Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

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Darklocq
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Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by Darklocq » 08 Mar 2018, 11:35

Rather than wait for OpenMW 1.0 and maybe then the official project starting to integrate fixes from MCP and other code-patching projects that are dependent on MS Windows and the .ESP/.ESM file formats, I have in mind to start building a .omwaddon patch (or, rather, a set of them – separate ones for Morrowind, Tribunal, and Bloodmoon) to fix "low-hanging fruit" bugs in the original Bethesda material.

This would start with OpenMW-CS errors thrown by Bethesda's own content during the Verify process (and patching those will also greatly help debug third-party mods, by eliminating the river of errors that have nothing to do with a mod one is testing). Additional obvious fixes to work in are those reported as bugs in the quest, NPC, item, and other articles at UESP (http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Morrowind:Morrowind and its zillions of subpages).

This'll need to be done in GitHub, and we may need to establish a "check out" protocol since it's one .omwaddon file patching each .ESM (there's no easy way to merge edit-conflicting patches to the same .omwaddon). I.e., if you have a bug to fix, check out the file to patch for an hour, update a wiki page to say you've checked it out, implement the patch, check it back in, and clear out the checkout page, so someone else can work on it next.

I would envision the stable version being downloadable from the OpenMW Downloads page, or even included in the OpenMW distribution. Part of the goal of this (aside from better and more stable gameplay) would be narrowing down what needs to be fixed by OpenMW 1.0+ to only those things which cannot be fixed in a .omwaddon patch, but require engine repair (the sorts of things people have been working around with stand-alone MS Windows executables that they run alongside the original game app).

* Most needed: Someone who knows how to fix messed up pathgrids, since a large number of the Verify errors found in the original Bethesda content files are of this sort, and it's a rather opaque kind of problem to someone not deeply steeped in modding this game.

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xirsoi
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by xirsoi » 08 Mar 2018, 16:05

The checkout process sounds like a nightmare. The 80's called and they want your devops back :p

If .omwaddon files are not diff-able, the format needs to change.

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psi29a
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by psi29a » 08 Mar 2018, 16:59

Darklocq wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 11:35
I would envision the stable version being downloadable from the OpenMW Downloads page, or even included in the OpenMW distribution.
Likely not going to happen, OpenMW does not want to ship any content, regardless of form that is somehow derived from Bethesda/Zenimax's IP. Any addons (mods) should be hosted by a third-party, allowing OpenMW to remain neutral.

The thin red line is the fact that your addons are dependent on Morrowind and it's expansions in order to work.

Chris
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by Chris » 08 Mar 2018, 18:53

Also there are plenty of existing projects that attempt to fix the game data content. Unofficial Morrowind Patch, Morrowind Patch Project, and some other names I can't remember. There is currently nothing unique about omwaddon files over esm/esp files, so it would be more advantageous for the community as a whole to help with those other projects (or to restart them if they're stagnant). OpenMW will benefit all the same.

Calling it an OpenMW Code Patch is also a bit of a misnomer since it's not patching OpenMW's code, but rather Morrowind's content. For an MCP-like project, since OpenMW's open source, it can be added directly without a patch program. A number of MCP features are already built-in (e.g. large map and large video size support), and some have options (which are slowly being added to the launcher). You're free to work on other useful MCP options that haven't yet been added, though it's generally recommended to get the base engine finished first before adding extra features (though they obviously still sometimes get in).

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AnyOldName3
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by AnyOldName3 » 08 Mar 2018, 18:55

Our content files aren't diffable, but Bethesda's own tools (at least the Fallout 4 and Skyrim SE versions) treat esps as diffs and that's a good enough workflow to develop whole games. If we add a merging tool to our CS, then that workflow would be possible with our tools.
AnyOldName3, Master of Shadows

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Thunderforge
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by Thunderforge » 08 Mar 2018, 19:26

Chris wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 18:53
Also there are plenty of existing projects that attempt to fix the game data content. Unofficial Morrowind Patch, Morrowind Patch Project, and some other names I can't remember. There is currently nothing unique about omwaddon files over esm/esp files, so it would be more advantageous for the community as a whole to help with those other projects (or to restart them if they're stagnant). OpenMW will benefit all the same.
Came here to say this. There are already projects that have spent years fixing the Morrowind game file bugs. Duplicating their effort seems like a poor use of time. I could however see making an OpenMW fork (with their permission) for things that break base-game compatibility. But I don’t think that we will get to that point until after 1.0.

(Also FYI, Morrowind Patch Project is the new name for the Unofficial Morrowind Patch, according to UESP).

Also, I’m not sure there are any MCP fixes that can’t be fixed by either adding features to the OpenMW engine or creating a plugin after the de-hardcoding post-1.0. So I guess I would want to know what this plugin would actually do that those other fix plugins don’t.

Loriel
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by Loriel » 10 Mar 2018, 10:06

Darklocq wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 11:35
This would start with OpenMW-CS errors thrown by Bethesda's own content during the Verify process (and patching those will also greatly help debug third-party mods, by eliminating the river of errors that have nothing to do with a mod one is testing).
<snip>
* Most needed: Someone who knows how to fix messed up pathgrids, since a large number of the Verify errors found in the original Bethesda content files are of this sort, and it's a rather opaque kind of problem to someone not deeply steeped in modding this game.
Agreed.

Unfortunately all the responses seem to have ignored these parts of the suggestion, and to have proceeded to explain why replicating one of the "Patch" projects is a bad idea.

I believe that fixing the misleading error and warning reports in the CS would be a worthwhile project. I've attempted something similar, and given up because of the apparently broken tools for fixing pathgrids. I haven't offered to distribute my attempts, because of the incomplete state and also potential copyright problems (as it's essentially a derivative of MW content, but specifically intended to run on a different engine).

Loriel

Chris
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by Chris » 10 Mar 2018, 19:47

Loriel wrote:
10 Mar 2018, 10:06
Unfortunately all the responses seem to have ignored these parts of the suggestion, and to have proceeded to explain why replicating one of the "Patch" projects is a bad idea.
They weren't ignored, we suggested that he provide such fixes to a preexisting patch project since an esp/esm can already do all he wants. Who knows, maybe the bugs are already fixed there. He's basically asking to start a project that the Morrowind community has already been doing for years, and not given a valid reason why a new one is needed (there is currently nothing an omwaddon can do that an esp/esm can't, and OpenMW would see the same benefit regardless).

We also then explained that this is neither a code patch (it's a content patch) or something specifically related to OpenMW (it's the Morrowind game data), so the project name is a misnomer.

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Darklocq
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by Darklocq » 10 Mar 2018, 21:41

psi29a wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 16:59
OpenMW does not want to ship any content ... The thin red line is the fact that your addons are dependent on Morrowind and it's expansions in order to work.
No biggie; can just make it available from the "OpenMW-specific mods" section of the Mod Status page on the wiki, then.
xirsoi wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 16:05
If .omwaddon files are not diff-able, the format needs to change.
If they ARE, then great.

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Darklocq
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Re: Starting an OpenMW Code Patch project

Post by Darklocq » 10 Mar 2018, 22:01

Chris wrote:
10 Mar 2018, 19:47
... we suggested that he provide such fixes to a preexisting patch project since an esp/esm can already do all he wants.
The perceived need is that existing patch projects:
  • are written for the Bethesda engine, and presuppose its glitches (being present and behaving exactly as known to behave in the Bethesda engine), not OpenMW's glitches, which are often divergent;
  • generally have MS Windows .EXE installers;
  • seem to be incompletely tested, totally untested, or known-problematic when it comes to, say, patching the bare original game in an MS Windows VM then importing it into OpenMW;
  • when working, are going to directly modify the vanilla game data, which is antithetical to OpenMW's modding model, and will interfere with debugging OpenMW itself (i.e., one may submit bug reports others cannot reproduce, because the underlying game data is significantly different)
  • and often depend on MWSE, MGXE, and other MS Windows "co-executables".
If I'm just mistaken about all of that, then fine. It's not like I want to devote time to re-solving the same problems. My principal immediate motivation is having a Verify in OpenMW-CS produce absolutely zero errors and warnings when run against vanilla MW data with all the official expansions and add-ons, so that mod testing and debugging (and development) for OpenMW is practical and simple instead of a maddening nightmare.
We also then explained that this is neither a code patch (it's a content patch) or something specifically related to OpenMW (it's the Morrowind game data), so the project name is a misnomer.
Semantics, semantics. So I used the wrong word. I think it's entirely clear what I meant. Loriel got it.

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