Preparing for Skyrim Anniversary Edition and the impending modpocalypse, I reduced my mod load to a manageable number. I have a few essentials, such as Alternate Start – Live Another Life, and a few additional followers, including Inigo or Lucien. After I began a new game, everything went well until I had to stop working, and then I tried to reload the game during lunch. All I saw was a black screen with the music playing.
None of the standard Skyrim tricks, such as switching to the fullscreen borderless mode or running it as an administrator with Windows 7 compatibility turned on, seemed to work. Then I came across a post by Joseph Russell, creator of Lucien. He has solved the problem. It turns out that other players are experiencing the same crash. This is due to Skyrim’s latest version running scripts more quickly than the previous versions. This can cause problems for mods like Russell’s that depend on them.
If you purchased the Anniversary Edition, your Skyrim Special Edition version has been automatically updated to use a new compiler, Visual Studio 2019. This is in addition to Visual Studio 2015. It seems that it is a little too efficient for its sound.
Russell explained that the problem was caused by my patchless interaction software, which checks players’ mods before loading the game. It also fills aliases for NPCs from other mods such as Inigo. That script searches for esp files, mods that modify or add world content. It was running much faster than before. Russell explained that Inigo’s esp file was detected when the player opened the game. “The game then attempted to get his reference to using in the alias.” The script was running too fast, so Inigo’s reference didn’t have time to load. Therefore, the script attempted to fill Inigo’s alias with NULL. This caused a crash.
Russell made it right with an update to his modified that adds a delay of three seconds to the script. However, if you have the same issue as Russell (which even Xbox players are experiencing), other scripted mods may be to blame. For now, I have disabled any that add followers. Everything is working again. At least for now.