Image: Bethesda Game Studios

Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition in August, a new version of the beloved open-world RPG that includes Skyrim Special Edition and 74 creations comprising hundreds of elements such as quests, items, armor, and houses. The developer of Skyrim Script Extension (SKSE), extrwi, is now warning modders that the update, which will be released as a patch to existing Special Edition installations, will likely break tons of mods that rely on the extension. SKSE allows modders to hook into Skyrim’s game engine.

From extrwi:

[…] Bethesda has decided to update the compiler used to build the 64-bit version of Skyrim from Visual Studio 2015 to Visual Studio 2019. This changes the way that the code is generated in a way that forces mod developers to start from scratch finding functions and writing hooks. Class layouts are unlikely to change, luckily. I didn’t ask specifically, but the most probable reason for this is that the Xbox Live libraries used for achievements on the Windows Store are only available for 2017 and later. Some games have worked around this limitation by building the code that interacts with Xbox Live in to a secondary DLL that is dynamically loaded by the game, but they didn’t choose this option.

Plugins using the Address Library will need to be divided in to “pre-AE” and “post-AE” eras. Code signatures and hooks will need to be rewritten. We will all need to find functions again. The compiler’s inlining behavior has changed enough that literally a hundred thousand functions have disappeared and been either inlined or deadstripped, to put it in perspective.

Doing this work takes a reasonable amount of time for each plugin. I can probably sit there over a few nights and bang out an updated version of SKSE, but my main concern is for the rest of the plugins out there. The plugin ecosystem has been around long enough that people have moved on, and code is left unmaintained. Effectively everyone who has written a native code plugin will need to do at least some amount of work to support AE. This realistically means that the native code mod scene is going to be broken for an unknown length of time after AE’s release.

Extrwi has advised Skyrim players to back up their executable and disable updates in Steam. The developer has been in contact with Bethesda, but the company had “nothing to offer.”

Image: Bethesda Game Studios

Source: extrwi

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