Creation Kit Hot Loading

The latest update to Skyrim’s Creation Kit now allows for Hot Plugin Loading. So what does that mean? Here’s BGS level designer Joel Burgess to explain…

As you know, we recently released version 1.6.89 of the Creation Kit. As previously mentioned, the CK is the same toolset the developers use – and that means that the latest version comes with an experimental new dev feature – Hot Plugin Loading.

Simply put, hot loading allows you to save and update your plugin from the Creation Kit, and immediately view those results in-game. No need to restart the game to see your changes! This has had a huge impact on iteration time around Bethesda Game Studios, and we hope modders will find it just as beneficial.

Note: As mentioned, this is an experimental feature. Not everything will work as expected, and there may be crashes or other hiccups. Many thanks to programmer Jay Woodward (aka RadHamster) for his work on this awesome new feature!

  • Load the Creation Kit as normal.  Load your plugin (or create a new one)
  • In this example, we’ll pretend our active plugin is “nifty.esp”
  • Launch Skyrim as normal.
  • Make some changes in the Creation Kit, such as moving or adding a static.
  • In-game, open the console (~) and enter the command: “FCF”
    • This step only applies if you loaded nifty.esp in the Data files section of the launcher
    • This only has to be done once per boot of the game.
    • FCF is shorthand for “force close files”, and allows the Creation Kit to save a loaded plugin
  • Return to the creation kit and save nifty.esp
  • Return to the game.  If possible, position yourself where you’ll notice your changes.
  • Open the console and enter: “HLP nifty” (or the name of your .esp file)
    • HLP is shorthand for “Hotload plugin”
  • The scene will re-load.  Your changes show now be visible in-game!

For more on the Creation Kit, visit our official Wiki and forums.

Reader Comments

  1. how about letting us put mods on USB sticks so we can play them on the xbox?

    with the tradeoff being that achievements are disabled as long as we have non-bethesda content active . . .

    • From what I understand of it, the problem isn’t Bethesda letting you do it. It would be having Microsoft allow the changes to be made. They are very strict in their requirements for content.

  2. Does this new feature interact with scripts in any way? I assume that recompiling scripts will still require restarting the game, since they’re separate loose files, but how would changes such as attaching scripts or changing properties within a data file work?

  3. Okay, this is kinda cool, but I can’t mod until the dialogue bug is fixed. :\

    Please please please tell me the Skyrim 1.7 patch is coming soon! At least before the PC release of Dawnguard? (but hopefully sooner)

  4. Well, that will certainly make testing changes a lot quicker. Thank you, for making creating easier for us!

  5. The idea seems quite cool…but will this be retro-active?

    I mean…all references which have the changes in them will be adjusted according to the changes in your esp file?

    Will this work on scripts as well? :-?

  6. The bsa acker doesnt pack correctly , it forgets items and stuff sometimes for small mods works fine but large files structures get not packed well …. While a modder tool called bsa optmizer does a much better job … Could you please fix this … Thanx for the update …

  7. Btw does this works even for quests and save game? Sometimes quests do not work properly an need to test them with a newer savegame to aoid data conflict of the later savegame …. So would this tool allow a cleaning of memory for the quest things as well?

  8. I would love to see mods on the xbox. Do it like Threadless, have people vote for the best ones then Bethesda could make deals with the mod creators. Charge something like $3 on xbox – $1 for the creator, $1 for Microsoft and $1 for Bethesda.

    I know it wouldn’t be that cut and dry but I want some new player homes with dozens of mannequins and bookshelves that load all type of items. I want to display all my loot in a custom home (buy colors and styles upgrades).

    Since that unlikely to happen please come out with player homes like in Oblivion. Also add the bookshelves that can display any type of item!

  9. meh – how about fixing the insanely long load time that has existed in the tool since at least Fallout 3 and seems to have gotten progressively longer with each new game?

  10. Hi Bethesda, could i kindly ask for a little option in the CK (Object Window and Cell View Window) where you can right click an Object/Item and add “Restore to Default” option (as in the main Skyrum.esm) just next to “Duplicate”?

    It would be really really really handy to have an option like this, it would save a lot of time and stop re-loading the esp and search through the ignore flags in esp selection just to restore to default any item value, besides the ignore flag is buggy and sometimes it messes the whole esp.

    Thanks Bethesda for the hard work.

    • This could save a lot of time if someone accidentally move or delete an object, it would offer an easy way to fix CTDs on a specific Cell or misplaced Default Objects without using third party tools to revert changes which also corrupts the esp in the process… i hope you consider this Bethesda.

  11. Nice and thanks for sharing Bethesda! Will make my modding faster :)

    The ideal thing however would be if the Creation Kit allowed a “play mode” in which you could play in real time and in full screen. Kind of like what Cryengine has built in. It would be even faster and smoother to test things.