When LOOT is run, it will attempt to detect which of the supported games are installed. If a default game has been set, LOOT will run for it, otherwise it will run for the same game as it last ran for. If the relevant game cannot be detected, or if there is no record of the last game LOOT ran for, it will run for the first detected game.

LOOT’s initialisation can be customised using command line parameters:

--game=<game folder name>:
Set the game to run for. If the supplied game folder name is valid, the default and last game values are ignored. The default folder names are Oblivion, Skyrim, Skyrim Special Edition, Fallout3, FalloutNV, Fallout4 and Fallout4VR.
Set the path to use for LOOT’s application data storage. If this is an empty string or not specified, defaults to %LOCALAPPDATA%\LOOT on Windows and (in order of decreasing preference) $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/LOOT, $HOME/.config/LOOT or the current path on Linux.
Once LOOT has initialised, automatically sort the load order, apply the sorted load order, then quit. If an error occurs at any point, the remaining steps are cancelled. If this is passed, --game must also be passed.

If LOOT cannot detect any supported game installs, it will immediately open the Settings dialog. There you can edit LOOT’s settings to provide a path to a supported game, after which you can select it from the game menu.

Users running LOOT natively on Linux may need to also set the local path for each game, which can only be done by editing LOOT’s settings.toml file, which can be found in LOOT’s data path.

Once a game has been set, LOOT will scan its plugins and load the game’s masterlist, if one is present. The plugins and any metadata they have are then listed in their current load order.

If LOOT detects that it is the first time you have run that version of LOOT, it will display a “First-Time Tips” dialog, which provides some information about the user interface that may not be immediately obvious.