TES V: Skyrim Special Edition (SE) installs as a new game in Steam for those with all DLCs (Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn). This updated game is 64-bit and includes improved weather, lighting, atmospheric effects, water shaders, dynamic depth of field (DoF), and a bunch more flora. And finally, rain doesn’t pass through the roof! The improvements are nice, and leave me less inclined to add ENB. Besides management of mods through bethesda.net, the interface includes character management meaning each character gets its own series of saves. It’s also organized into modded and un-modded game saves. It’s nice for switching characters without restarting the game or manually managing folders, but the save files are coded making it more difficult to know which belongs to what character outside of the game.
Transfering saved-games from old game only works with pure Skyrim, no mods. Level 50+ characters are boring to play anyway leaving most of the challenge behind in the lower levels. Start a new character. You know you want to! Using mod plugins disable SE achievements, but why do we need such silliness anyway?
Changes concerning mods
Moving to 64-bit means SKSE and anythind depending on DLLs, such as ENBs, need to be rebuilt. Pure SKSE mods, such as “Immersive First Person View,” and others highly dependent on SKSE will have to wait while other creators may rework their mods without SKSE.
Mod creator, Arthmoor, outlined changes for SE on AFKmods:
- Animation files have changed; .hkx files need updating.
- BSA files need repacking using the new SE Creation Kit (CK).
- Some meshes (.nif files) may need updating.
- Textures using .dds should work.
- Plugin ESP files need to be updated by loading and saving in SE CK.
Most pure texture replacers for original Skyrim should work for SE. However, I’ve found “Mature Skin 2” crashes the game. CBBE mesh and textures work fine in SE. So does “Better Males” except for some face dirt textures which will crash the game if not removed. I also noticed “Real Bows” meshes do not show up in game. Any mod using a BSA or ESP will need to be updated. FNIS animation files need converting.
As of SE release day, the new CK is still in beta and will be available soon for updating and transfering old mods to SE. I’ll be waiting for the new CK before updating the mods I’m working on and looking into updating old mods I may want.
SE mods ready to go
Those with beta access have added mods to bethesda.net and at nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition, and there’s over 300 on first day! Updated tools include WyreBash, Nifskope, xEdit (SSEEdit), BSAManager, and Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) has been updated for SE. Chesko reworked his mods to work withotu SKSE and SkyUI, so “Campfire” and “Frostfall” are ready to go with some limited functionality on day one.
New to modding?
See my first post in this series covering original Skyrim, and skip over the SKSE, SkyUI, and ENB sections. It’s recommended to “clean” the master files (Update.esm, Dawnguad.esm, Hearthfires.esm, Dragonborn.esm) using SSEEdit, but when starting out with a few plugins it’s fine to tackle that later. Grab the NMM and set it up for Skyrim Special Edition. You may download from Nexus using the manual download button and then add to NMM using the plus-sign, or use NMM to download.
Mods I’m starting with for SE
Due to concerns over changes in unofficial patches primarily with soul gems and Ebony Blade, I don’t use USSEP. You may if you wish. This means I’ll need to make my own patches for just the bugs as I did for original Skyrim. The biggest feature I’ll miss is first-person view via SKSE plugin, “Immersive First-Person View.” I’ll put up with the annoying impossibly-positioned arms blocking the view when casting spells, or play in third-person. Naturally, I updated male and female bodies to look more natural and remove those terrible undergarments! The majority of my mods are texture replacers I moved from original Skyrim. For more than a year, the only mod I used was “Frostfall.” Skyrim without “Frostfall” isn’t Skyrim at all.
- Campfire - Complete Camping System by Chesko
- Frostfall - Hypothermia Camping Survival by Chesko
- Pride of Valhalla - Super HD Skin Set for UNP-UNPB-7B-CBBE by Dracofish/MelissaGT
- Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies Edition (CBBE)
- Better Males, Sundracon and YoungerFacesMerged (delete or update dirt textures)
- Coverkhajiits by MrLenski
- Circlet Replacers for Women by Elleh
- Superior Lore-Friendly Hair - HD texture by skyrimaguas
- Lind’s Necromancer Robes Revamp
- Lind’s Black Robes Revamp
- Monk Robes Revamp by Lind
- Lind’s Court Wizard Robes Revamp
- Lind’s Red Wizard Robes
- Rustic Clothing by Gamwich
- Rustic Death Hound by Gamwich
- Rustic Monuments and Tombstones by Gamwich
- Rustic Forsworn by Gamwich
- aMidianBorn Imperial light and studded by CaBaL
- aMidianBorn Blades Armor by CaBaL
- aMidianBorn Ebony by CaBaL
- aMidianBorn Nordic Carved by CaBaL
- aMidianBorn Orcish Armor by CaBaL
- aMidianBorn Whiterun by CaBaL
- aMidianBorn Fur Armor by CaBaL
- aMidianBorn Steel Armor by CaBaL
- aMidianBorn Wolf armor and Skyforge weapons by CaBaL
- Skeleton and Human Bones by Kajuan
- Hale - Horse Retexture by Halendia
Patches to update:
I’ll be converting my old patches. Several are included in USSEP.
- Darker nights patch
- Wolf howl fix
- Shrine of Azura LoD fix
- Soul Trap animation fix
- Vampire skin-tone fix (Bretons, Imperials, Redguard)
- Farkas wears wolf armor
Article #12 in a 12-part series.
- 1 - Upgrade Skyrim with Mods
- 2 - Skyrim Immersion: Environment
- 3 - Pretty Skyrim: Elements
- 4 - Skyrim Life
- 5 - How to Install Skyrim Body Mods, Dual Sheath, and Animations
- 6 - Pretty Skyrim People
- 7 - Skyrim Gear 1: Clothing
- 8 - Skyrim Gear 2: Akavir
- 9 - Skyrim Gear 3: Light Armor
- 10 - Skyrim Gear 4: Heavy Armor
- 11 - Body Conversions for Skyrim Using BodySlide, Outfit Studio
- 12 - this article
Skyrim, Skyrim Special Edition, and The Elder Scrolls are trademarks of Bethesda Softworks LLC. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.