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Ghostwise

Some STEP usability suggestions

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If you're taking some suggestions from a random Internet guy (albeit one with documentation experience) about https://wiki.step-project.com/STEP:Guide and the Mod Organiser...

 

- currently the difference between STEP Core and STEP Extended is far from clear.

At this point I think that I'm supposed to install all the mods with a green left-hand sidebar in the Guide (STEP Core), activate the STEP Core patch, check it all holds together, then create a new profile, copy my STEP Core profile into the new profile, install the mods without a green left-hand sidebar (non-STEP Core), and install and activate the STEP Extended patch instead of the STEP Core one in this new profile.

If that is correct, explaining this would really this, and listing all the STEP Core mods *then* do a second listing for STEP Extended would be necessary to avoid confusion. That they are mixed together is the main reason why I'm not sure at all my understanding above is correct.

 

- there should be a note that, in Mod Organiser, the mods need to be ticked in the left-hand pane to be activated, *and* the plugins need to be ticked in the plugins tab of the right-hand pane (in my case they were not ticked in by default). This is not the same logic as other installers such as NMM, and people can easily think that just launching the install from the downloads tab did the trick. Since it's called "install". :-) It's just one or two sentences and can save a lot of pain for newbies.

 

- the current procedure does run into overwrites issue that CTD the game. It starts with SKSE - Elys - Alt F4 (which in my case CTD'd), then there are the meshes from Race Menu (and the latter keep popping back). Having a Detailed Installation note for Elys - Alt F4 explaining overwrites would be very helpful for newbies, and teach them how to deal with further overwriting issues.

 

- a lot of mods lack game data at the top level, with the content of the extraneous /data folder having to be moved up. Yeah, it's obvious when you grok the mod folders structure, but people who just came to STEP for some hand-holding and are discovering Mods Organiser may easily not have that background at all. One simple example early in the Guide (IIRC the first occurrence was with Consistent Older People) would help them a lot.

 

- likewise, people discovering Mod Organiser might not know what to do at their first prompt to merge patches, especially since NMM has something that resembles that issue and is handed very differently (in NMM you click "no", not "merge", so people can easily be misled by their previous experience).

 

- once the STEP Core installation procedure reaches Tobe's HR Textures, the notion of hiding files using the File Tree is introduced from the blue. This is trivial to fix - add something like like "right click on the Tobe's Highres Textures, select Information in the contextual menu, go to the File Tree tab in the window that just opened, and right click on the following files so you can hide them :" in the Detailed Instructions.

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All good suggestions IMO. This is all very obvious to me now, but I do remember a couple of these caused me a bit of confusion when I first stumbled across step. Nothing that users can't work out themselves quite easily, but at the same time nothing that can't be better explained in the guide with minimal effort.

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Oh, and one sentence explaining what a BCF is and whether one needs it. :-) I assume this is a leftover from before y'all started only supporting Mod Organiser ? It appears when you reach the point where Real Ice gets installed.

 

A newbie will have no idea whether they're supposed to use this BCF thing, what it does, how it fits in the STEP procedure, etc. Or even what BAIN does, because older mods installer software is scary.

 

(Having no Wrye Bash experience myself but knowing it'll probably get used at the end to do a bashed patch, I'm not much better off than the newbie when it comes to these BCF, mind ya...)

 

EDIT - and installing further mods learns me that BCF are still a thing with ModOrg. Heh, at least it's a situation where being wrong means that I'm right. :-)

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STEP Extended is going to be separated from STEP Core in 2.3.0.

 

Mod Organizer explains about installing mods in the First Steps tutorial that we recommend our users during initial installation. Many users may decide to skip it, so we might want to mention it. Perfect for section 2.B in the 2.2.9 guide.

 

Things going in Overwrite will not CTD the game. We should, however, make mention of any mod that may put things in Overwrite.

 

When you first install a mod with no game data at top level, Mod Organizer automatically provides a tutorial on how to deal with it. I would think that should be sufficient.

 

You really think it's that hard to understand what the words Merge, Replace, Rename, and Cancel mean? It's NMM that is confusing and counter-intuitive on this point. That seems better suited for the Mod Organizer Guide.

 

We need to explain that on the filetree template, clicking the little tree icon will tell them about hiding files.

 

We do need to mention BCFs.

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About the borky /data/data/textures paths -- IMO an optional explanation the first time it occurs wouldn't hurt. I can write one if you want (a few sentences) if somebody who actually know what they are doing can check that I'm not talking out of my arse.

 

Words such as "Merge" and "Replace" tend to have different significations depending upon which piece of software one uses, and people can thus come to ModOrg with the wrong idea. Maybe something like : "when doing the STEP Core installation process, you will want to use the default Merge button so that the updates, options, etc. are merged with the main mod. The Replace option, by contrast, is used to reinstall a given mod from scratch."

 

I can do a rough text for the File Tree hiding if you want.

 

Oh, and in section 3A of the Guide (Housekeeping), may I suggest just adding a link to https://wiki.step-project.com/Guide:Mod_Organizer#tab=Third_Party_Programs , perhaps called "how to launch BOSS, Wrye Bash, etc. from within Mod Organiser" ? The explanation about third party programs on this page is good, and having it linked would avoid idiots like me desperately looking for a non-existent BOSS button in ModOrg because they have a non-standard path due to HDD space constraints. :-)

 

Cheers,

 

G.

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