Porting Mods to Skyrim SE

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Porting Mods to Skyrim SE


Porting mods from Classic Skyrim to the Special Edition is not difficult. You can do it in a matter of minutes.

That being said, there are various procedures for different parts of mods that you will need to make use of. Over time you will learn them and just go through the motions. For the sake of this guide - and to eliminate the need to repeat myself over and over - the basic methods are listed below in great detail. They are largely the same, regardless of the mod.

Converting Plugins

One of the more obscure changes that the upgrade to the Special Edition brought was the change to FORM VERSION. Now as far as I am aware it is still not known why this changed or what the change means, but running plugins with Form Version 43 (Classic Skyrim plugins) in the Special Edition has been linked to (false) save game corruption and other issues. Always make sure all your plugins are made for or converted to the Special Edition. You can do this by loading up your plugin(s) in xEdit and checking the plugin header.

Form Version 43 - Form Version 44

Checking the plugin header is not necessary for mods in this guide. Mods that need converting were marked as such.

If you do find plugins with Form Version 43, you need to 're-save' them. This is done by loading them up into the Creation Kit and saving them there to update the Form Version to 44.

  • Launch the Creation Kit through Mod Organizer 2 - picture.
  • Click the little folder icon to select your plugin - picture.
  • Find your plugin in the list, check it and click Select as Active File - picture.
  • Also check all its masters, then click OK - picture.
  • Wait for the Creation Kit to load your plugins.
  • Click the disc icon to save the plugin - picture.
  • Close the Creation Kit. Done!

Unpacking BSAs

Bethesda Softworks Archives (BSAs) contain assets for a mod. They are loaded alongside a plugin with the same name. Classic Skyrim BSAs are not compatible with Skyrim SE and they will crash the game on startup if you attempt to load them up. Any BSAs that come with Classic Skyrim mods must be unpacked.

  • In MO2's left pane, switch to the Archives tab - picture.
  • Right-click the BSA you want to extract and select Extract - picture.
  • Point it at the folder of the mod to which the BSA belongs - picture.
  • Finally delete the BSA from the mod folder.

Optimizing Meshes

Using ousnius' tool NIF Optimizer we can easily and automatically convert NIFs for the Special Edition. What the tool does is remove unnecessary parts from some meshes or add parts to others. Do not use NIF Optimizer on facegen or any head parts.

  • Launch SSE NIF Optimizer and make sure it is configured correctly - picture.
  • To optimize the meshes of a specific mod, click Browse.
  • Point the application at the meshes folder inside mod's folder (Mod Organizer 2\mods\your mod\meshes) - picture.
  • Click Optimize and wait for NIF Optimizer to process the meshes.
  • Close NIF Optimizer once it's done.