I was feeling froggy so I installed Skyrim on my Steam Deck, and naturally, that led to me installing a whole bunch of mods. I wanted to see just how far I could go, and because I’ve played Skyrim so much over the years I wanted to make my experience unique this time — as much as I can with mods, anyway.

Most of the mods through the Steam workshop are great, and work just fine, but eventually you’ll need to get creative and install SKSE (especially if you want SkyUI), with some memory tweaks, and then eventually ENBoost. When I installed Feah and some hair mods, for example, I was getting black textures, because the content just wasn’t loading. Other mods might crash the game to desktop, or cause a metric fuckton of frustrating issues.

After playing around with my mod order, it became apparent that it’s a memory limitation issue. That meant it was time for me to get ENBoost and those memory tweaks working.

The problem is that ENB doesn’t work intuitively in Linux. You have to do some tinkering. Here’s how I eventually got it working, prep first:

Prepping for Install

  • Install SKSE through Steam Workshop.
  • Go to desktop mode on your Deck with Steam Button > Power > Switch to Desktop.
  • Follow the SKSE memory guide to update your .ini file for increased memory.
  • Visit the ENBSeries site and download the latest package (mine was under TES: Skyrim) directly to your Deck.
  • Unzip the archived ENB folder into a sub-folder. It’s easier to just keep it in your Downloads directory.
  • Go to Nexus Mods and download the DXVK package to your Steam Deck, or download it on another computer, extract the archive and move it to your Deck. If it’s already on your then just Deck extract the archive.

If you’re wondering why we need it, the DXVK dll is a translator or replacement for d3d that works with Vulcan, the main chip and drivers the Steam Deck is using.

Installing ENBoost

  • Make sure the ENBSeries archive, which you downloaded above, is extracted and you know where the directory is located.
  • In Desktop mode, use Dolphin in split-view to open the Skyrim install directory (where you told Steam to install games > steamapps > common > Skyrim) and the ENBSeries folder.
  • Copy everything from WrapperVersion to your root Skyrim install directory. You shouldn’t have to overwrite anything, but if there is a prompt make sure you do.
  • Make sure the DXVK archive is extracted.
  • Rename the d3d9.dll file from the DXVK archive (NOT the Skyrim root folder) to “dxvk.dll” before moving on.
  • Copy both files from the DXVK directory — including the file you just renamed — into the root Skyrim folder.
  • Delete or rename d3d9.ll — to something like d3d9.bak, for example.
  • Open your enblocal.ini file, which should now be in your Skyrim install folder.
  • Change the following values, then click save:
    • [Proxy]
    • EnableProxyLibrary=true
    • InitProxyFunctions=true
    • ProxyLibrary=dxvk.dll

You should now be able to start Skyrim using SKSE, even within Game Mode, and ENBoost will be active. Unlike on PC, you won’t see the initialized overlay in the top left, but you will probably notice your experience is smoother, especially if you had mods that weren’t working before.

Note: The DXVK instructions say to leave the d3d9.dll file that comes with ENB as-is, but when I did that my game kept crashing. Deleting the file, or renaming it, seems to work.

I presume the steps would be similar to install ENB for other Bethesda games and get it all working on the Steam Deck. Feel free to leave any tips or comments you have below!