STEP 1 - INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS

1.1 OVERVIEW

After completing the Setup, you are equipped with a correctly installed and configured instance of Mod Organizer 2 with the Skyrim Script Extender. It is now time to dive into the by far longest section in the guide – the mod installation.

  • The mods themselves are split up into forty-two categories which correspond to the separators of the same names installed for MO2 in Setup, Step 5. Each set of mods must be installed in the order they are listed in and grouped below their respective separator.
  • Instructions for which file(s) to download as well as any further steps are listed below the mod name. These detailed instructions are mandatory and must be followed.
  • All listed mods are required and must be installed unless they are clearly flagged as (optional) in which case you may skip them. Whether or not a mod is optional is typically determined by interactions with other mods (patches and dependencies).
  • Occasionally a mod will have further instructions noted under Additional Instructions or Porting Instructions such as “Resave Example.esp in the Creation Kit”. You can find detailed instructions further down on this page and may want to keep it open in a separate tab to reference them until you know the steps by heart.
  • It may be faster to download all mods of one page first, then install them and finally go through all additional instructions.

Please do not attempt to launch Skyrim SE unless you are instructed to. During the installation you will have plugins missing masters in your load order (fixed later by installing those missing mods) as well as exceed the limit of 255 since merging and flagging plugins as ESL is done after the main mod installation section.

Keep this page open in a separate tab so that you are able to come back and refer to the instructions and explanations detailed below.

1.2 GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

DOWNLOADING MODS

  • Almost all mods are hosted on the Nexus.
  • Click the mod’s name (blue link) will take you immediately to the mod’s Nexus page.
  • The files listed under Download Instructions are marked with the respective section you can find them in on the Nexus:
    • Main Files
    • Update Files
    • Optional Files
    • Miscellaneous Files
    • Old Files
  • In the Files section on the mod page, download the file(s) by clicking “Mod Manager Download”.
    • When a mod has special requirements, they are then listed in a pop-up window where you will have to click the Download button again.
    • Don’t worry about these requirements, they are included in the guide or otherwise taken care of.

INSTALLING MODS

  • After downloading a mod, switch to the Downloads tab in the right pane of Mod Organizer 2 and double-click the file(s) to install.
  • This may open a FOMOD installer if the mod includes one. In this case you need to follow the FOMOD instructions listed in the guide.
  • After installing a mod you may want to rename it in order to reflect the version you downloaded or options you selected in the FOMOD.
    • For retextures it is useful to add the texture resolution: Embers HD 2k.
    • If there are different versions, note down which one you downloaded: Less Ugly Tundragrass –  Redder Variant.
  • When installing more than one file from the same mod page, always click Rename when prompted and give the file a unique name to install it separately. Do not select Merge or Replace.

FOMOD INSTRUCTIONS

Some mods come with a FOMOD Installer in which case instructions are provided. In some cases the choices are not completely required (particularly when they are related to texture resolution or variations) however there are some FOMODs that you have to install exactly as indicated in the instructions. Please do follow the provided instructions.

DELETING FILES

  • When instructed to delete one or several files, double-click the mod in your mod order.
  • Switch to the Filetree tab and find the files you need to remove.
  • Simply right-click them and select Remove (or select them and hit DELETE on your keyboard).

MANUAL EDITING INSTRUCTIONS

Very rarely you will be instructed to edit a plugin directly in SSEEdit. If you never touched this program before, it may be somewhat confusing at first. The edits you will be asked to make are quite simple and straight-forward however. Mods with such instructions are always optional and may be skipped.

1.3 SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

CONVERT PLUGIN

“Resave Example.esp in the Creation Kit.”

Plugins with Form Version 43 (typically downloaded from the Classic Skyrim Nexus) must be re-saved in the CK.

  • Run the Creation Kit through Mod Organizer 2.
  • Once it is loaded up, go to File > Data.
  • Select the plugin you need to convert in the list and click Set as Active File.
  • Click OK and wait for the Creation Kit to load up the plugin.
  • Go to File > Save. There will be a small confirmation message (Saving… done!) at the bottom of the window.
  • Close the Creation Kit.
  • Afterwards, you can right-click the mod in MO2 and select Mark converted/working.

EXTRACT BSA

“Unpack Example.bsa through Mod Organizer 2.”

Occasionally you will be instructed to unpack an archive, either because it was packed with the 32bit CK, or because we need the files loose to overwrite or selectively delete.

  • Switch to the Archives tab in the right pane of Mod Organizer 2.
  • Find the archive you need to unpack and right-click it (it will only show up if the mod is checked in the mod and load order).
  • Navigate to Mod Organizer 2\mods, click on the mod folder the archive belongs to and click Select Folder.
  • After unpacking the files, press F5 to refresh Mod Organizer 2.
  • Double-click the mod the archive is part of in your mod order.
  • Switch to the Filetree tab and right-click > delete the BSA.

OPTIMISE SLE ASSETS

“Run the mod through Cathedral Assets Optimiser.”

Skyrim LE meshes often need to be fixed and optimised by Cathedral Assets Optimizer before they can be used in SE. We will also use CAO on mods to optimise (compress) included textures on occasion. If a Classic Skyrim mod does not have instructions to run it through CAO this is because I already did so and found that no meshes or textures needed optimising.

  • Run Cathedral Assets Optimizer (do not launch it through Mod Organizer 2).
  • Select the SSE – Optimise SLE Assets profile from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Open Directory and navigate to Mod Organizer 2\mods.
  • Click on the folder of the mod you wish to optimise and hit Select Folder.
  • Back in CAO, click Run and wait for the process to complete.
  • Afterwards, you can right-click the mod in MO2 and select Mark converted/working.

FIX MESHES

“Run the mod through SSE NIF Optimizer.”

Very few mods in the guide need to be run through SSE NIF Optimizer instead of Cathedral Assets Optimizer to fix their meshes.

  • Double-click SSE NIF Optimizer.exe which should be located inside Your Modding Folder.
  • Click Browse and navigate to Mod Organizer 2\mods.
  • Click on the folder of the mod you wish to optimise and hit Select Folder.
  • Click Optimise and wait until the process is finished.
  • Close SSE NIF Optimizer.

CLEAN PLUGIN

“Clean Example.esp with SSEEdit.”

Very rarely a plugin may contain “dirty edits” or deleted records in which case you need to run it through the QuickAutoClean version of SSEEdit (just like we did with the official master files).

  • Run SSEEdit – Quick Cleaning through Mod Organizer 2.
  • Check only the plugin you were instructed to clean in the plugin list.
  • Click OK and wait for the process to complete (Quick Clean mode finished).
  • Close SSEEdit.

RESIZE TEXTURES

“Downsize the mod’s textures with Cathedral Assets Optimizer.”

Occasionally (re)textures are only available in a size unreasonably large for regular gameplay, potentially impacting performance for those with low VRAM. In those cases we will utilise CAO to reduce the texture resolution by half.

  • Run Cathedral Assets Optimizer.
  • Select the SSE – Downsize Textures profile from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Open Directory and navigate to Mod Organizer 2\mods.
  • Click on the mod containing the textures and Select folder.
  • Back in CAO, click Run and wait for the process to be completed.