It really isn’t much of a surprise anymore for us gamers that Bethesda is re-releasing Skyrim all over again, but what sucks almost every time this happens is what the version of Skyrim is going to do to the modding scene.
Skyrim is an amazing game to play but modding the game elevates it to the realm of being a Euphoric game. So having a new version of the game might cause changes to the code, systems, and many other programming-related things that are best left to developers.
The Skyrim Anniversary Edition is actually an update to the Skyrim Special Edition which adds all the mods in the Creation Club and more mods that have yet to be released. So since it’s an update, it will be treated as the same entity as the Skyrim Special Edition in Steam and that is going to be a problem for modders.
Players who have modded Skyrim in the past and those that continue to still play it with mods are sure to know about the Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) plug-in which is a tool used by many Skyrim mods that expands scripting capabilities and adds additional functionality to the game. Well, one of SKSE’s developers went on to Reddit to explain it’s going to be an issue.
“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.”
“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.”
“This realistically means that the native code mod scene is going to be broken for an unknown length of time after AE’s release.”
The developer recommends people to back up the current executable of Skyrim now and disable the game’s updates in Steam before the Anniversary Edition comes out on November 11.