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Mods on Macs


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Ok, it's time for me to start building scenarios for real now. I've amassed enough info and made enough notes that I think I can start working on some decent quality scenarios that won't p.o. the community if they play them, and embarrass me as the author :D . So, on to other things for a bit.

I can now take a little time and look into installing mods, maybe. I won't be designing or making them myself at this time. There are enough really good artists that have taken that on, and I need to concentrate on scenarios and doing other things at some point. However, I have a few questions about them which I'll sort out in time, but primarily I need to ask about installing them on a Mac. Only in Final Blitzkrieg do I see the Data folder visible. To see the Data folder in the other games, I need to right click on the app and then Show Package Contents. In no case do I see a "Z" folder, nor a Mods folder. As I understand it, you need those folders as that's where the mods go. Are they something I need to make myself manually, or does installing a mod make them for you? I know how to make folders obviously, I just need to know if I have to make them myself.

Second (and last for now) question is, if you install a uniform mod for the Canadians (for example) into CMFI (for example), does that mean ALL Canadian soldiers display that uniform? For example, let's say I install a uniform mod for the PPCLI in CMFI GL. Does that mean all the Canadian Infantry for CMFI GL will now display those uniforms? If so, will the only way to remove that effect be to manually go in and move the mods out? Is there any harm in removing a mod (i.e. will the game on the next start up show the default uniforms again with no after effects)?

I'm not sure I'll be going with mods at this point as I'm kind of all over the place with what I'm playing (when I'm playing at all - right now I'm doing all scenario designing it seems, and little to no playing), but this info will be good to know. I've seen some really outstanding mods out there so I am interested. 

Thanks much :) .

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11 hours ago, Canuck21 said:

Are they something I need to make myself manually, or does installing a mod make them for you? I know how to make folders obviously, I just need to know if I have to make them myself.

 

The principle is the same for all games - You create a Z folder inside the game's Data folder, mods are installed into the Z folder. I do believe that with some of the games a Mod folder will be created when the game is installed, I have not seen this on any of the WW2 title ON A MAC, and in any case the Z folder approach will always work. (Hint - have TimeMachine back up the game folder for each game as installed in your Applications folder and your installed game and mods are then always secured - do an offline backup and cloud backup to make extra certain. You can then easily restore your game by drag and drop if the worst should happen.)

Mods can be added however you want to the Z folder. I prefer a very a.n.a.l. approach to file organisation, some go for a 'Chuck em all in and hope for the best' approach, do what suits your particular mind set. Whatever you put in your Z folder will be used by the game in preference to the textures, sounds, 3D models etc installed with the game. Once inside the Z folder you can adopt whatever naming hierarchy suits you FOR subfolders, BUT the mod files must have the same names as the files you wish them to mod*.

* An exception to this is where a particular texture, for example the bocage textures used in CMBN, can have variations which are achieved by appending numbers to the file names eg boccage 2.bmp, boccage 3.bmp, boccage 4.bmp etc, there are only two or three original bocage textures, but the variation can be seemingly endless, though there's likely a built-in limit. This features allows for increased variety. Another exception is with the use of mod tags which again are appended to file names in a specific manner, and are activated by the use of the tag in the scenarios that require them, eg snow. These again seem to have endless variety depending on the scenario designers and their creativity. These naming methods are great for extending the games, but not all files can have variations.

 

11 hours ago, Canuck21 said:

Second (and last for now) question is, if you install a uniform mod for the Canadians (for example) into CMFI (for example), does that mean ALL Canadian soldiers display that uniform? For example, let's say I install a uniform mod for the PPCLI in CMFI GL. Does that mean all the Canadian Infantry for CMFI GL will now display those uniforms? If so, will the only way to remove that effect be to manually go in and move the mods out? Is there any harm in removing a mod (i.e. will the game on the next start up show the default uniforms again with no after effects)?

Any mod you install will only be used in preference to the textures it is intended to mod. If you install only part of a mod, only part will show up. IF the textures are shared across multiple modules, or are shared by different combatants, then the mod will, erm, mod, all of those that share it. A very simple example, the headphones that panzer troops used in CMBN are shared by all the German combatants that need them EXCEPT, iirc, the Luftwaffe Panzer crews who have their own textures. So if I have a mod for the Heer panzer crews headphones it is also a mod for the Waffen SS crews and Heer stug crews but not the Luftwaffe crews. If I uninstall the mod, the game reverts to using it's stock textures installed with the game, they are still there and not touched, overwritten or in anyway altered by the mods you install in your Z folder. This is a benefit of this system, you never overwrite any texture, sound, 3D model etc first installed with the game when you add your mod.

There are some mod managers that I believe work with the game on Windows, but I don't think there are any for Mac OS. This leaves you having to manage the modes manually. This is why I am keen to keep my mods organised. I have a set of folders inside my Z folder for things like buildings, landscape, roads, you get the picture, then inside each of these I have specific subfolders for types eg dirt road, cobbled road, paved road etc. I then arrange my mods by subfolders with the specific mod name appended with a description and appended with the name of the designers for example Uniform - German - Heer - Panzer crew - Ez Mine. This way I know who, what, why for my mods. I also have a folder specifically for testing new stuff, called zzzNew Stuff to Test, the extra zzz means it always load last so in preference to anything else installed. I also have a folder in the game folder OUTSIDE of the Data folder just for temporarily uninstalled mods. As you're about to discover mods can take over your hard drive very quickly so best to store the ones you're not using, or might use but not for now, or hoarding, somewhere else. But if you just want to try a new mod which might become you new favourite Sherman Firefly, a temporarily disabled mods folder in the game folder is a convenient place to keep you old favourite.

Mods can occasionally affect the game inadvertently but it's rare. If your mods are organised you can more easily identify the culprits and deal with them. If you want to understand how the z folder structure works and which mods get chosen I recently offered some advice ...

... about installation/preferential usage/naming order. Might also be of help.

If you get stuck, don't panic you can always just dump the contents of your Z folder and start over.

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Simply adding a z folder to the Data folder seems to work for me. Vin's icon mod is the only one I've tried here. It definitely works in CMCW for me. I have only tried the defaults set up in the mod, I think. I wanted to try a different set, but the defaults seemed to be describing exactly what I want.

Like you, I've had to "Show Package Contents" to gain access to these folders. Actually, I just checked mine, and I don't have to dig into the package to get to the Data folder. If you have to dig into a package often, you can make an alias to a folder inside it, and then move that alias outside the game's folders. I do something similar with the "Saved Games" folder in CMSF2 and CMCW (only titles I own). I save often, and later delete files or rename them so I remember what they're supposed to be. (But the Saved Games folder is not inside the package on my Mac.)

Showing Package Contents is a useful trick I've had to use for, gosh, more than a decade. If it's new to you, then welcome to a larger world. Sometimes, good stuff is in those. Obviously, I hope you agree, it can be dangerous to change anything in a package's contents. But at least a few apps document it as a normal process for accessing preferences or making changes to an app's behavior. Situation normal.

Once, I was lucky enough to find image files in an app for its interface. I could reskin it just by replacing them... but there could easily have been size limitations on the files that I didn't encounter, or color depth. I just lucked out and changed its buttons to suit me, and it worked. Other times, it didn't work and I didn't spend time figuring out why.

Edited by CaptainTheDark
Realized I was mistaken about whether I needed to show package contents to install a mod (I don't).
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@Lucky_Strike and @CaptainTheDark - Thanks very much for all this! Your explanations help immensely. I suspect I'll be looking at mods that use the tags so I don't have to do much/any swapping in and out, as much for the sake of ease as anything. As I mentioned to one fellow, I don't actually spend a lot of time down at eye level in these games (all WWII games), so just how deeply I'll get into the mods is yet to be determined. I'm not worried about space as I still have about 2 TB of free space, but neither do I want to clutter things up too much either. My brain (or what's left of it) isn't as organized as it used to be :D . Anyway, I've taken notes from this and will disseminate all this tomorrow and maybe try out a couple of things. I'm working on a new scenario at the moment for Normandy/CW so that might be a good place to try an experiment on.

Many thanks again. This took you guys some time to come up with and I'll certainly be making use of it :) .

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5 hours ago, Lucky_Strike said:

I have a set of folders inside my Z folder for things like buildings, landscape, roads, you get the picture,

Even though it doesn't seem necessary for Windows computers, I try to follow the game's folder structure as it helps to know where I have different mods in case I want to change some of them.

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20 hours ago, CaptainTheDark said:

you can make an alias to a folder inside it, and then move that alias outside the game's folders. I do something similar with the "Saved Games" folder in CMSF2 and CMCW (only titles I own). I save often, and later delete files or rename them so I remember what they're supposed to be. (But the Saved Games folder is not inside the package on my Mac.)

Yes. Also I think some of the installers do this automagically, I've certainly got aliases that I never created.

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16 hours ago, BornGinger said:

Even though it doesn't seem necessary for Windows computers, I try to follow the game's folder structure as it helps to know where I have different mods in case I want to change some of them.

That is exactly what I do inside the Z folder. It's also very convenient, since I develop on my Mac and play on a Windows 10 PC, I can just drag 'n' drop the Z folder between the two installed games via a network connection to have identical installations on both platforms with nice, neat, easy to understand subfolders, or even have some app do it for me periodically.

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I think Vin's icons explains it better, but for that mod, I think you have to choose which of several icon sets you want, and change folder names so the one you want has a z in front of its name. I might have that wrong.

For the lovely NTC terrain mod I just discovered yesterday, apparently the only thing I needed to do was copy its folder into my z folder.

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8 hours ago, Canuck21 said:

So it sounds like you can have folders within the "Data>Z folder. Do they need to follow a naming convention at all, or can you name them whatever you want (i.e. uniforms, terrain, angry mothers-in-laws, etc.)?

Yes, folders in the Z folder to keep it sane. No conventions, you can call them whatever you want, once in the Z folder you don't need to prefix 'Z' again to their names UNLESS you intentionally want something to load last. Otherwise, remember the naming order will affect loading order calm-mother-in-law will load after angry-mother-in-law. As CaptainTheDark mentions some mods have multiple choices where you might find the designer gives you options in similarly named, or sometimes the same named folders which you can pick and mix, so it's useful to practice good folder management so you know which options you have installed.

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