Realistic AI Detection (better sneaking) by Olivier Doorenbos
Skyrim » Stealth
Added: 20/03/2016 - 02:52PM
Updated: 18/09/2017 - 06:04PM

1,130 Endorsements

2.0 Latest version

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Uploaded by OlivierDoorenbos


Last updated at 18:04, 18 Sep 2017 Uploaded at 14:52, 20 Mar 2016

RAID 2.0 released!
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... featured mods of May 2017


This is a total recalibration of Skyrim's detection formula, providing much more realistic and challenging sneaking. Enemies will have enhanced sight and hearing abilities, and will search longer when alerted.

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


  • No scripts. 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 enemy with a sneak skill over 50 would wall-hack you if you were standing (even if you were invisible and silent) - 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.

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).

Put the unzipped file in your Skyrim/data folder and activate it in the launcher, or use the "install from file" function in your mod management program.
(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 only edits detection settings. There are no perk edits and no scripts. It 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 you are not using a different mod that messes 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. Don't equip any light source, including spells that light up your hand.
   4. Invest in the "stealth" and "muffled movement" perks.
   5. Invisibility and muffle effects are more useful now.
   6. Stay in the shadows, where it is dark. (The ELFX and RLO mods make sneaking easier because they make dungeons darker, the correct way)
   7. Keep the weight of your equipped weapon and armor low (But anything not equipped has no effect on sneaking).
   8. Sometimes it is best to not move, or move slowly (use the walk button on keyboard) when an enemy is near.

Q4: Enemies and/or followers are sometimes unresponsive in my game, as if they are temporarily blind and deaf. Is it caused by this mod?
A: No. Check your other mods, particularly any mods that apply scripts to NPCs. If followers are affected, it can be caused by management mods like EFF and AFT, or if you have custom scripted followers (Inigo etc), it can be caused by those custom scripts. Also, if your setup has script lag or generally poor performance, detection responsiveness may suffer as a result.

Q5: 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)

Q6: Does it 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.

Q7: 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.

Q8: 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.
If you want to distribute my mod, or incorporate it in your own mod, please contact me (here on Nexus).
And hey Bethesda Studios, I would be happy to properly calibrate the detection formula of your next Elder Scrolls game. You need 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 very harsh in my ratings, so anything with a 5/10 or higher is "good" and I recommend it.
Mod Name                      Rating    Size     Quality            Notes 
mediEvil H.o.G.             10/10     fair      professional    a remaster of the playstation game. great humor, music, and visuals. epic final boss fight
interesting NPCs              9/10     huge     excellent        excellent writing, very lore friendly, huge amount of content, good humor
inigo                               9/10     fair       excellent        short fun quest + great follower
clockwork castle               9/10     large    excellent        a beautiful mansion and epic dungeon, good quests with good voice acting, a bit creepy
the cheese of ages           8/10     fair       good             very funny but still mostly lore-friendly, good dungeons, custom music, some minor bugs
helgen reborn                   7/10     large    good              good variety and quality, but some "meh" filler content, and predictable plot
sorcery*                           7/10     fair       good             (steam workshop) decent quest, nice environments to explore
undeath                           7/10     fair      *good*            very lore friendly, good story, custom music, no voice acting though. has bugs. needs patches
a feathered friend            7/10     small     good             nice short quest, good voice acting
immersive idiots              6/10     fair      *decent*         [warning: crude adult humor] good funny voice acting. for level 70+ players. some bugs.
club obos                         6/10     small     decent          [warning: crude adult humor] a simple funny quest with a very good voice actor
the shroud of jotunheim   6/10     large    *very mixed*   many bugs and tedious parts, but good story and atmosphere, no hand holding, no followers
the hanging gardens         6/10     fair       decent           beautiful dwemer temple/island, but low fps, very hard if under lvl 50, not follower friendly
sea of ghosts*                  6/10     fair       average        (steam workshop) nice ship travel concept, exploration focused, bad voice acting
conan hyborian age          6/10     small     good             decent dungeon quest, with custom music and voiced conan, hard boss
volundr                            6/10     fair       good             decent dungeon, includes slightly OP custom spells and loot
temple of Kruziik             6/10      small    good              nice draugr dungeon, better than heimfeigr (but shorter), cool boss fight
the haven                        6/10     fair      *mixed*          beautiful island (no quests), but low fps, and edits many vanilla assets, causing conflicts
dwemer colosseum           6/10     fair      *mixed*          hard arena mod with crowd effects, but has some rough edges...and a flying ship (lore alert!)
the dead bee scrolls          6/10    small     decent           poor voice acting, but otherwise a good quality small dungeon quest with some dry humor
the mcmiller chronicles     6/10     fair       good             some amusing parts, but also a bit tedious - slow pacing, and very slow voice acting
shadows of the past         5/10     fair       decent            a set of moderately decent fetch/kill quests in varied locations, some mediocre voice acting
agent of righteous might  5/10     large    *very mixed*   great story, but many bugs, some very tedious and glitchy quests, mixed writing quality
heimfeigr                        5/10     fair       *mixed*          decent draugr dungeon, custom puzzle and boss, but had some bugs, not follower friendly
ogmund's tomb                5/10     fair       decent            large draugr dungeon, follower friendly
sword of sigdan               5/10     fair       average          large dungeon with very hard boss fights for level 70+ players. not follower friendly.
into the depths                5/10     small     mediocre        basic, but still a nice short haunted dungeon, some jump scares, no followers
lord balmer's playground   5/10     small    *mixed*           short jump scare dungeon with multiple endings, but some tedious and rough edges
the bigger they are*         4/10     small    average          (steam workshop) ok, short, no voice acting
the realms of daedra*      4/10      small    average         (steam workshop) ok, short, no voice acting
pit fighter*                      4/10     fair       decent           (steam workshop) ok, but very repetitive, no difficulty scaling, lacks the thrill of the arena
no mercy*                        4/10    small     average          (steam workshop) meh, poor level design, no voice acting, short, but it is lore friendly
it beats for her                4/10     tiny      average           subtle storytelling, but very basic, no voice acting
lost colony of akavir         3/10    large     *very mixed*    unfinished mod, wonderful huge island to explore, but no quests, and many bugs
rescue bronwen                3/10    small     mediocre         basic, 30min of light fun, but some bad voice acting, bugs, and stupidly over-sized dogs
the master's trial v4.0      2/10    fair        poor               bland fetch quests, bad writing, mixed voicing, some serious bugs. ~5 hours...waisted

Also take a look at my 2017 (non-Special Edition) Simple Skyrim Modding Guide
                       - which includes a well curated and up-to-date list of recommended mods.