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Distribution of Mods in a User-Friendly way

Last updated on 17 years ago
HomdaxHomdax
Super Admin
Posted 17 years ago
Shortcut

A big problem users have is creating a shortcut for the Mod in question, using the command line option "-mod mod.big".
This has proven to be a tedious ongoing problem, which eventually is hard to explain. I have myself had trouble with this, not because of ignorance but because sometimes the default recommended do not work.

Having a shortcut and looking at its Properties in Windows, will most likely show You that shortcut surrounded by hyphens:

"c:\program files\homeworld 2\bin\release\homeworld2.exe"

The default to that, to run a mod, is:

"c:\program files\homeworld 2\bin\release\homeworld2.exe [color=yellow]-mod mod.big[/color]"


Observe where the hyphens are in the previous code. They enclose the entire command line for executing Homeworld 2 with assigned Mod.big-file.
Sometimes, for some yet unknown reason, that is not correct to achieve proper execution. Thus we have an alternate setting:

[color=orange]"[/color]c:\program files\homeworld 2\bin\release\homeworld2.exe[color=orange]"[/color][color=yellow] -mod mod.big[/color]

placing the Mod syntax outside hyphens.

This is more than any normal user might take the trouble to look in to or even solve.

BIG-File versus Data extraction

Distributing Modifications represents no major challenge. It can be done in two ways:
1. Packing up the filestructure of the modded Data folder in to a zip-file, and encouraging users to just "Unzip it in to game folder and You will be fine".
2. Compressing the Modded filestructure in to a .big-file that can be zipped up and telling users to unpack it in to the Game Data folder

Both these methods require a custom shortcut as describe above. However, the first one needs to have a different ending syntax:

-overridebigfile

telling the Homeworld2.exe to override (ignore) the default game .big-file, instead of a reference to a Mod.big-file. Implementation as described otherwise above.

Problems.
The number 1 method disallows for more than one Mod at the time being available using same procedure.
Both methods require custom shortcuts with a different syntax depending on which is applied. Confusing.

Solution
Using WinRar and an existing .big-file with a pre-established name convention will allow for multiple Mods in the same game directory and an automated shortcut generation for every mod, with correct syntax.

With WinRar one can create an interface that:
1. Unpacks the files
2. Shows a custom .txt message before and/or after file extraction
3. Create a custom shortcut with correct syntax, applicable for every Mod.
4. Add a License Accept Condition
5. Show instructions/credits/info before unpacking.
6. Customize Package look with a custom icon.

Description of use with screenshots will come...
Edited by Homdax on 20 April 2005 12:10, 17 years ago
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