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A quick question about ref handles in SSE

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I just wanted to ask, is it dangerous if Skyrim SE goes over 1 million ref handles? I have the Engine Fixes SSE installed and before I disabled the option it kept warning me that Skyrim was near the ref handle (currently at 985K but with all 4 'Here There Be Monsters' mods I was up to 1.032 million ref handles).

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The limit to how many references the game can load at once is capped at 2^20 (or 1048576), once you hit that number, the game will either ctd or freeze (Infinite Loading Screens and all that)

Generally speaking, if your game hits that limit, your setup is unhealthily heavy and you should think about getting rid of some mods but until you hit that number youre fine so you do you, I guess

Edited by Scrab
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The problem might be the save. Even when esm unload the references, in a long play trough they might appear in the save together

With new references, like quest etc.

The you are above the limit. I for myself would be alarmed reaching 800k.


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I'm only up to 220 ESP/M and 200 ESL files. Like I stated, I was less then 2 HOURS into the save. Hadn't even started any real quests yet. Mod author placed a mobile player-home in the control center of the Markarth Dwemer Ruins and that can take almost an hour to clear out. I usually end up saving before I start that. I start out camping near Helgen through Live Another Life, get the Adventurer's journal, explore both sides of the Helgen Cave, run with Ralof to Riverwood, get all 3 Guardian Stones (Oldrim mods that allows you to have all of them), get to Whiterun, carriage to Markarth, get the Lovers Stone, back to Whiterun, start Bleak Fall Barrow, head back to Markarth and save before heading inside the city. All of that takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete (all the while during this I'm leveling up my Pickpocket which the Guardian and Lovers Stones accelerate a lot).

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2 hours ago, Rokabur said:

to 1.032 million ref handles).

Limit 1.045, left ca. 13k what is nothing. This 13k are eaten up quite qick in a save.

The amount of plugins doesn't matter. As mentioned in the psa, one mod can eat up 100k and more.

This mods are the problem.


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Ugh, there are so many mods I want to go through at least once before disabling them (multiple are in connection with Legacy of the Dragonborn). Why did Shit-thesda have to make Skyrim bake the scripts/whatever into the saves? Far as I know, you could pretty much add and remove mods in Morrowind and Oblivion with few issues.


As to that PSA, I'm am unable to load all of my load order in xEdit since I'm at 422 files. And its a real pita cause Wrye Smash takes 18-20 MINUTES to rebuild the bashed patch each time I need to run it.

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722? When I try to load everything in xEdit it states there are too many full modules. I have about 40 followers and some other mods disabled (want to try and merge all the followers into 1 plugin sometime) and my Mod Organizer 2 folder is at 139GB lol. Like I stated, removing the 4 'Here There Be Monsters' mod dropped it down to 985K ref handles. Not sure which other ones I could save for a later playthrough. Guessing I should playthrough the Legacy of the Dragonborn with the associated additional mods so those can be disabled.

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Hmm... seems I could lower the ref handles by flagging some of the mods as ESM but I don't trust myself to do that. Biggest offender seems to be Oldrim mod Summerset Isle at 216K ref handles lol. ANd I would also have to remember to redo the flags each time they get updated.

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