STEP 2 - INI Files
Now that we have a clean vanilla copy of the game installed, we need to take care of the INI files. Many edits you can make here are related to visuals and performance which I will discuss later in VISUALS. A neat little tool called BethINI will take care of your INI files, fixing and optimizing them. Finally we will install and configure SSE Havok Fix to ensure smooth gameplay with your desired frame rate.
2.1 Generating fresh INI files
Unless you never touched your INI files before, I would highly recommend you re-generate them to ensure you start with a clean slate here. It's quick and easy.
- Locate your
C:\Users\Your User Name\Documents\My Games\Skyrim Special Editionfolder. It contains your save games in the 'saves' folder and your INIs as loose files.
- If you do have old save games you'd like to keep, back them up now - then delete the entire Skyrim Special Edition folder.
- Next open your Steam Library, find The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition in your games list and hit PLAY. A window will automatically come up, informing you that Skyrim SE will now be configured according to your hardware - your INI files are being re-generated. Click OK twice.
- Hit Exit once it's done.
- (Optional): Add a shortcut to the
Documents\My Games\Skyrim Special Editionfolder to your Skyrim SE Modding folder for quick access to your default INI files.
2.2 BethINI Configuration
- Download the latest version of BethINI from the Skyrim Nexus.
- Extract the downloaded archive to
Your Modding Folder\Tools.
- (Optional) I always rename the folder to add the version number, so currently my folder is called 'BethINI v2.7'. Then I also create a shortcut of the executable and add it to my modding folder's root directory so I can launch BethINI directly from there.
- Now for future reference, you should know that you always need to close Mod Organizer 2 before launching BethINI, however we haven't even installed MO2 yet so you can go right ahead and launch BethINI.exe.
- You will be prompted with a window asking you to choose your game.
- Select Skyrim Special Edition in the drop-down menu.
- Once the BethINI window has come up, go to the first tab - Setup.
- Everything should be configured correctly there, but it's always a good idea to double-check that Game Path and INI Path point to the correct locations - that's your root folder and
Documents\My Games\Skyrim Special Editionfolder respectively. Don't worry about the error under Mod Organizer - BethINI can't find MO2 because we haven't installed it yet.
- Continue with the second tab, Basic.
- BethINI Presets are toggled by default which is good but we'll also check Recommended Tweaks.
- Double-check whether Resolution is set to the correct value.
- Everything related to framerate / VSYNC will be sorted out in a moment.
- Unless you're going for a maximum graphics screen-archery modding setup, you should not select the Ultra preset under any circumstances. For high-end PC owners I would recommend the High option and everyone else might want to select Medium. Low-end PC owners should go for the Low option.
- Next we are going to tweak some things in the fifth tab, Interface.
- I prefer my Lock Sensitivity at 0.0450 but this will come down to personal taste and your mouse configuration.
- Dialogue Subtitles and General Subtitles are unchecked by default (you can still always toggle them ingame).
- You are no longer required to activate subtitles for mods with silent dialogue as Fuz Ro D-oh has been released for the Special Edition which automatically activates subtitles when necessary. We will install Fuz Ro D-oh in Step 6.
- In the next tab, Detail, you can find a number of highly delicate settings that can completely destroy performance on any PC so be careful here.
- Note that most of these options are strictly visuals-related and as such will be discussed further in VISUALS.
- For the time being I would recommend you leave most of these settings at their default value for the preset you chose. I usually increase the FOV here (this can be done with the console ingame, too).
And that's it! Go back to the second tab, Basic, and hit Save and Exit. Your INI files are now properly configured.
2.3 VSYNC and Frame Rate
2.3.1 FRAMES PER SECOND AND REFRESH RATE
Performance in games is usually measured in 'frames per second', or FPS for short. Frames - still images - are depicted in rapid succession, tricking the human eye into seeing movement. The more frames you see per second, the smoother the image appears to move. This is why a high framerate is critical for precise and responsive control over your character in any game.
Your FPS depend on how fast your CPU and GPU can render those frames but also on your monitor's refresh rate - measured in Hertz (Hz). A 60Hz monitor can only 'redraw' the monitor 60 times per second, no matter how good or bad your hardware is. You can technically play with 100+ FPS on a 85Hz monitor, but your screen would only be able to display 85 of those frames every second.
2.3.2 VERTICAL SYNCHRONIZATION
There is a technique called Vertical Synchronization (VSYNC) that is used to 'sync' the frames your hardware renders with the refresh rate of your monitor to prevent screentearing from occuring. Skyrim SE has an inbuilt VSYNC option which has caused performance decreases and other issues for some people (I get horrible screentearing when I leave it activated) while it works fine for others. For this guide we will disable it and use the VSYNC function included with the Havok Fix SKSE plugin instead..
Some higher-end monitors come with G-Sync (for NVIDIA GPUs) or FreeSync (for AMD GPUs) which adapt the refresh rate to the amount of rendered frames. If you own a G-Sync or FreeSync monitor, you might have to .
2.3.3 PLAYING @60+ FPS
If you're a Classic Skyrim veteran you may remember that back then we could not unlock our frame rate and play at more than 60FPS because the physics engine would go nuts - it is unfortuntely tied to the frame rate. This can however be fixed with a specific INI edit for Skyrim SE so that you can play at up to 240 FPS. This appears to be completely safe - so far there have not been any reports to indicate the opposite. Check out this very interesting reddit post for more information and tests. The Havok Fix SKSE64 plugin can dynamically tweak that value for you as well.
Please bear in mind that I cannot test all different tweaks and setups myself. I only have an ordinary 60Hz monitor and play at 60FPS with VSYNC.
The guide only includes instructions for running the game @60FPS.
2.4 Turn off Vanilla VSYNC & Frame Lock
Edit the following lines in your SkyrimPrefs.ini file. If you cannot find one or both of the lines below, simply add them.