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How to Install Morrowind Plug-ins


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#1
Baphomet

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Hopefully this will serve as “the last word” on installing Plug-ins…

(Updated 13 Nov '03)

The information is based on my own personal experience and nothing else, so all the usual disclaimers and caveats apply.

Remember to back up your "Saves" folder.

You'll need to have a decent compression utility first. I use Zip Genius, personally, but many people will suggest Win-ACE, Power Archiver or Win-RAR as well. I don't think it matters as long as you find one you like and learn to use it. Read the Help Files - lots of good stuff in them.

For the remainder of this post, I am going to assume you are using Zip Genius. It's my post, so I can do that. You can download it for free here:

http://www.zipgenius.it/intweb/dl.asp

*** The Easy Install
Double-click the icon for your newly downloaded archive file (your plug-in). Zip Genius will open a window and you will see the file names that make up your plug-in. Look at the farright-hand column, the "Paths" column: do you see where the individual files have paths associated with them, something like "Textures/BG" or something similar? If you do, this is good; it means that Zip Genius will automatically place all the files into their proper locations for you when you extract the plug-in. If you do NOT see data-paths specified under this column, it means you are going to have put forth a little additional effort. We'll get to that a little later.

For now, let's assume that the data-paths have been specified for you. Click on the "Extract Files" button in the left pane, and a new window will open. First, you need to specify where you want your file to be sent when extracted by navigating through the directory tree in the center of the window. You want to navigate to your Morrowind "Data Files" folder (mostlikely located at C:/Program Files/Bethesda/Morrowind/Data Files). This is your target folder for extraction - unless the "Read Me" text for your plug-in states that you need to extract the files to some other location. In that case, navigate to the folder specified in the "Read Me" file. Click on the target folder to select it, the target folder path will show in the little window under the directory tree - but don't hit "Extract All Files" just yet!

Look up at the top of this window and you'll see three "Tabs": "Paths", "Options" and "Existing Files". Click on the "Options" tab. Under this tab, select "Extract All Files AND the "Use Subfolders Information" - this is important – it will ensure that your files go into the proper folders when extracted. Now click on "Extract" at the bottom of the screen; your files will be extracted and your Plug-in is just about ready for use.

To finish the Plug-in installation process, start Morrowind, Select Data Files from the splash-screen and double-click the little box in front of your Plug-in to finish installing it. Start Morrowind and your new Plug-in should load up.

Now... about that annoying little error message that crops up... the one that tells you thatyour new plug-in can not find certain master files that it needs and such... Let's deal with that right now.


*** That Annoying Plug-in "Error Message"
To prevent that error message from occurring, fire up the Construction Set, click on "Open"and select your Plug-in file by checking the box in front of it. Click on "Set as Active File" and open it. This will take a few seconds. Once the files have loaded, click on "Save" and exit the Construction Set. Problem solved.


*** The Worst Case Scenario
Now, if your Plug-in did NOT have the data-paths specified, you are going to have to move them yourself. If your Modder was kind, they specified where all the files in the Plug-in are supposed to be located in the "Read Me" file. You may need to create specific sub-folders as well. If you do, I suggest you create them first, before you do anything else. Use Zip Genius to extract the files, by TYPE, to the folders as specified in the "Read Me" file. To make this easy, we’re going to let Zip Genius sort the files BEFORE extracting them. To do this, click on the “Files” column heading… voila, all your files are now sorted by TYPE, and since all file
types go into the same folders or subfolders, you can click & drag to select all the files of the same type and the extract just those files to their specified folder. Zip Genius will automatically change from “Extract All Files” to “Only Selected Files” when you select specific files as I just described, so you don’t need to do anything special at this point. LetZip Genius do the grunt-work for you!

The "Absolute Worst-Case Scenario" would be that there is no "Read Me" file and you are completely on your own to move the files. Generally speaking, you are going to run into four different file types for Morrowind Plug-ins. The four file types and where they go has been shown below. Once again, extract them by file type to the folders indicated:

*.NIF
These get moved to the "Data Files/Meshes" subfolder.
*.DDS
These get moved to the "Data Files/Textures" subfolder.
*.TGA
These get moved to the "Data Files/Icons" subfolder.
*.ESP
These get moved to your "Data Files" folder.

On a few occasions, I have run into plug-ins that have bit map files included (*.bmp). If the "Read Me" file does not explain what to do with them, move them to your "Textures" folder.

After moving your files, you will need to finish installing the Plug-in by selecting "Data Files" from the Morrowind splash-screen, and double-clicking the little box next to your Plug-in. Start your game and your Plug-in/s should load up.


*** Yellow Geometric Shapes
If, during game play, you get an error that Morrowind can not find a specific file that it needs, and that it is going to use the default error-marker.nif instead, write down the exact wording of the error message. Morrowind is kind enough to tell you in this error message exactly what file it is looking for that cannot be found, and more importantly WHERE it is looking for it. Most likely what you have is missing *.nif file. To remedy this error, try re-extracting the files from the original archive file, or unzip the archived file into a temporary folder, search for the specific file that you need, and move it manually. The error message will tell you where the file goes.


*** Some Additional Cool Stuff That Comes With Zip Genius
While it’s certainly not necessary to look at, you have a lot of nice options that come with ZG. Click on the “Tools” menu at the top of the ZG window (or use your F12 key) and then click on “Advanced Settings” down at the bottom. I suggest selecting both the “Enable Zip Auto‘Check Integrity’” button as well as the “Try to repair archive automatically if damaged” buttons. This tells ZG to check your plug-in files integrity and repair them if it’s able - a nice little feature. You can also select or de-select what columns you want to see when opening an archive file by clicking on the “Columns” tab. I keep things down to the absolute minimum, using only the “File” and “Paths” columns, but that’s up to you.

How about some new colors (skins!) for Zip Genius? If you downloaded the full version, you get several to choose from. Check them out by going back to your “Options” menu under the “Tools” menu. Then click on “Layout”. Have a ball. Some other nice options you can look are located here as well.

Contact: Baphomet_93@cox.net

Game on!

#2
Theta Orionis

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Thank you for posting this....that should answer just about every plugin installation question.

Pinning this - would add signposts and flashing lights too if the option existed :lol:

#3
Guest_Guest_davlia00_*

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what about .rar files, i got the insciption 2.0 and bank mods and i don't know how to work them???? :(

#4
Baphomet

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I don't mean to be curt, but did you even bother to read the initial post??

"You’ll need to have a decent compression utility first. I use Zip Genius, personally, but many people will suggest Win Ace or Win RAR as well. I don’t think it matters as long as you find one you like and learn to use it. Read the Help Files - lots of good stuff in them."

http://www.zipgenius.it/intweb/dl.asp

#5
davlia00

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thanks

#6
Vaa

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I use Win Zip. All the files I've downloaded so far is "ziped".

#7
parrotheada1a

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So far I have about 100 different plugins installed and running with few problems. I found the best way to install them correctly is to extract them to a temp file, then manually insert them into the appropriate folders within the data files. My game loads and runs MUCH faster. Back about 60 plugins ago I just followed the instructions in the readme files. The problem was that I was getting huge tree branches in my data file. Even if I pointed to the right directory, it might create new branches. This is all well and good except it slows things way down. In some cases it makes plugins not work. :(

If you use lots of plugins it's brutally simple once you get a few done that way. A bit tedious, but worth the effort. Then what you can do is zip up the entire data file and save it somewhere. If your hard drive crashes at least you unload one zip file instead of 50.

#8
Baphomet

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If I understand you correctly, what you are doing is un-zipping the archived plug-in file into a temporary folder and then moving the files into the their proper locations, manually. I don't see anything wrong with that, but I'm unclear on exactly what it accomplishes(?).

The individual files for any particular plug-in need to be where they need to be; and whether they are moved to those locations manually or extracted there by the archive program the end result, to me anyway, appears to be the same.

Further, since most modders specify the proper data-paths for the files in their particular plug-in, it seems to me that the possibility of getting files in the wrong location would be much less when allowing the archive utility to handle that.

These are just my opinion's of course, and if you have a system that works for you and you like it, by all means stick with it.

Your idea of compressing the "Data Files" folder is good one. I like that idea very much.

#9
Marxist ßastard

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...But you'd also be compressing the original art file archives, uncompressed art files, and ESMs... Just get all the archived plugins you have together and compress them into a single BH... Why BH? Well, it's obscured, and, therefore, cool.

#10
Switch

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If I understand you correctly, what you are doing is un-zipping the archived plug-in file into a temporary folder and then moving the files into the their proper locations, manually. I don't see anything wrong with that, but I'm unclear on exactly what it accomplishes(?).

The individual files for any particular plug-in need to be where they need to be; and whether they are moved to those locations manually or extracted there by the archive program the end result, to me anyway, appears to be the same.

Further, since most modders specify the proper data-paths for the files in their particular plug-in, it seems to me that the possibility of getting files in the wrong location would be much less when allowing the archive utility to handle that.

These are just my opinion's of course, and if you have a system that works for you and you like it, by all means stick with it.

Your idea of compressing the "Data Files" folder is good one. I like that idea very much.

actually, with me, files often dont extract properly when done by the program. i always do them manually just to be sure i dont end up messing the plugin




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