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Windows Central
Windows Central
Technology
Brendan Lowry

The best Starfield PC mods so far: Graphics, gameplay, DLSS, and more

Starfield factions Crimson Fleet.

Starfield has only been available for a few short weeks, but Bethesda's talented community is already hard at work pumping out plenty of awesome mods for the PC version of the title. Everything from improvements to the game's graphics and user interface to sizable gameplay tweaks and balance changes are available, and there are even a few mods that bring an unofficial implementation of NVIDIA's DLSS upscaling technology to the expansive sci-fi RPG.

We've been keeping a close eye on all the latest and greatest mod releases over on the Starfield Nexus Mods archive, and to help you find the best of what the community's cooked up so far, we've compiled a list of all the top mods in this article. Below, you'll find sections for utility mods that some other mods depend on, graphics and UI mods, mods that adjust and rebalance gameplay, and DLSS-related mods. We've also included a quick guide on how to install Starfield mods as well.

Note that while they're not available on Microsoft's console yet, it's been confirmed that Starfield mods are coming to Xbox in the future. Once this happens, we suspect many of the mods we've listed below will get ports for the Xbox version of the game.

How to install Starfield mods

Many — but not all — Starfield mods can be installed using Nexus Mods' Vortex mod manager software. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Vortex: Easiest method to install

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Nexus Mods' in-house Vortex mod manager software can also be used to install many, but not all, mods (again, read mod descriptions). With it, you can drag and drop compressed mod downloads into the software, and once you select "Install," Vortex will take care of the rest.

1. Download and install the Vortex Mod Manager

2. Once installed, navigate to the games section and search for Starfield.

3. Click Manage, then restart Vortex for it to take affect. 

4. From here, you can navigate the Nexus Mod page for Starfield, and use the "Download with Vortex" links to have Vortex handle the mods.

It's important to note, Vortex is built with using Steam in mind, not the Xbox PC app. Using the Xbox app means installing mods manually, or using this workaround as detailed by /u/RubyStarFall on Reddit.

Installing mods manually

To install Starfield mods, you'll first need to create an .ini file with specific code in it that allows the game to read and load mod files. Thankfully, this process is both easy and quick, and once you've done it, you'll never need to do it again (as long as you keep Starfield installed, anyway). Here's what to do:

1. Open the File Explorer.

2. Go to Documents\My Games\Starfield

3. In this folder, create a new Text Document and open it.

4. Next, add the following lines of code:

[Archive]
bInvalidateOlderFiles=1
sResourceDataDirsFinal=

5. Afterwards, save and close the document

6. Finally, rename the file "StarfieldCustom.ini" (no quotes). Don't worry about the warning Windows gives you about changing the file extension, and make sure you toggle the ability to see and change extensions by going to View > Show in File Explorer if necessary.

With this done, your Starfield installation is ready for mods! In most cases, installing mods is as simple as using 7-Zip to unpack their compressed files, then dragging those files into the Documents\My Games\Starfield\Data folder or the SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Starfield game directory. You should always read each mod's description to see which of these two locations is correct, or if the author has written different instructions.

Best Starfield utility mods

(Image credit: Windows Central)

These mods don't affect how Starfield looks, sounds, or feels to play — at least not directly. Instead, they add extra functionalities to the game that other mods depend on, or that players may want to have. They might also make it easier to make changes to the game that are required for other mods.

BethINI PIE (Performance INI Editor)
If any mods require you to make some tweaks to Starfield's .ini configuration files, this tool allows you to do so very easily with a simple GUI. It's one of the best tools to use to customize your graphical experience, it's truly an incredible creation.

Starfield Script Extender (SFSE)
Script extenders have served as critical dependencies for the best Skyrim mods and the best Fallout 4 mods for years now, and there's already one for Starfield, too. This is a must-have, especially since many mods won't work without it.

Baka Achievement Enabler
While using them is an absolute blast, punching in Starfield cheats and console commands does disable achievements. By installing this mod, however, you'll stop this from happening. Useful for dishonest achievement hunters (don't worry, we won't tell).

Photo Mode Tweaks
Starfield's Photo Mode is fantastic, but this nifty mod makes it even better by significantly extending the range of the camera and how far you can zoom in or out. It also allows you to raise the camera higher, increases the max strength of the Vignette effect, and prevents characters (including yours) from popping out of view when you zoom out extremely far.

Best Starfield graphics and UI mods

Neutral LUTs removes Starfield's color filters, giving the game a more natural-looking visual style. (Image credit: fadingsignal on Nexus Mods)

Want to make Starfield look better or different? Want to tweak the style of the game's user interface or elevate its functionality? These mods will be right up your alley.

Batman
I'm Batman. That's the description.

Weapon Skin Expansion Project (WSEP) - Ryujin
Adds Ryujin Skins for the Eon, Grendel, Beowulf, Hard Target, Drumbeat, Shotty, Pacifier, Kodama, Razorback, Wakizashi, Equinox, and BigBang. They look sweet!

Neutral LUTs - No Color Filters
While Starfield's vanilla color grading is gorgeous, it's not exactly natural. This mod removes the game's color filters, resulting in neutral, more realistic visuals that some may prefer. The author has also included instructions on how to tweak the mod so that space appears significantly darker.

Show Location Names
I love this mod. It makes life far easier to just see the name of all the locations on the planet without having to scroll over them.

EXE - Effect Textures Enhanced
The EVE Team behind the Effect Visuals Enhanced/Effect Textures Enhanced mods for the Fallout games are back at it again with an overhaul to all of Starfield's special effects. This includes brand new visuals for muzzle flashes, explosions, sparks, flames, bullet wounds, blood spatters, and more.

The Eyes of Beauty
The famous Skyrim and Fallout 4 mod has come to Starfield, and it's as fantastic as ever. It adds several gorgeous hand-drawn eye textures to the game that you can pick from when making your character. Rather than simply porting over the versions of the mod that were made for other Bethesda games, the author has created an entirely new variant for Starfield.

Stellar Water
Starfield's water looks pretty great already, but why not make it even better? Developed by the creators of the fan-favorite Realistic Water Two mod for Skyrim, this overhaul adds new water foam and wave textures and upscales what wasn't replaced from vanilla.

Real Flashlight
The vanilla flashlight in Starfield is rather weak and has some unappealing visual artifacts, so we recommend getting this mod to brighten it up and make its appearance cleaner.

Dark Mode for Terminals
Not a fan of how bright Starfield's computer terminals are? Use this to turn on dark mode and spare your eyes the discomfort.

StarUI Inventory
Starfield's inventory interface is rather simplistic and has a lot of large elements in it. This mod aims to make it more informative by adding sortable columns and item icons, while also making the UI more compact overall.

Compact Mission UI
Simple but elegant, this mod reduces the size of quest steps in the missions menu so that you can see more of them at once. On the whole, you'll be able to see about 50% more with it installed.

Enhanced Dialogue Interface
Tweak Starfield's dialogue interface with different text alignments, placements, font types, colors, sizes, and more. Text shadows and backgrounds are customizable for better readability, too!

Enhanced Subtitles
This is essentially the same as Enhanced Dialogue Interface, but for subtitles. We highly recommend using them together.

Scanner Encumbrance Display With Time
Currently does not work with the Jun 9 update , will update if the mod author gets to it!

Move or Disable XP Bar
In vanilla, the XP bar that appears whenever you gain experience is center-aligned and appears right over your crosshair. This is pretty annoying when it happens in combat, but you can use this mod to either move it to the left or right or simply remove it entirely.

DualSense - PS5 Icons
Playing Starfield with a DualSense controller? Use this mod to replace Xbox buttons on the UI with PlayStation ones. This mod is currently messed up with the Creations menu. Names will not show properly, but everything else works correctly.

Cleanfield
Removes the various intro videos that play when you launch Starfield. There's an option to get rid of the Message of the Day on the main menu, as well.

120FPS Smooth UI (Smooth Ship Reticle)
Originally a simple mod that only changed Starfield's ship reticle, it's been turned into a full overhaul that brings every UI element in the game up to 120 FPS (the vanilla ones only display at 30 FPS). Keep in mind that currently, when used alongside the undelayed mod menus

Best Starfield gameplay mods

Project Reality is a comprehensive overhaul that aims to offer players a hardcore survival type of experience. (Image credit: ADAIVI on Nexus Mods)

With these mods, you can make Stafield's gameplay much easier or harder, and can also add new or expand upon existing mechanics. You can also balance out some wonky vanilla systems or fix certain things that many players find frustrating.

Outpost Construction Expanded
Simple mod that adds over 600 objects to the build menus. Many of those items are sectional or modular pieces. There are two forks of this mod, a standard one and one optional experimental.

Starborn Companions 2.8
Ever wanted your companions to have powers of a starborn? Hell yeah! This mod grants unlimited power to your companions.

TN's Outpost Storage (storage multiplier)
This mod increases the limit of individual storage containers which leads to less containers overall, and in turn, better framerate.

Texas No Limit Ship Building
I made up the name, but this is the mod page for Synthlight's collection of limit-removal mods for ship building. All of them are terrific and recently updated! Build more docking ports, weapon, power limits, whatever you want removed.

No Unattached Module Error
This one is definitely an immersion breaker, but allows players to make almost space station-like ships. 

Fuel Consumption Unlocked
This mod unlocks fuel consumption in the game, including refueling by the ship services technicians in the settled systems and refueling when flying to or traveling over outposts. All relevant information is calculated and displayed in the star map interface. Fuel Consumption Unlocked caters to a more hardcore experience and gives the original vision that Todd Howard later scrapped.

Improved Combat AI
If Starfield's enemies aren't offering you much of a challenge, you can install this to make them more active, aggressive, and intelligent in combat.

Stealth Overhaul
Starfield's stealth mechanics can be pretty weird, as enemies are often somehow able to detect you even through walls or when you're being completely silent and are out of their field of view. Using this mod rebalances stealth so that it's still difficult, but feels more consistent and viable.

TN's Aid and Ammo Crafting
Updated with Bethesda's new ammo crafting to be better, more immersive, and more rewarding! This mod has existed since long before Bethesda's ammo crafting, and now with the update, it will override their crafting, integrate their research tasks, and allow you to craft those pesky primers!

Ship Builder Tolerance Tweaks
This simple mod gives you more leeway with module overlapping in the ship builder, allowing you to create tighter, more compact vessels.

New Atlantis - Billboard Map
The lack of city maps has been solved with the later updates, but this is still a cool mod for immersion. I love it

Ship Skip - Instant Station Docking and More
Starfield's docking, takeoff, and landing cutscenes are cool, but you might get sick of them after seeing them for the umpteenth time. This mod gives them the boot.

Responsive Grabbing
Starfield imposes a one-second long delay whenever you try to pick something up and move it around, which this mod cuts down to 300 milliseconds.

Undelayed Menus
Starfield's menu transitions look nice, but some players feel that they make the UI feel sluggish. This allows you to get rid of them.

Simply Faster Ladders
Bethesda has finally put ladders in one of its games, but going up and down them takes forever. Not anymore, though!

Richer Merchants
While this mod has become somewhat unnecessary, I'm keeping it here for players that may want to use it without enabling the feature ingame that lowers experience. I think we all agree that's just silly!

Easy Digipick (Lockpick)
Starfield's lockpicking digipick puzzles can be tricky, but with this mod they become extremely simple. Useful for players that just can't be bothered.

Easy Pickpocketing
Use this to significantly improve the chances of (or guarantee) a successful pickpocketing attempt. Reading through the comments, it seems like a tough one to install. However, as of now, it's the only pickpocketing mod available. Use at your own risk!

Easy Speech
Instantly become the most charismatic smooth-talker in the Settled Systems with this mod that allows you to always pass Persuasion speech checks.

Faster Scanning and Surveying
Use this to make it possible to complete a planet's flora and fauna surveys with just one scan. There's also an option to do it in three instead if you want to pretend like you're not cheating. 

Increased Scan Distance
Your scanner's effective range is pretty short in vanilla, but with this, you can raise it anywhere between 5x and 50x.

Improved Follower Behavior
If you’re like me, you enjoy bringing followers along in your adventures. Unfortunately, their actual “following” behavior leaves something to be desired.
This mod adds better behavior for range of following, stealth, walking speed, and more.

Where will Starfield modding go from here?

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

The modding scene is just starting to blow up with the latest addition of the Creation Kit by Bethesda. It's sure to get all the better as time goes on. The community has only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible, and we cannot wait to see what they create next!

As more and more mods continue to hit the Nexus, we'll keep this article refreshed with all the best ones we come across. Check back regularly for updates, and have fun exploring the stars in your modded playthroughs.

Starfield is finally here, and it's undoubtedly one of the best Xbox games and best PC games for lovers of space exploration, deep RPG gameplay, and the sci-fi genre as a whole. 

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