Install order refers to the order in which mods are installed. The order of installation determines which mod’s assets overwrite other mod’s assets. You can find more information on assets here.
The effect that install order has on your game can range from simple aesthetic choices to ensuring mods (or mod addons) function properly.
In the case of visual mods like texture replacers or lighting mods, install order will determine which mod’s assets are used in game. An example of this would be installing a large texture overhaul that covers a lot of textures and then installing an individual texture replacer afterwards. The individual replacer would overwrite the one texture it has in common with the larger overhaul.
As mentioned earlier, install order can also affect the way a mod functions. Let’s say you installed a mod and then found that the author released a hotfix for a broken script. You would need to install the main mod first, and then the hotfix, ensuring that the bad script from the main mod is overwritten by the fixed script from the hotfix.
More information on asset conflicts can be found here.
Depending on your chosen mod manager, install order will be handled differently. To understand how your mod manager of choice handles install order, please use the links below.
Additionally, Mod Picker mod lists allow you to manage install order and provide automated resolution options for issues with install order notes.