Alright, I know you’re looking to get into the video but before we do that please consider liking, subscribing and hitting the notification bell. This helps me continue making videos and ensures this series’ continuation. Also, check out my Discord, link to that is down below, it’s a great place to ask questions and has a modding conversation. There are also tons of links to useful resources for all your modding troubles. Seriously, go there! Lastly, I’ve had a lot of people ask me for an ENB guide. ENB’s can be added at any time really, so I’ve made a guide on my personal channel. It’s straight, and to the point. Unlike these announcements. Link in the description, go watch it. Ok, back to the video.
Watch: ENB Guide
First things first, this video is part of a series of guides for MO2 so if I’m talking about something you don’t understand it was covered prior. See the playlist in the description.
So Plugin cleaning. What is and what does it do? To understand this we first have to define some terminology: Identical to master records or ITM records for short, deleted references and deleted navmeshes. These are the 3 main issues that cleaning your plugins resolves and we’ll go over why they exist in a little bit. For now let me explain records, references, and navmeshes.
As we already know, plugin files contain data necessary for their changes to take effect. These bits of data are called records and we’ll now be referring to them as such. Records are literally everything from the damage an Iron Dagger does to the height of an NPCs cheekbones. So again, literally all the data needed for a plugin to function.
But what happens when one record affects the data of another record or maybe one record needs another record to function? These records have to be connected somehow and this is done through something called references. So when we say a record references another record, you can physically think of an arrow point from one piece of data to another.
Navmeshes, on the other hand, are used by NPC AI to pathfind around the game world. Here I’ve loaded up Skyrim in the Creation Kit, Bethesda’s in-house game editor, and set the navmesh to be visible. All the terrain covered by the red polygons you are seeing are places accessible to NPCs in the game. Without em, NPC’s, including companions and enemies, cannot move around.
Hopefully now Identical to Master Records deleted references and deleted navmeshes are somewhat self-explanatory. ITM Records being duplicate records that are identical to one another, deleted references being references that have been deleted and deleted navmeshes being the same.
Why Are These Things Bad?
Ok, but why are ITM Records, Deleted References and Navmeshes and issue? I mean that really is the underlying question here, why worry about cleaning plugins at all? Well in the case of ITM Records they probably are the least worrisome as the data is the same in both duplicates but at the end of the day having multiple copies of a record is ultimately useless so removing useless data is good practice.
Deleted References and Navmeshes, however, can cause some pretty big issues. If a referenced record is deleted in the Creation Kit, the object that was pointing to it is left with nothing on the other end and this could cause things in the game to break or even crashes. Instead of deletion, SSEEdit disables these records which means that they still exist but are flagged as unusable and thus much safer. Finally deleted Navmeshes are an issue because we want our NPCs to be able to go where they are intended. Makes sense right?
How Do They Occur?
Ok now that we know all that, let’s discuss how these issues are created. Most of the time, they just happen by accident. While creating plugins in the Creation Kit, modders oftentimes access records just to see information for themselves. This prompts the Creation Kit to think changes were made and to duplicate the record from the overwritten plugin to the new one. This is an ITM record. Deleted References occur when something is created and removed in the Kit and master Navmeshes deletions can happen accidentally too. Sometimes however mod authors purposefully create ITM Records and they are necessary for their mods to function which is why certain mods should not be cleaned.
Ok, enough chit chat. Let’s go ahead and download SSEEdit and wipe away any excess dirt. SSEEdit is the program that we’ll use to clean plugins but it’s also a really important tool for more experienced modders. Keep it in your back pocket so we can come back to it more thoroughly at a later date.
Search for the SSEEdit Nexus page or follow the link in the description. Go to files and download manually. Because this is a tool we will extract the archive in our Modding tools folder we have made. Create a folder named SSEEdit then open up the archive we downloaded. Drag the contents into that folder. Now open up Mod Organizer 2 and add the executables to the launcher. We’ve done this a bunch already so you should know the process. Do this two times. Once for SSEEdit.exe and once for SSEEditQuickAutoClean.exe.
Finding Dirty Plugins
So the first thing we need to know now is which of our plugins even need to be cleaned and this is actually really easy to do with LOOT. Go ahead and open up LOOT then sort your plugins. If you don’t have Loot installed shame on you because this is a series so go back and watch the last episode. Link down below and in the top right.
At this point, LOOT has flagged every active plugin we have that needs to be cleaned. Just scroll down the list to see each one. As you can see Dawnguard, Hearthfires and Dragonborn have been flagged as well as Update. These all need to be cleaned and any other dirty plugins you have installed. LOOT will also flag any mods that shouldn’t be cleaned. For me, that’s XMPSE and Morrowloot. All the rest are more than likely safe.
Cleaning the Official DLC Plugins
In this guide, I will be cleaning all the main Bethesda plugins. So Update, Dawnguard, Hearthfires, and Dragonborn. Because these are plugins that everyone playing Skyrim Special Edition has, this guide can basically be followed verbatim. The cleaning process is exactly the same for other dirty plugins that are specific to your load order so don’t forget to clean those as well after following this video.
One thing that is unique to the official plugins is that every time Steam checks your Skyrim game folder for appropriate game files like when Skyrim is updated, the cleaned plugins will be flagged as unoriginal and be restored. And while you can reclean your plugins every time this happens, it’s a complete pain. So to prevent this we will be copying our cleaned plugins to Mod Organizer and overwriting the originals in our load order. That way our cleaned DLC stays clean. Obviously, this is a special case and doesn’t need to be done with other plugins.
Let’s go ahead and begin with the cleaning process. Explanations aside, it’s really is trivial. Like super basic. Run the SSEEditQuickAutoClean executable you added to MO2 earlier. Close out of any update notes and mod author messages, then simply select the plugin you want to clean and hit ok. SSEEdit will load up any prerequisite esps for you and clean the plugin. After the log says the process is finished we can close out and repeat the process for any other dirty plugins we may have.
Steam Update Workaround
Now that we’ve finished, let’s go ahead and add the DLC plugins to MO2 so we don’t have to worry about Bethesda reverting them to their old filthy selves. Go to the Skyrim Special Edition directory and go inside the data folder. Select the Update, Dawnguard, Hearthfires and Dragonborn esps using ctrl click and add them to an archive using the archive software of your choice.
If you’re following along with my guides, we’re using 7Zip so we right-click, hit 7Zip and select add to data.zip. That will create a zip archive with our cleaned DLC in the data folder. From there you can drag the archive into the downloads panel of MO2 or add the archive using the “install mod from archive” button which is what I will do. After it is added to MO2, we can delete the archive from Skyrim’s data folder. Next, install it like you would any other mod. Name it something like Cleaned Masters and place it below the Data folder DLC to have our cleaned plugins take priority. You’ll know you’ve done this correctly when you see white lightning bolts appear next to the data folder DLC denoting that they are being completely overwritten.
Sweet! You now know how to make your plugins clean and pristine. You might not see anything different in your game but know that you’ve eliminated one more potentially harmful thing from hurting your precious load order and stability.
Have you liked the video and subscribed? Awesome! Leave any questions in the comments or in my Discord. If you liked this video you’ll love my fast ENB guide on my other channel, that’s at the bottom. Next video in the guide is to the right and guide overview is to the left. See you in the next video!