STEP:2.2.6

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STEP v2.2.6


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Changelog   |   Release Date: June 8th, 2013

Warning-Logo.png Warning: This guide is out of date!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.


Contents

STEP is now on a biweekly release schedule.

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

About STEP

A Foreword

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

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

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

Call for Wiki Content Editors

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

Call for STEP Mod Testers

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

Call for STEP Benchmarks

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

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

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

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


STEP Mandate

A Commitment

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

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

STEP is NOT about ...

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

Performance, Baseline & Extreme STEP

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

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


STEP 1

Pre-Installation Setup

Requirements

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

Baseline System

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

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

1.A. Install Steam & Skyrim

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

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

1.B. Skyrim Launcher Options

1.B.1. Launcher Settings

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

1.C. Display & Video Card Settings

1.C.1. Nvidia Users

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

1.C.2. AMD Users

  1. Download and install the latest AMD drivers (advanced users can try the beta versions if available).
  2. Open Catalyst Control Center, and click on the [Preferences] button in the upper right. Select Advanced View.
  3. Under the Gaming section on the left select Gaming > 3D Application Settings.
    • Set [Tessellation Mode] to AMD Optimized
    • Set Enable Surface Format Optimization to "On", if it's not already.
    • Set [Wait for vertical refresh] to On, unless application specifies
    • Make sure that [Anti-Aliasing Mode] and [Anti-Aliasing Samples] are set to Use application settings
  4. (optional) Add "skse_loader.exe" to be associated with as an application-specific profile:
    • Click [+ Add] in the left column
    • Navigate to skyrim/ and select "skse_loader.exe" to associate these settings with Skyrim ("TESV.exe" should be used if that is the executable used to launch Skyrim).

1.C.3. Display

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

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

1.D. Performance Benchmarking

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

At this point ...

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

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

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

Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
Benchmark32.png

Use the following checklist to calculate the standard STEP benchmark:

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


Example benchmark results:

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

1.E. Install Utilities

1.E.1. Better Oblivion Sorting Software

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

1.E.2. BOSS Userlist Manager

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

1.E.3. Mod Manager(s)

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

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

1.E.4. TES5Edit

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

1.F. INI Tweaks

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

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

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

1.F.1. Skyrim INI

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

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

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

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

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

Add the following under [Combat]:

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

Add the following under [Display]:

Fixes the shadow flickering issue. Shadow flickering is caused by updating sun shadows.
fSunShadowUpdateTime=0
fSunUpdateThreshold=2.0
Increases the time that blood decals remain visible (tweak from “Enhanced Blood Textures” mod).
fDecalLifetime=512.0

Add the following under [General]:

Disables the annoying intro sequence.
sIntroSequence=
Helps prevent lighting “pop-in” by pushing back the distance at which the flicker/pulse animation loops begin.
fFlickeringLightDistance=8192
Prevents crashes when loading into a large interior area.
iLargeIntRefCount=131072

1.F.2. SkyrimPrefs INI

Modify the following under [Controls]:

Disable mouse acceleration.
bMouseAcceleration=0

Add the following under [Decals]:

Enables higher resolution blood decals on NPCs.
bDecalsOnSkinnedGeometry=1

Modify the following values under [Display]:

Valid values range from 0 - 7. Lower values will sharpen shadows (not the resolution), making vegetation more "vibrant." It gives a subtle increase in performance, but also gives more pixelated and striping effects to shadows. Higher values will make shadows softer and more blurred. Consider a value of two if using ENB.
iBlurDeferredShadowMask=3
Enables shadows rendering on trees.
bTreesReceiveShadows=1
If running Extreme STEP using 'Ultra' setting for shadow shadow quality to in 1.B.1, this tweak will further improve shadow resolution at a performance cost. Consider also raising 'iShadowMapResolutionSecondary' to 4096 on high-end machines. For Performance or Baseline STEP, do not change the default values for either of these settings.
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=4096
iShadowMapResolutionSecondary=2048
Improves the blood decals number per scene (from “Enhanced Blood Textures”).
iMaxDecalsPerFrame=256
ENB users ONLY! Enabling these without an ENB will decrease performance with no visual impact and possibly introduce excessive shadow striping.
bDrawLandShadows=1
bFloatPointRenderTarget=1
Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
Benchmark32.png

Reminder - Essential Guides

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

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


Final Notes

A Final Consideration

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEP 2

Mod Installation


Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Mod NameWikilink.png Baseline LowQuality.png HighQuality.png
DG
Notes
Core Mod Core mods are indicated by the presence of a green vertical bar in the row at the immediate left-hand column of the table.
Mod Name Nexus mod name (where applicable) presented as a link links 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 only refers to graphical quality choices. Stylistic or mechanical suggestions are located in the "Notes" section.
Quality Options Indicates if there are performance-friendly or performance-unfriendly versions of 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.
DLC Required Any DLCs listed here are required for the mod to function. If all DLCs listed are not present do not use this mod.
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'."


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

2.A. Configuration

Mods and tweaks that modify Skyrim configuration such as INI files.

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

2.B. Utilities

Applications and utilities that aid in Skyrim mod management.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
BOSSLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
BOSS Userlist ManagerLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
ConSkrybeLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Wrye BashLink to the mod's Wiki page. Installer version Detailed instructions available
Mod OrganizerLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
DDSoptLink to the mod's Wiki page. DDSopt - pre-release - update 4 Detailed instructions available
Optimizer TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
TES5EditLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Skyrim Performance MonitorLink to the mod's Wiki page.

2.C. Extenders

Third-party programs that enhance Skyrim functionality or display.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Skyrim Script ExtenderLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Borderless WindowLink to the mod's Wiki page. ENBoost users should not use this mod, since there is borderless window options included in ENBoost. Recommended for Performance STEP.

2.D. Fixes

Essential mods that fix bugs and tweak deficient aspects of Skyrim.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Appropriately Attired JarlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Argonian Decapitation FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. This is now covered by USKP 2.0.5.
Bowlegged Jump FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Brawl Bugs PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Consistent Older PeopleLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Double Cursor FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dead Body CollisionLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dual Sheath ReduxLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
SKSE-Elys-AltF4Link to the mod's Wiki page.
Fast Travel Timescale FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Fuz Ro D-ohLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Guard Dialogue OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Do NOT clean with TES5Edit. ITMs/UDRs are intended by the author for the mod to work correctly.
NitpickLink to the mod's Wiki page. Users NOT using Mod Organizer should install this mod. The fixes are already included in Mod Organizer.
Skyrim Project OptimizationLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Argonian Sneak Tail Twist FixLink to the mod's Wiki page. Dropped: Included in USKP as of v2.0.1.
Trade and BarterLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hearthfire STEP Recommends: Download and install the Hearthfire version of the mod and activate the .esp, but do not click "start mod" in the MCM options.
Distant Decal FixLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Unofficial Skyrim PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Unofficial Dawnguard PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DG
Unofficial Hearthfire PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HF
Unofficial Dragonborn PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DB
Unofficial High Resolution PatchLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
[
  • Some part "<nowiki></nowiki>" of the query was not understood.
  • Some use of "<nowiki>[[</nowiki>" in your query was not closed by a matching "]]".
  • Some subquery has no valid condition.
]Link to the mod's Wiki page.
Acquisitive Soul GemsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Vanilla users: Use the old v2.1 file.
Even Better Quest ObjectivesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Realistic Ragdolls and ForceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Realistic STEP Extended Patch users DO NOT need to install this mod.
XP32 Maximum SkeletonLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Benchmark32.png
Benchmark
Benchmark32.png

2.E. Interface

Mods that modify Skyrim's menus and user interface.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Blessings-Altar DescriptionsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Dialogue ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better MessageBox ControlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Disease DescriptionsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP Extended Patch users DO NOT need to install this mod. For Version, select only Vanilla (unless you use Realistic Needs and Diseases), and for Official DLCs, select both Dawnguard and Dragonborn.
Dungeon Quest AwarenessLink to the mod's Wiki page. May cause minor spoilers.
High Quality 3D MapLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hi-res meshes, 1k normals Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. STEP recommends the HQ3DMap - Meshes Hi-Res and HQ3DMap - Normals Original main files. Do not install any of the textures.
Immersive HUDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Interface Hard Coded Key TweaksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Normal Tweaks STEP recommends "Normal Tweaks".
Lockpicking InterfaceLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the without wings around keyhole main file.
Lore-Based Loading ScreensLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Main Font ReplacementLink to the mod's Wiki page. Fertigo Pro Detailed instructions available
No Boring Sleep-Wait MenuLink to the mod's Wiki page.
No Menu and Loading SmokeLink to the mod's Wiki page.
A Quality World MapLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the Hi-Res Quality World Map - Main Roads optional file and DO NOT install Clear Map Add-on.
RaceMenuLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Skill InterfaceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available BCF Available (Dawnguard patch), BCF Available
SkyUILink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Not Another Colored Map Icon ModLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends installing only the optional "NACMIM - Full" file. Turn off version checking for maps in the MCM: SkyUI menu. This is necessary until NACMIM is made fully compatible with SkyUI 4.0 or higher.
Smaller CursorLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the main file.
Main Menu Spinning EmblemLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the Main Menu Spinning Skyrim Emblem Average Speed main file.
KenMOD Time On Loading ScreenLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Unique Region NamesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Note: Region names are not exactly aligned with the boundaries on the Skyrim Map.There is a Dragonborn addon that uses weather regions to define region boundaries. This version has conflicts with any weather mod that affects Solstheim, and a patch (e.g., using TES5Edit)would be needed if it is used with these.
Unknown EnchantsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Wrye Bash users: Use the Unknown Enchants - WryeBash friendly archive optional file.
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2.F. Conflicting Graphics

Graphics mods that cannot be listed within their respective categories because they must be overwritten to achieve the desired result.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Bethesda Hi-Res DLC OptimizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hybrid + Vanilla normals Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available
Ruins Clutter ImprovedLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the Ruins_Clutter_Improved_v2-8 NMM Installation main file and during the FOMOD select Install everything.
Better Dynamic SnowLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Detailed ChestsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 STEP recommends "Washed-Out Dirty".
No StretchingLink to the mod's Wiki page. Full Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available.
Static Mesh Improvement ModLink to the mod's Wiki page. Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available
Skyrim HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 (LITE) Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Serious HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Install the Serious HD Retexture LANDSCAPE 1024px main file and the Serious HD Retexture RIFTEN 1024px optional file.
HD MiscLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Tobe's Hi-Res TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available
High Quality Food and IngredientsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Performance repack Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
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2.G. Landscape & Environment

Mods that modify landscape, buildings, and environments of Skyrim.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Snow & Rocks HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
AOF Detailed MountainsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
AOF FarmhousesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Flora OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Basic Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available
Chimneys for SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Distant DetailLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hearthfire users: Use the "Hearthfire Edition" file instead. Mod requires TES5Edit cleaning.
Dragon Glyphs-FixedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Dragon Chiseled STEP recommends the Dragon Chiseled main file.
Enhanced Night SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Enhanced Night Skyrim v04 Low Stars optional file, but do not install any galaxy option. It is not used for STEP.
FootprintsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Footprints v0_99 main file and the Footprints v0_99 - Ash Supplemental optinal file for Dragonborn.
HD Enhanced TerrainLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. STEP recommends the Hd Enhanced Terrain and Map snow 1024x1024 Version old version.
High Quality LODsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hi-Res Meshes Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. 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.
Hybrids HD Plants and Herbs RetextureLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Improved PuddlesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Install both "00 - Core Files" and the "17 Dawnguard-HearthFires-Dragonborn DLC Users" options.
Lanterns Of SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Default preset Detailed instructions available
HiRes Legible Road SignsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends only installing the HiRes Road Signs Version 3 Worn Text optional file.
26 Moon Size TweeksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Only install the masser Size x0.5.esp and secunda Size x0.5.esp BCF Available
Moss RocksLink to the mod's Wiki page. SMIM version Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Point the WayLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Real IceLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available BCF Available
Realistic MushroomsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Low Res Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Realistic Tundra MossLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024, Yellow
Re-Defined DungeonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Terrain BumpLink to the mod's Wiki page. Performance Detailed instructions available BCF Available
Trees HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. High Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available BCF Available (High), BCF Available (Low), BCF Available (Ultra)
Vibrant AurorasLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Visible WindowsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium version Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. STEP recommends the "Gritty" option for all windows and the "Default" for all color options but "Yellow Tint" for both Solitude and Whiterun. BCF Available. BCF needs 2 files (Reduced Night Glow optional file also needed)
WATERLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available BCF Available
Whiterun Trellis RedesignedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Windmills ResizedLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1.5x Install the default (1.5x) version. (Has minor clipping issues with the stables in Solitude when not used in combination with SkyFalls and SkyMills.)
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2.H. Characters & Creatures

Mods that improve the appearance of characters and creatures.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Bellyache's Creature PackLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Use the "Default Animal Replacement Med Res" located in the Miscellaneous files.
83Willows 101BugsHDLink to the mod's Wiki page. Lower resolution Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
AIMP-Antz in my PantzLink to the mod's Wiki page.
More Realistic HairLink to the mod's Wiki page.
AOF Believable HairLink to the mod's Wiki page. BCF Available (Non-FOMOD)
BeardsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Normal Resolution Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Bellyaches HD Dragon ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Beast RacesLink to the mod's Wiki page. Lite Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Better FrecklesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Birds and FlocksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Hearthfire Edition Cleaned Detailed instructions available
Birds of SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. Lower resolution
NoMaaM Breathing IdlesLink to the mod's Wiki page. non-BBB
BrowsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Normal Resolution Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Cover KhajiitsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available BCF Available (1024)
The Elder Scrolls V Rewritten-ArvakLink to the mod's Wiki page. HD Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
DG
STEP recommends the "High Definition" and "Soul Cairn" options.
Diverse PriestsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Core users NOT using the STEP Core patch install DiversePriests_ConsistentOlderPeoplePatch.esp. Extended users NOT using the STEP Extended Patch install DiversePriests_ConsistentOlderPeoplePatch.esp and DiversePriests_BringOutYourDeadPatch.esp.
Female Vampires Have FangsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Frost Atronach HDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Ice WraithLink to the mod's Wiki page. Only install the "Even Better Ice Wraiths - Completely Redone" file.
Improved Foot Wraps for FemalesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
More Village AnimalsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use all three Main Files.
New ChildrenLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Pond FishLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD Rabbits PlusLink to the mod's Wiki page.
XCE-Xenius Character EnhancementLink to the mod's Wiki page. Do not install the optionals. If using the BCF, just select 00 Core. BCF Available
XCE-DawnguardLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DG
Better Male FeetLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional Dawnguard patch.
Natural EyesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 128k Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
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2.I. Clothing & Equipment

Mods that add or modify armor, weapons, clothing, adornments, and other equipment.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Accingite VosLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better CircletsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024x512 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
AMidianBorn Book of SilenceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Daedric Armor & WeaponsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Full, default glow". Also disable the ESP as it isn't needed.
Dawnguard Crossbow Bolts VisualizedLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DG
Also install the optional "Explosive Bolts Visualized HD Textures" file.
Closer Quivers and Longer ArrowsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Elemental StaffsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Install the main file.
Elven Weapons for SilenceLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available BCF Available
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. "Default" options Install the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC options. STEP recommends Default meshes, Fullsize sheath/scabbard, and None for Skyforged Steel.
Improved Closefaced HelmetsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Jewels of the NordLink to the mod's Wiki page. Low res Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Nightingale PrimeLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Leather".
Not Really HD-Mask of Clavicus VileLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Wrecked".
Shield of YsgramorLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Ultimate HD TorchLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Also install the Ultimate HD Torch -less glowing cloth- optional file.
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2.J. Animations & Effects

Mods that add animations and/or effects.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Animated Weapon EnchantsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Turn AnimationLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available BCF Available
Burn Freeze Shock EffectsLink to the mod's Wiki page. This mod has been known to cause to issues, so it is highly recommended to use the memory patch included in SKSE. Also install the optional Dragonborn Dawnguard file.
Deadly Spell ImpactsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Detailed instructions available
Dual Wield Blocking AnimationsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Enchantment Effect ReplacerLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "2XRes".
Enhanced Blood TexturesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Install the Enhanced Blood Textures 3_5d main file and the relevant DLC Compatibility Patch, 1024 Res Textures, and Blurry Screen Blood optional file. If you are planning to install the STEP:Extended Patch then skip the DLC Patch. It's included in the Extended Patch.
Enhanced Projectile Soul TrapLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the "With Aquistive Soul Gems" version.
Finer DustLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Improved Weapon Impact EffectsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Lightning During Thunder StormsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
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  • Some part "<nowiki></nowiki>" of the query was not understood.
  • Some use of "<nowiki>[[</nowiki>" in your query was not closed by a matching "]]".
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]Link to the mod's Wiki page.
No Spinning Death AnimationLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DB
Detailed instructions available
RainbowsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Realistic Smoke and EmbersLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Dawnguard Rune Weapons FXSLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DG
Running With BowsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Shooting StarsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Performance PlusLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Skyrim SunglareLink to the mod's Wiki page. This mod is currently unavailable.
Ultimate HD Fire EffectsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Medium Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Install the Ultimate HD Fire Effects -Medium Resolution- main file and the Ultimate HD Candle Flames optional file.
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2.K. Clutter & Miscellaneous

Mods that modify general items such as furniture, barrels, bottles, food, etc.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
The 418th StepLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Snow Version".
Better BonesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better ShadowmarksLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dark Brotherhood Tenets RestoredLink to the mod's Wiki page. Standard (medium) Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available. Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available.
Designs of the NordsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Detailed RugsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Main File STEP does not recommend either of the optional files.
Enhanced HD Dragon BonesLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1k Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. STEP recommends the "No flesh" option. BCF Available (EDB (2k))
HD BasketsLink to the mod's Wiki page. 512 x 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. BCF Available (HD Baskets)
HD LinensLink to the mod's Wiki page.
HD Ore and IngotsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the "With manager" file. The main file is mostly extraneous screenshots and duplicate files.
HD SacksLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use both Type B Small and Big sacks. BCF Available
HQ Skyrim MapLink to the mod's Wiki page. 2048 Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available.
Intricate Spider WebsLink to the mod's Wiki page. High Relative to Baseline, a lower quality, less demanding version of the mod is also available.
New Thinner TorchLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use "Ultimate HD Torch by rheadude compatible" version ONLY.
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
Pilgrim's 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.
Realistic PaperLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends "Dark".
Septim HDLink to the mod's Wiki page. BCF Available
Mystery Modders Shrines HDLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Silly Level of Detail-Potions and PoisonsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use Ceramic style. Install for both potions and poisons.
Silly Level of Detail-Wine CellarLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install "Less saturated labels" optional.
Skyrim RedesignedLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available BCF Available
Soul Gems DifferLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Super Realistic OreLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Sweet MotherLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the main file only.
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2.L. Sound

Mods that modify audio including music, sound effects, environment, and voice.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Activate Fail Noise RemovalLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Ambient SeagullsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Animal FootstepsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
FSS-Better BardsLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the "No pause between lines" option. Optional: The Nexus version will not play nicely with mod managers, so the fixed version can be used until the author can correct the issue.
Better Horse Pain SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Better Weapon Swing SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Clanking ArmorLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Heart of the BeastLink to the mod's Wiki page. High Agression
Immersive ThunderLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Improved Combat SoundsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
IHSS-Improved Horse StepsLink 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.
DG
Realistic Wolf HowlsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the "More Barks than Howls" version.
Silent SkyrimLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends only using the "Sneak attack" option. Wrye Bash users should use the optional "Wrye Bash installer" file.
Smooth Blade Draw and SheatheLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends to install ADS during installation and all SBDS options.
Sounds of Skyrim-CivilizationLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Sounds of Skyrim-DungeonsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Sounds of Skyrim-WildsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Thundering ShoutsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use only the optional loose files version.
Waterbreathing Breathless EmergeLink to the mod's Wiki page.
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2.M. Gameplay

Mods that improve game-play without significantly changing the game mechanics.
Mod Name Baseline Quality Options DLC Required Notes
Ars Metallica-SmithingLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Auto Unequip AmmoLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Bring Out Your DeadLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Candle Lanterns of the NorthLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the "Dawnguard Edition" file.
Clams Drop PearlsLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Convenient HorsesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
[ Disable Thieves Guild Autostart]Link to the mod's Wiki page.
SM Drop Lit TorchesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Dual Wield ParryingLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
Dynamic FiresLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Follower Trap SafetyLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Gildergreen RegrownLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Lantern CaretakersLink to the mod's Wiki page. Requires "Lanterns of Skyrim"
Lock OverhaulLink to the mod's Wiki page. Detailed instructions available
More Salt PleaseLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the optional "Dragonborn Addon" file.
Move It DammitLink to the mod's Wiki page. Less Wait Time
No NPC GreetingsLink to the mod's Wiki page. Sligtly Reduced Included in every version of the STEP Patches, STEP Core Patch, STEP Extended Patch, and both versions of the STEP Combined Plugin.
Non-Essential ChildrenLink to the mod's Wiki page. Use the Hearthfire version.
Oblivion GatesLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends only installing the Dawnguard version main file. Use only one ESP; the "without markers" ESP is recommended. Move the other esp to Optional ESPs.
The Paarthurnax DilemmaLink to the mod's Wiki page. Note: The Nexus page for this mod has a spoiler for those that have not played the main quest yet.
Run For Your LivesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim Coin Replacer ReduxLink to the mod's Wiki page.
Skyrim-Community-UncapperLink to the mod's Wiki page. STEP recommends the defaul INI values. To customize Uncapper see this Guide: Skyrim Uncapper guide.
The Choice is YoursLink to the mod's Wiki page. Also install the Update and Dawnguard files. This mod has conflicts with Bring Out Your Dead. The STEP Patches address these conflicts.
Traps Make NoiseLink to the mod's Wiki page. Install the Traps Make Noise main file and the Traps Make Noise - Follower Safety Patch optional file if Follower Trap Safety was installed earlier in this section.
Wearable LanternsLink to the mod's Wiki page. No BSA
Lanterns for CaravansLink to the mod's Wiki page. No BSA
Lanterns for GuardsLink to the mod's Wiki page. No BSA
When Vampires AttackLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DG
Wet and ColdLink to the mod's Wiki page. 1024 Relative to Baseline, a higher quality, more demanding version of the mod is also available. Optional quality 2k textures can be installed by ticking High Res Fur Coats option. Otherwise, just leave default installation options.
Wet and Cold-AshesLink to the mod's Wiki page.
DB
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Wrye Bash Realistic Crime Radius fix

Once all mods have been installed, locate Bashed Patch on your Mods tab in Wrye Bash. Follow these steps to apply the crime radius tweak:

  • Right-click on Bashed Patch and select Rebuild Patch.
  • (optional) You can merge your mods into Bashed Patch via Merge Patches.
  • Check the box next to Tweak Settings then click on Tweak Settings.
  • Check the box next to Crime: Alarm Distance.
  • To change the distance, right-click on Crime: Alarm Distance and select your desired distance. STEP recommends 1000.
  • Next click Build Patch at the bottom of the window and let Wrye Bash rebuild the patch.
  • You can close the summary window and congratulations! You've just applied the Crime Radius fix.

Post-Installation Housekeeping

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

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


STEP 3

Tips & Troubleshooting Common Issues

3.A. Technical Tips

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

3.A.1. Maximizing STEP

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

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

3.A.2. Fix game launch crash after installing STEP

For crashes to desktop (CTDs),

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

3.A.3. Defrag the Hard Drive

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

3.A.4. Semi-Invisible People & Misbehaving Walls

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

3.A.5. Using Windowed Mode (ATI)

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

3.A.6. Increase Overall Performance

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

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

3.A.7. Texture Shimmering, Etc.

Refer to the Z-Fighting Guide.

3.B. In-Game Tips

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

3.B.1. Optimize Field of View (FOV)

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

FOV ##

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

3.B.2. BIG Frame Drops During Cell Loading

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

User Contributions

How YOU Can Help

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

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

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


Special Credits

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

  • The authors of mods recommended in STEP
  • The core STEP Community for feedback, suggestions and input
  • The STEP beta testers ... for their good humor and rigorous analyses
  • The Nexus community
  • Bealdwine, EisDrache & Frihyland - site founders on indefinite leave (we hope you guys are well!)
  • Outstanding v2.2.6 contributors - EssArrBee, gamingsrc, Omalong, Quitch, rpsgc, W3aponiz3d, Wormheart, and many others.
  • Bethesda Softworks for Skyrim (and TES in general)

Site Donors

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

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


The core STEP team is:
  • Farlo - Mediawiki developer & extraordinaire, Mod-list co-compiler, forums admin, site founder
  • MontyMM - Solutions developer (Semi-Automatic STEP), site founder
  • stoppingby4now - Main site developer, Semantic Mediawiki developer & extraordinaire, site founder
  • TheCompiler - STEP creator, mod-list extraordinaire
  • z929669 - Wiki & forums content editor, main site administrator, hosting maintenance, site founder
  • STEP Forum moderators: rootsrat, torminater

... and please welcome our newest staff, whose roles are still evolving:

  • Eliian (Previously, a Mod Testor and prevalent STEP contributor)
  • Kelmych (Previously, one of our moderators and significant contributor to the wiki and support forums)
  • kryptopyr (Respected mod author and site contributor)
  • Neovalen (Skyrim Revisited author & modding aficionado)
  • techangel85 (Previously, also a moderator and significant contributor to the wiki and support forums)
  • Solist (A respected contributor to Skyrim Revisited and an honored STEP supporter)
  • Vond (A long time member of the STEP community with many contributions)
  • WilliamImm (BOSS Masterlist contributor and compulsive mod author/patch-BCF creator)