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DoubleYou

Kezyma's Root Builder for Mod Organizer

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This one, if worked and maintained, could replace any of our instructions for manual root installs (SKSE, DLLs, ENB). Depends if it makes the process easier or is just different.

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It looks like it could be rather difficult to use in some cases, like the example of rearranging SKSE before install. It would be nice if it had some kind of intelligence to recognize some of the common files it would be handling. I haven't actually tried this plugin, however.

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Looking at the instructions, it looks as if everything installed in the root folder needs to be in the Data/Root folder when installed in Mod Organizer. This means anything we install that should be deployed in the root folder will have to be manually installed. I think that's what you are saying, though.

I also wonder if this requires any extra steps when installing an updated version of SKSE or ENB Series? Offhand, I suspect users should delete cache so it copies the new files instead of leaving the old files in place.

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I'm highly skeptical that this will be simpler for us to maintain.

If someone cares to test it and discover any kinks or pitfalls (e.g. game updates or anything else that could obviate or otherwise break this method), I'd be willing to try it.

I personally use "ENB and ReShade Manager" and have also tested "ENB Manager". The former is a bit harder to use and figure out, but it's more robust. I wouldn't want to support use of either tool in our guides though. Much simpler to use current manual instructions, IMO.

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It looks like this involves too much manual "maintenance" to be of much benefit to average users. Need to repackage the mods to install them, and to run Root Builder to deploy the root mods. It introduces concepts and procedures that very few people would care about, much less understand. Choose between Copy, UVFS or UVFS + Links deployment methods - Huh?

It could be useful for advanced mod users and developers needing to manage and test different extender versions or ENB configurations.

I wish the root mod installation/deployment capability were built into the mod manager itself. If I'm not mistaken, Vortex provides such feature, at least for the BGS games and common extenders (SKSE, SSE Engine Fixes, ENB), seamlessly integrated so that they are handled and managed like any other mod from the user's point of view.

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On 12/24/2021 at 12:58 AM, DoubleYou said:

It looks like it could be rather difficult to use in some cases, like the example of rearranging SKSE before install. It would be nice if it had some kind of intelligence to recognize some of the common files it would be handling. I haven't actually tried this plugin, however.

I'd like to add something that picks up on mods being installed and tries to rearrange them for some known mods in the future, but it's quite a complicated process, so it might be a while! The biggest problem is working out how to arrange stuff so that it all works, but I'll do my best to figure it out at some point.

 

On 12/24/2021 at 2:27 AM, Greg said:

Looking at the instructions, it looks as if everything installed in the root folder needs to be in the Data/Root folder when installed in Mod Organizer. This means anything we install that should be deployed in the root folder will have to be manually installed. I think that's what you are saying, though.

I also wonder if this requires any extra steps when installing an updated version of SKSE or ENB Series? Offhand, I suspect users should delete cache so it copies the new files instead of leaving the old files in place.

Pretty much, instead of manually installing SKSE or ENB to the game folder, you just install it to a Root folder in a MO mod. That's all you need to do :)

If you want to update SKSE or ENB, all you do is install it like any other updated mod in MO. Root Builder will handle the rest!

 

On 12/24/2021 at 4:02 AM, z929669 said:

I'm highly skeptical that this will be simpler for us to maintain.

If someone cares to test it and discover any kinks or pitfalls (e.g. game updates or anything else that could obviate or otherwise break this method), I'd be willing to try it.

I personally use "ENB and ReShade Manager" and have also tested "ENB Manager". The former is a bit harder to use and figure out, but it's more robust. I wouldn't want to support use of either tool in our guides though. Much simpler to use current manual instructions, IMO.

Game updates used to break things, but I fixed that recently. When the game updates, as long as you don't have a build in place at the time (which you shouldn't unless you've started fiddling with the manual tools), Root Builder will detect that pretty easily and you wont have any problems. If you do have a build in place, all that will happen is the next time you clear, the updated game files will end up in MO's overwrite folder and the game will be reverted to pre-upgrade. You wont notice this unless you actually check though, because it should all still work as normal.

You shouldn't need any ENB manager if you use Root Builder, since ENB presets become just regular mods in MO to enable and disable like anything else.

 

On 12/24/2021 at 9:28 AM, Mousetick said:

It looks like this involves too much manual "maintenance" to be of much benefit to average users. Need to repackage the mods to install them, and to run Root Builder to deploy the root mods. It introduces concepts and procedures that very few people would care about, much less understand. Choose between Copy, UVFS or UVFS + Links deployment methods - Huh?

It could be useful for advanced mod users and developers needing to manage and test different extender versions or ENB configurations.

I wish the root mod installation/deployment capability were built into the mod manager itself. If I'm not mistaken, Vortex provides such feature, at least for the BGS games and common extenders (SKSE, SSE Engine Fixes, ENB), seamlessly integrated so that they are handled and managed like any other mod from the user's point of view.

You need to install mods with root files to the game folder manually already, which I don't think is much harder than installing them to a MO mod with a root folder. Other than that, you don't have to do anything else at all. Root Builder, by default, is meant to be user-friendly, it will build automatically when you run an app and clear when you close it, using copy mode. The other options are there for users that want them, but should be completely ignored by almost every user. 

The process should be as simple as

  • Install Root Builder to ModOrganizer\plugins
  • Install all base game files in MO like regular mods, putting the base game files inside a Root folder.
  • Enable the mods you want.
  • Play the game

There has been some discussion in the past about incorporating Root Builder (and Plugin Finder) into Mod Organizer at some point, but for now, I've got a very long feature list to work on before that can be talked about again. 

 

I'm happy to answer any questions you have about the plugins :) 

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57 minutes ago, Kezyma said:

The process should be as simple as

  • Install Root Builder to ModOrganizer\plugins
  • Install all base game files in MO like regular mods, putting the base game files inside a Root folder.
  • Enable the mods you want.
  • Play the game

Are you saying that all of the actual game files at .\Steam\steamapps\common\GameName can be deployed in this way? Many people would like this for maintaining 1.5.97 and 1.6.xxx, but this will only be useful until the modding community catches up over the next couple of months (hopefully).

I do like the idea of using this for ENB. Then it would make more sense for me to use it for things like SKSE and SSE Engine Fixes (since I already use an ENB manager anyway).

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45 minutes ago, Kezyma said:

Other than that, you don't have to do anything else at all. Root Builder, by default, is meant to be user-friendly, it will build automatically when you run an app and clear when you close it, using copy mode.

Oh ok. I misunderstood, I thought the user had to run Root Builder manually to deploy the root mods. The automatic deployment and cleanup is kind of useless and wasteful when running tools like LOOT or xEdit for example, but I guess it's simpler and safer than trying to figure out if the app being run is a game launcher or the game exe itself.

46 minutes ago, Kezyma said:

The other options are there for users that want them, but should be completely ignored by almost every user.

Then you may want to remove them or tuck them away in some advanced settings panel, rather than put them front and center. Copy mode is the safest and most compatible. By offering a choice of deployment methods with technical descriptions that few will understand, users will worry about making the right choice. Keep it simple, stupid :) Or I am misunderstanding again, and the Root Builder panel is the advanced settings panel?

Thanks for your clarifications.

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10 minutes ago, z929669 said:

Are you saying that all of the actual game files at .\Steam\steamapps\common\GameName can be deployed in this way? Many people would like this for maintaining 1.5.97 and 1.6.xxx, but this will only be useful until the modding community catches up over the next couple of months (hopefully).

I do like the idea of using this for ENB. Then it would make more sense for me to use it for things like SKSE and SSE Engine Fixes (since I already use an ENB manager anyway).

Yes, although you don't need to use all of them to maintain different game versions, but it can be nice to migrate most of your game to MO! In the absolute minimal game folder setup, the game folder consists of a copy of the main exe for the game (so MO detects it) and an empty Data folder, everything else is stored inside an MO mod, including alternative copies of the exe. 

I just leave my game folder in its normal vanilla install state and store any modifications (including downgraded versions and CC content) in mods. That way, backing up my portable MO folder is a complete backup of my mod setup, which I could copy to a new computer and install a vanilla copy of the game and be ready to play with no hassle.

ENB management is probably the biggest time saver, and I'd say better than using any separate manager since it's integrated into the usual modding workflow, although I've never really played much with separate managers.

Root Builder was originally converted to a plugin because I wanted to switch between vanilla Morrowind, Tamriel Rebuilt, Myar Aranath and Arktwend, all of which required different versions of various mods and different code patches to the main game exe. Instead of having a whole bunch of different versions of the game, I could have one, and just switch a profile in MO to play with the different exe. I've got similar setups for Oblivion/Nehrim and Skyrim/Enderal.

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Well that's definitely interesting, IMO. I will need to play around with the possibilities. Seems very useful for guide curators, particularly when curating multiple guides within/among games.

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10 minutes ago, Mousetick said:

Oh ok. I misunderstood, I thought the user had to run Root Builder manually to deploy the root mods. The automatic deployment and cleanup is kind of useless and wasteful when running tools like LOOT or xEdit for example, but I guess it's simpler and safer than trying to figure out if the app being run is a game launcher or the game exe itself.

Then you may want to remove them or tuck them away in some advanced settings panel, rather than put them front and center. Copy mode is the safest and most compatible. By offering a choice of deployment methods with technical descriptions that few will understand, users will worry about making the right choice. Keep it simple, stupid :) Or I am misunderstanding again, and the Root Builder panel is the advanced settings panel?

Thanks for your clarifications.

You probably want it to run for LOOT, since LOOT does check to see if SKSE and stuff like that is installed, but yeah, I see your point. Perhaps one day I'll add a way to flag certain apps to skip building, although it's generally quite fast unless you have some very unusual setup!

The Root Builder panel is the advanced settings panel! In the documentation, the 'Usage' section tells you everything you need to know, which is how to install root files and how to add exe files that are in mods to MO! The tools menu is mentioned in a separate section further down where I say that using the default settings, all the tools are entirely optional to use. The idea is that you install RB and it just does its thing in the background, with a settings menu to change stuff (and quick action buttons if you change stuff enough to need them, like disabling autobuild). 

It's meant to integrate into your usual modding workflow. Root is a folder like Meshes or Textures that just happens to be the one that you put base game files into instead of nif or dds files

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1 hour ago, Kezyma said:

Perhaps one day I'll add a way to flag certain apps to skip building, although it's generally quite fast unless you have some very unusual setup!

Don't worry about it. That would probably overcomplicate things on your end.

I see you have a special case for handling skse_loader.exe. Does that mean it's the only launcher that is supported? Let's say I have another launcher/wrapper named foo.exe that is installed as a root mod and needs to be run from the game directory. Would it work?

Edit: never mind, it's the 'Redirect' option. There's nothing special about skse_loader.exe.

1 hour ago, Kezyma said:

In the documentation, the 'Usage' section tells you everything you need to know

I did look at the documentation, though I admit I only skimmed it the first time. Upon re-reading it, I see the first paragraph under 'Usage' tells it all. It is that simple indeed after all :)

Thanks again for taking the time to explain. Quite interesting indeed.

Edit: one more question: do Construction Set/Creation Kit work with Root Builder when packaged as root mods?

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11 minutes ago, Mousetick said:

Don't worry about it. That would probably overcomplicate things on your end.

I see you have a special case for handling skse_loader.exe. Does that mean it's the only launcher that is supported? Let's say I have another launcher/wrapper named foo.exe that is installed as a root mod and needs to be run from the game directory. Would it work?

I did look at the documentation, though I admit I only skimmed it the first time. Upon re-reading it, I see the first paragraph under 'Usage' tells it all. It is that simple indeed after all :)

Thanks again for taking the time to explain. Quite interesting indeed.

There's no special case for anything, skse was just an example because I figured it's the most common mod people use that has base game files. The old docs used MGE XE as an example!

When you launch an app through MO, Root Builder checks to see if the exe is being launched from a Root folder inside a MO mod. If it is, Root Builder works out where the exe is now in the game files and tells MO to launch that instead, it's what the redirect setting enables.  It doesn't work with adding flags to the exe though, due to MO limitations, but I've put in a feature request to them so that I can add flag support in the future.

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53 minutes ago, Kezyma said:

There's no special case for anything, skse was just an example because I figured it's the most common mod people use that has base game files. The old docs used MGE XE as an example!

Yep. Redirect option. Got it.

I'm giving Root Builder a try. With 'Autobuild' switched off because I don't really need to swap root mods and I like being able to run several apps off MO2 simultaneously (GUI unlocked).

Quote

For mods that only include files for the base game folder, Mod Organizer may warn you that the mod does not look valid and may also indicate that it doesn't contain valid files once installed. Both of these can be safely ignored.

Is there a way to disable all the MO2 warnings for mods that only contain a root folder? Telling MO to ignore the warning during installation is fine, but then they show up as greyed out in the mod list with a X icon. It's only cosmetic, but it's distracting and annoying. It doesn't help make root mods feel like full citizens "at home" in MO2.

Which MO plugin is validating the contents, is that <Game Name> Plugin? Is there a way for your plugin to override this behavior?

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