User:Proton/2.3.0

From Step Modifications | Change The Game


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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This guide is out of date!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!

         [[User:|View the latest release]].


Introduction[edit]

Info-Logo.png Notice:
PLEASE READ EACH SECTION CAREFULLY, OR STEP WILL NOT FUNCTION. ALL INFORMATION IS RELEVANT.


STEP is made by TheCompiler together with the modding community, technical volunteers, and project administrators. STEP aims to provide an enhanced modded Skyrim using tested, stable methods that all modders can use. Modders may follow STEP exactly (easiest for new modders), or as a guideline for their own particular setup.

To contribute to STEP through testing, reviewing, and other feedback, join the STEP Community Forums. Posting rules apply; read them, follow them, and enjoy a warm welcome from your fellow STEP-ers.

Nomenclature[edit]

  • 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
    LQ
    installation options where available.
  • Extreme STEP. A complete STEP setup using the high quality
    HQ
    installation options where available.

Baseline System Requirements[edit]

Those using Extreme STEP, or intending to install STEP packs or other mods beyond STEP:Core, may need a more-powerful system.

Hardware Minimum Recommended
Windows OS Windows 7 Windows 7 or newer
CPU Intel Core i3 Intel Core i5 or faster
System RAM 4 GB ≥8 GB
GPU 2GB VRAM >2GB VRAM
Monitor Resolution 1366×768 1920×1080

Mod Tables Legend[edit]

Mod Name Baseline Quality Options Notes
Wikilink.png Mod Name Baseline
LQ
HQ
Notes
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.
Baseline This notes the STEP Baseline version or option of the corresponding mod, and usually refers to options affecting performance/quality. General suggestions are located in the "Notes" column.
Quality Options Indicates if there are performance-friendly or performance-unfriendly versions of the mod relative to the Baseline recommendation:
LQ
Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available.
HQ
Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
LQ
HQ
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 many alternative 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 alternative option that fits the STEP Mandate. These instructions will take the form of: "Use 'Option A'."


STEP 1[edit]

Pre-Installation Setup

1.A. Install Steam & Skyrim[edit]

Detailed Information --> Skyrim Installation Guide

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

1.B. Skyrim Launcher Options[edit]

Detailed Information --> Skyrim Launcher Guide

As a quick-start to installing STEP, simply launch Skyrim from Steam to initialize the auto-detection process, 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]

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.

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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]

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

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 inb STEP, it is a bit more important, because there is a lot of screenshot sharing and qualitative discussion about in-game visuals. It is ideal id all users are somewhat 'standardized' for comparative purposes alone.

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

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

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

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

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

1.F. Performance Benchmarking[edit]

Detailed Information --> Benchmarking STEP

YOU CAN HELP!

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

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

Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
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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


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.


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].
  10. Restore the backed up Update.esm from step 1 to the data directory.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Right-click Overwrite and select Create Mod..., name it Cleaned Update ESM, and click OK.
  14. Drag and drop the new Cleaned Update ESM mod to the top of the left pane modlist.

2.C.[edit]

YES, ENBoost is needed by EVERYONE, including those that do not use ENB!

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

2.D.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.E.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.F.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.G.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.H.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.I.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.J.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.K.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.L.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.M.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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2.N.[edit]

No mods are currently defined in this section within the Wiki.

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Benchmark
Benchmark32.png


2.O. Launching STEP:Skyrim[edit]

Once all mods have been installed, run LOOT one final time to ensure the correct plugin order. When ready to play for the first time after a STEP install, be certain to either:

  • Start a brand new character, or
  • load the save game generated just after character creation if it exists, or
  • load an existing character after clean saving the relevant save game.
Moicon.png MO Users:
It takes significantly longer to launch Skyrim from within MO than it does by using other means. Allow up to 3 minutes for Skyrim to launch before panicking ... launch time will be faster after the first launch in a given MO session (unless lots of mod-list changes are made).


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

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

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 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
  • Xaviien for his active help with the wiki, mod testing, and assistance with this release.


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)