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> Why the mystery?
Renee
post Mar 25 2014, 04:27 PM
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I've hit upon what feels to be a rather sensitive area over at Nexus. I hemmed and hawed whether I should bring up this subject at Nexus, Beth, or here. I'm too new to modding to open up the floor at Nexus mods, and I don't know Beth's modding community very well. So now I'm here. kvright.gif

I find it odd, the lack of information some mod authors put on their pages. When I started at this 2 months ago, I was told by a friend "read the Read Me, always read the Read Me page". And the thing is, this is all good and fine as long as there is a Read Me. Many times there isn't one. Many times, there aren't any instructions at all. This seems rather dangerous to me, as a n00b modder.

The issue I've found happened with the Coolsims Hair Pack. The "Read Me" says this..

"This is a resource pack for those who know what to do with this."

That's it. That is all. unsure.gif I found this mod last week and it had the exact hairstyle I wanted. My character was all ready to go, all i needed was hair. So I get into the page and realize there's no esp. Hmm. Plenty of meshes, plenty of textures, but no esp. How do I activate this mod, then?

... I'm sure a lot you already know the answer: create your own esp. But from my perspective, I didn't know this yet. I am new at this. Everybody was new at modding at some point, now it's my turn. The thing that has me baffled is why doesn't the author of this mod (or several other mods out there I've seen) simply place this bit of information up front? Why the mystery?

It's a simple sentence. Instead of the vague, exclusionary phrase "This is a resource pack for those who know what do do with this", why not add "you'll need to use the Construction Kit to make your own esp". Or the author could have made a section called "requirements" and then put the words 'Construction Kit' in this section.

Luckily for me, I'm starting to get the hang of this; I'm getting good at figuring stuff out on my own without bothering any of y'all. I realized there's a second Coolsims page made by a different mod creator which only includes an esp. This mod leaves the following information:

"Lots of people complain about the mod because it not work.. it'll solved with this esp
This mod still require Coolsims Hair Pack."

The author of the esp isn't very good with English as we can see, but he or she still manages to make it sound like all you'll need to do is unzip this esp, place it in the Data folder, and you're done. Not so. When l unzipped the esp, I wound up with a file called Coolsims627.esp. I installed this and at first I could see (during character creation) that the game is trying to put some hairstyles in my game, but they weren't showing up. indifferent.gif I threw a question up in my Crisis thread, but before I started using the instructions SubRosa gave me, I decided to see what would happen if I renamed the esp. Revmoed the 627 so it's now called Coolsims.esp and voila! The mod works.

There it is again. unsure.gif Why the mystery? Why wouldn't the author of the esp simply say "you'll need to rename the esp once it's installed in your Data folder." It really is that simple. It boggles me. If I ever get confident enough to make my own mods (and also publish them) you can bet my ReadMes will be incredibly detailed. Step by step. There will be no half-baked blueprints. laugh.gif I mean, c'mon.

Is it because some modders think they are 'too cool' for us n00bs? Is it because they only want to see their creations being used by those who they consider to be within their circle of friends? Why publish the mod publicly, then?

I open the floor for discussion. Thank you.

This post has been edited by Renee Gade IV: Mar 25 2014, 04:42 PM
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ghastley
post Mar 25 2014, 07:38 PM
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There is only one reason I can think of why the name of the esp would have any effect at all. You should have been able to rename it XYZ.esp and it should have worked the same, unless there's another mod in your system that contains code that runs only if "Coolsims.esp" is also active. That's typically done for compatibility patches, that basically want to know if the situation they fix applies.

My own Gweden Brothel mod needs to check if Open Cities (various versions) is also running, as some of its code depends on items I've had to place twice, one copy in the closed city world-space, and other in the open Tamriel world-space where OCC or OCR moved it. That code IS sensitive to the actual name of the esp, and breaks every time Arthmoor decides to use a new name. Fortunately, he doesn't put the release number in the esp name, or it would break every time.

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The term "resource pack" is well enough known these days that use of the CS is not normally mentioned. Just like nobody uses the full names of OOO, UL, etc.

Modders resource packs, such as packages of models and textures with no esp, are common on the Nexus, and it's not uncommon to find them with little explanation of how to use them. In most case, they're only useful to someone who's making a mod - e.g. a new building or furniture mesh is only useful when you have somewhere to put it. The target audience IS familiar with the Construction Set, and needs no further instructions.

My own Shop Windows upload is one of those - pointless unless you're making a mod with a new shop, which is exactly what the requester (Shezrie) was doing at the time. I've also released parts of my mods, such as the animated alchemical apparatus and the portable candle, to save people the effort of copying the relevant parts out of the quest mods.

The pack of new hairstyles is a borderline case, as it's something you could use when starting a new game, but the more likely use is for creating new NPC's in other mods (I think I used one from that collection for Kintyra in the Falkreath Tavern). I'd guess the "author" intended the latter use.

This post has been edited by ghastley: Mar 25 2014, 07:44 PM


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SubRosa
post Mar 25 2014, 10:29 PM
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Now that you included links, I am downloading them both to actually look at them. The first is just the meshes and textures. So it is indeed a resource pack, that will not work unless you create your own .esp file for it. As I suspected, it was probably released that way for people who would integrate it into an existing pack of multiple hair mods, or into a new race mod.

I see the second one is just an .esp that adds the hairs to the game, creating a new hair entry for each, and adding them to the races. That will work no matter what the name. I think what may have happened is that after you renamed it, it changed its position in your load order. Two mods that alter the same records (in this case the Race records) will not both work. Only the one that loads last will work. So if you had another mod that alters the races in any way loading after Coolsims, then Coolsims would not have worked. OTOH, if Coolsims is now loading last, something else might be getting preempted by it now.

One of the reasons that people release hair mods as resources (i.e. just the meshes and textures), is that otherwise if you had say Corean Hair, you would not be able to use Ren's Hair, as they both change the Race records. You have to combine them both into a single mod with one .esp.

Ok, just tried installing it, with the 627 still in the name. What I noticed is that even with Coolsims loading last, when I took an existing character and used Showracemenu I did not see the new Coolsims hair styles. I still saw Corean and Ren's, which load earler in the order. But those were also the hairstyles I created the character with to start. But when I created a new character from scratch, I had all the new Coolsims hairstyles, and no Corean or Ren's - which is as expected.

I think this is just a 'feature' of the game. I have seen similar things before when disabling or renaming hair mods. Sometimes an old character that is using a hair style from a mod that is no longer active, still has the hair style. Unless I try to use Showracemenu to open the character. Then it usually just CTDs the game. Sometimes the game 'remembers' the hair you had, even without the .esp. So I think because of that Coolsims was not showing up for me with an existing character.

Renee, did you by chance start a new character after you renamed the .esp file? That might have been the fix.

Now what really drives me nuts are the people who post mods with no readme files at all. Or a Readme file that does not have the mod's name in it, but rather just Readme.txt. The same as everyone else's, so it overwrites the last one. Or people whose readme file says "Adds Sword of Doom to the game." and that is it. No mention of where to get it, or even what it does. I guess they figure if we play the game long enough, we will find it eventually.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Mar 25 2014, 10:44 PM


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Renee
post Mar 26 2014, 02:09 AM
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Interesting answers, thanks for leaving them. Pretty soon I'll be really good at this stuff I think and I'll look back on this thread and have a laugh, but the other day I actually was getting rather frustrated. I can't help thinking that the mod authors look down at people like me (n00bs) or something. I dunno. Just a feeling I get.

QUOTE
There is only one reason I can think of why the name of the esp would have any effect at all. You should have been able to rename it XYZ.esp and it should have worked the same, unless there's another mod in your system that contains code that runs only if "Coolsims.esp" is also active. That's typically done for compatibility patches, that basically want to know if the situation they fix applies.


Huh. I have no idea. Now that I think of it, I wonder if the fact that I have Apachii Wigs also in that particular game that there was some conflict. I figured that my new character is not actually going to don one of these wigs, so it shouldn't matter that she's getting a Coolsims hair cut, but Apachii IS active in her game.

So I wonder if that had something to do with it. Otherwise, the fact that I renamed the esp and then it worked was about 20% brains, 80% luck.

QUOTE
The term "resource pack" is well enough known these days that use of the CS is not normally mentioned. Just like nobody uses the full names of OOO, UL, etc.


Mm hmm, I know this now. Didn't know it the other day, though. And there's gotta be a lot of people out there in my situation, or who were in my situation. Just having a look through the posts of the Coolsims website, the question comes up several times 'what do I do with this?"

QUOTE
The pack of new hairstyles is a borderline case, as it's something you could use when starting a new game,


This is exactly what I did. smile.gif I went on a mad search for hairstyle mods with bangs (long curls) up front. Saw the Coolsims page and had to have it.



This post has been edited by Renee Gade IV: Mar 26 2014, 02:20 AM
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Renee
post Mar 26 2014, 02:25 AM
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QUOTE
So if you had another mod that alters the races in any way loading after Coolsims, then Coolsims would not have worked. OTOH, if Coolsims is now loading last, something else might be getting preempted by it now.


Yikes. That sounds scary. Other than the Apachii Wigs mod, I haven't a clue what could have been the culprit!

QUOTE
One of the reasons that people release hair mods as resources (i.e. just the meshes and textures), is that otherwise if you had say Corean Hair, you would not be able to use Ren's Hair, as they both change the Race records. You have to combine them both into a single mod with one .esp.


Oh okay. Good to know.

QUOTE
Renee, did you by chance start a new character after you renamed the .esp file? That might have been the fix.


Um. I started my new character first. Yeah. Started her and did the Tutorial. Coolsims was not in her game at that point. Only at the end of the Sewers (where it asks if you want to change Race, Class, Sex, etc.) did I install Coolsims.

So to answer this, no I did not start a new character after renaming the esp. Character came first, then the mod (meshes & textures), then the esp, then the renaming. But like I said, the Apachii Wigs mod is active in her game. Even though she hasn't visited the barrel in Pell's Gate next, I wonder if this has something to do with it.

QUOTE
Now what really drives me nuts are the people who post mods with no readme files at all.....*snip*.

That's a relief, that even experienced people such as yourself can find yourself scratching your head just like I did the other day.



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SubRosa
post Mar 26 2014, 02:31 AM
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I don't think Apachii Wigs would have anything to do with this. I do not have the mod, but I think the wigs it adds act as clothing items, rather than true hair. If so, they would not modify the Race records, and as Vader told the Emperor, there would be no conflict.


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Renee
post Mar 26 2014, 02:37 AM
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Oh okay.
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Thomas Kaira
post Mar 26 2014, 02:38 AM
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Wigs are hair meshes that are equipped, typically to either the Helmet slot or some other slot if the modder wants the hair to show through a helmet. They are much more user-friendly and mod-friendly, but also a little unnatural if you are using them as a stand-in for actual hairs (since you need to put it back on whenever it gets removed).


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Acadian
post Mar 26 2014, 02:52 AM
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Helmet slot wigs eliminate your real hair and ears both when being worn. For little-eared folk (humans) and many hairstyles, no ears is no problem because the wig covers that up. Horse-eared elves though are quite limited in which wigs are 'big hair' enough to look as if they completely cover their ears. tongue.gif

There are actually 'ear' accessories that can be worn (typically in the 'tail' slot) but that gets pretty cumbersome and gobbles up another accessory slot.


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Renee
post Mar 26 2014, 12:44 PM
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Are you guys saying my Coolsims-haired lady can someday wear a wig? biggrin.gif That would be kinda funny.

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haute ecole rider
post Mar 27 2014, 08:54 PM
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Renee, wigs are like clothing, so they aren't technically part of your character the way the body or face mods are. For that reason when I found Apachii's Wigs, I liked it so much that I never got into downloading custom hairs for my games. It hasn't conflicted with either the vanilla hair or the hairs installed by Cobl Races (which I'm not using in this current install). I've noticed that some of the wigs are identical to some of the Coolsims hairs, and I think the same authors collaborated on both mods.

I hear you about the absence of consistent information/directions for many of the mods on the Nexus (and elsewhere). One thing I've learned, if you're having difficulty installing a mod or getting it to work, especially the ones that have been out for a while, you can sometimes find the answers by reading the comments in the posts. Or the mod author will post a link to another forum where you can find the answers you seek.

I think it's worth while studying a few of the tutorials on offer for Wrye Bash - it helps you understand how mods work and why some mods don't get along well with some other mods. For example, I've completed remodeling Gweden Farm's interiors for Julian, and am looking forward to taking her there to get her approval. It's a little bit bare, but that's because I want her to have room for the books she is collecting (yes, she's a bookworm, like me. Just finds it hard to read until she realizes she needs glasses. wink.gif ) I think I may add a few trunks for the weapons and armor she has "earned" or been "rewarded" through the MQ but will likely never use (like the Champion armor, or the Kvatch cuirass and shield which have been retired).


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Renee
post Apr 2 2014, 07:44 PM
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Sorry h.e.r., didn't see that you posted in this thread til now.

QUOTE(haute ecole rider @ Mar 27 2014, 03:54 PM) *


I hear you about the absence of consistent information/directions for many of the mods on the Nexus (and elsewhere). One thing I've learned, if you're having difficulty installing a mod or getting it to work, especially the ones that have been out for a while, you can sometimes find the answers by reading the comments in the posts. Or the mod author will post a link to another forum where you can find the answers you seek.


Yup yup, I've been doing this. I've hit a few walls but then have found the answer by reading posts.

QUOTE
I think it's worth while studying a few of the tutorials on offer for Wrye Bash - it helps you understand how mods work and why some mods don't get along well with some other mods.

I do plan on learing Bash eventually. smile.gif Due to my impatience to get some mods (after literally years of vanilla), I've been messing mostly with OBMM, but I think I will someday really need Bash for some reason.

At present, I've 'only' got about 35 mods, give or take. Each one of my characters uses a few mods different from the others, so if I switch from one to the next, this means I also have to sit there and activate or deactivate a small list of things. Eventually (of course) I'll wind up with 40 ... 50 ... maybe even more mods. I can't really forsee what these will be at present, but I WILL be adding to the list. So Bash will eventually be a good idea, as well as the Construction Kit (of course).

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