SkyrimLE:2.2.9.2

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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This guide is out of date!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.

Incremental Mod Update for Interim Release #3[edit]

STEP 2.2.9.2 is an incremental mod update for our third interim release bridging our move to the new paradigm that will officially be unveiled as STEP 2.3.0. What does this mean? This means that while there are no drastic changes to the STEP Guide, we have again fine-tuned the STEP setup to bring you a fluid mod list to enhance the beauty and feel of Skyrim.

This update was primarily influenced by the release of the Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch (USLEEP). The STEP Team has also scoured permissions and communicated with a ton of mod authors to bring about the STEP Compilation, an advanced FOMOD installer combining many of the mods in the STEP Guide, causing installation of the guide to become that much easier. Its release required an update to the guide in order to maintain compatibility. A highlight of this release hails the acceptance of Immersive Citizens - AI Overhaul, which fixes the boring and lack-luster NPCs in Skyrim making them alive and more interactive. The INI files have gained some renewed attention as well, with several tweaks added to the recommended changes. Due to these significant upgrades to the Guide, STEP 2.2.9.2 requires a new game save.

STEP:Packs to be installed after a STEP:Core install (all mods flagged by the green indicator) are 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 STEP-ers.


Info-Logo.png Notice:
It is particularly important that new users begin with clean installations of Steam and Skyrim in order to be successful with the STEP setup first time around, so PLEASE READ EACH SECTION CAREFULLY, as no information included in this guide is irrelevant!


Nomenclature[edit]

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

  • Core mods: Mods that are Core to the STEP Guide collectively known as STEP:Core. STEP:Core is an installation of ONLY Core mods listed in the mod tables following.
  • Extended mods: Mods that are not Core mods in the STEP Guide collectively known as STEP:Extended. STEP:Extended is an installation of ALL mods listed in the mod tables following.
  • Baseline STEP: A complete STEP setup using the recommended mod quality installation options. This is typically kept at 1024 resolution for most texture options.
  • Performance STEP: A complete STEP setup using the low quality LowQuality.png installation options where available.
  • Extreme STEP: A complete STEP setup using the high quality HighQuality.png installation options where available.

Minimum System for STEP:Core[edit]

For this release, we recommend the following as a minimum hardware configuration for running Baseline STEP:Core. For those wishing to use high quality options and/or to install the Extended mods, 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 7 Windows 7 or later
CPU Intel Core i3/equivalent (dual core) Intel Core i5/equivalent or higher
System RAM 4 GB 8 GB
GPU 2GB VRAM 3GB VRAM or higher
Monitor Resolution 1366x768 1920x1080


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.

STEP 1[edit]

Pre-Installation Setup

1.A. Install Steam & Skyrim[edit]

Detailed Information --> Skyrim Installation Guide


Video play triangle.png Related Video(s):

STEP recommends installing Skyrim to an SSD, if available, and preferably on a separate drive/partition than the Operating System is installed on (i.e. instead of installing to the C: drive, install it to D:, E:, etc). If a separate drive/partition is unavailable, avoid installing Steam and Skyrim in "C:\Program Files" or "C:\Program Files (x86)" folders since Windows User Account Control [UAC] will cause issues with a modded Skyrim.

Skyrim is installed through Steam, and this can be done on one of two ways:

  1. Purchase the physical Skyrim DVD from a retailer - Run "Setup.exe," and follow the on-screen instructions to install Steam and Skyrim (see second video link above).
  2. Install Steam and purchase the digital media from the Steam store - Navigate to the Steam website, download the installer, and launch "SteamSetup.exe" (see first video link above). Once Steam is installed, use the Steam search bar to search for "Skyrim" to purchase and install the game (see second video link above).
Info-Logo.png Notice: If Steam/Skyrim are installed according to these instructions and Mod Organizer (MO) is used according to recommendations in the STEP Guide, then backup procedures and security changes are optional and not necessary. Nevertheless, these procedures are mentioned in the video guides above.

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, and accept the preset. Launch the game to the main menu and quit before continuing 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]

Prerequisite helper applications and utilities

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, the STEP Guide now officially supports only Mod Organizer to simplify guide maintenance/support for staff and mod management for users. 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. Wrye Bash users can use the Wrye Bash Guide for detailed instructions on setting up that exceedingly excellent modding utility package.


Mod Name Baseline Instructions
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.

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

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

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.

1.D. INI Tweaks[edit]

Detailed Information --> Skyrim Configuration Settings Guide

The following instructions expect the unedited default INIs created in section 1.B of the STEP Guide! If the INI files have been altered from their defaults in any way, please delete them from %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim and .\Mod Organizer\profiles\. After deleting them, the default versions can be regenerated by running the Skyrim Launcher again as described in section 1.B of the STEP Guide. Users with MO already installed and set up will have to run the Launcher via MO to reset the defaults for the profile.

Warning-Logo.png Warning: Changing settings in the Skyrim Launcher can undo user-configured INI tweaks. Steam has also been known to update the INIs under certain conditions. This does not apply to MO users except if running the Skyrim Launcher or Steam from within MO. To avoid "unapproved" alterations to the default configuration files, it is possible to set the INI files as "read only" after all the tweaks are in place. Do not set the MO profile INIs to read-only since this will cause problems.

Copy the following tweaks into the correct INI file inside their respective [sections]. If the setting already exists, change the value to the one below. If the setting does not exist, enter it on a new line at the end of its [section]. If the [section] does not exist, create it on a new line below one of the [sections]. Carefully check to ensure that there are no:

  1. duplicate [sections]
  2. duplicate settings
  3. misspellings (avoid this by copying and pasting from the guide or using MO's Configurator)
  4. invalid characters (each setting can only have characters accepted by its type, indicated by its prefix)
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]


[Archive]

Set INI-loaded BSAs to their correct values
If the user somehow bypasses using the Skyrim Launcher when creating their INI files, the game will be missing Esbern's voice and will cause SkyrimLE:TES5Edit and other programs to not read all the Skyrim vanilla BSAs. To fix this, the following MUST be present in the Skyrim.ini file in the [Archive] section.

sResourceArchiveList=Skyrim - Misc.bsa, Skyrim - Shaders.bsa, Skyrim - Textures.bsa, Skyrim - Interface.bsa, Skyrim - Animations.bsa, Skyrim - Meshes.bsa, Skyrim - Sounds.bsa
sResourceArchiveList2=Skyrim - Voices.bsa, Skyrim - VoicesExtra.bsa


[Camera]

Increase third-person zoom speed
fMouseWheelZoomSpeed sets the transition speed when zooming in and out in third person mode. This also affects how fast the transition from first to third person occurs.

fMouseWheelZoomSpeed=10


[Combat]

More accurate aiming with bows and crossbows
f1PArrowTiltUpAngle sets the upward tilt angle of arrows in first-person view. It is recommended to change this so that arrows more accurately hit where the crosshair is pointing, although some arching is "natural."

f1PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7

f3PArrowTiltUpAngle sets the upward tilt angle of arrows in third-person view. It is recommended to change this so that arrows more accurately hit where the crosshair is pointing, although some arching is "natural."

f3PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7

f1PBoltTiltUpAngle sets the upward tilt angle of crossbow bolts in first-person view. Unfortunately, there is no similar setting for third-person view. It is recommended to change this so that bolts more accurately hit where the crosshair is pointing.

f1PBoltTiltUpAngle=0.7


[Display]

Disable Skyrim's buggy screenshots
bAllowScreenShot toggles the ability to create screenshots in BMP format by pressing the PrintScreen key. Once over three megabytes in size, the files seem to become corrupt. ENBoost's screenshot functionality effectively replaces it.

bAllowScreenShot=0

Smooth sun-shadow transitions
fSunShadowUpdateTime sets the speed of sun-shadow transitions in seconds. It is recommended to be adjusted to minimize the transitions. The value here increases the speed of the transition from one second to a quarter second. fSunUpdateThreshold sets the time between sun-shadow transitions. A value of 0.05 is equal to 1 second, so a value of 1 equals 20 seconds. Increasing this also increases the distance the shadows will move during the transition. It is recommended to be adjusted to minimize the transitions. The tweak here increases the time between transitions from 10 to 30 seconds, causing the transition to move the shadows three times as far.

fSunShadowUpdateTime=0.25
fSunUpdateThreshold=1.5

Enable or disable vertical sync
iPresentInterval toggles vertical sync between frame render and screen refresh rate, removing screen tearing. Despite being erroneously placed in the SkyrimPrefs.ini by the Skyrim Launcher and basically every other tweak guide around, this setting will have no effect unless placed in Skyrim.ini. It is recommended to be left at 1 (enabled), which is its default value. Setting it to 0 will disable it, which may be useful if another form of vertical sync or a frame rate limiter is used.

iPresentInterval=1


[General]

Disable the intro video
sIntroSequence sets the intro video before the main menu. It is recommended to set it to blank for faster startup.

sIntroSequence=

Prevent lighting pop-in
Raising fFlickeringLightDistance is believed to prevent lighting pop-in.

fFlickeringLightDistance=8192


[Grass]

Adjust grass fade range
fGrassFadeRange sets how far away grass will fade from the start fade distance (fGrassStartFadeDistance, which is Grass Fade in the in-game Settings > Display menu). It is recommended to adjust fGrassFadeRange rather than increase fGrassStartFadeDistance to remove the grass pop-in effect and performance benefits over the latter.

fGrassFadeRange=10000

Increase grass diversity
iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure (sic) sets the maximum types of grass per texture. Increasing this will create more diverse kinds of grass, especially with grass mods such as SkyrimLE:Skyrim Flora Overhaul at a small performance cost. Without grass mods, changing this setting produces little effect. Negative values disable grass. It is recommended to increase this from its default value, 2, to 3. For STEP, which uses SkyrimLE:Skyrim Flora Overhaul, set this to 7.

iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure=7

Adjust grass density
iMinGrassSize sets the grass density. Lower values produces greater density, but values between 1 and 40 look almost identical. A value of 0 removes all grass. Negative values (e.g., -1, -10, etc.) look almost identical to the values of 1 to 40, but can induce CTDs so don't use them. High values starting around 50 and higher noticeably decrease grass density at a small performance gain. Grass mods such as Grass on Steroids and Verdant take advantage of this and can create high density grass at high iMinGrassSize values. Setting iMinGrassSize too high (e.g., 1000) will remove all grass. STEP recommends to increase this to 40.

iMinGrassSize=40


[Interface]

Disable the in-game tutorial pop-ups
bShowTutorials toggles the in-game tutorial pop-ups. It is recommended to disable them (set to 0) once accustomed to the game.

bShowTutorials=0


[MapMenu]

Increase map menu rotation range
fMapWorldYawRange sets the yaw range that the map menu's camera can turn when the right mouse button is pressed. Setting this to 400 allows the user to rotate full circle once. Increasing this beyond 400 allows the user to rotate more than full circle. Obsessively high values (e.g., 3600) induce crashes.

fMapWorldYawRange=400

Increase map menu angle range
fMapWorldMinPitch and fMapWorldMaxPitch sets the pitch that the user can change the angle of the map upwards and downwards when the right mouse button is held. Increasing it to the below values will enable the user the range of looking straight down on the map up to looking perpendicular across the map.

fMapWorldMinPitch=0
fMapWorldMaxPitch=90


[Water]

Enable LOD water reflections
These settings will enable LOD reflections of objects, trees, and land in the water.

bReflectLODLand=1
bReflectLODObjects=1
bReflectLODTrees=1

1.D.2. SkyrimPrefs INI[edit]


[Display]

Disable or enable precise lighting
bFloatPointRenderTarget toggles the ability of lighting to be rendered using floating point (decimal) values rather than only integer values. This increases the precision of lighting. It comes with a medium performance impact. For a STEP installation, set it to 0. If using an ENBSeries Preset, this must be enabled. ENBSeries Presets should be installed after a stabled installation of STEP is confirmed.

bFloatPointRenderTarget=0

Enable deferred shadows
bDeferredShadows toggles deferred rendering of shadows. It is required for bDrawLandShadows and bShadowsOnGrass to work. Enabled this for STEP. If using an ENBSeries Preset, this must be enabled.

bDeferredShadows=1

Enable or disable shadows on land
bDrawLandShadows toggles the ability of land objects such as rocks and mountains to cast shadows. It can be disabled (set value to 0) for a slight performance gain. Enable this for STEP. If using an ENBSeries Preset, this must be enabled.

bDrawLandShadows=1

Enable or disable shadows on grass
bShadowsOnGrass toggles the ability of objects to cast shadows upon grass. The grass itself does not cast shadows. This may be disabled for a minor performance increase. Enable this for STEP. If using an ENBSeries Preset, this must be enabled.

bShadowsOnGrass=1

Enable or disable shadows on trees
bTreesReceiveShadows toggles the ability of trees to cast shadows on themselves. It may be disabled for a slight performance gain. Enable this for STEP. If using an ENBSeries Preset, this must be enabled.

bTreesReceiveShadows=1

Enable the shadow filter
iShadowFilter toggles the shadow filter on and off. If set to a value between 0 and 4, the shadow filter is on. If set to any other value, be it below 0 or above 4, the shadow filter is turned off, which causes buggy shadows that induce CTDs. It is recommended to leave at its default value of 3, since all values between 0 and 4 appear to produce the same result.

iShadowFilter=3

Disable ZPrepass on shadows
bShadowMaskZPrepass is believed to toggle ZPrepass on the shadow mask. Enabling ZPrepass tells the game not to render certain objects to try to increase performance. In testing, no difference was noticed, but that could mean nothing, given the nature of the setting. It is recommended to leave it at its default value since there very well might be a good reason Bethesda disabled it.

bShadowMaskZPrepass=0

Remove tree popping
This almost entirely removes tree popping, due to the fact that trees are rendered at a sufficient distance to make the skinning process almost invisible. It is required to raise uiMaxSkinnedTreesToRender as shown lower in this guide for this to work. See the Skyrim Tree Settings Guide for more information.

fMeshLODLevel1FadeTreeDistance=6144
fMeshLODLevel2FadeTreeDistance=4096
fTreesMidLODSwitchDist=8192

Disable anisotropic filtering
iMaxAnisotropy sets the level of anisotropic filtering (AF). This improves the texture quality of distant objects. It is recommended to be set to 0 and force it in the graphics driver which is explained in section 1.E of the STEP Guide.

iMaxAnisotropy=0

Increase the number of allowed decals
These settings ensure that decals are displayed.

iMaxDecalsPerFrame=250
iMaxSkinDecalsPerFrame=100

Adjust antialiasing
iMultiSample sets the level of antialiasing applied to edges to make them smoother and less jagged. This may be disabled (set to 0) to add a different form of antialiasing such as SMAA, FXAA, or other implementations in SweetFX or ENBSeries. If using an ENBSeries Preset, this must be disabled. 4 is the recommended value for all users not using a different form or antialiasing. The difference between 4 and 8 is barely noticeable compared to the performance trade off.

iMultiSample=4


[Launcher]

Enable file selection in the Skyrim Launcher
bEnableFileSelection toggles the ability of the Skyrim Launcher to have Data greyed out and unclickable or active and accessible. Setting it to 1 will allow Data to be accessed in the Launcher. It is not toggleable in the Launcher, so one must add the line manually. It has been verified that it is not used by the game itself, just the launcher. If this is not enabled, running the Skyrim Launcher may remove any existing load order.

bEnableFileSelection=1


[Trees]

Increase the maximum amount of skinned trees
uiMaxSkinnedTreesToRender sets the maximum amount of skinned trees that can be rendered. Increasing this will help remove tree popping. See the Skyrim Tree Settings Guide for more information.

uiMaxSkinnedTreesToRender=200


[Water]

Increase resolution of water reflections
iWaterReflectHeight and iWaterReflectWidth set the resolution of water reflections. Increase these to 1024 for a STEP installation.

Please note that water noise has been disabled in the below comparison images to more easily see the difference.

iWaterReflectHeight=1024
iWaterReflectWidth=1024

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 installed on your system are not the latest available or that they are not installed correctly and are causing issues then do the following. Else, just install the latest drivers as normal.

  1. Download the latest 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).
    • If using UEFI while using Windows 8 or later, go to to your power options and while holding down the Shift key, press restart. This will open the advanced menu where you can select to boot into safe mode.
  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.

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

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). All other settings should be left to the Skyrim configuration and ENBoost configurations (see above).

1.E.1.1. AMD Users[edit]

Detailed Information --> Catalyst Control Center Guide
Users that have the later software called AMD Radeon Settings should view this page that contains a gif of the new UI and how to setup Skyrim.

AMD users should read the above guide to correctly configure their driver graphics settings.

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. High values may cause texture shimmering in mid to long range texture LODs. If this happens, adjusting the LOD bias can help to remedy the issue. (See the Detailed Information link above for more information)
    • ENBoost users should skip the driver anisotropic filtering and set ForceAnisotropicFiltering=true in the enblocal.ini.
  5. Set Vertical Sync Tear Control to Standard if not already.
  6. Set Vertical Sync to Use 3D application setting. (Recall that vsync should be running via ENBoost's enblocal.ini!)
  7. Click Apply changes twice and then close, accepting any overwrite when prompted.

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 in 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 "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 or Packs, 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


Warning-Logo.png Warning:
Please read the following notice. Failure to heed these points may result in unnecessary delays in your install.


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.
  • 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 LOOT's advice with regards to mod cleaning.
  • Users MUST familiarise themselves with the use of MO when installing mods. Some examples can be found in the MO guideMO guide on installing mods.



2.A. LOOT Sorting & Patches[edit]

At any time during the mod installation process LOOT should be used to sort plugin load order before stopping to benchmark and test Skyrim. This is necessary to ensure proper plugin priority order (load order), which can have a dramatic impact on the game (or at worst cause a CTD).

  1. Launch LOOT via Mod Organizer by clicking on the "Sort" button or directly from the executables drop-down menu.
  2. Examine the LOOT 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 (either drag and drop or use Ctrl + Up/Down arrow keys to sort).
Info-Logo.png Notice: LOOT must be run prior to launching the game every time a mod is installed which adds one or more plugins.

STEP includes patches for both STEP Core installations and STEP Core + Extended installations to save plugin slots. For users that may not want to install all of the mods included in STEP, check the page of required mods for the STEP Patches below. Users that decided they will not use the STEP Patches will need to install all relevant patches listed on that page. Take note of those plugins since they are not listed throughout the guide. Regardless, anyone can use the STEP Combined Plugin as long as DLC and SMIM are installed to save about ten plugins.

STEP Patches Requirements - For anyone that is not using the STEP Patches, it is recommended to keep this page open for reference.

2.B. Clean the Update ESM[edit]

To remove errors in the Bethesda master files, STEP recommends that they be cleaned with TES5Edit. This ensures maximum stability and compatibility within the Skyrim modding experience. At this time, Update.esm will be cleaned in the following manner (the DLC should be cleaned later according to instructions on their corresponding "mod" pages):

  1. Make a backup of Update.esm from <Skyrim>/data directory by copying it to the desktop (or somewhere else handy).
  2. Run TES5Edit through Mod Organizer.
  3. Right-click the list of plugins and choose [Select None].
  4. Double-click Update.esm.
  5. Wait for the Background Loader: finished in the right panel, and then right-click [Update.esm] and select [Apply Filter For Cleaning].
  6. Wait for the [Filtering done] Processed Records: message in the right panel, and then right-click [Update.esm] and select [Remove "Identical to Master" records]. If the Warning! prompt pops up, click [Yes, I'm absolutely sure].
  7. Wait for the [Removing "Identical to Master" records done] Processed Records: message, and then right-click [Update.esm] and select [Undelete and Disable References].
  8. Wait for the [Undeleting and Disabling References done] Processed Records: message, and then click the [X] at upper right of the program window to exit the program.
  9. At the prompt, checkmark Update.esm and Backup Plugins and click [OK].

At this point there are two possible outcomes, dependent upon how fast your disc drive is:

  • In the first case (typically slower drives such as HDDs), the Update.esm is now no longer in the data directory.
  • In the second case (typically faster drives such as SSDs), a cleaned Update.esm is now in the data directory (compare the filesize to your backup of Update.esm to verify that it has been cleaned--it should be smaller).

In the first case, you should now do the following:

  1. Restore the backed up Update.esm from step 1 to the data directory.
  2. In Mod Organizer, at the bottom of the left pane modlist is the Overwrite mod, now labeled red because files have been written to it. Double-click to open it.
  3. In Overwrite you will find two items: a TES5Edit Backups folder and Update.esm. Since you already restored your own backed up Update.esm to the data directory, right-click and delete the TES5Edit Backups folder and click Close.
  4. Right-click Overwrite and select Create Mod..., name it Cleaned Update ESM, and click OK.
  5. Drag and drop the new Cleaned Update ESM mod to the top of the left pane modlist.

In the second case, you are done! You can safely delete the backup as you shall not need it (if you wish to restore the original uncleaned Update.esm later, you can simply verify Steam cache and redownload it).

2.C. 02-Extenders[edit]

Extend the game engine and required for use by downstream mods or utilities
The mods in this section are required for a properly functioning STEP installation. YES, ENBoost is needed by EVERYONE, including those that do not use ENB Presets!

No mods defined.

2.D. 09-Fixes[edit]

Mods that fix various bugs not addressed by the Foundation mod group
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
DawnguardLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HearthfireLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DragonbornLink to the mod's Wiki page.
High Resolution Texture PackLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
This is the Official DLC from Bethesda. It consists of three plugins, which should be listed right after SkyrimLE:Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch in the left pane of Mod Organizer and prioritized sequentially (HighResTexturePack01, HighResTexturePack02, HighResTexturePack03). If optimized versions of the textures from the High Resolution Texture Pack are used they should be placed directly after HighResTexturePack03.
STEP Optimized Vanilla TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Standard Simply download and install one of the Optional Files and then check the archive in the Archives tab.
Appropriately Attired JarlsLink 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.
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.
Enchantment Reload FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Invisibility Glitch Eyes FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
NARCLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the NARC main file. All needed patches are included in the STEP Patches.
Ragdoll ParalysisLink to the mod's Wiki page. Only install the Paralyze Miscellaneous file.
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.
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.

Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
Benchmark32.png


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.
Immersive HUDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
KenMOD Time On Loading ScreenLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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!
Benchmark32.png
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.
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
Skyrim HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. LITE Detailed Instructions available
STEP recommends to download and install only the Landscape LITE optional file.

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

  • textures\landscape\roads (hide the entire folder)
  • textures\landscape\coastbeach02.dds
  • textures\landscape\coastbeach02_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtpath01.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtpath01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtsnowpath01.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtsnowpath01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshgrass01.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshgrass01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshice01.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshice01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\icefloes.dds
  • textures\landscape\icefloes_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachdirt01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachdirt01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachgrass01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachgrass01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmoss01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmoss01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmossyrocks01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmossyrocks01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge1.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbottom.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbottom_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\rivermud.dds
  • textures\landscape\rivermud_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra01.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra02.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra02_n.dds
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
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.
AMidianBorn Caves and MinesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
AMidianBorn FarmhouseLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Detailed Instructions available
The following files 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.

Hide the following files:

  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/rope01.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/rope01_n.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/ropealpha01.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/ropealpha01_n.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/thatch02.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/thatch02_n.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/thatch03.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/thatch03_n.dds
AMidianBorn Solstheim LandscapeLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1k
AMidianBorn WhiterunLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Detailed Instructions available
STEP recommends removing the following files/folders:

Hide the following files:

  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywall01.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywall01_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywall01plaster.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywall01plaster_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywalltopcap01.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywalltopcap01_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywalltrims01.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywalltrims01_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrslate02.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrslate02_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrslatefloor01.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrslatefloor01_n.dds
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
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.
HQ SnowLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the main file.
Improved Vanilla MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Re-Defined DungeonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Re-Defined Dungeons 1024x1024 optional file. This mod is not packaged correctly. When installing this mod, right-click on the Data folder and choose [Set data directory]. Okay [OK] to install.

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

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

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

Whiterun Trellis RedesignedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024
AMidianBorn Blade of WoeLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2k Only the main file.
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.

AMidianBorn Imperial Light and StuddedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2k
AMidianBorn Stormcloak Officer ArmourLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2k
Dawnguard Crossbow Bolts VisualizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional "Explosive Bolts Visualized HD Textures" file.
Gemling Queen JewelryLink to the mod's Wiki page.   Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Gemling Queen Jewelry - All In One Installer main file.
FOMOD Instructions
Gemling Queen Jewelry
  • Main Modules
    • Main Modules
      • ☑ Amulets
      • ☑ Circlets
      • ☑ Rings
    • DLC Addon
      • ☑ Dawnguard Addon
        • Next
  • Amulet Textures
    • Amulet Texture Options
      • ◉ Gamwich Amulet Textures - 512
        • Next
  • Ring Textures
    • Ring Texture Options
      • ◉ SMIM Textures
    • Optional Mesh Packs
      • ◉ None
    • Optional Mesh Packs Dawnguard
      • ☐ None
        • 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
Mage Outfit Texture OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Mage Outfit Texture Overhaul - MOTO - SOM - USLEEP USKP CCF main file.
Not Really HD-Mask of Clavicus VileLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Wrecked".
TDN Vampire Armor RetextureLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Main File only.
Barenziahs GloryLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Barenziah's Glory
  • Optional Textures
    • Crown Texture Options
      • ◉ Desaturated Crown Texture - 1k
    • Jewelrybox Texture Options
      • ◉ Gamwich Jewelrybox Texture - 1k
    • Gem Texture Options
      • ◉ Original
        • Install
Dark Brotherhood Tenets RestoredLink to the mod's Wiki page. Standard (medium)
Enchanting Candle Meshes ImprovedLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Gemling Queen Dragon ClawsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP Recommends: Solid with Refraction version
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.
HQ PaperLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Not Really HD-Display CaseLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Smudged Glass".
Not Really HD-KeysLink to the mod's Wiki page. With normals
Pilgrims DelightLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Legacy" version.
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.
RUSTIC POTIONS and POISONSLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
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.
PondFish and Salmon ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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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

Female Vampires Have FangsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Immersive Citizens-AI OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
Users not installing the STEP Patches will want to install the options the FOMOD installer automatically selects.

Additionally, this mod is optional and the STEP Compilation detects if it is not installed, thus providing a version of the Patches without this mod incorporated.

Download and install the main file.

FOMOD Instructions
Immersive Citizens - AI Overhaul
  • First Screen
    • Install Options
      • ◉ Full
        • Next
  • First Screen
    • Main Part
      • ◉ Legendary Version
    • Enhanced Lighting for ENB
      • ◉ None
    • Enhanced Lights and FX
      • ◉ None
    • Open Cities Skyrim
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Moonpath to Elsweyr
      • ☐ Select Nothing
    • Realistic Room Rental (Enhanced Version Only)
      • ☐ Select Nothing
        • Install
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 MalesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Geonox Faces + Underwear - Default NSFW Mod Page.

Direct downloads to remain SFW:

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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 ClutterLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install all options except for Ship Idles.
Animated Weapon EnchantsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the Animated Weapon Enchants - Vanilla Sounds optional file.
Skyrim Enhanced CameraLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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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.
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
Skyrim HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. LITE Detailed Instructions available
STEP recommends to download and install only the Landscape LITE optional file.

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

  • textures\landscape\roads (hide the entire folder)
  • textures\landscape\coastbeach02.dds
  • textures\landscape\coastbeach02_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtpath01.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtpath01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtsnowpath01.dds
  • textures\landscape\dirtsnowpath01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshgrass01.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshgrass01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshice01.dds
  • textures\landscape\frozenmarshice01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\icefloes.dds
  • textures\landscape\icefloes_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachdirt01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachdirt01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachgrass01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachgrass01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmoss01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmoss01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmossyrocks01.dds
  • textures\landscape\reachmossyrocks01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbededge1.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbottom.dds
  • textures\landscape\riverbottom_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\rivermud.dds
  • textures\landscape\rivermud_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra01.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra01_n.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra02.dds
  • textures\landscape\tundra02_n.dds
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
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.
AMidianBorn Caves and MinesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2K
AMidianBorn FarmhouseLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Detailed Instructions available
The following files 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.

Hide the following files:

  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/rope01.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/rope01_n.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/ropealpha01.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/ropealpha01_n.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/thatch02.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/thatch02_n.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/thatch03.dds
  • textures/architecture/farmhouse/thatch03_n.dds
AMidianBorn Solstheim LandscapeLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1k
AMidianBorn WhiterunLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K Detailed Instructions available
STEP recommends removing the following files/folders:

Hide the following files:

  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywall01.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywall01_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywall01plaster.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywall01plaster_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywalltopcap01.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywalltopcap01_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywalltrims01.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrcitywalltrims01_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrslate02.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrslate02_n.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrslatefloor01.dds
  • Textures\architecture\whiterun\wrslatefloor01_n.dds
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
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.
HQ SnowLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the main file.
Improved Vanilla MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Re-Defined DungeonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Re-Defined Dungeons 1024x1024 optional file. This mod is not packaged correctly. When installing this mod, right-click on the Data folder and choose [Set data directory]. Okay [OK] to install.

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

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

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

Whiterun Trellis RedesignedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024
AMidianBorn Blade of WoeLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2k Only the main file.
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.

AMidianBorn Imperial Light and StuddedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2k
AMidianBorn Stormcloak Officer ArmourLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2k
Dawnguard Crossbow Bolts VisualizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional "Explosive Bolts Visualized HD Textures" file.
Gemling Queen JewelryLink to the mod's Wiki page.   Detailed Instructions available
Download and install the Gemling Queen Jewelry - All In One Installer main file.
FOMOD Instructions
Gemling Queen Jewelry
  • Main Modules
    • Main Modules
      • ☑ Amulets
      • ☑ Circlets
      • ☑ Rings
    • DLC Addon
      • ☑ Dawnguard Addon
        • Next
  • Amulet Textures
    • Amulet Texture Options
      • ◉ Gamwich Amulet Textures - 512
        • Next
  • Ring Textures
    • Ring Texture Options
      • ◉ SMIM Textures
    • Optional Mesh Packs
      • ◉ None
    • Optional Mesh Packs Dawnguard
      • ☐ None
        • 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
Mage Outfit Texture OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Mage Outfit Texture Overhaul - MOTO - SOM - USLEEP USKP CCF main file.
Not Really HD-Mask of Clavicus VileLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Wrecked".
TDN Vampire Armor RetextureLink to the mod's Wiki page. Download and install the Main File only.
Barenziahs GloryLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
FOMOD Instructions
Barenziah's Glory
  • Optional Textures
    • Crown Texture Options
      • ◉ Desaturated Crown Texture - 1k
    • Jewelrybox Texture Options
      • ◉ Gamwich Jewelrybox Texture - 1k
    • Gem Texture Options
      • ◉ Original
        • Install
Dark Brotherhood Tenets RestoredLink to the mod's Wiki page. Standard (medium)
Enchanting Candle Meshes ImprovedLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Gemling Queen Dragon ClawsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP Recommends: Solid with Refraction version
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.
HQ PaperLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Not Really HD-Display CaseLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Smudged Glass".
Not Really HD-KeysLink to the mod's Wiki page. With normals
Pilgrims DelightLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Legacy" version.
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.
RUSTIC POTIONS and POISONSLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1K
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.
PondFish and Salmon ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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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.
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
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.
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Benchmark
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2.N. 20-Patches[edit]

Guide-specific mods required to resolve any incompatibilities among mods
Mod Name Baseline Instructions
STEP CompilationLink to the mod's Wiki page. Normal Res Detailed Instructions available

Vista-file-manager.png
Archive


Download and install the STEP Compilation Installer main file of your choice. Normal Res version follows the STEP baselines. High Res version are the higher resolution options for the mods which have them. Follow the instructions in the advanced FOMOD.
  • The installer will ask to overwrite the STEP Optimized Textures from early in the guide, it is recommended to give the Compilation a different name, so Mod Organizer will install the mod in a separate folder.
    1. Type a name into the text field where the filename is located or choose one from the dropdown menu.
    2. Continue with the FOMOD and select the appropriate options.


The STEP patches are now included in the SkyrimLE:STEP Compilation (this mod). The installer should help you determine which Patches are available to be installed with each user's setup. If an option is not available for selection, there is a missing mod or plugin in the setup which is needed by the STEP Patches. See the OP of the forum topic to help determine any missing mods.

Bashed PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed Instructions available
You must run LOOT before creating the Bashed Patch. Please ensure that you have added the necessary LOOT meta rules from the following mod pages:


To create the Bashed Patch:

  1. Ensure all your plugins are active in Mod Organizer.
  2. Launch Wrye Bash via Mod Organizer.
  3. Right click on "bashed patch, 0.esp", and select [Rebuild Patch].
  4. At the Deactivate these mods... prompt, click [OK].
  5. Leave any boxes that are check as is, but ensure at least the following boxes are checked: "Merge Patches", "Import Names", "Import Stats", "Tweak Settings" (optional), and "Leveled Lists".
  6. (optional )Highlight "Tweak Settings", and tick the boxes next to "Arrow: Speed", "Crime: Alarm Distance", and "Timescale".
    • (Optional) Set "Arrow: Speed" to [1.4x] (higher value = faster arrows)
    • (STEP:Core Users only) Right-click on "Crime: Alarm Distance" and select [1200]
    • (Optional) Set "Timescale" to a value between [20] and no less than [10] (lower value = longer days in-game).
  7. Next click [Build Patch] at the bottom of the window to construct the patch based on the current plugin list/order
  8. Once it's done choose to activate it and close WB.
  9. During the patching, WB disabled several mods. Only re-enable WM Trap Fixes.esp and BetterQuestObjectives.esp.

Rebuild the Bashed Patch again each time the plugin load list/order changes. However, you will not need to do so after Dual Sheath Redux, Better Shaped Weapons, Fores New Idles in Skyrim, or SkyrimLE:Dynamic Distant Objects LOD

After closing Wrye Bash and returning to MO, the "bashed patch, 0.esp" will be located in the "Overwrite" folder. (If there is no patch in Overwrite, it is probably due to past use of Wrye Bash outside Mod Organizer, which would have placed the bashed patch in the real Skyrim data folder instead of in Overwrite [1]). 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.

Video play triangle.png Related Video(s):
  • '"`UNIQ--hsyoutube-00000F21-QINU`"'

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Benchmark
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2.O. Launching STEP:Skyrim[edit]

Archive Management[edit]

Moicon.png MO Users:
Mod Organizer allows loading archives without their dummy plugins.
  1. In the Plugins tab, deactivate HighResTexturePack01.esp, HighResTexturePack02.esp, HighResTexturePack03.esp, Unofficial High Resolution Patch.esp, STEP DLC Optimized Textures, STEP Vanilla Optimized Textures, Brawl Bugs CE.esp (Core users only), and BWS.esp as they are all dummy plugins.
  2. Go to the Archives tab.
  3. Tick Have MO manage archives.
  4. In the archive list, ensure all the mods are checked.


LOOT Rules[edit]

Once all mods have been installed, run LOOT one final time to ensure the correct plugin order is set. Ensure the rules below were not missed before creating the Bashed Patch! If any were missed, please apply them and re-run the Bashed Patch:

Loot.png LOOT: ELE_Legendary_Lite.esp

Main:

  • Global Priority: 45

RelightingSkyrim_Legendary.esp
Main:

  • Global Priority: 30

RealisticWaterTwo.esp
Load after:

  • RelightingSkyrim_Legendary.esp

AOS.esp
Load after:

  • ADS.esp

Book Covers Skyrim.esp
Load After: TheChoiceIsYours.esp


When ready to play for the first time after a STEP install, be certain to start a new character. In the past, we advised that you could use an existing save, but with this release, we feel it is imperative that you start a new game, as many mods included here will cause bugs on an existing save.

Info-Logo.png Notice: When loading for the first time after STEP is installed, the load could take significantly longer than normal. This will only be a first-time load wait as all the installed mods are initialized.

STEP 3[edit]

Tips & Troubleshooting Common Issues

3.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.

3.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 LOOT and examine the output. Plugins out of order or plugins with missing masters will cause this. LOOT 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, 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.

3.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 LOOT 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.

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

Following are some solutions:

  • Transparency Antialiasing - Turn off 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 graphic drivers.
  • Bad INI settings - If using ENB, set bFloatPointRenderTarget=1 in the SkyrimPrefs.ini.

3.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, which is easily the most VRAM-intensive mod 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).

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

Refer to the Z-Fighting Guide.

3.B. In-Game Tips[edit]

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

3.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 65 and is optimized for a monitor aspect ratio of 16:10. Therefore, users with 16:9 monitors (e.g. 1920x1080) will want to increase their FOV to 70.59. 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 70.59. Those rare and unfortunate users stuck with 4:3 aspect ratio will need to reduce their FOV down to 55.93.

A helpful conversion calculator can assist in calculation of other monitor types and aspect ratios. To use:

  1. Change Resolution of single monitor to your total resolution (if using multiple monitors, use the combined resolution)
  2. Change Number of monitors? to the number of monitors being used Across and Tall (e.g., if you only have 1, set both Across and Tall to 1. If you have 3 beside each other, set Across to 3 and Tall to 1. If you have 4 monitors arranged so that it is 2 by 2, set Across to 2 and Tall to 2.
  3. Change Old Res or Ratio to 16:10.
  4. Change Old hFOV to 65.
  5. Your new optimized FOV value will be labeled New hFOV immediately below and to the right.

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

This is a likely indicator that VRAM is too often operating at or beyond capacity (see 3.A.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. Before deciding, read through the Mod Testing Guide to get a sense what mod testing involves.

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!


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 authors of mods who granted permission for their mods to be placed inside the SkyrimLE:STEP Compilation
  • The core STEP Community for feedback, suggestions and input
  • The STEP testers for their good humor and rigorous analyses
  • The Nexus community
  • Bethesda Softworks for Skyrim (and TES in general)
  • Tannin for continued development and support of Mod Organizer


The core STEP team is:[edit]
  • DoubleYou - Release coordinator, Mod Organizer doctor, Wiki editor
  • EssArrBee - Release coordinator, Fallout survivor, STEP Patches maintainer
  • stoppingby4now - Main site developer, Semantic Mediawiki developer & extraordinaire, site founder
  • TechAngel85 - Release coordinator, ENB guide leader, FOMOD extraordinaire
  • TheCompiler - STEP creator, mod-list extraordinaire
  • z929669 - Wiki & forums content editor, main site administrator, hosting maintenance, site founder
  • Other active volunteer staff: Aiyen, GrantSP, GSDfan, hishutup, Kelmych, kryptopyr, oqhansoloqo, phazer11, rootsrat, torminater, WilliamImm, Xaviien
  • 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)