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Some fairly beginner modding questions.


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Hello fellow enthusiasts. I am fairly new to modding still and know just enough to be slightly dangerous, maybe not even slightly really. I have a few questions, that try as I might, I haven't found answers to yet, so I am reaching out to the community for guidance in an effort to learn best practices and not bad habits. Perhaps someone else may find my questions also help them out as well. I have watched videos, searched the internet, read numerous posts from mod pages, Reddit, Nexus Forums, etc. but my questions still plague me. I have listed my questions numerically for easier referencing, I hope. Thank you in advance for any wisdom and insight you share.


1 - It's been recommended by many to install mods by their groupings (NPC, Textures, Utilities, etc.) in a certain order. That order takes many different forms depending on who you ask. Many mods also require patches to make them play well with other mods, like LoTD. Furthermore, it has been highly recommended to test your load order, in game, every 5-7 mods as you are installing. My question is when working with larger load orders, how should one test if you haven't installed the required patches yet. I ask because it's my understanding that patches should be loaded towards the bottom of your load order. I can't seem to work this out in my head for some reason.


2 - Regarding dirty edits, ITMs, cleaning mods in general, etc. should this be done (as required) each and every time you install a new mod to your load order? What if there is a patch required later in the load order but hasn't been loaded yet, does that even matter?


3 - Are there opinions on which is better - SSEEDIT, xEdit, or TeSEdit? Having never taken the plunge to try to clean or fix anything yet I don't know a thing about them really. I am gathering the courage to finally try though. Thoughts?


4 - FOMODs. This may be a potato question, but I feel compelled to ask. As you are installing mods, the first time a FOMOD runs you may not have all your mods installed yet. When you finally do install a mod or mods that a previously installed FOMOD covered, you simply reinstall that mod to force the FOMOD to re-run and capture the newest mod installed, yes? I've been doing it this way but want to make sure this is what I should be doing.


If you are able to assist, please spell it out. I'm not a spring chicken anymore and I don't know a lot of computer jargon, but I *am* willing to learn. I love this game, just like Shirley, but having seen videos of what our wonderful modding community has created I just can't go back to Skyrim 2011, ever again. I love the beauty that can be applied to this game so I will, nay I MUST, learn to mod my game. Again, thank you for any assistance or guidance you can provide.

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If you use Mod Organizer 2 (MO2), then installing mods by their groupings can be helpful to begin a set of mods. I used the orig MO for awhile in Skyrim LE, dropped it when I went over to SE, so I am not really familiar with the latest version. Patches should be installed, so you avoid crashes/errors that have already been 'fixed'.


If you use Vortex, it tries to make sure that things are in proper order as you install each, and the groupings don't matter as much. IMO, the groupings are mainly there to ease transition between previous users of NMM, MO, and MO2 to Vortex. There are quite a few ppl that find Vortex's method of conflict resolution confusing, especially when you have to force a loading order between individual plugins (doesn't happen as much now, as compared to earlier). For plugin LO adjustment, drag-and-drop is the order of the day, using the interconnect symbols on the far right of the plugin page in Vortex. It can be a real pain w/a long mod list, I hope that some way is made to make it easier to navigate when you do need it (maybe there is a way that I have missed). But, like I said earlier, this doesn't seem to be as necessary as earlier in Vortex development.


Cleaning has long been a controversial topic, but if you plan to use DynDOLOD 3 for your landscape visuals, you will need to learn to clean mods, as both DynDOLOD and LODGen require cleaned files. SSEEdit and Tes5Edit are simply renamed versions of xEdit (look at the description page/installation instructions) that have different 'command line' edits that tells xEdit which game it is working with. BTW, this is also true about the LODGen, just a renamed/reconfigured xEdit.


Re: FOMODs - that is the way I do it, too. Especially since there are some mods that make a real effort to adapt to newer mods, and updates make new relationships between mods.

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I know they say to test your game every so many mods. That is just a suggestion rather than a rule. In my opinion it would be better to install a grouping of mods that cover the same thing (i.e. character appearance mods) and then test to see how they function and work well together. Then move on to the next thing such as landscape and lighting mods. If you install based on what the mods do, chances are you'll end up including any necessary patches within that group. Rather than a fixed number of mods and then test, it might end up being anywhere from one mod to ten or more per grouping.


Fomods should almost always be "re-installed" after installing new mods that that mod is designed to work with. But then a new game might be required depending upon the changes made. As a result, try to not keep the same character run going for the testing of mod groups. Rather start over or use the console to jump to a nearby area via the COC command.

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Thank you Leonidas and IshraMeradin for replying.


Apologies, I forgot to include that I do use MO2 with LOOT. I did try Vortex once way back and found that I preferred MO at the time due to more in depth functionality, despite not really using its capabilities. I still use MO2 today and have become a bit more familiar with it thanks to some wonderful videos from Gamer Poet and sheer trial and error, but I still have to follow the videos quite closely if attempting to do anything more than installing mods. I do plan to use DynDOLOD 3 at the end once everything is installed and functioning. Should I clean or fix each mod (as needed according to LOOT or mod author) before installing the next mod or do them in small groups? To deal with conflicts, I would think I may have to fix the same mod multiple times as my load order grows as well. In my first trial run of mod installation, I have been alerted to ITMs, files that need cleaning, a wild edit from Apocalypse, and several messages about missing patches that I honestly thought I had installed already. I will be revisiting those specific mods to try to discover what went wrong before my next attempt.


IshraMeradin - I do have my mod choices sorted on spreadsheet according to which category the mod fell under according to Nexus SSE. I have found a few that once loaded, did not load into the expected category in MO2. I don't believe that is actually an issue as it's not the actual plugin list, but it did throw me a bit as I was really trying to install by those categorized groups. Somewhere along the way I found I was rather forced to skip ahead and install patches here and there in order to test the stability of the game. Needless to say, it got a bit muddled from that point on. I had worked my way into the "Buildings" group and for some silly reason thought I would be okay installing all of JK's Interiors one right after another, followed by the patches, but alas no, now I have lost game stability beyond 5-10 minutes in game. I don't know what I was thinking. :facepalm: I feel pretty good that I got as far as I did, rather successfully, at least up until the last install session. To make sure I understand, you are suggesting I try to install mods categorized by what they affect, not necessarily by how Nexus or the mod author has categorized them as a mod in Nexus? For instance, DAR is categorized as a utility, but it affects animations, so I should load DAR with all my animation mods. I see benefit in this method as it allows me to install any required patches for that grouping and I can test it in game better. I think I could still loosely follow a load order (not plugin order) like, bug/engine fixes first, then utilities, so on and so forth. City overhauls would be grouped together based on the city they affect, and patches almost have to be installed all along the way, not just at the bottom of the load order. I did load Alternate Start pretty early on simply so I can bypass the vanilla start of the game and try to use it to get around the map at the start easier and I always start a new game each time I go in to test stability and compatibility. I have used COC a couple times and have codes for other areas, but I'm not used to using console commands so have tried to avoid using them. I will practice COC more in safe areas. Despite the disappointment in deciding to start over with a clean slate, there were previous aspects that I was not happy with, and I think I will do better this time around. Practice does make perfect, and I am determined.


Thank you both for your feedback and suggestions. :smile:

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I find separators for the left panel of MO2 helpful, I use this one in particular, the separators are all numbered, grouped and in the right order https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/79426?tab=description


The left panel order is also important as this is the order in which meshes and textures load, you must sort it manually, so the numbered separators take the confusion away, you then have clear groupings in which to install into as IsharaMeradin suggests.


Don't be worried to much about ITM's and dirty edits, capable mod authors will tend this themselves, most of the time, sometimes ITM's are necessary for a mod to function correctly and removing them will break the mod so be aware of that, it is generally noted somewhere on the mod page/comments when this is the case.


Do a search for STEP modding guide it answers everything, also LEXY's LOTD and other general guides are beyond value, DarkFox has some quality easy to follow guides on youtube. :)

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Yes, those separators for MO2 are quite helpful.

Here are the STEP guide links with helpful information even if not using the same mods:

Skyrim LE

Skyrim SE with AE


Also remember that the left panel of MO2 can have the mod folders shifted around in order to simulate a carefully planned out installation order. I am so glad that both MO2 and Vortex have taken away the need to carefully plan which mod gets installed first. MO2 lets you rearrange their order and hide individual files while Vortex lets you set up rules to achieve the same result.

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  • 2 weeks later...

DashyBurn - I looked at the mod separators Better Separators For Mod Organizer 2 (MO2) at Skyrim Special Edition Nexus - Mods and Community (nexusmods.com) and absolutely love them. I have been struggling with categorizing my mods already and this will help immensely. Thank you!


IsharaMeradin - "In my opinion it would be better to install a grouping of mods that cover the same thing (i.e., character appearance mods)..." I fear I may have taken your words quite literally and separated them into the areas they affect. For instance, I put any mod altering Solitude in a group regardless of what type of mod they are.

  • Enhanced Solitude SSE
  • Enhanced Solitude Docks
  • Solitude Skyway
  • JK's Angeline's Aromatics
  • JK's Bits and Pieces
  • JK's Blue Palace
  • JK's Castle Dour
  • JK's Radiant Raiment
  • JK's Temple of the Divines
  • JK's The Bard's College
  • JK's The Winking Skeever
  • Solitude and Temple Frescoes SSE
  • Rob's Bug Fixes - Enhanced Solitude Docks
  • Lanterns of Skyrim II TML - Enhanced Solitude Docks Patch
  • JK's Interiors Patch Collection

I am not sure this is what you meant. Quite often I take things very literal when I am unsure of what the right thing to do is, call it my character defect. In my head this does make sense because I can go into Solitude, after everything is loaded, and check for stability and make sure everything is working properly.


I will admit, ashamedly, I have a large load order. I am already berating myself for such a foolish undertaking. I have looked, read, and studied my mod choices trying to ensure there would be no glaring conflicts and laid them out on spreadsheet for scrutinization. All I can say in my defense is - the heart wants what the heart wants, and I am willing to work for this. Once past the specific cities, towns, villages, and hamlets my LO starts to look like what the MO2 separators look like, just a rougher less finely tuned version (for now) of it. This is where my head is stuck. Is this a bad way to go? Is it possible to merge these two methods together in this way?


P.S. My current LO was done prior to reviewing Better Separators for Mod Organizer 2 (MO2).

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As long as it makes sense to you and you understand what the associated mods do and can tell when testing if there is a conflict needing to be resolved, it should be fine.


Personally, I start with the player character as that is the one thing that I will always see. Then I branch out to armor / clothing / weapons that I will for certain use. I incorporate any third-party extenders (SKSE, Papyrus Util, FISS, etc) as needed. My current game has two primary focuses: actually play through the LotD mod; test some reported issues with one of my mods. Thus I include some of the mods that I made that I will not play without and LotD along with a number of supported mods and patches to go with.


These "groupings" of mods that I install are not necessarily within the same "group" in the mod manager. Its more like, having a handful of mods that are loosely associated, installing them, checking them out in xEdit, testing them briefly in the game if need be, and then moving to the next set of loosely associated mods. And that association can be anything. Maybe there is a mod author whose mods you like, those could be installed as a "group" and checked out before proceeding.


Aside from eventually running low on memory and seeing things not load properly, my game is pretty stable. I do have the issue where a black box covers part of the screen after going through a load door. This is resolved by saving and reloading that save, thus I consider it a non-issue as far as stability is concerned.

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I cannot thank you enough IsharaMeradin and everyone else who responded with your insights. I am nearly done fine tuning my mod list using the MO2 separators on spreadsheet. I figured doing this first would aid in the actual installation process itself. I'll be using Gamer Poet's video (284) [Archived] Skyrim Special Edition || Clean Installation || Tutorial Tirdas - YouTube for a clean start and then will begin installing mods again. :dance:


I am not an early bird nor a night owl. I am some sort of permanently exhausted pigeon. :laugh:

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