So you want to use Skyrim mods? Well you have a lot of reading to do. There's a number of tools that players use to control, combine and create mods and each one of them has their own extensive documentation. However presented below is the fast guide for those who want to know how much work is involved and how many tools they'll need. This is in no way a complete guide, it's the one page cheat sheet to help you get started and remind you what needs to be done. So without further ado
- Download Download your chosen mod. The ideal place for Skyrim mods is www.nexusmods.com. You can also download them through the Steam Workshop though that can add complications as the Workshop will try to auto-install them for you. There are other places to get mods too such as tesalliance.org or some authors just use megaupload.
- Install Installing a mod is best done using Mod Organizer. To install simply click the Install button and select the mod package. Once it's installed click the checkbox beside the new mod to activate it.
- Resave plugin in CK64 Open any esp and esm files the mod has in the Creation Kit. Be sure to open them one at a time, with each one being set to the Active file in turn. When one file finishes loading don't touch anything in the creation kit, simply save it. This will ensure the Special Edition Creation Kit does the necessary conversion for the esp/esm across to Special Edition standards.
- Unpack any BSAs Skyrim Original Version bsa files do not work with Special Edition. A bsa is just another kind of zip file, so such files need to be unpacked using the BSA Unpacker.
- Run meshes through NIF Optimizer Meshes from the skyrim original version do not work in Special Edition. You can convert them by running them through NIF Optimizer. To do this, open NIF Optimizer and select the folder where the meshes are. It will run on all available meshes in the folder and fix them for Special Edition.
- Clean Many mod authors will state on the mod page that they have cleaned their mods. The rest have dirty or wild edits, changes that shouldn't be there and can be removed via a tool called SSEEdit. Simply open the mod esp and only the mod esp in SSEEdit, right click and hit Apply Filter for Cleaning. After it's finished right click and hit Remove Identical to Master. Once that's done right click and hit Undelete and Disable References. Close SSEedit in order to get the save prompt. Save the mod and done.
- Sort Sorting mods is very important in order to prevent conflicts. the simple principle is that mods further down the list overwrite earlier ones. Fortunately LOOT can handle most sorting automatically. All you have to is run it, wait for it to load, click Sort and then Apply. Your modlist will be sorted.
- Tweak Here's where it gets fun. Tweaking is the complicated process of resolving conflicts such as two mods adding barrels that overlap in the same place. Tweaking is done through the Creation Kit and 99% of the time involves moving or deleting objects inside the Creation Kit. It's easier than it looks if you follow the Creation Kit guide and is your most powerful tool for making mods cooperative.
- Merge Merging mods is generally the last thing you do and is similar to tweaking. It resolves conflicts in the lists of armours bandits use and running speed tweaks. Merging can be done through WryeBash and can be as simple as opening it up, clicking the Rebuild Patch option and letting it automatically decide how to combine the mods in your list.
If your mod came from the Steam Workshop it will be already installed but you will want to reinstall it using Mod Organizer.
If your mod is a Special edition one, you can skip to step 6. If it's a skyrim original version mod you will need to execute the next steps.
And here's all the downloads in one place:
Welcome to Skyrim!