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#1 Himself

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 06:21 AM

Hi and thanks to Kelmych and STEP members for all the amazing guide and documentation!!
 
I was following this: http://wiki.step-pro...:DDSopt/Fallout
 
After extracting all my files and sorting in the folders I'm pretty sure my file countings were not the same as in the example picture (would have taken a screenshot if I knew I would end up posting around here =P). Used the latest .ini and option 3 (2_Fallout_Pre-optimization_2.8.bat[/size]). I can re-do it if having the right file count is important or just for the sake of comparing and data gatering and curiosity.
 
Anyway, after I'm done with files, can I place those back into the *.bsa? Or is there a better procedure?? I'm not using mod organizer atm (seems like a tool that only adds more steps to each operation).

As for the Fallout3\Data\Textures, after DDSopt has done its job can I throw these textures together with all the others inside the "Fallout - Textures.bsa" ?
1 - I will have to overwrite duplicates of (same named) textures that already exist inside "Fallout - Textures.bsa"
2 - The textures that end up being overwritten at step 1, do those matter? I'm guessing NO since the ones from the Data\textures folder are supposed to take precedence anyway, is that right?
3 - Are there any (bad) side effects to this procedure? Since the textures will be located inside the bsa and not inside the Data\textures (I'm assuming the game will always search inside the bsa as if it was a regular texture folder).
 
Thanks for any help!!


Edited by Himself, 17 November 2015 - 08:09 AM.

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#2 Kelmych

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 08:18 PM

Having a different file count might indicate there was a problem when you extracted the files from the various Fallout BSAs. If you still have the folder with the extracted textures you could determine how many files were extracted from each folder. I've been using WinDirStat to do this.

 

I would not suggest creating a new BSA with the optimized textures replacing the original ones. It's a lot safer to leave the original BSAs alone and create new archive files with the optimized textures as discussed in the guide. The optimized textures will replace the original ones in the game itself since textures that are not in BSAs (called loose textures) have precedence over equivalent ones in BSAs. Replacing the vanilla Fallout BSAs themself can potentially cause problems.

 

You might want to read more about Mod Organizer and what it provides. If you are not using a mod manager and loading more than a handful of mods you will find that maintenance is very time consuming and error prone. Mod Organizer allows creating multiple sets of installed mods (called profiles) that allow quickly debugging problems when you use mods, as well as providing other useful capabilities.



#3 Himself

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 11:22 PM

Thanks for the help!

 

create new archive files with the optimized textures as discussed in the guide. The optimized textures will replace the original ones in the game itself since textures that are not in BSAs (called loose textures) have precedence over equivalent ones in BSAs. Replacing the vanilla Fallout BSAs themself can potentially cause problems.

 

I didnt understand this part from the guide (sorry I'm stupid!), how do I place the optimized textures? I just throw these inside the textures folder and tell to overwrite whats already there, or do I create some zip files for compression purpose? (Does the game check inside a zip even if this zip is loose inside the data folder? And doesn't it slows down the game to uncompress a file before it can be used?)
The guide mentiones/uses MO a lot wich confounds me, its a bit much of going around and around instead of being objective and I get lost, plus my bad English.

Can you pls tell me in laymen terms how to place the textures?
 

I'm using FOMM as mod manager, though I mostly try to install everything by hand, surely MO is a wonderful tool like all others, but at this point I feel so overwhelmed by all the directions that I cant absorve anything else :)


Edited by Himself, 17 November 2015 - 11:47 PM.

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#4 Nebulous112

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 12:44 AM

I'm using FOMM as mod manager, though I mostly try to install everything by hand, surely MO is a wonderful tool like all others, but at this point I feel so overwhelmed by all the directions that I cant absorve anything else :)


Unfortunately, I think this may be a big part of the problem. :(

The DDSopt guide you linked to, and Kelmych's Clear and Present Danger Fallout 3 guide both use Mod Organizer as the base. All instructions are assuming you have MO; having Mod Organizer actually makes the process so much easier.

Also, a small bit of advice... Never install a mod "by hand" without a mod manager. Mod managers exist for a reason! If you ever have to change a mod, or make a mistake, you will have to completely delete you Fallout game directory and re-download, and start from scratch.

I made this mistake when I first tried to mod Fallout and Skyrim. One re-install procedure after a mistake convinced me to never install by hand. I used NMM. Later, I got over my "fear" of using MO, and read the STEP MO guide, and it wasn't as difficult to use as everyone said it was. Once I understood it, it made everything so much easier.

Regarding your original question, I personally am not sure. Knowing what I know now (which I keep being reminded around here is not all that much! :P), I would recommend to you to delete all your files, re-install the game, download MO, and read this guide. Then download your mods again using MO, and try the DDSopt procedure again, which may make more sense once you have MO installed and a basic understanding of how it works.

I could be wrong, but in my mind this would be the safest way to transition to a MO setup if you have added mods by hand into the FO3 file structure.

This is probably not what you want to hear, but just my humble opinion. Big pain, but if you plan to mod these games, I think it would be worth it for you. Then again, Kelmych or someone else may be kind enough to come back with a direct answer for your question, who knows. But I'd still change over if I were you. Lol.

#5 Kelmych

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 01:37 AM

After you run DDSopt you will have several folders of textures. You then use an archiver to create one archive file for each folder. This is done because it's usually easier to work with a few archive files than a large number of individual texture files. If you are using FOMM or Wrye Bash (other mod manager programs) you would then use one of them to install the textures into the game; the individual texture files will be copied from the archive file(s) by the mod manager and put in a folder within "Fallout 3 GOTY\Data\textures". The mod manager should also be able to perform an "undo" when needed; otherwise if you needed to remove a mod you would manually locate each file and delete it manually.

 

FOMM will do what you want for right now, but if you start adding mods it will become tedious to use as the number of mods grow, especially since mods change and you may want to install an updated version of a mod. Mod Organizer does this in a much cleaner and more flexible way.



#6 Himself

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 01:37 AM

Yeah I might have to restart it soon, but I really dislike to depend on mod managers, specially having to spend a lot of time learning a new one wich has a 20+ pages guide (really bro look at the size of that guide ^^)

It might be incredibly ignorant/naive on my part, but once all mods are installed, the only thing I 'figure' my mod manager is gonna be used for is launching the game. Seems like any real editing is made through fo3edit or geck, so in my view, the faster I can have a (near)flawless full modded install ready and set, thats when the real modding and editing begins.

 

I'm probably wrong but will have to learnt he hard way, and knowing things like how the game handles basic file structure and so are part of the proccess, just hope all of you guys put up with me and answer my questions no matter how stupid xD


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#7 Kelmych

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 01:45 AM

The problem is maintenance. If you never have to remove a mod or replace a mod with an updated version the the capabilities of the mod manager aren't necessarily very important. Take a look at the changelog for the FO3 guide referenced in my signature (the changelog reference is very near the beginning of the guide), and note how often at least some of the mods get updated. You will find with editing plugins (files ending in .esp and .esm), as an example, that you will want to try different versions of the plugins you edited, and mod managers are helpful in making this easier



#8 Himself

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 02:20 AM

Yep doing the maintenance through a manager does seems much faster, it appears I'll have to restart anyway due to my current situation.. I'll try to explain:

I was following gopher youtube videos as a basic for my install, then later found out about your guide and DDSopt, I already have/had many mods installed and thought I could optimize textures after everything was done (at the end of the proccess) using this http://www.nexusmods...t3/mods/17594/?  on my data\textures folder.

However it seems the optimizer from the link is not exactly the best approach since it does the same treatment to all files (wich is bad in some cases?) and does not include the files inside the BSAs.

Further, now it seems that I can't inject the textures from the BSAs into the game without overwriting the textures that are already there (replaced by mods).

 

Let me see if I got what you explained the right way: (please tell if any of that is wrong)

 

1 - I need to make an archive for the optimized FO3 textures and each DLC, say for example I create the Fallout3_textures_2048.rar.

2 - I need to open through a mod manager and tell it to install? (that was "the issue" with the guide, I had no idea mod managers do that and install whatever you tell it to install so long as "the file structure fits", I guess most new users have no idea about this!)

3 - It will overwrite any (identically named) textures that are already present in the textures folder, potentially files that mods have already replaced, wich is BAD.

4 - I could as a "fix" temporarily move my textures folder somewhere else, and replace it with an empty one, tell the mod manager to install (won't need to overwrite anything), and after that I toss my previosuly moved texture folder on top telling it to overwrite, so the files replaced by mods will still be applied over the original ones from the BSAs as needed.

Yeah it is a hassle, and taking into account that I intend to learn some modding from Bethesda games, it may as well pay off to re-start and use MO.

I'll probably be doing that then, and coming back around to ask questions whenever I have doubts, hope you guys keep up with me.

In the meantine, is there any guide for merging plugins that any of you can point out? (Like for example the Marts Mutant Mod plugin found here: http://www.nexusmods...ut3/mods/16787/  it was 8 plugins and ended up all into 1, thats something wich looks very useful to learn)

Again thanks Kelmych and Nebulous and all of you who mess with modding, you're all a very treasured kind of player!


Edited by Himself, 18 November 2015 - 02:40 AM.

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#9 Kelmych

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 02:56 AM

Step 4 is why Mod Organizer is used. Instead of actually installing the files during installation it uses a virtual file system and provides the files at runtime. There is no actual overwriting, it just selects the correct file. If you change the order of mods and that changes which files should be loaded Mod Organizer handles it easily since it didn't put the files into the Data folder itself earlier.

 

There are a few guides and threads on merging plugins. Read the posts on Merging Plugins Standalone; Mator has written a tool to simplify plugin merging.

 

There is also a small overview guide in the Advanced guides on the STEP wiki, and it provides some references to other material. Mator's tools, however, are the main ones used for plugin merging.



#10 Himself

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 03:03 AM

:thumbsup:


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#11 Nebulous112

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 03:15 AM

Honestly, if I were you, (for Fallout 3 modding) I would start off using Kelmych's fairly amazing Fallout 3 guide. Read from top to bottom, and follow all instructions in order, and exactly as written. It even goes through the proper way to install Fallout and MO, along with other utilities, etc.

By following the details in the guide closely, you will learn things you would not even think to ask here.

There will be links to other guides, etc. to help you along the way, such as the MO guide I gave you a link to in an earlier post.

Using MO for this will make things extremely easy, as MO uses a virtual file system, which means your main FO3 data will never be touched. Every time you start MO, it will use only the mods you have "ticked" in the MO user interface.

That means that even if you do not want to use one or more of the many mods the guide asks you to install, you can just deselect it and have no worries. You don't even have to uninstall it. You can also have multiple profiles with different mods installed, etc. But you will learn all this just by following Kelmych's guide.

If you want to add mods afterward which are not on the list (such as Gopher's Director's Chair mods, etc.), you will probably learn enough on the journey to figure it out. And when you make a mistake, and have to fix something (which 99% of people do), MO makes it easy to fix.

To learn even more about modding, look at the main STEP guide for Skyrim (new version expected within the next week or two). Due to many more people working on it, it being more popular, and the guide being around for longer, it is a bit more user friendly. However, as a result of this, you will probably end up learning more from Kelmych's FO3 guide.

Regarding merging plugins, Kelmych's guide uses the Merge Plugins xEdit script. However, I believe this should only be used to merge basic things. Major projects like Paradox Ignition probably require a ton of manual work in xEdit among other things, and a ton of experience to make sure things don't get screwed up. Hence why they are major projects. :)

Anyway, good luck on your modding journey!

Cheers,

Nebulous

Edit: LOL looks like I spent too long writing this post. Kelmych beat me to some of the things I listed. Still, I do recommend to use his guide. It is basically what taught me about modding.

Edited by Nebulous112, 18 November 2015 - 03:24 AM.


#12 Himself

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 02:52 PM

Thanks!
 

Was thinking about starting with Morrowind, but this FO3 GOTY edition was sitting around for a few years now, and I really like games that have technology included (Deus X or Shadowrun and the likes, not tech like Final Fantasy series wich is incredibly far fetched).

 

Skyrim seems to be a lot more evolved in terms of modding, and have yet to see how FO4 will be in 6 months (since right now its in "open beta" xD, I swear I'm not touching it for at least 6 months), the dialog system and main storyline did not appeal to me at first glance.


Edited by Himself, 18 November 2015 - 03:09 PM.

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