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Someone do an error-fix-pack, please!


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Something that would, when used, seek out all the little errors and incompabilities and other little things, and fix them. Like, if Divine Remix wasn't compatible with Spell Revisions, it'd make them compatible and force them to apologise and shake hands!


This because I believe that mods shouldn't make up any random shit with each other. None of the mods I added made the Ust-Natha quests unfinishable. None of them made the Thieves Guild missions impossible. I haven't installed any "Crash the lighthouse area whenever you enter it" -mod, nor anything like "Get Jaheira to join your group but not Khalid and make him just stand there and look stupid". Who would want to make a mod that'd make the thieves guild hostile whenever I try to do any of those Narlen's jobs? What's the point of making Dawnbringer Sain compeletely invisible?


I believe a mod like this is possible. I also believe in the all-mighty motto of "If you don't like something, then you do something to fix it": If everyone in the world followed that, we'd live in oh so much better place, methinks. And the only reason I'm not willing to spend years of learning to program and another few to make my own bloody mods, is that I'm currently employing that motto on learning to draw and getting my own epic comic book done and published, which is going to take most of my time for the next couple of decades.


I'm sure some of you guys also have experiences of your mods throwing random crap at you. Do you like getting feces on your faces? No? Then throw that shit right back at 'em!

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Something that would, when used, seek out all the little errors and incompabilities and other little things, and fix them. Like, if Divine Remix wasn't compatible with Spell Revisions, it'd make them compatible and force them to apologise and shake hands!

[short answer]

The current technology for this is erebusant, Leonardo, and The BiG World Project at SHS :)

[/short answer]


[long discussion point]

The fundamental problem, though, is an unanticipated side effect of WeiDU itself: the user controls version, install order, and mod loadout. Unlike creation of modern weaponry sysytems, for example, where you can take a base and modify the weapon into sniper, semi-auto, auto, 7.62, 5.6mm, whatever - the average mod loadout seeks to have a combination weapon that snipes, fires mutiple ammo types, and doubles as both cell phone and game controller. Without any difficulties or glitches, so that making a phone call doesn't accidentally launch a grenade at the same time...


There are any number of attempts at this, many times put forth when Taimon comes along and posts a repair, or Mike, or any number of dudes and dudettes. The community acts as a giant troubleshooting/fixing engine, produces the reports, and shares information. Then modders who want to post fixes for eachother, and help eachother out - after all, if users are going to install and use your stuff, a modder has two choices:


a. tell the users "Install things my way, and only my mods or my modlist"


b. sigh deeply when someone wants to install three mods that do very, very different things, ignore the fact that there will be "conceptual incompatibilities", and fix up the mod(s) in question to try to not clobber out with errors. Hopefully without ding any harm to other folk's mods.


To reduce this argument to it's basics:


a. attempt to modify user behavior, to control for modder time/support/energy/understanding/concept


b. attempt to modify program behavior, at the expense of modder time/support/energy/understanding/concept


The philosophy behind widespread compatibility, shared at PPG, SHS, and G3 to a great extent, is to attempt patching when possible and to make sure that whenever possible no direct INTERJECT or other "break other folk's stuff" style materials get used - unless they must be. That means that most of the time stuff will be fine. But it also means there will be some incompatibilities that simply are not able to be worked around. There is no right or wrong here, just a choice - but the point that sometimes gets lost is that finding a mechanical way of debugging, scanning, and fixing an install is a cool idea destined to fail, because determining what the final working code is supposed to do is completely dependent on what the user chooses to install, in what order. Folks who want to have Mega Installs know this from hard-earned experience - the more mods you add, the greater the chance that something completely unanticipated by either modder comes into being. And how do you determine what is "fixed"? We don't even have a recursive testing program that automatically follows all logic branches and sees if they terminate properly and make sense/link correctly to a final end state. DLTCEP/NI and a really good understanding of weidu can get you far, but the closest thing we have right now is running weidu as a debugging tool, using weidu and CamDawg's Debugging Suite. That only gets you so far - and only on the individual install it is run on..


This is why The BiG World project, and other efforts (like the two efforts to create html databases of mods and suggest install orders/provide install-order-specific patches) is the way the i.e. community has gone. Basically, the "computer program" for fixes is the i.e. communty forums, and users providing feedback. Recommanded install orders, then patches that make sure those recommended install orders work.

[/long discussion point]

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Though a list of problems that could arise from having certain mods installed in a different order could be OK. I mean, if someone went a listed all of the problems and conceptual difficulties and then used a PRINT sort of checker could work.


You could have WeiDU use it as an automatic AT_EXIT thing.


Or even making a batch mod installer (not to simulate WeiDU, but to run them and point out incompatibilities) would be awesome.


Actually, GUI would be even more awesome.



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All great ideas. I think if it were that simple, someone would have created the solutions by now. Many have tried; Many have failed; Many continue the quest.


I cannot stress enough how wise cmorgan's conclusion is: the best way to help reduce/prevent mod problems is active participation in the community.


Patches, hotfixes, coldfixes, coding tools can only do so much. People Power is what's going to keep the gaming fun.


'Active' is to help out anyway you can. Not everyone is a coder or programmer. I'm not. But we can all contribute our part. Just posting bugs (the right way), which might seem minor, can be a great benefit.


Ranting will not help. Ranting might be good for (the ranter's) soul, but honestly we've been there and done that, and it brings nothing to the table that we don't already know.


Any player can help, but must understand that to be an effective troubleshooter, it takes time AND study.

(There are plenty of other games where effort is not needed. Go play them, then come back when you want a real game!) :)


Some suggestions:

  • Search the forums--has anyone reported the same error? If so, add to the correct thread. If not, report your situation clearly and concisely in a new thread. (Oh yeah, a meaningful forum title would help too! "Your mod is buggy" helps nobody!) Best: make ONE thread that highlights all the bugs/problems you find in your game, and then and only when you are sure the bugs/problems are due to a particular mod or combo of, then post in the correct forum thread. But please search the forums first before posting!
  • Ideally, make a forum post that has your weidu.log somewhere, anywhere {in here if you like}, then link to it when someone ask to see it. NO NEED TO KEEP RE-POSTING YOUR WEIDU.LOG! Then you can just update that one post whenever you change your install order.
  • RTFM! Yes, know what you're installing!
  • RTFF! Yes, see what other people have to say about the mod! --likes, dislikes, compatibilities, updates, bug reports and fixes.
  • Respectful AND patient attitude. {This point should be first!} Players have to remember: Nobody here is your paid support staff. Nobody has a deadline to finish their mod or fixes or whatever, just to please you! There are players who say they understand this but you see many posts where they either don't or simply reject the idea!

Finally, we try very hard to provide solutions that do not involve having to re-install (called 'hotfixing'). But if a player has an install that is really far-off the accepted orders, there is little that can be done to help. The player's problems are not due to buggy mods or incompatibilities--the player made a mistake, and they have to recognize and accept the consequence of that.

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