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Skyrim Script Limitations


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#1 Nearox

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:22 PM

May or may not be something new for all of you, but I am personally still trying to get a good estimate of the limits of the skyrim engine. Very hard to find useful information about this anywhere on the internet.  I therefore thought it would be a good idea to open a thread about script mods and to share our experiences with them, in particular how well a combination of mods plays out for you. 

What are your thoughts about Skyrim's scripting limitations? At which point do you believe that scripts start to cause unacceptable levels of ctds/freezes (as per your own definitions)? Which combination of script mods could you identify as a likely cause for stability/instability, and why? In what ways do you quantify your maximum allowed number of script mods?

Instead of starting by sharing my own experiences, which only go back to about 2 months of Skyrim modding, I suppose one of the best sources to quote for opening this thread is a renowned script mod author himself. About a week ago, Isoku posted some interesting insights with regards to total script load of the skyrim engine.

Copy/pasting some of the conversation here for easy reference. Check here for more: https://forums.nexus...92#entry9319199

observations by domw


response by Isoku


comments by ploeperpengel


Edit: updated with correct Isoku post
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#2 Deathwing514

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:37 PM

I will personally let you know which mods will cause CTD/Freezes. Burn Freeze Shock : Has been proven by STEP/Nexus members alike that this mod does cause freezes/CTD. Deadly Spell Impact : Skyrims engine does not seem to like high res decals which was stated by the author isoku. (However, this mod does work 100% if you delete the esp and use the medium version) Warzones Civil Unrest: Abandoned and has alot of dirty edits which causes the game to be unstable. Proven to CTD your game. I have many more, but will add them later because of time constraints at the moment. Regarding script latency, I would recommend Convenient Horses as it includes a script tester which will run in the background to see how heavy your script use is. I have talked with the author through Personal Message, and he has stated from our conversation that keeping the script latency below 100 would be recommended.
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#3 Aiyen

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:47 PM

Pretty much everything there is not new. Its more or less the conclusion we have arrived at here over the past few months. Still a good read. One thing I found really interesting, and one that I have spent a bit of time trying to investigate is that of adding more stuff to the games leveled lists. Originally I thought that would not be a big deal, but ofc. the larger the list the more complex the computation to equip all NPC´s etc. I know many people like immersive armors, and weapons and Jz´s Swords etc. And I have noted a few cases where the game got more stable after they where removed. Granted this was mainly in relation to ILS and general loading issues. I personally do not use any added armors or weapons etc. since I honestly think the game has enough already. I can understand that SkyRe users kinda must, so its even more vital that they also keep this in mind.

#4 Nearox

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 06:37 AM

@Deathwing: Yeah I've read and known about those mods for some time. Removed BFS and DSI from mod list long ago. Never had Warzones because so many people report issues with it. The script latency feature is nice and I've been using it, but I am not entirely sure that latency by itself is a good indication of stability, though it can help. Some scripts conflict, overlap or simply apply too many different things to an npc causing the game to crash. What is nice about the CH function though, is that right after loading a game it display a high script latency (usualyl between 400 and 700ms on my install) from which I suppose one can derive the proper setting for the papyrus fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS=x setting. @Aiyen, indeed and like I said in the OP, a lot of these things are not new for you and many experienced others. But there is not 1 central point of information about this, even though script mods are the topic of a vast amount of issues here. I think it would be a good idea, for both the more experienced/knowledgable and the less, to have one topic with a compilation of known possible issues with a certain script mod or a combination of such mods. In my view, such a compilation would not try to portray absolute solutions or answers, but would rather be more like a collection of informed opinions/experiences/knowledge about running several script mods simultaneously. It would also extend to leveled lists and to cloaking feature stability issues. I would like to work on this thread and to continuously make changes to the OP, so that it gradually becomes more like a guide and/or base of reference for readers. I'll collect information in the next few days and add it to the OP.
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#5 Aiyen

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 06:55 AM

Sounds like a nice plan. The only issue I could have with it is like Isoku says. The mods work flawlessly on their own, or with smaller setups. But once you start to just pour them on then it becomes an issue. Hence one has to be careful not to say that mod A is horrible and a liability script wise. Some mods are just horrible in terms of optimization, but most of those are also not supported anymore. With respect to Deadly Spell Impacts. I found that just reducing the decal textures to 512x512 removes just about all my magic freezes. As soon as they are 1k or above then the freezes become prominent again. For this reason I still have it in my list. I am considering if I want convenient horses at all atm. Since I do not use any fancy follower mods, and as I understand it you can still ride around on a horse without the mod.

#6 Nearox

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 08:21 AM

Sounds like a nice plan.
The only issue I could have with it is like Isoku says. The mods work flawlessly on their own, or with smaller setups. But once you start to just pour them on then it becomes an issue. Hence one has to be careful not to say that mod A is horrible and a liability script wise.
Some mods are just horrible in terms of optimization, but most of those are also not supported anymore.

I completely agree with this and I will never make it a platform for mod-bashing or stating that a particular mod is bad. I'll always respect the mod authors and their intentions to improve upon the game.

I'm thinking that I may start off by categorizing the mods according to their perceived risk to stability. For example in my MO, I have 3 categories for script mods: low risk, medium risk and high risk. The risk assesment is based on both subjective and objective factors, for instance script update frequency/overall intensity, amount of scripts, issue reports on nexus/step forums, whether additional NPC behaviour/content is added (through e.g. worldspace edits/spawns/NPC spells etc.) or whether it merely edits a vanilla skyrim script, etc. etc.

I have already made notes for certain mods. To come back to Wet and Cold as an example, due to its modular nature it can be an extremely light-weight mod if you turn only 1 non-SKSE feature on and leave the rest disabled but it can be quite a high risk factor (as indicated by the author himself) if all the modules are turned on - in particular the SKSE dependent ones such as NPC clothing. Therefore, although a mod can be placed in the high (or I might name it 'higher' in order not to give the reader the idea that the mod is inherently unstable) risk category, I will attach my own notes, user's (i.e. your) notes and when available comments of the mod developer. 

To give some more indications, here's a small selection of my mods and how I have classified them:

Lower risk: Appropriately Attired Jarls, Dual Wield Parrying, Auto Unequip Ammo, 101Bugs.
Medium risk: Run for Your Lives, Lighting During Thunder Storms (papyrus log spamming errors for multiple users, otherwise works fine), Achieve That, Immersive Patrols (depending on which modules installed).
Higher risk: Interesting NPCs, Skyrim Redone, SkyTEST, SIC (if additional spawns enabled, otherwise medium risk), AV, ASIS, Organized Bandits.

Everything is open to discussion; what I put in the OP is my suggestion and I'll be glad to hear criticism about a particular mod's category. I'll have to further define the categories and the requirements.

Another idea I have is to develop a conceptual package which serves as the framework for analysis. It can be assumed that most users have 1 perk overhaul/combat mod (SkyRe, SPERG, ACE , Duel etc.), 2-4 NPC-affecting mods (GDO, Run for your lives, Cloaks of Skyrim, Wet and Cold/Get Snowy, Banodlier for NPCS, Lanterns for Guards, SIC/SkyTest, Traps make Noise etc.) and another 2-4 miscellaneous mods (Dance of Death, Face to Face conversation, AutoPV, Gildergreen Regrown etc.). Any particular mod will then be judged based on how well it would potentially run within such a framework. 
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#7 Noobsayer

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:41 PM

Hello all, scripted mods have been a concern of mine lately, and I wanted to both say I'd love to see some sort of rating system in place, even if somewhat subjective. I know this thread is a little older but I found it while trying to find if ALL the scripted mods listed in STEP Core are really feasible to combine.

I am an immersion player mostly, to give you an idea of where I'm coming from.

Notably:
101 Bugs (I assume scripted)
Convenient Horses
Dual Sheath Redux (I assume scripted)
Footprints
Gildergreen Regrown
Rainbows
Run for Your Lives
Shooting Stars
Skyrim Uncapper
Wearable Lanterns
Wet and Cold (I KNOW it's very script intensive, it's pretty much a must-have for me though)
When Vampires Attack

You list even more than this (I assume quest changes and such are scripted) but these are mods I am most interested in.

And of those not listed, not installed, but that I've tested:
Amazing Follower Tweaks (I actually want to use followers with this thing, I assume heavily scripted)
Frostfall I am missing terribly in a test save
Dragon Combat Overhaul was my wussie alternative to Deadly Dragons (I like the physics of it)
Skybirds (Why is Birds and Flocks recommended over this?)
Skyrealism: Time and Travel (I DO have this installed, but it should only run a quick script when first entering an area)
Realistic Needs and Diseases (I DO also have this installed, not leaving my load order)


A few other questions. Do perk overhauls like Enchanting Awakened/Speech overhauls/Stealth Skills Rebalanced fit into the "scripted" category? What about Dynamic Snow and Mossrocks type stuff?

Maybe even more than a "risk" rating a "is scripted, lightly scripted, heavily scripted" etc. rating would be more useful? Another tangentally related guide I couldn't find (but would love to read) is, what savegame sizes are reasonable for hours played? (to help detect savegame bloating). I have used the realism/survival mods together for a good portion of a playthrough and didn't feel like I was encountering any real issues, except for occasional stuttering. I see the "Skyrim Revisited" encorporates these and even more. I don't want to get 50-100 hours in and find I have to start over, though.

I know I'm asking a lot. :) Any insight offered would be appreciated.
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#8 torminater

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 05:52 AM

Scripts usually only trigger under certain circumstances. Some mods call regularily on Scripts (frostfall, wetncold). In General the Game gets LEss stable the more Scripts are called in at the Same Time ( Combat).
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#9 Glanzer

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 09:17 AM

I personally do not use any added armors or weapons etc. since I honestly think the game has enough already.

Yes I agree, there's too much stuff in the game already, I just try to pretty up what is there.  So I don't use any mods that add new items to the game either.

This is the first I've heard of problems with too many items though.  Interesting.  So now I've added a 5th general category to my list of problems that cause CTDs:

1.  Too many Scripts
2.  Too many Spawns
3.  Too many HD textures
4.  Badly written or conflicting mods
5.  Too many items!
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#10 Glanzer

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 09:37 AM

Footprints
...
Wet and Cold (I KNOW it's very script intensive, it's pretty much a must-have for me though)
...
Amazing Follower Tweaks (I actually want to use followers with this thing, I assume heavily scripted)
Frostfall I am missing terribly in a test save
...
Skybirds (Why is Birds and Flocks recommended over this?)
...
Realistic Needs and Diseases (I DO also have this installed, not leaving my load order)

As torminator stated, it's the scripts that run constantly that will give you the most problems.  You could have 10,000 scripts installed and have no problems at all as long as they are event driven and not too many are triggered for a specific event.

For example, Wet and Cold, Frostfall, and RnD in your list run scripts constantly.  Why?  Because they have to constantly check the environment you're in and how close you are to wet or cold or fire, and how sleepy you are, etc.  Do I use these mods myself?  ABSOLUTELY.  I wouldn't play the game without them.  But I've also LESSENED the number of scripts in Wet and Cold by UNchecking some of its options in the MCM.  Since I always play first person why should I need to see the snow or ashes on my character?  So here's what I've disabled:
  • Wet
Drips:  Disabled (for Player and NPCs)
Soggy Feet:  Disabled (for Player and NPCs)
  • Cold
Breaths:  Disabled (for Player and NPCs)
Snowy:  Disabled (for Player and NPCs)
  • Ashes
Dusty:  Disabled (for Player and NPCs)
  • System
Heat Detection:  Disabled
Shelter Detection:  Disabled
Cloak Spell:  Disabled

Regarding Footprints in your list...  Can you do without this?  I LOVE Footprints too, but I removed it because I play in first person mod, so I don't care about seeing other people's footprints, nor do I care about seeing my horse's footprints.

Regarding SkyBirds in your list...  I love that mod and I played with it for a while until I got my first game CTDs.  Read through the posts in the mod and see the directions for uninstalling it, that will give you a clue.  :ermm:

I use AFT and love it. I used to use UFO but I found AFT to work better and it seems more compatible with special followers like Inigo.

Lastly let me say that you really have to decide what you like most in the game, and concentrate only on that and lose the other stuff.  For me I like playability, that is I want to be able to DO more things in the game.  So SkyTest got dropped from my game early on because it doesn't offer more playability (except maybe for the animal AI when fighting).  In its place I've added more quest mods.  In fact I bet I have more questing mods installed than all of you.  :P
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#11 Noobsayer

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 12:19 PM

Right, I understand Wet/Cold, Frostfall and RND must run at least SOME scripts pretty much constantly. I tried dropping Frostfall and just camping out myself, but it's not quite the same =/ Unfortunately I usually only zoom in to first-person in combat and I do a lot of poking around places so turning off frost/wet effects would be a wrench for me. What I was kinda trying to get a feel for is whether, with those 3 mods, I'm going to eventually implode my game if I also use those mods I listed (not Skybirds, that was just a question). I mean, Skyrim Revisited uses them and even some I'm afraid of (Deadly Spell Impacts), some that sound cool but I can definitely live without (such as SkyTest, Player Headtracking), and it's obvious by the detail of the guide that the author is not a noob.
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#12 PlanetExp

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 06:41 AM

Thanks for recommending convenient horses. I was holding out for that one because I was afraid of its scripts, but tried it just for measuring latency and checking logs for errors. With JUST CH I got a latency of about 49. I threw wet and cold at it and it went up to 50 on average. Then for the heck of it I threw in enhanced blood, footsteps AND frostfall. Flew around in god mode, turned into a vampire lord, slaughtered a whole village, stole a bunch of horses and fast travelled back and forth all over the map. Latency spikes were about 150ms but average was still at 50-60. In fact the most intensive thing seems to be turning into a vampire lord during the turning animation. Firing shots felt also a tad bit delayed, but I remember vanilla was about the same. Conclusion? W&C, CH and EBT are now permanent in my mod list. Thanks Fred PS I'll also have to add that I'm using Skylight ENB, turning it OFF shaved my latency down to an average of 36ms, much more than turning off scripted mods all together, with other words. DS
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