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 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? 


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  1. Pickysaurus
    • Community Manager
    • 686 kudos
  2. Pickysaurus
    • Community Manager
    • 686 kudos
    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. 
  3. lliony
    • member
    • 0 kudos
    Always crashes and pops up with running, cannot be used normally except the first time. this program 'creationkit 2'.intel i5-12400 and 3070,laptop computer.

    Another PC(14700KF+6900xt) can work well,no crashes

    What Can I Say, Bethesda !
    1. ozgunner
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      240 hours clearly loaded a Creation mod it didn't like and bang, game gone :-(
  4. RedFoxjvm
    • member
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    PLEASE someone bring the Sam Coe missions to creation kit, that one about his ex-wife, the coordinates in the ship Dumas dont show to me and i cant progress the mission or dismiss Sam until i finish, i play in xbox
  5. Dinotroi
    • member
    • 0 kudos
    Bring mods for the PC version of creations, cloud game needs it

    I would like to ask the mod community to bring or convert PC mods from Nexus to Creations, those who use cloud gaming only have this option to install mods in the game since we don't have access to Nexus and unfortunately the PC tab has few mods because people only tend to bring it to consoles. So please remember cloud game users.
    1. Gilibran
      • premium
      • 48 kudos
      Then dont use cloud gaming, take back control over your life and screw the cloud. Why would a mod author who only plays on PC or does not use the cloud have to go to whatever extra's to make it available fro something they dont use?

      Download Xedit and the CK, start to learn and release cloud mods
    2. Lockerzin
      • member
      • 0 kudos
      Do not be such a dick! He isn't forcing you or anything. He is  just politely asking
  6. ysoldasbooty112
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    • 0 kudos
    Bethesda again dependent on the modding community to give their games relavency. 
    The ship builder is the only redeemable quality. 
  7. Craola
    • member
    • 12 kudos
    Too bad the game still sucks on large fundamental levels that modders won't and will not attempt to fix. This is a bad game through and through.
    1. PvtLJ
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      • 0 kudos
      Cool story bro
    2. JKDOS
      • member
      • 3 kudos
      You're making baseless blanket statements. Every word of what you just said was wrong.
    3. Craola
      • member
      • 12 kudos
      Bethesda really created the biggest copium industry with this game. I hope you folks find peace.
    4. AdidasCheems
      • member
      • 1 kudos
      Bethesda became too self aware with "modders will fix our games"
    5. Daunlouded
      • supporter
      • 6 kudos
      That is one of those worse hot takes people can make and soon there will be a Youtuber who is gonna make fun out of you.
    6. preggobigbelly
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      • 0 kudos
    7. Hoepker
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      • 0 kudos
      Why are you here then ?
  8. TechSupportWagie
    • member
    • 2 kudos
    Finally, now I can turn "essential" off for that annoying NPC
  9. alcpay10
    • member
    • 0 kudos
    I would like to ask a question that I am looking for an answer to and can't find... 

    Would I need to install the latest version 1.12.30 even if I don't need the CK? 

    As I have read from this update it will not need some files, is that correct? 

    Thank you and I hope for some correct answer..... 
  10. marinuscoet1
    • member
    • 0 kudos
    can some pls make  place anywhere mod plc.
    1. pklink
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      • 0 kudos
      its done but interiors mostly 
  11. 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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      • 464 kudos
      New here ?
    2. AdidasCheems
      • member
      • 1 kudos
      This is pretty par-for-the-course in terms of official nexus post comment sections
  12. patman023
    • premium
    • 15 kudos
    Paid mods.....what's next? Battle pass?