Automated mod installation Tool [OSX/WIN10]

Not about OpenMW? Just about Morrowind in general? Have some random babble? Kindly direct it here.
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Atronach
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Automated mod installation Tool [OSX/WIN10]

Post by Atronach » 19 Apr 2019, 03:56

Hi guys!

My friends would like to get into playing Morrowind, but hate the idea of jumping through a 50-200 step process to bring the new car smell to Vvardenfell on every install.

I started work on a python script (eventually to be wrapped in a gui) that fetches the files from each linked page, downloads them to a local folder, and extracts them to a dummy folder structure. That could then be drag-n-drop merged with the morrowind install directory.

I thought this might be a neat thing to have to help get my friends to give morrowind a try, especially after seeing the beautiful 0.45 screenshots a forum user posted with all of those mods. Would you guys be okay with this sort of thing existing? Is there already something similar/better/should be merged with?

I also think putting in an auto-updater for the OSX launcher would be a fun project to work on, using SVN or similar.

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lysol
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Re: Automated mod installation Tool [OSX/WIN10]

Post by lysol » 19 Apr 2019, 06:58

Moved to off topic.

Anyway, while this sounds really neat, I also believe that releasing this tool is a quick way to get loads of hate from the modding scene. Modders generally want users to go through all the hassle of installing all the mods individually, because that forces the users to see whom actually made the mods. Automating this process will result in users just clicking a button and instantly getting a nice setup without even knowing whom made it possible. MGSO was very hated by modders when it came out because of this.

But obviously we all agree that installing 50-100 mods is really annoying and time-consuming and a tool to automate this would of course be handy. But don't say I didn't warn you.
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Atronach
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Re: Automated mod installation Tool [OSX/WIN10]

Post by Atronach » 19 Apr 2019, 14:27

I was under the impression that the permissions were restrictive as to where they could be hosted and compiled/distributed.

This wouldn't be a mod repack/compilation, just a purpose oriented web scraper (in it's current state). All actions would be performed locally, the same as if a user had done them (albeit a bit faster)

Right now I'm using beautifulsoup api to read the contents of each modpage. I could print the author and credits in a string, or create a "credits" text.

I'm also trying to understand the difference between open source ethics and mod distribution ethics. Do you have any links to relevant reading material?

Atronach
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Re: Automated mod installation Tool [OSX/WIN10]

Post by Atronach » 19 Apr 2019, 14:30

And should I create a separate forum post about possibly contributing to an auto updater for the OSX openMW launcher?

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AnyOldName3
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Re: Automated mod installation Tool [OSX/WIN10]

Post by AnyOldName3 » 19 Apr 2019, 14:35

I'm at least a bit sure that the Nexus' terms of service prohibit people (or at least people without a Premium account) from using automated tools to batch-download mods, even when it's technically allowed by the mod author. That might be something you have issues with for mods hosted there.

At one point, the Nexus people were actually trying to add something like this tool to their mod manager, but then went off the idea when it upset modders and they realised that lots of mods require fiddling to work well with each other, and getting this fiddling right is difficult if you don't necessarily know what mods you have. There's also the issue that some mod authors remove old versions when they upload new ones, and there's not a single approach to take there to make things work that works in every case.
AnyOldName3, Master of Shadows

Atronach
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Re: Automated mod installation Tool [OSX/WIN10]

Post by Atronach » 19 Apr 2019, 15:10

Shoot I didn't even think of that.

The nice thing about the fiddling part is that the ambiguity is already gone, at least through the modding-openmw site. The mods are already listed in the correct .cfg sequential order, and the correct folder/file structure is published right on the list page. All of the hard work (relatively) that couldn't be automated is already done I think.

I'll see if I can shoot an email to the nexusmod people. The planet elder scrolls and elder scrolls history sites don't require authentication of any kind to access a download mirror, so I think I'm in the clear there(they are also acting as a redirect for of a cloud held file offsite).

Thoughts?

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bmw
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Re: Automated mod installation Tool [OSX/WIN10]

Post by bmw » 24 Apr 2019, 03:08

On the lines of similar existing projects, Portmod, a project that I’ve been working on, is an existing automated tool that uses an extremely detailed mod metadata repository to automatically configure and install mods. It’s still in development, but is nearing a stable state.

I’m actually a little surprised to hear that modders are against such an automated tool, both because I haven’t heard that before, and because I don’t think that the sentiment is entirely justified. While I understand the concern, my perspective is that automated tools are more about providing better tools for installation and configuration, not for cutting out the mod authors. The purpose of Portmod is not to provide a way of installing a big list of mods in one step, but rather to share the changes necessary to get mods working properly with everyone, allowing everyone’s experience with the mods to be improved.

I would see the mod installation process as being along the lines of:
  1. User looks at a mod online, probably via the Homepage of the mod, or sites such as a wiki or ModdingOpenMW.com. User reads about the mod, learns what it does, who made it, what configuration options are available etc.
  2. User installs mod
  3. User repeats with next mod
The point of such a tool is to make step 2 as simple as possible, not to eliminate step 1, and it doesn’t make a mod any more appealing or interesting if you have to spend lots of time trying to get it to work properly. Manual installation doesn’t force the user to read about the mod either, unless the mod author packaged the mod in a deliberately poor way just to get their users to read the README and figure out what they should be doing, something which may give them some exposure, but is unlikely to make the user like their mod any more than if it it was easy to install.

It’s very easy to avoid paying attention to who made a mod when doing manual installation, and I feel that making it harder for people who don’t want to learn about the mods they install is just going to drive people away entirely, not give the modders more exposure. The OP's friends seem to be a good example of this, though I don't mean to imply that they don't care, but rather that they are driven away by the steep learning curve. In fact, having such automated tools will likely give modders more exposure just by making OpenMW more accessible and drawing a larger audience.

Also, with respect to Nexus Mods, I’ve taken a look at direct downloads through them already, and while I didn’t actually look at their terms of service, the only way to download mods in an automated fashion is through their API, which prohibits direct downloads for non-premium users. I’m not terribly fond of this, however I also feel that their business strategy could be an awful lot worse and I'm glad that they're making money off the service they provide rather than trying to sell software. The details of how I’m working around this are in the Portmod thread.

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