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Automated STEP Installer - Now in Beta


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#31 z929669

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 01:40 PM

I strongly suggest NOT using NMM as a prerequisite for any tool. We do not recommend NMM but for the purpose of downloading mods. Similarly, I am not a fan of requiring MO or any other app in order to feed this proposed app. I advocate creating this as a stand-alone app, independent of others. What Monty has begun is preferable from my perspective. I use Wrye Bash, but the mod manager should be something separate from this, IMO. The code to retrieve data from the Nexus is already written in C++ I think, so it should be pretty straight forward for a C programmer to port it, right? I like the idea of a portable DB as well. It is completely independent of bloat. @Monty, I will test what you have created finally just so I have some idea what currently exists and how I (we) may be able to use it. Anything I need to know other than what you have posted earlier on this topic?

#32 MontyMM

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 01:53 PM

I can't remember exactly where I left it, and I think I'd done some more work that I hadn't uploaded. I'll see if I kept it. in the mean time, what I uploaded should be good enough as a proof of concept, and its pretty straightforward to test. The basic procedure is almost identical to what MG suggests - you could create profiles for different configs using whatever mod manager, then run the skyrep creation script on the final data folder for each configuration.
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#33 z929669

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:49 PM

One problem I see now:

I manipulate nearly every archive I download, reorganizing directories, combining archives, unpacking all BSAs, etc and then repack, so I would always want to use my Skyrim Data directory as a "reality check" against the archives. The problem is the BSAs for me. In order for this to work, I would need to keep all source files intact, regardless of what I do with the relative file locations.

Otherwise, I am violating:

He can use a copy of his own Skyrim data directory as a model. If he chooses this option, the data directory must not contain anything except the vanilla Skyrim files, and files from the mod archives he is using. He runs '1 B. Optional - replace Output with data folder'. This will place a copy of the data directory in the _Output folder, minus the vanilla Skyrim files.



#34 TechAngel85

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 04:37 PM

One problem I see now:

I manipulate nearly every archive I download, reorganizing directories, combining archives, unpacking all BSAs, etc and then repack, so I would always want to use my Skyrim Data directory as a "reality check" against the archives. The problem is the BSAs for me. In order for this to work, I would need to keep all source files intact, regardless of what I do with the relative file locations.

Otherwise, I am violating:

He can use a copy of his own Skyrim data directory as a model. If he chooses this option, the data directory must not contain anything except the vanilla Skyrim files, and files from the mod archives he is using. He runs '1 B. Optional - replace Output with data folder'. This will place a copy of the data directory in the _Output folder, minus the vanilla Skyrim files.

This is also an issue for MO users since A) MO uses a virtual Data directory and the installed mods in MO are nothing close to what a WB user's Data directory would look like and B) most users unpack BSAs that use MO, as well, since it's an option when installing the mods.

#35 MontyMM

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:06 PM

The thing to bear in mind here is the current separation between Skyrep itself, which performs the comparisons of two directories full of files, and creates a patch to rearrange and alter them on the target PC, and the simple scripted part, which performs the rest of the logic. The way Skyrep works, is that it creates a picture of its target output directory, using md5 hashes to identify each file. It then attempts to recreate this structure using a patch on the user's machine, using whatever matching files it can find in the users source files. The scripted part is pretty simple, and can easily be changed according to needs. For example, it could easily perform BSA extraction on the user's end so that the Skyrep patch would then find those loose files to use in its process. (The scripted part would be translated to proper code in a final application, once the essential logic was settled upon.) Don't get sidetracked with the way MO happens to work. To the end users, the tools used in the creation will be irrelevant. The creator is free to use whatever mod manager they wish to create a snapshot data directory - there are ways of capturing and examining the virtual data directory created by MO if one is determined to use that tool.
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#36 z929669

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 09:00 PM

I suppose then that I would like to see the BSA extraction (or ability to scan inside BSAs) as an added feature before I run through the whole thing. There are quite a few mods with BSAs that have been extracted in my setup, so this seems like an obvious feature necessity. I have a lot of confidence that this process could easily produce a diff patch that is customized to the user's Skyrim Data configuration.

#37 z929669

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 08:53 PM

so, motherGoose, are you still with us?

#38 mothergoose729

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:23 PM

Yeah I am still here. I am in the middle of my midterms right now so studying is all I have time for. Montys mod merge needs a bit more work so I plan to look over the code and see if there is anything I can do (mostly can I understand it). If not I have ideas for how to do it another way. My hope is that in a couple of weeks I might be able to get ahead and then I can put some time in. Best case scenario I might have an alpha by january.
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#39 z929669

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:52 PM

Sounds good. Just stick with it (studies too)  or come back here if you need inspiration to do so!

#40 mothergoose729

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 05:37 PM

So it seems possible that I might have time to work on this project soon. I am leaning very strongly towards the idea of creating a file list from a NMM or a similar mod organizers configuration files. There are two reasons for this; it makes my life a lot easier because all I have to do is make a program that grabs the information, and it makes the STEP maintainer's life a lot easier because they can keep using the tools they are already familiar with. The way I have it in mind right now, is an automated STEP download would consist of a file structure (empty to start), an XML or similar document exported from a mod organizer software, and the C program I was to write to put it together. A STEP user would download the appropriate files and put them in the directory with the program, and presto the program puts everything together. The guy maintaining STEP would just have to get his file structure correct in NMM, or MO, or whatever, and then export the appropriate documents. I want to discuss a bit exactly which mod organizer I should program for. I have already identified the XML document for NMM, I understand its structure, I can write the code for it if I am really good. I download MO the other day and looked through it, and wasn't able to find a similar document or documents which I would need to write the same thing for MO. I know wyre bash's mod installer is used by a lot of folks around here, and I could probably write something for that also. Again, I need some kind of configuration file to do the string parsing on. So STEP admins, you guys are probably going to be the ones maintaining this if/when I finish the project. Which application would you prefer to be married to? At the moment I am favoring working with NMM above the others for a couple of reasons. Of all the mod organizers out there, I think NMM is definitely not the most stable or has the best features. NMM is backed by the nexus, which makes money and has a vested interest in people continuing to download mods. NMM will probably have consistent support and development in the long term as a result. NMM also works pretty well, and third party tools like FOMOD can be used to expand its functionality and its usefulness.
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#41 z929669

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:51 PM

Use MO definitely. That program is under active dev, and I have reason to believe that we may integrate more features eithre from or into MO. Tannin is an active member of the site now that we are hosting the MO support and guide. It just seems efficient to use MO wherever possible.

#42 mothergoose729

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 12:28 PM

Is tannin part of the MO team?
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#43 rootsrat

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 12:50 PM

He is the author of MO :)
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#44 deathneko11

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 12:59 PM

This is also an issue for MO users since A) MO uses a virtual Data directory and the installed mods in MO are nothing close to what a WB user's Data directory would look like and B) most users unpack BSAs that use MO, as well, since it's an option when installing the mods.


Just wanted to say that I don't think most of MO users do this, as it can actually be a bad practice in some instances.  now for games before skyrim, such as oblivion for example, you can actually get a performance boost by doing this but this sort of practice is not necessary for Skyrim unless you are micromanaging some files for load order (keeping in mind that the mod priority in MO must be set correctly when doing so) or if unpacking bsa files for access to files needed for modding purposes.
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#45 mothergoose729

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:47 PM

Has anybody ever asked him if he would add an automated feature into MO? I sent him a PM asking him about MO configuration files and asking him if he would ever consider developing the feature himself. It seems like an automated installation feature would naturally follow from MOs existing feature sets. At any rate I can't do much until I get some idea of how MO is organized. Anybody know how MO keeps track of the users files? EDIT: Tannin responded to my PM rather quickly. Not much chance of a automated feature in MO any time soon, but he was kind enough to point me to the files I need.
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