STEP - Skyrim Total Enhancement Project by The STEP Team
Skyrim » Overhauls
Added: 11/11/2011 - 02:36AM
Updated: 25/09/2015 - 06:31PM

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Last updated at 18:31, 25 Sep 2015 Uploaded at 2:36, 11 Nov 2011

An enhanced Skyrim experience.

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 correcting game-play mechanics.

By registering on our forums (click on the banner above), STEP users will be notified of all future STEP releases immediately via email.

Check out the GEMS - Gameplay Enhancement Mods for Skyrim. This is a great resource for STEP:Packs and modding ideas.


For other changes view the changelog above.

- June 20, 2015

STEP v2.2.9.1 has been released! Check out the changelog for details. Two most notable additions in this release are Relighting Skyrim+ELE and Dynamic Distant Objects LOD (DynDOLOD). Please note that many of the mods have changed instructions from previous releases, so it would be a good idea to go over the entire guide again to ensure proper upgrade, else issue will likely arise. In practice STEP:Core 2.2.9 can be used to launch any existing savegame, however, a clean save is recommended.

STEP marks the forth release in bridging our move to a new paradigm that will officially be unveiled as STEP 2.3.0. Thus, this marks our forth interim release with a more defined STEP:Core. . This has led to several mods being dropped from Extended in accordance with the STEP:Extended Mandate.

This guide is reliant more on the vanilla configuration in order to get all STEP:Core mods installed as simply and efficiently as possible to achieve a stable and working game. Performance and stability are the focus and quality is secondary. For those interested in polishing STEP (or any modded setup) to optimal quality, be sure to click on the prominent links to the ancillary guides underneath each applicable heading.

Also, STEP recommends Mod Organizer as the preferred mod manager for modding, as it not only has features that simplify installation and maintenance, but it is the only mod manager that isolates profile-specific mods and configuration files from the actual game resources. This means that there is no chance of the user contaminating or breaking Skyrim game or configuration resources. All mods and altered files are effectively isolated from the default game directories using virtualization (mods) and profiles (configuration). The interface is also intuitive, and the application is under active development. The software is open source, and extensible via third-party plugins.

Finally, STEP:Packs to be installed after a STEP:Core install (all mods flagged by the green indicator) will be linked at the end of this guide for users wishing to add user-contributed functionality to the STEP:Core build. So far there are a few Packs created for STEP, but we expect this number to grow in the near future. Full Pack integration will be rolled out with STEP v2.3.0.
... bug fixes and corrections to malfunctioning aspects of vanilla Skyrim.... content that is consistent with Skyrim and TES lore as established by Bethesda's creators and extrapolated on by the STEP community in accordance with the Imperial Library and the UESP.Build version updates will occur as often as necessary.... Sex mods, body replacement mods or beauty mods that unrealistically affect or digress from the ambiance of the TES series.

STEP versioning is as follows:

- resolves to: #.#.#x

  • Build updates are optional for current STEP users, but should require very little effort.
  • Build updates are 'safe' to apply to existing characters and save games.
  • Minor version updates will occur irregularly as deemed appropriate, according to the more pronounced effect of cumulative Build changes (at least once every 10 months). Minor updates may or may not require starting a new game.
  • Major version updates will occur only as a result of a major paradigm shift either in Skyrim source code, mod development, or STEP itself. Major updates will almost definitely require a fresh STEP install and a brand new game.

We strongly recommend using Mod Organizer for mod management. The ability to easily re-order, add, and remove mods will be essential to keeping STEP up to date and getting the best results. The Mod Organizer profile system also allows our users to retain previous STEP (or other) mod configurations that can be launched easily and efficiently at any time.Official Mod Organizer video tutorials are made by GamerPoets and can be found on the GamerPoets YouTube channel.

The New STEP Mandate


Skyrim was originally created for the console, and while Bethesda has released official texture packs and patches to correct for the PC platform, they missed a great deal. Core STEP comprehensively enhances vanilla Skyrim for the PC in order to properly finish what Bethesda attempted. Specifically, ...

STEP:Core is about ...
  • ... HD asset replacements in the style of vanilla Skyrim.
  • ... improvements to existing content that increases the consistency of vanilla Skyrim.
  • ... interface mods that improve the menus and UI for the PC.
  • ... new content that is interpreted as a "should have been included" resource and remains consistent with vanilla Skyrim.

STEP:Core is a comprehensive assemblage of game "corrections" with minimal potential for conflict with downstream Packs and mods. Another way to think of STEP:Core is that it simply takes the Unofficial Skyrim Patches a step further by integrating them all along with other miscellaneous fixes and vanilla-friendly asset enhancements. It serves as a stable base for adding existing or creating new Packs.

STEP:Core is NOT about ...
  • ... content that conflicts with TES lore or vanilla Skyrim lore.
  • ... mods that subjectively alter or contrast with the style of vanilla Skyrim.
  • ... new content that is out-of-scope with vanilla Skyrim.
  • ... mods that subjectively alter gameplay mechanics.
  • ... mods that have a high likelihood of having "data conflicts" with other mods.
  • ... mods that have a high performance penalty.

STEP:Extended (aka: the STEP Pack)

STEP:Extended is about ...

  • ... continuity and qualitative consistency of all in-game behaviors and assets (e.g., sounds, graphics, models, gameplay, etc.)
  • ... new content, assets and effects that "fit" Skyrim and TES lore.

STEP:Extended is a complete Expansion Pack, meaning that it is intended to complete the entire STEP modded build. In addition to adding upon the visual and acoustic enhancements of vanilla Skyrim, STEP:Extended modifies aspects of the vanilla game in terms of gameplay mechanics and may include mods that add or subtract specific functionality to yield an overall more immersive experience. It is essentially an overhaul of the vanilla game.

STEP:Extended is NOT about ...
  • ... Music replacement mods or game style overhauls.
  • ... Gameplay overhauls that affect a particular play style (i.e., gameplay alterations are chosen that affect all play styles without bias).

User Contributions - How YOU Can Help

STEP is always looking for volunteers willing to help out. We need help at many levels from mod testing to forums and wiki management to release coordination. Please jump over to the STEP Community forums and PM any of the staff there ... or just jump into the mix and help out as you are able.