SkyrimLE:2.2.8

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This guide is out of date!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.


- Visit the forums and provide feedback related to STEP.


- Also visit the STEP Facebook page maintained by TheCompiler (Daniel).

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

Interim Release #2[edit]

STEP 2.2.8 marks the second release in bridging our move to a new paradigm that will officially be unveiled as STEP 2.3.0. Thus, this marks our second interim release with a more strict STEP:Core.

The 2.2.8 Guide is more streamlined now. We have set our users onto a fast-track to configuration and installation by trimming out many of the setup details that existed in previous guides. The more detailed information is now linked from within each section, and each section now has a quick-setup blurb applicable to all users, whether upgrading from a previous 2.2.5+ release or installing STEP for the first time. This guide is reliant more on the vanilla configuration in order to get all STEP:Core mods installed as simply and efficiently as possible to achieve a stable and working game. Performance and stability are the focus and quality is secondary. For those interested in polishing STEP (or any modded setup) to optimal quality, be sure to click on the prominent links to the ancillary guides underneath each applicable heading.

Also, STEP now recommends Mod Organizer as the preferred mod manager for modding, as it not only has features that simplify installation and maintenance, but it is the only mod manager that isolates profile-specific mods and configuration files from the actual game resources. This means that there is no chance of the user contaminating or breaking Skyrim game or configuration resources. All mods and altered files are effectively isolated from the default game directories using virtualization (mods) and profiles (configuration). The interface is also intuitive, and the application is under active development. The software is open source, and extensible via third-party plugins.

Finally, STEP:Packs to be installed after a STEP:Core install (all mods flagged by the green indicator) will be linked at the end of this guide for users wishing to add user-contributed functionality to the STEP:Core build. So far there are a few Packs created for STEP, but we expect this number to grow in the near future. Full Pack integration will be rolled out with STEP v2.3.0.

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

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 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.

Minimum System for STEP:Core[edit]

It is tentatively planned that STEP:Core (and Extended, by proxy) will continue to provide a performance-friendly version in tandem with a standard version. Given what we know about the memory limits for 32-bit applications (aka the "3.1 GB limit for Skyrim"). This will most likely entail installation options associated with many of the Core mods and possibly even two performance patches (TBD).

For this release, we recommend the following as a minimum hardware configuration for running STEP:Core (installing "Baseline" versions of "Core" mods only). For those wishing to use higher-quality options and/or to install the non-Core mods (tentatively, STEP:Extended Beta), be advised that a more powerful system is likely necessary. The Baseline install that we recommend will provide the best quality-performance trade-off.

Hardware Minimum Recommended
Windows OS Windows XP Windows 7 or 8
CPU Intel Core i3 (dual core) Intel Core i5/i7 (quad core)
System RAM 4 GB >=8 GB
GPU 1GB VRAM >=2GB VRAM
Monitor Resolution 1366x768 1920x1080


Info-Logo.png Notice:
Baseline (referenced throughout this guide) is the STEP:Core 'Baseline' mods install (see mod tables) and adherence to all of the instructions in this guide, nothing more, nothing less.


[edit]


NOTE: It is particularly important that novice modders begin with clean installations of Steam & Skyrim in order to be successful with the 'quick' setup first time around, so PLEASE READ EACH SECTION CAREFULLY, as no information included in this guide is irrelevant!

STEP 1[edit]

Pre-Installation Setup

1.A. Install Steam & Skyrim[edit]

Detailed Information --> Skyrim Installation Guide

This guide assumes that the user is beginning with a clean Skyrim installation. If necessary, please take some time to properly set up and configure Steam and install Skyrim as recommended by the Skyrim Installation Guide before continuing.

1.B. Skyrim Launcher Options[edit]

Detailed Information --> Skyrim Launcher Guide

As a quick-start to installing STEP, simply launch Skyrim from Steam to initialize the auto-detection process, accept the preset, and continue to 1.C. Make certain that the preset Antialiasing is no greater than 4x (4 samples); otherwise, keep the preset. This is a conservative preset that will facilitate a smooth game once STEP is configured initially according to this guide (i.e., what does not tax performance now may be burdensome later). More extensive INI tweaking can be done after STEP is set up and verified as running smoothly.

1.C. Install Utilities[edit]

1.C.1. Better Oblivion Sorting Software[edit]

Better Oblivion Sorting Software (BOSS) is an essential utility for managing mod plugins for Skyrim. The primary function of BOSS is to reorder esp/esm plugins based on a master plugin order list. In addition, BOSS identifies plugins (ESPs/ESMs) that need cleaning with TES5Edit or other special treatment (more on this below), and adds Bash Tags to plugins that are later used by Wrye Bash when creating a bashed patch. Download BOSS and install according to the instructions provided by the author.

1.C.2. Wrye Bash[edit]

Detailed Information --> Wrye Bash Guide

Although Wrye Bash is a mod manager, STEP recommends that it only be used as a helper application to Mod Organizer exclusively for the functionality of the Bashed Patch. The reason for the limited support of Wrye Bash is due to simplicity of this guide. Users who wish to use Wrye Bash can easily use that mod manager to install and maintain STEP.

Navigate to the Wrye Bash Nexus page and install "Wrye Bash xxx_x - Installer". Be certain to use the "Standalone Executable" option when prompted during the install.

1.C.3. Mod Organizer[edit]

Info-Logo.png Notice:
Until STEP 2.2.9 is released, please only use MO v1.1.2! The changes made in v1.2.5 and higher will cause some issues with the DLCs and Unofficial Patches as well as any optimized textures mod the user made via DDSopt for the DLCs. When STEP 2.2.9 is released, we'll be updating all the mod pages and other instructions to incorporate the latest changes in MO. Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.


Detailed Information --> Mod Organizer Official Documentation

While mods can be installed manually, it is not recommended. A mod-management utility is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED in order to keep track of a complex setup like STEP. These utilities also make it exponentially simpler to deconstruct a STEP install in order to update to a new STEP version, and to update versions of the mods. This is impossible to do simply or efficiently (or even correctly) otherwise.

There are several utilities that may be used to manage the STEP setup; however, STEP now officially supports only Mod Organizer for reasons stated in the guide introduction. For this reason, only Mod Organizer setup will be addressed briefly here. Wrye Bash users can use the Wrye Bash Guide for detailed instructions on setting up that exceedingly excellent modding utility package.

To properly install and setup Mod Organizer for the first time, please do the following:

  1. Download and install the Mod Organizer (MO) installer version (use default settings, but install to your Skyrim game directory).
  2. Run the ModOrganizer application. If you installed Skyrim to a protected directory (e.g., Program Files), you may have to Run as Administrator.
  3. When first started, MO will present a window asking for input to select the game to manage. Select Skyrim, or use the browse function to find the Skyrim game folder if necessary.
  4. First time users will receive a message to show a tutorial. It is highly recommended to do so.
  5. Click the wrench icon Wrench MO.png in the toolbar, and select the Nexus tab.
    • Check "automatically log in" box, insert your Nexus username and password, and click OK.
    • Optionally go to the General tab in Settings and change the style to a theme of your choice (dark.qss is currently the most popular).
  6. Click the globe icon Globe MO.png in the toolbar. This allows MO to download mods when the Download with Manager button is clicked on the Nexus.
  7. If the update icon Update-MO.png is lit up, click it to update Mod Organizer to the latest version.
  8. Click the profiles icon Profiles MO.png in the toolbar and click the Create button.
    • Call the new profile STEP Core, do NOT check the Default Game Settings, and click OK. (STEP Extended and Pack users: Do NOT create the STEP Extended or related Pack profiles yet. Create these after installing STEP Core successfully and by using the Copy profile function. This will save you the hassle of rearranging all your installed mods again.)
  9. Activate the STEP Core profile from the drop-down menu and proceed to 1.D.

1.D. INI Tweaks[edit]

Detailed Information --> Skyrim INI Guide

The Skyrim INI files are located in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\. As in the previous section above, it is highly recommended that no other INI settings be configured at this point, because the conservative presets are a good starting point for accommodating a performance-friendly initial STEP setup. The detailed INI guide can be referenced once a stable setup is verified after completing this guide.

Moicon.png MO Users:
The INI configuration files can be accessed directly from within MO by clicking on the Tools icon and selecting either [INI Editor] or [Configurator]. These tools point to the INIs located under <Mod Organizer>\profiles.


The following INI tweaks are recommended for all users and affect gameplay without impacting performance (except minorly where indicated). Create the following at the end of each of the indicated INI sections. Sections are marked by names within square brackets '[ ]', and some of these sections may already exist, but for those that do not, create the section. Carefully check that ...

  1. ... no duplicate entries are created,
  2. that all entries are placed into the correct section, and
  3. that all sections are properly defined
Moicon.png MO Users:
Using the Tools > [Configurator] tool prevents any editing mistakes. Open the tool, click [Basic] to get the Advanced options, and choose the applicable section from the combobox. Then find the applicable setting and alter as indicated below. Click the [Save] button after each change and close the dialog when finished.


1.D.1. Skyrim INI[edit]

Each of the following entries can be pasted directly into the INI (if editing manually). The entry descriptions are commented, so they will not be interpreted by the game at startup. Alternatively, these descriptions can be omitted.

[General]
sIntroSequence=    ;Disables the intro sequence for a faster startup
fFlickeringLightDistance=8192    ;Helps prevent lighting pop-in
[Display]
;Improves shadow changes as the sun moves through the sky
fSunShadowUpdateTime=0.25    ;Transition time of sun-shadow movement
fSunUpdateThreshold=1.5    ;Time between sun-shadow movement
[Grass]
iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure=3    ;increase grass diversity with a small cost to performance (yes, 'texure' and not 'texture'). Consider setting to 7 if using Skyrim Flora Overhaul.
[Combat]
;Shift the point of aim to the center of the aiming reticule for arrows and crossbows.
f1PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7 
f3PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7 
f1PBoltTiltUpAngle=0.7 
f3PBoltTiltUpAngle=0.7
[Actor]
fVisibleNavmeshMoveDist=12288.0000    ;allows arrows to hit objects as far as the appear to fly.

1.D.2. SkyrimPrefs INI[edit]

[Display]
iMaxAnisotropy = 0    ;Anisotropic Filtering - set this to zero, as it should be controlled via the graphics driver.
iMultiSample = 4    ;Antialiasing - keep the value set by the Skyrim Launcher for now
iPresentInterval = 0    ;disable vsync! - vsync should be handled in enblocal.ini (see ENBoost mod instructions)
bTreesReceiveShadows=1    ;Enables shadows rendering on trees (insignificant performance impact)
bDrawLandShadows=1    ;Enables shadows rendering on land (insignificant performance impact)
bFloatPointRenderTarget=0    ;Set to 'one' if using deferred shader rendering ENB lighting (NOT supported by STEP). 
NOTE: ENB lighting (not supported by STEP) is not the same as using ENBoost (supported by STEP)!
[Controls]
bMouseAcceleration=0    ;Disable mouse acceleration

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

Often under-appreciated, display and driver settings have a huge potential impact on graphic quality of Skyrim and anything else that is displayed on the monitor in 2D or 3D. So it is important to get this done correctly. Below are the essentials, and no further tweaking is necessary; although, people will do what they must. Again, it is highly recommended that the bare minimal tweaking be done until after STEP is installed and configured according to the Baseline dictated by this guide.

Update Video Drivers[edit]

If there is any reason to believe that the latest drivers are not the latest available or that they are not already installed correctly ...

  1. Download the latest beta or stable AMD drivers / Nvidia drivers.
  2. If installing/re-installing new drivers, download DDU and install it (DDU forum Page).
  3. Boot into safe mode by repeatedly pressing F8 once the boot check initializes and before the OS begins loading (no need to uninstall the current drivers, but it will not hurt at all).
  4. Launch DDU, and select the appropriate driver from the drop-down combobox.
  5. Note the recommendations in DDU and initialize the cleanup.
  6. Reboot normally and install the latest drivers.
Info-Logo.png Notice: This guide (and the corresponding section in the STEP Guide) assumes that users will not be running ENB (at least not during initial setup of STEP). If ENB will be used after verifying a functional setup, driver-based graphics settings should not invoke ANY of the settings described below. Simply let the application handle everything, as driver-based settings will conflict with ENB.

1.E.1. Configure Driver Settings[edit]

Please configure STEP graphics settings without ENB until STEP is configured according to this guide.

STEP has more detailed information in both the AMD-CCC guide as well as the Nvidia Inspector guide, and other AMD-CCC and Nvidia Inspector / Control Center guides exist for the inquisitive user. The following information is minimalistic, sound advice, and users are encouraged to add their own 2 cents for consideration via the AMD-CCC Talk and Nvidia Inspector Talk pages.

In Short - The graphics software should only be forcing max Anisotropic Filtering (AF) (and Supersampling Anti-Aliasing (SSAA) for higher-end cards). All other settings should be left to the Skyrim configuration and ENBoost configurations.

Info-Logo.png Notice: This guide (and the corresponding section in the STEP Guide) assumes that users will not be running ENB (at least not during initial setup of STEP). If ENB will be used after verifying a functional setup, driver-based graphics settings should not invoke ANY of the settings described below. Simply let the application handle everything, as driver-based settings will conflict with ENB.
Info-Logo.png Notice: ENBoost-ONLY users (NOT ENB graphics users!) should NOT use AF in enblocal.ini (set ForceAnisotropicFiltering to false ). For some reason it is more costly than setting AF via CCC and there is no difference in the effect.

1.E.1.1. AMD Users[edit]

Detailed Information --> Catalyst Control Center Guide

The AMD driver configuration utility, Catalyst Control Center (CCC), is installed along with the graphics drivers by default.

  1. Within CCC , select |Gaming| > |3D Application Settings|.
  2. Click |+ Add|, then browse to and select TESV.exe, and click on this new profile (these settings will only apply to Skyrim now).
  3. Set Anti-Aliasing Mode to "Use application settings" (driver-side AA has no impact on Skyrim, as it is a function only of iMultiSample in SkyrimPrefs.ini). If set to "Override application settings", AA will be turned off in Skyrim, regardless of the Skyrim INI setting!
  4. Set Anti-Aliasing Method to "Multisampling" (for better performance), or set to Supersampling if your video card can handle it (for better quality). For some reason, driver-side AA method does work, just not sample rate.
  5. Force Anisotropic Filtering Mode by setting Anisotropic filtering to "Override application settings". NOTE: this provides a slight frame-rate gain over using ENB to handle AF with no difference in quality; however, ENB can also be used to handle AF, and so can SkyrimPrefs.ini for that matter (but using SkyrimPrefs.ini will conflict with ENB graphics if that will later be used). If using ENB, set Anisotropic Filtering Mode to "Use application settings"
  6. Set Anisotropic Filtering Setting to 16x. NOTE: as above.
  7. Set Wait for Vertical Refresh to "Always off" (Recall that vsync should be running via ENBoost's enblocal.ini!)
  8. Save and close, accepting any overwrite when prompted.

1.E.1.2. Nvidia Users[edit]

Detailed Information --> Nvidia Inspector Guide: Editing Skyrim Settings

Make the following changes via Nvidia Inspector, otherwise leave the defaults (they can be tweaked later if absolutely necessary).

  1. Download Nvidia Inspector. This is a portable program and requires no installation. Simply place in a convenient location and create a shortcut to the executable.
  2. Within Inspector, select the "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" profile and keep all of the default settings except for the following changes:
  1. Set Antialiasing - Mode to "Application-controlled". Apparently, SkyrimPrefs.ini dictates the level of AA, but the video card drivers can dictate the method of AA. If set to "Override", AA will be turned off in Skyrim, regardless of the Skyrim INI setting!
  2. Set Antialiasing - Setting to "Application-controlled / Off" (for better performance), or set to use 2x2 (or 4x4) Supersampling if the video card can handle it (for better quality).
  3. Force Anisotropic filtering mode by setting Anisotropic filtering to "User-defined / Off".
  4. Set Anisotropic filtering setting to 16x. Higher values may cause texture shimmering in mid to long range texture LODs. If this happens, adjusting the LOD bias (below) can help to remedy the issue.
  5. Click Apply changes and close, accepting any overwrite when prompted. (Sometimes 'Apply changes' needs to be clicked twice.)

1.E.2. Display Calibration[edit]

Color calibration is critical to photographers and graphic artists that work across media types, but it is also more or less important for everyone that uses a computer. For gamers like those interested inb STEP, it is a bit more important, because there is a lot of screenshot sharing and qualitative discussion about in-game visuals. It is ideal id all users are somewhat 'standardized' for comparative purposes alone.

The gist: Calibrate the monitor's display settings based on the video driver configuration utility with all other configuration baselines set to something akin to "mid level".

There are three places to configure color saturation, temp, brightness, contrast, gamma, etc:

  1. The monitor's built-in config
  2. Windows color management
  3. The driver configuration utility (see h"Configure Driver Settings above)

The settings of one affect the settings of the other, and depending on the quality of the monitor, #1 could be very good or just 'OK'. The #2 and #3 settings should be standard though, since they are made to work across various monitors.

  • Ensure that #1 is set to "the middle ground" with respect to all settings. Having extreme settings in the monitor configuration could potentially constrain the other configurations. For some, wetting all #1 to mid levels will be best, but for others the 'auto-config' will be best (this may not set all #1 to mid settings). Depending on the monitor, there may be other auto-config options based on various presets. Whatever seems most "middle of the road" is probably best for #1.
  • Optionally, also run #2 (Control Panel > Display > Calibrate Color) and set to 'vanilla' mid-levels with respect to all attributes. If this was never run previously, then it should already be at mid-level.
  • Calibrate using #3 (see below) using a this reference image and in a room with no direct lighting that could affect what the monitor shows (not-too-bright, diffuse-lighted room). The main calibration should be left to #3 once a mid baseline 'canvas' has been established for #1 and #2.
    • AMD-CCC: |Desktop Management| > |Desktop Color| (click "Reactivate AMD color controls").
    • Nvidia Control Panel: Access from the Windows Control Panel. |Display| > |Adjust desktop color settings|

1.F. Performance Benchmarking[edit]

Detailed Information --> Benchmarking STEP

YOU CAN HELP!

Baseline performance benchmarks help us to assess performance variation across a range of computer configurations, which is useful for all users. User contributions in this regard are highly valued and much appreciated! Database-comparison benchmarks will be available as sufficient numbers of user-submitted data accumulate (and once we construct the system that will contain this information).

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

Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
Benchmark32.png


Final Pre-Installation Notes[edit]

A Final Consideration
  • Remember that STEP:Core should be used as a base for ANY modded setup. It is a universal build and will not spoil any downstream setup (e.g., Skyrim Revisited - Legendary Edition), although there may well be a few minor redundancies whereby a STEP:Core mod is later installed again with some added or subtracted options.}}
  • Install mods in the order that they are presented in the following tables in order to achieve the desired result.
  • 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.
  • Wrye Bash Users: 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. Mod Organizer Users: There are no benefits of loose files over BSAs in MO.
  • 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.
Warning-Logo.png Warning: Do not activate the STEP Patch plugin in your load order until you have finished installing STEP completely, or you will CTD.

The STEP Patches are for users that intend to install either all of STEP Core or all of STEP Extended. This is to gain stability by increasing compatibility between mods and to decrease the amount of patches needed which reduces the number of plugins.

Even though the STEP Patches are listed first in the guide, the patch being used will be one of the very last mods in load order. Something to be aware of when using the STEP Patches, ONLY use one patch at a time. One last thing is that some STEP Pack authors may make their own patch, probably from the STEP Core Patch, so if using a STEP Pack, check if one of these patches are necessary.

To users that do not install all the mods in either STEP Core or STEP Extended, these patches can still be used if experienced enough with TES5Edit to customize the plugin to match the preferred load order, but permission to distribute that patch is explicitly forbidden. Also, if not using the STEP Patches then download any separate patches for mods that need them, they may not be listed in the guide, so keep an eye out.

2.B. 01-Tools[edit]

Info-Logo.png Notice:
Until STEP 2.2.9 is released, please only use MO v1.1.2! The changes made in v1.2.5 and higher will cause some issues with the DLCs and Unofficial Patches as well as any optimized textures mod the user made via DDSopt for the DLCs. When STEP 2.2.9 is released, we'll be updating all the mod pages and other instructions to incorporate the latest changes in MO. Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.


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.

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.

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.

Optimizer TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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.
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

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.

2.C. 02-Extenders[edit]

Extend the game engine and required for use by downstream mods or utilities
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
Stable uGridsToLoadLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Borderless WindowLink to the mod's Wiki page. ENBoost should use the borderless window options included in ENBoost instead of this mod. Requires a manual install: Right-click Data and select Set data directory.

2.D. 09-Fixes[edit]

Mods that fix various bugs not addressed by the Foundation mod group
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
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.
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.
Distant Decal FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. Mod now only includes the meshes that do not conflict with USKP.
Double Cursor FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. This mod can be skipped if ENBoost is installed. Users not installing ENBoost, should install this mod.
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.
SKSE-Elys-AltF4Link to the mod's Wiki page. ENBoost user can skip this mod. Users not installing ENBoost should install this mod.
Smart SoulsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
The Smart Souls.ini file needs to be edited manually. To do this:
  1. While in Mod Organizer, right-click the Smart Souls mod on the left-hand side
  2. Select the menu option Open in explorer
  3. Within the new window, navigate into the SKSE\Plugins folder
  4. Right-click within the folder and select the menu option New > Text Document
  5. Name the file Smart Souls.ini (make sure you are showing File Extensions - click here to see how)
  6. Open the new file and copy the below contents, pasting them into the file
    '"`UNIQ--pre-0000013D-QINU`"'
  7. Save and close the file
Info-Logo.png Notice: If you forget to follow the instructions above, the Smart Souls.ini file should be created upon running the game for the first time after this mod's installation. It will be located in the Mod Organizer Overwrite folder. This file needs to be dragged and dropped into the SKSE\Plugins folder within the Smart Souls mod.
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.
Realistic Ragdolls and ForceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Realistic STEP Extended Patch users can remove the plugin from this mod. All other files are required.
XP32 Maximum SkeletonLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
NSFW mod page (only in photos at top page gallery). Download from link above to bypass mod page. Else, download and install the XP32 Maximum Skeleton main file.

The installation instructions here support using wearable items from the Wet and Cold STEP mod. Skyrim Revisited includes different installation options that support using items from a different mod (Frostfall). The two installation option sets are not compatible.


FOMOD Instructions
XPMS NMM-BAIN INSTALLER
  • Choose Your Setup
    • Bow and Quiver
      • ◉ XPMS Default
        • Next
  • 1st Person Skeleton
    • Did you USE Joy Of perspective Mod ?
      • ◉ NO
        • Next
  • Experimental Package
    • XPMS
      • ☐ None
        • Next
  • Choose Your Setup
    • 1 Handed Sword Placement
      • ◉ XPMS Default
        • Next
  • Choose Your Setup
    • Dagger Placement
      • ◉ Back Hip Dagger
        • Next
  • Dagger Equip Animation Package
    • Back Hip Dagger Equip Animation
      • ◉ Back Hip Dagger equip animation
        • Next
  • Options
    • 01 - Required Files
      • ☑ Skeleton Rig map
        • Next
  • LAST STEP
    • XPMS BHD
      • ☑ XPMS BHD
        • Install

Remember to run FNIS after installing all mods.

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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
Better Dialogue ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better MessageBox ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Blessings-Altar DescriptionsLink 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".
KenMOD Time On Loading ScreenLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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.
No Menu and Loading SmokeLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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.
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Benchmark
Benchmark32.png


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.
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.
Jewels of the NordLink to the mod's Wiki page. Low res
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
Realistic Smoke and EmbersLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium
SkyFalls and SkyMillsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the "SkyFalls and SkyMills FOMOD-BAIN Installer" main file.
FOMOD Instructions
SkyFalls and SkyMills FOMOD-BAIN Installer
  • Installed DLC?
    • Dawnguard (DG)
      • ◉ Yes
    • Dragonborn (DB)
      • ◉ Yes
    • Flaskaar (FS)
      • ◉ No
    • Wyrmstooth (WT)
      • ◉ No
        • Next
  • Check your choices
    • Check your selection
      • ◉ Both DG + DB
        • Next
  • LOD mod compatibility
    • LOD mod compatibility
      • ◉ I don't use these mods
        • Next
  • Optionals
    • Optional Small Waterfalls
      • ◉ None
    • Optional Patches
      • ☐ None
    • Windmill sail Size
      • ◉ 1.5x vanilla (Default)
    • Select your water mod
      • ◉ Realistic Water Two (Default)
        • Install
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\
High Quality Food and IngredientsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Performance repack Detailed Instructions available
Hide the following files:
  • textures/Clutter/ingredients/venison_meat_n.dds
Enhanced Distant Terrain 2Link to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends both main files.
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.
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
AMidianBorn Caves and MinesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
AMidianBorn Solstheim LandscapeLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1k
Chimneys for SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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 Distant TerrainLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Download the main file. STEP recommends the Earth 1024 option.
Enhanced Night SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install only the Enhanced Night Skyrim v04 Low Stars optional file.
FootprintsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Footprints v1_00 - Legendary main file. Clean save required if updating from 0.99
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.
HQ SnowLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the main file.
Improved Vanilla MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Moss RocksLink to the mod's Wiki page. SMIM version
Moss Rocks-DragonbornLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Ruffled Feather Moss Rocks - Dragonborn Addon - v2.0 - SMIM Meshes main file.
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 -->
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.

Skyrim Distant DetailLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hearthfire users: Use the "Hearthfire Edition" file instead. Mod requires TES5Edit cleaning.
The Beauty of Skyrim-DungeonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1k
Terrain BumpLink to the mod's Wiki page. Performance Detailed Instructions available
STEP recommends hiding or removing the following files from Terrain Bump:

Hide the following files: textures\landscape\fieldgrass01_n.dds textures\landscape\mountains\mountainslab01_n.dds textures\landscape\mountains\mountainslab02_n.dds

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)
Whiterun Trellis RedesignedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024
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.

Better CircletsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024x512
Dawnguard Crossbow Bolts VisualizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional "Explosive Bolts Visualized HD Textures" file.
Closer Quivers and Longer ArrowsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and use the main file, Closer Quivers and Longer Arrows - NMM-Bash Compatible Wizard, for installation.

Instructions are current to version 4.2.

STEP recommends the following:

Arrow Options

Install ONLY the following options:

  • Versions
    • Closer and Less Bulky Quivers with Longer Arrows (version 4)
  • Quiver Type
    • Vanilla Quivers
  • Optionals
    • None
  • Official DLCs
    • Dawnguard
    • Dragonborn
  • Conversions of other mods (the following apply to STEP:Core. Select anything else applicable if using an extended list of mods not recommended by STEP)
    • aMidianBorn Skyforge Weapons by CaBal and EmeraldReign

Bolt Options

Install ONLY the following options:

  • Closer Quivers for bolts
  • Body Model
    • Vanilla/CBBE
  • Explosive Bolts Visualized by Madcat221
    • Closer Quivers and Default Quiver

Note: Bolts of Torch Arrows and Crossbow Basic Collection by DJjojo should be de-selected if selected, as they are not recommended for STEP.

The mod incorrectly adds a bogus dlc01 directory during installation. This folder is found in the root directory and should be removed.

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.
Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards ReduxLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards Redux
  • Installation Options
    • Select DLC
      • ☑ Skyrim
      • ☑ Dawnguard
      • ☑ Dragonborn
    • Meshes Type
      • ◉ Meshes - Thin
    • Sheath/Scabbard Type
      • ◉ Fullsize
    • Skyforge Steel
      • ☐ None
        • Install
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.
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.
HD BasketsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 512 x 1024
HD LinensLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD Ore and IngotsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the "With manager" file. The main file is mostly extraneous screenshots and duplicate files.
HD SacksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: HDSacks14TypeBBig and HDSacks14TypeBSmall Main Files.
HQ PaperLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Intricate Spider WebsLink to the mod's Wiki page. High
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.
Radiant and Unique Potions and Poisons HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use "Booze v2 Non-Glow".
Realistic InstrumentsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Silly Level of Detail-Potions and PoisonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use Ceramic style. Install for both potions and poisons.
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.
PondFish and Salmon ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Enchantment Effect ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "2XRes".
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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
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 and FlocksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hearthfire Edition Cleaned Detailed Instructions available
STEP recommends only the Hearthfire Edition Cleaned optional file.

DynDOLOD will not run with this mod active. STEP recommends leaving it inactive until DynDOLOD is ran at the Patch section of the Guide.


xEdit Cleaning Required

Diverse PriestsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Core users NOT using the STEP Core patch install DiversePriests_ConsistentOlderPeoplePatch.esp. Extended users NOT using the STEP Extended Patch install DiversePriests_ConsistentOlderPeoplePatch.esp and DiversePriests_BringOutYourDeadPatch.esp.
Female Vampires Have FangsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Frost Atronach HDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD Rabbits PlusLink 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.
More Realistic HairLink 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.
Superior Lore-Friendly HairLink to the mod's Wiki page. Rough Hair 1K Use the "SLF Hair - Rough Hair - Lite 1K" main file.
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
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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.
Finer DustLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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.
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2.K. 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.
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.
Jewels of the NordLink to the mod's Wiki page. Low res
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
Realistic Smoke and EmbersLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium
SkyFalls and SkyMillsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the "SkyFalls and SkyMills FOMOD-BAIN Installer" main file.
FOMOD Instructions
SkyFalls and SkyMills FOMOD-BAIN Installer
  • Installed DLC?
    • Dawnguard (DG)
      • ◉ Yes
    • Dragonborn (DB)
      • ◉ Yes
    • Flaskaar (FS)
      • ◉ No
    • Wyrmstooth (WT)
      • ◉ No
        • Next
  • Check your choices
    • Check your selection
      • ◉ Both DG + DB
        • Next
  • LOD mod compatibility
    • LOD mod compatibility
      • ◉ I don't use these mods
        • Next
  • Optionals
    • Optional Small Waterfalls
      • ◉ None
    • Optional Patches
      • ☐ None
    • Windmill sail Size
      • ◉ 1.5x vanilla (Default)
    • Select your water mod
      • ◉ Realistic Water Two (Default)
        • Install
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\
High Quality Food and IngredientsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Performance repack Detailed Instructions available
Hide the following files:
  • textures/Clutter/ingredients/venison_meat_n.dds
Enhanced Distant Terrain 2Link to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends both main files.
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.
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
AMidianBorn Caves and MinesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
AMidianBorn Solstheim LandscapeLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1k
Chimneys for SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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 Distant TerrainLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Download the main file. STEP recommends the Earth 1024 option.
Enhanced Night SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install only the Enhanced Night Skyrim v04 Low Stars optional file.
FootprintsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Footprints v1_00 - Legendary main file. Clean save required if updating from 0.99
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.
HQ SnowLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the main file.
Improved Vanilla MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Moss RocksLink to the mod's Wiki page. SMIM version
Moss Rocks-DragonbornLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Ruffled Feather Moss Rocks - Dragonborn Addon - v2.0 - SMIM Meshes main file.
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 -->
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.

Skyrim Distant DetailLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hearthfire users: Use the "Hearthfire Edition" file instead. Mod requires TES5Edit cleaning.
The Beauty of Skyrim-DungeonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1k
Terrain BumpLink to the mod's Wiki page. Performance Detailed Instructions available
STEP recommends hiding or removing the following files from Terrain Bump:

Hide the following files: textures\landscape\fieldgrass01_n.dds textures\landscape\mountains\mountainslab01_n.dds textures\landscape\mountains\mountainslab02_n.dds

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)
Whiterun Trellis RedesignedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024
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.

Better CircletsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024x512
Dawnguard Crossbow Bolts VisualizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional "Explosive Bolts Visualized HD Textures" file.
Closer Quivers and Longer ArrowsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Download and use the main file, Closer Quivers and Longer Arrows - NMM-Bash Compatible Wizard, for installation.

Instructions are current to version 4.2.

STEP recommends the following:

Arrow Options

Install ONLY the following options:

  • Versions
    • Closer and Less Bulky Quivers with Longer Arrows (version 4)
  • Quiver Type
    • Vanilla Quivers
  • Optionals
    • None
  • Official DLCs
    • Dawnguard
    • Dragonborn
  • Conversions of other mods (the following apply to STEP:Core. Select anything else applicable if using an extended list of mods not recommended by STEP)
    • aMidianBorn Skyforge Weapons by CaBal and EmeraldReign

Bolt Options

Install ONLY the following options:

  • Closer Quivers for bolts
  • Body Model
    • Vanilla/CBBE
  • Explosive Bolts Visualized by Madcat221
    • Closer Quivers and Default Quiver

Note: Bolts of Torch Arrows and Crossbow Basic Collection by DJjojo should be de-selected if selected, as they are not recommended for STEP.

The mod incorrectly adds a bogus dlc01 directory during installation. This folder is found in the root directory and should be removed.

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.
Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards ReduxLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Greatsword Sheaths and Scabbards Redux
  • Installation Options
    • Select DLC
      • ☑ Skyrim
      • ☑ Dawnguard
      • ☑ Dragonborn
    • Meshes Type
      • ◉ Meshes - Thin
    • Sheath/Scabbard Type
      • ◉ Fullsize
    • Skyforge Steel
      • ☐ None
        • Install
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.
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.
HD BasketsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 512 x 1024
HD LinensLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD Ore and IngotsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the "With manager" file. The main file is mostly extraneous screenshots and duplicate files.
HD SacksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Step recommends: HDSacks14TypeBBig and HDSacks14TypeBSmall Main Files.
HQ PaperLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Intricate Spider WebsLink to the mod's Wiki page. High
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.
Radiant and Unique Potions and Poisons HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use "Booze v2 Non-Glow".
Realistic InstrumentsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Silly Level of Detail-Potions and PoisonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use Ceramic style. Install for both potions and poisons.
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.
PondFish and Salmon ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Enchantment Effect ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "2XRes".
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Benchmark
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2.L. 07-Sounds & Music[edit]

Mods that alter game audio
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
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
Better Horse Pain SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dragons Shout With VoiceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Loose Also install optional file, Dragons Shout with Voice from location.
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.
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.
Ultra Realistic Bow Shoot SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Ultra Realistic Crossbow Shoot SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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Benchmark
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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.
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.
When Vampires AttackLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Wet and Cold-AshesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Warning-Logo.png Warning:
This mod is no longer supported by Wet & Cold v2.0+. It is now included in the main Wet & Cold mod as an optional.
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Benchmark
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STEP 3[edit]

A Necessity

3.A. Post-Installation Housekeeping[edit]

3.A.1. Sort Plugins Using BOSS[edit]

Before launching the game via Mod Organizer (or via Wrye Bash or skse_launcher directly), it is necessary to sort the plugins to ensure proper asset and plugin loading order, which can have a dramatic impact on the game (or at worst cause a CTD).

  1. Launch BOSS via Mod Organizer (or via Wrye Bash or directly from the BOSS program folder).
  2. Examine the BOSS output carefully and look for any alerts or warnings and address each. The Plugins tab in MO (on the right side of the MO window) is where plugins can be activated/deactivated and sorted (hold Ctrl + Up/Down arrow keys to sort).
  3. The STEP Patch may need to be manually sorted and activated. Place it directly before "bashed patch, 0.esp".

3.A.2. Create the Bashed Patch[edit]

  1. Launch Wrye Bash via Mod Organizer.
  2. Within the Mods Tab, right click on "bashed patch, 0.esp", and select "Rebuild Patch".
  3. Tick the boxes next to "Merge Patches", "Import Names", "Import Stats", "Tweak Settings", and "Leveled Lists".
  4. Highlight "Tweak Settings", and tick the box next to "Crime: Alarm Distance". Optional: tick the box next to "Timescale".
  5. Right-click on "Crime: Alarm Distance" and select '1000' and optionally set "Timescale" to a value less than '20' but no less than '10'.
  6. Next click [Build Patch] at the bottom of the window to construct the patch based on the current plugin list/order
Info-Logo.png Notice: text=Rebuild the Bashed Patch again each time the plugin load list/order changes.
Moicon.png MO Users:
After closing Wrye Bash and returning to MO, the "bashed patch, 0.esp" will be located in the "Overwrite" folder. A different Bashed Patch can be created for every MO profile, so it is advised to move the Bashed Patch and its data to a separate mod folder. Simply right click the "Overwrite" folder and select 'Create Mod', then name it. Example is STEP Core Bashed Patch. You will then need to check it to enable it. Each subsequent time you rebuild the patch, you must open Overwrite and drag the new files back to this mod.


3.A.3 Fore's New Idle System (STEP Extended Only)[edit]

The animation files need to be generated for the skeleton changes and weapon placement to show properly in game. Combined with XP32 Skeleton and Dual Sheath Redux, Fore's New Idle System allows users to place swords, daggers, and shields on the Player Character's back instead on the hip and arm.

  1. Launch GenerateFNISforUsers via Mod Organizer (or from the mod's folder in windows explorer if not using MO).
  2. In the Available Patches at the bottom of the window, check the box adjacent to "SKELETON Arm Fix".
  3. Click the [Update FNIS Behavior] button and wait for a message to appear in the window stating "X animations for Y mods successfully included.".
  4. Click [Exit].
Moicon.png MO Users:
After closing FNIS, there will be files in Overwrite (essentially a fake mod located at the bottom of the left pane if sorted by priority ascending) created by FNIS. Right-click Overwrite and select Create Mod, name it FNIS Output and click OK. This will create a new mod listing in the left pane for the FNIS generated files. You will then need to check it to enable it. Each subsequent time you update FNIS behavior, you must open Overwrite and drag the new files back to this mod.


3.A.4. Dual Sheath Redux Patch (STEP Extended Only)[edit]

  1. Launch Dual Sheath Redux (DSR) Patch via Mod Organizer.
  2. Click [Patch] in the top right corner to generate the patch. After this is done, Dual Sheath Redux Patch will close automatically.
Moicon.png MO Users:
After closing the Dual Sheath Redux Patch, there will be files in Overwrite (essentially a fake mod located at the bottom of the left pane if sorted by priority ascending) created by DSR. Right-click Overwrite and select Create Mod, name it DSR Output and click OK. This will create a new mod listing in the left pane for the DSR patch generated files. You will then need to check it to enable it. Each subsequent time you rebuild the patch, you must open Overwrite and drag the new files back to this mod.
Warning-Logo.png Warning: Each time you change your load order, you should rerun the DSR Patch to remake the patch. Failure to do so may lead to a CTD upon startup.

3.A.5. Launch STEP:Skyrim[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.
Moicon.png MO Users:
It takes significantly longer to launch Skyrim from within MO than it does by using other means. Allow up to 3 minutes for Skyrim to launch before panicking ... launch time will be faster after the first launch in a given MO session (unless lots of mod-list changes are made).


STEP 4[edit]

Tips & Troubleshooting Common Issues

4.A. Troubleshooting Common Problems[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 30 or more FPS on average without any noticeable stuttering.

4.A.1. Failure to Launch[edit]

Skyrim still sometimes fails to launch, and the following are some of the most common causes and solutions:

  • Improper load order - Run BOSS and examine the output. Plugins out of order or plugins with missing masters will cause this. BOSS will sort everything properly, but certain patches installed with certain mods included with STEP:Extended will not apply under a STEP:Core install, so these plugins need to be un-ticked in MO or WB plugin lists.
  • Improper Bashed Patch - This can result from ticking options that are not explicitly mentioned in this guide (see above), or it can result if the Bashed Patch was not rebuilt after a mod-list/order change.
  • Bad INI settings - If Skyrim.ini or SkyrimPrefs.ini were edited in a way that was not described in STEP 1.D. (or if a fresh, default INI was not used as a baseline), certain settings can cause this issue. The quickest solution is to revisit that section and regenerate a fresh INI with the recommended settings.

4.A.2. Crashes to Desktop (CTD)[edit]

There are unfortunately many reasons for CTDs just after launch or shortly thereafter, but if this guide was followed precisely, STEP mods should not be the cause. Following are some common causes and solutions.

  • Improper Load Order - Run BOSS and examine the output as in the previous section.
  • Missing Masters - If an active plugin is missing its dependent master, a CTD will occur immediately. To fix, either locate the missing master and add it in or deactivate the plugin missing its master.
    • MO will show a red exclamation icon next to the plugin, while Wrye Bash will show a red checkbox next to the plugin.
  • Improper Bashed Patch - See the previous section.
  • Bad INI settings - Yep, see the previous section.
  • Bad video settings or incompatible driver version - Revisit STEP 1.E. and verify settings, back them down to 'performance' options, or update to the proper video driver.
  • Windows environment issue - This is highly possible and unfortunately too difficult to prescribe any remotely ubiquitous solution other than restarting the computer and checking for conflicting processes (e.g., anti-virus/maleware). Google is a friend to all in need.

4.A.3. Semi-Invisible People, Objects or Misbehaving Walls[edit]

Following are some solutions:

  • Transparency Antialiasing - Turn of any transparency (adaptive) sampling if enabled under antialiasing settings of the graphics-driver software (see references under STEP 1.E.). Also, remember to download the latest ATI drivers.
  • Bad INI settings - If using ENB, set bFloatPointRenderTarget=1 in the SkyrimPrefs.ini.

4.A.4. Stuttering[edit]

  • Microstutter - This is an annoying 'glitchiness' when moving or panning for those using higher-end graphics cards (usually) or multiple GPUs in SLI or CrossfireX configs (purportedly). Follow the recommendations for ENBoost, noting in particular EnableVSync=true . If this does not resolve the issue:
    • Ensure that microstutter is not being confused with 'macro'-stutter, which is more severe and memory related. Remember: microstutter is very annoying, but not hindering in any way.
    • Try forcing vsync via Nvidia Inspector (Nvidia users) or RadeonPro (AMD users) ... sorry Intel users. Also (and this is very important), enable D3D-compatible triple buffering via RadeonPro. Nvidia Inspector users: D3D-compatible triple buffering is not available. Use D3Doverrider instead. This may also have a vsync function.
  • Macrostutter - This is most likely the result of using textures and meshes that exceed the limits of GPU VRAM. ENBoost should prevent this in most cases, but certain user configurations and/or hardware may not behave as expected:
    • Verify ENBoost settings and graphics settings described under STEP 1.E.!
    • Re-install the most performance-friendly versions of mods as indicated by the "Quality Options" column of the mod tables above.
    • Consult the DDSopt Guide to learn how to optimize textures accordingly.
    • Finally, Un-install Skyrim Flora Overhaul and Skyrim Realistic Overhaul, which are easily the most VRAM-intensive mods in STEP (although there are others under STEP 2.F. and STEP 2.G. in particular).
    • Enable windowed mode via ENBoost (instructions at bottom of mod page).

4.A.5. Texture Flickering, Etc.[edit]

Refer to the Z-Fighting Guide.

4.B. In-Game Tips[edit]

  • The console can be activated by pressing the tilde ([~]) key, often located just below [Escape], while in-game.
  • ENBoost has a couple built in hotkeys that are helpful (can be adjusted in enblocal.ini section [INPUT]):
    1. Show FPS: [*] (on the numpad not shift+8)
    2. Free VRAM: [f4]
    3. Screenshot: print screen (Skyrim's screenshots do not work with ENB/ENBoost)
  • Steam screenshots are [f12], but if using a keyboard with multimedia keys it could be [shift+f12].
    1. Be aware [shift+f12] is also the ENB Series Graphics hotkey to toggle the effects on/off. ENBoost ONLY users are not affected.

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

Prior to 2008, the most common monitor resolutions were 16:10 aspect ratio (source). Since then, 16:9 has become the standard. The Skyrim FOV defaults to 75 (%) and is optimized for monitor aspect ratio of 16:10. Therefore, users with 16:9 monitors (e.g. 1920x1080) will want to increase their FOV to 81. Setting this in the INI does not persist, so it must be done via the console. Within Skyrim, open the console (tap the tilde [~] key) and type: fov 81 . Those rare and unfortunate users stuck with 4:3 aspect ratio will need to 'reduce' their FOV down to 62.

A helpful conversion calculator can assist in calculation of other monitor types (just type in a 16:10 on the right side and the new resolution on the left to get the new hFOV).

4.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 4.A.4).

STEP Packs[edit]

Community Add-ons

STEP Packs are generally intended to go over the STEP:Core build. Be certain to read the Pack instructions to determine what build the Pack is dependent upon.

Moicon.png MO Users:
You will now experience one of the reasons why Mod Organizer is the chosen mod-management utility for STEP. Pack installation is a breeze, as it is possible to have profiles for each build dependency that a given Pack relies upon.


Consider reviewing some of the Packs that our users have been developing to augment STEP.

STEP Packs

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 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).


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 z929669 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 z929669 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 z929669 via PM on the forums (Please register on the forums and see the very bottom of the Forum Team page).


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
  • Bethesda Softworks for Skyrim (and TES in general)
  • A very special thanks to STEP aficionados, EssArrBee and DoubleYou for their assistance with this release. EssArrBee is also our STEP Patch maintainer, so a big thanks to him for that. DoubleYou is also the lead maintainer of the MO Guide
The core STEP team is:[edit]
  • 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
  • Active STEP volunteer staff: Aiyen, EssArrBee, deathneko11, DoubleYou, GSDfan, Kelmych, kryptopyr, phazer11, rootsrat, Tannin, Techangel89, torminater, Uhuru, WilliamImm, and wolverine2710
  • Farlo - Mediawiki developer & extraordinaire, Mod-list co-compiler, forums admin, site founder (out of commission since November, 2013)
  • MontyMM - Solutions developer (Semi-Automatic STEP), site founder (out of commission since December, 2013)