SkyrimSE:0.3.0b

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WARNING

This guide is out of date! It may contain information that is incorrect or not in line with the current state of the game!

         View the latest release.


STEP Skyrim SE Guide[edit]

Because we have been working towards a major website overhaul and guide methodology change since the last release (v2.10.0), we have been using "STEP 3.0" as an overarching term in reference to our new site, methodology, and guide(s). Details about the coming changes are on the forums, and we have refined the STEP:Mandate and some of the detail on our new direction. With the release of STEP 3.0, we will be releasing guide updates to Skyrim SE, exclusively. For our STEP Skyrim LE Guide, we will release a final update and continue to support it, but do not plan on releasing any updates beyond routine maintenance. Here, we present a beta release of the STEP Skyrim SE Guide v0.2.0b under our standard versioning scheme but distinct from that of our Skyrim LE guides.

There have been many changes, so check out the Changelog for all the fine details.

- Visit the forums and provide feedback related to STEP.


- Also follow STEP on Facebook.

- To support hosting and maintenance of the STEP Community Project, contributions are welcome.



About STEP[edit]

A Foreword

Created by TheCompiler, STEP is a collaborative project with input from the modding community, technical volunteers, and project administrators. The goal is to provide tested and validated methods for establishing and maintaining an enhanced modded Skyrim. Thus, the Guide provides detailed, well-tested build instructions for a solid modding template. New modders can follow STEP explicitly to achieve an enhanced, vanilla experience, or more experienced modders may use it as general guide from which to build a foundation.

The STEP team collects information from the modding community through extensive mod testing, detailed reviews, feedback, and suggestions exchanged on the STEP Community Forums. Posting rules apply, so be sure to read and follow them. Engage and enjoy a warm welcome and plenty of high-quality support from a large community of experienced members.

New to Modding?[edit]

We recommend that you ...

  • read through this Guide at least once before attempting installation.
  • follow all linked guides and read through them, as well.

There is a lot of information to absorb and learn in order to successfully build a modded game. We and the community, have brought together a lot of this information into guides as a free and hopefully convenient resource for all. New and experienced modders alike will find many answers within these guides and linked resources. This Guide is written in such a way that it expects users to know the basics of modding and related tools (e.g. mod managers, LOD optimizers, configuration utilities, etc.). However our support forums are always available for our users.

Nomenclature[edit]

The following nomenclature is used throughout this guide and should be understood before proceeding.

  • 'tick' means 'check': Frequently, the word 'check' or 'checked' can mean 'ensure' in addition to "check mark", so 'check' is not used where it is synonymous with 'tick' to avoid any mistakes that can (and have) happened from this conflation.
  • Baseline: An installation of a mod using the recommend file option listed within the Baseline column of the mod tables below.
  • STEP Patches: A "patch" is a plugin that allows two or more mods to work together without conflicting. The STEP Patches are such plugins, but allow all of the mods in the STEP Guide to work harmoniously together. Some users refer to this as a conflict resolution patch or "CR Patch".

Minimum System Requirements[edit]

We recommend the following hardware configuration for running a STEP Skyrim SE installation at a resolution of 1920x1080. The minimum requirements will allow most users to install and run the Baseline options, which are Skyrim SE's recommended requirements. The recommended requirements for this Guide will allow most users to install and run a modded setup beyond that of the Baseline options (higher quality options). For those wishing to use high quality options at resolutions higher than 1920x1080, be advised that a more powerful system will likely be required.

Hardware Minimum Recommended
Windows OS Windows 10 64-bit Windows 10 64-bit
CPU Intel Core i5-2400 or equivalent Intel Core i5-4430 or equivalent
System RAM 8 GB 8 GB or higher
GPU Nvidia GTX 780 3GB / AMD R9 290 4GB Nvidia GTX 970 or equivalent or better / 4GB VRAM or higher
Drive Space ~40 GBs ~50 GBs
Monitor Resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080 or higher

Time Requirement[edit]

Users should be aware that it will usually take anywhere from several hours to a several days to complete this Guide from start to finish. Since this is a start to finish process, a recommend schedule for completing it is:

Day 1 : Steps 1 - 3
Day 2 : Step 4
  • Step 4 is installing all the mods. Depending on download speeds and previous modding knowledge, this step could span 1-3 days.
Final Day : Finish the remainder of the Guide.

The overall message here is that STEP encourages users to always follow proper computer ergonomics when modding! Remember to take breaks and happy modding!


STEP 1[edit]

Game & Tool Installation

Game Installation and Modding Setup[edit]

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NOTE

Start Out Clean!

It is particularly important for new users begin with clean installations of both Steam and Skyrim in order to be successful with the setup of this Guide the first time through.

PLEASE READ EACH SECTION BELOW CAREFULLY, as no information included in this Guide is irrelevant!

Before continuing with this Guide[edit]

Those who have not completed the System Setup Guide should stop and do so now. The STEP guide expects that all users have previously completed the steps in related guides or are at least familiar with those steps and ramifications of not having completed them.

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NOTE:
Users deviating from our instructions and recommendations will need to reinterpret other instructions and recommendations in this guide accordingly. Make sure to note any such deviations for later reference.

Mod Organizer 2[edit]

Mod Organizer 2 is the successor to Mod Organizer, and is now the official mod manager for all STEP mod-build guides. It supports both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Bethesda games. The major changes it brings are ...

  1. A return to normal plugin/BSA relationship - Users will no longer be able to load BSAs without loading the corresponding plugin as they did with MO. The plugins must be active for the BSAs to load, which is the intended behavior that the game expects.
  2. New MO2 installation options - Users will have the choice between installing MO2 in "standalone" or "portable" mode. Unless Merge Plugins is going to be utilized, it’s purely an individual preference. Merged Plugins will currently only work when MO2 is installed and used in “portable” mode. STEP recommends “standalone” mode for use with this guide. This allows us to design all of our mod-build guides around using MO2's "Instances". This means one MO2 installation is used for all supported games. Users should decide how they wish to install and use MO2 before continuing; keeping in mind the space requirements mentioned in our System Setup Guide.
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MO2

This guide assumes that the reader is familiar with MO, so if that is not the case, please see the Mod Organizer Guide.

Tools Installation and Setup[edit]

STEP recommends the tools for modding be installed and setup as “standalone” applications, when possible. This means a tool is installed once and used for all games. Most of the modding tools used already have this feature built in and some are meant to be used as such. Following this recommendation will also reduce redundant tool installations; thus, saving hard drive space, and it's more organized. The instructions throughout this Guide will assume the tools are installed as “standalone” applications. However, users are free to set up their tools as they see fit.

Tool Installation[edit]

Users should install the tools to the location created while following the System Setup Guide (i.e., ../Modding/Tools/). Install the following tools to that location:


Mod Name Baseline Instructions
BethINI SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download BethINI from Nexus.
  2. Extract the archive to the *Tools* folders (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/)

User's should now have a new BethINI folder (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/BethINI).

DynDOLOD SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download and install the DynDOLOD Main File into e.g. ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD
  2. Extract the archive to the Tools folder (e.g. C:/Modding/Tools/).
  3. If Visual Studio 2015, 2017 and 2019 are missing, download and install them; both x86 and x64 files.

The Resources file will be installed later, so ignore it for now.

LOOTLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download the latest version of LOOT from their GitHub page (LOOT.Install.exe).
  2. Install LOOT by running the installer and changing the path to the Tools folder (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/)

Users should now have a LOOT folder (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/LOOT).

Mod Organizer 2Link to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download Archive version of Mod Organizer 2 from Nexus.
  2. Create a new folder in the Tools folder named: Mod Organizer 2
  3. Extract the archive to the new Mod Organizer 2 folder (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/Mod Organizer/)

Do not run MO2 yet! It will be ran for the first time later in the Guide.

SSEEditLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Users who already have xEdit installed can skip these setups. STEP uses xEdit as a standalone application, therefore, it will be set up in MO2 as such with the use of arguments.
  1. Download SSEEdit from Nexus.
  2. Create a new folder in the Tools folder named: xEdit
  3. Extract the archive to the new xEdit folder (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/xEdit/)
SSELODGenLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Ensure the latest version of the required redistributable packages are installed. Both the x86 and x64 version should be installed.
  2. Download the latest xLODGen Beta
  3. Extract the file to the Tools folder. (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/)
  4. Open the extracted folder and create a new folder within for the tool's output files.
    • Recommended folder name is: xLODGen_Output

Users should now have a xLODGen folder (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/xLODGen/). Users will run it at the end of the Guide.


The "Modding" folder structure should now reflect:

  • ../Modding/Steam (optional; may be installed elsewhere)
  • ../Modding/Tools
    • ../Tools/BethINI
    • ../Tools/DynDOLOD
    • ../Tools/LOOT
    • ../Tools/Mod Organizer
    • ../Tools/xEdit
    • ../Tools/xLODGen


STEP 2[edit]

Tool Configuration

Mod Organizer 2 - Configuration[edit]

Initialization[edit]

STEP recommends using all applications as standalone programs, including Mod Organizer 2. The below instructions for MO2's first run reflect this. If MO2 is run in Portable mode, users will need to adjust the instructions as appropriate. To initialize Mod Organizer 2:

Initialization Instructions

  1. Launch MO2 by running its executable (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/Mod Organizer/ModOrganizer.exe)
  2. Upon launch, users will have a choose between setting it up as portable or create a new instance. Choose [New - Create a new instance.]
  3. Select SkyrimSE from the drop-down and choose [OK].
    • A prompt will appear informing you about the option of changing the location of data stored. Read it and click [OK].
  4. The installer should automatically detect the Skyrim SE installation (e.g. ..Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim Special Edition). Select it.
    • If it didn't find the location, browse to to the Skyrim SE installation path.
  5. Another prompt will appear for first time installers asking to run the tutorial or not. First time MO users should run it for a quick lesson on MO. Experienced MO users can skip it.
  6. MO2 is now ready to use.

Settings[edit]

The only settings covered here are to enable MO to download mods from Nexus.

Nexus Mods Connection

  1. Open the MO settings by clicking on the Configure settings and workarounds icon.
  2. Click on the Nexus tab.
  3. Click the [Connect to Nexus] button under the Nexus Connection section.
  4. This opens a browser window to Nexus Mods. If necessary, login. Then click the [Authorize] button and close the window.
  5. Upon returning to MO window, users should find their Nexus account information populated.
  6. Click [OK] to close the settings window. If MO prompts a restart, let it.

Profile Setup[edit]

Now users will take advantage of Mod Organizer's profile feature by creating/editing two profiles for use during this Guide:

Profile Setup Instructions

  1. Launch MO2, choosing the Skyrim SE Instance.
  2. On the default profile, arrange the mods in the left pane in the following order:
    1. DLC: Dawnguard
    2. DLC: HearthFires
    3. DLC: Dragonborn
  3. Click the Configure Profiles button on the menu bar.
  4. Select the Default profile and click [Rename].
  5. Rename this profile to Vanilla Skyrim or something similar
  6. Ensure the Use profile-specific Game INI Files box is ticked and select [OK].
    • Users can also tick Use profile-specific Save Games, if desired.
  7. Ensure the renamed profile is still selected and click [Copy].
  8. Name the new profile STEP Skyrim SE, or anything similar.
  9. Tick the same boxes from step 6, above.
  10. Close the window by clicking [Close].
    • Users will likely see a window saying some INI files were missing and will be copied. This is normal.
    • If an error is displayed about missing "modlist.txt" files, restart MO (or do a system reboot if one hasn't been done yet).
  11. Ensure that the STEP Skyrim SE profile is the currently selected profile in the Profile drop-down menu.

Tool Setup[edit]

All tools installed in Step 1 should be added to MO2. Some tools will have been auto-detected and added already; however, ensure the settings below are set for all tools, regardless. xEdit is used for this example:

Tool Setup Instructions

  1. Click the [Configure the executables...] button at the top of the main Mod Organizer window.
  2. Over the left pane of the executables config, click the [+] to add a new executable, and then [Add from file...].
  3. Navigate to the SSEEdit.exe file (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/xEdit/SSEEdit.exe).
    • This should auto-fill most of the fields.
  4. Change the title to xEdit.
  5. The following arguments can be helpful. Input them in the Arguments field separated by a single space:
    • e.g. -IKnowWhatImDoing -SSE -AllowMasterFilesEdit
    • "-IKnowWhatImDoing": This turns off a warning presented when users make edits.
    • "-AllowMasterFilesEdit": By default xEdit will not allow master file editing. This allows users to edit these files.
  6. Click [Apply].
  7. Repeat these steps to add the remaining executables as indicated in the table below:


Tool Setup Table

Executable Title Argument(s)
SSEEdit.exe xEdit -IKnowWhatImDoing -SSE -AllowMasterFilesEdit
SSEEditQuickAutoClean.exe xEditQuickAutoClean -SSE
DynDOLOD64.exe DynDOLOD -SSE
LOOT.exe LOOT --game="Skyrim Special Edition"
TexGen64.exe (installed with DynDOLOD) TexGen -SSE
xLODGen64.exe xLODGen -lodgen -sse -o:"C:/Modding/Tools/xLODGen/xLODGen_Output/"

Users can arrange their tools in any order they wish using the up and down buttons above the list. This will dictate the order they are listed in the MO "Run" dropdown menu. When complete, close the window by clicking the [OK] button.

BethINI Setup[edit]

BethINI needs to be run for the current MO2 profile to establish the INIs before beginning the mod installations. To do this:

BethINI Initialization and Setup

  1. Close MO2 and run BethINI (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/BethINI/BethINI.exe).
  2. Select "Skyrim Special Edition" from the game selection box.
  3. Allow BethINI to handle custom INIs, if prompted.
  4. Go to the Setup tab
    • Ensure the Game path is correct (e.g. ../Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim Special Edition).
    • Ensure the Mod Organizer path is correct (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/Mod Organizer).
    • For the INI Path, select Mod Organizer - STEP Skyrim SE from the drop-down menu. NOTE: This depends on the MO2 Profile Setup
      • If BethINI does not automatically find the profiles, browse to MO2's /Profile folder.
      • For 'instance' users, the profile will be stored in the user's /AppData folder (e.g. %LOCALAPPDATA%/ModOrganizer/STEP Skyrim SE/profiles/)
    • BethINI should restart whenever the INI path changes in order to associate the MO2 profile information.
  5. Return to the Setup tab.
    • If BethINI will be used for multiple games from a single installation, the “Always Select Game” box should be selected.
  6. Select the Basic tab.
    • Ensure the Window Resolution matches the system resolution.
    • The recommended Antialiasing is "TAA".
    • The other recommended options to tick are:
      • Windowed Mode
      • Borderless
      • Vsync
      • Lock Frame Rate NOTE: This reduces 'tearing' effects and is optional, depending on whether or not the graphics software is used to limit frame rate.
    • The [Medium] Preset is recommended as a baseline to avoid problems before initial testing when guide setup is complete (this can be changed at any time later).
    • Tick the box for Recommended Tweaks.
  7. Select the Detail tab.
    • Untick Reflect Sky (water reflections are not accurate with respect to the LOD of most custom builds)
  8. Select the Visuals tab.
    • Untick Improved Shader (introduces visual glitches and inconsistencies on snow)
  9. Now Save and Exit.


Users now have a minimal setup for the game INIs for testing and running the game during the mod installations. Once all mods have been installed, BethINI will be run again to complete the INI setup.

Users should now relaunch Mod Organizer and ensure the STEP Skyrim SE profile is selected to continue with the Guide.

STEP 3[edit]

Cleanup and Considerations

LOOT[edit]

At any time during the mod installation process, LOOT should be used to sort plugin load order before running the game. This is necessary to ensure proper plugin priority (load order), which can have a dramatic impact on the game. Users not running the game during the mod installation step of the Guide can wait to sort after this step is complete. To sort with LOOT:

  1. Launch LOOT via Mod Organizer 2 from the executables drop-down menu at the top of the right pane.
    Info-Logo.png
    NOTE:
    If LOOT fails to start, try adding the following argument as described in Tools Setup: --single-process

    Info-Logo.png
    NOTE:
    If LOOT cannot find the game directory, add the path to ./Skyrim Special Edition folder to Installed Path under LOOT settings.

  2. Click the [Sort Plugins] icon at the top of the LOOT window.
  3. Several plugins will show warnings. The next section describes how to clean them up.
  4. Click [Apply] button, which has replaced the Sort button at the top.
  5. Close LOOT.
Info-Logo.png

NOTE

When running LOOT before completing the STEP Guide, additional warnings may be indicated. These will all be fixed by the end of this guide.

Up to this point, users should only have the following plugins, in the order listed:

  1. Skyrim.esm
  2. Update.esm
  3. Dawnguard.esm
  4. HearthFires.esm
  5. Dragonborn.esm

If the plugins are not in the order listed, run LOOT now.

Cleaning Vanilla Master Files[edit]

To resolve potential issues later, the vanilla plugin masters should be cleaned with xEdit.

Clean the Masters[edit]

Vanilla masters should be cleaned in the following order:

  1. Update.esm
  2. Dawnguard.esm
  3. Hearthfires.esm
  4. Dragonborn.esm

Standard Cleaning Procedures[edit]

Toggle cleaning procedures...

  1. Run xEditQuickAutoClean from the drop-down executable list in MO2.
  2. On the plugin selection window, double-click on the mod being cleaned (e.g. Update.esm).
  3. Once xEdit is finished, click [X] at upper right to close. A backup of the original plugin will automatically be saved into (e.g., ../xEdit Output/SSEEdit Backups) inside of Overwrite at the bottom of the MO mod list (left) pane.

Follow the standard cleaning procedures to clean Update.esm, followed by Dawnguard.esm. Once Dawnguard is cleaned, complete the manual cleaning below...

Toggle Dawnguard manual cleaning procedures...

  1. Run xEdit from MO.
  2. At the prompt, double-click on Dawnguard.esm.
  3. Once loaded, type in 00016BCF in the FormID field (above the mod list) and hit [Enter/Return].
  4. In the right pane, find the "XEZN - Encounter Zone" record.
  5. In the Dawnguard.esm column, right-click on the "RiftenRatwayZone [ECZN:0009FBB9]" entry and select [Remove].
    • If a prompt appears select Yes for each of these removals.
  6. In the FormID field again, type in 0001FA4C and hit [Enter/Return].
  7. On the Dawnguard.esm column, right-lick on the "Dawnguard.esm" header and select [Remove].
  8. In the FormID field again, type in 0006C3B6 and hit [Enter/Return].
  9. On the Dawnguard.esm column, right-lick on the "Dawnguard.esm" header and select [Remove].
  10. Now close xEdit.
  11. Ensure Dawnguard.esm is ticked in the pane, Backup plugins is ticked at the bottom of the prompted window and click [OK].

Once Dawnguard's manual cleaning is complete, follow the standard cleaning procedures to clean Hearthfires.esm, and then finally, Dragonborn.esm.

Moving the Cleaned Files[edit]

After the vanilla master files are cleaned, they should be moved into the "Cleaned Vanilla Masters" mod in MO, and the original files should be restored into the 'real' "Data" directory in the game folder. This makes Steam happy when "validating" files so that it remains unaware of changes. To move the new files and restore the original files, complete the following:

Toggle instructions

Cleaned Masters

  1. On the MO window, click the [Open list options...] button at the top of the left pane, next to the profile selection drop-down.
  2. Choose Create empty mod, name it Cleaned Vanilla Masters, and click [OK].
  3. Move this mod up the MO mod list to just after "DLC: Dragonborn".
  4. Enable the new mod listing.
  5. In MO, hold Ctrl and double-click on the now-empty Cleaned Vanilla Masters mod to open it in Windows Explorer.
  6. Click the [Show Open Folders menu...] button above the MO mod list (left) pane, and select Open Game Folder to open the game folder in Windows Explorer (e.g. ../Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim Special Edition/, and open ../Data.
  7. Move the four cleaned master files from ../Data into ../Cleaned Vanilla Masters.

Original Masters

  1. In MO, scroll to the end of the mod list (left) pane, and hold Ctrl + double click on Overwrite to open in Explorer.
  2. Inside the "SSEEdit Backups" folder, rename the files to "MasterName.esm" (i.e. "Update.esm").
    • If there are multiple copies of any of the files, use the one with the earliest timestamp (the original).
  3. Click the [Show Open Folders menu...] button above the MO mod list (left) pane, and select Open Game Folder to open the game folder in Windows Explorer (e.g. ../Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim Special Edition/
  4. Move or copy the renamed files into the 'real' game "Data" directory (../Data), choosing to overwrite/replace, if asked.
  5. All Explorer windows can be closed now.
  6. Right click on Overwrite, select [Clear Overwrite], and click [OK].
Moicon.png

MO2

Any time Bethesda updates these master files, they will likely need to be cleaned again and replaced in MO2. Any previously cleaned versions of these same files that exist in the MO mod list must be either disabled or deleted first, because xEdit will see only the cleaned versions otherwise.

At this point, the Bethesda masters should be cleaned and the mod list order should reflect:

  1. DLC: Dawnguard
  2. DLC: HearthFires
  3. DLC: Dragonborn
  4. Cleaned Vanilla Masters
Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
To verify that the vanilla mods have been cleaned, LOOT can be run again, and no warnings should be apparent.

Understanding the STEP Patches[edit]

A “conflict resolution” patch, or CR Patch, is a plugin that resolves conflicts between various active plugins. They allow users to use various mods together without any major issues, while still achieving the desired outcome from the mods. Thus, the STEP Patches are one part patch and one part mod.

Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
The STEP Patches are built specifically for the STEP mod list. They are required to run the STEP mod build and are dependent on specific mods within the STEP mod list (those tagged at left with a green vertical bar), and they will not resolve conflicts with any applicable mods that are not in the STEP mod list in this guide. For experienced users using this guide as a basis for further build customization, the STEP Patches may be skipped or disabled, as they could cause issues if dependencies are not present or if other mod conflicts are introduced via customization.

STEP Patches[edit]
  1. STEP Skyrim SE - Conflict Resolution Patch
    • For those that would opt for their own custom lighting and weather mods
    • Patches all applicable mods except for Lighting & Weather mods
  2. STEP Skyrim SE - Lighting & Weather Patch
    • For those that are using STEP Guide lighting and weather
    • Patches only the applicable Lighting & Weather mods


STEP 4[edit]

STEP SkyrimSE Mod List


Info-Logo.png

NOTE

At this point users should have their systems fully set up and ready to install mods . Users who are unaware of how to complete mod installations using MO2 should return to that Guide and refresh their knowledge. When installing mods, keep the following in mind:

  • To maintain compatibility with downstream Patch instructions, it is important to install Patch-related mods as described in their respective Notes.
  • After installing a mod, enable the mod in MO.
  • If no Notes or STEP recommendations are provided for a particular mod, STEP encourages user customization.
  • Mods should be arranged in MO in the order that they are listed to ensure other mods further down the list overwrite/override those occurring before them. This is necessary to ensure the desired outcome.
  • Mods are listed in alphabetical order within each Mod Group and any deviations from this are purposeful to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Always install plugins (ESLs/ESMs/ESPs), unless otherwise noted.
  • Always follow LOOT's advice in regards to mod cleaning and sorting unless otherwise noted.
  • STEP does not recommend extracting BSAs as a general principle, since it adds to the potential for user error and unnecessary support issues. Experienced and self-supporting users may derive benefit from doing so, however.


Moicon.png

MO2

MO Separators: Mod Organizer features the ability to create separators within the mod list to group mods for easier visual reference. STEP recommends using these separators for each Mod Group following. To create a separator:

  1. Click the Open list options button on the top of the mod list pane.
  2. Select [Create Separator] and give the separator a name. STEP recommends using the Mod Group names (i.e. Extensions, Resources, Audiovisual - Lighting & Weather, etc.).
    • Create a new separator for each new Mod Group while working through the Guide.
    • Separator colors can be customized by right-clicking on any separator and selecting Select Color.

Mod Table Reference[edit]

Below is the legend and reference for the mod tables used in this Guide. Users should refer back to it when confused about a mod listing.

Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Mod (patch-independent)Wikilink.png Baseline Notes
Mod (patch-dependent)Wikilink.png Baseline Notes

Mod Table Legend[edit]

Table Flags A red vertical bar indicates that the mod is required by the Step CR Patch.
A yellow bar indicates that the mod is required by the Step L&W Patch.
Mod Name Nexus mod name presented as a link to Nexus for download.
Wikilink.png Link to the mod's wiki page, which includes various information about the mod.
Baseline This notes the STEP Baseline version or option of the corresponding mod that should be installed, and usually refers to options affecting performance/quality. General suggestions are located in the "Notes" column; see below.
Instructions Brief notes that apply to the mod or installation. In some cases, mods with several options will include a suggested option. These suggestions will take the form of: "STEP recommends 'Option A'." In other cases, there may only be one appropriate option, which fits the STEP Mandate. These instructions will take the form of: "Download and install 'Option A'." Users will also see links displayed as: Detailed instructions available. Users should follow these links to find detailed instructions for installing the mod.

02-Extenders[edit]

Extend the game engine and required for use by downstream mods or utilities
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
SKSE64Link to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
ROOT FILES INSTALLATION
  1. Download the "Current SE build" archive file.
  2. Open the archive and extract the following files to the Skyrim Special Edition root folder ..\Steam\steamapps\common\Skyrim Special Edition:
    • skse64_X_X_X.dll
    • skse64_loader.exe
    • skse64_steam_loader.dll
  3. Keep this archive open for the next steps.
DATA FILES INSTALLATION
  1. Create a empty mod in the mod list of MO and name it SKSE64, or anything similar.
  2. Open the SKSE64 mod folder (Ctrl+double-click).
  3. Create a new folder named SKSE and open it.
INI FILE
  1. Within the SKSE folder, create a new file named SKSE.ini i.e. ..SKSE64\SKSE\SKSE.ini
  2. Open the new file and copy and paste the code in the box below, and save and close the file when finished.

[Display] iTintTextureResolution=2048 [General] ClearInvalidRegistrations=1

SCRIPTS
  1. From the archive downloaded above, open the Data folder e.g. SKSE64_x_x_x.7z/SKSE64_x_x_x/Data/
  2. Extract the scripts folder from the archive to the SKSE64 folder i.e. ..\SKSE64\scripts\.
  3. Close archive and Windows Explorer sessions.

Once complete, the SKSE64 mod's folder structure should be:

  • ..\SKSE64
    • \scripts
      • \Source
        • <file list>
      • <file list>
    • \SKSE
      • \skse.ini
    • \meta.ini
LAUNCHER CONFIGURATION

Normally, MO should auto-detect that SKSE is installed upon a restart of the program, and it will auto-generate the SKSE game launcher. This should be used for launching Skyrim going forward. Below are some recommendations for further configuration of the SKSE launcher ... or, if for some reason MO fails to configure this. Please ensure the following is correct for SKSE:

  1. In MO, click the MO Executables button at the top of the main Mod Organizer window.
  2. Over the left pane, click the [+] (add executable button) and select [Add from file...].
  3. Navigate to the skse64_loader.exe file (e.g., ..\Steam\steamapps\common\Skyrim Special Edition\skse64_loader.exe).
  4. "SKSE" can be renamed for clarity, however, if this is done, MO will automatically create the "SKSE" launcher again and place it at bottom of the list.
  5. Tick [Create files in mod instead of overwrite] and select SKSE64 from the list.
  6. Use this executable to launch Skyrim SE going forward.

Reference Image:
SKSE64MOSetup.png

NET Script FrameworkLink to the mod's Wiki page. Ignore the required Loader. A loader will be installed with SkyrimSE:SSE Engine Fixes.
PapyrusUtil SELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Skill UncapperLink to the mod's Wiki page. Ignore the required Loader. A loader will be installed with SkyrimSE:SSE Engine Fixes.
SkyUILink to the mod's Wiki page.
SSE Engine FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download and install the (Part 1) Engine Fixes Main File in MO.
  2. Download the (Part 2) Engine Fixes - skse64 Preloader and TBB Lib Main File.
  3. Extract the contents of the second archive to the root Skyrim SE directory (e.g. ../Steam/SteamApps/Common/Skyrim Special Edition)

Once installed open and ensure the following settings in EngineFixes.toml are configured:

[Patches] EnableAchievementsWithMods = true FormCaching = true MaxStdio = true TreeLODReferenceCaching = true WaterflowAnimation = true WaterflowSpeed = 16.0 ; 20.0 = default. Smaller = slower, larger = faster [Fixes] ArcheryDownwardAiming = true AnimationLoadSignedCrash = true DoublePerkApply = true LipSync = true MemoryAccessErrors = true MO5STypo = true SlowTimeCameraMovement = true TreeReflections = true VerticalLookSensitivity = true

Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
Leave the remainder of the settings at their defaults, unless the changes are known and desired.


03-Resources[edit]

Applications or mods that provide additional functions or resources
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Address Library for SKSE PluginsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the All-in-One Main File.
FileAccess Interface for Skyrim SE ScriptsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Only the Main File is required.
Scaleform Translation++Link to the mod's Wiki page.


04-Foundation[edit]

Baseline mods that may be overwritten or overridden by other mods
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Unofficial High Definition Audio ProjectLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install all Main Files. Merge when asked.
Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim SE particle patch for ENBLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This is the first time users will have encountered a mod that isn't downloaded via MO.
  1. Download the Special Edition PARTICLE PATCH ALL-IN-ONE INSTALLATION file.
  2. Install the file by clicking the MO Install Archive button on MO's menu bar.
  3. Navigate to the location where the archive was downloaded and open it for MO to start the installation.

Once the mod is installed users should move the plugin to Optional Plugins in MO.

  1. Double-click on the mod and click on the Optional ESPs tab.
  2. Under Available ESPs, select the mod's plugin and click the left arrow button to move it to the Optional ESPs pane.
DynDOLOD Resources SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the DynDOLOD Resources SE Main File, selecting the following options:
  • Whiterun Exterior
  • Solitude Exterior
  • High Hrothgar Window Glow
  • DLC2 Vvardenfell 3D Plume
  • Desync Birds of Prey

As with all mods in this guide, this mod should be enabled in MO once it is installed. This mod in particular MUST be enabled for proper LOD generation later in this guide.

Static Mesh Improvement ModLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
  • Options
    • Main Installer Choice
      • ◉ Skyrim 2016 Special Edition: Custom
        • Next
  • Original Skyrim Custom Install
    • Barrels
      • ◉ Modified Vanilla Barrels
    • Bowl Ingredients
      • ☑ Improved Bowl Ingredients
    • Bridges
      • ◉ Bridges
    • Candelabras
      • ☑ Improved Candelabras
    • Carriage Seats and Fixes
      • ☑ Improved Carriages
    • Chains 3D - Misc
      • ☑ Chains 3D - Misc
    • Chains 3D - Pull Levers
      • ◉ Chains 3D - Pull Levers Small Rings (Recommended)
    • Chains 3D - Signs
      • ☑ Chains 3D - Signs
    • Chains 3D - Whiterun
      • ☑ Chains 3D - Whiterun
    • Chandeliers
      • ◉ Improved Chandeliers (Recommended)
    • Clothing Fixes
      • ☑ Clothing Fixes
    • Dawnguard Soulcairn Bone Piles
      • ◉ Bone Piles Yellow Bones (Recommended)
    • Draugr Corpses
      • ☑ Draugr Corpses
    • Dungeons Cliffs Snow Skirts
      • ◉ Snow Blending ESP (Recommended)
    • Dwemer Animated Lifts
      • ☑ Dwemer Animated Lifts
    • Dwemer Clutter
      • ☑ Dwemer Clutter
    • Farmhouse Woven Fence
      • ◉ Woven Fence Less Flicker (Recommended)
    • Food
      • ☑ Improved Food
    • Food - Tomato Style
      • ◉ Default Heirloom
    • Furniture Chests
      • ☑ Improved Furniture Chests
    • Furniture Common
      • ◉ Improved Furniture SMIM Textures (Recommended)
    • Furniture Noble
      • ☑ Improved Furniture Noble
    • Hanging Rings
      • ☑ Hanging Rings
    • Hawk
      • ☑ Hawk Improvements
    • Hearthfires Stuff
      • ☑ Hearthfires Stuff
    • Human Skull Fixes
      • ☑ Human Skull Fixes
    • Imperial Jail
      • ◉ Improved Imperial Jail (Recommended)
    • Jewelry Rings
      • ◉ Jewelry Rings CCO Remade or Jewelcraft
    • Lanterns
      • ☑ Lanterns
    • Nordic Tables and Benches
      • ☑ Nordic Tables and Benches
    • Orc Longhouse
      • ☑ Orc Longhouse
    • Poor Coffin
      • ☑ Poor Coffin
    • Rabbit
      • ☑ Improved Rabbit
    • Rocks - Blackreach
      • ☑ Rocks - Blackreach
    • Rocks - Generic
      • ☑ Rocks - Generic
    • Rocks - Mountains
      • ☑ Rocks - Mountains
    • Ropes 3D - Dungeons
      • ◉ Dungeons 3D Ropes and Glorious Scaffolding
    • Ropes 3D - Farmhouse
      • ◉ Farmhouse 3D Ropes No Fade (Recommended)
    • Ropes 3D - Raven Rock Docks
      • ☑ Raven Rock Docks 3D Ropes
    • Ropes 3D - Riften
      • ◉ Riften 3D Ropes Default Ropes Style (Recommended)
    • Ropes 3D - Solitude Docks
      • ☑ Solitude Docks 3D Ropes
    • Ropes 3D - Stockade
      • ☑ Stockade 3D Ropes
    • Ruins Sarcophagus
      • ☑ Ruins Sarcophagus
    • Shack Roofs
      • ☑ Improved Shack Roofs with Dragonborn
    • Skeletal Remains 3D
      • ☑ Skeletal Remains 3D
    • Smelters
      • ☑ Smelters
    • Solitude Gate Doors
      • ☑ Solitude Gate Doors
    • Tankards
      • ◉ Dark Brushed Metal Tankards
    • Tree - Juniper Tree
      • ☑ Improved Juniper Tree
    • Tree - Tundra Tree
      • ☑ Improved Tundra Tree
    • Whiterun Castle Wood Carvings
      • ◉ Wood Carvings Improved Vanilla
    • Whiterun Doors
      • ☑ Whiterun Doors
    • Windmills
      • ◉ DynDOLOD/SkyMills Compatibility
    • Xtra Options - Half-Size Textures Addon
      • ◉ None (NOTE: Low VRAM graphic card users can use the half-size textures.)
    • Xtra Options - Ultra-Sized Textures Addon
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Cathedral - PlantsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Realistic OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Install Part 1-3, choosing to merge the files when asked.
  2. Install the update file, choosing to merge as well.
Majestic MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Step Recommends: Lightside

Lightside is the most vanilla-like replacement, however, it can appear too bright in-game when combined with certain post processors. Users are free to choose the style that suits their preference.

  1. Download the Main File of preference.
  2. Download the Lod Pack for DynDoLod (all versions) Optional File.
    • The "Lod Pack for SSELodGen xLodGen (all versions)" optional file is NOT needed, since we are not using landscapes (terrain) from this mod.


Main File

FOMOD Instructions
Majestic Mountains Lightside
    • Required
      • ☑ Main files
    • Snow Mountain Type
      • ◉ Snow Mountain New version ESL
    • Optionals
      • ☑ Moss Rocks ESL Version
    • Sun Direction (choose one or none)
      • ◉ None
        • Next
    • Final Notes
      • ☑ Load order and notes
        • Install


Optional File (merge into the main file)

FOMOD Instructions
Lod Pack for DynDoLod (all versions)
  • Step 1
    • Lod Meshes
      • ☑ Lod Meshes
    • LOD Textures
      • ◉ Lightside
        • Install
Cathedral LandscapesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Info-Logo.png

NOTE

Please be aware this mod deviates to a degree from the vanilla style with respect to some landscape textures. However, we feel the benefits the mod brings out-weigh this drawback. Those who wish to use another mod must install Blended Roads.

The following FOMOD instructions are for the most vanilla-like options, but deviation from this is user preference.

  1. Download and install the Main File (instructions below).
FOMOD Instructions
Landscapes - Cathedral Concept
    • Select Install
      • ◉ Full Install, Brown Tundra
        • Next
    • Select Roads
      • ◉ Blended Roads
        • Install
  1. Download and install the LODGEN Textures for v3 Optional File.
    • Don't merge this file! Install it separately! This file will be installed as a separate mod so that it can be activated for LOD generation later in the guide and deactivated after. Name the file something like: "(TEMP) - Cathedral Landscapes - LODGen".


INI Edits

Cathedral Landscapes includes it's own INI file, therefore users are not required to make any changes in BethINI to support the mod. However, some users may wish to have more or less grass. To do this:

  1. Double-click on the mod listing in MO's left pane.
  2. Select the INI Files tab and select the listed INI.
  3. Change the value of the iMinGrassSize setting (also refer to iMinGrassSize INI definition).
    • Higher values = less grass and increased performance
    • Lower values = more grass and decreased performance
    • Default for Cathedral is 60. Step suggests changing this value by intervals of 10 until the desired result is reached.
  4. Click [Close] and then [OK] to save the changes.
RUSTIC CLOTHING - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Unofficial Material FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.


05-Animations & Effects[edit]

Mods that alter the animations and effects in the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
D13 Faster GET UP STAND UP AnimationLink to the mod's Wiki page. Loose
Dual Wield Improved Animation SSELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic Boat Bobbing SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download and install the Main File.
  2. Download and merge the RBB - SMIM Meshes Miscellaneous File.

Until the Guide is updated and the new mod page is added, visit the new RBB Patch Hub:

  1. Download and merge the RBB - Oakwood Patch and RBB - USSEP Patch files.
Smooth Running AnimationsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Stronger Swimming Animation SELink to the mod's Wiki page.
XP32 Maximum Skeleton Special ExtendedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This is a Not Safe For Work (NSFW) mod page!

Download the file directly: XP32 Maximum Skeleton SE

Download the main file and install using the following:

FOMOD Instructions
XP32 Maximum Skeleton Special Extended
  • Skeleton
    • Meshes
      • ☑ Skeleton Meshes
      • ☑ Creature Meshes
    • Animation Rig Map
      • ☑ Physics Extensions
        • Next
  • Character Creation
    • Character Creation
      • ◉ Racemenu
        • Next
  • Character Creation
    • Weapon Style Randomizer for NPCs
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • Animation Variants
    • Belt-Fastened Quivers
      • ◉ None
    • Dagger on Back
      • ◉ None
    • Dagger on Hip
      • ◉ None
    • Magic
      • ◉ None
    • Sword on Back
      • ◉ None
    • Sword on Hip
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • First Person Animation
    • Axe - Warning! Missing Sounds! Not compatible...!
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Sword - Warning! Missing Sounds! Not compatible...!
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • Mounted Combat Animation
    • Axe - Warning! Missing Sounds! Not compatible...!
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Bow
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Sword - Warning! Missing Sounds! Not compatible...!
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • Compatibility Patches
    • The Joy of Perspective
      • ◉ None
    • Schlongs of Skyrim
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • Compatibility Patches
    • Deadly Mutilation
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • Compatibility Patches
    • Enderal
      • ◉ None
        • Install

When updating this mod, remember to run FNIS SE. For new users installing this Guide for the first time, FNIS will be ran at the end of the Guide.


06-Models & Textures[edit]

Mods that alter the appearance of objects in the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
8K Night Skies - Stars and GalaxiesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
ONLY needed for those NOT installing Cathedral Weathers and Seasons and Step L&W Patch!

Step recommends: Night Skies - Vanilla Blue (8K) - CP

AMidianBorn Book of SilenceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download the following files:
  • aMidianBorn book of silence -- ARMORS
  • aMidianBorn book of silence -- DRAGONBORN
  • aMidianBorn book of silence -- UNIQUE ITEMS
  • aMidianBorn book of silence -- WEAPONS

Step recommends: Merging all files into single mod listing named aMidianBorn Book of Silence
The instructions below are for the most vanilla-like replacements, however, users are free to choose the style that suits their preference.

FOMOD Instructions
aMidianBorn Book of Silence ARMORS
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Custom
        • Next
  • Options
    • Iron and Banded
      • ◉ Iron - Vanilla Cut
    • Steel
      • ◉ Steel
    • Steel Plate
      • ☑ Steel Plate
    • Leather
      • ☑ Leather
    • Hide and Studded
      • ◉ Hide
    • Fur
      • ☑ Fur
    • Elven
      • ◉ Elven - Gold
    • Dwarven
      • ☑ Dwarven
    • Ancient Nord
      • ☑ Ancient Nord
    • Orcish
      • ◉ Orcish
    • Scaled
      • ◉ Scaled
    • Wolf
      • ◉ Wolf - Grey Fur
    • Glass
      • ◉ Glass - Golden
    • Ebony
      • ◉ Ebony - Black
    • Blades
      • ☑ Blades
    • Falmer
      • ☑ Falmer
        • Install
FOMOD Instructions
aMidianBorn Book of Silence DRAGONBORN
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Custom
        • Next
  • Custom
    • Nordic Carved Armor
      • ◉ Black Fur (default)
    • Bonemold Armor
      • ☑ Bonemold Armor
    • Acolyte Masks
      • ☑ Acolyte Masks
    • Dragon Priest Acolytes
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Hulking Draugr
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Ash Spawn
      • ☑ Ash Spawn
    • Ash Guardians
      • ☑ Ash Guardians
        • Install
FOMOD Instructions
aMidianBorn Book of Silence UNIQUE ITEMS
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Custom
        • Next
  • Custom
    • Targe of the Blooded
      • ☑ Targe of the Blooded
    • Wuuthrad
      • ☑ Wuuthrad
    • Savior's Hide
      • ◉ Savior's Hide
    • Helm of Yngol
      • ☑ Helm of Yngol
    • Mace of Molag Bal
      • ☑ Mace of Molag Bal
    • Mehrune's Razor
      • ☑ Mehrune's Razor
    • Volendrung
      • ☑ Volendrung
    • Tsun's Armor
      • ☑ Tsun's Armor
    • Ebony Mail
      • ◉ Ebony Mail - Black
    • Staff of Magnus
      • ☑ Staff of Magnus
    • Dragon Priest Masks
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
FOMOD Instructions
aMidianBorn Book of Silence WEAPONS
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Install all weapons (default)
        • Install


Optional ESPs

Depending on how the mods are installed:

  1. Right-click the aMidianBorn Book of Silence or aMidianBorn Book of Silence WEAPONS mod
  2. Click [Information...].
  3. Click the Optional ESPs tab and move aMidianborn_Skyforge_Weapons.esp from the right pane to the left.

Users should repeat these steps whenever asked to moved plugins to the Optional ESPs.


Hiding files and folders

Hide the following files/folders:

  • textures/clothes (aMidianBorn Book of Silence - Armors)

To do this,

  1. Double-click on the mod listing in the left pane.
  2. Click the Filetree tab.
  3. Expand the textures folder.
  4. Right-click on the clothes folder and select [Hide].

Users should repeat these steps whenever asked to hide files or folders from a mod.

AMidianBorn imperial light and studdedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
AMidianBorn stormcloak officer armourLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Arctic - Frost Effects ReduxLink to the mod's Wiki page. Lite Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Arctic - Frost Effects Redux
  • Arctic Installation
    • Main Installation
      • ☑ Core Files
        • Next
  • Arctic Texture Resolution
    • Resolution Options
      • ◉ Lite
        • Next
  • Arctic Gradients Color
    • Color Options
      • ◉ Realistic Hue
        • Next
  • Arctic Icicles Size
    • Size Options
      • ◉ x.5
        • Next
  • Arctic Icicles Style
    • Style Options
      • ◉ Standard
        • Next
  • Arctic Optional Plugin
    • Plugin Option
      • ◉ Frost Mesh Patch (ESL-Tagged)
        • Install
Armor and Clothing ExtensionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Bellyaches Animal and Creature Pack SSELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Bellyaches Animal and Creature Pack
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Custom Install
        • Next
  • Custom
    • Bear (brown and black)
      • ◉ Bear Replacers
    • Chaurus
      • ◉ None
    • Chicken
      • ◉ Brown
    • Dog
      • ◉ Default HD
    • Dragonfly
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Deer
      • ☑ Deer replacers
    • Fox (Red)
      • ◉ Red
    • Fox (Arctic)
      • ◉ Arctic
    • Frostbite Spider (Brown)
      • ◉ None
    • Frostbite Spider (Arctic)
      • ◉ None
    • Goat
      • ◉ None
    • Hawk
      • ◉ None
    • Highland Cow
      • ◉ Orange
    • Horker
      • ◉ Grey
        • Next
  • Horse Options
    • Horse Tails
      • ◉ None
    • Horse Textures
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • More Custom Options
    • Mammoth
      • ◉ None
    • Mudcrab
      • ◉ None
    • Rabbit
      • ☑ Rabbit Replacer
    • Sabre Cat (Brown)
      • ◉ None
    • Sabre Cat (Arctic)
      • ◉ None
    • Skeever (Grey)
      • ◉ Mangy - Dark Grey
    • Skeever (Arctic)
      • ◉ Mangy - Grey Hooded
    • Wolf (Black)
      • ◉ Darker Black
    • Wolf (Ice)
      • ◉ White (Brown Eyes)
    • Wolf (Red)
      • ◉ Brown
    • Werewolf
      • ◉ Dark Grey
    • Werewolf Eyes
      • ◉ Normal Brown
        • Install
Bellyaches HD Dragon Replacer PackLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Dynamic Ash SELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Dynamic Snow SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
Better Dynamic Snow SE
  • Better Dynamic Snow SE - Plugins
    • Plugin Installation
      • ◉ Brighter Snow Materials
  • Better Dynamic Snow SE - Options
    • Projected Diffuse Textures
      • ◉ None
    • Optional Addons
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Better Falmer Cave Ceiling GlowLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP Recommends: BetterFalmerCaveCeilingGlow_Cyan
Book Covers SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP Recommends: Book Covers Skyrim SE - Desaturated
Book Covers Skyrim - Lost LibraryLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP Recommends: Book Covers Skyrim SE - Lost Library - Desaturated
Dark Brotherhood Tenets RestoredLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
Deadly Spell ImpactsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Deadly Spell Impacts
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Custom
        • Next
  • Custom
    • Fire Spell Dependant Feature
      • ◉ One Fire Impact (Default)
        • Next
  • One
    • Fire
      • ◉ Default
    • Frost
      • ◉ Alternate 1
    • Lightning
      • ◉ Default
        • Install
Deathbell HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
Detailed RugsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Detailing the EldrichLink to the mod's Wiki page. Higher Res Detailed Instructions available
This mod is not packaged correctly. Users should do the following to install the mod:
  1. Download and install the Main File.
  2. MO will prompt with a window
  3. Expand the Detailing the Eldrich - Higher-Res Riekling Architecture folder.
  4. Right-click on the Data folder under Detailing the Eldrich - Higher-Res Riekling Architecture and select Set data directory.
  5. Click OK to install the mod.
Dragon Glyphs HD - FixedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Dragon Chiseled
Dragon Masks Retextured SELink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
DRAGON PRIESTLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Full Install with the Full (Highly suggested) option.
Frankly HD Dragonbone and DragonscaleLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Download and install both a Main File and the Update File.
Dragonbone MasteryLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2k/1k Detailed Instructions available
Step recommends: Dragonbone Mastery - WITHOUT Engravings

This recommendation is for the vanilla experience. Users can install whichever version they desire and adjust the instructions below to suit their preferences.

FOMOD Instructions
Dragonbone Mastery - Weapons Retexture
  • Page 1
    • Main Weapon Texures
      • ◉ Darker Bone
        • Next
  • Page 2
    • Arrow Options
      • ◉ New Style Arrows
        • Next
  • Page 3
    • Scabbard Style
      • ◉ Full Length Scabbard
        • Next
  • Page 4
    • Full Sized Scabbard Texture Options
      • ◉ Traditional Design
    • Full Sized Scabbard Mesh Optional
      • ◉ Transparent Meshes
        • Install
DRAUGRLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
DROPSLink to the mod's Wiki page. 512 Step recommends: Version 3
Dust EffectsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
EASIER LOCKPICKINGLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Elemental Staffs SELink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Step recommends: Elemental Staffs SE Main File and the Elemental Staffs SE Basic Optional File.
ElSopa HD - Ants SELink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
ElSopa HD - Briar HeartLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Step recommends: ElSopa HD - Briarheart Red 1k
ElSopa HD - Dirt Blast SELink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Step recommends: 2K ElSopa HD - Dirt Blast
ElSopa - HD Keys SELink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
Embers HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Embers HD
  • Main Component
    • Select One
      • ◉ Embers HD 2K
        • Next
  • Embers HD Fireplaces Add-On Component
    • Select One
      • ◉ Fireplaces Add-On
        • Next
  • Embers HD Add-On Components
    • Select Add-Ons
      • ☑ Forges Add-On
      • ☑ Lave Crater Add-On
        • Next
  • Embers HD Compatibility Patches
    • Select Add-Ons
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Enhanced Blood Textures SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the _Enhanced Blood Textures SE (LITE VERSION) Main File.

Optionally, download and merge the No Screen Blood Optional File. This will remove blood spatters from the screen.

Enhanced Vanilla Trees SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Step recommends: Enhanced Vanilla Trees SE Main File.

This option is for the most vanilla-like experience, and instructions below will reflect this option. Users are free to customize the installation to suit their preferences. For example, the images on the STEP SE Nexus page uses the Lush version.

FOMOD Instructions
Enhanced Vanilla Trees SE
  • Mesh Options
    • Select a version
      • ◉ Enhanced Vanilla Meshes
        • Next
  • Optional Addons
    • Clutter
      • ☑ Enhanced Tree Clutter (recommended)
        • Next
  • Tree LODs
    • Select One
      • ◉ Billboards
        • Install
ETHEREAL CLOUDS - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
FALMERLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Fire Halo RemoverLink to the mod's Wiki page.
FootprintsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Frankly HD Thieves Guild ArmorsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Gemling Queen Jewelry SELink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Gemling Queen Jewelry SE
  • Main Modules
    • Main Modules
      • ☑ Amulets
      • ☑ Circlets
      • ☑ Rings
    • DLC Addons
      • ☑ Dawnguard Addon
        • Next
  • Amulet Textures
    • Amulet Textures Options
      • ◉ Gamwich Amulet Textures - 1024
        • Next
  • Ring Textures
    • Ring Texture Options
      • ◉ Gamwich Ring Textures -Combined - 1k
    • Optional Mesh Packs
      • ☑ None
    • Optional Mesh Packs Dawnguard
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install

The plugin has been made redundant by the USSEP. In MO:

  1. Double click on the mod
  2. Select Optional ESPs tab
  3. Select GQJ_DG_vampireamuletfix.esp
  4. Click left-pointing arrow to move it to "Optional ESPs" in left pane

This will remove the redundant plugin.

GIANTLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Gold Septim - Coins RetexLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards Redux SELink to the mod's Wiki page. v2.7.6 Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards Redux SE
  • Installation Options
    • Meshes Type
      • ◉ Meshes - Thin
    • Sheath/Scabbard Type
      • ◉ Small - Default Textures
    • Skyforge Weapons
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
HAGRAVENLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Hardy HaresLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD Dark brotherhood doorLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: No glowing eyes version
HD Executioners Block SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Darker Dried Blood version
HD MiscLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD PondfishLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD Reworked HorsesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K-1K
HD Road SignsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Install Main and both Optional files.
HD Stone Quarry and Clay DepositLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download and install the 2K Main File and Majestic Mountain Patch from Optional Files.
  2. Merge the patch, choosing the version that matches the version of Majestic Mountains that was installed previously.
High-Res Dartwing TextureLink to the mod's Wiki page.
High Quality Food and Ingredients SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
High Quality Food and Ingredients SE
  • High Quality Food and Ingredients SE
    • Select One
      • ◉ Custom
        • Next
  • Pick and Choose
    • Select all you want
      • ☑ Baked Potatoes
      • ☑ Boiled Creme Treat
      • ☑ Bone Meal
      • ☑ Bread
      • ☑ Carrots
      • ☑ Charred Skeever Hide and Meat
      • ☑ Chicken Breast
      • ☑ Dead Hare
      • ☑ Dead Pheasant
      • ☑ Garlic
      • ☑ Green Apple
      • ☑ Grilled Chicken Breast
      • ☑ Grilled Leeks
      • ☑ Honey Nut Treat
      • ☑ Long Taffy Treat
      • ☑ Mead
      • ☑ Moon Sugar
      • ☑ Mora Tapinella
      • ☑ Pie
      • ☑ Potatoes
      • ☑ Powered Mannoth Tusk [It's misspelled]
      • ☑ Raw Beef
      • ☑ Red Apple
      • ☑ Salmon Meat
      • ☑ Salmon Steak
      • ☑ Salt Pile
      • ☑ Scaly Photiota
      • ☑ Seared Slaughterfish
      • ☑ Slaughterfish Scales
      • ☑ Sweet Roll
      • ☑ Venison
      • ☑ Void Salts
        • Next
  • Please Read
    • Finish
      • ☑ Confirm
        • Install
HORNCANDLESLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K-1K
Hybrids HD Plants and Herbs RetextureLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Hide the following files/folders:
  • Textures/Plants/FloraNirnroot01.dds
  • Textures/Plants/MountainFloweringPurple.dds
  • Textures/Plants/MountainFloweringPurple_n.dds
  • Textures/Plants/Snowberry01.dds
  • Textures/Plants/SnowberrySnow01.dds
  • Textures/Plants/TundraCotton01.dds
Immersive DragonsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Immersive SmilodonsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Improved closefaced helmetsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Improved SparksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Grindstones - Vanilla Sparks and Impact Effects - Vanilla Sparks
Improved Weapon Impact EFFECTS Correct Metal SELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Inferno - Fire Effects ReduxLink to the mod's Wiki page. Lite Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Inferno - Fire Effects Redux
  • Inferno Installation
    • Main Installation
      • ☑ Core Files
        • Next
  • Inferno Texture Resolution
    • Resolution Options
      • ☑ Lite
        • Next
  • Inferno Flame Glow
    • Glow Options
      • ☑ Normal
        • Next
  • Inferno Flame Color
    • Color Options
      • ☑ Yellow
        • Next
  • Inferno Flame Tile
    • Tile Options
      • ☑ New
        • Next
  • Inferno Flame Size
    • Size Options
      • ☑ Regular
        • Next
  • Inferno Optional Patches
    • Patch Options
      • ☑ Ember HD
        • Next
  • Inferno Optional Patches
    • Patch Options
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Inferno Optional Plugin
    • Plugin Option
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Just IceLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
MAMMOTHLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Masque of Argonian Vile SSELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Metallurgy - Ingots and Ore HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Step recommends: Metallurgy - Ingots Ore and Veins HD 1K (LOOSE) Main File.
MM - REAL ELKSLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
New Thinner TorchLink to the mod's Wiki page. Disregard the Main File, and download/install the Ultimate HD Torch by rheadude compatible file.
Nightingale Prime HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. Leather Version
N-R HD Display CaseLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Pilgrims DelightLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Real Wood Textures - FarmhousesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and Install the Real Wood Textures - Farmhouses No Green Moss Version Optional File.

Please ignore the "STEP" version of the mod available for download. It's for retired Guides. For SE, the 2K textures are desired.

Hide the following files/folders:

  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/StoneWall01.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/StoneWall01_n.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/WovenFence01_n.dds
Realistic HD Baskets RemasteredLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic HD Pickaxe RemasteredLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic Water TwoLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Realistic Water Two SE
  • Core Files
    • Core
      • ☑ Core Files
        • Next
  • Mod Options
    • Optional Textures
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Addons
      • ☑ Extended Ambiance
        • Install
Remove Small RocksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Remove Small Rocks v1.1 - High Compatibility Main File.
Rens HD ShrinesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Ren's HD Shrines by Rengel
  • Choices
    • Akatosh
      • ◉ Sands of Time
    • Arkay
      • ◉ Golden Shells
    • Dibella
      • ◉ Springs of Love
    • Julianos
      • ◉ Magic Circles
    • Kynareth
      • ◉ Heavenly Air
    • Mara
      • ◉ Gilded Saint
    • Stendarr
      • ◉ Tusk of Mercy
    • Talos
      • ◉ Rusted Steel
    • Zenithar
      • ◉ Golden Circuit
        • Install
Retexture for Bread - HearthfireLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Retexture for SoupLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: SMIM Mesh - Poor Version
Ruins Clutter ImprovedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Ruins_Clutter_Improved_SE_NMM_v3-1 Main File and all Update Files.
FOMOD Instructions
Ruins Clutter Improved SE
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Install Everything
        • Install

Hide the following files/folders:

  • meshes/furniture/workbenches
  • meshes/furniture/enchantingworkbench.nif
  • meshes/furniture/enchantingworkstation.nif
  • meshes/loadscreenart/loadscreenenchantingworkbench.nif
  • textures/clutter/candles
RUSTIC ANIMATED POTIONS and POISONSLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Install the Main File, and Step recommends: SSE Meshes Optional File.
RUSTIC ARMOR and WEAPONS SELink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
RUSTIC AZURAS STAR - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
RUSTIC COOKING - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
RUSTIC DAEDRA - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Step recommends: RUSTIC DAEDRA SSE - VANILLA - 2K Optional File.
RUSTIC DEATH HOUND and GARGOYLE - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Step recommends: RUSTIC DEATH HOUND AND GARGOYLE SSE - DARK - 2K Main File.
RUSTIC DRAGON CORPSE - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
RUSTIC ELDERSCROLL - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
RUSTIC FROSTBITE SPIDER - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
RUSTIC NORDIC MURALSLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K-1K
RUSTIC SOULGEMS - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the RUSTIC SOULGEMS - Special Edition - FOMOD - English Only Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
RUSTIC SOUL GEMS
  • Step 1 - Texture Resolution
    • Choose your texture resolution
      • ◉ 1k Textures
        • Next
  • Step 2 - Plugin
    • Select your plugin
      • ◉ Sorted + ESL + GIST Patch
        • Install
RUSTIC SPRIGGAN - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Download and install one Main File and the Optional File.
RUSTIC WINDOWS - Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
SABRECATLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Install both options in the installer.
SKELETONLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Install selecting the Skin, clutter without sounds option.
Skygazer Moons SSELink to the mod's Wiki page. No Glow
Skyrim Redesigned WIPLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the 'FOMOD Version and install using the STEP option.
Skyrim SE Improved PuddlesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Skyrim SE Improved Puddles FOMOD for Non-ENB users Miscellaneous File.
FOMOD Instructions
Skyrim SE Improved Puddles
  • Options
    • Windhelm Ice Puddle Textures
      • ◉ 2048x2048 Resolution
    • Choose an ESP
      • ☑ Skyrim Special Edition (all DLCs)
        • Install
Skyrim SE Skill Interface Re-TextureLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
The instructions below are for the most vanilla-like experience. Users may customize their installations to their preference.
FOMOD Instructions
SSIRT v4.1
  • Introduction
    • Introduction
      • ◉ Please Read
        • Next
  • Background
    • Background
      • ◉ Background - Default Stars - HDR Nebula
        • Next
  • Perk Lines
    • Perk Lines
      • ◉ Perk Lines - Option 1
        • Next
  • Perk Line Colours
    • Perk Line Colours
      • ◉ Perk Line Colour - Default
        • Next
  • Constellations
    • Constellations
      • ◉ Constellations - HD Default
        • Next
  • Perk Stars
    • Perk Stars
      • ◉ Perk Stars - Enhanced Default
        • Next
  • Dawnguard Moons and Stars
    • Dawnguard Moons and Stars
      • ◉ HD Masser and Secunda Vanilla Stars
        • Next
  • Vampire Background
    • Vampire Nebula Background
      • ◉ HDR Nebula
        • Next
  • Thanks
    • Thanks
      • ☑ Thank You
        • Install
Smooth Sky Mesh - SSELink to the mod's Wiki page. ONLY needed for those NOT installing Cathedral Weathers and Seasons and Step L&W Patch!
Stalhrim SourceLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Sweet MotherLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Sweet Mother HD Main File.
The Elder Scrolls V Rewritten - Arvak SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
The Elder Scrolls V Rewritten - Arvak SE
  • Installation Options
    • Plugins
      • ☑ Main File
    • Texture Sizes
      • ◉ High Definition
    • Model Options
      • ◉ Soul Cairn
        • Install
TROLLLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Ultimate HD TorchLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
Vivid Landscapes - Tundra Moss RevisedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Yellow Detailed Instructions available
STEP Recommends:
  • Main File: Vivid Landscapes - Tundra Moss Revised - yellow 1024
  • Optional File: SMIM compatibility patch

To install the Optional File:

  1. During installation right-click on the first Data folder listed under the root "data" folder.
  2. Select [Set data directory].
  3. Click [OK] to finish installation and choose to merge it.
WEBS S.E.Link to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
White Phial Replacer SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: White Phial Replacer SE Main File and White Phial Replacer 0.5x size Optional File.
Whiterun Trellis Redesigned SELink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
WISPMOTHERLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K-1K Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Wispmother.by.Kajuan
  • Custom
    • Select One
      • ◉ Full version - skin with a linen fabric cloth
        • Install


07-Sounds & Music[edit]

Mods that alter game audio
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Audio Overhaul for Skyrim SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Audio Overhaul Skyrim (x.x.x) Main File. The patches are not needed. Any conflicts are resolved with the Step Patches.
Better Animal FootstepsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Better Animal Footsteps
  • Custom
    • Select on option
      • ◉ Install all of the footstep sounds
        • Next
  • Custom
    • Optional Pets of Skyrim patch
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Better Horse Pain SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dragons Shout with VoiceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Dragons Shout with Voice - LOOSE Main File.

The Optional File, Dragons Shout with Voice from location, enables the sounds to play from the dragon's location. Without this option, the sounds will play at the player. Users can install this Optional File, however, it requires porting using the Skyrim SE Creation Kit. Porting mods is not covered in this Guides, however, it is as simple as loading the plugin in the CK, saving, and closing the CK.

Heart of the BeastLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Feral Werewolf sounds - HIGH AGGRESSION Main File.
IHSS - Improved Horse Step SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Lower Sounding Thieves Guild DoorLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic wolf howlsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Realistic Wolf Howls more barks than howls Main File.
Sound Hammering SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Thundering ShoutsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Ultra Realistic Bow Shoot SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Ultra Realistic Crossbow Shoot SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.


08-Character Appearance[edit]

Mods that alter any aspect of PC or NPC appearance
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
BeardsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Beards
  • Choose options
    • Choose full or vanilla replacer
      • ◉ Full install
    • Choose resolution
      • ◉ Low: 1024
        • Install
BrowsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 512 Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Brows
  • Choose options
    • Choose full or vanilla replacer
      • ◉ Full install
    • Choose resolution
      • ◉ Low: 512
        • Install
Consistent Older PeopleLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Consistent Older People XX Loose Optional File.
CoverkhajiitsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Download and install both Main Files.
FAR - Forgotten Argonian RootsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Detailed Instructions available
Step recommends: FAR 2k. all-in-one with readme

The instructions are broken up into segments for easier tracking:

  1. During installation, expand FAR-Forgotten Argonian Roots
  2. Expand Females→Default Body→MAIN texture
  3. Drag and drop the Textures folder onto < data > above
  4. Now fully expand the Textures folder that was just moved and leave it expanded.
  1. Expand Males→Better Males body→textures→actors→character
  2. Drag and drop the argonianmale folder onto character folder from the expanded Textures folder in step 4 above.
  3. Now expand the two argonianfemale and argonianmale folders from the expanded Textures folder in step 4 above.
    1. Untick the boxes next to the *body_s.dds, *hands_s.dds, and *head_s.dds within both the expanded folders.
  1. Expand no glow skin→Female→Textures→actors→character→argonianfemale
  2. Drag and drop the three files into the argonianfemale folder from the expanded Textures folder in step 4 above.
  1. Expand no glow skin→Male→Textures→actors→character→argonianmale
  2. Drag and drop the three files into the argonianmale folder from the expanded Textures folder in step 4 above.
  3. Untick FAR-Forgotten Argonian Roots and click [OK]
Female Vampires Have FangsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Immersive Spectral AssassinLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Lucien Lachance Restored - Immersive Spectral Assassin
  • Pick a version
    • Version
      • ◉ Alternative
        • Install

The Step Patch also changes the following:

  • Magic has been increased
    • Upon looking up the lore and Oblivion NPC, it was found that Lucien's magic was much higher than Skyrim has it. Therefore, it has been increased.
More Realistic HairLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Natural Eyes SSELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Northborn ScarsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
RUSTIC CHILDRENLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K STEP Recommends: RUSTIC CHILDREN - BODY - 2K
Superior Lore-Friendly HairLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Step recommends: SLF Hair - Rough Hair - Lite 1K Main File.
Tempered Skins for Females - UNPLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This is a Not Safe For Work (NSFW) mod page and installer!

Download the file directly: Tempered Skins for Females UNP and Vanilla

The instructions below are for the most vanilla-like options. Users are free to customize the options to according to their preferences.

FOMOD Instructions
Tempered Skins for Females
  • A - Body type
    • Body type
      • ◉ A7 - Bikini type IV
        • Next
  • B - Body diffuse options
    • Body diffuse options
      • ◉ B09 - Dirty, hairy, no scars
        • Next
  • C - Body normal options
    • Body normal options
      • ◉ C2 - Fit
        • Next
  • D - Face diffuse options
    • Face diffuse options
      • ◉ D2 - Elder
        • Next
  • E - Face normal options
    • Face normal options
      • ◉ E2 - Rougher
        • Next
  • F - Facemarks, scars (not necessary)
    • Scars
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Female tintmasks by Xenius
      • ◉ None
    • Male tintmasks by Xenius
      • ◉ None
    • Beast tintmasks by Xenius
      • ◉ None
        • Next
  • Warning
    • Attention
      • ☑ I got it
        • Install
Tempered Skins for MalesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This is a Not Safe For Work (NSFW) mod page and installer!

Step recommends: Tempered Skins for Males - Dressed Version Main File.
Download the file directly: Tempered Skins for Males - Dressed Version

The instructions below are for the most vanilla-like options. Users are free to customize the options to according to their preferences.

FOMOD Instructions
Tempered Skins for Males
  • A - Main Files
      • ◉ A1 - Vanilla underwear
        • Next
  • B - Body diffuse options
      • ◉ B6 - Dirty light haired
        • Next
  • C - Body normal options
      • ◉ C1 - Ripped
        • Next
  • D - Face diffuse options
      • ◉ D2 - Elder
        • Next
  • E - Face normal options
      • ◉ E2 - Harsh
        • Next
  • F - Facemarks, scars (not necessary)
      • ☐ Select None or Nothing for all
        • Next
  • Warning)
    • Attention
      • ☑ I got it
        • Install

Hide the following files:

  • textures/actors/character/argonianmale (entire folder)
  • textures/actors/character/khajiitmale/khajiitmalehead_s.dds
  • textures/actors/character/male/maleunderwear.dds
  • textures/actors/character/male/maleunderwear_n.dds
  • textures/armor/briarheart/briarheart.dds
  • textures/armor/briarheart/briarheart_n.dds
Vanilla Body with UNP TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Vanilla Makeup HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Step recommends: VMHD - All Races - 2K Main File. Also install the 2K update file, choosing to merge when asked.
Vanilla Warpaints AbsolutionLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Vanilla Warpaints Absolution
  • Main Files
    • Vanilla Replacers
      • ◉ 2K Vanilla Replacers
    • RaceMenu Plugins
      • ◉ 2K RaceMenu All-In-One
        • Next
  • Variant Textures
    • Vanilla Variants General Watercolor
      • ◉ None
    • Vanilla Variants Wood Elves Muddy
      • ◉ None
    • Vanilla Variants Dark Elf Ashy
      • ◉ None
    • Vanilla Variants Khajiit Stripes Furry
      • ◉ 2K Furry
    • Vanilla Variants Nord Splattered
      • ◉ None
    • Vanilla Variants Argonian Scaley
      • ◉ 2K Scaley
    • RaceMenu Variants General Watercolor
      • ◉ None
    • RaceMenu Variants Wood Elves Muddy
      • ◉ None
    • RaceMenu Variants Dark Elf Ashy
      • ◉ None
    • RaceMenu Variants Khajiit Stripes Furry
      • ◉ 2K Furry
    • RaceMenu Variants Nord Splattered
      • ◉ None
    • RaceMenu Variants Argonian Scaley
      • ◉ 2K Scaley
        • Next
  • Other Files
    • SKSE Tintmask Configs
      • ◉ None
        • Install


09-Fixes[edit]

Mods that fix various bugs not addressed by the Foundation mod group
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
(SKSE64) Havok FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Install this mod without any special configuration. It will be the simplest solution and all that is needed for most systems.


Depending on the GFX dirvers and PC environment, another option is available that may alleviate certain issues on higher-end PCs without having to cap frame rate. Read on for details.

After completing the guide and loading into the game for the first time, if there are issues like the following and no tweaks that fix:

  1. Input lag
  2. Stuttering
  3. Missing cursor on alt+tab or other cursor issues
  4. Other miscellaneous GFX bugs

... try disabling this mod and using SSE Dispay Teaks instead.


~z929669Ixian Insignia.pngTalk 4:50:41 14 February 2021 (UTC) wtote the following:

Rather than following the relevant display settings exactly as described in the STEP Guides, SSE Dispay Teaks was a much better option for my system. I also have a monitor with 144 Hz refresh. Configuring my setup as follows (all else remaining true to STEP Guides' recommendations) fixed all of my glitches without capping my frame rates (indoor/outdoor FPS range with max textures and settings in all mods and config ~ 70-144):

Radeon Adrenalin software for Skyrim deviations (from default) as follows:

  • Radeon Anti-Lag set to "On"
  • Wait for Vertical Refresh (Radeon driver vsync) set to "Off, unless application specifies"
  • AMD Freesync (analogous to Nvidia G-SYNC, but slightly inferior) set to "AMD Optimized"

... with BethINI deviations as follows:

  • VSync (unticked)
  • Lock Frame Rate (unticked)

... and SSEDisplayTweaks.ini deviations as follows:

  • SwapEffect=flip_sequential
  • MaxFrameLatency=1
  • MaximumRefreshRate=144 (or set to your monitor's refresh rate)
  • FramerateLimit=144 (or set to your monitor's refresh rate)
  • MaximumFramerate=144 (or set to your monitor's refresh rate)
1st Person Candlelight FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Bug Fixes SSELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Butterflies Land TrueLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Butterflies Land True - ESPFE Alternate Version Optional File.
Butterflies UnchainedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Main File and the Optional File. Choose ESL versions if NOT running from a saved game.
Dragon Stalking FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Enchantment Reload Fix SELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Eye Normal Map Fix SSELink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Eye Normal Map Fix SSE BC7 Optional File.
Fuz Ro D-oh - Silent VoiceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install both the Main and Optional Files.
Hearthfires Houses Building FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Invisibility and Eyes Mesh FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Invisibility and Eyes Mesh Fix Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
Invisibility and Eyes Mesh Fix by HHaleyy
  • Custom
    • Installation Options
      • ☑ Eyes Mesh Fix
      • ☑ Bug Fix Spell
        • Install
Modern Brawl Bug FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Reasonable Movement SpeedLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Landscape and Water FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Skyrim Landscape and Water Fixes
  • Main
    • Main Files
      • ☑ Main plugin, meshes and scripts
    • Patches
      • ☑ CACO
      • ☑ Landscape Fixes for Grass Mods
    • Walkway Wall FIX
      • ☑ Walkway Wall FIX SMIM
    • Optional
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Skyrim Project Optimization SELink to the mod's Wiki page. ESM Version
SkyUI SE - Flashing Savegames FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Stay At The System PageLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Unlimited BookshelvesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Waterbreathing Breathless Emerge SSELink to the mod's Wiki page.


10-Gameplay-General[edit]

Mods that alter gameplay mechanics and don't naturally fit into any other gameplay mod group
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Complete Alchemy and Cooking OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Main File and two Update Files.
Complete Crafting Overhaul RemasteredLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Main File and Update File.
GIST - Genuinely Intelligent Soul Trap SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install only the Main File.
Weapons Armor Clothing and Clutter FixesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K Detailed Instructions available
  1. Once installed, double-click on the mod listing in MO.
  2. Click on the Optional ESPs tab.
  3. Move WACCF_BashedPatchLvlListFix.esp to the left pane.


11-Gameplay-AI & Combat[edit]

Mods that alter AI and combat mechanics
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
AI Overhaul SSELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Auto Hide AmmoLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Simple Auto Unequip Ammo from the Old Files.

The old version of the mod is used due to potential issues with the newer version and to retain the functionality that users are used to from the LE Guide.

Better Stealth AI for FollowersLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Follower Trap SafetyLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic AI Detection SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Realistic AI Detection 2 SE - Medium Interior Medium Exterior Main File.
Run For Your LivesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Tavern AI fixLink to the mod's Wiki page.


12-Gameplay-Economy[edit]

Mods that alter currency, item stats, or other economy-related aspects of the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Trade and BarterLink to the mod's Wiki page.


13-Gameplay-Immersion[edit]

Mods that help to improve game immersion and role-playing scenarios
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Convenient HorsesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Disease Descriptions for the Immersive Adventurer SELink to the mod's Wiki page. DO NOT tick the Realistic Needs & Diseases option in the installer.
Get SnowyLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and instal the Main File

Move getSnowy_ObsidianWeathers_Patch.esp and getSnowy_WnC-Ashes Patch.esp to the Optional ESPs in MO.

Go On AheadLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Guard Dialogue Overhaul SELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Improved TrapsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Improved Traps Main File and Improved Traps - Follower Safety Patch Misc File.

Do not install Mining Makes Noise file!

No Lockpick Activate (SKSE) - UpdatedLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Point The WayLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Relationship Dialogue Overhaul - RDO SELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Simple Drop Lit Torches SELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Torches Ignite OilLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Torches Ignite Oil - Shock Edition Main File.


14-Gameplay-Quests[edit]

Mods that alter aspects of quests and/or related lore
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Alternate Start - Live Another Life - SSELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Even Better Quest Objectives SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
Even Better Quest Objectives
  • Options for this mod
    • Main
      • ☑ Main Plugin
    • Optional Files
      • ☑ Dark Brotherhood Forever to Miscellaneous Quests
        • Next
  • Mod Patches
    • Available Patches
      • ☑ Alternative Start - Live Another Life by Arthmoor
      • ☑ Book Covers Skyrim
      • ☑ Cutting Room Floor by Arthmoor
      • ☑ The Paarthurnax Dilemma by Arthmoor
        • Install
Gildergreen RegrownLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Not So Fast - Mage GuildLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Not So Fast - Main QuestLink to the mod's Wiki page.
The Choice is YoursLink to the mod's Wiki page.
The Paarthurnax DilemmaLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Thieves Guild Requirements SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Thieves Guild Requirements SE - FISS Version Main File.
Timing is Everything SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install: Timing is Everything SE - FISS version Main File.


15-Gameplay-Skills & Perks[edit]

Mods that alter PC skills and perks or related leveling
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Lock OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Lock Overhaul Main File.
Smithing Perks Overhaul SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Smithing Perks Overhaul -- Modified Vanilla Tree Main File.


16-Interface[edit]

Mods that alter any aspect of the user interface
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Better Container Controls for SkyUILink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Dialogue ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better MessageBox ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Font Overhaul - Natural Typefaces for SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Font Overhaul Main File.
Immersive HUD - iHUD Special EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Lore-Based Loading ScreensLink to the mod's Wiki page.
MoreHUD Inventory EditionLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: moreHUD Inventory Edition Loose Version Main File.
MoreHUD SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the moreHUD SE Light Master main file.

Users updating their installs with pre-existing saves (not starting a new game) who had the non-lite master version installed are required to continue using that version of the mod.

Users ignoring this advice risk their saves!

RaceMenuLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Smaller Vanilla Cursors SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Smaller Vanilla Cursors
  • Step 1
    • 1
      • ◉ Right
        • Install
Viewable Faction RanksLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Whose Quest Is It AnywayLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Yes Im SureLink to the mod's Wiki page.


17-Locations[edit]

Mods that add new locations and/or alter vanilla locations
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Bring Out Your DeadLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Cutting Room Floor - SSELink to the mod's Wiki page.
Farmhouse Chimneys SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Farmhouse Chimneys
  • Base Options
    • Alternative Toppers
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Lands
    • New Lands
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Vanilla Villages
    • Vanilla Villages
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Helarchen CreekLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Landscape Fixes For Grass ModsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Main File and the following Optional Files:
  • Patches for Arthmoor's Town add-ons
FOMOD Instructions
Landscape Fixes For Grass Mods - Patches
  • Select an Option
    • Select options
      • ☑ Patch for Alternate Start - Live Another Life
      • ☑ Patch for Cutting Room Floor
      • ☑ Patch for Oakwood
        • Next
  • Patches Installed.
    • Select an Option
      • ☑ Reminder
        • Install
OakwoodLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Oblivion Gates RemadeLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
Oblivion Gates Remade
  • Step1
    • Optional Files
      • ☑ Map Markers
    • Textures
      • ◉ Mountain-Like Textures for MAJESTIC MOUNTAINS.
        • Install
Smooth ShoresLink to the mod's Wiki page.


18-Lighting & Weather[edit]

Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
This section is optional!
We wish to be clear that the mods included within this section are completely optional. They are still within the Mandate, however, we've made this section optional for users who wish to customize their own lighting and weather for their games. As such, we've included an additional patch solely for this mod group.

Optional mod group that alters lighting and weather systems in the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Cathedral Weathers MCMLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Cathedral Weathers and SeasonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Main File.
Lanterns Of Skyrim IILink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
Lanterns Of Skyrim II
  • Main Installation
    • Main Files
      • ☑ Lanterns Of Skyrim II
    • Addons
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Main Patches
      • ◉ LoS II - SMIM patch
        • Next
  • Patches (A)
    • Miscellaneous Patches
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Patches (B)
    • Miscellaneous Patches
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Patches (C)
    • Arthmoor Village Expansions patches
      • ☑ LoS II-Helarchen Creek patch
      • ☑ LoS II-Oakwood patch
        • Install
Luminosity Lighting OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Luminosity - Lightweight Lighting Main File.
Relighting Skyrim - SSELink to the mod's Wiki page. Users do not need any of the patches. These are incorporated into the Step L&W Patch.
Storm Lightning for SSELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Select the Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
Storm Lightning for SSE and VR
  • Select Game
    • Select Game
      • ◉ Skyrim Special Edition
        • Next
  • Select Game Version
    • Select SSE Version
      • ◉ 1.5.97
        • Next
  • Select Plugin Type
    • Select Plugin
      • ◉ ESL Flagged
        • Next
  • Select Night Time Sheet Halo
    • Select Sheet Halo
      • ◉ Halo with Dimmer Lightning (Level 0)
        • Next
  • Select Day Time Sheet Halo
    • Select Sheet Halo
      • ◉ Halo Very Dim (Level 3)
        • Next
  • Select Night Time Fork Halo
    • Select Fork Halo
      • ◉ Halo Dimmer (Level 1)
        • Next
  • Select Day Time Fork Halo
    • Select Fork Halo
      • ◉ Halo Very Dim (Level 3)
        • Install
Wonders of WeatherLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Some may want to reinstall without rain splashes option if CTD is encountered.
FOMOD Instructions
Wonders of Weather
  • Options
    • Core
      • ☑ Wonders of Weather
    • Optionals
      • ☑ Less Opaque Splashes
        • Install

19-Utilities[edit]

Tools used to generate mod resources from data provided by previous mod groups
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Fores New Idles in Skyrim SELink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This mod is packaged incorrectly. To install,
  1. Download and install the Main File.
  2. MO will prompt the user.
  3. Expand the FNIS Behavior SE x.x.x folder.
  4. Right-click on Data and select Set data directory.
  5. Click OK to install the mod.
  6. Enable the mod.

Add to MO

FNIS is run through Mod Organizer like most other tools. Add FNIS to the list of executables by doing the following:

  1. In the right pane, go to the Data tab.
  2. Locate the tools folder and expand it. Then expand the GenerateFNIS_for_Users folder.
  3. Right-click the GenerateFNISforUsers.exe file and select [Add as Executable].
  4. In the window that opens, type FNIS SE for the Title.
  5. Click [OK].

Generating Animation Files[edit]

Once FNIS SE is installed, the animation files need to be generated for the skeleton changes.

  1. Sort the load order with LOOT, ignoring any plugin errors or warnings at this time.
  2. Run FNIS SE via Mod Organizer 2.
  3. In the Available Patches at the bottom of the window, tick the box adjacent to "SKELETON Arm Fix".
  4. Click the [Update FNIS Behavior] button and wait for a message to appear in the window stating "X animations for Y mods successfully included".
  5. Click [Exit].

After closing FNIS SE, there will be files in Overwrite (essentially a fake mod located at the bottom of the left pane if sorted by priority ascending):

  1. Right-click Overwrite and select Create Mod
  2. Name it STEP FNIS SE Output and click OK.
    • This will create a new mod listing in the left pane for the FNIS SE generated files.
  3. Tick the new mod entry to enable it.

20-Patches[edit]

Guide-specific mods required to resolve any incompatibilities among mods
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Better Dynamic Majestic MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic Water Two SE Patch HubLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install only the Landscape Fixes for Grass Mods patch.
Useless Patches CollectionLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Main File using the following instructions:
FOMOD Instructions
Useless Patches Collection
  • Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Song of the Green (Auri Follower) Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Audio Overhaul for Skryim Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Weapons Armor Clothing and Clutter Fixes Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☑ The Choice is Yours
      • ☑ Cutting Room Floor
        • Next
  • Cutting Room Floor Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☑ Relationship Dialogue Overhaul - RDO SE
        • Next
  • Armor and Clothing Extension Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • The Forgotten City Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Recorder - Standalone Fully Voiced Follower Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Enhanced Lighting for ENB (ELE) Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Immersive Sounds - Compendium Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Next
  • Extra Patches
    • Plugin Type
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
Step CR PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download and install the Step SkyrimSE Guide - Conflict Resolution Patch Main File.
  2. Name it: Step SkyrimSE - CR Patch

Sorting and cleaning the new load order[edit]

Before moving on, users should run LOOT, sort, and accept the default load order provided. Users should also take note of any plugins that LOOT reports as needing to be cleaned and perform the standard cleaning procedures on these mods. Keep in mind that LOOT tends to lag behind on the report information, therefore, it will not always be accurate. Users should ignore any reported missing compatibility patches. The STEP Patches take care of all the patching, thus eliminating the need for those additional plugins.

Users should be aware the new STEP Patches are designed to work with a default, LOOT-sorted order. This eliminates the need to set rules on the load order, thus, reducing user tasks and streamlines the Guide's installation. From this point on, users should:

  • Sort their load order using LOOT when adding, removing, updating mods that adds, removes, or replaces a plugin (ESL, ESM, ESP) from their load order.
  • Update LOOT (the program) any time it notifies their is an update available.
  • For good measure, ALWAYS sort your load order by running LOOT before running the game.
Info-Logo.png

NOTE

At this point, it's a good idea to launch a NEW GAME to verify that Skyrim SE loads without CTD (after sorting with LOOT). The game should successfully load into the Alternate Start character generation interface. If so, just Alt + Tab to close Skyrim. If the game crashes, there is a problem with load order, enabled mods, or any number of things missed in the above instructions. Please review mods installed and enabled as compared to this guide and ensure LOOT is run and plugins sorted.


STEP 5[edit]

Level of Detail (LOD)

Users should now have all the mods and patches installed and sorted. The next step is to generate custom LOD data for the modded setup. Thankfully, xLODGen and DynDOLOD makes generating the data fairly simple. Before moving on, create three empty mods to use for the output files in this section:

  1. Right-click on Overwrite in the mod list in MO and hover over All Mods (this can also be done from the menu at the top of the left pane in MO as described earlier).
  2. Select, Create empty mod.
  3. Name it (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen (recall that this will only be used as a resource for xLODGen).
    • This places a new, empty mod at the bottom of the mod list. However if it's not, place it last in the mod list.
  4. Repeat these steps to create three other new mods named:STEP SSE - xLODGen Output, STEP SSE - TexGen Output, and STEP SSE - DynDOLOD Output; or anything unique and descriptive to their source/function.
  5. Place these other new mods directly after (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen.


The last few mods in the mod list should now reflect the following (numbering is approximate):

  1. DLC: Hearthfires
  1. ...
  2. (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen
  3. STEP SSE - xLODGen Output
  4. STEP SSE - TexGen Output
  5. STEP SSE - DynDOLOD Output
Info-Logo.png

NOTE

Because order is so important for properly generating all of the data, follow this section in the order it's presented!

xLODGen[edit]

xLODGen is run first to generate updated LOD terrain textures and meshes so that landscape LOD is updated with mod changes:

Preparation[edit]

Terrain LOD preparation

  1. Visit the STEP Forum and download SSE-Terrain-Tamriel.esm.
  2. Place the file in the (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen folder in MO and enable (tick) the mod.
    • If the Overwrite folder isn't empty, it should be. Remove or delete all files/folders.
  3. Ensure the new plugin is active in the plugin list (ticked).
  4. Ensure the (TEMP) - Cathedral Landscapes - LODGen and (TEMP) Magestic Mountains - LODGen mods from the Foundation mod group are enabled, as these will be used by xLODGen to regenerate corrected landscape and mountain LOD.
  5. Sort with LOOT.

Generation[edit]

Terrain LOD generation

  1. Run xLODGen from the MO2 executable drop-down list.
  2. Select all worldspaces.
  3. Ensure that ONLY the Terrain LOD box is ticked in the right pane.
  4. Use the following settings, which have been verified in extensive testing:
  5. Click [Generate] to run the process, which will require upwards of 30 minutes, depending on the PC.
  6. Once the "LOD generation complete" message has appeared, close xLODGen.

Wrap Up[edit]

Terrain LOD wrap up

  1. Navigate to the xLODGen output folder (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/xLODGen/xLODGen_Output).
  2. Back on MO, open the STEP SSE - xLODGen Output mod in an Explorer window (Ctrl+double click).
  3. Cut and paste the files from the LOD generation to the Step Skyrim SE - xLODGen Output folder. Close both folders.
  4. Enable STEP SSE - xLODGen Output mod.
  5. Disable (TEMP) - SSE Terrain - Tamriel - xLODGen and (TEMP) - Cathedral Landscapes - xLODGen mods (only needed as a xLODGen resources). NOTE: (TEMP) Magestic Mountains -LODGen will still be needed for object LOD.

DynDOLOD[edit]

Users will now create object LODs using Dynamic Distant Objects LOD (DynDOLOD). DynDOLOD is one part mod and one part tool. Users should already have both parts installed from earlier in the Guide.

Run TexGen[edit]

TexGen, shipped with DynDOLOD, is a program that will generate custom object LOD textures based on enabled mods. This means distance object textures will better match their fully rendered counterparts. To run TexGen:

Instructions for TexGen

  1. Run TexGen from the MO2 executable drop-down list.
  2. Keep the default Output location. STEP Recommends:
    • GPU with VRAM ≤ 4 GB:
      • LOD Texture Size = 512
      • Diffuse Alpha = BC3
      • Normal Specular = BC7 Max
      • Diffuse = BC1
      • Normal = BC7 Max
    • GPU with VRAM > 4 GB:
      • LOD Texture Size = 1024
      • Diffuse Alpha = BC7 Max
      • Normal Specular = BC7 Quick
      • Diffuse = BC7 Max
      • Normal = BC7 Quick
  3. Once the option has been chosen, click [Start].
  4. Once the completed message has appeared (5-30 minutes, depending on the PC), click [Exit].
  5. Navigate to the DynDOLOD TexGen_Output folder location (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD/TexGen_Output).
  6. Copy or cut the files from the TexGen_Output folder.
  7. In MO2, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click on the STEP Skyrim SE - TexGen Output mod created previously. This opens the mod's folder in an Explorer window.
  8. Paste the files into the mod's folder, and close the window.
  9. Enable the STEP Skyrim SE - TexGen Output mod in MO.

Run DynDOLOD[edit]

DynDOLOD will now be run to generate the remainder of the LODs for the game. Users have the options of generating higher quality 3D Trees or generating the standard tree LOD. Following one of the two sets of instructions below, depending on the option desired.

Standard (2D) Tree LOD[edit]
Instructions for Standard Trees

  1. Run DynDOLOD from the MO2 executable drop-down list.
  2. Click [Advanced] once the main tool window is displayed.
  3. Select all worldspaces.
  4. Ensure the following are ticked:
    Candles
    FXGlow
    Generate static LOD
    Generate tree LOD
    Create texture atlas
    Generate DynDOLOD
    Windows
    High
  5. Set Max tile size equal to the texture size used for TexGen previously.
  6. Keep the default Output Path and click [Medium]. NOTE: Users with systems able to handle High settings, may do so.
  7. Click [OK], and get a cup of coffee. This takes ~20-30 minutes on SSDs.
  8. Once the completed message has appeared, click [Save & Exit].
3D Tree LOD[edit]

This Guide will result in Hybrid 3D Trees. Full 3D trees are possible, but are not recommend for gameplay; thus, not covered here. Hybrid 3D Trees are a performance friendly option for high quality tree LODs. It generates 3D branches with 2D trunks.

Instructions for 3D Trees

  1. Open the ./DynDOLOD folder (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD/).
  2. Open the DynDOLOD_SSE.ini file (e.g. ../DynDOLOD/Edit Scripts/DynDOLOD/DynDOLOD_SSE.ini)
  3. Set TreeLOD=0
  4. Run DynDOLOD from the MO2 executable drop-down list.
  5. Select all worldspaces.
  6. Ensure the following are ticked:
    Candles
    FXGlow
    Generate static LOD
    NOTE: "Generate tree LOD" will be greyed out as 'N/A' if TreeLOD=0 was set in DynDOLOD.ini as described above.
    Create texture atlas
    Generate DynDOLOD
    Windows
    High
  7. Set Max tile size equal to the texture size used for TexGen previously.
  8. Keep the default Output Path and click [High]. NOTE: The High preset is the only preset that will generate 3D Trees! NOTE: If High is too performance heavy, users can select another preset and manually edit the tree line in the mesh rules to match how it reads from the High preset.
  9. Click [OK], and get a cup of coffee.
  10. Once the completed message has appeared, click [Save & Exit].

Wrap Up[edit]

Instructions for DynDOLOD Wrap Up

  1. Navigate to the ./DynDOLOD folder location (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD).
  2. Copy or cut the files from the ./DynDOLOD_Output folder.
  3. In MO2, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click on the STEP SSE - DynDOLOD Output mod created above.
  4. Paste the files into the mod's folder and close the window.
  5. In MO2, enable the mod.
  6. Disable (TEMP) Magestic Mountains - LODGen.
  7. Ensure the DynDOLOD esm and esp files are ticked in the right pane.
  8. Sort with LOOT.
  9. Ensure DynDOLOD.esp is the last plugin in the load order and enabled. If not, sort with LOOT.

Occlusion[edit]

Users will now use xLODGen to update the occlusion data for the new mod list. During so will prevent holes in the distance landscape that is notoriously bad over water cells. To do this:

Instructions for occlusion generation

  1. Run xLODGen from the MO2 executable drop-down list.
  2. Select only the Tamriel and DLC2SolstheimWorld worldspaces.
  3. Ensure only the Occlusion box is ticked.
  4. Use the following settings:
    • Quality: 3
    • Height: 100
    • Radius: 100
    • Mode: -Flat +Borders
  5. Click [Generate] to run the process.
  6. Once the completed message has appeared, click the red X to close xLODGen.
    • Occlusion.esp is saved automatically and will be placed in the Overwrite folder in MO.
  7. Right-click on the Overwrite mod listing and select, [Create new mod].
  8. Name it STEP SSE - Occlusion or anything unique.
  9. Ensure the new mod is active (ticked).
  10. Ensure the Occlusion.esp is the last plugin in the load order just after DyDOLOD.esp and that it is enabled, else run LOOT and sort plugins.

When do users need to rebuild LODs?[edit]

Users should rebuild their LODs any time mods are installed or removed that include added, removed, or relocated exterior objects such as buildings, roads, trees, etc.

STEP 6[edit]

Mod Configuration (MCM)

Users should now be ready to load the game for the final steps, configuring mods in the MCM. The MCM is a feature of SkyUI that allows mod authors to provide custom settings for their mods, which users can set within the game. Below users will find recommendations for all the mods installed within this Guide.

First Launch[edit]

Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
The addition of MCM menu item may juxtapose the 'Exit' menu item, so be sure to scroll down to exit if it is 'missing'.

To run the game, select the SKSE Skyrim Launcher executable from the drop-down list and click the Run button. Users should keep the following in mind when first launching from a fresh Guide installation:

  • A new game is required! ... In other words, don't load from a save when first launching after a fresh Guide installation unless you know what can happen (which is beyond scope to support).NOTE: Users upgrading from a previous installation of the Guide should review the changelog of the update to determine whether or not a new game is recommended.
  • When launching the game for the first time after a Guide install, the load could take significantly longer than normal. This will only be a one-time wait as all the installed mods are being initialized. Subsequent load times should be shorter.
  • Finally, users may find INI files in their Overwrite folder after closing the game (e.g. ../SKSE/Plugins/SkyrimUncapper.ini). NOTE: These files should be moved to their respective mod folders, respecting their folder structure in the move.

Alternate Start[edit]

Users starting a new game will see SkyrimLE:Alternate Start - Live Another Life in action. Lets face it, Skyrim is old and the vanilla start quest is the last thing many want to play through. Alternate Start provides a variety of ways to start the game for these users. Once a new game is started, players are loaded into a locked cell. Simply talk to the statue in the room, choose a preference for starting the game (the vanilla start is provided as an option), and then sleep in the bed to start your new life. Users choosing an alternate start location can start the main quest line by simply visiting Helgen.

Mod Configuration Menu Settings[edit]

Cathedral Weathers[edit]

Users who have installed the optional Lighting & Weathers mod group should set Interior Vision to "Darker" in order for Luminosity to have the correct interior brightness.

Complete Crafting[edit]

The following screenshots display the recommended settings for the mod's MCM:

Farmhouse Chimneys SE[edit]

Vanilla villages should all be ticked on the first page. The following screenshot displays the recommended settings for the Mod Support page:

Lanterns of Skyrim II[edit]

The following screenshots display the recommended settings for the mod's MCM:

Lock Overhaul[edit]

This mod must be activated to work. Once enabled, the settings are user preference.

Storm Lightning[edit]

The Minimal preset in the MCM is recommended.

Timing is Everything[edit]

Timing is Everything is set up in a way that integrates DLC content and balances the game's quests. Vampires and werewolves will show up early in the game because the are a part of the world. Dragonborn will not start until the news of your deeds have time to reach the island and you become something that must be dealt with. Attack chances are lowered from 100% so users will have less of a chance to predict an attack. Other things are active that make sense, such as not being able to do the Break of Dawn quest if you're a vampire, Thalmor won't attack until after they enter the questline, etc. The following screenshots display the recommended settings for the mod's MCM:

Remaining Mod Configurations[edit]

The remaining mod configurations are recommended to be left at their defaults for the most enhanced, vanilla experience. However, users may adjust the settings for these mods to their preference.

STEP 7[edit]

Optional Customizations

(optional) BethINI Customization[edit]

Users are now ready to play their enhanced Skyrim SE, however, please consider reading the remainder of the Guide before taking an arrow to the knee.

The final consideration is customizing BethINI once the game is confirmed to be stable. Users who have no issues with performance and aren't knowledgeable with the settings can simply follow along. Other users can feel to customize the settings to their personal preferences. Caution is advised against using the custom INI input feature. This feature will allow users to make custom INI edits, however, doing so without the knowledge of exactly what the customizations are doing can cause instability.

The following are provided as examples of the settings used for taking the screenshot's on Nexus (1920x1080 using a GTX 1060). The recommended settings are called out and/or shown in the screenshots below. Simply click on a section heading to expand it.

Basic
 STEP Recommends:
  • Antialiasing: TAA
  • Windowed Mode
  • Borderless
  • Vsync
  • FPS: 60
  • Recommended Tweaks
  • BethINI Presets
    • Users should select a preset. High was chosen for the screenshots.
General
 STEP Recommends:
  • Users should match the image.
  • Screenshot settings are optional and can be customized.
Gameplay
 STEP Recommends:
  • Over-Encumbered Reminder: 300 (5 mins) or 3600 (1 hour)
Optionally, users can tick NPC Use Ammo or a more realistic experience. This will cause NPCs to only use the ammo available in their inventories.
Interface
 STEP Recommends:
  • Untick Mod Manager Menu
  • Tick Fix Map Menu Navigation and Remove Map Menu Blur
Detail
 STEP Recommends:
  • Water: Select all but Sky
    • Reflecting the sky can cause LOD seams on the water to be more visible.
  • Particles: 4500 (this just over doubles vanilla)
  • Tick Depth of Field
  • Untick Lens Flare (optional)
  • Untick Anamorphic Lens Flare (optional, this is the flare seen on candles)
View Distance
 STEP Recommends:
  • Grass Fade: 18000 (max)
  • Light Fade: 50000 (max)
  • Flickering Light: 8192
The remainder of the Fade values are user preference. They are set fairly high for Tech's system, which allows for longer distance viewing of NPCs for archery and strategy planning. uGridsToLoad should never been changed from vanilla's default of 5. The preset here should match the preset selected on the Basic tab.
Visuals
 Grass:
If using SkyrimSE:Cathedral Landscapes, these setting should not need to be adjusted. If not, set the values for grass according to the installation instructions of the grass mod in use.
  • Untick Improved Shader. SkyrimSE:Majestic Mountains includes a custom INI that makes edits to the Sparkles and Improved Snow Shader, if used.
Custom
 Make the custom adjustment in the image to speed up the book opening animation by twice the speed of vanilla.
Make the below additional adjustment to fix the line in the water from SSR:
[Display]
fWaterSSRIntensity=0.5

(optional) ENBSeries with the STEP Skyrim SE Guide[edit]

Because the effects of ENB are so variable, depending on 1) use of lighting/weather mods, 2) a great many other options for various mods, and 3) PC hardware and software environments, the Guide doesn't include an ENB preset. Instructions and recommendations would result in a massuve flurry of support 'issues'. To provide a bit of direction, we've included a small list of ENB presets below which were made to work with Cathedral Weathers without breaking the horizon. We've included a variety of "looks", but users should search on Nexus to find the preset that works best for their preferences.

Info-Logo.png
NOTE:
ENBoost is entirely redundant in Skyrim SE on a 64-bit system with > 4 GB RAM. A 64-bit PC should ALWAYS have > 4 GB RAM, as ≤ 4 GB introduces a completely unnecessary memory ceiling for any 64-bit app. The ENBoost option exists solely so that the Skyrim LE engine can behave more like a 64-bit game engine by providing extra memory spaces in a 32-bit environment. Use it only for Skyrim LE (past STEP Guides). It might be beneficial for those running Skyrim SE on a 64-bit system with ≤ 4 GB RAM.


COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS[edit]

Help build STEP

STEP can only get bigger and better with help from the community. It is very time consuming for the STEP team to ensure that the Guide is consistently maintained at the highest quality possible. We need people to help us identify mods that improve the vanilla game while adhering to our Mandate. We also need ongoing bug reports, reviews, and updates on mods that may cause problems or that stray from the Mandate.

In order to suggest a mod for inclusion, visit the Mods section of the Forums.

Call for Mod Testers[edit]

Community members interested in becoming Mod Testers, please contact TechAngel85 via PM on the forums. Once registered, Mod Testers will be given access to Staff forums that houses useful information. For more information about our mod testing process, read through the Mod Testing Guide to get a sense of what's involved.

Call for Forum Moderators[edit]

Regular community members interested in becoming moderators, please contact TechAngel85 via PM on the forums. Forum Moderators will be determined based upon level and quality of activity within our community.

STEP Core Builds[edit]

STEP Builds are user-created guides that use one of the STEP Core mod lists as a foundation to their own mod list within their guide. If a STEP Build adheres to our guidelines, it can be considered as a candidate for being hosted on the STEP 3.0 website. An example of a STEP Build will be provided with the release of STEP 3.0 in the form of Tech's Skyrim Special Edition Guide. Be certain to read the STEP Builds documentation when it becomes available.

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MO2

This one of the reasons why Mod Organizer is the chosen mod-management utility for STEP. MO2 makes building mod lists for STEP Builds a breeze.


Thank you for reading and enjoy the game!


Credits[edit]

Thank you all!

The STEP administrators would sincerely like to thank (from the bottoms of our fuzzy little hearts):

  • The authors of mods recommended within our Guides
  • The authors of mods who granted permission for their mods to be incorporated into the STEP Patches
  • The core Community for feedback, suggestions and input
  • The Beta and Mod Testers for their good humor and rigorous analyses
  • The Nexus community
  • Bethesda Softworks for their games
  • Tannin for the gift that is Mod Organizer
  • All the developers that kept MO alive to create MO2

STEP Staff[edit]

Administrators[edit]

  • TechAngel85
    • Lead Release Coordinator, Patch Coordinator, Lead Forum Administrator, Mod Author
  • z929669
    • Project Founder, Lead Site Developer, Lead Site Administrator

SM Forum Moderators[edit]

Currently active STEP Forum Moderators:

  • DoubleYou
  • Greg

Honorary Staff[edit]

Retired Founders, Administrators, and Staff:

  • Aiyen
  • Bealdwine
  • deathneko11
  • EisDrache
  • EssArrBee
  • Farlo
  • frihyland
  • GSDfan (still active: MO Support)
  • GrantSP
  • hishutup
  • Kelmych
  • MontyMM
  • Nebulous112
  • oqhansoloqo
  • phazer11
  • rootsrat
  • stoppingby4now
  • TheCompiler
  • torminater
  • Uhuru
  • WilliamImm
  • wolverine2710