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#1 TheInstaller

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:36 AM

As I mentioned in a different thread, I've created 3 large 7z archives that contain all of the mods that are listed in the STEP guide that don't also have the NMM flag. These archives reduce the maximum # of STEP specific mods from ~170 to ~25, all of which are NMM friendly. All that's needed is a volunteer (or 3) willing to help get permissions from the original authors to redistribute their work. I've typed up detailed instructions for installing STEP with these archives as well as a streamlined guide for .ini alterations. There's also plans for a "Lite" version that still installs all of the mods, but targets systems with less VRAM. If anybody's interested I can send the text files in a PM, or copy them here...
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#2 stoppingby4now

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:15 AM

Appreciate your hard work on this, but getting permission from authors will be impossible. Quite a few have explicit instruction on their main page not to redistribute in any form. Ultimately, ACH will be able to handle the download of all mods for you, and it currently can packaging them either per mod, or bundling based on rules, though development is still ongoing. Ultimately, this will be a better system as managing permissions and making special cases for those authors that deny redistribution will make it chaotic.

#3 TheInstaller

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:37 AM

I was afraid of that with the permissions. I hadn't been checking them while doing the original downloads, but I had noticed a few that just asked for acknowledgement. Thanks for the quick reply and info.
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#4 frihyland

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 11:58 AM

It's not just the permissions issue, how do you handle upgrades? Customization? Thats a core feature of STEP that is completely removed by this method. How about mods that are added or removed from STEP? We have to redownload 8GB and reinstall every time a mod is changed? I think not.
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#5 z929669

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 04:36 PM

I agree that this is a great solution for the individual who stops modding because they are happy with the latest version of STEP; however, I have a long way to go, and as Fri mentions, changing mods piecemeal is much simpler than in giant chunks. ACH will be a great solution once it evolves.

#6 TheInstaller

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 08:18 PM

This response is kind of a waste of time since the permissions make the rest of the concerns moot, but I wanted to take a few minutes to defend the basic idea.

Let me start by pointing out that every objection raised is fundamentally valid, and far better addressed by ACH. However, I was primarily thinking of this as a way to convert interested individuals into participants through ease of installation. When I first saw STEP I though it was a great idea, then spent a few months unsure if I'd notice the improvements for longer than I spent making them (it's a pretty big document with easily 150+ mods listed many with notes or options to read about), or if my system could handle it, or if I wanted to spend time tweaking the .ini files. In hindsight I'm sorry I waited, but that isn't something that you can easily pass along to others that are on the fence.

I did think about the whole thing a bit more than just slapping all the mods listed into a few archives. I chose the max resolution if there were options and the total size is ~4.6GB using 7z's "Normal" compression. Using the "Ultra" compression it may be <4.3 gigs. Now for people without broadband 5 GB download once a month is a tall order. On the other hand, most broadband connections can sustain 500kb/s which is enough to do 5 gigs in 8 hours. And while many people may download 5, 10 or even 20 gigs via bittorrent without too much consideration it's still a major shortcoming.

Keeping in mind the goals of this method (simplify the installation), upgrades would mostly just be a headache for the person(s) maintaining the aggregated archives. Unless more than half of the mods were changed out and the order completely rearranged it would take less than 8 hours to create new fully updated archives for distribution. On the user's end it depends on if mods are maintained by hand, with NMM or with WB. With NMM it took me ~1.5 hrs to install fresh, including the ~25 extra mods I wanted. WB would shave a good bit of time off this estimate, but I didn't use it, and I wasn't updating. I opted against TexBlend, but if you were to use it normally it wouldn't add any more time using it this way.

As for customization, once the decision has been made to use every mod listed in The Guide there are surprisingly relatively few choices to make. I broke the thing into 3 archives to accommodate the options that do exist; Most of the mods that have different "flavor" versions are not included in the aggregated archives, and need to be installed between them (to keep the order following The Guide). You can still have all the options in W.A.T.E.R and SkyUI and iHUD and all the others. If someone is going to take the time to pick which mods to include in their personal version of STEP they probably are going to want to do it by hand or via WB anyway.

And that's why I only focused on the permissions. ACH looks like it will offer complete custom control, easier updating, smaller periodic downloads, and less long-term maintenance effort. Essentially a far superior experience in every aspect (and one I plan on using). It is, though, a far more challenging project that requires a specific skill-set to develop which limits the number of people that can collaborate to create and maintain it. As I mentioned in the ACH thread, I'd be happy to help, though my experience coding in xml is sparse. I'll mention it here as well that I could do a test next Friday or Sunday evening.

Thanks for the frank conversation and all the work on ACH too, in case I hadn't mentioned it.
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#7 elbe

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:29 PM

Coincidentally, when I first described the mod compiling application (what would eventually become AHC) on the bethsoft forums someone argued the mod permissions issue. I don't think I described it well that first time. Then someone suggested BCF as an existing solution. Then no one cared. My original solution packaged all the mods in separate groups; so you'd have a STEP.B1.7z, STEP.B2.7z, etc. It's nice for organization, but it leaves much to be desired in simple upgradability and install tweaking. The current system allows different levels, including the group level packaging. XML is dirt easy because it's basically just data storage and it's up to the application, in this case, to use it. I keep having to expand the XML schema, though, to handle more complex mods. As a note: it amuses me no end that other people call it AHC. All my personal projects are named after whatever song I happen to be listening to when I start it so those initials really don't mean anything other than a random reference to an All American Rejects song. My creativity certainly bombs out on names.
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#8 frihyland

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:41 PM

Thanks for the frank conversation and all the work on ACH too, in case I hadn't mentioned it.

I'm glad to have you around for the testing, I look forward to your input. You can download the current version of ACH just to get a handle on the basic functionality and the UI, lots will be changing but it's not exactly intuitive so any insight to get it closer to user friendly would be welcome. If you have any coding experience its written in VB using WPF and available on sourceforge.
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#9 TheInstaller

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:41 AM

If nobody minds I'm just going to reply to everything over in the AHC thread to consolidate the conversation.
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#10 frihyland

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:46 AM

Yep, we can shut this one down and move the conversation over there.
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#11 z929669

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 01:11 PM

As a note: it amuses me no end that other people call it AHC. All my personal projects are named after whatever song I happen to be listening to when I start it so those initials really don't mean anything other than a random reference to an All American Rejects song. My creativity certainly bombs out on names.

I think that this is a good method for naming something,

#12 MilesTeg

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:15 PM

uhm, you know about BiG World Project for Baldurs Gate?

http://www.shsforums...ld-v11-english/

It's pretty similiar to STEP (but BG instead of Skyrim) and it also gives you an automatic installation, called "BiG World Install.bat":

http://www.shsforums...stallpack-v111/

It automatically downloads all mods, installs and configures them.

It comes in four flavours:

1. Recommended version:
This will install mods that are claimed to be bugfree by many gamers.

2. Standard version:
This installation incorporates mods recommended by the majority of the testers and is aimed at
achieving the best possible play experience. Mods with an absurd degree of difficulty and/or buggy
mods are not installed.
If however, you are nevertheless of the opinion that, one or another isolated mod would be worth-
while, please inform us and we will reintegrate it.

3. Tactic version:
With this installation you can add mods to the standard version that make above all the fights with
the enemies more difficult and, therefore, are thought for experienced players.

4. Expert version:
This installation tries to establish what is feasible. You have a 100% chance of running into bugs
and/or CTDs (crash to desktop) and it has quite a long way to go before reaching perfection (if it ever
does). The pertinent mods are greyed out in the instructions.


maybe something similiar could be possible for STEP and skyrim?
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#13 stoppingby4now

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:31 PM

A project is already in the works for STEP.

#14 frihyland

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:31 PM

Its already in development and called STEP Thunderbolt.
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#15 torminater

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:38 PM

STEP Thunderbolt? ^^ Why not call it "QuickSTEP": :D
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