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Olivier Doorenbos

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About this mod

This is a script-free total recalibration of Skyrim's detection formula, which improves the balance and realism of sneaking. Enemies will have enhanced sight and hearing abilities, and will search longer when alerted. This mod represents over 300 hours of meticulous research and optimization work.

Permissions and credits
TL;DR: download the "Lite" version to enjoy the best detection mod for Skyrim.

NOTE: compatible with the Enderal total conversion mod, and also available for Skyrim Special Edition here.

QA tested and featured by...

Bethesda.net featured mods of May 2017


This is a complete recalibration of Skyrim's detection formula, which improves the balanced and realism of sneaking. It is not a "hardcore" mod - sneaking is both harder and easier where necessary. You can use it by itself, or in combination with perk and gameplay overhaul mods.

This mod greatly improves upon the community's other efforts to mod Skyrim's detection mechanics. Instead of making simple tweaks to the vanilla settings (like all other detection mods do), I have holistically re-calibrated the whole formula from the ground up. This represents over 300 hours of meticulous research and optimization work.


  • No scripts. No perk edits. No performance impact. 100% reliable.
  • AI view cone is reduced to 160deg (from 190deg in vanilla).
  • Ambient light, equipment weight, and line-of-sight are now more important than your sneak skill level. Enemies won't become deaf and blind as you increase your sneak level and perks.
  • AI can see further and are much more sensitive to light. They can now see better in the dark, and will quickly spot you if you are carrying a light source. Even equipping a spell that lights up your hand will get you spotted. (the absolute max distance AI can see in full sunlight is not much higher than in vanilla though)
  • A higher attenuation factor in the detection formula enables AI to see you realistically in very low light levels when very near, without making detection over-powered at further distances (same applies to hearing). It also makes this mod scale better to different perk, armor, and lighting mods.
  • AI hearing is now the same inside and outside (in vanilla, enemies could hear 2x further outside than inside).
  • Enemies will search longer - 70 seconds if you fire an arrow into their knee (was 20), ~70 sec after losing track of someone in combat (was ~40), 40 sec if they find a dead body (was 15), and 20-50 sec if they see or hear something (was 12-20).
  • When searching, enemies will do a better job checking corners, and they will cover a larger area.
  • The huge difference between standing and sneaking has been reduced to a realistic amount. No longer will enemies detect you unfairly far away just because you were standing, and neither will they become blind and deaf the moment you start to sneak.
  • AI wall-hacking has been reduced in various scenarios: In vanilla, if you broke line-of-sight in combat, AI could wall-hack you for up to 10 seconds - this has now been reduced to 5 seconds (making it easier to evade a pursuing enemy, and then backstab them). In vanilla, any nearby enemy with a sneak skill over 50 would wall-hack you indefinitely if you were standing - this effect has now been reduced. In vanilla, casting any loud spell would heavily drain your ability to stay hidden for 5 seconds, which usually resulted in getting wall-hacked over large distances for 10 seconds - this has now been reduced to a slight drain for only 2 seconds, which almost eliminates wall-hacking.
  • "Invisibility" and "Muffle" effects now work when standing and running. In vanilla, these were often ineffective when out of sneak mode.
  • When an enemy becomes alert and starts to search for you, they get a small boost to their detection ability (to simulate concentration).
  • If an enemy has not detected you yet and is in combat with someone else, it is now easier to sneak past or backstab them (since all their attention is focused on combat). This effect is stronger in dark environments.
  • AI reaction time is slightly increased in some situations. If you suddenly appear in front of a relaxed enemy, they may need a second to realise you are an enemy (instead of instantly attacking as they do in vanilla).
  • Sleeping enemies have slightly reduced hearing abilities (in vanilla their hearing was the same as when awake).
  • Enemies will notice dead bodies 10m away and start a search (was 5m in vanilla). Civilians are also more likely to react to dead bodies nearby instead of ignoring them as they often do in vanilla.
  • When someone sees you commit a crime, the distance guards come running has been reduced moderately.

5 versions for different user preferences and various lighting mod setups

You can only use one version at the same time.

Realistic AI Detection Lite
Small increase to AI visual detection ability both indoors and outdoors. Small audio detection rebalance.
This is what Vanilla detection should have been. This version is suitable for all setups if you want a bit more realism but not much more difficulty.
If you are not sure what version to get, start with this one, and upgrade to a more powerful version later if needed.
Optimal for "Climates of Tamriel", "Vivid Weathers", and most ENBs.

Realistic AI Detection - Medium Interior, Medium Exterior
Medium increase to AI visual detection ability both indoors and outdoors. Moderate audio detection rebalance.
This version is suitable for Vanilla lighting and many other lighting/weather mods if you want much more realistic and challenging detection gameplay.
Also ideal for ELFX when NOT using it's "Enhancer" or "Weathers" module (as in using ELFX with vanilla brightness).

Realistic AI Detection - High Interior, High Exterior
Large increase to AI visual detection ability both indoors and outdoors. Moderate audio detection rebalance.
This version is only suitable for a few lighting mods that have a crippling effect on detection. It is over-powered for Vanilla and most other lighting/weather mods.
This version is ideal for ELFX when using it's "Enhancer" and "Weathers" module.

Realistic AI Detection - High Interior, Medium Exterior
Large increase to indoor visual detection ability, medium increase to outdoor detection. Moderate audio detection rebalance.
This version is only suitable for a few lighting mods that have a crippling effect on detection. It is over-powered for Vanilla and most other lighting/weather mods.
This version is ideal for ELFX when using it's "Enhancer" but NOT its "Weathers" module.

Realistic AI Detection - Medium Interior, High Exterior
Medium increase to indoor visual detection ability, large increase to outdoor detection. Moderate audio detection rebalance.
This version is only suitable for a few lighting mods that have a crippling effect on detection. It is over-powered for Vanilla and most other lighting/weather mods.
This version is ideal for ELFX when using it's "Hardcore" and "Weathers" module.

A note about balance
It is virtually impossible to balance AI detection for some darker lighting or weather mods because they use darkening methods (like heavy imagespace modifiers) that are not taken into account by Skyrim's detection system - so while you see very little, the AI can still see very well. This includes the darker settings in "Climates of Tamriel", "Vivid Weathers" and "Purity" (if normal brightness settings are chosen, then these mods are fine). Very dark ENB presets also have this problem, since all ENB effects are ignored by Skyrim's detection system. ENB presets that do not make environments significantly darker should be ok though.

If you want much darker environments while keeping detection properly balanced relative to the amount of light, the best lighting/weather mods are:
"Enhanced Lights and FX" (ELFX) or "Realistic Lighting Overhaul" (RLO), preferably without any contamination from other lighting/weather/ENB mods.
Another acceptable choice would be "Darkness - Vanilla Lighting Tweaks" (if you want something closer to the vanilla look).

Use your mod management program, or put the .esp file in your Skyrim/data folder and activate it in the launcher.
Place it near the bottom of your load order (the LOOT sorting tool often fails to sort this mod correctly).
Do not clean this mod with Tes5edit.

Just uninstall it using your mod manager, or delete the mod's .esp file in Skyrim/data
It is 100% safe to uninstall or re-install during a serious playthrough.

Compatibility with other mods
This mod is compatible with just about everything, but must be loaded after any mods that also edit detection settings (like Immersive Citizens, Combat Evolved, Perkus Maximus, Requiem, Stealth Skills Rebalanced, and Thief Skills Rebalance for Ordinator etc). That way it will overwrite any conflicting detection settings while leaving everything else from the other mod perfectly untouched and functional.

Skytweak is compatible, but on rare occasions it can cause detection to malfunction (this is a problem with Skytweak, not RAID).
"Traps make noise" is compatible, but RAID will reduce the range enemies can hear traps by about 30-40%.

As explained further up, some darker ENBs and lighting/weather mods may cause detection to become unbalanced.

And regardless of compatibility, there is no reason to use other pure detection mods since RAID renders all of them obsolete. Only the SDR (Sneaking Detection Recalibrated) mod for Oblivion can compete, but the author seems to have no plans to port it to Skyrim, so for now RAID is the only serious option.

Q1: I don't know what version of this mod to use (because TL;DR dude!)
A: *facepalm* - Just use the "Lite" version...

Q2: Do I need to use the "High" version if my mods make the game much darker?
A: NO!!! There are exceptions, but no! Some people are saying this on other forum/youtube comments, but its nonsense. If in doubt use "Lite".

Q3: I tried the "Lite" version but it still feels too difficult. Help?
A: Obviously sneaking will be a bit harder with this mod, but you should be fine if you use common sense, and follow the tips listed below:
   1. Make sure your other mods are not messing up detection (like dark ENBs as explained further up).
   2. Make sure you are in sneak mode (crouched) - duh! (you'd be surprised how many people forget this).
   3. Avoid enemy line-of-sight, no matter how high your sneak skill/perk level is.
   4. Don't equip any light source, including spells that light up your hand.
   5. Invest in the "stealth" and "muffled movement" perks.
   6. The invisibility potion or spell will be essential in some situations.
   7. Stay in the shadows, where it is dark. (The ELFX and RLO mods make sneaking easier because they make dungeons darker, the correct way)
   8. Keep the weight of your equipped weapon and armor low (But anything not equipped has no effect on sneaking).
   9. Sometimes it is best to not move, or move slowly (use the walk button on keyboard) when an enemy is near.
  10. Get creative and devise new tactics like this - Using inigo's teleport ability to stealth one-shot a bandit chief

Q4: I want to play a sneaky mage, but enemies keep spotting me when I have a glowing spell in my hands. Is there a way to disable spell glow?
A: There is a mod called "Unimmersive Spells" that disables spell glow.
There is also the "Lights Out" mod, but its only available for Special Edition.

Q5: Sometimes NPCs are very slow to detect me or other NPCs, even when not sneaking (they may walk right past me). Is it caused by this mod?
A: Possibly. If you are using RAID "lite", it may mean your lighting setup requires a more powerful version of RAID like "medium" or "high". Also note that this problem can be a side effect of RAID reducing NPC field-of-view and wall-hacking abilities. However, if you have this problem a lot and it does not resolve itself after a few seconds, you may have a mod conflict or another problem not caused by RAID.

Q6: Enemies and/or followers are sometimes unresponsive in my game, as if they are brain dead. Is it caused by this mod?
A: No. Check your other mods. Some people even experience this problem in vanilla Skyrim. Also, if your setup has script lag or generally poor performance, detection responsiveness may suffer as a result.
Also note, the "Immersive Citizens" mod will stop civilians and named NPCs from retaliating when you attack, if you are a much higher level than them (they are not brain dead, but controlled by the "avoid combat" AI package).

Q7: When I enter a dungeon, all the enemies in the whole level are instantly alerted. Is it caused by this mod?
A: No. Check your other mods. Are you using Skytweak? (skytweak can occasionally cause this problem)

Q8: Does this mod affect NPCs, mod added NPCs, followers, animals, dragons, falmer etc? Does it affect how NPCs can detect other NPCs?
A: Yes. It affects the detection of everything. This is the case with all detection mods, not just mine.

Q9: Falmer can see me if I use this mod. Aren't Falmer supposed to be blind?
A: Falmer are NOT 100% blind. They are actually 80% blind. In vanilla this may seem like 100% because normal AI vision is already very weak. In RAID, all enemies can see much better, including Falmer, but their sight is still 80% worse than that of a normal enemy.

Q10: Does this mod work in Skyrim Special Edition?
A: Yes, but not the files on this nexus page, there is a new nexus page here for the Special Edition. There are no detection changes to the SE version.

Technical information
This mod edits 45 game settings (GMST), and deliberately includes an additional 13 ITM edits (aka dirty edits). The ITMs are safe and ensure this mod functions correctly when loaded after a mod that also edits detection GMSTs.
If you want to know more about what these GMSTs do, download the "GMST Datasheet" on the download page.

(format: GMST name, vanilla value, RAID2 medium/medium value)

formula core
fSneakBaseValue                                                  -15   -4.0
fSneakDistanceAttenuationExponent                        2    5
fDetectionViewCone                                             190    160
fDetectionSneakLightMod                                      15    8.5
fSneakLightMult                                                 0.33    0.6
fSneakLightExteriorMult                                       0.5    1.0
fSneakLightMoveMult                                         0.01    0.02
fSneakLightRunMult                                             0.2    0.7
iLightLevelInteriorMod                                          25    13
iLightLevelExteriorMod                                           0    8
iLightLevelMax                                                   300    200
fSneakSoundsMult                                                   1   .64
fSneakSoundLosMult                                            0.3    0.28
fSneakEquippedWeightBase                                   12    3
fSneakEquippedWeightMult                                    .5    0.3
fSneakActionMult                                                    2    1
fSneakRunningMult                                                 2    2.5
fSneakMaxDistance                                            2500    6500
fSneakExteriorDistanceMult                                  2.1    1.0
fDetectProjectileDistanceNPC                               512    ITM
fDetectProjectileDistancePlayer                          1024    ITM
fDetectEventDistanceNPC                                    512    ITM
fDetectEventDistancePlayer                                1536    ITM
iCrimeAlarmLowRecDistance                              2000    1500
iCrimeAlarmRecDistance                                    4000    3000
fDeadReactionDistance                                        400    800
fCombatStealthPointRegenAlertWaitTime               10    15
fCombatStealthPointRegenDetectedEventWaitTime 10    30
fCombatStealthPointRegenAttackedWaitTime         15    50
fCombatStealthPointRegenLostWaitTime                10    20
fCombatDetectionLostTimeLimit                            10   15
fCombatDetectionNoticedTimeLimit                       10    5
fActorAlertSoundTimer                                            5    2
fDetectionEventExpireTime                                     5    2
contextual modifiers
fSneakAlertMod                                                     0    1
fSneakCombatMod                                             -0.4    -2
fSneakSleepBonus                                                  0    -0.3
skill system
fSneakSkillMult                                                   0.5    0.07
fPlayerDetectionSneakMult                                  0.4    0.8
fPlayerDetectionSneakBase                                   10    5
fSneakPerceptionSkillMax                                    100    ITM
fSneakPerceptionSkillMin                                        0    ITM
stealth point system
fCombatStealthPointDrainMult                                3    ITM
fCombatStealthPointRegenMult                            0.2    0.08
fCombatStealthPointRegenMin                               5    2.5
iCombatStealthPointDetectionThreshold                25    50
iCombatStealthPointSneakDetectionThreshold        70    ITM
fCombatStealthPointAttackedMaxValue                  50    ITM
fCombatStealthPointDetectedEventMaxValue          75    ITM
fCombatStealthPointMax                                     100    ITM
search system
fCombatSearchExteriorRadiusMax                     2048    2560
fCombatSearchExteriorRadiusMin                     1280    1536
fCombatSearchInteriorRadiusMax                     1280    1536
fCombatSearchInteriorRadiusMin                        768    1024
fCombatSearchSightRadius                               1536    1024
fCombatSearchInvestigateTime                           2.5    4
fCombatSearchLookTime                                       1    ITM
fCombatSearchStartWaitTime                                1    ITM

Mod by Olivier Doorenbos.
You may distribute this mod in a "mod pack", as long as it is non-commercial, you mention my name, and provide a link back to this page.
If you want to do anything else that goes beyond personal use, please contact me first (here on Nexus).
And hey Bethesda Studios, I would be happy to properly calibrate the detection formula of your next Elder Scrolls game. You could do with my help!

Not suitable for casual gamers and console peasants. No liability will be accepted if these risk groups experience severe stress and feelings of inadequacy as a result of using this mod.
Approved for the glorious PCMR.

(Off Topic):

Recommended Quest/Dungeon Mods:
Here's a list of Skyrim quest mods I have played, and rated, as objectively as possible (just my opinion). I hope this helps you find some nice quest mods you may not have tried before. I am fairly harsh in my ratings, so a "5/10" is still worth playing.
Note: "#" indicates a mod unsuitable for a non-dragonborn player character
Mod Name                     Rating    Size       Quality          Difficulty     Notes 
enderal                          10/10    huge!!!  professional   hard           bigger and better than some $60 "AAA" games (not set in the elder scrolls world)
mediEvil H.o.G.             10/10    fair        professional   medium+    excellent custom music and annimations. great humor. epic final boss fight
beyond skyrim: bruma     9/10     huge       excellent       medium+    on par with official DLC like dawnguard/dragonborn. extremely lore-friendly
interesting NPCs             9/10     huge       good             medium+    excellent quests, followers, writing, and humor. very lore friendly. some bugs
inigo                              9/10     fair        excellent        -                short fun quest + great follower. very lore friendly
clockwork castle              9/10     large      excellent       medium+    beautiful mansion, epic dungeon, good quests and voice acting. creepy
the forgotten city            8/10     large      good             medium+    good story with time travel, multiple endings and custom music. minor flaws
the cheese of ages          8/10     fair        good             medium      very funny but still lore-friendly, good dungeons, custom music. some minor bugs
# dreamborne isles          7/10     large      good             very hard    wonderful environments and music. lots of platforming. but unbalanced combat
# moon and star              7/10     fair        excellent       hard           great voicing, puzzles, village, and custom boss fight. minor quest order flaws
falskaar                          7/10     huge      decent*         hard            new land with quests and good dungeons. some harsh combat and other flaws
project AHO                    7/10    large      *mixed*         hard           great visuals, music, and voicing. but awkward plot, some fetch quests, and bugs
helgen reborn                  7/10     large      good             medium+    good variety, great dungeon, but some "meh" content too, and unconvincing plot
# moonpath to elsweyr     6/10     large     decent           medium      nice jungle environments, decent voicing. but basic quests and feels unfinished
sorcery*                          6/10     fair        good             medium      (steam workshop) decent quest, nice environments to explore
undeath                          6/10     fair       *mixed*         medium       good lore, atmosphere and custom music. needs patches. not follower friendly
darkend                          6/10     large      good             very hard+   dark souls inspired mod. impressive level design. custom enemies. no quests
a feathered friend           6/10     small      good             easy           nice short quest, good voice acting
immersive idiots             6/10     fair        decent*         EXTREME     [warning: crude adult humor] good funny voice acting. for lvl 70+. some bugs
club obos                        6/10     small      decent          medium       [warning: crude adult humor] a simple funny quest with a very good voice actor
# the shadow of meresis  6/10     fair        decent*          hard           good puzzles and voice acting, but some translation errors and other flaws
the shroud of jotunheim  6/10     large     *very mixed*   hard           great story, but a bit tedious and glitchy. no hand holding, no followers
# the hanging gardens     6/10     fair        decent           very hard    beautiful dwemer temple/island, but low fps and not follower friendly
sea of ghosts*                 6/10     fair        average        medium+    (steam workshop) nice ship travel and exploring concept, mediocre voice acting
conan hyborian age          6/10     small      good            hard           decent dungeon quest, with custom music and voiced conan, hard boss
easyrider dungeon pack   6/10     large      decent           medium      a set of high quality dungeons. but minor fps dips and not follower friendly
# qothmaar                     6/10     fair        decent          medium      dungeon with puzzles and good scripted boss fight. minor "active effects" bug
volundr                           6/10     fair        decent          medium      decent dungeon. includes slightly OP custom spells and loot. minor music bug.
temple of Kruziik             6/10     small      good             medium     nice draugr dungeon, like heimfeigr (but shorter), cool boss fight
the haven                       6/10     fair       *very mixed*   -                beautiful island (no quests), but low fps, and dirty edits that mess up your game
dwemer colosseum          6/10     fair        *mixed*         hard           arena with crowd effects, but has some rough edges...and a flying ship
the dead bee scrolls         6/10     small      decent          medium      poor voice acting, but otherwise a good quality small dungeon quest
the mcmiller chronicles    6/10     fair        good             medium+    some amusing parts, but also a bit tedious - slow pacing, and slow voice acting
the candle makers           5/10     fair        decent          medium+    some simple quests in a huge mountain fortress. decent lore. mixed voice quality
# insanity clause              5/10    fair      *very mixed*    *mixed*      funny xmas themed mod, great voicing, but has very glitchy quest mechanics
moonshimmer mine         5/10     fair       decent           medium      decent dungeon. well balanced. but has 1 "broken active script"
shadows of the past         5/10    fair        decent           hard           moderately decent fetch/kill quests in varied locations, some poor voice acting
agent of righteous might  5/10    large    *very mixed*    hard            great story, but many bugs, some very tedious and glitchy quests, mixed writing
# anfangrum's cleft          5/10    fair       decent            medium+    average dungeon with a dragon fight. some books and "find the lever" puzzles
heimfeigr                        5/10    fair       *mixed*          medium      decent draugr dungeon, custom music, puzzle and scripted boss. some bugs
ogmund's tomb                5/10    fair        decent           medium      large draugr dungeon, follower friendly
into the depths                5/10    small      mediocre       medium      basic, but still a nice short haunted dungeon, some jump scares, no followers
lord balmer's playground   5/10    small     *mixed*          medium      short jump scare dungeon with multiple endings. some tedious and rough edges
anna npcs                        4/10    large     *mixed*          -                 like "interesting NPCs", but lower quality and less lore friendly. a few good bits
the bigger they are*         4/10    small      average         medium      (steam workshop) short quest with a boss fight, no voice acting
the realms of daedra*      4/10     small     average         medium      (steam workshop) short, no voice acting
pit fighter*                      4/10    fair        decent           medium+    (steam workshop) ok but repetitive, no difficulty scaling, lacks some excitement
sword of sigdan               4/10    fair        average         EXTREME     large dungeon with very hard boss fights for lvl 70+ players. not follower friendly.
solemn Keep                    4/10    small    *mixed*           hard            nice looking bandit dungeon, but may cause severe script lag
no mercy*                       4/10     small     average          hard           (steam workshop) basic level design, no voice acting. short, but lore friendly
it beats for her                4/10    tiny       average          -                 subtle storytelling, but very basic, no voice acting
immersive dungeons        4/10    large     *mixed*          very hard+   huge dungeons with many enemies and too many traps. no followers. some CTDs
lost colony of akavir        3/10     large    *very mixed*   hard             unfinished mod, wonderful huge island to explore, but no quests, and many bugs
rescue bronwen               3/10     small     mediocre       hard             short, fun, but it has mixed voice acting, bugs, and stupidly over-sized dogs
windcaller pass                2/10    small     mediocre       medium+      large but dull caves with a copy-paste feel. over-powered loot
the master's trial v4.0      2/10    fair       poor              medium        bland fetch quests, bad writing, mixed voicing, some bugs. ~5 hours...waisted

Also take a look at my 2018 (non-Special Edition) Concise Skyrim Modding Guide
                       - which includes a well curated and up-to-date list of recommended mods.