of interest, be it NPCs or even corpses. Your character will also smile or scowl depending on the character he/she is looking at and the relationship rank between you and the NPC.
Bowlegged Jump Animation Fix [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/7416]
Replaces the default jumping animation with a more natural one. This gets rid of that open-legged spiderman-ish look when your character jumps.
Feminine Running and New Dash Animation [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/11447]
If you're tired of seeing your female character run like true Nord men, then this mod is for you. Also changes female NPC running animations.
No Spinning Death Animation [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17214]
The spinning death animation looks pretty stupid once you see it around ten times or so. This mod makes everyone (the player and NPCs) instantly go into ragdoll mode when getting killed.
Realistic Ragdolls and Force [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/601]
A mod that modifies the ragdoll physics when a character (or creature) gets killed. It’s a matter of preference, but some people prefer enemies to not look like they got hit with a ballista when they get shot by an arrow when dying.
New Animations for Elegant Archers [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/24589]
This animation mod that modifies how your character moves with a bow. The default animation itself isn’t really good when running. Almost barbaric even. The mod essentially allows the player to have a much more (I wouldn’t day elegant but...) natural look to archer animations.
Dovahkiin Relaxes Too [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/13931]
An animation mod that essentially allows your character to perform a variety of "relaxing" or idle animations like you see NPCs doing. These are all vanilla animations and can also be done with Puppeteer Master.
<< Weapons, Armors, and Miscellaneous Equipment [WAMEmods] >>
JaySuS Swords [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1002]
JaySuS Swords is a weapon mod pack that adds around 50 new swords to the game. Despite the “swords” title, this mod also adds knives, daggers, swords, katanas, axes, greatswords, and other bladed weapons into the game.
Immersive Weapons [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/27644]
Another weapon mod pack, this mod adds a huge 200+ new weapons to the game. What makes this mod so huge is because it's a compilation of several weapon mods into a single huge weapon pack. Surely among those 200+ weapons you will find a weapon suited for your character.
Immersive Armors [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19733]
An armor mod pack that adds brand new pieces and sets of armor to craft and find on NPCs or shops. Adds 25+ armor sets and fur hoods you can use as it is or mix and match between sets with different parts.
Omegared99 - Armor Compilation [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/10277]
Adds around 15 new armor sets to the game a long with some standalone new helmets. Also has an option to make these armors to show up on enemies and NPCs.
Better Bows [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/13317]
Adds 6 new bow designs to the game. A compatibility patch for ACE is also available.
Bandolier - Bags and Pouches [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/16438]
This mod adds bags and pouches for you to craft in the game. Other than for character appearance and immersion purposes, this mod is also useful as it increases the maximum weight you can carry. There’s also a less maximum weight increase version for those who want more realistic carrying weights. Then again, Skyrim’s default weight system isn’t realistic to begin with, so take that as you will.
Cloaks of Skyrim [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/12092]
Adds craftable cloaks and capes with different colors are enchantable. It will also appear on NPCs and some enemies. Cloth physics however are still not implementable at this time, but really... This mod just fits perfectly into Skyrim. It just feels like it’s part of the game from the start.
Winter is Coming [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/13486]
Similar to Cloaks of Skyrim, except that this mod adds fur hoods, fur cloaks, and fur capes to the game. Also compatible to be used with Frostfall or Hyphothermia mods. The lack of warm clothing in Skyrim’s cold weather can be sometimes immersion breaking. Thankfully this mod is there to fix that.
Craftable Clothes and Robes [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/20586]
Allows you to craft various clothes, robes, and miscellaneous equipment that is previously unable to be crafted on vanilla game. (Vanilla game means the original game without mods) Also includes some unplayable outfits that you can’t normally get in the game.
Wearable Lanterns [http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17416]
This mod allows you to carry lanterns with you without using an available hand (I.E carry it on your hip). The main draw point of this mod is being able to have an alternative light source other than Candlelight spell and torches for those fighting using two hands. It also allows you to use fireflies in a jar to be used as a light source when diving underwater.
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