STEP is a pretty complicated thing to set up and configure. Well, I'm a software developer ("senior software developer", whatever that means to you guys... titles, yay!) working on a desktop application that's around the same level of complexity in terms of setting it up and configuring it. It's at least in the same ballpark; it's hard to say which is more complicated. Our current work is to improve the experience of setup and configuration. I saw the correlation with STEP and wanted to poke my head in to see if I could help out, because I know there are some pretty painful parts of the STEP process that can be done better.
OK. That's who I am and where I'm coming from. Now I'm going to go on to list what I see as the main tasks that need to happen to set up STEP Core (not in the order they need to happen):
- Install Skyrim Legendary Edition from Steam.
- Tweak Skyrim INI files.
- Set graphics driver settings.
- Download pre-packaged archive files from locations that are not friendly to unattended downloaders.
- Extract a subset of the contents of each archive file to directories in a well-defined directory structure (Mod Organizer's "mods" directory).
- Set up a Mod Organizer profile to order the mods in a particular way.
- Install other tools that don't sit in the virtual "Data" directory (SKSE, Mod Organizer, Wrye Bash, LOOT, TES5Edit) (I might have missed some more because it's been a while).
- Run TES5Edit through Mod Organizer and perform various script tasks (cleaning, DynDOLOD, other???).
- Run Wrye Bash and create a Bashed Patch.
- Run LOOT to set up the load order.
- Run various other tasks provided by the mods themselves, usually via SkyProc.
Does that look about right? Did I miss anything big? If I missed something, that should be addressed first.
Assuming I got the list of tasks right, only a subset of these steps need to be run during every upgrade: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11.
OK, now I have two questions:
- What steps are already covered (by one or more existing solutions in this forum?
- I do know how to search, but I don't have the time to read through everything. Plus, I think there's value in having the information in one place anyway.
- It's fine if they're only partial solutions, or solutions to only parts of a task, or if it's broken right now, but it would be nice to know that.
- What steps are the most painful for users setting up a system that includes STEP?
- I count setting up STEP Core from scratch, upgrading from an old version, and adding things on top of STEP Core as in-scope here.
I'd like to volunteer to at least keep a post somewhat up-to-date about what we've identified the problems to be, and what automated solutions exist for solving those problems. I might even poke my head in and work on tools for some of this, but no promises there.
In my dream world, I (as a user) can grab a tiny little file that someone put together describing what a complete STEP Core install looks like, point a tool at that file and a folder of downloaded Nexus archives, have it tell me which files I should re-download and which files are missing entirely, re-download the missing / wrong files, and then have it do as much of the remaining setup tasks for me (file moves, extractions, running patchers, load order management) automatically that it reasonably and legally can, and go to bed (or lunch) while it does all that. Then I'd do the things that still need to be manual, and then run Skyrim once that's done. Still in fantasy land, I'd like to be able to do the same to install (and maybe even uninstall!) other packs that build off of STEP Core the same way. Still in that fantasy land, it would be really really nice if this tool would look at Mod Organizer folders and detect work it doesn't need to do because it's already done (i.e., compare checksums on the installed files or something).
I think this isn't too far away from a possible reality, and I also think there's a lot of stuff in this forum that can be leveraged to make this work.
Tried to reserve a second post for a catalog that I'm going to try to keep up-to-date, when I get the time to do so, but apparently that just appends the text to the end of this top post?
Edited by airbreather, 31 August 2016 - 08:50 AM.