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What exactly is Wrye Bash?


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#1 jabelsk

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:00 PM

I'm modding Skyrim. It's not like I haven't been reading/searching. But I still don't understand any of this. I actually have 5 browser tabs open all about 'how to use Wrye Bash' at this very moment. I've been reading for days but nothing really tells me what any of this actually is. I kind of know what a leveled list is, kinda. I know the bashed patch is to merge conflicting relev and delev type mods and I barely understand that much. For example in the official doc: "The Installers tab provides a mod package installer facility. In general purpose, it's much like TimeSlip's OBMM tool" What is a package installer facility? What is OBMM tool? "A "Bain Conversion File" or "BCF" is a special archive that tells Bash how to convert a standard archive into a Bain-ready archive." What? "Sub-Packages This will be blank unless the package has sub-packages." Sub-packages, what are those? And on and on it goes... I can throw my .zip mods into the Bash Installers directory and it will load various 'things' into the installer tab but again I don't even know what the installer tab is in the first place or how/why to use it. I've read never to include mods that affect NPC's in a bashed patch but how? Just unchecking boxes under the MODS tab doesn't seem to do anything when I 'rebuild bashed patch' or does it? Does anyone out there know of a "For Noobs" guide that explains things? STEP reads with a slight arrogance that if I don't understand what it's saying then that's my problem. This is supposed to be a guild to help people out, isn't it? Please, I've scoured youtube, I've lurked these forums, I've read the official doc, and I still have no idea what is going on. Are there any 'entry-level' guides out there at all? I've invested 300 hours in Skyrim with about 190 mods but I really want to make my game stable for another play through. I've switched from NMM to MO, I can TES5Edit, I can use BOSS, but Wrye Bash... help.
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#2 Kelmych

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:27 PM

Wrye Bash was developed by a mod developer and programmer named Wrye for the Oblivion TES game. It has been ported to support other Bethesda games, but some of the references are to capabilities for Oblivion. I'm assuming you already read the STEP guide for Wrye Bash. Personally I find the documentation here to sometimes be the most useful (in addition to the STEP guide). OBMM is Oblivion Mod Manager; there is an equivalent tool for Fallout called Fallout Mod Manager. You will also often see references to FOMM in mod manager discussions. A package is the archive file containing all of the resources for a mod. A subpackage is a folder inside the "package". A BCF is a file used by Wrye Bash to contains the instructions to allow Wrye Bash to transform the folder structure (and associated contents) of a mod "package" into a structure that is compatible with Wrye Bash.
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#3 z929669

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:51 PM

Hmmmm.

Have you notice our wiki? Right on the front page, there is an extensive guide to using Wrye Bash. It opens with a brief explanation of WB and modding, and links to all of the relevant resources and guides you through its setup, explains BCFs, and lots more. It seems like you are reading forum posts for your info?

That is hard to absorb, since it is all over the place.

Go to the Guide and see if that helps. Note all of the other wiki guides linked on the main page (see the top bar of the forum for a link)

#4 jabelsk

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 03:47 PM

Thanks guys! I'm reading more. Still a lot I don't understand but the picture guide is great. I also found this: https://tesalliance.org/forums/index.php?/tutorials/article/120-getting-started-with-bain-installers/ Quick question that I haven't found the answer to: First you drag and drop all your archives into the Wrye Bash mods folder. Then you open Wrye Bash and click the 'intstallers' tab. Finally you right click each archive and select 'install'. Is this changing my files for the game or is this all being kept within Wrye Bash itself for it's own use? The reason I'm asking is because I've read comments that Wrye Bash can be used to replace Mod Organizer so I'm worried I'll screw up the work I've already done with Mod Organizer. Everything in MO is setup nice and neat; no conflicts, proper load order, etc.. Is Wrye Bash going to re-install over my Mod Organizer setup? I'm only trying to create a proper bashed patch, nothing more. I still like Mod Organizer for installing and maintaining my mods.
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#5 EssArrBee

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 04:52 PM

Wrye bash installs the mods into your Skyrim/data directory while MO uses a virtual directory. Mo will create a separate folder for each mod and then use the files in a virtual directory when you run Skyrim. WB actually puts the files in your data directory does not generate any virtual filing system when you start Skyrim. My advice is to install with MO because it gives much greater control and you can make profiles for different mod lists. WB is good to have installed and you can run it through MO to generate a bashed patch for leveled lists and to merge a few mods.
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#6 jabelsk

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:07 PM

Right, I like MO because it uses a virtual file structure so the Skyrim directory stays clean. Are you're saying that if I launch WB through MO then WB won't touch my Skryrim directory? But in that case does it mess with the MO structure?  Or will WB place files in Skyrim regardless of how it's launched? In that case I would need to backup Skyrim, run WB, save the bashed patch in MO, erase Skryrim, and then reinstall it from my untouched backup?
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#7 EssArrBee

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:49 PM

No do not install mods with wb. Just use it generate a bashed patch. The bashed patch will end up in the overwrite directory where you will move it to its own mod folder (right click on overwrite for option) and than treat it as a mod until you have generate it again. You have a different bashed patch for each profile so you don't have to remake the same one every time. I name my mod folders after my profile so 2.2.7 bashed patch for example.
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#8 jabelsk

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 10:39 PM

Okay, I finally figured it out. I have the most stable game I've ever played. Thank you.

It randomly crashes but it can be after of game play and not just during battles or saves, which is the most common time for a CTD so IMO I consider this build working.
A new memory patch has been release and already updated. SKSE is considering adding it to their code. It has the potential to eliminate memory related CTD's. I'm still testing it out but so far I haven't crashed once. "Realvision ENB" and ENB itself has already been updated to make use of the patch.

I have all the Populated mod series running plus OBIS, Inconsequential NPC's, etc.. Most mods are aimed toward making the game extremely difficult against dragons and bosses while regular spawns (Stormcloaks, Imperials, guards, etc.) are killed in 1-3 shots but since there can be up to 50 spawns attacking at once it balances out. All except for the "Captain" or named NPC's of whichever group who are considered "bosses". Not having a shield is no longer an option :)

After realizing how stable my game was I started improving the graphics and installed Realvision ENB, CoT + ELFX, Vivid Landscapes Complete for ENB, Lanterns of Skyrim, Watercolors for ENB + Water2 (OMG). Patchers include ASIS, Dual Sheath Redux, and Automatic Variants. Total of 195 mods.

I thought I'd share what I learned.

ENB
Imaginator mod - Not an ENB but I should note that installing ENB disables most Imaginator functions.
Sharpshooters - Looks amazing but turns out to be incompatible with CoT. I'm tempted to uninstall CoT and install some weather mods like Supreme Storm just so I can go back to Sharpshooters.
Phinix Natural ENB - Designed for CoT but crashes during large battles.
Vividian ENB - Designed for CoT but causes really bad shadow striping. Possibly try More Dynamic Shadows with Striping Fixed mod.
I Can't Believe It's Not ENB  - Works fine with CoT. Great performance and vivid colors. The downside is nights are bright no matter what nighttime mods are installed. I like nights dark and spooky.
Climates Of Tamriel Cinematic ENB - The official CoT ENB. It's based off a very old version of ENB so I've been reluctant and have not tried it out. Tried it, wasn't worth using compared to the other options out there.
Realvision ENB - New favorite, works with CoT+ELFX and a lot of other quality mods. Very well supported; was updated to the newest ENB in one day. Plenty of options thus not the easiest thing to install (don't forget your DoF optionals).

After testing various ENB's and finding bugs in each I decided to try playing without ENB. Instead I'm running Dynavision and Imaginator to mimic ENB visuals. It's nowhere near as good looking and these mods use a lot of scripts, which can cause instability. I'm also concerned about not having ENB installed because ENB adds memory optimizations and bug fixes to the game (even without a preset it's still smart to have ENB installed) but so far so good. Dynavision was too unstable, causing CTD on large quick focus changes. It also can't compare to ENB in visual quality.

Mods I can't live without:
Deadly Mutilation - This is the mod that made me come back to the game, love it, can't/won't play without it.
More Hotkeys Please - I hotkey everything including shouts and console hack cooldown time to zero, trust me with all the difficulty mods I have I need dragon majix.
Smart Cast - Same reason as above. Auto-casts spells without switching weapons. Good way to play a combat character while leveling magic at the same time.
UFO - I play with as many followers as I can get, again I need them to survive.
Summon Followers - Teleports any follower(s) you want to your location. Losing a follower in the woods is nothing to worry about anymore.
DragonFire - Turns the fire shout into the same spell dragons use. At three words you're a flamethrower with a 100 yard reach.
ENB - Even without a preset installed just having these files makes the game more stable.
Realvision ENB - If you can run it, run it.
Watercolor for ENB and Realistic Water Two - It's out! Designed for ENB, this combination of mods makes water look spectacular. The author supplies some ini's to get started with. Check the videos, wow!

Mods I love but found to be unstable despite following the authors instructions to a "T":
Monster Mod - All those extra monsters out there got replaced by people anyway (Deadly Mutilation time).
Monster Wars - I love the Blue Stripes but they crash my game.
Face to Face Conversation - If you play with a multi-monitor setup this mod will bug your mouse forever forcing you to load a pre-installed save. If you're on one monitor it works just fine.
Civil War Overhaul - Just way too buggy. I used this in a previous play-through and ended up console hacking every single civil war battle to avoid CTD's.
Dragon Combat Overhaul - Buggy, not worth it. Install a harder version of Enhanced Mighty Dragons instead.
Convenient Horses - Not actually incompatible but uses a lot of scripts upping the chance of a CTD. However, the authors are active and updating it.

Other unstable mods you should not install:
Bethesda's HD pack - Uninstall this and any patches you have for it. Use any other HD pack but get these files off your system.
Stay away from audio mods.
SMIM - Yes, SMIM. My go-to first download everytime actually turns out to be bad for stability.
Ruins Clutter Improved - For the same reasons as SMIM.
Excluding mod specific patches; don't download every 'patch' you see. Brawl Bugs and Unofficial Skyrim are all you need.
Imaginator - Again, uses a lot of scripts. May lead to bad times because Skyrim is a console port that cannot handle a lot of scripts. However, I'm trying it out with Dynavision since I've decided to play without ENB. If it turns out to be game-breaking I'll be sure to update this post.
Dynavision - For the same reasons as Imaginator. This pseudo-DoF mod just isn't worth the trouble.

Mods I had to sacrifice:
BBP/TBBP - Can still achieve through armor mods.
NPC outfit/skeleton/mesh changes - Deadly Mutilation only works correctly with vanila NPC's.
Nearly every mod that improves visuals. My goal was stability with massive spawn counts and AI scripts. Now that it's working I'm slowly adding in visual mods and ini tweaks. (Now I'm going nuts with parallax, lighting, ENB, and water visuals.)

INI Tweaks:
Too many to remember.
Always make a backup before changing or at least remember what you're changing.
I have a lot of papyrus, decal, and memory tweaks. Plus an awesome tweak that disables the "tree blowing in the wind animation" past whatever distance you specify freeing up a lot of CPU power.
Disabling shadows on grass also frees up cpu and gpu resources significantly. Unless you're running an ENB that requires shadows on grass I'd suggest disabling it, you won't even notice the difference and your game will be more stable (there's even a mod to remove grass entirely).
If anyone wants I will post my ini settings.
These rules still hold true. Even with the latest ENB and graphics mods try to tweak your ini settings as little as possible and still use these tips to downgrade decals and animations. Don't go trying everyone's custom tweaks just because they say it works for them. 

Modding Blueprints
Not all mods work together. You have to pick and chose. Start by deciding what kind of Skyrim you want to play. Do you want a few super mobs? Hundreds of weak mobs? Are you planning to be overpowered? Do you not care about gameplay or npc changes and just want Skyrim to look awesome? Do you want dynamic weather/season? Do you want an army of followers? Do you want to play a mage? Mods can make it happen but you need to have a core design in mind to base your mod selection around or you'll end up with a hot-CTD-mess.

My build revolves around Deadly Mutilation and massive spawn counts. Enemy AI is enhanced through ASIS, Enhanced Enemy AI, plus various combat mods. Button mashing in this build leads to death. Enhanced Mighty Dragons and High Level Enemies changes killing a dragon or dragon priest into an epic 30 minute battle. I always believed the dragonborn should be as powerful as Alduin himself so I've tweaked my health, stamina, and shout cooldowns via console commands but I'll still die if ten named bandits surround me, which they do with the new AI. At level 36 I can't yet defeat the more powerful dragons but at the same time I'm able to slaughter a patrol of fifty Imperials.

I didn't even get to MO, FNIS, BOSS, SMCO, TES5Edit, SUM, or Wrye Bash. I'll leave that for next time.
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