TheMelvinius Guide to a Truly Legendary Skyrim Experience
Whois this guide for?Doyou ever get tired of watching youtube videos of someone’s awesome
Skyrim SE setup with ultra textures, ultra view distance, and ultra
mods (all being run on an ultra computer)? And there you are with
your crappy laptop with its integrated graphics, and Skyrim SE won’t
even run smoothly on your computer even unmodded. It sucks, right?
This guide is for you, fellow adventurer.
Whatis the goal of this guide?UltimatelyI feel that Skyrim should be an experience. That means depth and
content, and smooth gameplay, not a fantastic looking slideshow that
looks pretty but plays terribly. The goal of this guide is to help
you streamline your game so you can actually enjoy it on an average
computer. That’s not to say that it can’t look good too; I will
discuss ways to optimize things so that you can get Skyrim looking
way better than vanilla but also performing way better.
Whatversion of Skyrim is used in this guide?Itshould be emphasized that this guide is for Oldrim, or the original
Skyrim Legendary Edition (LE). Why? Because you can get it to look
and play better than Skyrim SE or VR and it will actually run on your
computer (and, well, mine). Also, there are simply more tools and
mods available for Oldrim than there are for the newer releases of
the game. Why Legendary Edition and not other previous versions of
Oldrim? Legendary includes the official expansions, the final
official Bethesda bugfixes, and therefore the most solid Skyrim
experience out of all the Oldrim releases. The principles contained
in this guide can be applied to any Skyrim install, however, and may
help you even if you have a newer or older version than Skyrim LE.
Whatmakes you qualified to write a guide like this, Mel?Twothings: (1) experience and (2) results. Concerning experience, I’ve
been playing the Elder Scrolls games after Morrowind (as well as
Fallout 3) since these games were released. I have put together
dozens of different installs/builds for Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim,
and Fallout 3 with great success. I have played these games on both
consoles and PC. I typically play on OK laptops but I’ve never owned
a gaming rig, so tweaking everything to the max has always been a
part of my Elder Scrolls experience. At times, I have spent more
hours tweaking mods to my preferences or tinkering with the
Construction Sets than actually playing the games. This guide is my
attempt to give back to the amazing Bethesda modding community and
Concerningresults, consider the following:
Mycurrent computer and its specs:Laptop:Samsung ATIV Book 8OperatingSystem: Windows 10 Home 64-bitProcessor:Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3635QM CPU @ 2.40GHzMemory:16GB RAM (the only physical upgrade to my laptop)Graphics:Integrated Intel, AMD Radeon HD 8600/8700M 1GB VRAM
Asyou can see, my laptop is not particularly new; it has been around
for about five years or so. However, keep reading to see what I’ve
been able to do with my Skyrim install on this laptop.
Someof the mods I am currently running:Iam running over 600 mods, texture packs, SKSE plugins, etc.,
including many of the most acclaimed and most demanding (in terms of
computer capability) mods on the Nexus:
BeyondSkyrim – BrumaBeyondReach
Extensible Follower FrameworkCompanionArissa
The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal
Legacyof the Dragonborn
Immersive College of Winterhold
Realistic Water Two
Follower Commentary Overhaul
Moon and Star
Phenderix Magic Evolved
Guard Dialogue Overhaul
The Forgotten City
Lore Weapon Expansion
Fire and Ice Overhaul
The Danceof Death – Ultimate Edition
WICO – Immersive Character Overhaul
KS Hairdos -HDT
The Eyes of Beauty
Immersive Citizens – AIOverhaul
Relationship Dialogue Overhaul
Alternate Start – LiveAnother Life
Warburg’s 3D Paper World Map
Youcan see there are some notoriously heavy mods here, and this is just
part of my full load order. I have overhauls for all the Skyrim
houses. I have nice little extras like the footprints mod, Wet and
Cold, DYNAVISION, and Supreme Fog. I have HDT physics working for
bodies, equipment, and player hair. I travel with typically 3 or 4
followers at a time, all with custom bodies. I have increased spawn
mods, so there are tons of enemies.
OK,yeah, but how smoothly does it all run? Does it look like crap?Interms of FPS, I have no idea what the numbers are. I can say that
Skyrim runs more smoothly than it does on my XBox 360 and looks way
better. For example, as a base I have the Bethesda ultra-high
textures installed, but then with other texture packs over top for
certain things. I play as an archer and I like my combat and
movement to be fluid. I have no stutter or input lag despite
traveling with usually four followers and with extra spawn mods. My
view distance is also nearly maxed. I do eventually get an
out-of-memory crash after 2-3 hours of gameplay at about 3GB memory
usage, but almost no random CTDs whatsoever.
Wow,how did you get all this?ThomasEdison was a despicable person, but his methodology of tinkering with
everything until it worked really well has done me a lot of good when
it comes to Skyrim modding. I just tinker, tweak, experiment, test,
compare, and keep doing it until things are better and better. It’s
been a long process, and takes time, but this guide will hopefully
speed things up for you as you follow in my footsteps to a great
Skyrim experience. Still, depending on what you hope to achieve in
your Skyrim install, plan on spending significant time building that
install. My setup took two solid weeks to download and install all
the mods and tweak everything; if you want 600+ mods working nicely
together, you will need to put in the time to get to that goal. I
suspect though that most people will just glean through this guide
here and there to see what little things they can improve on their
existing installs. For this reason, I will spoiler a lot of sections
so you guys don’t have to navigate massive walls of text you’re not
interested in reading.
Toolsyou WON’T need:Thisshould be a short list, so I’ll put it first.
-Avoid mesh optimizers! Mesh files are complex and they are not all
created in a uniform manner. Using mesh optimization tools can
introduce errors that you will never be aware of until they bring
your install to its knees with crash after CTD. There are better
ways to improve Skyrim’s performance.
-Avoid mod organizers! This is pretty controversial, and if you
aren’t comfortable manually installing everything, I can certainly
understand. I have used Mod Organizer and Nexus Mod Manager in the
past, and they worked well enough. But if you want complete control
over your install, you have to install mods by hand. For example,
what if mod A has something you really want, but it overrides part of
mod B that you really want, which overrides the part of mod A that
you really want? Load order won’t help you here, so you have to dig
in, get your hands dirty, and tweak things manually. If you do use a
mod organizer, don’t worry! There will still be plenty you can use
in this guide.
-Large address aware patcher utility. It used to be with some older
versions of Skyrim that you had to manually patch the skyrim.exe file
and/or other executables to make them large address enabled so they
could utilize more system RAM. This is no longer necessary with the
Skyrim Legendary Edition available on Steam, and could actually do
more damage than good.
Toolsyou WILL need for some sections of this guide:(Iwill have further sections later about how to best use some of these
tools. Also, I recommend installing some of these, like Tes5Edit or
Ordenador, directly into subfolders right in your Skyrim Steam
-An archive extraction utility like WinRAR (the best) or 7zip. There
are free versions of both of these. WinRAR handles .rar, .zip, and I
believe also .7z
-A texture compression/downsizing utility like Ordenador Textures,
available on the Skyrim Nexus. There are several tools like this out
there, I like Ordenador because of its simplicity. A lot of people
will tell you not to compress or downsize your textures, but it makes
a huge difference if done properly. Done improperly, it will look
horrible and maybe even perform terribly.
-A .BSA archive extraction tool. I prefer BAE (Bethesda Archive
Extractor), available on the Skyrim Nexus, for its simplicity and
drag-and-drop capability. This tool is invaluable for quickly
looking up mesh and texture paths (you can open a .BSA file and look
at the path tree without actually extracting anything). It is also a
necessity if you want to micromanage/replace individual mesh or
texture files that are stored in a .BSA archive.
-Tes5Edit. This is available on the Skyrim Nexus. It is a useful
tool which can be used to merge mods together to prevent you from
hitting the maximum 255 plugin limit. It can also run scripts and
some mods need it for this purpose. We’ll talk about basic safe mod
merging a bit later.
-Skyrim LOOT, the Load Order Optimization Tool, available on the Nexus
and github. This is an invaluable tool for automatically sorting and
manually ordering mod plugin files. We’ll talk more about some LOOT
tips and tricks later on.
-Skyrim Creation Kit. Get it from Steam; other sources are often not
legitimate or not the most current version. It can be gotten under
the Tools section. Even freshly downloaded, this may not run without
errors right out of the box; we will discuss common Creation Kit
errors and how to fix them below.
-Paint.NET, a free image editor. This is one of the best image
editors out there, and I recommend it here because it supports .DDS
and does it really well. This is a great tool for editing and
downsizing textures by hand.
Aquick overview of your Skyrim directories and file types you will
encounterWheninstalling mods, the most common error is putting files in the wrong
places, so here is a brief overview of Skyrim’s directory structure
for complete noobs who haven’t messed with it before.
-Steam probably has your Skyrim install here: C:Program Files
(x86)SteamsteamappscommonSkyrim. This is the standard install,
and there is really no reason to change it. If you decide to run
your Skyrim on an external SSD or something to speed it up, there are
ways to just copy everything over and link it while still keeping the
install directory technically in the default place. I might have a
section on this, since running Skyrim from an external SSD if you
have an HDD in your computer can really improve load times and reduce
stutter. I don’t currently do this, but have in the past.
-All the good stuff is in the Skyrim/data subfolder. There are
subfolders named meshes, textures, interface, sound, etc. here.
Putting things in the wrong place in these directories will mess
things up, usually resulting in missing mesh or texture errors.
-Your .INI files will likely be here: DocumentsMy
GamesSkyrim. Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini have tons of settings
and you will likely need to edit them for use with mods at some
-Your saves are in a subfolder of the above: DocumentsMy
GamesSkyrimSaves. It’s a good idea to clean this out periodically.
Having too many saves can actually crash your game when Skyrim has
to parse through 500 save files on the load screen.
-Mods are typically downloaded as archives. This means they are in a
.zip, .rar, or .7z format. Think of an archive as a box; it holds
files and also compresses them so they take up less space on your
hard drive. Mod organizers can often install mods right from these
files, but if you want to install them manually you will have to
extract the files out of them using an archive utility like 7zip or
-.ESM and .ESP files are the core files of most standard mods. These
are called plugin files, and your Skyrim install can only have 255
total of this type of file active at once. In the Skyrim launcher,
these are the Data Files that you tick to be active or not. Active
plugin files should always be in Skyrim/data; if they are anywhere
else then something went wrong.
-.BSA files are Bethesda’s proprietary archive files. Like more
common archive formats, they contain compressed files. You don’t
generally need to extract these, as the game can load the files
inside them when it loads the corresponding mod. Extracting these
files can be useful in certain circumstances, however, for example if
you wanted to downsize some textures even smaller than the originals
to speed up your game performance.
-.NIF files are mesh or model files. Think of them like a white
mannequin doll; they represent the 3D structure of game elements like
characters, weapons, armor, etc. A mesh file has associated texture
files, which give the object its visible color and texture. Some
meshes have textures embedded in them, but most use a separate
external texture file or files.
-.DDS files are the most common texture format. These are images that
get wrapped around the 3D mesh/model files to make them look like
real objects. Many mods include textures which are poorly optimized,
causing your computer to use more VRAM than necessary when drawing
things to the screen. We will discuss how to optimize textures a bit
-.DLL files are library files which alter how Skyrim runs. These can
be part of graphical mods like the ENB lighting mods, or they can be
other things like SKSE mods. They will typically go either in the
Skyrim folder or in Skyrim/data/SKSE/plugins.
-There are other file formats in use by the Skyrim game also: .FUZ
files are character voice files; music and sounds are typically in a
Bestpractices for manually installing mods-I cannot emphasize this enough; take a bit of time to explore and
learn how to use your tools. If you don’t know how to extract a .rar
file to a working directory, get a mod from the Skyrim Nexus and play
around with 7zip or WinRAR until you know how to extract the files it
contains. A lot of people are very down on Ordenador because they
used it improperly and it messed stuff up for them. Knowing how to
use your tools well is a good part of the modding battle.
-Make backups of your Skyrim install periodically. Is everything
working perfectly, just the way you like it? Back it up before
installing any other mods, if something goes wrong, you can go back
and try again. I make backup copies of Skyrim/data/meshes,
Skyrim/data/textures, and even the whole Skyrim/data folder often,
often, often. I always save copies of any files that I am about to
overwrite, in case replacing them messes something up. Also, make
backup copies of .ESP files before you alter them with the Creation
Kit or before you merge them with other .ESP files. Back up your
Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini files also before making changes.
-Never extract stuff directly into your Skyrim/data folder. When I
extract mods, I extract the files to a new folder on my desktop; I
call this my “working folder.” I can then check to make
sure the mod files are in the right structure before dragging them
into my Skyrim/data folder. I can easily run Ordenador to optimize
mod textures in this working folder before I drag them into my data
folder, so I am not running Ordenator over my entire data/textures
-Don’t mess with .ESM files. If you need to make edits to an .ESM
file, save it as an .ESP which always loads after the .ESMs and
overwrites the changes of the .ESM. Editing an .ESM and saving those
edit directly can create a ton of problems.
-Many of the tools I listed above can be installed anywhere. I
recommend putting Ordenador, Tes5Edit, and BAE in subfolders right in
your Skyrim Steam folder. Easy to get to, and they are all right
there together with your Skyrim install.
-You can have multiple Skyrim installs at once. After doing a basic
install, I simply copy the Skyrim directory to something like “Skyrim
– purist install.” Whatever is in the Skyrim directory is your
active install, just rename that folder to something else, and rename
another directory back to “Skyrim” to swap installs around.
My Steam apps folder has sometimes had directories like: “Skyrim,
Skyrim-purist, Skyrim-max, Skyrim-tropical, Skyrim-survival”
etc. in it. Each of these is a completely different install, and I
just switch between them as the mood takes me.
Initialinstall of SkyrimLet’sstart at the very beginning of putting together a brand new Skyrim
install. We’ll go over the main stuff in this section, then discuss
some topics that may help avoid some crashes and issues right off the
(1)Install Skyrim from Steam. I recommend installing to the default
directory, installing elsewhere could introduce some otherwise
(2)Install the Skyrim Script Extender, SKSE, also via Steam. This is a
virtual necessity these days due to many crash fixes and mods needing
its framework as a base.
(3)Install the Skyrim Creation Kit via Steam. It’s good to have, even
if you’re not a “modder” per se, because you can tweak mods
to your liking.
(4)Install SkyUI. Most people love it, some people hate it. It really
is necessary though; most major mods utilize the MCM menu system,
which allows you to configure mods right from an ingame settings
menu. On SkyUI’s MCM menu you can also disable version checking for
any menus that you use other replacers for (like the map) so SkyUI
doesn’t give an error every time you open that menu.
(5)Install USLEEP, the Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch, from
the Skyrim Nexus. This is a fan-made patch which fixes a ton of bugs
and issues. Some people will turn their noses up at this too, but it
is also really a necessity. Note that quite often other mods will
then go and break what USLEEP already fixed, so sometimes other
additional fixes are necessary on top of USLEEP. We’ll talk about
some of those other issues in a bit.
Atthis point, there are three other mods that I always install because
they are so useful. These are optional, but there are very good
reasons to use them, which I will enumerate:
(6)Alternate Start – Live Another Life, available on the Skyrim Nexus.
This is a quick character creation mod which allows you to make a
character fast and then jump into the game anywhere in Skyrim. You
can later pursue the main quest if you want, or you can choose to
just begin the game normally in the quick start area also. This is
super useful for someone who will be testing a lot of mods; you can
begin a new game without having to go through the whole intro every
time. Two minutes and you can have a new character and be in an area
of Skyrim near whatever mod it is you want to test/check out.
(7)Dynamically Disable Eye Adaption and Bloom. A lot of people can’t
stand the HDR eye adaption effect and there is no way to turn it off
by default. This little mod adds an MCM menu right in your game and
you can turn off eye adaption or bloom or both.
(8)DYNAVISION. This is a dynamic depth of field mod. It adds a
configurable MCM menu ingame with a ton of customization for
conversation, normal, and combat modes. I personally set this to
static mode with a setting of 1.1 which blurs distant land so well
that I don’t even need to use a distant land overhaul.
Congrats! You now have a solid foundation for a great Skyrim install. But
maybe you are already having issues, perhaps a common startup error
or performance troubles. We’ll discuss libraries, crash fixes, and
performance mods next just in case things are already not going well
Ijust did a new install, but Skyrim won’t start up.Thishappens sometimes, and there are a couple common things it could be
that I’ll throw out there right now.
-Try deleting the intro video from your Skyrim/data/videos folder.
You may want to do this anyways just so you can get to the main menu
more quickly. For some reason that intro video sometimes crashes the
game. It’s probably a computer specific thing, though I have found
that changing up certain INI values can mess up ALL .BIK video file
playback in Skyrim.
-You may need to install/reinstall various libraries like DirectX,
Visual C++, etc. There are actually subfolders right in the Skyrim
Steam directory for some of the recommended installs of these
libraries. Try installing these first, but if you are still getting
runtime errors when starting Skyrim, you may need some older and
newer versions to fill any functionality gaps. The weird thing about
these is that you can have multiple release year versions installed
simultaneously, as well as 32-bit and 64-bit versions installed
simultaneously, and sometimes you need to do so. Search google for
“visual c redistributable all in one” to find a couple
geek-made installers for a bunch of different versions at once, or
download them one at a time from (usually) Microsoft. I have the
following versions of the Visual C++ redistributables installed right
now: 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017. For each of these years I
have both the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions installed. Obviously if
you don’t have a 64-bit system just install the 32-bit versions.
-If you installed SKSE (and you really should!) then don’t forget to
start Skyrim using the skse_loader.exe, not skyrim.exe.
Hopefullyif you are getting a fresh install startup crash one of these things
will solve your problem. If not, google is your friend; if Skyrim
crashes with an error, search that error in google to see what you
get. Steam forums and reddit are particularly good places to get
answers for crash issues also. The next section is about various
crash-fix mods, so if these first steps didn’t work for you, continue
on and see if the next section helps.
Crashfix mods that you really should install even if you aren’t having
problems (yet)Anounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or something like that.
I would recommend installing all of these following mods to make
sure things keep running smoothly, or to fix any existing crash
issues. I am currently using ALL of these in my Skyrim install.
-Crash Fixes by meh321, available on the Nexus. One million downloads
can’t be wrong. It used to be that you had to use Sheson’s memory
patch to keep Skyrim running smoothly with lots of mods, but the main
feature of Crash Fixes is a better fix for memory issues, and the mod
includes fixes for a lot of other stuff too. Install it, then go to
Skyrim/data/SKSE/plugins and open the crash fixes ini file. Set
UseOSAllocators=1, and notice that you need the SKSE Plugin Preloader
mod, available on the Nexus, to use this feature, so grab that too.
-Bug Fixes by meh321, also on the Nexus. I love this meh321 guy.
Install this right along with his Crash Fixes mod. Works right out
of the box.
-Load Game CTD Fix by The Care Taker, on the Nexus. A quarter of a
million downloads, and I can personally say that it works. It fixes
an infinite load screen bug I used to get a lot when loading games
from the main menu.
-NVAC, or New Vegas Anti Crash mod. Get it on the New Vegas Nexus
site. Yes, I know, wrong game, but the nvac.dll works on several
Bethesda games including Fallout 3 and Skyrim.
Performanceenhancing mods that you will soon be unable to live withoutA Skyrim install that isperforming better is also a Skyrim install that will crash less. I
use all of these various performance enhancing mods together, and the
cumulative effect is stunning.
-PrivateProfileRedirectorLE – Faster game start (INI file cacher) by Kerber100. This is
available on the Nexus. Basically the Skyrim engine is super
inefficient in how it utilizes INI files; instead of reading the INIs
once at startup and using that information, Skyrim reads from the INI
files ON DEMAND. I don’t know how the reads are actually
implemented; maybe the INI gets read once per frame, maybe it gets
read once per every subroutine that uses INI settings per frame. At
any rate, it’s your computer doing a lot of work that it doesn’t have
to, and this mod fixes that.
-TESVAL, The Elder Scrolls V Acceleration Layer. This is an older mod
and a lot of people don’t use it any longer, but it purports to do
something unique and it seems to smooth things out for me. Someone
on the Nexus forums mentioned that patch 1.4 integrates most of what
TESVAL did directly so it’s no longer needed, but I’m still gonna
keep it. Basically Bethesda’s code is very poorly optimized, so a
programmer wrote TESVAL to help streamline things. For some reason
on Windows 10 I do get an error about TESVAL.dll when I start Skyrim,
but everything runs fine despite it.
-Skyrim Performance Booster by Jenna Watson, available on the Nexus.
With a little bit of tweaking, this mod can work alongside an ENB and
really makes a big difference. I set SpeedHack=false in the
enbpatch.ini file from this mod though, because for some reason
having that setting on results in white or gray ghost hair flying
high above my character. To use this, you will need to fire up the
.exe provided with the mod before running Skyrim itself.
-Swiftshader DLL, available on the Nexus. A lot of people are
skeptical about this mod, but it has made a big difference for me. I
run it in conjunction with the Skyrim Performance Booster by using
the following lines in the enbpatch.ini from the Skyrim Booster mod:[PROXY]EnableProxyLibrary=trueInitProxyFunctions=trueProxyLibrary=swiftshader.dllAfterpoking around a bit, I have found that there supposedly is a newer
version of the Swiftshader DLL freely available out there; you could
search and download that one instead of the one on the Nexus and see
if that one works better.
-Skyrim Reloaded, available from tesreloaded.com. This mod has a
little bit of everything in it, including some really odd options.
It does a lot of automatic optimization and can take control of some
water settings. I use it along with the mod Realistic Water Two and
the combination is great, both in terms of looks and performance.
The mod includes some nice optional touches like extra blood screen
spatter (a completely separate screen shader from a mod like Enhance
Blood, so you actually get two screen overlays) and a water lens
feature for when you come up out of water. Water is just so pretty
with this and performance is better.
-Bethesda Performance Textures by gamwich, available on the Nexus.
There are two different mods on the Nexus, grab them both. These
should be the very first texture packs that you install. These are
ultra detail Bethesda textures which gamwich modified for use on
computers with 1GB of VRAM or less. They look better than the
official HD texture packs and perform better also. You can then
install other texture packs over top of this, but these will fill in
the gaps nicely. Read the section about using Ordenador below for
best practices when installing texture mods.
-Colorful Lights – No Shadows, available on the Nexus. This mod
actually doesn’t disable shadows for me, but improves performance.
It’s probably meant to be used in conjunction with a shadow remover
mod, but I don’t do so.
-Insignificant Object Remover, available on the Nexus. As mentioned
in this mod’s description, the grass engine draws a lot of extra
useless things, including small rocks and pebbles everywhere and
underwater plants. Increasing grass density increases these things
also, and it’s a lot of extra stuff for Skyrim to draw for really no
reason. This mod eliminates a lot of junk, everything runs smoother,
and you won’t even notice what’s missing. Seriously, I was skeptical
at first, but you really won’t even notice the tiny pebbles
everywhere are gone. You WILL notice that your game runs much more
-Remove Underwater Grass and Other Stuff Too, on the Nexus. Works
similar to the Insignificant Object Remover, except it actually
replaces some stuff with empty meshes so there is literally nothing
-Skyrim Performance Plus, on the Nexus. There are a lot of small
objects like snowflakes, falling leaves, etc. that are tiny on your
screen and don’t need detailed textures. This mod downsizes these
textures for significant FPS gains in many outdoor areas and
-Performance Spell Sound, on the Nexus. Downsamples spell sounds to
improve performance and mitigate crashing related to spell sound
playback. Install this, then install any sound replacers you want
-Ultimate HD Fire Effects, on the Nexus. You would think with a name
like that this would be a horrible mod for performance. Actually a
lot of people have issues with fire in Skyrim, and using this mod
really helps a lot. I use the low res pack from this mod, which is
already very well optimized. With vanilla fire, the mod Fire and Ice
Overhaul would turn things into a slide show, but it is very smooth
with Ultimate HD Fire Effects installed.
Helpfulgraphics setup tipsIflike me you have a laptop with switchable graphics (integrated
graphics chipset and a separate graphics card) it can be a nightmare
to get games to recognize the “real” graphics card. One
way to deal with this is to go into Device Manager and disable the
integrated chipset so your computer always uses the “real”
graphics card. This solves any problems with Skyrim not finding the
right graphics card, and things will run much more smoothly.
Considerscaling down your graphics resolution a bit; for example, my laptop
is 1920×1080 but I play at 1600×900. It makes a noticeable
performance difference but still looks great. However, playing in
fullscreen mode at your computer’s native resolution can sometimes
give you a performance boost, depending on your system, so experiment
to see what works best for you.
Enablingmipmaps can be a great way to improve performance without sacrificing
too much graphical prettiness. Add or change these lines in your
skyrimprefs.ini file under the [Display] section:iTexMipMapMinimum=0iTexMipMapSkip=1Basicallya mipmap is a lower quality texture that will get displayed on some
objects. The Bethesda Performance Texture mod referenced above
contains mipmaps for most of the included textures. When I use
Ordinador to optimize other texture packs before installing them, I
uncheck the “create mipmaps” option for any textures that I
never want to be compromised in terms of display quality, for example
body textures or weapon textures. This way boring default textures
from the BPT mod sometimes get downgraded when mipmaps are enabled,
but important things like NPCs always stay full detail. Enabling
mipmaps can really help out with performance.
Howto troubleshoot crashes – a general methodologyBethesdaknows how to create a compelling world, but it’s a fine system with a
lot of moving parts to go wrong. Bethesda games are notorious for
crashing. There are ways to suss out the secrets of why things go
bad, though. Here are some tips for narrowing down a crash. Crash
fixes is pretty good about giving reasons for some crashes also.
-If the game crashes before you even get to the main menu, it is
likely one of these: too many save games, a mod is missing a required
dependency (other mod files it needs to run), your intro video is
crashing, a main menu replacer has a corrupt element or a mesh your
computer can’t handle, missing or damaged .EXE or .DLL files, load
-If the game noticeably starts stuttering or slowing down right before
a crash, especially in a busy area or while scrolling through your
inventory, it could be an out of memory/VRAM issue. Try using
Ordenador to downsize textures, lower your view distance/texture
settings, don’t load too many mods that add NPCs, don’t keep too much
junk in your inventory, etc.
-If the game crashes while fast traveling or while changing areas,
waiting, or sleeping, try turning off all the autosave options in
game settings. You really should turn these off anyways; Skyrim has
enough to load when changing areas without having to deal with saving
your game also. Instead of autosave, set your backspace key to
quicksave and get in the habit of tapping it every so often while
-If the game crashes in a certain area, it could be a bad mesh issue.
These can often result in instant sudden crashes without warning.
Consider what mods might be adding content to the area or changing
the area, then try going there without those mods loaded to narrow it
-If the game crashes often with sound looping on a certain sound,
replace that sound file and see if that helps.
-For mod caused crashes, you need to narrow down which mod is causing
it. Once you have a fairly stable base install, most crashes after
that point will likely be caused by new mods you have installed. If
you install just a couple at a time, it may not be difficult to find
out which is the problem, but if you have just done a full reinstall
of dozens of mods, that could be more tricky, especially if you have
close to the 255 plugin limit. If I have absolutely no idea which
mod is causing an issue, I follow this methodology, since it is
faster than checking every mod one at a time:(1)Deactivate HALF of all mods in the launcher.(2)Run Skyrim and test, if everything works then the active half of your
mods are fine.(3)Activate HALF of the deactivated mods, run Skyrim again and check
everything. If it works, then you know the mods you just activated
are also fine.(4)Continue this process, each time activating another HALF of the
remaining deactivated mods. If at any time things fail to work
nicely, you know that the problem is somewhere in the mods you just
Onceyou know what mod is causing the problem, try moving it in your load
order with LOOT. Many crashes are easily fixed with a proper load
order. Double check to make sure the mod was installed correctly and
that you have all the prerequisites also. If you made any edits to
the mod using the Creation Kit, restore a backup of the mod prior to
your edits since something may have gotten messed up.
Whenall else fails, ask for help. Reddit, Steam forums, Bethesda forums,
mod forums on the Nexus, there are tons of helpful and knowledgeable
people out there who might be able to help you fix your crash
CommonCreation Kit crashes and their fixesAnnoyinglythe Skyrim Creation Kit will often not work at all after installing
it from Steam. And then certain mods will not load even if you do
get it running, due to an INI setting preventing the loading of
multiple master files simultaneously.
Acrash on startup is often due to a steamapp link issue, I don’t
remember how to fix it but usually running the Creation Kit from
within Steam will work just fine.
Forthe multiple masters fix and DLC file loading issues fix, look up the
mod Creation Kit Fixes on the Nexus. I don’t want to steal that
guy’s thunder by just copying his info here.
Modorder sorting – best practices and using LOOTTheLoad Order Optimization Tool, or LOOT, is one of the handiest tools
for Skyrim. Load order makes a big difference as to which mods take
precedence over others, and LOOT gives great control over the process
while also being quick, convenient, and largely automatic.
LOOTautomatically updates itself and checks your load order against a
masterlist of mods to see where things should probably be. Most of
the time LOOT’s suggestions will be right on, but there are tens of
thousands of mods out there and the authors of LOOT can’t prepare for
every possible mod combination, so you will sometimes have to tweak
Thisis where LOOT’s metadata system comes in. You can click on a mod and
click “edit metadata,” which allows you to assign a numeric
priority to the mod (anything that needs to load last or nearly so, I
just set to 999) or set it to run after another mod. Then when you
click the sort button, LOOT factors these things in when it arranges
everything. Quick and easy. Many crash issues are due to a bad load
order arrangement. LOOT is your friend.
Usinga controller and getting the console to work at the same timeThiswas an annoying vanilla issue; you could not press the ~ key to bring
up the console with a controller plugged in. I believe the mod MFG
Console fixes this, so you can use the console without unpluggin the
controller every time.
Usefulconsole commands that you should memorize-help [searchterm] Let’s say you wanted to look up the code for the
unbreakable lockpick perk so you can add it to yourself. You would
type “help unbreakable” and the code will come up. If your
search has a long list of results, you can scroll through the console
lines using page up and page down. This is useful for looking up
item codes and NPC codes. If the term you are searching has spaces
in it, use quotes around the search term: help “maiq the liar”
-additem, addperk, addspell These allow you to add stuff to yourself,
npcs, or containters if you know the item’s code, which you can look
up with help. You can click on containers or npcs to add stuff to
them. Use removeitem, removeperk, removespell to take stuff away.
Add “player.” to the beginning of these codes to add or
remove stuff from the player: player.additem 0000000f 1 (For
additem, you need a number at the end telling Skyrim how many to
add.) Lockpicks and gold are 0000000a and 0000000f, though I forget
which is which. Good to know though.
-unlock, lock Select a container or door when the console is open
then type these commands to lock or unlock the object.
-tcl Toggles collision and lets you fly through things. Useful if
your followers block you in, or you get stuck in the terrain.
-tgm Toggles godmode, handy for doing testy stuff and for…
EasyINI tweaks that add a lot.Thereare a ton of tweaks that only require you to edit your Skyrim.ini and
SkyrimPrefs.ini files. If you don’t know where these files are
located, check above or do a quick google. For these tweaks, either
change the value if it exists already, or add it if it does not
exist. You might need to create a new section also if it doesn’t
-Game FOV, or field of view. Change it to whatever you like in
Skyrim.ini. I like the default of 75, even on a widescreen display.fDefaultWorldFOV=75.0
-Extend spell/arrow range. This is the variable that Skyrim’s engine
uses to decide how far from you projectiles should just disappear.
Obviously for an archer or mage, you want this to be as far as
possible. Note that gravity still affects arrows at long distances,
so they drop off at range. Add the [Actor] section to your
Skyrim.ini if it does not exist already. With a mod like Torch
Arrows, you can really see the difference when shooting arrows at
-Faster book open animation. You’re looting a bookshelf with 30 books
on it, and it takes four seconds to open each book. Argh! Two
minutes of my life GONE! This speeds up opening books. Add the
[Interface] section if it’s not in Skyrim.ini already. You can set
this as low as 50, but you might start seeing issues with where the
books display on your screen. I use 100 for a snappy book
Alot of older performance tweak guides recommend a lot of crazy INI
tweaks. I was surprised though how few I needed to do on my last
install; INI tweaks are not the best way to improve Skyrim’s
performance. For the most part, if you are using the mods I have
mentioned above, you can tweak the INI files of those mods and use
the Launcher graphical settings to get your desired results.
Anote on Papyrus script settings in the default INIs: At times
changing the Papyrus settings did actually improve gameplay on some
of my past installs, at least in the short term. I suspect that
tinkering with these settings too much leads to an unstable game as
you play over time. For my most recent install, I have not needed to
tinker with the Papyrus settings at all and I would no longer
recommend that anyone else do so either. If you do choose to fiddle
with these settings, save your default ini files so you have a backup
just in case.
Installingtexture mods and using Ordenador – best practicesEveryonewants a pretty Skyrim, and yes, you can have it, but you have to be
prudent in how you go about it. Let’s say you have 1GB of VRAM. Did
you know that the textures of a standalone follower’s body can be
~100MB in size? You can see right there that there are some
significant limitations you are working with. If you are creative
though, you can get a setup like mine; I have the Bijin all-in-one
mod and HogsMaws NPC replacer, as well as most of the Customizer mods
and about eight standalone followers, all of which use different and
unique texture sets that I optimized and installed by hand. The
trick to this is downsizing and/or compressing textures, otherwise
graphics mods, especially NPC graphics mods, can eat up your VRAM
like Trump eats cheeseburgers. There are trade-offs involved here;
if your shadow settings are on low, for example, you may get shadow
striping on NPCs due to compression gradients (I guess that’s what
they are) so there can be a slight noticeable loss in texture quality
in some lighting situations. Here’s some more info on texture
downsizing and compression:
-I mentioned before that you should always create a working folder to
extract textures into prior to installing them in your skyrim/data
folder. Also, back everything up that you will be modifying or
overwriting so you don’t lose what you already have if something goes
-If you use Ordenador, I recommend unchecking the “create mipmaps
if not present” option for any textures that you want to always
see at their best quality.
-If you are downsizing textures using Ordenador, do it in stages, not
all at once. For example, if you have a mod that has 4K armor
textures, first downsize to 2048×2048 then do a second run to
downsize to 1024×1024 instead of jumping right to 1024×1024.
-Some things can be downsized more than others. For example, you want
fairly large textures for bodies, say 2048×2048, but hand and feet
textures do not need to be this big. Remember, each step down saves
you 3/4 in terms of file size; a 1024×1024 texture is 25% as large as
-The best way to optimize a texture is to open the .DDS file in
Paint.NET and then save it again; I find that 9 times out of 10
Paint.NET will shrink the file a good deal with little, if any,
-Paint.NET is a quality option for downsizing and compression;
Ordenador is a fast option for large volumes of textures since you
can point it at a directory.
Settingup the epic mod Legacy of the DragonbornAlsoknown as the Dragonborn Gallery, this is perhaps the most expansive,
ambitious, and unique content mod available for Skyrim. It is also a
greedy, demanding beast from the pits of Oblivion which ever strives
to devour your sanity, your soul, and your computer. But it is
possible to get it running very smoothly. Here’s how I did it:(1)Download it from the Nexus, whatever version you want.(2)Extract the mod archive into a working folder.(3)Using BAE, extract the textures archive into the proper place in the
working folder.(4)Run Ordenador and point it to the folder to compress and/or downsize
the textures.(5)Drag everything from working folder into Skyrim/data.
Ihave found that often this mod runs great at the beginning of a new
game, but as you add more and more to the museum it becomes
increasingly unstable with lots of out of memory crashes. I have
actually downsized all the textures in the mod to 512×512 and it
works great. Visually it is a bit less detailed than the rest of my
Skyrim now, but it’s a fair trade to have it stable and playable.
Theprinciple here can be applied to any mod with lots of textures. The
modding community is amazing, but a lot of these modders are
enthusiasts with decent computers, real graphics cards, etc. and 90%
of the time mods contain unoptimized textures. Because of this, it
doesn’t take long for your install to reach the breaking point. I
optimize every mod that I install, and that combined with all the
tweaks and mods listed above, allows me to push my Skyrim install to
Someuseful bug fix and other mods that you will likely end up needing(Allof these are on the Nexus, I think.)-Modern Brawl Bug Fix-Glow Be Gone-Quick Wait and Sleep-The Cleaner – dead body removal system-AddItemMenu – Adds ingame menu that lets you browse your plugins and
see every item which that plugin adds. Great way to test clothing
mods without having to buy/craft everything.-Better Dialogue Controls-Better Menubox Controls-Fus Ro Doh silent voice-SkyUI Away – If you hate certain menus that SkyUI adds (crafting!)
you can revert them to the original-Quickloot-SIM – Skyrim Interface Makeover
Original URL: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/95561