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#1 croc

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 10:47 PM

Two questions about Mod Organizer, please.

 

First, my current workflow...  I only have a small-ish SSD for my win 7 drive.  I keep copies of skyrim setups that I use for various situations on a larger (slower) HDD.  I also have a repository of all mods that I have D/L'ed (and found useful) on that drive.  So, the way that I currently work, let's say that I want to test a new mod.  I will copy my current Skyrim off to the HDD folder for skyrims, then delete it off of my SSD, then copy down my base-skyrim-for-testing to the sssd and rename it to skyrim. 

 

Question 1, then - Will the junctions survive being moved around from one drive to another and back using win 7? 

 

And question 2 - Will Mod Organizer physically make a copy of a mod to use it or will it make a virtual copy of the mod...?


Edited by croc, 07 August 2017 - 10:48 PM.

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#2 GrantSP

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 05:31 PM

I think I understand your question so let me just lay it out as clearly as possible:

 

MO does not use any 'junctions' or 'links' (hard or symbolic). All the fancy redirecting of the mods' locations is done in memory once you press "Run".

This being the case it doesn't matter where on your system you install MO, or the various user changeable locations of certain folders like 'mods', 'profiles' or 'downloads'. So if your SSD with your OS is too small just install MO anywhere else. it also doesn't need to be anywhere near the game you are modding, ie. Skyrim.

 

So let's assume you have MO installed to your smallish OS SSD. Open MO's settings and change the settings to point to another drive ofyour choice, either another SSD or even an HDD.

e.g. I have a 240Gb SSD for my OS and other essential utilities, another 240Gb for all my games and my MO installs and the a slower 2Tb HDD for all the downloads.

 

MO makes no more calls to a drive, SSD or HDD, than any other manager does. So SSDs are not going to be taxed by constant "thrashing" nor are they needing to be the same as the drive where the game resides.

The only disk activity, other than that of the game loading, might be by your OS that is accessing a pagefile, which is a sign that you need more memory.



#3 croc

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 01:21 AM

I am still confused.. 

 

So, let's start off with my system defined a bit more clearly.  I dual boot into Windows 10 (On its own 1TB SSD) for everything except DX9.0c games.  For that I boot into Win 7 on a ~200 GB SSD for my OS, a few utils, word and Skyrim.  I have a ~3TB HDD for my other stuff, where my mods reside, as well as my various copies of built skyrim versions for testing, different followers...  I have 64GB system ram, so don't use page files.  Now, Skyrim keeps files at three locations.  So, for any given instance, you have to clean and copy over those three separate groups of files.  Skyrim itself holds all of the installed mods required for that version.  (I also do some jiggery-pokery with NMM if I used it, which requires a couple of other folders...  Typically I worry about this on my test version.)

 

Now, what little I know about Mod Organizer.  My understanding is that my mods will never be installed directly into Skyrim itself.  Given that few people have 64GB ram to play with, this implies (to me) some sort of 'virtual' install, which usually involves some form of linking.  Yet, you say that it is all done in memory.  Please explain this concept a bit further.


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#4 GrantSP

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 01:48 AM

Disclaimer: Any jiggery-pokery you do with NMM will void any 'clean' Data folder that MO affords you, so you will have to make a choice - use NMM or just MO, not both.

 

When you grab a mod from Nexus, or where ever, MO will store that archive in the 'downloads' folder. You can also delete the archives after installation if you want, most people keep them to avoid loss if they are removed from Nexus.

Installing that mod places it in MO's left-hand pane, which represents a view of sub-folders in the 'mods' folder in the MO install. If you activate that mod and then use MO to start the game, MO tricks the game to 

'see' the files in those sub-folders instead of in Data. All of this is done one in memory to the game executable. As the game progresses it reads the files from there, not Data.

The entire process is very similar to that used by viruses or malware. MO is in fact the result of a thesis project @Tannin was doing into that subject.

 

As for your system, I'd place the 'downloads' folder in the 3Tb HDD and install MO in either of those SSDs. It doesn't matter where Skyrim is located. MO could be on the smaller SSD and you might use the larger one for the 'mods' folder if you think the 200Gb is getting full, or simply install it on the larger one. I do however suggest using a SSD for it, it makes a noticeable difference on my system.

 

So launching Skyrim from the 200Gb SSD with MO will look to the 1Tb SSD to find the mods that you have installed. As far as Skyrim is concerned everything is on the same drive. Windows on the other SSD makes no difference to the process. 3 drives are used but the game doesn't know or care.



#5 croc

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:02 AM

I think that I understand the concept about too may cooks spoiling the pot...  (NMM and MO...)

 

Can I also tell Mod Organizer to just look at my existing archive of mods without re-downloading them all over?  And where does Mod Organizer store those mods that the current instance of Skyrim is using when I tell it to use another instance of skyrim.  Back where it found them, I hope.  Or does it make a separate 'mod space' for each instance of skyrim?

 

Is there a place that Tannin has documented how this actually works?


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#6 GrantSP

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 03:22 AM

I think that I understand the concept about too may cooks spoiling the pot...  (NMM and MO...)

 

Can I also tell Mod Organizer to just look at my existing archive of mods without re-downloading them all over?

Yes. You can either manually install them by using the 1st icon in the toolbar or move them all to the 'downloads' folder in the MO install or change the settings so MO uses the folder where they currrently are.

 

...And where does Mod Organizer store those mods that the current instance of Skyrim is using when I tell it to use another instance of skyrim.  Back where it found them, I hope.  Or does it make a separate 'mod space' for each instance of skyrim?

Hmm... are you using MO2 for Skyrim? I suggest using MO 1.3.11 for that. MO2 is built for SSE or Fallout 4 and is not truly ready for fulltime use, IMHO.

 

Is there a place that Tannin has documented how this actually works?

Check the manual. All that you need to know is there and if it isn't just ask.



#7 croc

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 06:49 AM

Thanks, GrantSP, you've been most helpful.  I have never used MO before, and I did download / install 1.3.33.  I figured out (With Gopher's help) some of the more useful bits, especially the 'settings' page, where you can select directories for 'things'.  The Mod Directory is pretty self-explanatory, but the results of doing so are not.  For instance, I have many sub-folders of types of mods.  Animals, house mods, weapon mods, character mods...  And if I select that parent directory, I have all of those subs plastered all over my 'installed' window.  Can I get rid of those categories from that pane? 

 

Then there is the download directory.  I assume that will only ever be used if I 'download with manager', which I have never done before, as using nmm it was more of a PITA to do that and tell it where I wanted that mod put than to do it myself.  I'll probably maintain that methodology, but probably point MO to the main directory anyway.  Who knows, I might find it useful.

 

Then there is the Cache directory.  In the manual, I can find a reference to it, but that's it.  'It is on the settings button' sort of reference.  Just what the .... is this directory for?  Or what does it do?  Why is it?  (Is it bigger than a breadbox, or smaller than a thimble...?)  I think that before I go too far I need to know some of these types of deeper-than-the-manual-goes things.

 

TL; DR  How to stop the folder structure of my mods directory showing up as categories in my 'installed' pane?  And, What is the cache directory used for?

 

 

Thanks,

 

croc


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#8 GrantSP

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 06:37 PM

The 'mods' folder doesn't support sub-folders, the MO UI has a column called "Category" that you use to differentiate your installed mods and you can also install empty mods (just create empty folders) that are named as category headers.
 
e.g.

 

The "webcache" is just a temp folder MO uses when accessing the pages on the Nexus, it houses some of the content and mechanics to display information about your installed  mods. It is not vital to functionality if you don't install mods from Nexus using the "Download with Manager" button or use MO to show the mod's page in the "Information" tab.



#9 croc

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:53 PM

Thank you for that.  I THINK that I finally understand the directory structure, to a point.  I made a 'download' a 'cache' and an MO_Mods folder on my HDD.  These are all in the same sub-folder as my mods collection.  By installing a few smallish mods, I notice that these are actually copied to the MO_Mods folder.  No problems there, as this drve has 1.5 TB left empty, and NMM does the same thing.  (However, once I have built that instance of Skyrim, I generally do away with that NMM copy-set.  The only separate copies of mods from NMM currently are for my 'testing' install, for obvious reasons.) 

 

Now, thinking ahead a bit - how do profiles actually work?  Does MO make a second physical set of mods used in that profile, even though most of them are also used in the first?  Or am I not understanding 'profiles' at all? 


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#10 GrantSP

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 09:12 PM

Have a look at the contents of a profile and you will see that there are a set of text files that define what is installed and active in that profile, the actual mods themselves remain where they are.

 

All you are doing is automating the deactivation/activation of the set of installed mods in your system. Along with this are a set of profile specific INI files for that specific run through.



#11 croc

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 09:38 PM

Ah.  I have not created a new profile, just thinking ahead.  So, the way that I am setting up, MO will make a copy of every mod that I have ever used in its own folder (MO_Mods, in my case), then make a separate 'list' of those mods used for each profile in that profile's folder.  Have I got it?

 

(So, to avoid duplication, I could just delete the original mod after I let MO 'install' it, yes?  Or just keep the folders separate as a Q & D 'backup'...)


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#12 GrantSP

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 11:37 PM

Just to clarify, I think you are using the term 'mod' to also speak of the file you sourced from a mod site such as Nexus. MO refers to those files as downloads and they are archived files of all the files that particular mod needs to function. You can safely delete the download once it is 'installed'.

 

"SuperAwesomeSpecialMod.7z"  == the download

 

Once it is extracted or installed by MO you will have:

"SuperAwesomeSpecialMod.bsa, SuperAwesomeSpecialMod.esp" == the mod

 

MO is not as dificult to use as some make it out to be, just setup some mods and create profile and you'll get the hang of it.



#13 croc

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 11:49 PM

I am getting there, and thanks so much for the help.


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