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Starfield Creation Kit is now available

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It's finally happened! The Creation Kit for Starfield dropped as part of Bethesda's announcements during the Xbox Showcase last night, along with the first round of "Creations" available for purchase and a preview of the upcoming Shattered Space DLC. In this post, I'll give a little primer on the Creation Kit and provide a few essential tips based on the latest changes to the game. 




What is the Creation Kit?

If you're new to Bethesda modding, the Creation Kit is the official software development kit (SDK) which allows community authors to create and share mods. There are equivalent Creation Kits for Skyrim, Skyrim Special Edition and Fallout 4. It is the evolution of the Construction Set used in Oblivion and Morrowind or the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (G.E.C.K.) used in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. 

The tool is a stripped-down version of the editor that Bethesda's developers use to create the game and DLCs. It allows modders to create and edit almost all existing game objects including quests, items, locations and more. It's an incredibly powerful tool!

Right now, there is no public documentation for Starfield, but if you want to understand some basic concepts of how the editor works, you can check out the official Skyrim and Fallout 4 wiki here

Download the Creation Kit for Starfield on Steam

We're super excited to see the mods you create using the official tools.

 



What's new in Starfield's CK?

You can expect a more comprehensive list of new features on the CK wiki but here are a few highlights:

  • Unique vs Instanced Content - Content is now organised into unique and instanced content depending on how it is intended to be used. Unique content is for static locations (e.g. a specific interior on a single planet), whereas instanced content is generated at runtime and can be re-used around the galaxy (e.g. the Starborn Temples are re-used on various planets). 
  • Planet Content Manager (PCM) - A new system similar to (but not replacing) Story Manager in previous games. This controls the procedural content in planets and space cells.
  • Galaxy View - A new data management tool for managing different stellar bodies, including stars, planets, moons, asteroid belts, star stations, and generic orbitals.
  • Worldspace overlays - Instead of creating the terrain for an entire planet, you will create mini-worldspaces which are then stitched into the procedural terrain on the surface of one or more planets.
  • Particle Editor - Create particle-based effects using emitters in the Creation Engine. 
  • Easier Navmesh - Creating navmesh is now as easy as dropping down a marker in your interior (manual navmeshing is still possible). 
  • Render Window Layers - Managing large interiors or exteriors is easier than ever with assignable layers to show/hide different content.
  • PackIns (PI) - These replace Static Collections and allow a group of objects to act as a single object in the Render Window. 
  • And many great improvements to usability and stability compared to Fallout 4 and Skyrim's CKs! 

As a bonus, Bethesda has also included integrations for commonly used tools including VSCode for Papyrus scripting and 3DSMax for 3D assets. 


How does the Creation Kit affect the modding community?

The Creation Kit gives mod authors the tools they need to create more complicated mods and is far more user-friendly than the current process of using SF1Edit to manipulate game data in a more manual way. On that topic, SF1Edit will need to be updated to support the most recent changes - the developers of the tool are very much aware of this so please wait patiently by tracking their mod page rather than badgering them in the comments. 

The latest update for the Starfield game (version 1.12.30.0) enables mod loading by default. This means that Plugins.txt Enabler and Starfield Script Extender (or an ASI loader) are no longer required to play with mods. Simply install the mods with your favourite mod manager (or manually drop them into the Data folder) and start the game. 

We're working on an update to Vortex to bring our support for Starfield up to date with the latest version of the game. 


New plugin types

The latest version of Starfield includes a major shift in how plugins are shared which has some important implications for how load ordering works in the game. The Creation Kit provides options to export your completed plugin in three different formats:

  • Full Master - This is what all mods containing ESMs have been using up to now. A full master takes up one of the 253 slots in the plugin load order (excluding the base game and DLCs). 
  • Medium Master - This is a new plugin type for Starfield. Medium masters are ESM plugins combined into the 254th (FD) load order slot and can consist of ~65,535 new records each. You can load 256 medium masters at once. These are suitable for mods that add new locations, planets, etc.
  • Small Master - This is the same as the "Light" masters in Skyrim and Fallout 4, these plugins are combined into the 255th (FE) load order slot. These ESM files can hold 4,095 new records and you can load 4,096 small masters at once. These are suitable for mods that add new items, ships, weapons, or small interiors. 

All this added up means you can have ~4,605 (253 + 256 + 4096) plugins in your load order which should be more than enough for even the most ambitious mod list! This isn't even factoring in asset replacers that don't use plugins either. 

Unfortunately, it's not all good news. With these new features come a new set of problems. We covered some of the issues with plugin load order in November and the addition of a medium master only amplifies some of the issues discussed in that post. 

If you are sharing a mod, you should think ahead and pick a master type that suits the long-term goal of the mod. This is because changing the master type in an update will break any patches or other mods which use your plugin as a master. 

We've asked Bethesda if there will be any "guard rails" to protect users from using plugins in their load order which may result in broken game data. They have provided this statement on the issue.

Changing the flag on an existing creation [plugin] isn't supported.

If a mod gets too big for the file type it’s flagged as, and the author wants to change it, they may want to save it as a distinct version. This will make it more clear to users that they can’t swap out without potential disruption. Same as an ESL being replaced by an ESP, or an ESP replaced by an ESM [in Skyrim SE or Fallout 4].

To help users find the content they are looking for, we've also added tags for Full, Medium and Small master files to Starfield. Mod authors are also now prompted to select these tags as part of the upload process. 


ESP files vs ESM files

It's long been a hot-button issue in the community around the appropriate use of ESP and ESM files within Bethesda's RPGs. You'll find that a very high number of mods from Morrowind to Fallout 4 use ".esp" plugin files and it's only more recently the use of master ".esm" files has been adopted more widely. 

The Creation Kit enforces a clear distinction between the two for Starfield. All mods being shared with the community should be using ESM format plugins. ESPs are intended to be "work in progress" files for use with Creation Kit. While this has been technically true for previous titles, there are some additional drawbacks in using ESPs with Starfield in that it currently causes bugs in normal gameplay to load ESPs. 

If you're wondering how to export files from the Creation Kit to upload on Nexus Mods, here's a handy guide on the Starfield forums




That about covers it for the new Starfield CK. Which mods are you most excited to see? Will you be returning to Starfield for the Shattered Space DLC? 

205 comments

  1. Pickysaurus
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    If you see new mods uploaded using ESP files, you should politely direct the mod author to this post and ask them to save out their plugin as an ESM file to avoid issues. 
  2. ggood003
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    lol are these comment sections always this hostile? I don't suppose this would be a good time to bring up how it's gonna work with gamepass...
    1. DarkDominion
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      New here ?
  3. ThatOneDudeK
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    Still crying over the money spent on this game. To me rotten from the ground up and can't see anything that can make me ever touch this failure again. 
    1. DarkDominion
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      That's what all the people said about No Man's Sky, Fallout 76 and Cyberpunk 2077 too.
      That didn't age well either....
    2. XsupremeFrogX
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      For me is pretty fun :).
    3. shane1039
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      Copium
    4. nonums
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      Lol @ FO76
    5. Loveblanket
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      I'd say today that Fallout 76 is a better game in most ways than Fallout 4.
    6. Loveblanket
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      There's a difference between those games and Starfield though. Fallout 76 was a buggy mess at launch, but it was easy to see how to fix it, same with Cyberpunk. No Man's Sky is just sort of an exploration game with some great features. The problem with Starfield is that technically it released fine for the most part. The problem is that the characters and storylines are awful. You can't really "fix" that. That would be an entirely new game. They can do a No Man's Sky and add all the features in the world, but many people like myself don't enjoy the IP they've created so it won't matter to a lot of people. I can see this game getting better over the years, but the fundamentals are bad and imho unfixable without a complete rewrite and that's not coming from a company whose don't even bother to fix many of their own bugs. One other thing I'd add is that Cyberpunk is still a hollow shell of what we were sold on for years. It's a pretty and well presented hollow shell, but it's still just a cyberpunk reskin of GTA at the end of the day.
    7. Hanthesda
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      You're forcing so hard you should probably change pants.
    8. ForcedFarmer
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      i still dislike all of those games tbh
    9. Lelouch0098
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      Hard to cry about $70 when I've sunk over 1000hrs on it, really.
    10. ThatOneDudeK
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      @darkdominion it's funny, because is STILL think same for Fo76 (that is not only a totally trash game, but looks like a PS2 port at best) and No man's sky. 
      But pls leave CP 77 out here. Don't embarass yourself by putting this game in one sentence with these 2 trash games. I loved CP77 since start, bought at release and did never regret! STILL playing it.

      P.S. LOL at Fo76 lmfao...i see indie games being lightyears ahead and better than this wimpy excuse of a pathetic game...wait, not game. an atom shop that has a bit of a game coming with it. reminds me of big malls, where families go shopping and these malls have small toy rding machines to play for kids. perfect analogy for atom shop and this pathetic game. adult toys r us with a wannabe game sticked to it with spit and glue. even a blind person can see how the only idea of fo76 was to sell atom shop and created this broken pathetic trash game to give this shop a reason to exist. i played all fallouts, loved all of them. though 4 was a good game, but a bad fallout game...but 76 is just bad in everything.
    11. DarkDominion
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      @ThatOneDudeK,
      Lemme guess, you use Wrye Bash as your mod manager of choice, Morrowind is your favourite Elder Scrolls game (with Daggerfall as a close second) and Fallout New Vegas is the best Fallout game ever made because it wasn't made by "Bugthesda."

      You have a lot of coping to do on a daily basis me thinks.

      And yes, Cyberpunk 2077 was a trainwreck when it was released, but you didn't get that memo presumably.
      I'm not afraid to embarrass myself if it were true, but it's only the case in your eyes. I ( and millions of other people around the world ) know that Cyberpunk 2077 was a hot mess when it was released, on some platforms more than on others, but still a mess. Maybe that's why CDPR made a video apologizing about that big mess they released.... but I guess you didn't get that memo either

      And it seems to me that the Atom Shop is your biggest gripe with Fallout 76. It's a money problem then I guess. You see all the goodies at display but can't buy them.... Yeah, I understand your frustration, but there's no need to start kicking and screaming on the floor like a spoiled toddler that doesn't get what he wants.
      The game is fine.

      So, are we done ?
  4. Carbonwolf314
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    i can already hear modders making a unofficial starfield patch update. lets be honest here, its a bethesda game 
    1. Gilibran
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      As long a arthmoor is not part of it ;-) 
    2. Rawr40k
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      Already? It's been the moment the creation kit went live, and the community patch has been live for months.
    3. litmus7928
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      @Gilibran TRUE
    4. pokeYoLoco
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      as long as cbbe and outfit studio take priority.
    5. galbsadi
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      @Gilibran 100% this.  I didn't understand the Arthmoor 'controversy' until I started looking at it, then I went to his website and saw his passive aggressive comments and locked threads, so I asked them a question to him and Madcat221 here thinking "well maybe that was a mistake?"

      They responded by deleting it and going off about "your type" to me, when I've been a subscriber to their mods for literally over a decade now, endorsed several of them (my bad), etc.

      Lesson learned...don't do anything with Arthmoor or Madcat221's mods.  If that's how they treat people just asking questions, who knows what kind of shady stuff they'll do to your game.  In fact, looking back, now I have to wonder how many game issues I was having were really Bethesda, and how many were Arthmoor and co.
    6. DarkDominion
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      @ galbsadi,
      who knows what kind of shady stuff they'll do to your game [...] I have to wonder how many game issues I was having were really Bethesda, and how many were Arthmoor and co.

      0 evidence, loads of assumptions. You're parroting

      I never had my questions deleted as far as I remember.
      But then again, I don't ask the questions I would delete myself if it were my mod.

      Also :
      Skyrim, Unique DLs : 2,459,915
      Skyrim SE, Unique DLs : 4,903,254
      Fallout 4, Unique DLs : 2,621,442
      Loads of people all over the world use these mods. 
      You are just parroting the people who started the controversial debates, putting the blame at Arthmoor and his team.
       
      Use your free time to look through the comment section of these three mods.
      If you see what is happening in these comments on a daily basis and you have to read all that crap about the work of you and your team for over a decade, you yourself would start deleting questions and locking down discussions.
  5. marinuscoet1
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    can some pls make  place anywhere mod plc.
  6. papitopaez
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    Do small master's still have the cell issue where defining a cell and then editing it with another plugin will crash the game like in Skyrim?
  7. DeLaPoutana
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    you can tell there is no active modding community for this game when there's not even a cbbe mod for this game 9 months in
    1. bitsu92
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      7k mods were uploaded for Starfield, in the next year it will take over Cyberpunk and Baldur's Gate 3 and in a few years will take over New Vegas

      Currently the Starfield modding community is as active as the New Vegas one
    2. chaserskyrim
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      i can't believe people thought we'd be seeing huge overhauls mods this early since the kits release 
    3. SarcasticDragon99
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      Right, that’s why it re-surpassed BG3’s weekly mod count from almost nothing in under 3 days, right? No mod community?
    4. ronyalan
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      bro starfield has more than tripled the number of daily mods since the launch of CKpassing new vegas and baldur gate 3

      Relax, people are still playing around and figuring out how to use CK. soon we will have great mods
    5. Gilibran
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      As the author of SMSEX Ship Module Snap Expansion I can explain why that is.

      Starfield was broken for mods on release, the Xedit team did a hell of a job making it possible for mods being here without the CK at all. Character presets and bat files are not mods contrary to popular belief, period, which make up the majority at the moment, so yes in that regard you are right there is little activity. But that is on Bethesda for breaking stuff and making design decisions that break the game in such a way, where modding is concerned, that previous tools simply dont work.

      Where "porting" CBBE from Skyrim to Fallout 4 was a "minor" effort adapting it to Starfield basically comes down to rebuilding it from the ground up. It took 13 years for CBBE and Outfit Studio to get where it is now. And even though most of the knowledge copies over the way Starfield works does not compared to Skyrim and Fallout.

      So yes, there is not much Starfield modding going on because Bethesda made it impossible and all the Iconic and must have tools need to basically be re-build from the ground up.



      And, this is a bit of a rant addon, not directed to you ;-) 

      There is a huge influx of fracking lazy mod users who seem to have no abillity to RTFM and only expect instant results and gratification with zero effort from their part. Plug and play or I cant be bothered and your mod sucks it does not work.

      That is not how modding works, your "hacking" a game to it's core which will lead to unexpected results even if you use "official" tools. 

      I have a ton of personal mods build in the CK I will never release because I dont want to deal with idiots who only see a screenshot, download it, but neglect to read the frontpage, install the requirements, neglect loadorder, have a ton of incompatible mods installed and then post "does not work" "mod is broken" "you suck" please help me and solve it.

      Bethesda does not want Starfield to be modded outside of their control, they integrated 3ds Max support in the CK????? Go Google the price of a legal 3ds Max license???? Yeah sure i'm going to pay that for the handfull of mods I release. Why not integrate Blender if you really want an open modding community so anyone can start modding and posting on the CreationClub. 50.000 times a 5 dollar mod build with a free tool is more then 10 times a 30 dollar mod build by people who can afford a 3ds max license. Blender will catch up and hack into it eventually, but it's just a huge mistake on Bethesda's side. Probably forced by the console manufacturers and peasants who want everything on limited hardware and need to be spoonfed the illuson you can mod the s#*! out of anything without restriction on consoles is possible.

      I'm old, i'm modding since Morrowind released when there were no mod managers and you had to keep excel sheets/notepad files or even manual written logs (pencil on paper ones ;-) ) to keep track of the files you had to directly copy into the data folder and keep track of what overwrited what. I dont ever want to go back to that, but it did teach me appreciation for the ton of work put into all the tools we have available today even though they might still not be perfect.

      There are no cookiecutter solutions to modding.
    6. CSEPteam
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      CBBE's dev retired, ofc there's no CBBE for it.
    7. Gilibran
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      They did not retire and are still active, they are working on Starfield CBBE and made some progress. The problem is the core of the Starfield is just broken and at this point they decided that it's just not worth the investment in time trying to make it work. Same for Xedit, they keep working on it but there are some core issues they cannot work around. 

      Perhaps now with the CK release they can dig even deeper and figure things out even fix some issues but it is just not going to be a quick fix if at all.
  8. Sonja
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    So, maybe six months to a year from now, I might even consider acquiring the game.
    1. DeLaPoutana
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      bingo, although the game is so dead we probably won't even have CBBE by then
    2. B3N3VOL3NT
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      DeLaPoutana - Your priorities are pathetic and what's wrong with the modding scene today.
    3. Sonja
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      @DeLaPoutana,
      CBBE is the absolute LEAST of my concerns. I use it in FO4 to create a muscled, athletic body for my female characters (which is what you'd expect anyone in those circumstances to develop if they were trying to survive), but this wouldn't be an immediate priority for me in Starfield.

      Rather, I am hoping for actual content, like interesting companion mods, as an example. I'd love to see mods that deal with the excessive loading screens, lack of continuous worlds, and the egregious use of procgen, which, I gather, resulted in 100% identical dungeons appearing on multiple planets. However, as I understand...those problems are engine-deep, and very difficult, if not impossible, to solve.
    4. flashgreer
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      @Sonja @B3N3VOLENT CBBE, and by extention Bodyslide/Outfit Studio should be the 1st things we get. they help reinforce modding the game in general. and really who cares if you use it to make realistic bodies, or I use it to make every character build like a supermodel. what it does, is provide a stable platform for clothing and Armor modders to build from. its been a staple of Bethesda modding for years, and without it, or something like it, honestly, the game isnt even worth playing. 
    5. senterpat
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      Lol ridiculous. Giving my character big tits is the lowest priority. I’ve never once played a game and said “ugh why aren’t the boobs bouncing?!” Maybe when I was 12 that would have been a priority
    6. Sonja
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      @flashgreer,
      I see modding Bethesda games as remedying problems, for the most part. From what I've observed, the bodies in Starfield look fine; not amazing, but certainly passable. As such, I consider body mods etc. to be very far from priorities, at least in Starfield. I mean, if, for some obscure reason, they'd decided to reintroduce Morrowind's segmented bodies, then sure, that would be an issue requiring fairly immediate attention. But this? Nah.
      Sure I enjoy clothing and armour mods too, but again, I don't view them as a priority.
      Ultimately, though, I suppose it all boils down to different......strokes.
    7. masternetra
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      Maybe no CBBE yet but there are some better body mods already though. Personally waiting for a legit alternative start mod and hopefully at some point a mod that adds repeatable ground quests that would be ideal with a alternate start mod. Ideally I would like to be able to start the game in New Atlantis without a ship and do repeatable quests and such to earn enough money to buy a cheapo and go from there.
    8. starfis
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      This time we could at least get all the body mods with the same uvmap as the vanilla and not another CBBE which simply has to be different. Not that body mods are that important in a game where we are running around in bulky scafander half of the time.
    9. worm82075
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      I haven't used a body mod since FO3 because i think the vanilla body starting with Skyrim was adequate and i don't like to change the vanilla art style. Having said that however, looking at modding only as a means of "fixing" the game kinda shoots right past the fundamental spirit the art. Not saying you are but most with this mindset believe Bethesda is lazy and relies on modders to fix their games and they aren't even worth playing without mods.

      "We can do anything but we can't do everything"

      The true spirit of the BGMC is being able to customize the smallest detail to one's own personal preferences. Like you said, to each their own and it's just a waste of time debating individual tastes.

      On a lighter note: I made a prediction in the Starfield forums before the game released. Now that the creation kit is out you will see 1000's come out of the wood work to try and fulfill years long dreams of making a TC in a Bethesda game that can support their favorite universe. Starfield is poised to provide that platform for practically any fictional universe but especially for space based ones like Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien/Predator, Dune, Mass Effect, Halo and even Marvel.

      Oh yeah, my prediction: In less than one year from now, Starfield will have the highest number of files on this site. Mark my words.
    10. ianmho84
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      What is with all the hostility about the person who mentioned CBBE? I also want a booby mod for Starfield, and I'm not going to be bullied or embarrassed about it. Play the game the way you want, leave everyone else alone.
    11. hervebgx
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      @Sonja @flashgreer
      A universe as rich as Starfield aims above all to be immersive. For this, CBBE and BODYSLIDE are essential for at least 2 reasons: the possibility of making your character unique which corresponds to your tastes, AND the diversity that these tools offer for PNGs.This personalizes the game and makes it "unique". For me, that's part of the fun of playing. (sorry for my english..)
    12. ianmho84
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      B3N3VOL3NT Dude, chill out. It's just a game. Let people have sex mods if they want them. You don't have to play with them, and Skyrim has tens of thousands of mods that aren't sexual, even with some modders making sex mods. It's not an either-or thing, both kinds of mods can exist simultaneously. 
    13. B3N3VOL3NT
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      No. I refuse to accept it. Go browse PHub before opening the CK.
    14. Makron8
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      I agree on the alternate start mod, but instead of New Atlantis, just a way to start as a pirate without needing to do the contraband sidequest. It'd be nice to make your way in the universe without having to touch the Constellation questline. I don't personally hate it, but choice between who you work for is a nice thing with Bethesda RPGs.
    15. Curtainosphere25
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      @B3N3VOL3NT why the sudden holier-than-thou reply?
    16. Gilibran
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      Yes and No, but we dont get to decide the priorities for mod authors. Some autors cant be bothered with how broken the game is just as long as they can make their mod work, they just want to make clothing, locations, quests, etc. etc. and cant be bothered with the engine scripting making it possible because that is just not their cup of tea. We are very spoiled with 13 years of Skyrim and Fallout development that brought several teams together to use and build upon each others work. The Script Extender Team, Xedit, CBBE and a number of other core modders who built their work on each other and their expertise.

      Now all 3 teams, Script extender, Xedit and CBBE have already made it clear Starfield is a modding mess and some of the hardcore members are doubting if they have the time and energy to do it all over for Starfield.

      I spend well over 300+ hours making Ship Module Snap Expansion - SMSEX from the minute Xedit experimental for Starfield released, It was a learning curve and a real b&@*$ to do compared to modding Fallout or Skyrim with Xedit. Offcourse alot needed to be figured out and was brandnew even though some principles still applied, but it thought me that at that point, again far before official mod support, Starfield was far from modfriendly and it was not just a mistake but bordering on the intentional from Bethesda's side.
    17. pokeYoLoco
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      you are le stink
    18. ThatOneDudeK
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      even with mods the game is uber trash imo. it's the base of it that is so horrible that i cant see how even mods can change that. only a new game could imo.
  9. GreedyPotato888
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    I can't play the game at all. This game have abnormally high system requirements. I've only got RX 580 4gb.
    1. MRMANS69
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      you bought a next-gen game with extremely outdated hardware what were you expecting lol
    2. masternetra
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      It really isn't. RX 580 is a low end graphics card my dude. More specifically, what you have is a low end version of that card even. I had a RX 580 GTS that was at 8GB, ran most things fine. Starfield makes use of some graphics card feature that the RX 580 in general doesn't have I forget what off hand though. I upgraded to a RX 6600, which is probably considered mid tier for 1080p gaming but at 1080p handles Starfield just fine.
    3. BrainiacBlue
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      It's requirements are not abnormal, you're running a budget card from 7 years ago with 4GB VRAM, of course it can't run a large game.
    4. ParagonFury
      ParagonFury
      • premium
      • 6 kudos
      Bro that RX580 is like.....Xbox 360/PS3 level card at best. And you're trying to play a current-gen (or really 2 gens newer than that card) game with it and expect it to work for some reason?
    5. GreedyPotato888
      GreedyPotato888
      • premium
      • 0 kudos
      I can spare 100 EUR month so I have wait until next years October to purchase PC with shining RTX card
    6. kryppo2
      kryppo2
      • premium
      • 0 kudos
      Bros mad he cant play a game from 2023 with a graphics card from the bronze age
    7. dreams897
      dreams897
      • member
      • 8 kudos
      I wouldn't go as far as to call Starfield a next-gen game. It's missing Ray Tracing and has a lot of weak textures, etc
    8. Gilibran
      Gilibran
      • premium
      • 43 kudos
      You can always go and play War Thunder on Utra Low Quality untill you saved up for better hardware
    9. Xwartu
      Xwartu
      • supporter
      • 0 kudos
      Ray tracing is such a meme
    10. pokeYoLoco
      pokeYoLoco
      • supporter
      • 0 kudos
      i've 4gb but for a rtx3060... mobile though... works great fa me
  10. gasperchen
    gasperchen
    • premium
    • 27 kudos
    When I was trying to convert my xedit esm file to CK2 esm file, it mark my xedit esm file as master file of CK2 esm file. How did you manage to solve that?
  11. Arash0ys
    Arash0ys
    • member
    • 0 kudos
    What took you so long Boss?