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Better way of duping installs?


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Voltago's Infinity Engine game ebuilds (for Gentoo Linux) implement a feature which effectively achieves the same as the multi-install tool - it allows you to have multiple, independant, sets of mods to play with.

Put simply, it symlinks files back to the original install directory, but copies others that would change (dialog[f].tlk, the override/ directory, baldur.ini, etc). It then presumably updates the new baldur.ini so that HD0 in that file is the new path (with the multiple symlinks).


Advantages of this method over what we currently do:

  • Works on non-Windows (non-Windows versions of current method have hardly been considered sofar, and seem non-trivial)
  • User doesn't need to know what files to copy (currently we give some relevant options - this method would make these unnecesary) - also means that the exact mods that might be used don't need to be known before running the tool.
  • Less need to worry about what mods look for what files - from WeiDU's point of view (and any other sane install scheme) the same files will exist as in a 'normal' install.
  • Possibly less overhead - we currently copy some files that are less likely to change since some mods expect them. These could be linked instead of copied, reducing total install size.

The only problem that pops up straight away is that of getting it to work on Windows - Windows doesn't support symlinks per se. Shortcuts won't work, since they don't work at the filesystem level - you can only double-click one to follow it, you can't open a shortcut to a TXT in Notepad and have it open the file it points to. NTFS has junctions, but apparently they are only for directories, not files. There is a utility to add Unix links to NTFS, but it seems to only be a Windows Explorer hook (which wouldn't work on the command line).

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