About this mod

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.

Permissions and credits
Skyrim Total Enhancement Project (LE)
-> STEP Skyrim LE (Legacy) Guide <-
Or visit our Skyrim SE (New) Nexus Page

STEP is an extensive project gathering and bringing together information from across the community in the form of extensible modding and "how-to" guides. These are step-by-step guides to enhancing Skyrim with a focus on quality and performance over quantity. STEP tries to stay as close to the 'vanilla' experience as possible, while addressing game bugs, improving visual quality, and correcting game-play mechanics. Our users should always expect an enhanced rendition of the game's original concept and mechanics when following one of our guides.

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


For other changes view the changelog above.

- June 11, 2017

STEP v2.10.0 has been released! Check out the changelog for details. With this version of STEP comes a change in our versioning scheme. We realized from the last few releases the Guide needed a different solution for the versioning scheme. Up until now, we have included the underbelly of STEP as the first digit in our scheme. This meant major changes to software (like forum software and wiki upgrades) would count as STEP 1.x.x, STEP 2.x.x, and so on. This was not the best standard for us to use. Therefore, from this release and beyond, the versioning of STEP will go as: Major.Minor.Hotfix.
  • Major - Introduce fundamental new functionality, tools, or methods. (e.g., Official Pack implementation [i.e., STEP Extended, STEP Lighting, STEP-sponsored Packs], BOSS to LOOT, Wrye Bash to MO).
  • Minor - changes to mod lineup.
  • Hotfix - Change/fix Guide instructions that require amendment to the changelog (however large or small) and any other 'hotfixes' (e.g., changes to mod install order).

For more information about the versioning scheme, see here: STEP Versioning Scheme

Until now, we had been working up to STEP 2.3.0 as our next major release. With the change in the versioning scheme, we'll now be working towards STEP 3.0.0! From this release and beyond, each release will be a step towards bridging our move to the new paradigm. What does this mean for this release? This means that while there are no drastic changes to the Guide's structure, we have again fine-tuned the STEP setup to bring you a fluid mod list to enhance the beauty and feel of Skyrim.

- Other News

This guide is reliant upon 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.

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.

STEP Compilation Credits
The follow mods are included in the STEP Compilation. All credit goes to these authors for their work. The STEP community cordially tips their hats to their contributions.

Distant Decal Fix by SparrowPrince
Bowlegged jump animation Fix by mirap
Disease Descriptions by William IMM
Smaller Cursor by Lywald
Ruins Clutter Improved by raiserfx
Realistic Smoke and Embers by isoku
Serious HD by Z4G4
Dragon Glyphs HD - Fixed by Valstein0
HiRes Legible Road Signs by SPARTAN VI
The Beauty of Skyrim - Dungeons by raiserfx
Visible Windows by isoku
Bellyache's Creature Pack by Bellyache
Bellyache's Dragon Replacer by Bellyache
Frost Atronach HD by Yuril
Improved Foot Wraps for Females by Savage Hammer
Natural Eyes by nevenbridge
Better Circlets by Yuril
Enchantment Effect Replacer by Myopic
Finer Dust by CptJoker
No Spinning Death Animation by dDefinder
Skyrim Performance PLUS by Vergis
Better Shadowmarks by Funsize
Detailed Rugs by raiserfx
HD Sacks by Mazarin
Intricate Spider Webs by isoku
Realistic Wolf Howls by Korvik
No NPC Greetings by Cipscis