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Doing A Parallel STEP Implementation - Any 'Gotchas'?


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#1 Kraggy

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 09:59 AM

I'm asking this even though I fear it's an 'obvious' because I don't want to destroy my existing game while plodding through STEP. :)

 

I currently have a reasonably new Oldrim installation which I've used Vortex to manage after getting back to the game after nearly 4 years (previously I used STEP for that). 

 

I now want to start a new installation from scratch using STEP's method and of course MO2, while allowing me to continue to re-acquaint myself with the game for some time using my current installation.

 

My plan is to rename my existing SKYRIM directories in the STEAMAPPS\COMMON and the MY GAMES folders to, say SKYRIM-VORTEX and then use Steam to re-install a clean new copy, after which I would rename the new SKYRIM directories as -STEP, then I would write some simple .BATs to set up the playable SKYRIM directories from whichever installation I want to use at any particular time.

 

Long ago I did the same thing for a CD-installed Morrowind to great effect, but with Skyrim there's one great 'unknown' to me: STEAM.  It doesn't seem to allow for two installations of the same game (hence the copying/renaming scripts to 'fool' it) but it's a black-box to me and I don't know if it stores data somewhere other than those two locations I've noted above which will mean it would be confused by my changing the directories from beneath it, as it were.

 

Before I spend a lot of time preparing all this and plodding through STEP only to find my current game somehow got trashed due to something STEAM did I thought I'd ask here if there are any obvious 'gotchas' which means this is doomed to failure before I start.

 

Appreciate any comments. :)

 

[edit]

 

The thought just occurred to me, I think I should be able to use separate trees under STEAMAPPS\COMMON to play the game without having to move one of them to a SKYRIM tree, and only need to manage the MY GAMES tree since the name of the is presumably hard-coded into the SKYRIM.EXE itself; again as long as STEAM doesn't mind if there's a tree in COMMON that isn't actually a game it installed there.

 

Would this work?


Edited by Kraggy, 16 November 2018 - 10:12 AM.

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#2 Shadriss

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 10:17 AM

Actually, I'm trying to figure out why you need two installs at all. Maybe this is a gotcha with Vortex, since I'm not familiar with it at all, but as MO/MO2 use a virtual file system that never touches the base directories, you shouldn't need a separate install of the game for differing setups. Does Vortex put mod files directly into the Skyrim directories? I didn't think it did... I was under the impression that the original author of MO was lead designer on Vortex, and I can't see him having abandoned the single most important and valuable aspect of MO for it.

 

Why do you think you even need a second installation of Skyrim to begin with? Maybe if I knew that, I could give better advice.


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#3 Kraggy

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 12:18 PM

Oh, if only Vortex was built on the same architecture as MO/MO2 you'd be correct that I wouldn't need two installations, but sadly Vortex doesn't use a 'virtual' system like MO, it uses NTFS Hard Links.

 

I know how Links work and I have some idea of how MO's virtual system is implemented by API hooks, what I have no idea is whether these two techs work together or fight each other.

 

Obviously I could 'suck it and see' but unless I can be confident things will 'just work' then I don't want to risk destroying my current game .. and history tells us that Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim can break over time and a re-start from a 'good' save can take you a back a long time in the past. :(


Edited by Kraggy, 16 November 2018 - 12:18 PM.

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#4 Shadriss

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 01:16 PM

The real issue then is that I don't think two installs will work as you wish anyway. I think that the hardwired lock between Skyrim and Steam will prevent this working the way you want. Using two mod managers on a single install might be out - the MO2 install will use whatever is in the base directories as a baseline to work from, which essentially means that whatever is in the directories will show in in MO2. It's possible you might be able to deactivate ESPs and ESMs in MO2 for non-managed (IE, base install) files, but I'm thinking not.

 

You need to basically pick one thing and go... I'm not sure if it's possible to do both like this because of the inherent differences between Vortex and MO2 combined with the hardwire link between Steam and Skyrim. Honestly, I've never tried anything like the two-install version you speak of - it might work, it might not - and you may be in a position where you have to give up one to keep the other... or you can swap your Vortex Install into an MO2 profile (which would take a rebuild, of sorts, but would allow you to keep the save games and what not).

 

That's all I got... best of luck.


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#5 Kraggy

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 04:40 PM

I always hated Bethesda used Steam for their DRM, life was so much easier back with Morrowind just for this kind of thing.

 

I'll take a look at the effort it'll require to set up an MO2 implementation of my Vortex setup so that I can use MO2's tech. to allow side-by-side modding with a tool that can obviously cope, if that doesn't look useful I'll archive my current installation and create a new one for STEP.

 

Thanks a lot for taking the time to look at what I'm wanting to do and giving it some thought, you have at least confirmed my fears that there are technical issues that could cause me pain. :(


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#6 Shadriss

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 05:19 PM

Here to support. Just keep in mind that a lot of my answers are kind of qualified. So far as the STEAM/Skyrim linkage is concerned, the best way is to test it. The other things I'm pretty solid on.


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