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Nebulous112

Master Cleaning and xEdit arguments

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Hello,

I've been somewhat involved with other guides for the last bit after I got back into Bethesda modding. I'm reinstalling STEP for Skyrim SE right now, and there is one big difference I noticed between STEP and many other guides when it comes to Bethesda master file cleaning / xEdit arguments.

Many other guides use a -DontCache argument for xEditQuickAutoClean. Apparently this is because of a bug that can "destroy parts of Apocrypha during the cleaning of Dragonborn.esm". For example, see the xEdit instructions from The Phoenix Flavour here: https://thephoenixflavour.com/tpf/initial-setup/additional-tools/

I'm unsure if this is still an issue -- this instruction was introduced while I was away from modding for a couple years. However, I thought I would bring it to your attention, as I couldn't find any mention of a "-DontCache" argument in a quick forum search.

Cheers

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Apparently, this was an issue in the last major version of TESEdit or SSEEdit. It shouldn't be a problem now as alluded to by this Reddit:

We haven't had any issues.

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On 4/16/2021 at 3:53 PM, z929669 said:

Apparently, this was an issue in the last major version of TESEdit or SSEEdit. It shouldn't be a problem now as alluded to by this Reddit:

We haven't had any issues.

Hmm...I found this recent thread while looking at other things at the AFKMods forums. It seems this is still an issue in the public release of xEdit 4.0.3.
 

https://www.afkmods.com/index.php?/topic/5748-the-dontcache-argument-for-the-quick-auto-cleaner/

 

The impact of losing cache in xEditQuickAutoClean is minimal compared to normal xEdit, as when cleaning a mod you should only be loading the mod and its masters. Alternatively, the xEdit beta is supposed to fix it, but I don't know if that is meant for wide distribution.

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Then we either need to switch to the beta or add the switch mentioned previously.

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If we're adding xEdit as two separate executables (one for standard usage and one for quick autoclean), do you know if the -DontCache switch works as intended if it's used on the quick autoclean version but not used on the other one? This could potentially improve performance, but it's not clear if -DontCache ignores any cache files that may have already been created.

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Since it's a switch, and the executables are independent, I think it can be used only on the autoclean one only.

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13 minutes ago, z929669 said:

Since it's a switch, and the executables are independent, I think it can be used only on the autoclean one only.

This is essentially what I'm getting at, but I'm not sure if that switch means "do not generate cache files" or "do not use cache files even if they exist." I'm hoping it's the latter, but I might have to pop over to the xEdit discord if I can find some time this weekend to get the definitive answer.

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Arthmoor's solution is to just not clean the vanilla masters. I have always suspected cleaning them was redundant, since they always worked fine without cleaning.

Then we can just omit this piece of the guide.

All in favor?

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1 hour ago, Greg said:

This is essentially what I'm getting at, but I'm not sure if that switch means "do not generate cache files" or "do not use cache files even if they exist." I'm hoping it's the latter, but I might have to pop over to the xEdit discord if I can find some time this weekend to get the definitive answer.

I assume the latter, but I'm unsure for 100%.

Many other guides use this argument just for xEditQuickAutoClean with no apparent issues, for whatever that is worth.

 

27 minutes ago, z929669 said:

Arthmoor's solution is to just not clean the vanilla masters. I have always suspected cleaning them was redundant, since they always worked fine without cleaning.

Then we can just omit this piece of the guide.

All in favor?

 

I'm no longer staff, so I know I don't have a say in this, but I would strongly disagree with this move. The cleaning doesn't only get rid of ITMs, it gets rid of UDRs which do cause crashes. There are reasons STEP and over 90% of the modding community takes the time to clean the masters.

I think getting rid of cleaning the masters because it seems we need a switch set on one of the executables is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

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I tend to agree with Arthmoor. I have been modding TES since 2006, and never ever cleaned a vanilla master until about 2012. I also have run Skyrim with uncleaned masters in modded setups many times. Never a single issue that I could attribute to the masters. I really don't think it matters for the vanilla masters. It may well be crucial for many custom plugins though.

The reason most guides do it is because it just seems prudent on its face (and Step has set this precedent since around 2012, so most other guide authors do it to avoid scrutiny).

All opinions count, regardless of 'staff' status, BTW.

Let's see what others think.

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I started cleaning my masters when STEP added the instructions to the guide because I was initially thinking that cleaning the UDRs was the right thing to do. I'm still using cleaned masters in my current installations, but I'm leaning toward reverting back to the original, uncleaned masters on my next iteration because it seems illogical for a mod author to use a deleted reference that is known to cause the game to crash.

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I've heard this off and on over the years. Ultimately...does the game work without cleaning? Yes, it does. The game doesn't care about ITMs and UDRs in the vanilla files; else console users would have issues and crashes all the time...same for those that don't mod on the PC.

What Arthmoor said is basically how I see it too.

  • Vanilla files = doesn't matter.
  • User files (mods, patches, etc.) = should be cleaned.

I've actually ran past Step Guides with dirty vanilla masters without issue simply because I forgot to reclean them. Ran fine for months until I realized I never recleaned my files after a refresh so I went ahead and did it again anyway.

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I would also be in favor of not cleaning the vanilla files. I have done it both ways with no issues. It is one of the more complex concepts for new modders to understand. It is much easier now with autoclean. Removing the process is less step to mess up or worry about.

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