Creation Engine

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Creation Engine
Developer(s)Bethesda Game Studios
Initial releaseNovember 2011; 11 years ago (2011-11)
Written inC++
MiddlewareScaleform, Havok Behavior, Radiant AI, Radiant Story

Creation Engine is a 3D video game engine created by Bethesda Game Studios based on the Gamebryo engine. The Creation Engine has been used to create role-playing video games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76. A new iteration of the engine, Creation Engine 2, was used to create Starfield.


After using the Gamebryo engine to create The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Fallout 3, Bethesda decided that Gamebryo's capabilities were becoming too outdated and began work on the Creation Engine for their next game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, by forking the codebase used for Fallout 3.

Following the completion of Skyrim, Bethesda set out to enhance the graphical core of the Creation Engine by first adding a physically based deferred renderer to allow for more dynamic lighting and to paint materials object surfaces with realistic materials. Bethesda worked with technology company Nvidia to implement volumetric lighting through a technique that makes use of hardware tesselation.[1][2] Additionally the updated version of the Creation Engine powering Bethesda's Fallout 4 offers more advanced character generation.[3][4][5]

Bethesda Game Studios Austin (at the time BattleCry Studios) was tasked with modifying the Creation Engine to support multiplayer content in preparation for the development of Fallout 76 shortly before the release of Fallout 4, while Bethesda Game Studios began development of Starfield and downloadable content for Fallout 4. In conjunction with id Software (a fellow ZeniMax subsidiary), BattleCry attempted to integrate id's Quake netcode into Fallout 4's engine. This was considered a challenge by experts in the online game industry. A primary issue facing the developers was that components of the core engine (dating back to Gamebryo used in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind) such as quests or world loading were designed centering on a single player (dubbed "Atlas" by the developers for its role in holding up the fabric of the loaded game world), a paradigm that would need to fundamentally change to allow multiple players spanning multiple worlds.[6]

In addition to the network changes to the engine used in Fallout 4, the Fallout 76 implementation of the engine was described at the game's E3 reveal as having "all new rendering, lighting, and landscape technology". Bethesda Game Studios claims the improvements also allow for a 16× increase in detail and the ability to view unique weather systems occurring at a distance.[7]

Creation Engine 2[edit]

Bethesda revealed in June 2021 that they were working on a new iteration of the engine called Creation Engine 2, and that it would power their upcoming games Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI.[8][9][10][11] Creation Engine 2 features real-time global illumination and advanced volumetric lighting.[12]


  • Havok Behavior is a flexible animation tool that allows the developers to blend animations together in a few clicks. This means that animations such as walking and running can be blended together seamlessly to make the animations look much more realistic. This important addition enabled Bethesda to improve character animations in their games.[13]
  • An upgraded version of Radiant AI allows non-player characters (NPCs) to dynamically react and interact with the world around them. The player can observe an NPC eat breakfast, go to work, go to the pub, and then go to sleep. The improved AI allows NPCs to react to the player's actions and they can become friendly or hostile to the player because of their actions.[13]
  • Radiant Story allows for NPCs to dynamically create new quests for the player in unexplored places.[13]
  • In previous games, Bethesda licensed SpeedTree for trees and foliage, but when making Skyrim with Creation Engine, the Bethesda team made their own foliage rendering system. The new system is capable of rendering larger amounts of foliage at one time and allows for more freedom with animations.[13]

Creation Kit[edit]

Creation Kit logo

The Creation Kit is a modding tool for Creation Engine games. The Creation Kit takes advantage of the Creation Engine's modular nature. It was created by Bethesda Game Studios for the modding community of The Elder Scrolls series.[14] The tool can be used to create worlds, races, NPCs, weapons, update textures, and fix bugs. Mods created using this tool are hosted on the Steam Workshop, Nexus Mods, and various other sites.

A Fallout 4–compatible Creation Kit was released in April 2016.[15]

The Creation Kit is a new version of Bethesda's editor developed for Gamebryo, known as The Elder Scrolls Construction Set for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and as the Garden of Eden Creation Kit for Fallout 3 (referencing an in-game item of the same name).

Games using Creation Engine[edit]

Creation Engine[edit]

Creation Engine 2[edit]


  1. ^ "The Graphics Technology of Fallout 4". Bethesda Softworks. November 4, 2015. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "An inside look at the technology powering 'Fallout 4,' one of the biggest games of the year". Insider. November 18, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Chapple, Craig (June 15, 2015). "E3 2015: Fallout 4 running on next-gen version of Creation Engine". Develop. NewBay Media. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  4. ^ "Fallout 4: how Creation Engine enhancements make the game shine". VG247. November 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "Bethesda explains how the Creation Engine made Fallout 4 so pretty". Destructoid. November 4, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Noclip (June 12, 2018). "The Making of Fallout 76 - Noclip Documentary". YouTube. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  7. ^ Bethesda Softworks (June 12, 2018). "Bethesda Game Studios E3 2018 Showcase". YouTube. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  8. ^ "Starfield Will Run on New Game Engine, Confirms Bethesda". Gaming Intel. June 14, 2021.
  9. ^ "The Elder Scrolls 6 Will Use Creation Engine 2, Like Starfield, But It's Still A Long Ways Off". Game Informer. June 29, 2021.
  10. ^ "The Elder Scrolls 6 is Using Same Engine as Starfield, Still in 'Design Phase'". Game Rant. June 29, 2021.
  11. ^ "New Starfield video introduces the Settled Systems and its factions". Video Games Chronicle. October 20, 2021.
  12. ^ "Starfield's new Creation Engine took 'so long to do,' Bethesda's Todd Howard happy with results". TweakTown. June 30, 2023.
  13. ^ a b c d e Bertz, Matt (January 17, 2011). "The Technology Behind The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  14. ^ "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Creation Kit Preview". February 1, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  15. ^ "Fallout 4 Creation Kit and mod support are now available". PC Gamer. April 26, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  16. ^ "Starfield Coming November 11, 2022". Bethesda. June 13, 2021.
  17. ^ "Todd Howard explains how The Elder Scrolls 6 will build on Starfield's engine". GamesRadar+. June 30, 2021.