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Starfield Creation Engine and Creation Kit 2

With a whole new universe comes the revamped Starfield Creation Engine 2 to power it. So, what are the Creation Kit 2 improvements, and where is it?

Starfield Creation Engine and Creation Kit 2

Starfield is the first Bethesda title to run on the Creation Engine 2, and so, by extension, will be the first to host the Starfield Creation Kit 2. The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series were built exclusively on the original Creation Engine. As such, Starfield sees a number of baseline advancements and features over its predecessors.

For most players, knowing the ins and outs of the Starfield Creation Engine won’t be necessary. However, you’ll definitely want to know how to use Starfield console commands and cheats, which can easily cure numerous Starfield bugs, particularly in Starfield missions, or if you get stuck. Luckily almost all of the commands are the same as the old engine.

Starfield Creation Kit 2 release

Official mod support for Starfield arrived on June 9, 2024 with the launch of the newly updated Creation Kit 2. Bethesda announced the release of the newly revamped Creation Kit alongside the Starfield Shattered Space trailer.

With the launch of the Creation Kit also came the launch of the Creations store – Starfield’s version of Fallout 76’s Atom Shop. In the aforementioned trailer, several mods were revealed, with some of the options costing “Creation Credits” which are likely worth $9.99 per 1000 Creation Credits (if historical trends are to be employed here).

It was already known for some time that the Creation Kit 2 was already in the hands of a select group of modders. This insight came from a video interview on April 29, 2024, and hinted that microtransactions could also be on the horizon for Starfield as a means to pay for individual mods.

It was more officially revealed that the Creation Kit was in the hands of “verified creators” in the 1.11.33 update announcement.

What is the Starfield Creation Engine 2?

The successor to the original Creation Engine, the Creation Engine 2 is “like a new tech base” according to Todd Howard during an interview with the Telegraph. The “Creation Engine 2, is sort of built for both” Starfield and the currently in-development Elder Scrolls 6. “Every game will have some new suites of technology so Elder Scrolls 6 will have some additions on to Creation Engine 2 that that game is going to require.”

Essentially, the Creation Engine 2 is the framework around which Starfield is built. It provides players with easily accessible console commands with which you can manipulate the world, such as teleporting to specific locations, or summoning weapons and armor. The Creation Engine 2 will be largely built on its previous iteration, the Creation Engine 1. As a result, new features and systems that previous gaming hardware couldn’t support will be a major element behind the engine’s upgrade, along with a number of welcome bug fixes.

With procedural generation getting a massive boost in the Creation Engine 2, particularly with procedural lip-syncing for NPCs, Starfield modders will have a ton of new tools to play with when creating mods.

Several interviews between ShilohMc33 and modders like Elianora – a veteran Bethesda modder – highlights that more options could be coming to the Starfield Creation Kit, including refinements for interior designs and lighting, however official details have not yet been released.

What improvements are in the Starfield Creation Engine 2?

According to YouTuber colteastwood, “major upgrades have been made to the engine, the pipeline, AI physics, and visuals in Creation Engine 2.0”. The Creation Engine 2 uses the Havok engine for character and NPC animation, providing more life-like simulations than the original Creation Engine.

Not only have the graphics been overhauled, but so has the AI. Bethesda has hinted at radiant AI improvements to create more dynamic environments, particularly within the numerous Starfield cities. Previous iterations of the Creation Engine were more static, but included a lot of NPC routines. These improvements to the Creation Engine 2 bring more dynamic interactions between these routines and the world around them.

If your PC is able to meet the higher end of the Starfield system requirements, you’ll quickly discover how densily crowded cities have become, which is only possible due to improvements to AI pathing in the Creation Engine 2, and the increase in hardware requirements to power it.

Procedural generation and the Creation Engine 2

Perhaps the largest obstacle the Creation Engine 2 faces is how it deals with procedural content. A large number of locations haven’t been procedurally generated, with Todd Howard stating “we have done more handcrafting in this game, content-wise, than any game we’ve done.” However, 1000 planets and the player’s ability to land anywhere on a world’s surface means that more ambient quests and NPCs will need to be generated to fill them.

As Will Shen stated in an interview, “we actually have new tech to take whole locations that we’ve built and put them on the planets.” Comparing it to the previous engine, Will said, “whereas before, it might just be a person coming up to you along the road, now it’s an actual whole location that can be put there.” At these locations, NPCs will be loaded with ambient missions, with the example given by Will describing a kidnapped character that you can then rescue, and it will take you to a whole new location. “So, it is a dynamicaly placed settlement that is taking you to a dynamically placed dungeon as you’re walking through the planet.”

Following Starfield’s release, the Creation Engine 2 has demonstrated its almost limitless capacity to populate planets and the Mission Board with a nearly infinite supply of quests and encounters. This framework appears to be more robust than the previous Creation Engine, and will lend itself to the Starfield modding community to create additional variety.

Creation Engine 2 optimization

In an announcement from AMD, Bethesda partnered exclusively with AMD to optimize Starfield and the Creation Engine 2 for AMD hardware. As Todd mentioned in the interview, “We have AMD engineers in our code base working on FSR 2 image processing and upscaling and it looks incredible.”

Leaving out optimization for NVIDIA’s DLSS 3 at launch, Bethesda eventually released official NVIDIA support in a later Starfield update. According to the Bethesda patch notes, DLSS support was one of the most requested features.

Starfield Creation Kit microtransactions

Microtransactions have been confirmed along with a premium currency known as “Creation Credits.” 1000 Creation Credits have been distributed to owners of the Digital Premium edition of the game as of June 9, 2024.

Previously, microtransactions were rumored, but all but certain.

In a Kinda Funny Games interview, Todd Howard heavily implied that modders would be able to make a living from creating mods in the newly revamped “Creation Program” which has replaced the Creation Club used in Fallout games and Skyrim. As a result, it is quite likely that a Starfield premium currency will soon be available for purchase once the official mod tools go live.

Howard also confirmed that several mods by individual creators are already in the works, and could well be available for players to access when the Creation Club (a new name has not yet been announced) goes live.