This is how to do it properly.
“Base UI mods” make direct changes to the menu files and the user interface in general. Conflicts between base mods require patches or specific installation instructions. This category includes overhauls such as Vanilla UI Plus, Darnified UI, and Revelation but also mods such as oHUD, Vanilla HUD Remastered and Pip-Boy paperdolls.
“UIO” is an acronym for the User Interface Organizer for Fallout 3 or New Vegas. This is an NVSE plugin that performs compatibility operations. It’s essential in this guide and can also protect your game from some mod-related startup CTDs.
“UI extensions” add new features into the interface, linking their code into menu files without otherwise modifying them. Any mod that requires UIO, or it’s mentioned in UIO’s description page, is an extension. Popular examples include the Mod Configuration Menu, Project Nevada, Weapon Mod Menu, Better Pickup Prompt etc. Thanks to UIO you can use multiple extensions without using patches.
Before you start, make sure that you have enabled your mod manager’s Archive Invalidation function, and you have installed UIO. Now apply the following steps in order:
Install any extension supported by UIO. Don’t worry about conflicts at this stage.
Install your base UI overhaul and allow it to win any conflicts.
Install any additional base mods. Conflicts between such mods and your base overhaul can only be resolved by installation instructions or patches.
When you run the game, UIO will link the extensions into the installed base files. It performs this operation on temporary copies, after renaming the currently installed base files. Everything now works together and there is only one thing to keep in mind...
Don’t uninstall base UI mods right after force-closing the game!
To uninstall base UI mods make sure your last exit from the game was from the game menu instead of crashing, Alt-F4 etc.
When you quit the game from its menu, UIO will delete the temporary copies and restore the original base mod files. This won’t take place if the game was closed via Alt-F4 or a crash but it won’t be a problem if you run the game again: it will work fine and the proper files will be restored after you normally quit the game.
However, if you rush to uninstall your base UI mod right after the game is force-closed, your mod manager will delete the temporary files instead of the renamed originals. Next time you run the game, UIO will restore those backups that depend on the removed mod, leading to malfunction. The only way to fix this problem is to reinstall any mod that writes in your Data\Menus folder via right click and “Reinstall”.
Example 1: VUI+, BPP, PN, MCM, oHUD, VHR, and Pitt Gal
Yeah, those acronyms. They stand for Vanilla UI Plus, Better Command Prompt, Project Nevada, Mod Configuration Menu, One HUD, Vanilla HUD Remastered, and Pitt Gal. By checking out the “Currently supported mods” list for UIO as well as the descriptions of our mods we figure out the following:
BPP, PN, and the MCM are extensions, so we don’t need to worry about them.
VUI+ states that it must overwrite oHUD.
VUI+ provides an addon for Pitt Gal which states that VUI+ should overwrite Pitt Gal.
VHR states that it must overwrite VUI+.
So, we’re now ready to start installing:
As suggested by step 1 of the guide, BPP, PN, and the MCM are installed first. We don’t care about conflicts between them.
oHUD is now installed.
Pitt Gal is installed.
VUI+ is now installed. We overwrite any conflicts with mods installed on step 1, as suggested by this guide, and we also overwrite oHUD and Pitt Gal as instructed by VUI+.
The VUI+ patch for Pitt Gal is installed.
Finally VHR is installed, overwriting VUI+.
That was easy since VUI+ is designed for maximum compatibility. Let’s try something harder.
Example 2: DUI, BPP, PN, MCM, oHUD, and Pitt Gal
Darnified UI is an old and highly respected interface overhaul. It has its own unique style, based on smaller fonts which are especially appealing to players who want to use additional HUD infographics. Although it was left in alpha stage, it is fully functional and the majority of UI mods work fine with it.
Like most extensions, BPP, MCM and PN are compatible with DUI.
oHUD provides a patch for DUI. According to the description, we must allow both oHUD and its patch to overwrite DUI.
After a bit of searching we find what we need to make Pitt Gal work with DUI:
a) Patch for the Pip-Boy: Pitt Gal Stats for DarNified UI NV
b) Patch for the HUD: Pitt Gal Stats NV - HUD FIX - DarnUI
VHR is not included in this example because it’s a base mod and does not have a compatibility notice for DUI. We must assume they are not compatible.
We’re now ready to start installing, keeping in mind that patches should always be overwriting their parent mods:
BPP, PN, and the MCM are installed first. We don’t care about conflicts between them.
Pitt Gal Stats NV is installed.
DUI is installed and overwrites any files from step 1 and 2.
Pitt Gal Stats for DarNified UI NV is installed. We allow it to overwrite DUI.
Pitt Gal Stats NV - HUD FIX - DarnUI is installed. There are no conflicts.
oHUD is installed and we allow it to overwrite everything as recommended by oHUD.
oHUD Darnified Patch is finally installed.
UIO will automatically make the necessary edits to allow DUI’s fonts to work. In case it doesn’t, ignore any advice about editing your INI files and simply install Darnified Font Dummies.