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Thread: Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mods?

  1. #1

    Default Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mods?

    Now more and more major mods are reaching a point where they are releasing a version, its becoming clearer and clearer that there's a big difference in terms of how easy some mods are to install compared to others. And typically, it's the bigger mods that have had to develop to the easiest installation procedures and who have the edge over the smaller ones.

    It's in the entire community's interest that all mods be as easy to install as possible, the easier it is, the more tempted vanilla players will be to try them and the bigger our market will become. And now with auto-installers, patch paks and RMODs we're far better positioned to do this than we were six months ago.

    Ultimately, we'd like to post a thread which would provide simple advice and links which will tell new modders what installation procedures they should consider for the mod they release. (Anyone who saw my first mod's horrifically complicated install procedures will agree how much I could have benefitted from advice at the time .)

    So, to the experienced mod developers out there, what advice would you give?
    Epistolary Richard's modding Rules of Cool
    Cool modders make their mods with the :mod command line switch
    If they don't, then Cool mod-users use the Mod Enabler (JSGME)
    Cool modders use show_err
    Cool modders use the tutorials database Cool modders check out the Welcome to the Modding Forums! thread Cool modders keep backups Cool modders help each other out

  2. #2

    Default Re: Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mods?

    Personally, I'm a proponent of the RMOD format. I've made RMODs of three of the major mods released all with no trouble and swapped between them with no trouble except when I did something stupid myself (cancelled mid-installation).

    In this day and age though, I can't think of any reason why a mod shouldn't at least be as simple as having it's own data folder whch can just be dragged into the user's own version. Anything that needs to be modded in the packs, as far as I'm aware, can be changed through a patch pak. Some versions of WinZip seem to flatten the directory structure, though I'm not sure which versions.

    I've also seen modded files being passed around in rar format. What's the benefits of rar over zip?
    Epistolary Richard's modding Rules of Cool
    Cool modders make their mods with the :mod command line switch
    If they don't, then Cool mod-users use the Mod Enabler (JSGME)
    Cool modders use show_err
    Cool modders use the tutorials database Cool modders check out the Welcome to the Modding Forums! thread Cool modders keep backups Cool modders help each other out

  3. #3
    Spends his time on TWC Member Simetrical's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mod

    WinZip doesn't flatten the directory structure unless the user instructs it to in the extraction window.

    RAR generally offers better compression than ZIP, at the cost of somewhat more time to pack or unpack. Also, many users have ZIP-opening programs but not RAR-opening programs.

    -Simetrical
    TWC Administrator

    MediaWiki Developer

  4. #4

    Default Re: Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mod

    Thanks, Sim. I've also seen bat files being used to good effect (they would certainly have saved me a lot of complicated install instructions in my first mod). Can someone who knows about them describe exactly what they are and how to make them?
    Epistolary Richard's modding Rules of Cool
    Cool modders make their mods with the :mod command line switch
    If they don't, then Cool mod-users use the Mod Enabler (JSGME)
    Cool modders use show_err
    Cool modders use the tutorials database Cool modders check out the Welcome to the Modding Forums! thread Cool modders keep backups Cool modders help each other out

  5. #5
    EB Traiter Member Malrubius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mod

    They're pretty simple, really. A batch file (.bat) is a file containing a set of instructions like what would be entered at a command prompt (MS-DOS prompt). It can be written in such a way that a person just double-clicks the file, and it executes a series of commands. They can be written in notepad, so they don't require any special tools or programs. They can get very complicated, but a simple one would look something like this (taken from my GAFHMod, check my sig if you want to download the batch file and edit it for your mod):

    Code:
    echo off
    cd ..
    attrib -r Data\*.*
    attrib -r Data\text\*.*
    copy GAFHMod\Data\*.* Data
    copy GAFHMod\Data\text\*.* Data\text
    echo Install Complete!
    pause
    Here's the explanation:
    Code:
    echo off  -- don't 'echo' the commands, just display once (for clarity)
    cd ..       -- go up one folder 
    attrib -r Data\*.*       -- unset the 'read-only' status of the Data folder
    attrib -r Data\text\*.*    -- same for Data\text
    copy GAFHMod\Data\*.* Data -- copy the Data folder from the GAFHMod to the RTW Data folder
    copy GAFHMod\Data\text\*.* Data\text
    echo Install Complete!            --tell the user it's done
    pause                                  -- wait for the user to hit any key
    Last edited by Malrubius; 07-16-2005 at 14:19.

    Ah! the Generals! they are numerous, but not good for much (especially if they're Languorous)!
    -- Aristophanes, if he played EB

  6. #6

    Default Re: Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mod

    Thanks, Malrubius. I found this list of MS DOS commands which I presume can be used in bat files.
    Epistolary Richard's modding Rules of Cool
    Cool modders make their mods with the :mod command line switch
    If they don't, then Cool mod-users use the Mod Enabler (JSGME)
    Cool modders use show_err
    Cool modders use the tutorials database Cool modders check out the Welcome to the Modding Forums! thread Cool modders keep backups Cool modders help each other out

  7. #7
    EB Traiter Member Malrubius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mod

    That site also has a tutorial on batch files. Even a simple batch file can go a long way towards making a mod easy to install and even remove. The CVP (and my GAFHMod) both include backup and restore batch files.

    Ah! the Generals! they are numerous, but not good for much (especially if they're Languorous)!
    -- Aristophanes, if he played EB

  8. #8
    Spends his time on TWC Member Simetrical's Avatar
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    Default Re: Consultation: Advice for modders developing installation procedures for their mod

    If you make a self-extracting RAR, you can also have it run batch files before and after extraction. Very handy stuff. You could use this to back up all modified files.

    -Simetrical
    TWC Administrator

    MediaWiki Developer

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