Update October 3, 2017: an unstable alpha version of a script extender for Skyrim: Special Edition has been released, as has a version of SkyUI based upon it.
Script extender is a mod that adds crucial scripting functions to Skyrim: Special Edition. Countless mods depended on its equivalent for the original game in order to work, including the very popular inventory overhaul SkyUI. The community has been eager to see an update for the Special Edition of the game, but we heard in April that it had been indefinitely delayed (see original story, below).
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Happily, there's been an update, and the Special Edition script extender now has an alpha build available on its website. Do note the capitalised, emboldened warning: this is for modders only, and isn't intended to be playable.
Spotting the update in mid-September, someone immediately called for a SkyUI update on the Nexus Mods forum. Some respondents said they'd managed to get it working, but cooler heads immediately cautioned that everyone should wait for a more stable release at risk of wrecking their save files:
"SKSE64 is still in Alpha and is not ready for general use. The SKSE team have been very clear about that," says cdcooley. "All of these reports of 'it works for me' are nothing more than people who are too impatient to wait. There's a very good chance there is something horribly broken in their games that they haven't noticed yet."
That doesn't seem to have deterred the SkyUI team, who uploaded a new version of their mod over the weekend. You can get it here if you're really desperate, but don't expect support, installation instructions, or any promises of stability. As with script extender, use at your own risk.
Original story April 7, 2017: There’s a mod for Skyrim called Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE). As you might guess, it extends Skyrim’s scripting capabilities, and many other Skyrim mods depend on the functionality it adds. SkyUI, which makes some brilliant improvements to the game’s user interface, is one very popular example.
Skyrim’s Special Edition launched over six months ago, and a compatible version of SKSE has been underway for some time now. The last estimated release date for the beta version was mid-March, but that hasn’t happened, and co-creator Ian Patterson wasn't able to say anything encouraging in a post on the Nexus Mods forums:
“I don't really have any good news. A large amount of the core code (papyrus support, scaleform support, etc) is ready, but the layout of most of the game data classes still needs to be verified as unchanged from the 32-bit version.
“I haven't had any time to work on this for the past few months due to work, and I assume the same is true for Stephen. Making time estimates for full-time professional engineering projects is very hard, and this is far from that.
“Again, sorry for getting people's hopes up.”
An update on the SKSE website from April 3 says “Currently we don't have a estimated time frame for a beta release of SKSE64.”
So it may be a while before we see Special Edition updates for the many mods which made Skyrim so great on PC. But you could probably just install a really great ENB and texture pack into the original and get a similar experience.
The Skyrim Special Edition is available on Steam for £29.99 ($39.99).