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> RG4's PC Modding Crisis Thread
SubRosa
post Dec 27 2013, 04:10 AM
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Besides all of the excellent advice given here, I can add one suggestion.

If you have the drive space, before you start adding mods, create a new folder called Oblivion Vanilla (or something similar) and copy the entire contents of your Oblivion folder and all of it subfolders into it. This way if you do screw up your game six ways to Sunday, you can always delete the contents of the regular game folder, and then copy the vanilla files back to it. It is the same as reinstalling the game, except without all the hassle that comes with having to do it the normal way. This also allows you to selectively replace or just compare individual files in your modded folder with the originals. Just in case there is just one file that is causing you a problem.

While you are at it, you will find your game's .ini files and the saves in your My Documents/My Games/Oblivion folder. The same with Skyrim as well. If you are going to make changes to your .ini files, it is not a bad idea to make backup copies of them first as well.


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Renee
post Dec 27 2013, 09:09 PM
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Awesome thanks SR. smile.gif A friend of mine from Beth might show up here too, or perhaps I might ask a few questions for him.
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Renee
post Jan 2 2014, 01:41 AM
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I am now copying files to the Vanilla Oblivion folder, just like you said, SR. Might as well start with this. It's a slow process, eh?

I guess the next thing is to install the game, and that's where Cream Steam is needed, I suppose. Yucky Steam. Actually Steam's not that bad. It just confuses me. Extra steps to deal with, extra stuff to be aware of.

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SubRosa
post Jan 2 2014, 01:44 AM
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Copying can take a while, especially on an older computer. It is a good time to watch a little tv.

You won't need Steam if you are just playing Oblivion. Unless you bought Oblivion through Steam I suppose. You only need Steam for Skyrim, and it will automatically install itself when you try to install Skyrim.


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Renee
post Jan 2 2014, 02:23 AM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Jan 1 2014, 07:44 PM) *

You won't need Steam if you are just playing Oblivion. Unless you bought Oblivion through Steam I suppose. You only need Steam for Skyrim, and it will automatically install itself when you try to install Skyrim.


Nope, I am using the Anthology disc so (Yah!) no Steam for Oblivion.

Okay, here goes the install. I made sure to create a New Folder as suggested, so htat it looks like this:

C > Modded Oblivion

instead of

C > Program Files(x86)

Let's see if this works. EDIT: Yup, it's giving me a choice of where I want to install. COOL. Here we go....
..I am kind of excited!

EDIT 2: so I can tell this is going to be a long install. I just turned on my PS3 to watch some Netflix, but I can't help but watch the OB game install. laugh.gif I'm sitting here staring at it as it says C:\...\Data\Oblivion - Meshes.bsa.

Nothing is happening but this install (and some pretty pictures being shown) yet I'm fascinated. It's like a computer roleplay or something. Here's me, Renee G rolling the dice, seeing if I get this right!

EDIT 3: Whoa, holy **** look at those graphics. Maybe it's just some pretty art that's being shown, but wow, it's much smoother than what's seen on consoles. Hard to explain.

EDIT 4: screw the Alternative Start mod. laugh.gif I gotta see the differences in the Tutorial! Not tonight, but next time it rains or snows. So hurry up and rain or snow!

This post has been edited by Renee Gade IV: Jan 2 2014, 02:46 AM
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SubRosa
post Jan 2 2014, 03:06 AM
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The graphics are way better than a PS3 or X-Box. That can have a bad side to it however, as you might find yourself noticing more that people's faces are blotchy looking. In Skyrim the face textures all have a blocky look, like they were Minecraft characters. I am told it is not really noticeable on the consoles. But on the PC, it is really glaring.


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Renee
post Jan 2 2014, 04:34 PM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Jan 1 2014, 09:06 PM) *

The graphics are way better than a PS3 or X-Box. That can have a bad side to it however, as you might find yourself noticing more that people's faces are blotchy looking.


Yes, I have seen this actually in the vanilla game. Originally I had one of those big, heavy TVs with tubes in its back, this TV was slightly blurry and not 'hi-def', so I always wondered why people complained about the faces in OB. Then I went to my sister's place one day. My nephew has Oblivion, and they have one of those flatscreen TVs, but this one's almost the size of an entire wall.

So that was the first time I saw it: all the pockmarks, acne, measels, etc. laugh.gif I'm not sure if I'll ever mod this out or not, we'll see.


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Thomas Kaira
post Jan 2 2014, 08:25 PM
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No more ugly faces.

And as for the screenshots of the game during install, those are downright hideous compared to what you can do with mods and decent hardware.

To explain the blockiness of the faces in Skyrim: this is because the normal maps for the face textures (normal map is a texture that relays information to the game engine on lighting interaction) are compressed. This results in inaccuracy in the normal maps due to the colors of some of the pixels not being quite what they should be. The blocky look comes from how DDS compression algorithms work (very basic explanation: they take 2-2 grids of pixels and unify the color for them).

This post has been edited by Thomas Kaira: Jan 2 2014, 08:30 PM


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Renee
post Jan 2 2014, 11:39 PM
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Thanks Thomas Kaira. You're named after a rare sports car.

I'm currently messing around again. Just downloaded OBMM, where should I put it, though? I don't see any specific instructions on the Nexus page.

Should I put OBMM right alongside the regular Oblivion files, like this?

C:\Modded Oblivion\OBMM files

"Modded Oblivion" is the folder I created last night. *starts clicking F5 over and over, waiting for answer*

This post has been edited by Renee Gade IV: Jan 2 2014, 11:41 PM
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Acadian
post Jan 2 2014, 11:45 PM
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Yes, that is where to put it. smile.gif


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Renee
post Jan 2 2014, 11:56 PM
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Awesome. Good lord, it's got a lot of reading in there.

Well so far I've got OBSE ready. OBMM installed. I think next I'm going for the mods *drools* Sorry. I'm salivating and I can't help it.

I should probably do a bit of reading on how OBMM actually works first though. It looks pretty serious.

IT is snowing outside, and I am going to *attempt* to put a couple mods in my first PC Oblivion game. I know that's a lot for one night, but you don't know how long I've been waiting for this. My first 2 mods will be "See Me Sleep" and "Natural Hunger". They seem rather small.

Whenever I wait for something to download, I've been switching to Lord Haaf-Mersey as he rides his horse slowly back to Falkreath.

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Renee
post Jan 3 2014, 12:27 AM
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What does esp stand for? Sorry, I tried Googling this but it's simply a nightmare getting straight information.

Here is an example of what I mean: The left hand panel contains a list of all active esps. They are listed in oblivion load order, with the top mod in the list loading first and the bottom last

Wow, OBMM color-codes the mods to show if they're active or not? biggrin.gif Holy moly

This post has been edited by Renee Gade IV: Jan 3 2014, 12:30 AM
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Renee
post Jan 3 2014, 12:48 AM
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I'm downloading mod files as we speak. I haven't unzipped anything yet. Where should I unzip these mods?

I am guessing C:\Modded Oblivion\OBMM\Mods?


Never mind! I figured it out. YES! I got Natural Hunger installed and there's a little blue box next to it in the Mod Manager!! biggrin.gif I wish Chorrol had more smileys, I want to put :foodndrink: and see the smiley with the bottle

This post has been edited by Renee Gade IV: Jan 3 2014, 01:09 AM
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King Coin
post Jan 3 2014, 01:14 AM
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ESP stands for elder scrolls plugin file. Nearly every mod, expect things that only change colors or what shape things are in game will have a .esp file associated with it. That is what is set to 'active' or not.


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SubRosa
post Jan 3 2014, 01:31 AM
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Hi Renee. You installed OBMM to the right place. The same place I did.

.esp is the file extension of the most mods for Elder Scrolls games. I believe it stands for Elder Scrolls Plugin. Where .esm stands for Elder Scrolls Master. You will only see a few of the .esm's. One for the vanilla game, and once in a while one from a mod.

An .esp is what you create when you use the Construction Set to make a mod. Say like one that changes the stats of an NPC, or puts a new house on the map, or changes how quickly magicka regenerates, etc... Some mods have more than just an .esp. Things like new meshes (.nif files), new textures (.dds files), sound effects, music, voices, and so on. Some mods don't even have an .esp. They are ones that simply replace vanilla files with new ones. Texture replacers for things like armor or clothing are common examples.

In any case, a .esp files gets copied to your Oblivion\Data folder. It will be the same folder your Oblivion.esm file is in. If all you have is an .esp, you do not need OBMM to install it. Just copy it over manually, open OBMM, and select the .esp file in the list to make it active.

It is when you have mods with extra files, like those new textures or meshes, that OBMM comes in really handy. Rather than manually copy the files to your Oblivion\Data folder, you have two options. I am sure every mod you download is going to come in a .zip, .rar, or .7z file. The first option is to extract the files to some temporary folder on your hard drive. I keep a folder called Temp off of the root of every hard drive for this sort of thing. Make sure the directory structure is kept intact, if whatever you are extracting with has an option for that.

Then open OBMM, and go down to the bottom and click on the Create button. That brings up a new Omod Creator window. Put in a name that you want to use for the .omod file. The same name as the mod is obviously a good idea. Version Number, Author, and that stuff you can leave blank unless you want to put it in. You can leave the compression rates at the defaults too. Though I always set them to the lowest or none. That takes up more space on my hard drive, but I have plenty to spare.

Now look in the middle of this window and click on Add Folder. A Browse For Folder window pops up. Use it to go to the folder you extracted your mod to. Make sure it is the same folder that the .esp file is in. This is the tricky part, since a lot of people who make mods bury the actual files in a few layers of folder names that are completely useless. Like NickAwesomeUberSword\Uber\Oblivion\Data\<the .esp file>. You just want to select that Data folder with the .esp in it. Click on OK, and wait for OBMM to do its thing. It will take you back to the previous window. From there you can add a description. This is a good idea, so you remember just what the heck Nick's Uber Sword actually does and where to find it. I usually just copy and paste the readme file from the mod. If it does not have one, I copy and paste the description page of the mod from the Nexus. When you are done, click on the red X in the upper right corner. It will ask you if you want to save your changes. Say Yes, and it takes you back to the new Omod Creator window. Now click on Create Omod at the lower right. It will take a few moments to do build the file. When it is done, a little window will pop up saying so.

What this does is take all of those loose files and packs them all together into a single archive. You will now see it in the big window pane on the right side of the program. To activate it, just double click. Or click once to select it, and then click on the Activate button at the bottom. What this does is automatically pull out all those loose files and copy them to your Oblivion folder and all the proper subfolders. It also makes the .esp that came with it active. Do the same to deactivate it. If you want to delete an .omod, make sure you Deactivate it first, then Delete. That makes sure all those files get cleaned up. The beauty of this is that you do not have to keep track of all those loose files. OBMM does it all for you.

The second option I mentioned to creating an .omod above is to skip extracting it to your hard drive. Instead in the Omod Creator window click on Add Archive, and then navigate to the .zip file you downloaded. This works so long as the mod author put all of their files in the right folders. But sometimes mods come with option files, which are stuck in extra folders that OBMM does not know what to do with. This method won't get those options working, and you have to manually extract the files first, and move around the ones you want to use into the correct folders. Because of that I almost always just extract my mods to a folder first, and make my omods from there.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Jan 3 2014, 01:34 AM


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Renee
post Jan 3 2014, 01:32 AM
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Okay, one last thing before I launch my first PC game. Actually I suppose I could launch the game now, but try this later.

Two questions. (1) Timescale. I wanna slow it down. Am I looking in the .ini file to change this? And also (2) how do I get the console working.

I think I know the answer to #2. It's the ~ button, right? .. anyways, here I go. Heh heh....
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SubRosa
post Jan 3 2014, 01:36 AM
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You got it. Use the ~ to open the console. Then type in:

Set Timescale To X

With X being the number you want. 30 is the default. I set it to 10, and most other folks go with something in that neighborhood as well.

You might also want to look at Tweak Guides Oblivion page for ways to optimize your performance. Or just to find out what all those settings mean. I found it very handy, as it has pictures showing you what different settings look like in the game.

The TES Construction Set Wiki is also a good place to look at for more info on mods, what file extensions mean, as well as how to use the Construction Set itself.

The UESP Wiki has a good page on Console Commands.

TFC is a handy command for giving you a free camera to take screenshots with.

TM will toggle the menus.

TAI will turn off the AI, which is handy for getting monsters to stay still while you take pictures of them.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Jan 3 2014, 01:43 AM


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Renee
post Jan 3 2014, 04:46 PM
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SWEET! The mod works! biggrin.gif I put Natural Hunger in the game successfully, and did see a couple messages show up that are definitely not vanilla.

I did start my character last night (the dark elf named Snaat Rayag) but then I got stuck trying to figure out button-mapping for my Xbox/PC controller. Still haven't figured it out; that part's going to be harder than the actual modding. But I'll get it.

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haute ecole rider
post Jan 3 2014, 05:22 PM
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Congratulations RG4! Welcome to the world of modded Oblivion!

I got into modding when I set up my Mac desktop to boot into Win 7 (Boot Camp) and installed Oblivion on that. Put in a lot of hours playing different mods.

I have just installed Win 7 and Oblivion under Parallels on my Mac laptop (Parallels allows you to run Win 7 on top of the Mac operating system--it is not a separate boot partition). Oblivion plays well enough, though the game play stutters somewhat. I am also missing the console key under Parallels (it works normally under Boot Camp) and some of the modifier keys don't work consistently. So I may go ahead and partition the hard drive on my laptop and run Boot Camp instead.

I only mention this because there are a few folks who use Macs here and may feel they can never run Oblivion on their computers.

I have to second TK's recommendation for the faces. Of all the face mods I've tried to get better looking faces, OCO2 has been the best. I'm the most pleased with the results of this one. I should warn you, though, many of the NPC's, especially the mer, have been "Skyrimized." I don't mind. IRL, not everyone is a Beautiful Person. wink.gif

I use Wrye Bash for most of my installations, but keep OBMM on hand for a few. DarN UI is one of them. It simply does not work under WB, but is easily customizable under OBMM.

As Sage Rose said, I have a copy of a clean install of Oblivion elsewhere on the hard drive. I have two saves with that: one at the end of the tutorial, and one at the end of the MQ.


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Thomas Kaira
post Jan 4 2014, 01:08 AM
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QUOTE(Renee Gade IV @ Jan 2 2014, 03:39 PM) *

Thanks Thomas Kaira. You're named after a rare sports car.


And you're the first person who actually got it. tongue.gif

For which mod manager to use, I use OBMM if the mod requires INI alterations in order to configure (specifically DarNified UI, which needs entries in the Oblivion.INI in order to properly display the new fonts). Otherwise, I use Wrye Bash, as there are a number of advantages with using BAIN:

1. It respects install order. Installing a mod after a certain mod that contains alterations to the same object will cause the latter install to always take precedence. Always. This allows you further control over which changes you get out of which mods. Very useful for replacers. OBMM does not do this, for it the last mod to be activated supercedes everything.

2. Conflict detection you can actually use. Bash gives you a nice to-the-point list of all the items that a mod package will override when installed and what packages will override it. OBMM gives you arcane junk that is completely unreadable.

3. It can handle complex installations without needing scripts. All you need to do is set the package up correctly and you can pick and choose which individual PIECES of mods you want to install, too. You can select if you want certain ESPs over others, install some textures in a replacer but leave out the rest, you name it. Outside of INI edits, Bash can do everything OBMM does without the need of scripting the install. And you can even find scripted installs for BAIN now too (called wizards).

4. Clear reporting of mod installation status. It will adjust the color on the package's status symbol depending on what it detects: green = all files matched, yellow = resource file mismatch, orange = ESP mismatch, red = missing files.

5. It does not require the package be a specialized file to work. All you need is a file archive with a folder structure it recognizes. Nothing more.

Another useful console command: TCL. Use this with nothing selected (very important nothing be displayed as selected in the top-center screen) will turn off collision detection for the entire game. Useful for if you get irreversibly stuck and don't want to reload.

This post has been edited by Thomas Kaira: Jan 4 2014, 01:10 AM


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