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Brainstorming for the BWP


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#1 dabus

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 01:32 AM

Since Leomar is absent for a while, I would like to try to improve to flow of information between you (the community) and Leonardo by opening this topic. Leomar was gathering information from all over the place and sent them to Leonardo so he knew what mods were released, what this meant to the Install-/Fix-/Text-/Smoothpacks.
He also gathered opinions about mods, if they should be moved between the selectable versions, fetched the informations if things went considerably wrong in the BiG World.

Example:
Should mods be removed/moved to expert/be disabled if the download does not exist any more?
Should mods that break the game be disabled even on expert? Click

There are also some notes/complains about some buggy "big mods" that should be moved that I can't find.
If there are mods that don't work that well and are left out by most users or mods are added frequently because they are popular, we'd really like to know. Being able to have a game with some additional mods that's playable / does not have game-breaking faults and is enjoyable is one of the reasons why the BiG World was created.

If possible and the feedback is as good as it has been in the Fixpack-thread, it would help in increasing the overall quality of end-result.

I don't think this should be the place for common reports about in-game-errors like "X stands in the hallway and does nothing". I'm not sure about those things if the cause of the issue is stated. They might be better posted in the Fixpack-thread.

Example:
Some errors in the game were caused because ToBEx is installed with all options enabled in the ini-file, but the required files for the component are not installed. ToBEx 1300 is needed

Another issue that's been stated frequently are some differences between the batch and the PDF.
If you found some, this would be a good place to report them.

There was also an idea about coloring the components of a mod so one can see in which version the mod is installed. If you want to help doing that or have other ideas to improve the documentation, please share your ideas. Click

I'd also like to take the chance and ask if there are some guys around who would be willing to fill this topic with some posts in the future. I'm no modder and I have not really been able to play an instance of the BiG World and this thread was created because Leonardo lacks the time to read all topics. So we need some help here.

Another point would be if some people are interested in doing some translations. Leonardo told me that he had a discussion with a Chinese modder and there are some mods that are interesting and popular in China. So are there guys who could help to translate the Relationship-mod or other stuff?

I hope for some response. :)
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#2 Mike1072

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 03:19 AM

The way I choose mods for an installation differs from the way mods are organised in the BWP versions. Each time I start a new playthrough, I add content that I've never tried before (quests, NPCs) in addition to old favourites. I also play each game using different rules, so the gameplay is similarly refreshing. Divine Remix, the Tweak Pack, SCS, and numerous other mods have options that allow users to experience the game in a new way.

This way of playing a modded game is not promoted by a system that categorises tweaks (and even entire mods) as either recommended or not recommended. I think that a tag classification system would be more flexible and could allow for more streamlined approaches to selecting mods.

#3 dabus

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 11:51 AM

I don't get it. Let's see a current picture of the beta-BWS.

Posted Image

You can have mods added/removed or marked by chapters. (Left side of the menu)
Those are mods that are based on bg1 quests, bg1 npcs, bg2 tactical encounters and so on...
Depending on your selection, the mods will be installed differently.

In the beta-version of the BWS, you have additional groups. (Right side of the menu)
This is a more flexible approach that allows you to do the same on a component basis. You can even remove items while adding others, so conflicts are solved on the fly.

Additionally you can export your settings and share them with others/with us.

So if you still think the chapters are not enough, you can send me your tagging-system and I'll see if I can add your selection into the grouping menu.

Alternatively, send me your exported selection and I'll consider adding that to the version-menu.

Edit:
I've also thought about a rating-system that covers tactic-, banter-, quality-, fun-, overall and other aspects. This way, it would be possible to find out more about a mods content. But as you can see, I never had the raw-data to create such a system.

Edited by dabus, 05 September 2010 - 12:07 PM.

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#4 Mike1072

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 02:20 PM

The chapters aren't quite as powerful because install order does not always match up with logical groupings. A streamlined installation system could ask the user a series of questions like "do you want to play BG1 as well as BG2?", "would you like to install any of the big comprehensive mods?", "which NPCs do you want to add?", "would you like to install graphical tweaks?", "would you like to install spell/item/class tweaks?", "do you want to add additional stores/items/spells/kits?", and "do you want to install any tactical changes?".

I've also thought about a rating-system that covers tactic-, banter-, quality-, fun-, overall and other aspects. This way, it would be possible to find out more about a mods content. But as you can see, I never had the raw-data to create such a system.

It would be nice to have more feedback about mods available. You might be able to get this information if BWP maintained a site where users could write about their experiences and choose to recommend mods.

#5 Miloch

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 02:58 PM

I think the current Setup works well enough - it's just a matter of fine-tuning it. It doesn't want to get in a position where it's categorising mods based on whether they suck or not. That can be left to an external thread somewhere. But if it has a "Recommended" install, those mods should be fairly bug-free. Or even the ones selected by default in the so-called "Expert" set should not break the game (those ones should be deselected - one can select them at their own risk).

Instead of an install .pdf though, the BWS should just link directly to an HTML or .chm (compiled help) file, if someone wants more info on a mod. PDF is rather a clunky format, but I said that a while ago.

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#6 dabus

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:28 PM

@Mike1072:
I'm not really willing to rebuild the selection-system from scratch. It took months to build/fix/improve it.
As a consensus one could add an option similar to the language selection. There's a free place behind the compilation-button. Thinking about it, that's not a bad idea if you want to select some stuff but don't really know about the mods.

If you (all that read this) want to have a better selection - go and create one and I'll see if I can add them. Best format for me would be:

Sometext=setup1[3&8&9],setup2(1&102&204),setup3(-)
Components 3, 8 and 9 from mod1 would be removed, 1, 102 and 204 from mod2 added and the hole mod 3.
Removed items only make sense for removing a conflict if the added mods have one.

@Miloch:
So what mods are bugged that you would move them from one of the compilations to expert?
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#7 Jarno Mikkola

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:54 PM

@Miloch:
So what mods are bugged that you would move them from one of the compilations to expert?

Erhm, Miloch was asking you to ask this question: "Which mods are so bugged that you wouldn't even put them into the eXpert install(BWS install) ?" Just remember to keep them in the BiG World Install.bat, so they are installed when they are selected in the in the eXpert Expert Setup(preferebly used to test only the new WeiDU.exe's :P ).

And I do agree with Miloch that we should avoid too many asked questions ... but you probably should make the "Further customization of your mod-settings" option selected by default(so it can be unselected yes, but one needs to do so knowing that they do it).

Edited by Jarno Mikkola, 05 September 2010 - 10:58 PM.

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#8 dabus

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:58 PM

Miloch has posted that he'd like the Exnem Vault to be disabled per default.
So I thought he'd have this mod in mind. If there are other, just write them down. ;)
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#9 DavidWallace

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 08:53 AM

One nice option might be to be able to filter by community. When I'm choosing mods, I'm normally not going to even look at something that's not hosted by one of the major communities, on the grounds that (a) that community has probably done some quality control; (b) conversely, anything that can't get adopted by a community is quite likely to be quite poor in some ways. (And there are some communities I trust more than others, though I shan't say which, and different people will differ!)

I suggest it just as something that (1) might be relatively easy to implement, and (2) avoids anything as nakedly subjective as ranking.

#10 dabus

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 10:46 AM

Suggestion: Someone may want to pick up BP-Balancer or fix the requirements for the installation.

@DavidWallace:
We already have some kind of rating. Else or mods would be in recommended. ;)
Anyway, as described above, it does not have to be an A-F, 1-10 ranking. Things like easy/though difficulty (well, we have scs in the recommended settings, so it's not only "just skip tactics"), adds more or less quests (NPCs can have some), adds more or less banters (there are NPCs that don't or merely have some) and so on would be of interest. Kind of resembles the idea of Mike1072.

Also removing mods on communities does not seem less blunt as to use a rating to me.
If it's popular demand, I might add it though.
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#11 Miloch

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:22 PM

Miloch has posted that he'd like the Exnem Vault to be disabled per default. So I thought he'd have this mod in mind. If there are other, just write them down. ;)

Yeah, that's the big one since (apart from other things) it can conflict with CtB and other mods by filling up the random treasure tables. I do agree that "Further customisation" could be selected by default. I think we hashed out with Leomar which others should be deselected in some other thread here. In fact I thought there was already an option to, for example, "Ignore joke mods" etc., but I don't remember seeing it.

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#12 dabus

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 11:41 PM

I put it into the grouping-menu since the first page is rather crowded.
Posted Image

To make this available if you don't want to select all the mods yourself, I thought about adding another button to the folder-selection screen to filter mods in a new screen similar to the language-selector.
Posted Image

Edit:
Empty override kills IA/SCS /game if biffing is not used.

By the way: Some files are old installation-markers. Those can really cause some trouble. Example: User starts ashes of embers after install (to do whatever, mainly because I need an example).

The tp2 starts always with
ACTION_IF NOT FILE_EXISTS ~override\J#AoEV22.txt~ THEN BEGIN
UNINSTALL ~SETUP-ASHESOFEMBERS.TP2~ 0
UNINSTALL ~SETUP-ASHESOFEMBERS.TP2~ 1
...

So if the markers are deleted, your installation may be screwed if you decide to change something afterwards. At least it may take a few minutes or hours.

Edited by dabus, 07 September 2010 - 11:50 AM.

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#13 Miloch

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 02:53 PM

Empty override kills IA/SCS /game if biffing is not used.

Huh, what's the problem with IA, or is that a BWS issue?

So if the markers are deleted, your installation may be screwed if you decide to change something afterwards. At least it may take a few minutes or hours.

Someone should really rewrite those tp2s so they use stuff like ACTION_IF NOT MOD_IS_INSTALLED ~setup-mod.tp2~ 666 instead of ACTION_IF NOT FILE_EXISTS ~override\marker.txt~. I suppose the BWFixpack could do that.

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BAM Batcher * Creature Lister * Creature Checker * Creature Fixer * Tutu/BGT Area Map & List * Tutu Mod List
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#14 dabus

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 03:13 PM

See the link. ;)

Infinity animations has a whole bunch of DW# cres in it's backup which also have not survived into the override, but I can't find anything in Infinity animations files that would suggest that it's the one to blame.

Uhm, ok, so IA was not really involved. :doh: Sorry.

The BiG World Install.bat calls the empty-batch which does the damage.
Since that batch was moved from the Install.bat, it did not exist and thus I created a function for the beta-version to emulate that.
One of the file-strings that are searched and deleted is dw#*, so if no biffing is done, stuff with DavidW-prefix will be removed.

So both the stable and the beta-versions are effected.

Don't know if Lollorian would be willing to patch those old marker-mods. Saw him posting again.

Edited by dabus, 07 September 2010 - 03:15 PM.

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#15 Mike1072

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 05:33 PM

So if the markers are deleted, your installation may be screwed if you decide to change something afterwards. At least it may take a few minutes or hours.

Someone should really rewrite those tp2s so they use stuff like ACTION_IF NOT MOD_IS_INSTALLED ~setup-mod.tp2~ 666 instead of ACTION_IF NOT FILE_EXISTS ~override\marker.txt~. I suppose the BWFixpack could do that.

DavidW prefers to use markers, and they are potentially more useful (if content moves between components at some later time). In most cases, they are used in the same way as MOD_IS_INSTALLED, though.

Some mods leave useless cruft in the override (uncompiled .baf or .d, unconverted .ogg or .tiz), but the markers do serve a purpose and BWP should leave them alone. Identifying the mods that are sticking things in needlessly and correcting that behaviour at the source would be preferable to deleting anything afterwards.

#16 Jarno Mikkola

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:31 PM

So if the markers are deleted, your installation may be screwed if you decide to change something afterwards. At least it may take a few minutes or hours.

Someone should really rewrite those tp2s so they use stuff like ACTION_IF NOT MOD_IS_INSTALLED ~setup-mod.tp2~ 666 instead of ACTION_IF NOT FILE_EXISTS ~override\marker.txt~. I suppose the BWFixpack could do that.

DavidW prefers to use markers, and they are potentially more useful (if content moves between components at some later time). In most cases, they are used in the same way as MOD_IS_INSTALLED, though.

Well, there's a few ways to do that, one is to make(copy) a maker creature/itemfile into the backup folder...
ACTION_IF NOT FILE_EXISTS ~<modname>\backup\<component number>\<marker>.<file extension>~
This way it can be any file, but then again, you don't actually have to create it, as they are there already... when the circumstances say them to be. Hmm, I wonder why...

Some mods leave useless cruft in the override (uncompiled .baf or .d, unconverted .ogg or .tiz), but the markers do serve a purpose and BWP should leave them alone. Identifying the mods that are sticking things in needlessly and correcting that behavior at the source would be preferable to deleting anything afterwards

Yeah, that's really the big problem, but maybe the ~Clean-up.bat shouldn't be ran by default. Unlike the "Further customization of your mod-settings" ... :P

Edited by Jarno Mikkola, 07 September 2010 - 08:37 PM.

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#17 dabus

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 12:42 AM

Setups that have a customize-button (or something similar) to see a few extra options are quite usual.
So it' not like users are overcharged to check that box.

Also enabling optional things per default just does not seem right to me.

And to be a bit harsh: The checkbox is completely visible and when you search for the continue-button, you might as well stumble over the text of that box. So to me, it's not like you can miss it. So if someone either doesn't know what customizing could be nor can read a help-text a few pixels to the right might better stick with a "normal" installation.

Edit:
If you think it helps, I might set the font to bold.
Posted Image

Edited by dabus, 08 September 2010 - 01:02 AM.

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#18 Lollorian

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 01:07 AM

kk so umm, I did some string searches and found these mods check for these markers:

AbyStrore
- r#abystore.rpgd

Ashes of Embers
- J#AoEV22.txt

BG1UB
- X#NJNPCPortrait.G3

BG2Tweaks
- r#abystore.rpgd

Gavin
- dw#dsetc.xxx

Kitanya
- r#Kitanya.rpgd
- r#WizardslayerFixes.rpgd
- r#KitanyaFlamingSword.rpgd

MixMod
- LOTS OF XXX FILES!!! (not as naughty as it sounds :devil:)

Refinements
- tb#resisttweak.txt
- tb#nalia_M_to_T.txt
- tb#localdescriptionsforarmor.txt

Solaufein Flirt Pack
- RPGSolaFlirtPack

SCS
- LOTS OF XXX's!
- X#EldothMove.G3
- X#TiaxMove.G3
- X#QuayleMove.G3

SCSII
- LOTS OF MRK's!

tb#quest
- SOME TXT's!

... and then I got too bored to check for more :P

So, in short, rather than changing each line individually, I'd go with blasting away all these extensions once the full install gets done :D So, common marker extensions - .mrk, .xxx, .g3, .rpgd, .txt (which are already handled by the empty_override.bat)

The culprits in the .bat are those 4 lines with the wildcard * at the end.

%OV%z#misc.*
%OV%dw#*
%OV%ION*
%OV%IOUNX*
It'd be awesome if someone knows exactly what marker/stupid/garbage they delete so the lines could be replaced with specific names :P For now, just deleting those 4 lines makes the BWP no-biff-install-compatible :coolthumb:

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#19 Fennek

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:48 PM

Maybe the possibility to deselect all big mods at the same time. Sometimes I just want to play BGT with only some sidequests, tweaks etc.

#20 DavidWallace

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 03:05 PM

Is there any actual evidence that a few dozen files, in a format that the IE doesn't even read, actually cause any slowdown?

If not, don't bother cleaning them out. If it ain't broke...