Jump to content
  • 0

Lanceor's Quest for Stability



Hello all!


First of all, a big thanks to TC and everyone involved with STEP. It's brought me a lot closer to a great looking but stable and playable Skyrim!


Unfortunately I'm not quite there yet - I'm still chasing down a couple of random, no error CTDs that happen within 5 - 15 minutes of starting the game. I'm at loss to explain. I'm hoping anyone reading could throw some ideas in the air to help me with troubleshooting.


The Problem


My savegames start to become unstable around 20 - 30 hours into the game so testing a "STEP only" setup will be kind of difficult. (I did get a character to level 81 before I started modding, so that should rule out anything inherently wrong with my system).


There seems to be 2 kinds of crash:

  • Combat CTD - It seems to occur at the moment the enemy AI "wakes up" at combat start. Disabling Cerwiden's SmartCast seems to help a little, but not eliminate the problem.
  • Random CTD - I'm walking along, checking inventory or whatever and suddenly I'm looking at my desktop.
Further info for both kinds of crash:

  • Only happens in interiors, usually dungeons.
  • No error messages before crashing to desktop.
  • Nothing in the Papyrus log to indicate problems.
  • Not RAM related - TESV.exe RAM usage is often around the 1.5 GB mark when it happens.
  • Framerates are fine at 60 fps.
  • Temperatures are nominal.
  • Steam is running in Offline mode.
  • Avast! is in gaming mode.
  • Advanced System Care is used to kill unneeded background processes.
The combat CTDs suggest it may be related to AI or a combat mod. Could it be momentarily overloading the CPU?


System Details



Windows 7 64 Bit

Intel Core i7 2600K overclocked to 4.6 GHz


2 x nVidia GTX 580, 1.5 GB VRAM, SLI, driver version 314.07

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Corsair Force 3 SSD (Steam and Skyrim are installed in this drive)



This should be plenty of horsepower for almost anything Skyrim can throw at it. I've had the CPU overclocked that way since day 1, and got a vanilla character to level 81 before I started adding a lot of mods. The GPUs have plenty of horsepower so I've had no need to overclock it, though VRAM is a bit limited. All temperatures are well within normal limits. Stability seems to worsen whenever TESV.exe starts using over 2.1 GB of RAM (as opposed to the 3.1 - 3.3 GB that others report).


Skyrim Launcher Options

As recommended by STEP: Ultra Settings, 4X AA, 16 X AF, no FXAA.


nVidia Inpector Settings

(only settings that differ from STEP are listed)



Ambient Occlusion compatibility - 0x00000004 (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare) - This works MUCH better than 0x00000029 (Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)


Antialiasing - Transparency Multisampling - 8x Supersampling


Texture filtering - Quality - High Quality


Ambient Occlusion setting - Quality

Ambient Occlusion usage - Enabled

If Ambient Occlusion setting is set to anything other than "Off", then this setting should be set to "0x00000001 (... Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, ...)". If Ambient Occlusion setting is set to "Off" and you plan 

Maximum pre-rendered frames - 4




STEP mods

I'm using Wrye Bash for installing and annealing. The darkened mods are the ones that I'm planning to remove from my next playthrough.



2.C. Extenders



2.D. Fixes

Ancient Nord Armor Fix

Argonian Decapitation Fix

Barrow Button Fix

Bowlegged Jump Fix

Brawl Bugs Patch

Consistent Older People

Dead Body Collision

Fast Travel Timescale Fix

Unofficial Skyrim Patch

Unofficial Dawnguard Patch

Unofficial Hearthfire Patch

Unofficial Dragonborn Patch

Unofficial High Resolution Patch

Acquisitive Soul Gems

Distant Decal Fix


2.E. Interface

Altar Descriptions

Better Dialogue Controls

Better MessageBox Controls

Categorized Favorites Menu

CFM-Oni Edition

High Quality 3D Map

Lore-Based Loading Screens

No Boring Wait Menu

No Menu & Loading Smoke

Quality World Map

Race Menu



2.F. Conflicting Graphics

HRDLC Optimized - Hybrid (1024 + 2048) + Vanilla NormalMaps

Better Dynamic Snow

No Stretching

Better Rocks & Mountains

Static Mesh Improvement Mod

Skyrim HD - 1024 (LITE)

Serious HD - 1024

HD Miscellaneous Items

Tobe's Hi-Res Textures - 1024


2.G. Landscape & Environment

Snow & Rocks HD - 1024

AOF Detailed Mountains - 1024

Skyrim Flora Overhaul

Distant Detail

Enhanced Night Skyrim

HD Enhanced Terrain - 1024

High Quality LODs

Lanterns Of Skyrim

Moon Size Tweaks

Moss Rocks

Real Ice - 1024

Realistic Tundra Moss - 1024

Trees HD - High

Vibrant Auroras

Visible Windows


Whiterun Trellis Redesigned

Windmills Resized


2.H. Characters & Creatures

Bellyache's Creature Pack - Medium

Realistic Hair

AOF Believable Hair

Arvak Reborn - HD

Beards - Normal Resolution

Bellyache's Dragons

Better Beast Races - Lite

Brows - Normal Resolution

Cover Khajiits- 1024

Female Vampires Have Fangs


Frost Atronach HD

Ice Wraith

Improved Foot Wraps

Rabbits Plus

Xenius Character Enhancement


Better Male Feet

Natural Eyes


2.I. Clothing & Equipment

Better Circlets - 1024x512

Accingite Vos

Book of Silence

Daedric Armor & Weapons

Elemental Staffs

Elven Weapons for Silence

Weapon De-LARP Project

Greatsword Sheaths & Scabbards

Improved Closefaced Helmets

Jewels of the Nord

Nightingale Prime

Not Really HD-Mask of Clavicus Vile

Shield of Ysgramor

Ultimate HD Torch


2.J. Animations & Effects

Animated Weapon Enchants

Better Turn Animation

Burn Freeze & Shock Effects

Deadly Spell Impacts - Medium

Enhanced Blood - 1024

Enhanced Projectile Soul Trap

Finer Dust

Get Snowy

Improved Weapon Impact Effects

Lightning During Thunder Storms

No Spinning Death Animation


Realistic Smoke & Embers - Medium

Running With Bows

Shooting Stars

Skyrim Performance Plus

Skyrim Sunglare

Ultimate HD Fire Effects

Warmer Magic Lights


2.K. Clutter & Miscellaneous

The 418th Step

Better Bones

Designs of the Nords

Destructible Bottles

Detailed Rugs

Enhanced Dragon Bones - 1k

HD Baskets - 512 x 1024

HD Linens

HD Ore & Ingots

HD Sacks

HQ Skyrim Map - 1024

Intricate Spider Webs

New Thinner Torch

Not Really HD-Display Case

Not Really HD-Keys

Pilgrim's Delight

Realistic Paper

Septim HD

Silly Level of Detail-Wine Cellar

Soul Gems Differ

Super Realistic Ore

Sweet Mother


2.L. Sound

Better Animal Footsteps

Better Bards

Better Weapon Swings

Clanking Armor

Heart of the Beast

Immersive Thunder

Improved Combat Sounds

Realistic Bow Sounds

Realistic Crossbow Sounds

Smooth Blade Draw & Sheathe

Thundering Shouts


2.M. Gameplay

Ars Metallica-Smithing

Clams Drop Pearls

Convenient Horses

Death Cam Duration Options

Disable Thieves Guild Autostart

Drop Lit Torches

Dynamic Fires

Follower Trap Safety

Gildergreen Regrown

Guard Dialogue Overhaul

Move It Dammit

No NPC Greetings

Non-Essential Children

Paarthurnax Dilemma

Realistic Crime Radius

Realistic Ragdolls & Force - Realisitc Force

Run For Your Lives

Skyrim Coin Replacer

Skyrim Uncapper

The Choice is Yours

Traps Make Noise

Wearable Lanterns

When Vampires Attack




Non-STEP mods

Not really that many, but if there's a mod related problem, it could be here. I've intentionally avoided mods that add scripts.



DIMONIZED UNP female body (no esp)

UNP Blessed Body (no esp)

UNP Female Armors (no esp)

UNP Dawnguard Armors (no esp)

UNP Dragonborn Armors (no esp)

A Sexy Little Apparel Replacer (meshes, textures and one esp - no scripts)


Immersive Armors (Levelled Lists)

Immersive Weapons (Levelled Lists)

Isilmeriel LOTR Weapons Collection (esp to add items and constructables)

Grace Darkling's Ranger Armor(esp to add items and constructables)

Nomo's Ranger Armour (esp to add items and constructables)

Nordic Ranger Outfit (esp to add items and constructables)

Triss Armor - Craftable and Upgradeable (esp to add items and constructables)

Cloaks of Skyrim (Levelled Lists)

JaySuS Swords (Levelled Lists)


Companion Vilja (Scripts and custom AI)

Cerwiden -SMART Healer (Scripts and custom AI)


Better Stealth AI for Followers_Dawnguard (Scripts! AI!)

Sneaky Serana (AI Sneak Changes Only - no scripts)


Enhanced Follower Framework (Scripts! AI!)


ACE - Archery

ACE - Armor

ACE - Enchanting

ACE - Magic

ACE - Melee

ACE - Smithing

ACE - Speech

ACE - Synergy Bonuses


ACE Compatibility patch for Dawnguard

ACE Compatibility patch for Dragonborn

ACE Compatibility patch for Immersive Armors

ACE Compatibility patch for Immersive Weapons

ACE Compatibility patch for Isilmeriel LOTR Weapons Collection


Duel - Combat Realism




Load Order

Sorry I can't post the exact load order - I deleted the lot out of frustration yesterday! :wallbash: Needless to say, all dirty mods were cleaned, BSA's unpacked into loose files, sorted by BOSS and rules were created for unrecognised mods.


I haven't uninstalled any mods that have scripts, though Skyrim Patch 1.9 was stealth installed during my playthrough (necessitating an upgrade to USKP and SKSE). I kept esp removals and load order changes to a minimum.


Things I'll try next

  • I'll unpack the HiRes Texture pack into loose files to be overwritten by mods (previously, I disabled the esps and added HighResTexturePack01.bsa, HighResTexturePack02.bsa and HighResTexturePack03.bsa to Skyrim.ini).
  • Remove all the Z-Fighting ini tweaks that were recommended by STEP.
  • Attempt to change the power plan on my CPU to keep it running at a constant clock speed.
Does anyone have any feedback on EFF, ACE Combat or Duel - Combat Realism? They seem to be the logical places to look for problems but everything I've read suggests that they're quite stable. I can switch to different mods, but I'd rather not play with vanilla combat or follower commands. ;) Hopefully you guys can suggest something else that I can try or offer other nuggets of wisdom!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Answers 33
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters For This Question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

Hello Lanceor, and welcome to the STEP forums! Are you the same Lanceor that made the Knights of the Nine - Revelation quest mod for Oblivion? Thought your name looked quite familiar.


Haven't really tried any of the mentioned mods, so I can't really say for them. Also, why are you removing Acquisitive Soul Gems? Issues with that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Hello William. Yep, I'm the same Lanceor. :)


No issues with Acquisitive Soul Gems. I'm not too fussed about petty souls going into grand soul gems, so I'll uninstall it and reduce the number of scripted mods by one. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Ive had some ctd/freezing problems too and these options helped me reduce them ( almost non existing anymore) maybe it can help :

1- Run skyrim/skse as administrator

2- Run steam offline (also disabled steam community in-game and cloud sync before that )

3- Checked my load order with boss and than tes5edit to make sure everything is compatible

4- Install Skyrim Project Optimization

5- For last step I've run Textures Optimizer to maximum profile. reducing textures almost cleared my ctd/freezing problems


hope that helps


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Skyrim Project Optimization helps primarily with lowend systems, as discussed in the thread on this mod.


Before running either Optimizer Textures or DDSopt to reduce texture sizes, make sure you loaded the versions of the mods appropriate to the capabilities of the system you are using. The quality of the textures after an optimizer is used isn't as high as similar resolution textures from the original mod author. Many mods that change textures offer several resolution options.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I've added Skyrim Project Optimization - while my system isn't low end, I don't think the mod can do any harm. I run Ambient Occlusion on Quality mode, so SPO might actually help in large areas like Castle Dawnguard. As for Optimizer Textures, I've given it a miss since I'm already at 60 FPS most of the time and there's no point grabbing all these hi-res textures just to have them reduced (unless it's crashing the engine of course).


I've reduced my non-STEP scripted mods to just four:


Build Your Own Home

ACE Combat Skills

Duel - Deadly Combat

Vilja Companion


There's also UNP BBP and half a dozen item mods that shouldn't cause any trouble.


Anyway, I'm heading to Helgen to start a playthrough now. Hopefully the game won't start crashing around the 20 -30 hour mark like the last three times. If it stays stable, I'll start adding some follower mods. Wish me luck. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Well, that didn't take long. Straight out of Helgen cave, the game crashed as soon as Alduin flew overhead.


The good news is that I made a save just before the crash, and therefore I can replay the crash scenario repeatedly. I didn't have much time to test as I had to go out, but I think I may be on to something. Loading the savegame over and over, I noted the following:


Crashes are more likely when the GPUs are hot (over 65 degrees C)

Crashes were less frequent when I forced a constant voltage on the GPUs.

Crashes were less frequent when overvolted the GPUs from 1.000V to 1.075V.

There were no crashes after forcing constant voltage and overvolting it to 1.075V.


Testing was limited so these results aren't conclusive. I'll do a few hours of testing with the new voltage settings tomorrow. If this turns out to be correct, I may have discovered another source of crashes - the GPU not receiving enough current under heavy load. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I'm not sure, but initial tests suggest it and it's plausible in theory. So far, I heard mention of of framerate loss, graphical glitches or total computer crashes when it comes to hardware failure, but not CTDs without error. I'm going to conduct some extensive tests today and report back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The results are in. Unfortunately they are inconclusive suggesting that adjusting GPU voltage is not a panacea for CTD problems.




I have a savegame which was saved immediately after exiting Helgen Cave. This save would routinely crash as Alduin flew overhead.

After warming up the GPU's, I loaded the save twenty times and counted the number of times it would crash when Alduin flew overhead.

I would then adjust the GPU voltage settings in MSi Afterburner and repeat the test twenty times.

There were three sets of twenty tests, one for each of the following AfterBurner settings:


Test Set 1

Default voltage (1.000V)

Force Constant Voltage OFF


Test Set 2

Voltage 1.075V

Force Constant Voltage ON


Test Set 3

Voltage 1.115V

Force Constant Voltage ON




Test Set 1 (Default voltage 1.000V, Force Constant Voltage OFF)

Number of Crashes: 8 out of 20


Test Set 2 (Voltage 1.075V, Force Constant Voltage ON)

Number of Crashes: 4 out of 20


Test Set 3 (Voltage 1.115V, Force Constant Voltage ON)

Number of Crashes: 7 out of 20




While increasing the GPU core voltage a little to 1.075V appears to improve stability, it did not eliminate all crashes. Increasing it to 1.115V made it as unstable as with the stock voltage settings.


Therefore I conclude that my crashes are not caused by GPU hardware problems, though a slight voltage increase does provide a buffer that will help to reduce them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Wouldn't overclocking reduce stability? I thought of increasing the voltage as it's been reported in the Crysis forums that the GTX 580 is undervolted for DX11 games. Even though Skyrim is DX9, I figured it was worth a try.


Just wondering - do people using Extreme Step get these no-error CTDs? Is the game crashing out due to a software rather than hardware limitations? Anyway, I'm going to reduce my textures to baseline STEP and see what effect that has.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

No-error CTDs are really often when the engine reaches 3 GB - which is the case with extreme step.

Thanks for confirming that. It suggests that the crashes are not related to my current texture load.


Anyway, I think I have found the culprit of the "Alduin flying overhead" CTDs and quite likely the "combat CTDs" - it turns out to be the UNPB BBP body. This is known to conflict with Realistic Ragdolls and  Force unless a compatible Custom Skeleton Replacer is installed. Sadly, that custom skeleton replacer (masic version 5) doesn't quite fix things and sneak-related male animations may crash the game. Since I play in 1st person and don't have any male companions, this bug gets triggered rarely. To make it worse, Wrye Bash doesn't seem to be able to uninstall it clearly, leaving animation bugs until I deleted the entire meshes\actors\character folder and reinstalled everything that was missing.


On to the playthrough attempt #6! (And fingers crossed that the crashes I was getting before don't return.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0



The crashes didn't stop until I did a few things, after which stability improved heaps.


First, the fxDustDropRandom and dunBluePalaceArena scripts were crashing the game even in Helgen. I downloaded some fixes from a thread that I found at Nexus and that solved the problem. (USKP was supposed to have fixed them already, but Skyrim patch 1.9 might have broken them again somehow.)


Around 5 hours into the game, I was getting the odd unexplained crash here and there. By 10 hours, it was unplayable again. I removed ALL textures mods including the official HRDLC... basically anything that didn't have an esp so that I wouldn't mess up my load order. After this, the game became playable once again.


I'm still getting freezes on fast travel from "intense" areas such as Raven Rock, Markath and Whiterun - workaround: save before fast travel! Occasionally I'll get one of the critter scripts crashing the game in exteriors. I'll also get the "start of combat" crashes, but reloading the game seems to fix it.


The game is now at 30 hours and it still freezes on fast travel and crashes sometimes, but not frequently enough for me to call it unplayable. It seems to be a simple case of the game executable unable to handle what my computer throws at it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines, Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use.