Xbox 1-X Users
By DZ + Tarsh
Woes of the X
A Note from Tarsh
So you did it. You bought an X. All the marketing schemes and promise of "HD", whistles, bells and hey, probably wipes yer arse, too. And the only thing you probably bought it for is "oh my god Skyrim can be modded on console!" and bought into the lie that somehow modding on console was going to be just like a PC because "we use PC video cards in our console!"
And you bring that bad boy home, film the unwrapping, call your buddies, pop in all the cables, toss out your old console, listening to the HOO RAH shout of the opening Skyrim screen. You download all the mods with the most favourites and stars because those are obviously the litmus for what's ‘good' out there. You read a convoluted LO out there and you totally know where the mods go.
You wait for that opening scene... You don't need to stinkin' alternate start! You're hardcore! You can ride through a milkdrinking cart ride! Oh yeah! You got all the good sexy feel good mods. Later on you're gonna marry that Serana, you got the bitchin face textures, beer nearby. OH YEAH. You totally got this in the bag!
AND THEN EVERYTHING EXPLODES AND YOU GO CRYING AND SCREAMING TO THE FORUMS AND THEN YOU FIND TARSHANA AND TELL HER DIVINE CITIES CAUSES YOU TO CRASH.
It's kinda cute you think DC and DC:V are the cause of your crashes. DZ summoned 20 Heiskrs in DC and ran around like crazy.
Okay, so it's not Tarsh, then what is it??!! Short answer: Microsoft AND Bethesda. Both of them are to blame and nothing I can do will EVER fix the issue. Until Bethesda allows for the patch to be disabled or stops forcing 4k rendering even when a TV is NOT 4k enabled, you are stuck with a very sensitive console system.
BC6H and BC7 are not supported and will be loaded as "uncompressed". MSAA texture per-sample shaders is not supported
Supported is BC1/BC2/BC3/BC4/BC5
For UWP on Xbox One apps, the system always indicates a window size of 1920 x 1080 (i.e. 1080p). If the TV is running as 4K on an Xbox One S or Xbox One X, the swapchain content is automatically scaled up by the display hardware.
It is also possible to create a native 4k swapchain, but it's recommended you only do this while running on an Xbox One X. You can check which device the UWP is running on via a new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK (16299) API.
If you use a native 4k swapchain on Xbox One X and the TV is in a 1080p mode, then image is downscaled automatically by the display hardware which does have the effect of ‘super-sampling' for better image quality. In other words, if you decide to render at native 4k, you should do so regardless of the TV setting.
Now read that last part again by Microsoft:
Essentially what's going on is that your GPU, or graphics card, is running out of memory. When the game is upscaling 4k on 512 textures for itty bitty meshes and rendering them in one area, it's causing a system overload. Even on vanilla, the X is prone to twice as much crashing. So now that you understand this you can stop blaming DC, stop blaming USSEP and continue onward to create a well working game within the X's limits
This is the 20-year-old beast at the heart of the machine. The very code that every Elder scrolls game has run on since Morrowind. This thing has been around so long there is still code in it from Fallout 3. This is what you are asking to render a 4k image. If it were a person it would be on arthritis medication. If it were a building, it wouldn't be up to code. It's that old and rickety
Meshes & Textures
A mesh is a shape, simple as that. Name an object in Skyrim. The tomato, that shape is a mesh. Meshes have vertices. This is where the polys meet to form the shape. When the game renders that tomato it has to draw all the vertices. The more meshes, the more vertices the more the engine has to do. You are doing that in 4k which means it has to extend all the vertices out twice as far. It has to do this for everything you see in the game. Even several things you don't.
Seems obvious but it's worth it to explain that a texture is wrapped around those meshes we talked about. You don't draw a round texture for the tomato. It's a flat shape stored in a rectangular image. If I showed you a texture file as a regular image you might not even recognize what it's for. Now on the X that texture has to be stretched further to wrap around a larger object than it was designed for. Then some extra processing happens so it doesn't look blurry or distorted.
This is what modders use to make mods. The official tool from Bethesda to make anything and everything in the game. It has its limits. The CK can't alter the engine code itself. As a matter of fact it runs on top of the engine. There are a few settings that can be adjusted but these are commands carried out by the CE itself.
This means that the engine gives commands to your GPU to compute the image. At their heart games are all math. Even textures are stored as computations.
The CE can only render so fast. Bethesda set it to 30FPS. Think of each frame as a heartbeat. In one second it beats 30 times. If it beats more than that it's having a heart attack.
If it beats less it's stressed and is working harder to catch up.
System on a Chip
SoC. This is used often to describe the inner workings of a console. This is a combination of several components you'd find in a PC. Mainly the CPU and GPU.
But pressing it all on one chip you save manufacturing costs. Microsoft is a business and wants to make money so they want the Xbox to be cost effective.
This is a process by which either the manufacturer or the end user increases the clock speed of the CPU or GPU to make it run faster. Microsoft overclocked the SoC in the One X. Faster clock speed means you can do more in one second. Drawback is heat. If you run down the street you feel warmer. Your Xbox is no different.
Load On Distance
LOD or as some call it "Level of Detail" just says when an object switches from a low quality mesh/texture to a high quality one. Note I said; "low quality". Yes that means you don't need High Definition LODs. LODs aren't "high def" they are very low def. We can use these to soften the blow of an object popping up as you approach, but they are set by Bethesda and there isn't a lot that can be done with them. There are two types of load files- meshes and textures. Both are needed. However, "draw distance" is not a real term and shouldn't be used with Skyrim.
Frames Per Second
FPS, console users love to talk about these. So I'll give you facts.
+ The CE is capped to 30FPS.
+ Capped means, doesn't go past.
+ There is no such thing as a FPS boost.
+ Unless something is very wrong with your console or game this will rarely drop to 28FPS.
+ Havok, which is all movement in the game, is tied to FPS. FPS that tries to go higher than 30 would cause all moveable meshes to explode regularly and cause the game to consistently crash.
Did you have one as a child? If you did you did whatever you wanted there. Build a sandcastle, play with trucks, eat the sand. It means just doing whatever. NPCs in Skyrim sandbox most of the time they don't have a specific thing their packages tell them to do. This could be sitting in a chair, eating bread, drinking from an empty cup. They are just doing things to seem less like they aren't only there waiting for you to interact with them.
Starting A New Game
Your first task is to hop over to the mod pages and get USSEP: Click Here for Link
And Alternate Start - Live Another Life: Click Here for Link
"But Arthmoor ruins all my fun."
Well, friends, you'll have even less fun crashing all the time without those mods. What mods you use are your own business, but the X will go back to the Dashboard at the slightest provocation from Skyrim and if you know Skyrim, you know it's full of shenanigans.
Now that you have those two mods you can use the Logical Load Order to sort out everything else you want to use.
Everything else you add will go between those two mods. USSEP at the top of Masters, LAL at the bottom of the Bottom section.
Testing an LO
"But I wanted to use this character I had . . ."
NO. New game. If you had a playthrough in progress on an original Xbox One or the One S that character is dead now. They were sacrificed to the altar of 4k. You chose this when you bought the X. It's best to make a quick test character unless you have a mod that alters your character's appearance and you need to check that all the options you want are there. Once you've created your character, don't move an inch. Depending on your mods you'll see some text appear at the top left of your screen. This is your mods initializing; they need to do this or they don't work. Let them work. Once the last line of text has disappeared, give it a moment, then go ahead and turn to your right to face the statue. Now save your game.
Now load that game. Yeah, from right there in the cell. Just pause, go to >System >Load, and pick the save you just made. Should be save 2, though sometimes the LAL autosave will be under a different character called "Prisoner". This is an important step because some mods don't start until after you load a save. It also slaps the side of the system so that things like custom dialog from added quests, vendors, any added NPC will start. Otherwise that new follower you want to use might not answer you when you speak to them.
Now you can pick your start. For testing purposes there are only two starts we are interested in:
"I'm a patron at a local inn." or;
"I am camping in the woods."
Patron will let you pick an inn to start in; we want the Sleeping Giant Inn found in Riverwood.
"Camping" will drop you just outside the Helgen cave. "Patron" is good if you just need to check something added to the world. You can fast travel to someplace nearby, never directly to what you need to check, and walk the rest of the way to make sure the game doesn't crash loading your shiny new house/ town/ follower/ whatever.
"Couldn't I pick the inn that's closest?"
You could, but you need to know if your LO can survive Whiterun. Whiterun will be the litmus test of how stable your overall LO is. Other spots aren't as touchy in the base game and if you are crashing trying to get into Windhelm, you probably have a mod messing up Windhelm.
If you just want a general stability test, go with the "Patron" at the Sleeping Giant. If you want to stress test, go with "Camping." From your start you'll want to walk to Whiterun. Yes I said walk. Don't sprint, don't ride a horse, don't fast travel. Fast Travel is now your worst enemy and you want to use it sparingly. If you have a weapon or armor mod you want to try out that lets you craft it, you can pop over to the Cheat Room and craft it. Everything is in there for you to make it. Do note that if you have to be a certain level, or have a certain perk to craft your item, you can't expect to give yourself that level or perk with Cheat Room, or that the item will always unlock. In that case you'll want to do some power leveling.
Let's get back to our journey for now though. Once you make it to Honningbrew Meadery, you'll want to stop and make your next save. You know that giant fight at Pelagia Farm? Well if your beauty setup is some kind of crazy Frankenstein of mods and you've made it this far, this is where it can fail. Go ahead and walk on down to the fight, then over to Aela. Have the convo with her, and then wait for all three of the Companions to be out on the road before continuing on.
Now we are going to walk up to the Whiterun gates. If you didn't do Camping, or did and didn't go into the cave, the guard shouldn't stop you. Save here.
Whiterun will crash. Repeat that to yourself a few times so you can accept it when it happens. If it doesn't happen then you can congratulate yourself in whatever manner you deem fit. If it isn't daytime, or it's getting late in the day, go ahead and wait here till at least 8am in the morning. Once inside we are going to do something known as the Whiterun Loop.
Walk up to Idolaf (the Battle-Born in the Imperial armor) and Adrianne. Stand here and listen to their conversation. When they have finished and start walking away you can turn left and head up the stairs.
At the top you'll want to follow the path around till you are by Lars and Braith. Stand here and listen to them. Once Braith walks away, continue towards the big tree where there will be another conversation. This time between Saffir and Amren. Again wait, be sure you don't walk off until after Amren goes; "Wait . . . I" and walks off himself. He might approach you and say a random line, but once he's done talking to his wife you can head onward to the tree.
Now take another right and go down the stairs to the market. This may be a trouble spot for you so if you want to save before heading onward you can. Once in the market head left into the Bannered Mare Inn. Unless you have a mod making changes inside this is usually a quiet stop. Go ahead and save here.
Now go back outside. You should see both Idolaf and Olfrid Battle-Born speaking with Fralia Grey-Mane. If one of the Battle-Borns isn't there don't panic. Just wait for them to show up or for the conversation to end and the Battle-Born that is there to leave and Fralia go back behind her stall. By now the three Companions you met outside should be making their way through the market up to Jorrvaskr. Follow them up. They will most likely walk around the back of the hall and either sandbox there, or head inside. Once they do go back around front and save your game facing the door here. Now load that save. This is what's known as a; save/load. Get used to this as you'll be doing it a lot on the X.
Once your save is loaded, head inside. You should see the fight; if it crashes you may need to rethink some mods. Don't rule out weapon and armor mods as these can be more trouble than you realize. If you do crash, try to load that save and head inside again. If you make it this time you might be able to chalk it up to Skyrim being Skyrim. But expect a bumpy ride.
Walk over to where the fight is; you may even have to walk up to one of the fighters for the fight to draw to its end. Once it's over and everyone goes on about their business you can head out the back door. Just make sure no one else is using the door or talking to you when you use it. This is something else that can make the X crazy with Skyrim.
Once outside walk toward the back wall of the city over towards the rock wall on the left. You should hear hammering or such up from the forge atop the hill you are below. Now walk along the path on the left till you get to the front of the hall. Then to the right and up the stairs to the Skyforge. Walk to the far end of this area. Then turn around and head back down, following the paths back to the tree. Take your right and go up the steps to Dragonsreach.
Pretty place right? Welcome to your nightmares. Repeat this until you accept it:
"Dragonsreach will crash, especially during quests."
If you can get through an entire playthrough, of the full main questline, and the civil war side quest without ever, once, crashing while entering, exiting, or j ust being inside of Dragonsreach... Well, you can pop your collar next time you walk down the street.
Save at the door of Dragonsreach. Load that save. Yeap. You will save/load every time you want to enter Jorrvaskr or Dragonsreach.
Now head inside. Did you make it? Great! If not, load and try again. If you don't make it after a second load it's back to the drawing board for your LO, because it's not going to be fun times for you if you don't change it. Once inside, walk all the way to the Jarl's throne. Turn around and head back to the entrance. Save it. Exit Dragonsreach. Did you make it? Good, things are going well for you. If you didn't, try again. If it doesn't work the second time, back to the drawing board.
Once you are back out in greater Whiterun, head down the steps all the way to the market. Take the right and walk to the city gates. This should be a peaceful walk if you've made it this far without problems. Once you are at the gates, you guessed it, save. Now exit the city. Did you load back into Skyrim? Great. You did it.Whiskey and cookies for everyone. If you didn't, drawing board.
If you didn't have the quest "Before the Storm" running during this test, you may want to now go ahead and start that by heading back to Helgen and picking up where you left it off. It's good to play through to the end of "Dragon Rising" just to be sure everything is running smoothly, or at least well enough for you not to spike your controller in anger.
Now you want to be sure to check out anything else you want to do this playthrough. Can you get the house you want to live in? The follower you want at your side?
The quest mod you wanted to play this time? Try out anything you added with mods and make sure it's running the way you like it. When you find a trouble spot run down the quick troubleshooting checklist:
-Did I try to save/load beforehand?
-Did I try it with vanilla clothing/armor on?
-Do I have too many things in my inventory?
-Do I have too many active effects? Spells, enchantments, potion effects, food effects, passive or active abilities added by mods?
-Am I sure the Xbox One X is worth this?
Ok, that last one is semi-serious. If you have another Xbox One, it might behoove you to hook it up and use it just for Skyrim. Yeah, it's that bad. People have actually traded their Xes for an S just because Skyrim was their main game and they were tired of all the crashing.
Do's and Don't's of the 1-X
Time for the do's and don'ts of One X modding for Skyrim.
Don't use SMIM.
"But my pretty!"
Name 20 things changed by SMIM. Go ahead I'll wait.
Meshes have to be rendered, and since the default for most meshes is around 2k they have to be doubled to be 4k.
That means twice the work and twice the memory used. Are rounder tomatoes and more attractive goblets really worth extra crashing?
The answer is no, no they are not. I know the vanilla chains and ropes are ugly as sin.
That's why I included them in Dark Ages - Texture Overhaul (Architecture Pack)
Want the interiors of places to look nicer? Grab Divine Texture Pack - Furniture and Rugs.
If you are using Ennead that alters the banners you'll want to be sure to grab the patch, too,
Don't use mods that say "uncompressed textures," or anything that's 4k and up. I know your silly Xbox is supposed to do 4k, but Skyrim wasn't made in 4k. So Bethesda set it up to double the resolution and that's a global. Can't change it. You put in a 4k texture or mesh and it will blow up to 8k. An 8k texture (are you for real?) will blow up to 16k. How fast do you think you'll burn through all the memory the Xbox has at that rate? You. Will. Crash. Then you'll start hunting through your mods looking for a suspect and blame some poor mod that doesn't have anything to do with it. Yes, your textures can be at fault. No, your textures aren't "lowering your frames". This isn't Windows, you can't move the frames.
Don't use a mod that says it's audio and then is in the hundreds of MB. No, no, no. You'd have to replace every piece of audio in the game to use so much space. Audio files are smol. I put a lot of voice files into my Villages mod and it takes up 1.5MB. Arthmoor did a huge sound mod and it's only 16MB. The only mod I would recommend that is that large would be Relationship Dialogue Overhaul.Don't use Open Cities. *gasp *horror. Tarsh Gaming says not to use an Arthmoor mod! Calm down Sparky. Arthmoor is a pillar of the modding community, even if he doesn't think so. You can't go wrong with most of his mods, but this one mod will send your One X back to the Dashboard. We are unable to use it on the X due to the fact it's too much for the X to render. It's a great mod, but not something we can use.
Don't use mods that say they do anything for FPS. It's snake oil, placebo, whatever word you like for something that will hurt more than it will ever help. Skyrim is capped at 30FPS. That's so the game doesn't implode from running too fast. That NPC running for cover? Tied to the tick speed of 30FPS. The game thinks as it renders, everything is tied to that cap. You might, might, drop down to 28FPS during really busy scripted events like Alduin attacking Helgen, or the Battle of Whiterun/ Solitude/ Windhelm. This is not an LO issue, this is a; "oh crap I have a lot to do" issue internally in the game. You are not making it easier by piling mods on top of it. A stutter, jitter, tearing, or whatever, is normal too. If it bothers you then don't play games that run on 20-year-old engines. No mod can "fix" this. Thinning your LO will not fix it. It simply is.
Don't fast travel. I know, you've played Skyrim 100 times before and seen it all. Well the X hates fast traveling and hates you for making it do it. "Oh you want to fast travel hey? Here, watch me go quickly to the Dashboard." Use the carriages. Get my Divine Cites - Travel by Boat mod. Ride a horse, smell a flower, just don't fast travel unless you have to.
Don't use sprint mods. Unlimited sprinting, 2x sprinting, doesn't matter. The X can't think that fast and load all those multiplied meshes and textures. Now that you are on an X, Skyrim has a speed limit. If you break it, you could break your game. This could be a crash, could be a corrupted save. Could be the end of that character. Just don't risk it.
Don't use jumping mods. You aren't Superman, you are the Dovahkiin, and it's lore that you can't fly. Odahviing says as much during the game. The higher you are the more the game has to render, and at the speed of a jump that's a lot to render really fast. Once again you are risking breaking the game just like with the previous suggestion.
Don't use quick saves. While generally they are okay they can save in the middle of a conversation needed for a quest which can cause unwanted behaviour later. Turn it off and use your manual saves.
Do save often. Keep at most 10 saves per character. Honestly 4 saves will get you through a playthrough. One save before the start of a quest, 3 saves to alternate through as you navigate loading doors, carriage rides, whatever. Once you complete the quest you can overwrite the quest save. If you want to keep a fallback point that's fine. Just don't go crazy with the saves.
Do keep a light inventory. Do you need it right now? Will you need it on this next quest? If the answer to either of those is "No" then store it. I've given you many, many options for storing items. From cloud storage in Divine Cities, to the backpack and saddlebag options in Immersive Follower Framework. The game has to load everything on you and your followers everywhere you go. That's just how it's coded. Stay light and the game will be light.
Do Save/Load before entering/exiting and in between. We went over this when talking about the Whiterun Loop. You have the X, you have to save/load. If you ask; "I can't get inside of ____" then the next question from us will be; "Did you save/load?"
Do take breaks. No, I'm not your mam. I don't care how much time you spend playing games. But the Xbox gets hot. And when a GPU gets hot it gets slow. When Skyrim gets slow it crashes. The One X runs hotter than the regular Ones because it's overclocked. It might be fine when you are playing your Gears of Duty or Fortbattlegounds. But Skyrim is a delicate flower and will wilt in the heat.
Do enjoy your game. We want Skyrim to be a fun experience for all players. That's the reason we do everything we do. Take your screenshots, make your game clips. Tell your friends about that one time you saw skelebro in the Whiterun Fur Traders. If you aren't having fun with it why are you doing it? Build an LO that is fun for you and only you! Not one that ProYouTwitcher5000XXXDarthBallin666 said was great.
Hopefully this guide will prepare you for the trail you face playing modded Skyrim on the One X. If you read this hoping to get a 100% perfect LO then you are already mistaken because there is no such thing. Use just USSEP and LAL if you just want stability. But even then, you will crash. Where you crash and why you crash are anyone's guess. But we've had a lot of experience helping players with their Skyrim games. Come on over the Tarsh Gaming Discord for real time modding help.