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NOOB: Mod-Packing and Uploading?

mod packing folders example provided

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#1
Gorgopis

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Hello:

 
Here follows a look at our folder structure for packing our custom NPC-Follower Mod called, let's say Beldia.esp.  (We have no scripts or audio files.)
 
Does it look right?
 
First, we have one folder called Beldia.esp.
 
Inside it is one Data folder.
 
Inside that Data folder are three items:
 
1) A meshes folder
2) A textures folder
3) Beldia.esp
 
1) Inside the meshes folders are folders: actors>character>a Beldia folder with our NIF's and a FaceGenData folder.
Inside that FaceGenData folder is the FaceGeom folder with our Beldia.esp and NPC NIF by ID.
 
2) Similarly, inside the textures folders are folders: actors>character>an Beldia folder with all our textures and a FaceGenData folder.  
Inside the FaceGenData folder is a FaceTint folder with our Beldia.esp and custom face tint DDS and TGA files.
 
3) Finally, our Beldia.esp is the one found in our Skyrim LE Data Folder.  
 
We are ready to Zip this up for uploading to the Nexus.
 
May we invite observations or comments?  We are presuming that Vortex or other Mod managers will "know" to put this Data folder 
into users' Skyrim Folders.
 
Thanks for looking over our shoulders here.   
 

We've visited the CK tutorials, and the TES tutorials, but we can seem to find nothing dedicated to best Mod-Packaging.

 
We packed all files manually, but we lack confidence about our folder structure. (We are confused because some tutorials show packing by extracting with CK,
which caused face-tint errors, while others recommend using the SR Archive.exe tool. We are also a bit confused because of needing to include three Beldia.esp folders).
 
 
 


#2
greyday01

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You don't need the Data folder. I would have a folder called Beldia 1.1 that contains Beldia.esp , meshes and textures. You could pack the meshes and textures into a BSA and only have Beldia.esp and Beldia.bsa in the Beldia 1.1 folder as an alternative. Either way Zip it into a folder named Beldia 1.1. 7z to upload. The mod managers know to put it into the game Data folder.

 

The Beldia.esp folder names in actor meshes and textures is just so the game knows what mod is associated with the appearance of your NPCs. So you will have one actual Beldia.esp and two FOLDERS named Beldia.esp that hold the tints and faceshapes of your characters.

 

The meshes should go like meshes > actors > character > facegendata > facegeom > Beldia.esp > bunch of faceshape nifs
also in meshes for non npc meshes here should be folders like this:  meshes > Beldia > all your other nifs

 

Hope that helps. It's a bit confusing at first.



#3
NexusComa2

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Create a folder named Data ... put everything in it just as it is in your games data folder. Highlight the data folder and pack it up.

This way you can use the Mod Manager option for your download.


Edited by NexusComa2, 02 March 2021 - 09:35 AM.


#4
greyday01

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Download with manager works just fine without putting everything into a Data folder. Actually MO2 complains about it. You can fix it easily enough while installing mods with a Data folder in MO2 but why add that extra step both while packing and for those who want to install it? Take a look at the download folder for Campfire. Use 7z to open archive and see it's structure.



#5
NexusComa2

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Take a look at most of the mods here with view archive. And all the mods on steam and other sites. Anyways to each his own. Both ways work.  :smile:


Edited by NexusComa2, 02 March 2021 - 09:10 PM.


#6
greyday01

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You are right. I have seen mods packaged both ways.



#7
NexusComa2

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That was just the way I found to do it. I was asked to add that for a mod here. That was back when it was the older mod manager. I don't use a mod manager myself. I was happy that worked out.



#8
Gorgopis

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Thank you @greyday01 and @NexusComa2 for replying. 

 

We hope you appreciate that we're still a bit confused.  We have simple mod without scripts or audio, so we think it might upload to the Nexus as pretty much just a zipped Data Folder?

 

 

In our original post, we mentioned that we did create the Data Folder with everything kind of as @NexusComa2  described.  We placed our Data Folder inside a Beldia.esp named folder, which may have been an unnecessary step.

 

 

 

But, by packing it up, does @NexusComa2 mean "zipping"  our data folder, or making a BSA?  (On the forums we have found too much ambiguity by experienced modders alternating the terms "packing"/"zipping"/"compressing."  We assume "packing" always means making a BSA.)  

 

We find the BSA-packing steps a bit complicated.  Even with the helpful, compassionate, but ancient tutorials.  It may be in our mod's case, we don't need to pack a BSA?  

 

Should we name our Data Folder Beldia.esp, or just zip it as Data Folder? WE intend to upload our mod to Nexus, and not to Bethesda or Steam.



#9
greyday01

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The folder on your desktop should be named what someone would see if on the Nexus they went to your mod and looked in the files tab. It is usually the mod's name and it's current version number so name it Beldia 1.0 or whatever version it it. The name of the Zipped file that you would upload would then be Beldia 1.0.7Z which is the name of the file that someone would download.

 

Inside the Beldia 1.0 folder would be another folder named Data. Inside Data folder would be beldia.esp (your mod) and folders textures and meshes with their contents.

 

Beldia 1.0 (folder name on your desktop to be zipped)

   Data (folder)

      Beldia .esp (your mod)

      Textures (folder)

      Meshes (folder)

 

or skip the Data folder. Either structure will work just fine with Mod Organizer 2 or Vortex.

 

Beldia 1.0 (folder on your desktop to be zipped)

   Beldia.esp (your mod)

   Textures (folder)

   meshes (folder)

 

You don't need to pack the meshes, texture, scripts into a BSA if you don't want. Some do, some don't. It's not really that hard but it is totally up to you.

Packing usually means zipping the folder with your mod's name and all it's contents.

The same word is used for making the BSA so it can be a bit confusing. They are both ways of compressing data.



#10
NexusComa2

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I'll break it down slowly to see if that helps. First off, I assumed you were past the the creation of the .bsa and looking to create a .zip archive to upload to the Nexus. Keep in mind when it comes to packing this could be done a few ways ...

 

#1. Use the creation kit to create a .bsa for you mod.

While your mod is loaded in the creation kit. From the far left pulldown menu use the option create archive. Name that new archive the same name as your mod without the .esp extension. Use the extension .bsa

 

Now you should have a new PACKED archive in your Skyrim\data folder ...

This new archive should now contain everything your mod needs to function. There is no longer any need to worry about files in the data fold for your mod. Everything is contained within that packed archive you just made with the .bsa extension. For now forget about them.

 

#2. Creating a zip archive to upload to the Nexus. 

Someplace else (I myself like to go to the root of a drive when creating archives I'm going to upload) let say you have a hard drive labeled D:

Any drive will work. Create a folder named Data. Now you should a have a new folder on the H: drive named Data. H:\Data

 

Copy both the .eps and .bsa files for your mod to that folder. Once done, move back to the root of the drive. So you are again looking at the data folder. Not the two files you just moved into it. That is now the folder you .zip archive. Name that archive the same name as your mod it will have the .zip extension. In my case, I use WinRAR, so my extension is .rar

 

And that is pretty much it. Upload you new archive to the Nexus as a mod.

 

#3. Now one last thing to understand about .bsa files. Like I said the pack now contains all your meshes and textures and scripts (everything you made/ added to Skyrim) Your mod will now use them packed files when the game starts. So you don't need these files in your Skyrim\data folder anymore. All you need would be the two mod files .eps and .bsa ... If you leave the files there when the game starts it will use them files and not the pack files in the .bsa ... So, you remove them from the Skyrim folder. Store them someplace safe in case they are ever needed. 

 

Understanding that you see if the files are in the Skyrim\data folder ... mesh, texture, scripts (whatever was packed when you made the .bsa archive) The game will use them with you mod. So you don't have to pack everything. When you make the .bsa in the 1st place. It could be a combination of some files packed and some files still in the folders (called loose files). OR it could be no .bsa and all the loose files in the folders as you have it now. I know that sounds confusing but there are times you will want to do it both ways ...  If you are using things that are from other mods and they are in your folders then just leave them be.
 

For now and most the time ... just use the full .bsa version. Not leaving anything of your files in the folders when you are done. When the new .zip file is unarchive it should simply add two files to your Skyrim\data folder now. YourModName.esp and YourModName.bsa 

The archive should be as follows

 

Data

 YourModName.esp

 YourModName.bsa

Final note: It is also necessary to remove the loose files after creating the .bsa to check your work. Making sure the .bsa can stand alone before uploading. If you wish to edit any scripts just put them back in the folder structure. Then repack and remove when completed.  

Now you have two points of view and explanations on how to do the same thing... Good luck!


Edited by NexusComa2, 04 March 2021 - 04:05 PM.






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