• written by carpetbulge   28 March 2013 21:05:10   4596 views   9 likes

    How to edit third-party mods to play along

    My IShdr1bloom0 contains modified versions of all Imagespaces from vanilla Skyrim+Dawnguard+Dragonborn. This data somehow needs to get into the game. Usually we'll just load it as the IShdr1bloom0_All.esp plugin.

    But you also want to load another overhaul that contains its own number of modified Imagespaces (or even new ones). Here's the problem: This data will overwrite ours. And it doesn't include our hdr and bloom settings. So we're going to patch them in.

    No step-by-step instructions to blindly lead through the whole process from beginning to end, I'm afraid, because different mods require different approaches. But don't worry, it's basically just one or two simple actions.

    Determine what needs to be done

    Mods usually come as an .esp plugin file (and with other data files that won't concern us here). We'll have to patch this plugin file to include our hdr and bloom settings. If the mod brings optional plugin files or itself consists of several separate components, we'll just patch them all. (At least, those files that you know you're going to use. No need to copy and patch everything just to delete it later.)

    Then make sure my IShdr1bloom0 gets loaded before any of the patched files in your load order, and we're already done!

    Optionally, if the mod consists of only one file or has one core file that is always loaded first, instead of loading my IShdr1bloom0 separately, we can merge it directly into this file. Probably not worth it unless you're running out of mod slots.

    Except: If the mod comes as an .esm master file, we can't load my IShdr1bloom0 before it, so we'll HAVE to merge it into the master file. We'll also have to patch that, as well as any optional plugin files.

    Except except: If the mod comes as an .esm master file, but we see that it brings only its own, newly defined data and modifies no entries from the original game as far as our visual settigns are concerned, then we CAN just patch it, and include my IShdr1bloom0 anywhere in the load order (but still before any other patched files). Or even as part of yet another .esm master file if we already merged my mod into that.

    Getting down to action

    You'll need TES5Edit. Download and extract it somewhere. Also download IShdr1bloom0_patch from my mod's optional files section. Extract it into TES5Edit's "Edit Scripts" folder.

    Any .esp or .esm files you wish to work with have to be in your game's /Data folder. - This should already be the case for any installed mod that you are using. My IShdr1bloom0_All.esp must also be there if you want to merge it into another file.

    ATTENTION: The point of this exercise is to modify and overwrite one or more plugin files from a certain mod in your game installation. I'm not responsible for any botched up originals that you didn't have the sense to BACKUP.

    Run TES5Edit. It'll give you a selection of which plugins to load. Uncheck everything (right-click, "select none"). Then check any file(s) of your mod that you wish to work with. Also include my IShdr1bloom0_All.esp if you need to merge.

    Hint: If you know that your mod needs the patch, but aren't sure about which of its particular plugin files, just check them anyway. There's no harm in running the patch on a file that contains no Imagespace data to change; it won't get touched. TES5Edit will show you later which files it actually modified.

    Click "OK" and wait until the log says "finished". Might take a few moments.

    To manually determine if a certain mod should be patched, or if you're just curious at this point, look if there's a first-level subnode called "Image Space" (not to be confused with "Image Space Adapter") in the tree view for its file(s). Those are the records that would override our earlier hdr and bloom settings.

    Here you can also check for the case where an .esm master file needs no merge: At the file's root node it'll say something like "[02] TheModFilename.esm". The number in brackets is the mod index as the editor currently sees it. Open the file's "Image Space" subnode and look at its records: in the "FormID" column you'll see numbers like "02001CE4". If the first two digits of all entries are the same as this file's mod index number, then the mod contains only its own, newly defined data. - Meaning we can just patch that, and instead of merging, include my IShdr1bloom0 as usual in the load order.

    To patch our hdr and bloom settings into other files:

    In the tree view on the left, select the file(s) of your mod to patch. (You can multi-select with the ctrl key.) Right-click on them, choose "Apply Script".

    From the dropdown, select IShdr1bloom0_patch - the script you downloaded earlier. Click OK. - This is where TES5Edit's magic happens. The Imagespaces in those files now include our hdr and bloom settings. (You'll see that modified files from our selection now appear in bold. If they don't, they contained no Imagespaces to change.)

    To merge my IShdr1bloom0 into another file:

    In the tree view on the left, expand my IShdr1bloom0_All.esp and right-click the "Image Space" node. Choose "Deep copy as override into". Check the destination file and click OK. Pretend that you're absolutely sure. If there's an add masters dialog, confirm it. - The destination file now contains its original Imagespaces plus those copied from my IShdr1bloom0 that weren't already there. (Remember that this file too needs the patch applied if we haven't already.)

    Close TES5Edit and verify that you want to save all the checkmarked files in the exit dialog. (Uncheck everything to exit without saving.)

    Arrange and (de)activate things in your load order as required: My IShdr1bloom0 plugin always goes before any of your patched files. Only if you merged it into another mod, you can and must remove my plugin file from the load order.

    Some examples

    SkyrimURWL V2B - (as example of the basic case)
    1. Patch SkyrimURWL.esp
    2. Put my IShdr1bloom0_All.esp before SkyrimURWL in your load order and activate it

    Climates Of Tamriel 3.1 - (as example of the master file case)
    1. Patch ClimatesOfTamriel.esm and its optional plugins (such as ClimatesOfTamriel-Interiors-Cold.esp)
    2. Merge my IShdr1bloom0_All.esp into ClimatesOfTamriel.esm
    3. Deactivate my IShdr1bloom0_All.esp if it's still in your load order

    Moonpath to Elsweyr 95beta - (as example of the master file with no overlapping data case)
    1. Patch moonpath.esm (moonpath_questdata.esp does not need it)
    2a. Put my IShdr1bloom0_All.esp anywhere in your load order (but still before other patched files if you have any) and activate it.
    2b. Except if you also already merged my IShdr1bloom0 into another mod's .esm master file and have that active. Then my IShdr1bloom0_All.esp must still remain deactivated.


    If you don't use IShdr1bloom0_All.esp but one or more of the separate components, you can merge them into another file just the same. You'll only have to repeat the merge process for each component that you use. In the load order, just keep the appropriate plugins together and treat them like you would the all-in-one file.

    Some mods may come with configuration tools that generate a new version of a plugin each time you change its settings. This probably also reverts our patchwork, so you would have to repeat it.

    Users of "Mod Organizer" must launch tools like TES5Edit through the Organizer to work with its virtualized /Data directory system.

    Remember that you're now running a modified version before asking the original authors for support. To revert the patches, simply overwrite with the original files from the mod.

    Please understand that I wasn't planning to upload pre-patched versions of popular mods. I'd have to get permissions, and for many mods it would practically amount to redistributing the whole thing, and they'd be manual installs anyway, and I'd feel obliged to watch them and keep them up to date, and...

    Credits: to the authors of TES5Edit, and all the earlier modders without whose examples I still wouldn't be not as dumb as I look.

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