The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Patches and Updates

Official Updates

As of April 29th, 2012, the latest update for the PC version is 1.5.26.[1]

Community Patch

As per tradition, a user-created unofficial patch is in the making for Skyrim and is currently in a Beta stage. The patch fixes many issues in the vanilla game. You can view the patch's description and download it by visiting the official forum thread.

Downloadable Content (DLC)

Issues and Fixes

General Crash Advice

  • Make sure that you have the latest official update, or any well known unofficial crash fixes.
  • Check for problems with your graphics driver (outdated, corrupt or buggy drivers can cause major faults).
    • Utilities bundled with some NVIDIA cards (Smartdoctor, GameOSD and Splendid) have been known to cause crashes and performance issues. Try uninstalling these.
  • For Steam versions, verify the game cache (right click the game in your library, choose "Properties", navigate to the "Local Files" tab and choose "Verify integrity of game cache").
  • Deactivate recently installed mods.
  • If experiencing crashing with loading saved games and WETrigger<(xxxxx)> Error OnInit() type errors after installing mods, install the Creation Kit for better compatability

Disable Mouse Smoothing/Acceleration

Mouse Smoothing is a feature in game engines designed to give users a smoother feel to mouse movements. However, many users prefer to turn off this feature as it may cause accuracy issues or feel unnatural/uncomfortable.

To disable mouse smoothing, navigate to
C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\
and edit SkyrimPrefs.ini. In the [Controls] section, change:
 bMouseAcceleration=1

To:

 bMouseAcceleration=0

After making the change, save the file.[3]

Quest Bugs

If you're looking for help resolving a game-related issue such as quests, take a look at the relevant wikis listed at the bottom of this article. Do not post quest bugs in this article.

Fix Shadow Striping Caused by Lights

The mod Shadow Striping Fix fixes an issue with shadows in vanilla Skyrim. It does not have a special requirement, and can be easily installed by using the Nexus Mod Manager. Alternatively, you may download the file manually and place its contents in the Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\Data folder. Once you've installed the data files, enable "Shadow Striping Fix.esp" through the Skyrim Launcher's "Data Files" option or the Nexus Mod Manager.

Fix Lighting and Texture Errors Caused by AMD GPUs

If you're using an AMD GPU running 12.2 or 12.3 catalyst you will experience graphical glitches unless you disable anti-aliasing. Download this mod to fix the issue.

This has since been fixed with catalyst 12.4

Disable V-Sync

Disabling V-Sync may aid in eliminating mouse lag and improving performance. However, disabling V-Sync may result in the following:

  • Screen tearing.
  • Hyper-sensitive vertical mouse movement when getting high FPS (above 60).
  • In-game physics and timing glitches.

These issues can be partially or fully resolved by using an external FPS limiter or by enabling Triple Buffering through software like RivaTuner or your GPU's control panel.

To disable V-Sync, edit the file SkyrimPrefs.ini found in
C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\
Edit the following line:
 iPresentInterval=1

To:

 iPresentInterval=0

After making the change, save the file.[4]

Graphical Tweaks

Skyrim has its fair share of graphical bugs and faults. Fortunately, there are many tweaks available to PC users in order to rectify graphical issues.

Custom Resolution

Skyrim's launcher has a limited choice of game resolution options, which may not account for a large amount of users who want to use a custom resolution (e.g. 640x480 for players on low-end machines).

To use a custom resolution, edit the file SkyrimPrefs.ini found in
C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\
Edit the following lines:
 iSize W=$$$$
 iSize H=####

Replace $$$$ with the desired screen width (e.g. 1920, 1680, 1024). Replace #### with the desired screen height (e.g. 1080, 1050, 768).[5]

Change Field of View

Skyrim's default FoV is 75, which is OK for many people but may seem like too much or too little for others.

To change the default FoV, edit the file SkyrimPrefs.ini found in
C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\
Add the following line to the [General] section:
 fdefaultfov=##

Next, edit Skyrim.ini in the same location. In the [Display] section, add the following lines:

 fDefaultWorldFOV=##
 fDefault1stPersonFOV=##.0000

Change ## to your desired FoV (80, 90, 100, etc.) in all of the lines above and save both files. You should also set both SkyrimPrefs.ini and Skyrim.ini to be "Read-only" files.[6]

  • You can change the FoV manually while in-game through the console (accessible through the ~ key). Use the command "fov ##" and hit enter (## = your desired FoV). To close the console, hit the ~ key once more. Changing FoV manually is useful for experimenting and finding the optimal FoV setting for your system and personal preference. However, manual FoV changes reset every time you exit the game.

Enable Tree and Rock Self-Shadowing

By default, Skyrim's engine does not render shadows for trees and rocks.

To enable shadows for trees and rocks, edit the file SkyrimPrefs.ini found in
C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\
Edit the following lines:
 bDrawLandShadows=0
 bTreesReceiveShadows=0

To:

 bDrawLandShadows=1
 bTreesReceiveShadows=1

After making the change, save the file.[7]

uGrids Tweak

Skyrim is divided into small areas called uGrids. Changing the amount of uGrids loaded at any given time will change the detail level of distant locations (i.e. improve view distance). Skyrim loads the five nearest uGrids by default. Before changing this value, consult the following:

  • Altering back and forth between uGridsToLoad values may corrupt your saved games. Create a backup of your save files before attempting to tweak this value.
  • Changing the uGridsToLoad value to anything higher than the default value may cause severe performance issues on some systems.
  • Changing the uGridsToLoad value to anything higher than 7 or lower than 5 may be unstable.
  • An example of uGridsToLoad=5 versus uGridsToLoad=7 can be found here.
To change the amount of uGrids loaded, edit the file Skyrim.ini found in
C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\
In the [General] section add the following line:
 uGridsToLoad=#

Change # to the desired number of uGrids you wish to load (must be an odd number - 7, 9, 11) and save the file.[8]

Anti-aliasing and FXAA

You can enable Anti-aliasing from the game's launcher. However, you may want to consult the following:

  • It appears that using the 8x setting over 4x causes a heavy performance decrease with no significant image quality improvement.[9]
  • Turning on FXAA in the advanced options menu increases performance significantly when using Anti-aliasing but results in a slightly blurrier image.

Anisotropic Filtering

You can enable Anisotropic Filtering from the game's launcher. Enabling Anisotropic Filtering will cause a great improvement in image quality with a very low drop in FPS, and is highly recommended for any modern graphics card. The optimal setting is 8x, as it provides the best quality-to-performance ratio.[10]

Performance Improvements

There are some ways to improve Skyrim's performance without altering its graphical settings.

  • SkyBoost is a third-party tool designed to remove coding bottlenecks from Skyrim's engine.
    • Make sure that you are using the latest version, it may sometimes be found on the author's website.
    • In order to install, consult the "readme" file that is provided inside of the archive.
  • D3D9Gen b3 may or may not provide improved performance.
    • Choose "Set my video card by text", choose the "SLOW" option and generate a d3d9.dll file. Move that .dll file to your main Skyrim folder
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\
      and use the game's launcher to make sure your options were not reset.[11]

Other Improvements

Borderless Fullscreen Windowed

It is possible to run Skyrim in Borderless Windowed Fullscreen mode by using a third party executable.

  • Simple Borderless Window at Skyrim Nexus
    • Follow the installation instructions found in the mod's description.
    • If you are using the Skyrim Script Extender (see the Tools section), Simple Borderless Window should automatically find and use it.

Skip Intro Sequence

Skyrim forces a short intro sequence when entering the game. This sequence cannot be skipped by any normal means.

To skip this sequence, edit Skyrim.ini found in
C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\
and add the following line to the [General] section:
sIntroSequence=

Save the file. If this fix is reset by the game's launcher, enable "Read-only" for Skyrim.ini.[12]

This tweak refers to skipping the initial Bethesda splash screen. Delete or rename the file BGS_Logo.bik in:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\Data\Video\

Mods

Skyrim, like many of Bethesda Game Studios' games, enjoys a prolific modding scene. Mods are usually uploaded to central hubs like Skyrim Nexus or Planet Elder Scrolls, where they can be downloaded easily and free of charge by users. Skyrim also marked a turning point in game modding, as it is the first ever game to utilise the Steam Workshop for public mod releases. Users can subscribe to mods through the Workshop and have them automatically delivered and updated by using the game's launcher.[13]

Mod Incompatibility

Some mods are not compatible with other mods. This can be caused by poor coding, engine issues or both mods altering the same game files. Incompatibility could cause game crashes, disappearing textures and other faults. It is generally recommended to read the descriptions and "Readme" files of mods, as they contain installation guides and notes about compatibility and/or incompatibility with other mods. You should not use two mods that are known to conflict with each other if they do not have a compatibility patch.

Tools

  • The Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) is an essential third-party executable which expands Skyrim's native support for various mods. You will be required to use SKSE if you install any mod that uses it. There is no performance loss or downside to using SKSE other than compatibility with the latest Skyrim patch, since it takes a short while for SKSE to update when an official patch is released.
  • Wrye Bash is an all-in-one mod tool that can be used to install/uninstall mods, enable/disable plugins, apply BOSS sorting, increase mod compatibility by creating a Bashed Patch, edit .ini files, backup saves and exceed the 255 mod limit.

User Interface

  • SkyUI is a plugin which completely overhauls Skyrim's default (and PC-unfriendly) user interface. It is considered a must-have mod by many, as it is highly suitable for keyboard-and-mouse controls and includes sorting options, a search feature, support for high resolutions and more.
    • Requires the Skyrim Script Extender.
  • Categorized Favorites Menu expands Skyrim's default "favorites" interface, which is very obviously adapted for consoles and not a keyboard-and-mouse interface.
    • Requires the Skyrim Script Extender.

Save File Location

Skyrim's saves are located in
C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\Saves\

The game also creates a back up of the latest auto-saves and quick-saves. It is possible to export/import saves to/from the Xbox 360 by using this guide.

System Requirements

Template:SysReq

References

  1. http://www.bethblog.com/2012/03/29/incremental-pc-update-live-on-steam/
  2. http://store.steampowered.com/news/7293/
  3. http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2227329
  4. http://www.geforce.com/Optimize/Guides/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-tweak-guide
  5. http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120118080040AAZVDZb
  6. http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2227329
  7. http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2227329
  8. http://www.geforce.com/Optimize/Guides/five-fast-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-tweaks-guaranteed-to-make-your-game-look-even-better
  9. http://www.geforce.com/Optimize/Guides/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-tweak-guide
  10. http://www.geforce.com/Optimize/Guides/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-tweak-guide
  11. http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/615805-/61172820
  12. http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=11
  13. http://store.steampowered.com/news/7293/
  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM-PGRodvFw

Useful Links

See Also