SkyrimLE:2.2.3

From Step Modifications Wiki


Warning-Logo.png 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This guide is out of date!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 is now on a biweekly release schedule.

  • Minor version updates will occur every other weekend (usually on Saturday afternoon on United States time).
  • Minor revisions apply mainly to new STEP users installing fresh.
  • Updates are optional for current STEP users, but minor updates should require very little effort.

About STEP[edit]

A Foreword

STEP is an extensive, STEP-by-STEP, guide to enhancing TESV Skyrim with the best mods, tweaks and settings. The focus is quality over quantity. STEP tries to stay as close to vanilla Skyrim as possible while improving visual quality and fixing game-play mechanics.

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, or more experienced modders may use it as general guide.

The STEP team collects information from the modding community through detailed reviews, feedback, and suggestions exchanged on the STEP Community Forums. Posting rules apply, so be sure to read and follow them and enjoy a warm welcome and plenty of high-quality support from a large community of experienced STEPers. Check out the comparison screenshots on the Nexus. But remember: the only way to experience STEP ... is to actually experience STEP.

Call for Wiki Content Editors[edit]

The STEP Community Wiki is open to editing by all registered community members; however, we need assistance maintaining and creating new supporting content. We are particularly interested in obtaining a few people with a passion for writing and editing. Familiarity with wiki markup is preferable but not necessary. Interested parties please contact one of the STEP Admin via PM on the forums (Please register on the forums and see the very bottom of the Forum Team page).

Call for STEP Mod Testers[edit]

STEP users interested in becoming testers, please contact one of the STEP Admin via PM on the forums (Please register on the forums and see the very bottom of the Forum Team page). Once registered, record your system specs by clicking on the button and filling out the form. These specs will be associated with performance data by tester.

Call for STEP Benchmarks[edit]

Users interested in helping out with the STEP Benchmarking Project, see our benchmarking guidelines and submit results on the forums (see link at upper left of site header bar).

Call for Forum Moderators[edit]

Regular STEP forum users interested in becoming moderators, please contact one of the STEP Admin via PM on the forums (Please register on the forums and see the very bottom of the Forum Team page).

Visit the forums and provide feedback related to STEP. Assistance and feedback are what is needed in order for STEP to grow and improve. Also visit the STEP Facebook page maintained by TheCompiler (Daniel).



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


STEP Mandate[edit]

A Commitment

Core STEP is about enhancing vanilla Skyrim for the PC ...

  • Texture replacements at minimized performance cost and true to vanilla Skyrim
  • Continuity of all in-game textures (i.e., comparable resolution and style across all armors, weapons, clutter, terrain, etc.)
  • Graphical mods (ESPs) including new content and effects that "fit" vanilla Skyrim
  • Gameplay & sound mods that improve the consistency and the perceived intent of vanilla Skyrim
  • Interface mods that improve the menus and UI.
  • Fix mods that truly "fix" malfunctioning aspects of vanilla Skyrim.

STEP is NOT about ...

  • Content mods that conflict with vanilla Skyrim and/or TES lore
  • Mods that change the perceived intent of vanilla Skyrim
  • Sex mods or female body replacement mods
  • Music replacement mods
  • Gameplay overhauls

Performance, Baseline & Extreme STEP[edit]

STEP provides an enhanced vanilla experience by utilizing a minimum or “Core” set of game enhancements adhering to the original vanilla feel of the game according to the STEP Mandate. All Core mods are considered essential to all STEP "versions". Non-Core mods are optional but highly recommended. STEP versions are delineated at three levels according to relative performance impacts:

Performance STEP: Core mods only; performance options wherever possible.
My poor box needs all of the mercy that I can spare it, but I must have STEP!
Baseline STEP: Core and non-Core mods; performance/quality and balanced options wherever possible.
My box is decent, but I hate even the tiniest FPS drops and stuttering!
Extreme STEP: Core and non-Core mods; highest-quality options wherever possible.
My box is omnipotent!


STEP 1[edit]

Pre-Installation Setup

Requirements[edit]

  • Official Patch v1.8
    There have been no reported issues with v1.9. Please report any possible bugs found on the forums.
  • Patience and attention to detail
Info-Logo.png Notice: The official DLCs are NOT required for STEP, but they are supported. Several mods in STEP do require them, but these mods can be skipped without worry.

Baseline System[edit]

The STEP Guide is written with the following system (or comparable) in mind:

  • Windows 7
  • Intel i5/i7 quad core
  • 4+ GB system RAM
  • GPU with 1+ GB VRAM (DDR5)
  • Resolution: 1680x1050
Info-Logo.png Notice: Users with a less powerful system should only install the essential mods indicated as Core and select the most performance-friendly mod versions available. See Performance section for details.

1.A. Install Steam & Skyrim[edit]

This guide assumes that the reader has installed Steam as recommended by the Skyrim Installation Guide (SIG). Please take some time to properly set up and configure Steam as recommended by the guide before continuing.

It is very important to begin by reverting to a clean Vanilla Skyrim installation.

1.B. Skyrim Launcher Options[edit]

1.B.1. Launcher Settings[edit]

  1. Launch Skyrim from Steam and click on [Options]. This will establish the INI file configurations according to the detected hardware. It will also establish the registry entries necessary for utilities and applications used downstream.
  2. Click the [Ultra] button.
  3. Under Antialiasing, select 4 Samples, as the difference between 4 Samples and 8 Samples is very subtle and not worth the performance loss (per Tweakguides). Drop down to 2 Samples as a last-resort to improve performance. NOTE: If using SMAA, set this value to zero.
  4. Under Anisotropic Filtering, select 16 Samples (use 8 Samples for a very slight performance gain).
  5. Click the [Advanced] button and make sure FXAA is UN-checked. FXAA reduces the Anisotropic Filter effect as well as overall texture detail. It is a huge performance improvement over AA, but comes with a quality cost. For more information on FXAA, and to see if it is right for you, see this post. NOTE: SMAA is a superior alternative to FXAA.
    • Consider setting shadow detail to 'High' rather than 'Ultra' for video cards with less than 1 GB VRAM (Performance STEP), or leave at 'Ultra' for Extreme STEP:
    • Under [View Distance], make sure Object Detail Fade is UN-checked and adjust grass to 100% with all other settings around 50%.NOTE: High-end systems can handle max view distances just fine.
  6. Exit and click Play from the Skyrim Launcher. This will create the necessary configuration files, and registry settings required by downstream applications (contrary to popular belief, the INI files are created immediately, and the game does not need to launch).

1.C. Display & Video Card Settings[edit]

1.C.1. Nvidia Users[edit]

  1. Download and install the latest Nvidia drivers (beta if available).
  2. Download Nvidia Inspector.
  3. See the Nvidia Inspector Wiki Guide for configuration details.

1.C.2. ATI Users[edit]

  1. Download and install the latest AMD drivers (beta if available).
  2. Open Catalyst Control Center, and click on the [Preferences] button in the upper right. Select Advanced View.
  3. Under the Gaming section on the left select 3D Application Settings.
    • Mirror the anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering values set using the Skyrim Launcher above.
    • Set [Tessellation] to AMD Optimized
    • Set [Catalyst A.I.] to highest texture quality and tick Enable Surface Format Optimization
    • Set [Wait for vertical refresh] to Quality
    • Set [Anti-Aliasing Mode] to Multi-sample AA
    • Tick Triple buffering under [OpenGL Settings]

1.C.3. Display[edit]

Configure the monitor's display settings using Windows Display configuration utility (Control Panel > Display > Calibrate Color).

  • First use the monitor's built-in configuration to attempt to complete the wizard. (ignore the ClearType tuner process)
  • Repeat the calibration wizard using the GPU's driver configuration settings.
  • For each run, be certain to execute all calibrators with particular attention to gamma, brightness and contrast. Most users' monitor output will be significantly darker and slightly more color-saturated.

1.D. Performance Benchmarking[edit]

The following procedure is very important in determining baseline performance and ultimately helps the STEP team to assess performance variation across a wide range of computer configurations. This ultimately allows the accurate prediction of performance requirements for the various versions of STEP to come. User contributions in this regard are highly valued and much appreciated! Even more importantly, this routine should be used to assess the performance of the strict STEP versions as described above. Database-comparison benchmarks will be available as sufficient numbers of user-submitted data accumulate.

At this point ...

  • There should be a clean install of both Steam and Skyrim as recommended by the SIG (see above),
  • the baseline INI settings should be configured (via the Skyrim Launcher), and
  • the monitor and video-driver configurations should be optimized.

This is a perfect point to collect some baseline performance data, as all tweaks after this section are manual and could have significant performance impact on some systems. A baseline benchmark provides valuable information about the setup and the gaming environment. Detecting driver issues, software incompatibilities, hardware problems or other issues is essential while the build is simple, as these kinds of problems are much more difficult to diagnose and solve as the build becomes more complex. It is recommended that users execute the following process again after the INI edits following are applied and after each sequence of potentially-impactful changes is introduced (e.g., after each mod section).

Points during setup that benchmarking is suggested will be indicated by:

Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
Benchmark32.png


Use the following checklist to calculate the standard STEP benchmark:

  1. Identify any unnecessary background programs that may be running. Most importantly, determine if it is possible to set any anti-virus/spyware to low priority or "game mode". Any running background processes will consume some proportion of resources that Skyrim could otherwise use and increase the chances for instability. It is fine to have processes running in the background, but it is a good idea to be aware of what they are for troubleshooting in case there are problems.
  2. If mods were recently installed and IF NOT USING a SSD, defragment the game HDD. This will prevent game stutter caused by i/o inefficiencies (the effects are real!).
  3. Launch Fraps in order to measure FPS. Set to output FPS to a log file.
  4. Launch GPU-z in order to measure GPU and system memory-usage statistics. Set GPU-z to output the following to the log file (Sensors > Log to File; each variable log can be toggled by selecting the corresponding drop-downs):
    • GPU Core Clock (MHz)
    • GPU Temperature (°C)
    • GPU Load (%)
    • Memory Usage (Dedicated) - This is on-card-VRAM
    • Memory Usage (Dynamic) - This is the amount of VRAM transferred to much-slower system RAM
  5. Launch Skyrim, and start a new game. Once loaded and the sound starts and the FPS counter appears, hit the FRAPS benchmark hotkey (F11 by default).
  6. Let the game progress up to the first autosave just after jumping down off the cart, and press the FRAPS benchmark hotkey again to stop benchmarking. Total time since first depressing the benchmark hotkey will be approximately 240 seconds.
  7. Quit the game as quickly as possible and immediately exit the GPU-z app to stop logging.
  8. Go to the GPU-z log. Identify the point in the log where the GPU Core Clock first maxes out and find the point beyond which the GPU Load values and the Dedicated Memory max and become fairly consistent (it should be between 50-90 rows from the top of the file). Delete all preceding rows (keep the header row!).
  9. Move down to the end of the file and locate the point at which the GPU Load and Dedicated Memory begin to recede again (signifying loading the menue and quitting the game, usually 20-40 rows of data, depending on how much time is spent in the menu and actually shutting down the game and quitting GPU-z). Delete all rows after this point. The GPU-z log file is now trimmed of "noisy" data.
  10. There are many ways to do this, but get GPU-z log data into a spreadsheet program and calculate the mean and standard deviation for:
    • GPU Load
    • GPU Temperature
    • Memory Usage (Dedicated)
    • Memory Usage (Dynamic)
  11. Open the Fraps FPS log, and copy that column into the GPU-z spreadsheet.
  12. Download this example spreadsheet as an actual working example.
  13. As can be seen in the example spreadsheet, there are several columns and 200+ rows of data. The relevant summary statistics are the mean (i.e., average) and the standard deviation (i.e., a measure of the variation about the mean). These can be calculated for each column of data by using the following formulas in Excel or most other spreadheets (cell ranges are in parentheses):
 =AVERAGE(A2:A240)
 =STDEV(A2:A240)
Example benchmarks

Example benchmark results:

Kelmych
techangel85
z929669
Info-Logo.png Notice: The STEP team would very much like to collect this data in addition to the related system specs system specs of each system used to obtain it (See format above).

1.E. Install Utilities[edit]

1.E.2. Better Oblivion Sorting Software[edit]

Better Oblivion Sorting Software (BOSS) is an essential utility for managing mod plugins for Skyrim. Specifically, BOSS ensures proper mod order and Bash Tags, and it also identifies plugins (ESPs/ESMs) that need cleaning or other special treatment (more on this below). Download BOSS and install according to the instructions provided by the author.

1.E.3. BOSS Userlist Manager[edit]

Boss Userlist Manager (BUM) helps to make BOSS even easier by providing a GUI to edit the BOSS masterlist, which is used to define load order. Includes automated BOSS masterlist management and more.

1.E.4. Mod Manager(s)[edit]

There are several utilities that may be used to manage the STEP setup. Truth be told, mods can even be installed manually (not recommended). A mod-management utility is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED in order to keep track of a comlpex setup like STEP. These utilities also make it exponentially simpler to deconstruct a STEP install in order to update between versions. This is impossible to do simply or efficiently (or even correctly) otherwise.

  • Wrye Bash
Wrye Bash (WB) is perhaps the most powerful mod-management utility, and is full of features for both modders and advanced mod authors alike. A fairly comprehensive mod-maintenance process is presented in the Wrye Bash Guide and presented in a context that applies to STEP. Presently, Wrye Bash lacks a Nexus-compatible-mod-update management system, so this will need to be managed by the user. Mod updates are not necessary for STEP though, and it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that regular STEP users avoid updating single mods piecemeal. This is the kind of thing that the STEP mod testing team works on for upcoming releases, and troubleshooting issues related to mod updates takes resources away from supporting others that are using supported versions of mods. (The mod testers are specifically encouraged to use Wrye Bash as the preferred management utility to simplify information exchange, although MO is another option).
  • Mod Organizer
Mod Organizer (MO) is a feature-rich management utility that utilizes data virtualization to keep your Skyrim folder pristine. See the Mod Organizer Guide to learn more. MO does keep track of mod updates on the Nexus, and is as accurate as long as the Nexus metadata is current.
  • Nexus Mod Manager
Warning-Logo.png Warning: The Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) is no longer supported by STEP. The reason is that NMM does not allow the necessary level of control required by the STEP installation process. More importantly, NMM can *break* the STEP installation due to its lack of several controls related to mod overwrites and incomplete install/uninstall in some cases.

1.E.5. TES5Edit[edit]

TES5Edit is a utility that can be used to 'fix' plugins in order to prevent problems during gameplay. The potential for incompatibilities, CTDs and other issues increases as the mod load increases. Thus, it is inevitably necessary to do some basic cleaning of a few mod plugins that BOSS identifies. The process for cleaning mods can be found here.

1.F. INI Tweaks[edit]

INI files can be used to managed many aspects of the game and also ancillary mods to Skyrim. Following are relevant tweaks that apply to Baseline STEP. Performance STEP may require that some of the following settings be relaxed, and Extreme STEP settings can be further enhanced in some cases. Potential performance impact is indicated for each tweak.

The Skyrim INI files are located in "Documents/My Games/Skyrim" or "My Documents/My Games/Skyrim," depending on Operating System. At this point, the default INI files should have been established due to actions completed in step 1.B, and the following tweaks assume that the Skyrim INI files are not already customized in any way. If using Mod Organizer, editing INI files is done by clicking [Edit Ini]. Wrye Bash users can edit and manage all INI files via the INI Tweaks tab.

Info-Logo.png Notice: Changing settings in the Skyrim Launcher can undo some of the below INI tweaks. To avoid this, make sure to set the INI files as "read only" when all the tweaks are in place.

1.F.1. Skyrim INI[edit]

Go to the bottom of the Skyrim.ini and create the following:

Increases the distance arrows fly. (From "Arrows and Bolts Tweaks").
[Actor]
fVisibleNavmeshMoveDist=12288.0000
Places the camera just above your character's head in third-person view, and correct the camera angle in third-person view while on horseback. (From "Third Person Horse Camera"). Provides instant camera-angle switching when switching view types or when mounting/dismounting your horse. (from "Instant Camera POV Switching").
[Camera]
fOverShoulderAddY=0.0
fOverShoulderPosZ=18.0
fOverShoulderPosX=0.0
fOverShoulderCombatAddY=0.0
fOverShoulderCombatPosZ=24.0
fOverShoulderCombatPosX=0.0

fOverShoulderHorseAddY=-72.0
fOverShoulderHorsePosZ=50.0
fOverShoulderHorsePosX=35.0
fActorFadeOutLimit=-100

fMouseWheelZoomSpeed=60.0
f1st3rdSwitchDelay=0.95
iHorseTransitionMillis=001
Speeds up the book opening animation, and move the HUD elements closer to the borders of the screen.:
[Interface]
fBookOpenTime=200.0

fSafeZoneX=10
fSafeZoneY=10
fSafeZoneXWide=10
fSafeZoneYWide=10

Add the following under [Combat]:

Shifts the point of aim to the center of the aiming reticule for arrows and crossbows (with this setting targets will be hit where the cursor is placed at approximately 100 feet from the target).
f1PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7
f3PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7
f1PBoltTiltUpAngle=0.7
f3PBoltTiltUpAngle=0.7

Add the following under [Display]:

Fixes the shadow flickering issue. Shadow flickering is caused by updating sun shadows.
fSunShadowUpdateTime=0
fSunUpdateThreshold=2.0
Increases the time that blood decals remain visible (tweak from “Enhanced Blood Textures” mod).
fDecalLifetime=512.0
Helps reduce Z-fighting, but may increase clipping, especially with a higher field of view. See Gopher's More Z-fighting video for more information and examples.
fNearDistance=18.0000

Add the following under [General]:

Disables the annoying intro sequence.
sIntroSequence=
Prevents crashes when loading into a large interior area.
iLargeIntRefCount=262144
Helps prevent lighting “pop-in” by pushing back the distance at which the flicker/pulse animation loops begin.
fFlickeringLightDistance=8192

1.F.2. SkyrimPrefs INI[edit]

Modify the following under [Controls]:

Disable mouse acceleration.
bMouseAcceleration=0

Add the following under [Decals]:

Enables higher resolution blood decals on NPCs.
bDecalsOnSkinnedGeometry=1

Modify the following values under [Display]:

Valid values range from 0 - 7. Lower values will sharpen shadows (not the resolution), making vegetation more "vibrant." It gives a subtle increase in performance, but also gives more pixelated and striping effects to shadows. Higher values will make shadows softer and more blurred. Consider a value of two if using ENB.
iBlurDeferredShadowMask=3
Enables shadows rendering on trees.
bTreesReceiveShadows=1
If running Extreme STEP using 'Ultra' setting for shadow shadow quality to in 1.B.1, this tweak will further improve shadow resolution at a performance cost. Consider also raising 'iShadowMapResolutionSecondary' to 4096 on high-end machines. For Performance or Baseline STEP, do not change the default values for either of these settings.
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=4096
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=2048
Improves the blood decals number per scene (from “Enhanced Blood Textures”).
iMaxDecalsPerFrame=256
ENB users ONLY! Enabling these without an ENB will decrease performance with no visual impact and possibly introduce excessive shadow striping.
bDrawLandShadows=1
bFloatPointRenderTarget=1

Modify the following under [TerrainManager]:

Helps reduce Z-fighting, but may increase clipping, especially with a higher field of view. See Gopher's More Z-fighting video for more information and examples.
fBlockMaximumDistance=500000
fBlockLevel1Distance=140000
fBlockLevel0Distance=75000
fSplitDistanceMult=4.0

Modify the following under [MAIN]:

Also helps reduce Z-fighting. See Gopher's More Z-fighting video for more information and examples.
fSkyCellRefFadeDistance=500000.0000
Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
Benchmark32.png


Reminder - Essential Guides[edit]

The following guides form the base from which STEP builds and provide details on many of the topics mentioned in this Guide.

  1. Skyrim Installation Guide (SIG) – Comprehensive installation and configuration guide to Skyrim and its DLCs, mods, extensions, and utilities.
  2. Wrye Bash Guide (WBG) – A practical, hands-on introduction to Wrye Bash using STEP as a working example.
  3. Mod Organizer Guide (MOG) – A WIP with some advice and troubleshooting suggestions.


Final Notes[edit]

A Final Consideration

Install mods in the order that they are presented in the following tables in order to achieve an aesthetically and mechanically well-vetted result. More experienced or adventurous modders may want to use STEP as a loose guide.

Information from certain mods used can write additional information into save games. Thus, some mods can continue to affect the game even after the mods are removed or updated.

From the Bethesda document, Skyrim Mod Troubleshooting: Best Practices:

"When you play Skyrim with a mod, in most cases, the new data for the mod will be written into any new saved games you create. For example, if you play Skyrim with Mod X and create a save, the next time you load that save, the game will expect Mod X to also be loaded. If you no longer want to play Skyrim with Mod X, it is best to unload Mod X (by unchecking the plugin under Data Files in your Skyrim launcher) and loading a save that does not require Mod X, usually an older save or a backed up save."

The short version is “Never continue with a save once a mod it relies upon has been removed.” Although this is good advice, there may be occasions when it is inconvenient to revert to an older save. The Troubleshooting Guide provides a "best-practice procedure" for attempting to ‘clean’ the effects of a removed mod from a save game.

FINALLY... ALWAYS read the ReadMe and other mod-related documentation that comes packaged with most mods. This includes the mod description on the Nexus. If the mod author has seen fit and taken time to create these reference materials, then they are relevant and important in the eyes of the mod author. This means that they are relevant and important to you!

STEP 2[edit]

Mod Installation


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 Notes
Mod (patches not required)Wikilink.png Baseline Notes
Mod (requires patches)Wikilink.png Baseline Notes


Mod Table Legend[edit]

The following is an example of the mod tables, found in Step 2 below, followed by the legend for reading the table. Users should familiarize themselves with this information.

Patch Requirement A green vertical bar indicates that the mod is required by the STEP CR Patch, and a red bar indicates that the LW patch is required.
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.
Quality Indicates if there are lower or higher quality options for the mod relative to the Baseline recommendation:
 LowQuality.png       Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available.
      HighQuality.png  Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
 LowQuality.png HighQuality.png  Relative to Baseline, both lower and higher quality versions of the mod are available.
Notes 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.


Info-Logo.png Notice:
Consider the following while installing mods:
  • Mods should be installed in the order that they are listed to ensure that mods further down the list overwrite those occurring before them. This is necessary to ensure the desired in-game effect. Mods are otherwise listed in alphabetical order within each section, and any deviations from this are purposeful to achieve the desired outcome.
  • To achieve the best results, “Loose files” (non-BSA) versions of mods should be used. If a "loose files" version is not available, extract the BSA as described here.
  • Always install plugins (ESPs/ESMs) unless otherwise noted. If there are not any notes associated with a particular mod, then all options fit the STEP mandate. The notes only provide instructions where necessary; otherwise, STEP encourages user customization.
  • Unless otherwise stated, follow BOSS's advice with regards to mod cleaning.


2.A. 01-Tools[edit]

Prerequisite helper applications and utilities
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
BOSSLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
It is recommended to install BOSS directly to your Skyrim game directory instead of its default location at the top of your system drive, unless you are using an SSD on which you would rather conserve space. This allows SkyrimLE:Mod Organizer to automatically detect and add BOSS to your list of executables.

Mod Organizer users:

If you do not want to follow the above advice as to where to install BOSS, do the following in order to add BOSS to the list of executables:

  1. Click the gears icon Gear MO.png. This opens the Modify Executables window.
  2. In the Title field, type BOSS.
  3. For the Binary field, browse to your BOSS installation and select the BOSS GUI.exe application.
  4. Click the Add button. This will add BOSS to your executables list.
  5. Click OK.

Now each time you want to run BOSS, simply select it from the drop-down menu at top right and click Run.

BOSS Userlist ManagerLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Since you must launch BOSS Userlist Manager (BUM) through Mod Organizer in order for it to recognize your mods, add BUM to the list of executables by doing the following:
  1. Click the gears icon Gear MO.png. This opens the Modify Executables window.
  2. In the Title field, type BUM.
  3. For the Binary field, browse to your BUM installation and select the BOSS Userlist Manager.exe application.
  4. Click the Add button. This will add BUM to your executables list.
  5. Click OK.

Now each time you want to run BUM, simply select it from the drop-down menu at top right and click Run.

Wrye BashLink to the mod's Wiki page. Installer version Detailed Instructions available
If updating to 306, you need to uninstall your previous version.

MO users - Install and be certain to tick the stand-alone executable version when prompted for the path to the Steam/Skyrim directory. Wrye Bash users - see the Wrye Bash Guide.

Since you must launch Wrye Bash through Mod Organizer in order for it to recognize your mods, add Wrye Bash to the list of executables by doing the following:

  1. Click the gears icon Gear MO.png. This opens the Modify Executables window.
  2. In the Title field, type Wrye Bash.
  3. For the Binary field, browse to your Wrye Bash installation and select the Wrye Bash.exe application.
  4. Uncheck Close MO when started if necessary.
  5. Click the Add button. This will add Wrye Bash to your executables list.
  6. Click Close.

Now each time you want to run Wrye Bash, simply select it from the drop-down menu at top right and click Run.

Mod OrganizerLink 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 2\)

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

DDSoptLink to the mod's Wiki page. DDSopt - pre-release - update 4 Detailed Instructions available
For users who do not want to do a custom run with DDSopt, STEP now provides the SkyrimLE:STEP Optimized Vanilla Textures which is installed during in the Fixes section of the STEP Guide. There is no need to run DDSopt if choosing to install this new mod from STEP.

Do NOT run through Mod Organizer!

See DDSopt Guide for usage details. The Quick-Start Guide is a good place to start.

Optimizer TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
TES5EditLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
  1. Download xEdit and extract the archive to any desired location.
  2. Within the extracted folder make a copy of TES5Edit.exe.
  3. Rename the copy, TES5EditQC.exe.

xEdit must launch through Mod Organizer in order for it to recognize installed mods, so add TES5Edit to the list of executables by doing the following:

  1. Click the gears icon Gear MO.png. This opens the Modify Executables window.
  2. In the Title field, type TES5Edit.
  3. For the Binary field, browse to the folder where xEdit was extracted and select TES5Edit.exe.
  4. Click the Add button. This will add xEdit to the executable list.
  5. Now in the Title field type, "TES5Edit - Quick Clean".
  6. For the Binary field, browse to the folder where xEdit was extracted and select TES5EditQC.exe.
  7. Click OK.

Now to run xEdit, simply select it from the drop-down menu at top right and click Run. Also, with xEdit showing next to the "Run" button, click the Shortcut drop-down and choose "Toolbar".

To clean any mods that require it, run "TES5Edit - Quick Clean". It will allow users to select the mod to clean and automatically clean it.

Example video

Skyrim Performance MonitorLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Installing Skyrim Performance Monitor
  1. Download and install the Microsoft .NET Framework.
  2. Download the mod from the mod page using the download manually link and extract the zip archive.
  3. Install the SlimDX Runtime .NET 2.0 (January 2012).msi included in the archive. (If you're upgrading to a new version of SPM and already have SlimDX installed, there's no need to uninstall/reinstall SlimDX. You can simply skip this step)
  4. Install Skyrim Performance Monitor by running the setup.exe included in the archive.
    • The default install location is in Documents. You may change this according to your preference.

Please remember to completely uninstall any previous versions of SPM prior to upgrading.

Initial Setup of Skyrim Performance Monitor

  1. Launch Skyrim Performance Monitor and click the Setup... button at bottom right.
  2. Select your Primary Gaming Video Card from the drop-down in the Primary Video Card tab.
  3. Go to the Miscellaneous Settings tab.
  4. ENBoost and ENB users should check the Attempt Support for Custom D3D9.dll and Combine TESV and ENBHost System RAM settings.
  5. Click Save

Configuring Skyrim Performance Monitor for Use with Mod Organizer

  1. Launch Skyrim Performance Monitor and click the "Setup..." button at bottom right.
  2. Go to the File Paths tab and point the Skyrim Launcher File Path to your ModOrganizer.exe. Here is an example for Mod Organizer and other launchers.
  3. Click Save.
  4. Click the Launch Skyrim button at bottom right, which will start Mod Organizer (make certain that Mod Organizer is not already running first!). From there you can select your desired profile and run SKSE (or other launcher) to play Skyrim and monitor its performance.

2.C. 02-Extenders[edit]

Extend the game engine and required for use by downstream mods or utilities

No mods defined.

2.D. 09-Fixes[edit]

Mods that fix various bugs not addressed by the Foundation mod group
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Ancient Nord Armor FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Appropriately Attired JarlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Argonian Decapitation FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. This is now covered by USKP 2.0.5.
Barrow Button FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Bowlegged Jump FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Brawl Bugs PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Only use the "Compatibility Edition" main file. Not necessary for Extended users that are installing Enhanced Blood Textures.
Fast Travel Timescale FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
NitpickLink to the mod's Wiki page. Users NOT using Mod Organizer should install this mod. The fixes are already included in Mod Organizer.
Unofficial Skyrim PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Unofficial Dawnguard PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Unofficial Hearthfire PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Unofficial Dragonborn PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Acquisitive Soul GemsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Vanilla users: Use the old v2.1 file.
Distant Decal FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. Mod now only includes the meshes that do not conflict with USKP.
Waterbreathing Breathless EmergeLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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Benchmark
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2.E. 16-Interface[edit]

Mods that alter any aspect of the user interface
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Blessings-Altar DescriptionsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Book NamesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the "Vanilla Version".

Dawnguard users: Use the "Vanilla - Dawnguard" file.

Dragonborn users: Use the "Vanilla - Dragonborn" file.

Dawnguard and Dragonborn users: Use the "Vanilla - All DLCs" file.

Better Dialogue ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better MessageBox ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Categorized Favorites MenuLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dungeon Quest AwarenessLink to the mod's Wiki page. May cause minor spoilers.
Immersive HUDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Interface Hard Coded Key TweaksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Normal Tweaks STEP recommends "Normal Tweaks".
Lockpicking InterfaceLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the without wings around keyhole main file.
Lore-Based Loading ScreensLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Main Font ReplacementLink to the mod's Wiki page. Fertigo Pro DO NOT USE this mod if Skyrim language is not set to English!
No Boring Sleep-Wait MenuLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Simple CrosshairLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends"Normal".
Not Another Colored Map Icon ModLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends installing only the optional "NACMIM - Full" file. Turn off version checking for maps in the MCM: SkyUI menu. This is necessary until NACMIM is made fully compatible with SkyUI 4.0 or higher.
Smaller CursorLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the main file.
KenMOD Time On Loading ScreenLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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Benchmark
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2.F. 06-Models & Textures[edit]

Mods that alter the appearance of objects in the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
High Quality 3D MapLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hi-res meshes, 1k normals STEP recommends installing both the HQ3DMap - Meshes Hi-Res and HQ3DMap - Normals Original main files. Do not install any of the files with "Textures" in the file name. Choose the 03 - High 1024x1024 option in the installer.
A Quality World MapLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the A Quality World Map 9.0.1 - Vivid with Stone Roads main file.
Bethesda Hi-Res DLC OptimizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hybrid + Vanilla normals Detailed Instructions available
Note that the following options are written in terms of the Wrye Bash Wizard and FOMOD options. If installing manually (not recommended), make sure to adjust accordingly.

Select the option that best suits your VRAM limitations...

  • Less than 1GB
    Full 1024: Select "Core files" (selected by default), "Vanilla Secondary stuff", and all four "Vanilla" optionals. Also install the "Compatible Version" optional. Disable the three "HighResTexturePack" ESPs in launcher or mod manager.
  • Between 1GB and 1.25GB - Baseline
    Hybrid (1024 + 2048) + Vanilla NormalMaps: Select "Core files" (selected by default), "Hi-Res Secondary stuff", and "Hybrid + Vanilla NM files". Also install the "Compatible Version" optional.
  • Between 1.25GB and 1.5GB
    Hybrid (1024 + 2048): Select "Core files" (selected by default) and "Hi-Res Secondary stuff". Also install the "Compatible Version" optional.
  • Greater than 1.5GB
    Do not download this mod, just use the full HRDLC.
Better Dynamic SnowLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Detailed ChestsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 STEP recommends "Washed-Out Dirty".
No StretchingLink to the mod's Wiki page. Full
Ruins Clutter ImprovedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Ruins_Clutter_Improved_v2-8 NMM Installation Main File.
FOMOD Instructions
Ruins Clutter Improved
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Custom
        • Next
  • Custom
    • Candles
      • ☑ High Resolution Candles
    • Catacomb Candles
      • ☑ HD Catacomb Candles
    • Enchantingstation
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Spider Eggs
      • ☑ HD Spider Eggs
    • Ruins Pots
      • ☑ HD Pots
    • Ruins Door
      • ☑ Improved Ruins Door
    • Dragonclaws
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Subliminal Traps
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Lantern
      • ☑ Lantern
        • Install

Hide the following files/folders:

  • texture\clutter\candles
  • texture\clutter\containers\miscbag01.dds
  • texture\clutter\containers\miscbag01_n.dds
  • texture\clutter\ruins\ruinslinen01.dds
  • texture\clutter\ruins\ruinslinen02.dds
Skyrim HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. LITE Detailed Instructions available
STEP recommends to download and install only the Landscape LITE optional file.

The following files from the main file should not be used, so either hide them with Mod Organizer in the Filetree or Data tab after installation or remove them from the mod package. Hide the following files:

  • textures\landscape\roads (hide the entire folder)
  • textures\landscape\coastbeach02.dds
  • textures\landscape\coastbeach02_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtpath01.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtpath01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtsnowpath01.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtsnowpath01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshgrass01.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshgrass01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshice01.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshice01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\icefloes.dds
  • textures\landscape\icefloes_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachdirt01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachdirt01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachgrass01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachgrass01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmoss01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmoss01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmossyrocks01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmossyrocks01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge1.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbottom.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbottom_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\rivermud.dds
  • textures\landscape\rivermud_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra01.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra02.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra02_n.dds
Serious HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the "Serious HD Retexture LANDSCAPE 1024px" file found in the Old Versions section and the "Serious HD Retexture RIFTEN 1024px" file found in the Optional Files section.

Hide the following files:

  • textures\landscape\coastbeach02.dds
  • textures\landscape\coastbeach02_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\icefloes.dds
  • textures\landscape\icefloes_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbottom.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbottom_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\rivermud.dds
  • textures\landscape\rivermud_n.dds
HD MiscLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Tobes Hi-Res TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Detailed Instructions available
Install the Tobes Highres Textures 1_2 1024 main file and the Tobes Highres Textures 1_2b SMIM Patch optional file.

This mod is not packaged correctly. Double-click on TobesHighResTextures1_2_1024. Right-click on Data and select [Set data directory]. Click [OK] to install. Repeat this for the SMIM Patch file and select [Merge] when asked.

The following files from the main file should not be used, so either hide them with Mod Organizer in the Filetree or Data tab after install or remove them from the mod package. Do not hide or remove anything from the SMIM patch. Hide the following files:

  • Textures\clutter\barrel01.dds
  • Textures\clutter\barrel01_n.dds
  • Textures\clutter\barrel02.dds
  • Textures\clutter\barrel02_n.dds
  • Textures\clutter\furniturewood01.dds
  • Textures\clutter\furniturewood01_n.dds
  • Textures\clutter\barset\
  • Textures\clutter\deadanimals\deadhare01.dds
  • Textures\clutter\deadanimals\deadhare01_n.dds
  • Textures\clutter\deadanimals\deadpheasant01.dds
  • Textures\clutter\deadanimals\deadpheasant01_n.dds
  • Textures\furniture\
AOF Detailed MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024
AOF FarmhousesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Flora OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Basic Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Skyrim Flora Overhaul Basic Edition v1.87 main file. Also install the Dragonborn addon v02 main file. Select [Merge] when asked while installing the addon.


Add/modify the following under [Grass] in Skyrim.ini to reduce the quantity of grass (as seen in this comparison): '"`UNIQ--pre-00000099-QINU`"' Note that this value can be set to any number (default is 20), where a lower value corresponds to a higher grass density and thus lower performance. Try different values to see what provides the best balance of performance and visual quality.



Add/modify the following under [Grass] in Skyrim.ini for more grass variety (with a slight performance impact): '"`UNIQ--pre-0000009A-QINU`"' (The typo in "texture" was made by Bethesda and should be written that way.)



STEP recommends hiding or removing the following files: Hide the following file:

  • textures\dlc02\landscape\volcanic_ash_01.dds
  • textures\dlc02\landscape\volcanic_ash_04.dds
  • textures\dlc02\landscape\volcanic_ash_04_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtcliffs (the entire folder)
  • textures\landscape\fieldgrass02.dds
  • textures\landscape\fieldgrass02_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\trees\treepineforestbranchcompsnow.dds
  • textures\landscape\trees\treepineforestbranchcompsnowl.dds
  • textures\terrain\tamriel\trees\tamrieltreelod.dds
Chimneys for SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Distant DetailLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hearthfire users: Use the "Hearthfire Edition" file instead. Mod requires TES5Edit cleaning.
Dragon Glyphs-FixedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Dragon Chiseled Detailed Instructions available
Step recommends the Dragon Chiseled Main File.

Hide the following files/folders:

  • textures\dungeons\ridgedstone07a.dds
  • textures\dungeons\ridgedstone07a_n.dds
Enhanced Night SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install only the Enhanced Night Skyrim v04 Low Stars optional file.
High Quality LODsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hi-Res Meshes Install the HQLODs - Meshes Hi-Res main file. Do not install the normals. For slightly better performance at slightly less quality, the medium-resolution meshes can be used.
HiRes Legible Road SignsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: HiRes Road Signs Version 3 Worn Text Optional File.
Milky Way GalaxyLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2048
26 Moon Size TweeksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Only install the masser Size x0.5.esp and secunda Size x0.5.esp
Moss RocksLink to the mod's Wiki page. SMIM version
Real IceLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Detailed Instructions available
Download the All-in-One Pack. Choose the 'With Parallax' option (even without using ENB; this is a parallax effect without an ENB requirement) and then the "Half Icecube-Half Dull" option (00 Dull and Ice). The BCF includes a wizard and Fomod to simplify installation -->
Realistic Tundra MossLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024, Yellow
Re-Defined DungeonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Re-Defined Dungeons 1024x1024 optional file. This mod is not packaged correctly. When installing this mod, right-click on the Data folder and choose [Set data directory]. Okay [OK] to install.

If using the main file (2048x textures), hide or remove the candle textures as they conflict with SMIM. The recommended version (1024x textures) does not contain these textures and does not have this issue.

Trees HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. High Detailed Instructions available
If installing with MO:

Hide the following files: meshes/landscape/trees (entire folder) textures/landscape/trees/Vurt_Pine01.dds textures/landscape/trees/Vurt_Pine02.dds

Vibrant AurorasLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Visible WindowsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium version STEP recommends the "Gritty" option for all windows and the "Default" for all color options but "Yellow Tint" for both Solitude and Whiterun. BCF Available. BCF needs 2 files (Reduced Night Glow optional file also needed)
WATERLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium Detailed Instructions available

Uptional Addons

  • Improved Splash
  • Wet Rocks -Dark
  • Animated Trough Water
  • Plants
  • Frozen Puddles
  • Row Boats
  • Dawnguard (as applicable).

Medium & High Resolution (waves)

  • Medium Resolution Calm Alternative Two

Dragonborn

  • Dragonborn Waves

Ocean, March & Lake Hue

  • Green Hue
Whiterun Trellis RedesignedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024
Windmills ResizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1.5x Install the default (1.5x) version. (Has minor clipping issues with the stables in Solitude when not used in combination with SkyFalls and SkyMills.)
Better CircletsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024x512
Accingite VosLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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 -- CREATURES
  • aMidianBorn book of silence -- DRAGONBORN
  • aMidianBorn book of silence -- UNIQUE ITEMS
  • aMidianBorn book of silence -- WEAPONS

Users have two installation options with this mod and other mods like it. When multiple files are used from the same mod, users may either:

  • create a single mod listing and merge all files into it or,
  • create a separate mod listing for each file.

STEP Recommends: Merging all files into single mod listing named aMidianBorn Book of Silence

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 CREATURES
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Custom
        • Next
  • Options
    • Skeleton
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Dragon Priest
      • ◉ None
    • Draugr
      • ◉ None
    • Falmer
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Chaurus
      • ☑ Chaurus
    • Spriggan
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
FOMOD Instructions
aMidianBorn Book of Silence DRAGONBORN DLC
  • Options
    • Options
      • ◉ Next
        • Install
  • 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

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.

Dawnguard Crossbow Bolts VisualizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional "Explosive Bolts Visualized HD Textures" file.
Elven Weapons for SilenceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
If using the STEP recommended options for Book of Silence which installs the Gold Eleven Armor, then his mod can be skipped entirely.

If using the Black Eleven Armor, the following is recommended:

  • Texture Type
    • Users choice. This is a personal preference; however, use the med res option.
  • Improved Meshes
    • Install
Skyrim Weapon De-LARP-ification ProjectLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional Dawnguard and Dragonborn files.
Jewels of the NordLink to the mod's Wiki page. Low res
Not Really HD-Mask of Clavicus VileLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Wrecked".
Shield of YsgramorLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024
Better BonesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better ShadowmarksLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dark Brotherhood Tenets RestoredLink to the mod's Wiki page. Standard (medium)
Designs of the NordsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Destructible BottlesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Detailed RugsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Main File Download and install the Detailed Rugs v1-5 Main File.
Enhanced HD Dragon BonesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1k STEP recommends the "No flesh" option.
Golden Gods ShrinesLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "default" on all options.
HD BasketsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 512 x 1024
HD LinensLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD SacksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: HDSacks14TypeBBig and HDSacks14TypeBSmall Main Files.
HQ Skyrim MapLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2048
Intricate Spider WebsLink to the mod's Wiki page. High
Lockpick Inventory RemodelLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Not Really HD-Display CaseLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Smudged Glass".
Not Really HD-KeysLink to the mod's Wiki page. With normals
Pilgrims DelightLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Legacy" version.
Realistic InstrumentsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic PaperLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: Realistic Paper DARK Optional File.
Soul Gems DifferLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Soul Gems Differ - All-In-One main file.
FOMOD Instructions
Soul Gems Differ
  • Welcome!
    • Welcome
      • ☑ Continue to installation
        • Next
  • Normal or Requiem
    • Are you using Requiem?
      • ◉ No
        • Next
  • ESP Files
    • Mod Version Options
      • ◉ Sort-friendly and Weighted
        • Next
  • Installation Options
    • Choose your install option
      • ◉ STEP Installation Option
        • Next
  • Install Soul Gems Differ
    • Mod Installation
      • ☑ Install Soul Gems Differ
        • Install


For STEP users using Wrye Bash, download the " Soul Gems Differ All-In-One" main file and run using the WB wizard. This will allow you to install the STEP-recommended Configuration.


All other users, the Requiem option will install a Requiem patched version of the mod so only choose "Yes" if you are using Requiem or your game will likely crash at start. The next screen allows you to install the version of the mod you want. This will also install all needed language files to make the mod multilingual. The next screen allows you to install the gem options. Either choose a pre-made option or choose custom to customize the options you want.

Super Realistic OreLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download the Just the textures optional file. This mod is not packaged correctly. Right-click on Data and choose [Set data directory]. Click [OK] to install.
Bellyache's Creature PackLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium Detailed Instructions available
Use the Default Animal Replacement Med Res file located in the Miscellaneous Files.

Hide the following files/folders:

  • textures\actors\chaurus
  • textures\effects\fxbird01.dds
  • textures\effects\fxbird01_b.dds
  • textures\effects\fxbird01_n.dds
Bellyaches HD Dragon ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page.
FootprintsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Footprints v1_00 - Legendary main file. Clean save required if updating from 0.99
Enchantment Effect ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "2XRes".
Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
Benchmark32.png


2.H. 08-Character Appearance[edit]

Mods that alter any aspect of PC or NPC appearance
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
83Willows 101BugsHDLink to the mod's Wiki page. Lower resolution
AIMP-Antz in my PantzLink to the mod's Wiki page.
More Realistic HairLink to the mod's Wiki page.
AOF Believable HairLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Beast RacesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Lite This mod is not packaged correctly. When installing this mod, right-click on the Data folder and choose [Set data directory]. Okay [OK] to install.
Better FrecklesLink to the mod's Wiki page. This mod is not packaged correctly. When installing this mod, right-click on the Data folder and choose [Set data directory]. Okay [OK] to install.
Birds of SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Lower resolution
Female Vampires Have FangsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Frost Atronach HDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Ice WraithLink to the mod's Wiki page. Only install the "Even Better Ice Wraiths - Completely Redone" file.
Improved Foot Wraps for FemalesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
New ChildrenLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Mod is not packaged correctly. Double-click child_detail_dirt. Right-click on data and choose [Set data directory]. Click [OK] to install.
Pond FishLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD Rabbits PlusLink to the mod's Wiki page.
XCE-Xenius Character EnhancementLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the main file only. This mod is not packaged correctly. Right-click on Data and choose [Set data directory]. Click [OK] to install.
XCE-DawnguardLink to the mod's Wiki page. This mod is not packaged correctly. Right-click on Data and choose [Set data directory]. Click [OK] to install.
Better Male FeetLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional Dawnguard patch.
Natural EyesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 128k
More Village AnimalsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use all three Main Files.
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2.J. 05-Animations & Effects[edit]

Mods that alter the animations and effects in the game
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Animated Weapon EnchantsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the Animated Weapon Enchants - Vanilla Sounds optional file.
Enhanced Projectile Soul TrapLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the "With Aquistive Soul Gems" version.
Finer DustLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Get SnowyLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the main "v4.x" file.
No Spinning Death AnimationLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This mod is now included in all versions of the STEP Patches: STEP Core Patch, STEP Extended Patch, and both versions of the STEP Combined Plugin.

If not using ANY of the STEP Patches:

  • Users with Dragonborn should install the No Spinning Death Animation v1_3 MERGED main file.
  • Users without Dragonborn should install the No Spinning Death Animation v1_3 main file.
RainbowsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Shooting StarsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Performance PlusLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Recommended for all users and particularly those with lower-end systems and those with performance issues.

Use the following three Main files:

  • "Pine Needles FX"
  • "Rainfall FX"
  • "Snowfall FX".

... and one of the following:
Higher systems: "The Rift - Aspen Leaves FX - Good Performance"
Mid systems: "The Rift - Aspen Leaves FX - Super Performance"
Low systems: "The Rift - Aspen Leaves FX - Extreme Performance"

Skyrim SunglareLink to the mod's Wiki page. This mod is currently unavailable.
Warmer Magic LightsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Mod page contains various compatibility patches. Only install one of the ESPs from "Warmer Magic Lights v2_Compatibility_Patches". STEP recommends "Warmer Magic Lights v2.esp". Comparison images can be found here.
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2.L. 07-Sounds & Music[edit]

Mods that alter game audio
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Activate Fail Noise RemovalLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Ambient SeagullsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Animal FootstepsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Better Animal Footsteps
  • Custom
    • Select one option
      • ◉ Install all of the footstep sounds
        • Next
  • Custom
    • Optional Pets of Skyrim patch
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
FSS-Better BardsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the "No pause between lines" option. Optional: The Nexus version will not play nicely with mod managers, so the fixed version can be used until the author can correct the issue.
Better Horse Pain SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Clanking ArmorLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Heart of the BeastLink to the mod's Wiki page. High Agression
Immersive ThunderLink to the mod's Wiki page. This mod is not packaged correctly. Double-click on ImmersiveSkyrimThunderV6. Right-click on Data and choose [Set data directory]. Click [OK] to install.
Improved Combat SoundsLink 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.
Roosters At DawnLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Silent SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends only using the "Sneak attack" option. Wrye Bash users should use the optional "Wrye Bash installer" file.
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2.M. 10-Gameplay-General[edit]

Mods that alter gameplay mechanics and don't naturally fit into any other gameplay mod group
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Ars Metallica-SmithingLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Auto Unequip AmmoLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
In the MCM settings for Auto Ammo Unequip, STEP recommends changing following settings:
  • Follower Addon
    • Default: unticked
    • STEP: ticked
      • This will add the mod's functionality to your followers as well.
Candle Lanterns of the NorthLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the "Dawnguard Edition" file.
Dark Brotherhood to MiscLink to the mod's Wiki page. Currently NOT recommended. Use the optional in Even Better Quest Objectives instead.
Death Cam Duration OptionsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Disable Thieves Guild AutostartLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dynamic FiresLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Lantern CaretakersLink to the mod's Wiki page. Requires "Lanterns of Skyrim"
More Salt PleaseLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional "Dragonborn Addon" file.
Move It DammitLink to the mod's Wiki page. Less Wait Time
No NPC GreetingsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Sligtly Reduced Included in every version of the STEP Patches, STEP Core Patch, STEP Extended Patch, and both versions of the STEP Combined Plugin.
Realistic Crime RadiusLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Wearable LanternsLink to the mod's Wiki page. No BSA
Lanterns for CaravansLink to the mod's Wiki page. No BSA
Lanterns for GuardsLink to the mod's Wiki page. No BSA
When Vampires AttackLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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Post-Installation Housekeeping[edit]

Once all mods have been installed and are ready to play, be certain to either:

  • Start a brand new character, or
  • load the save game generated just after character creation if it exists, or
  • load an existing character after clean saving the relevant save game.


STEP 3[edit]

Tips & Troubleshooting Common Issues

3.A. Technical Tips[edit]

The following is a good place to begin, but be certain to also check the Troubleshooting Guide. Also, search the support & Troubleshooting forum on the STEP Boards,

3.A.1. Maximizing STEP[edit]

A heavily modded Skyrim can bring even a very powerful system to its knees. Maximum visual quality is highly dependent upon total on-card graphics-dedicated video memory (VRAM), the number of GPUs, and monitor resolution. The goal should be to maintain 32 or more FPS on average without any noticeable stuttering. Following are some enhancements that users with rather powerful systems might be able to take advantage of:

  • Try using SSAO (using video driver settings) for better quality graphics and note the performance hit.
  • Use one of the STEP-recommended ENB configurations.
  • Make sure Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini are writable and, using the Skyrim Launcher, max out ...
    • anti-aliasing
    • anisotropic filtering
    • view distances
    • shadow quality
    • texture quality
Info-Logo.png Notice: Starting up the Launcher will overwrite some of the INI settings previously recommended, so those will need to be reset.

3.A.2. Fix game launch crash after installing STEP[edit]

For crashes to desktop (CTDs),

  • Set the Skyrim executable "TESV.exe" to run as administrator (right click TESV.exe > Properties > Compatibility > Check Run this program as administrator).
  • If using RCRN or any other FXAA-Injector/ENB mod, turn off any on-screen display programs and monitoring tools such as Fraps, ATI Tray Tools, MSI Afterburner, GPU-Z, etc.
  • Get the latest DirectX runtime installed.

3.A.3. Defrag the Hard Drive[edit]

For hard drives (not SSDs), this is a very important task once most/all mods are installed. The Windows defrag utility may be used, but it is sub-standard. A couple of the best free utilities are Defraggler and Auslogics Disk Defrag. Do NOT defrag an SSD as it will detrimentally affect its lifetime.

3.A.4. Semi-Invisible People & Misbehaving Walls[edit]

Be certain that ATI Antialiasing is set to Multi-Sample and NOT Adaptive. Also, remember to download the latest ATI drivers. Also be certain that bFloatPointRenderTarget=1 in the SkyrimPrefs.ini if using ENB.

3.A.5. Using Windowed Mode (ATI)[edit]

If having stuttering problems or CTDs in full screen mode, try "full screen" windowed mode by downloading Simple Borderless Window. The "Simple Borderless Window" launcher SBW.exe launches SKSE, so start the game through SBW.exe.

3.A.6. Increase Overall Performance[edit]

If after following the whole guide and installing the enhanced graphics, the game is unplayable due to low performance, try one or more of the following:

  • Disable SSAO or Supersampling AA (or both) if enabled.
  • Reduce shadow quality from the Skyrim Launcher.
  • Install the performance-friendly versions of textures where applicable.
  • Consider texture optimization.
  • Reduce The [View Distance] settings in the game launcher (see 1.B.1).

3.A.7. Texture Shimmering, Etc.[edit]

Refer to the Z-Fighting Guide.

3.B. In-Game Tips[edit]

The console can be activated by pressing the tilde ([~]) key, often located just below [Escape], while in-game.

3.B.1. Optimize Field of View (FOV)[edit]

In the console enter the following using a number from 66-100, depending on resolution and screen ratio. Default is 65 (4:3 screens), but 70-75 works nicely for 16:10 screens and 75-80 works nicely for 16:9 screens:

FOV ##

This change will be permanent in the saved game. Other INI FOV tweaks don't require opening the console, but they don’t 'stick' and can corrupt the game. Also note that high FOV can cause a performance drop for some configurations.

3.B.2. BIG Frame Drops During Cell Loading[edit]

This is a likely indicator that VRAM is too often operating at or beyond capacity (see 3.A.6).

User Contributions[edit]

How YOU Can Help

STEP can only get bigger and better with help from the user community. Even simply maintaining the current STEP is too much work for the core STEP team to ensure that the highest quality is maintained. We need people to help us identify mods that are thought to improve Skyrim while adhering to the STEP Mandate. We also need ongoing reviews and updates on mods that may be causing problems or that stray from the STEP philosophy. Finally, we need help from the community in terms of testing, benchmarking and analysis. More detail is presented in the Mod Testing Guide.

In order to suggest a mod, visit the Mod Suggestions section of the STEP Forums.

Info-Logo.png Notice:
The STEP team will be beta testing a new mod-testing procedure and interface currently in final stages of development here on the STEP Wiki. Anyone interested in testing mods of any kind --whether included in STEP or not-- should contact the STEP administrators by email or on the forums (click on the link in upper left of header).


Thank you for reading and enjoy the game!


Special Credits[edit]

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

  • The authors of mods recommended in STEP
  • The core STEP Community for feedback, suggestions and input
  • The STEP beta testers ... for their good humor and rigorous analyses
  • The Nexus community
  • Bealdwine, EisDrache & MontyMM - site founders on indefinite leave (we hope you guys are well!) --UPDATE: MontyMM is back ... welcome back!
  • Outstanding contributors - Techangel85, Neovalen, rpsgc, Besidilo, JudgementJay, torminater, Kelmych, rootsrat, & more to come ...
  • Bethesda Softworks for Skyrim (and TES in general)

Site Donors

We have had a handful of generous user donations to keep this site alive and viable. Most of these donors have not left their user names, so they will remain anonymous; however, the following are site contributors that have generously given a bit of their livelihood in support of STEP. For that, we thank them immensely!

  • geeee785
  • Lauren
  • solist
  • 26 additional generous contributors that will remain anonymous until their user names are made known to us.


The core STEP team is:[edit]
  • Farlo - Mediawiki developer & extraordinaire, Mod-list co-compiler, forums admin, site founder
  • frihyland - Solutions developer (Thunderbolt), mod extraordinaire, site founder
  • stoppingby4now - Main site developer, Semantic Mediawiki developer & extraordinaire, site founder
  • TheCompiler - STEP creator, mod-list extraordinaire
  • z929669 - Wiki & forums content editor, main site administrator, hosting maintenance, site founder
  • EMPTY SLOTS WAITING TO BE FILLED BY ESTABLISHED & DEDICATED COMMUNITY MEMBERS!