From Step Mods | Change The Game



This guide is out of date and is NOT supported! It may contain information that is incorrect or not in line with the current state of the game.
Go to the latest supported SkyrimSE Guide.

STEP Skyrim SE Guide[edit]

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

There has been so many changes that we highly recommend users reviewing the Changelog, for all the fine details.

- Visit the forums and provide feedback related to STEP.

- Also follow STEP on Facebook.

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

About STEP[edit]

A Foreword

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

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

New to Modding?[edit]

We recommend that you ...

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

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


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

  • Baseline: An installation of a mod using the recommend file option listed within the Baseline column of the mod tables below.
  • STEP Patches: A "patch" is a plugin that allows two or more mods to work together without conflicting. The "STEP Patches" are such plugins, but allow all of the mods in the STEP Guide to work harmoniously together. Some users refer to this as a "conflict resolution patch" or "CR Patch".

Minimum System Requirements[edit]

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

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

Time Requirement[edit]

Users should be aware that it will usually take several hours to complete a STEP Guide from start to finish. STEP encourages users to always follow proper computer ergonomics when modding. Remember to take breaks and happy modding!

STEP 1[edit]

Game & Tool Installation

Game Installation and Modding Setup[edit]



Start Out Clean!

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

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

Before continuing with this Guide, users who have not completed the System Setup Guide should stop and do so now. Before continuing, users should already have the game installed and folder structure set up for modding. Our mod-build guides are written with the expectation of the linked setup process already being completed. Users deviating from our recommendations will need to adjust the instructions in our guides accordingly.

Mod Organizer 2[edit]

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

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



For more information about MO installation options, please see the Mod Organizer Guide.

Tools Installation and Setup[edit]

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

Tool Installation[edit]

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

No mods defined.

The Modding folder structure should now reflect:

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

STEP 2[edit]

Tool Configuration

Mod Organizer 2 - Configuration[edit]


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

Initialization Instructions

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


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

Nexus Mods Connection

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

Profile Setup[edit]

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

Profile Setup Instructions

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

Tool Setup[edit]

The final step of setting up Mod Organizer 2 is to add all the tools to it, which were install in the previous step. Some tools will have been auto-detected and added for the user, however, ensure the settings below are set for all tools, even the auto-detected ones. Use the instructions below to add the tools to MO. xEdit is used for the example:

Tool Setup Instructions

Some tools will output files. It's convenient to place these files into mod listings rather than the default Overwrite folder. xEdit is one of these, but the mod listing must exist before setting this feature on the executable. Therefore, a new mod listing is created first, but this set is not always necessary:

  1. On the MO window, click the Open list options button at the top of the left pane, next to the profile selection drop-down.
  2. Choose Create empty mod, name it xEdit Output.
  3. Enable the new mod listing.
  4. Click the Executables button at the top of the main Mod Organizer window.
  5. Over the left pane, click the [+] (add executable button) and select [Add from file...].
  6. Navigate to the SSEEdit.exe file (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/xEdit/SSEEdit.exe).
    • This should auto-fill most of the fields.
  7. Change the title, if desired.
  8. (optional) The following arguments can be helpful. Input them in the Argument field separated by a single space:
    • e.g. -IKnowWhatImDoing -SSE -AllowMasterFilesEdit
    • -IKnowWhatImDoing : This turns off a warning presented when users make edits.
    • -AllowMasterFilesEdit : By default xEdit will not allow master file editing. This allows users to edit these files.
  9. Create files in mod instead of Overwrite : select the xEdit Output mod created above.
  10. Click the Apply button.
  11. Repeat steps 2 through 8 for adding the executables from the table below; filling in the appropriate data. The titles we use are suggestions:

Tool Setup Table

Executable Title Argument(s) Create files in mod instead of Overwrite
LOOT.exe LOOT --game="Skyrim Special Edition"  
SSEEditQuickAutoClean.exe SSEEdit Quick Auto Clean   xEdit Output (same as used for xEdit)
TexGen64.exe (installed with DynDOLOD) TexGen SE -SSE  
xLODGen64.exe SSELODGen -lodgen -SSE  

Users can arrange their tools in any order they wish using the up and down buttons above the list. When complete, close the window by clicking the Cancel button.

BethINI Setup[edit]

BethINI needs to be set up to run for the current profile in MO and ran to establish solid INIs before beginning the mod installations. To do this:

BethINI Initialization

  1. Close MO and run BethINI (e.g. ..Modding/Tools/BethINI/BethINI.exe).
  2. Select Skyrim Special Edition from the game selection box.
  3. Allow BethINI to handle custom INIs, if prompted.
  4. Go to the Setup tab
    • Ensure the Game path is correct (e.g. ../Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim Special Edition).
    • Ensure the Mod Organizer path is correct (e.g. ../Modding/Tools/Mod Organizer).
    • If the MO path is correct, the INI Path drop-down should find the created profiles. Select the profile created earlier in the Guide (STEP Skyrim SE).
      • If BethINI does not automatically find the profiles, browse to MO's Profile folder.
      • For instance users the profile will be stored in the user's AppData folder (e.g. C:/Users/UserName/AppData/Local/ModOrganizer/SkyrimSE/profiles)
  5. BethINI will give a couple prompts and restart.
    • If BethINI asks to modify Custom INIs, select [Yes].

Once BethINI has restarted:

BethINI Initial Setup

  1. Return to the Setup tab.
    • BethINI will be used for multiple games from a single installation, thus users should check the “Always Select Game” box.
  2. Select the Basic tab.
    • Ensure the Window Resolution matches the system resolution.
    • The recommended Antialiasing is TAA.
    • The other recommended options to check are:
      • Windowed Mode
      • Borderless
      • Vsync
      • Lock Frame Rate will be optional. Users who are using the driver's limiter can uncheck it. Else, users should leave it checked.
    • Click the [Medium] profile button (this can be changed at the end of the Guide).
    • Check the box for Recommended Tweaks.
  3. Now Save and Exit.

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

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

STEP 3[edit]

Cleanup and Considerations


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

  1. Launch LOOT via Mod Organizer 2 from the executables drop-down menu.
    If LOOT fails to start, try adding the following argument to it: --single-process
  2. Click the “Sort” button at the top of the LOOT window.
  3. Examine the resulting order carefully and look for any alerts or warnings and address each (clean any mods it says has ITMs or UDRs)
  4. Click the “Apply” button, which has replaced the Sort button at the top.
  5. Close LOOT.


"When running LOOT before completing the Guide, it may produce notices about errors, missing mods, or telling users to run tools. Users should ignore these particular errors and warnings until the Guide is complete as most of these issues will resolve themselves as the Guide progresses.

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

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

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

Cleaning Vanilla Master Files[edit]

To remove errors in the Bethesda master files, it is recommended they be cleaned with xEdit before modding begins. This ensures maximum stability and compatibility with the vanilla files.

Create New Mod Listings[edit]

  1. On the MO window, click the Open list options button at the top of the left pane, next to the profile selection drop-down.
  2. Choose Create empty mod, name it “Cleaned Vanilla Masters”, and click OK.
  3. Enable the new mod listing.

Standard Cleaning Procedures[edit]

Toggle cleaning procedures...

  1. Run xEdit64 Quick Auto Clean from the drop-down executable list in MO.
  2. On the plugin selection window, double-click on the mod being cleaned (e.g. Update.esm, Dawnguard.esm, etc).
    • If manually checking plugins, only the plugin being clean should be ticked. xEdit will automatically load the required masters.
  3. xEdit will now load and automatically clean the "Identical to master" and "deleted" records from the selected mod.
    • First time loading plugins will take longer than subsequent loads due the the plugins not being cached. Plugin caches are saved on exit.
  4. Once xEdit is done cleaning, click the X in upper right of the program window to close the program. A backup of the original plugin will automatically be saved.

Clean the Masters[edit]

Vanilla masters should be cleaned in the following order:

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

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

Toggle Dawnguard manual cleaning procedures...

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

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

Moving the Cleaned Files[edit]

After the vanilla master files are cleaned, users should move them to their created mod listing in MO and restore the original files. This prevents users from having to re-clean the files after verifying their cache in Steam. To do this, complete the following:

Toggle instructions

Cleaned Masters

  1. In MO, hold Ctrl and double-click on the Cleaned Vanilla Masters mod listing to open its mod folder.
  2. Now open a new Explorer window and navigate to the Skyrim Special Edition Data directory (e.g. ../Modding/Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim Special Edition/Data)
  3. Cut and paste the four cleaned master files from Data to the Cleaned Vanilla Masters folder and close the mod folder.
  4. In Mo, hold Ctrl and double-click on the xEdit Output mod listing to open its mod folder.
  5. In the xEdit Backups folder, rename the files to MasterName.esm (i.e. "Update.esm").
    • If there are multiple copies of any of the files, use the one with the earliest timestamp.
  6. Drag and drop the renamed files from the xEdit Backups folder to the Data directory and choose to overwrite/replace, if asked.
  7. Close the explorer windows.
  8. Drag and drop the new Cleaned Vanilla Masters mod listing in the left pane directly below DLC: Dragonborn.



Any time Bethesda updates these master files, users should complete this cleaning process again. This ensures users have any fixes Bethesda may have included within their cleaned files.

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

  1. DLC: Dawnguard
  2. DLC: HearthFires
  3. DLC: Dragonborn
  4. Cleaned Vanilla Masters
    • The xEdit Output mod listing can be placed anywhere.

Understanding the STEP Patches[edit]

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

The STEP Patches are CR Patches built specifically for the mod list within this Guide. They are required to run the Guide without issues; providing conflict resolution between various mods. Additionally, the patches provide both mod integration and custom edits surrounding the use of specific mods. This means the patches are one part CR patch and one part mod.

Users should decide now, before installing any mods, whether or not they will be using the STEP Patches or creating their own. This decision will be referenced during mod installations below. Users who decide to install the STEP Patches will do so after the mod installations.



Users installing only the Guide's mod list or only installing mods on top of this mod list, are recommended to use the STEP Patches! These patches will solve all conflicts for users. For users adding a few additional mods on top of this mod list, the Patches can be used as a foundation to build upon. This ensures a stable game.

We do not offer support for unpatched mod installations!

STEP Patches Requirements - We recommend keeping the forum topic from the link open for referencing the list of required mods. This is helpful for users deciding whether or not to install a mod that may be required by the Patches.

Finally, we offer the following options in regards to Patches:

  • STEP Skyrim SE - Conflict Resolution Patch
    • patches the entire STEP Skyrim SE mod list besides the Lighting & Weather mod group.
  • STEP Skyrim SE - Lighting & Weather Patch
    • patches the mods listed within the Lighting & Weather mod group with the rest of the STEP Skyrim SE mod list.
    • this is provided as a separate patch for users wanting to customize their own lighting and weather setup.

STEP 4[edit]

STEP Skyrim SE Mod List

At this point users should have their systems fully set up and ready to install mods from the mod list below. Users who are unaware of how to complete mod installations using Mod Organizer 2 should return to that Guide and refresh their knowledge. When installing mods from the list below, keep the following in mind:

  • Mods should be installed in the order that they are listed to ensure other mods further down the list overwrite those occurring before them. This is necessary to ensure the desired in-game effect.
  • Mods are listed in alphabetical order within each section and any deviations from this are purposeful to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Always install plugins (ESLs/ESMs/ESPs) unless otherwise noted.
  • If there are no notes associated with a particular mod, then all options fit the our mandate and it's the user's decision which option to install. Mod notes only provide instructions where necessary; otherwise, STEP encourages user customization.
  • Unless otherwise stated, follow LOOT's advice in regards to mod cleaning and sorting.



STEP does not recommend extracting BSAs for this Guide. Each BSA has been manually checked by the staff to ensure the proper overwrites are maintained, without the need for extraction.

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 Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Mod NameWikilink.png Baseline LowQuality.png HighQuality.png


STEP Patch Mods included in the STEP Patches are indicated by the presence of a green vertical bar in the row at the immediate left-hand column of the table before the mod name.
Mod Name Shortened version (where applicable) of 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 Options 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.


Mods that expand on the inherent functionality of a game or another mod without themselves affecting content

No mods defined.


Mods solely providing assets intended specifically for use by other mods without themselves affecting content

No mods defined.


Baseline mods having many conflicting assets that should be overridden by other mods OR mods having programmatic changes that are widely accepted and adopted/expected by other mods

No mods defined.

05-Animation & Physics[edit]

Mods that affect animations or physics

No mods defined.

06-Models & Textures[edit]

Mods that replace existing models or textures

No mods defined.

07-Sounds & Music[edit]

Mods that affect sounds or music

No mods defined.

08-Character Appearance[edit]

Mods that affect the appearance of the player character or NPCs

No mods defined.


Mods have a programmatic component that fixes various bugs and/or inconsistencies

No mods defined.


Mods that affect general or multiple gameplay mechanics

No mods defined.

11-Gameplay-AI & Combat[edit]

Mods that affect AI, stats, or combat mechanics of NPCs

No mods defined.


Mods that affect currency, rewards, values, rates, or any other economy-related mechanics

No mods defined.


Mods that help to improve game immersion and role-playing scenarios

No mods defined.


Mods that alter aspects of quests and/or related lore

No mods defined.

15-Gameplay-Skills & Perks[edit]

Mods that affect the player character's or NPC skills and perks or related leveling

No mods defined.


Mods that affect any aspect of the user interface

No mods defined.


Mods that programmatically add new or alter vanilla locations

No mods defined.

18-Lighting & Weather[edit]

Mods that affect lighting and/or weather systems **installation is optional**
This section is optional!

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

No mods defined.


Mods that generate derived mod output from load-order-specific assets

No mods defined.

Generating Animation Files[edit]

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

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

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

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


Mods that programmatically resolve load-order conflicts

No mods defined.

Sorting and cleaning the new load order[edit]

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

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

  • sort their load order using LOOT when adding, removing, updating mods that adds, removes, or replaces a plugin (ESL, ESM, ESP) from their load order.
  • update LOOT (the program) any time it notifies their is an update available.

STEP 5[edit]

Level of Detail (LOD)


Users will now create LODs using Dynamic Distant Objects LOD (DynDOLOD). DynDOLOD is one part mod and one part tool. Users should already have the tool installed from the beginning of the Guide. Now it's time to install the mod portion:

Install DynDOLOD Resources SE

  1. Visit the Skyrim SE DynDOLOD forum topic.
  2. Download the DynDOLOD Resources SE vX.XX file.
  3. Install the file using MO by selecting the following options:
    • Solitude Exterior
    • Whiterun Exterior
    • 3D Plume
    • High Hrothgar Window Glow
    • Desync Birds of Prey

Before moving on, users need to create two empty mods to use for the files DynDOLOD outputs:

Create empty mods

  1. Right-click on the mod list in MO and hover over All Mods.
  2. Select, Create empty mod.
  3. Name it STEP Skyrim SE - TexGen Output or anything similar.
  4. Place this new mod directly after DynDOLOD Resources SE.
  5. Repeat these steps to create another new mod call STEP Skyrim SE - DynDOLOD Output, or anything similar.
  6. Place this other new mod directly after the new mod from step 3 (i.e., STEP Skyrim SE - TexGen Output).

The last few mods in the mod list should now reflect:

  1. ..
  2. STEP Skyrim SE - CR Patch
  3. STEP Skyrim SE - L&W Patch (optional)
  4. DynDOLOD SE Resources
  5. STEP Skyrim SE - TexGen Output
  6. STEP Skyrim SE - DynDOLOD Output

Run TexGen[edit]

TexGen, shipped with DynDOLOD, is a program that will create custom LOD textures for objects based on the full-size texture installed. This means distance object textures will better match their fully rendered counterparts. To create custom LODs:

Instructions for TexGen

  1. Run TexGen from the MO executable drop-down list.
  2. Keep the default Output location and and choose one of the follow two options:
    1. Option 1: Keep the default settings. This is for the average system.
    2. Option 2: Users who have the a bit more performance room, change the LOD Texture Size to 512. This will result in higher resolution LOD textures.
  3. Once the option has been chosen click Start.
  4. Once the completed message has appeared, click Save & Exit.
  5. Navigate to the DynDOLOD folder location (i.e., ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD).
  6. Copy or cut the files from the TexGen_Output folder.
  7. In MO, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click on the TexGen Output mod created above. This opens the mod's folder in an Explorer window.
  8. Paste the files into the mod's folder and close the window.
  9. In MO, ensure the TexGen Output mod is active (checked).

Run DynDOLOD[edit]

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

Standard Tree LOD[edit]

Instructions for Standard Trees

  1. Run DynDOLOD from the MO executable drop-down list.
  2. Click the Advanced button once the main tool window is displayed.
  3. Select all worldspaces.
  4. Ensure the Candles, FXGlow, Generate static LOD, Windows, and High boxes are checked.
  5. Keep the default Output location and settings and click Medium.
  6. Users with systems able to handle High settings, may do so.
  7. Once the completed message has appeared, click Save & Exit.
  8. Navigate to the DynDOLOD folder location (i.e., ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD).
  9. Copy or cut the files from the DynDOLOD_Output folder.
  10. In MO, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click on the DynDOLOD Output mod created above.
  11. Paste the files into the mod's folder and close the window.
  12. In MO, ensure the DynDOLOD Output mod is active (checked).
  13. Ensure the DynDOLOD esm and esp files are checked in the right pane.
  14. Sort with LOOT.
  15. Ensure DynDOLOD.esp is the last plugin in the load order.

3D Tree LOD[edit]

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

Instructions for 3D Trees

  1. Open the root DynDOLOD folder (i.e., ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD/).
  2. Open the DynDOLOD_SSE.ini file (i.e., ../DynDOLOD/Edit Scripts/DynDOLOD/DynDOLOD_SSE.ini)
  3. Set TreeLOD=0
  4. Run DynDOLOD from the MO executable drop-down list.
  5. Select all worldspaces.
  6. Ensure the Candles, FXGlow, Generate static LOD, Windows, and High boxes are checked.
  7. Keep the default Output location and settings, click High preset button, and run it.
    • The High preset is require for 3D Trees!
  8. Get a cup of coffee. This takes ~40 minutes on SSDs.
  9. Once the completed message has appeared, click Save & Exit.
  10. Navigate to the DynDOLOD folder location (i.e., ../Modding/Tools/DynDOLOD).
  11. Copy or cut the files from the DynDOLOD_Output folder.
  12. In MO, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click on the DynDOLOD Output mod created above.
  13. Paste the files into the mod's folder and close the window.
  14. In MO, ensure the DynDOLOD Output mod is active (checked).
  15. Ensure the DynDOLOD esm and esp files are checked in the right pane.
  16. Sort with LOOT.
  17. Ensure DynDOLOD.esp is the last plugin in the load order.
One issue that can arise when generating LOD with DynDOLOD is having a "bad run", though it doesn't happen often. However, when it does happen CTDs are usually the result. If this happens, for example while fast traveling, try disabling the generated output and recreate the conditions in-game. If the CTDs are resolved, trash all of the files from the bad run and complete the process again.

When do users need to rebuild LODs?[edit]

Users should rebuild their LODs any time they update their mod lists with mods that adds, removes, or relocates exterior objects such as buildings, roads, trees, etc. Users should also rebuild any time an update to DynDOLOD SE Beta is released.

STEP 6[edit]

Mod Configuration (MCM)

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

  • When launching the game for the first time after a STEP Guide is installed, the load could take significantly longer than normal. This will only be a one-time load wait as all the installed mods are being initialized. Subsequent load times should be shorter.
  • When ready to play, a new game is required! Don't load a from a save when first launching after a new STEP Guide install. Start a new game!

Mod Configuration Menu Settings[edit]

Note that if a mod's MCM pages aren't listed within the screenshots below, then the choices for those pages should be left at their default, but this is completely up to the user.

Complete Crafting[edit]

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

Farmhouse Chimneys SE[edit]

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

Lanterns of Skyrim II[edit]

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

Storm Lightning[edit]

The Realistic preset in the MCM is recommended.

Timing is Everything[edit]

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

Remaining Mod Configurations[edit]

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

STEP 7[edit]

Optional Customizations

(optional) BethINI Customization[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

The Guide doesn't include an ENB preset for reason that should be obvious, however, we know it can be difficult to find a preset that works with Cathedral Weathers. To make this a bit easier, we've included a small list of ENB presets below which were made to work with Cathedral Weathers, without breaking the horizon. We've included a variety of "looks", but users should search on Nexus to find the preset that works best for their preferences.


Help build STEP

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

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

Call for Mod Testers[edit]

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

Call for Forum Moderators[edit]

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

STEP Core Builds[edit]

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



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

Thank you for reading and enjoy the game!


Thank you all!

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

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

STEP Staff[edit]


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

SM Forum Moderators[edit]

Currently active STEP Forum Moderators:

  • DoubleYou
  • Greg
  • GSDfan
  • Kelmych

Honorary Staff[edit]

Retired Founders, Administrators, and Staff:

  • Aiyen
  • Bealdwine
  • deathneko11
  • EisDrache
  • EssArrBee
  • Farlo
  • frihyland
  • GrantSP
  • hishutup
  • MontyMM
  • Nebulous112
  • oqhansoloqo
  • phazer11
  • rootsrat
  • stoppingby4now
  • TheCompiler
  • torminater
  • Uhuru
  • WilliamImm
  • wolverine2710