legacy

weidu

The first computer I played BG on only had a 2gb hdd.  I didn’t even install the movies.  Until weidu came along, mods were usually pure overwrites.  If you wanted to revert to the pre-mod state, you had to make your own backup of the relevant files:  bgmain.exe for any kind of hacks (no cd, or Taimon’s early stuff), dialog.tlk (most likely for the Baldurdash fixes, though other mods also used that as a base), and the override folder.  Besides requiring a strict mod install order (similar to Elder Scrolls modding), the mods would necessarily be independent of each other:  Later mods could only ignore anything already present.

Weidu was a remarkable advancement in BG modding because of two characteristics:  it was non-destructive, and could account for other mods already installed.

Non-destruction meant that reverting to a prior state was as simple as running the installer again.  Every file changed, including dialog.tlk, was automatically backed up, so reverting was simply a matter of taking that backup and throwing it back in the override folder to overwrite the mod’s now-unwanted file.  With some of the larger mods, this can certainly produce space concerns.  In some cases, maintaining the mod’s backup takes up more space than simply keeping a backup of the game’s pre-mod state.

Accounting for other mods seems to be the holy grail of the current scene, with such a variety of mods, all with different focuses.  Now your item mod can play nicely with your NPC mod.  The still painful exception is that AI mods, by necessity, cannot account for the innumerable variability of item and spell mods that might be installed.  Besides that, most mods are compatible, and install order is rendered somewhat less important.

Sometimes, though, with weidu making these two things possible, mods utilize these features even when it doesn’t make sense to.  Let’s use the BG2 Fixpack as an example.

For all intents and purposes, the FP is both the literal and spiritual successor to Baldurdash.  These pages, from way back in 2001, show how the game was patched up fairly quickly by the community.  Over the years, more things have been fixed — not without controversy in some cases — but the function remains the same.  What also remains the same is the requirement for the FP to be the first mod installed post-official patch.  This means that, other than for language translation, there is no need to use weidu to patch the files.  The old method of blunt file replacement would work just as well, and faster.

The second issue is its backup:  it is huge.  This is where keeping a backup of the three targets mentioned earlier is better than keeping a backup of everything the mod changes.  When you factor in how well-discussed and thoroughly tested the FP is, there’s certainly not the same likelihood of uninstalling as a kit or NPC mod.  The final nail in the coffin is FP’s status as essentially an unofficial patch.  Barring some real concerns over its more subjective changes, or duplication by multiple other mods, this mod is almost a required install.  The ability to cleanly uninstall it is virtually superfluous.

The point is that the larger comprehensive mods, those that make wholesale changes to one class of assets like items or spells, do not need to use weidu.  These mods are making changes to the fundamental resources of the game, not adding extraneous content that can exist outside of these changes.  Further, these types of mods are the ones that still need to pay attention to install order;  and even then, there will be cracks in the pavement.  An item mod that applies a change to longswords will not account for a later-installed NPC mod that includes a new longsword.  The only advantage weidu had in cases like these mods were the decreased size of the download, a minimal concern nowadays.

[edit]  Someone wondered why I was criticizing the FP.  I think the text contains sufficient explanation, but I’ll reiterate:  An early or first install mod doesn’t need to use weidu, and in some cases, is less efficient for both the player and the modder.

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you can’t just evolve from a flawed ancestor

This is from the Character doc, in the same rambling style as the rest of the docs.  It’s at least 6 years old, but I’m sure its points have been stated before.  Yet, here we are in ’16 and we still ignore them:

I want to rant a bit on the existence of the paladin concept in the first place.  It’s from a time when the game was absolutely human-centric, as easily seen in level caps for demihumans and some classes being human-only.  But it’s more than that.  Even its brand of LG is an extreme version, and one implicitly religious in nature with its demon protections and evil detections.  Holy warrior, indeed, but did it need to be its own class?  Why not just a role-played fighter?  Surely if the religious aspect were made explicit, any extraneous benefits could be given both variety and consistency.  As it is, it’s a class very limited in what cultures it would exist in without heavy modification.  Moreso, it forces a definition of LG that is horribly arbitrary;  witness Keldorn who knows he must kill the man who “cheated” with his wife, and put his wife in jail, all for “adultery”?  What kind of stereotypical patriarchal bullshit is this?  Is it Lawful because he’s obeying his order’s, or Amn’s, laws?  Is it “good” by any definition at all?  That these are even questions, nevermind unignorable and quite legitimate ones, shows that the paladin concept needs to be separated from its antiquated “historical” inspirations if it’s going to stay in this mod.  Hypocritical, self-righteous religious freaks doling out paranoid justice with swords need to meet the same fate they all too willingly mete out to everyone else.

Is it possible to make a paladin a viable subclass and not just the obvious cleric/fighter hybrid it currently is?  Is it possible to give it abilities and restrictions that do not explicitly rely on religious affiliations?  The most consistent characteristic of the paladin ideal is Lawfulness.  They all give reverence to a code of behavior and enforce that code through violence regardless of its nobility or righteousness.  I’d strongly argue that they need to be Good;  Keldorn himself personified the adage that “Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you’re told;  religion is doing what you’re told regardless of what is right,” if you treat his Order as a religion (and it certainly qualifies).

such hope dashed

Remember this?

convman1

It was the conversion booklet put out by WotC for the changeover from 2e to 3e.  Just skimming through it, I knew it was not the direction I was interested in.  Whereas 2e was definitely more structured than 1e, it also felt soulless as it was obviously trying to compensate for uncreative DMs, leaving no room for innovation by the players or DMs.  Instead, 3e just broke things down even more, getting rid of race/class restrictions, making weapon groups available to any class, butchering thieves to spread their skills to all, etc.  Toss in that Neverwinter Nights was boring as hell, it’s no wonder I got into modding BG.