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Arthmoor

Unofficial Patches - "Legendary Edition" or Separate Files?

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This is a question we get on a fairly regular basis, so I think the time has come to consider our options for the future.

First off, yes, I know I've been staunchly opposed to unifying the Unofficial Patch under a single all-in-one file to cover everything. Recent events have begun to strain the current model we're operating under though. Some fixes, like certain perks, can't currently be handled by our existing setup without generating a small fix file to cover these.

Currently, the perk fixes are being handled here: http://www.afkmods.com/index.php?/files/file/1212-dg-and-db-axe-perk-compatibility-fix/

Another issue just reported involves incorrect dragon skeletons when a dragon dies: http://www.afkmods.com/index.php?/tracdown/issue/16721-dragonborn-serpentine-dragons-inappropriate-mesh-when-dying/ - In order to address this, the DragonActorScript would need editing, and such an edit can't currently deal with DG dragons while preserving the DB dragons and the Miraak support code.

A third issue is one that's been brought up before, but so far hasn't been formally reported - It's not possible currently to support adoptions on Solstheim because it would necessitate code that alters two DLCs. Technically it can be considered a bug that you can't even move your spouse to Raven Rock. It's pretty easy to see why Bethesda didn't even try.

In general, any inter-DLC issues that come up can't currently be managed.

Then there's the general difficulty in maintaining the separate packages as they are now. Each one requires a clean environment from which to work, which right now is only truly possible by having multiple Skyrim install folders that get switched between as each patch runs its cycle. Conflict resolution with this setup is made difficult because such conflicts can only be checked with every file in the same folder, and it's not wise to dirty up each folder with stuff from another.

One major downside to all this is that removing the existing DLC patches from a running game could very well break things. There would be no other good way to go about this though (thank God we're using BSAs!) that wouldn't potentially cause some problems.

Something that will need to be kept in mind. This changeover would mean the end of continued development on the current separate files. It is not feasible to manage the project in two entirely different branches.

This would not affect the High Resolution patch. That would remain separate since it isn't dependent on certain DLCs existing or not and the content isn't something everyone can run.

So briefly:

Pros:
No more need for multiple development folders.
No more unresolvable conflicts.
One unified patch that only takes up one ESP slot.

Cons:
Not everyone has every DLC yet.
A significant amount of work to properly merge everything into one unified ESP.
Support on the existing separate patches would be frozen except for hotfix issues.
Extremely likely that the game could get confused when ripping out the unsupported DLC patches when a change like this is made.

Again, as I once said, "hell no, never" - well. It's starting to become enough of a hassle to consider it.

But, as these patches are largely for the sake of the community, I think it should be put to a poll. So please cast your vote, and post your thoughts on why we should or should not do this.

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Skyrim has been out for ~2.5 years. The recent steam sale has likely reduced the size of the no-dlc userbase to a small minority. Having separate versions for DLC seems unnecessary by this point. Most mods have alot to gain by releasing Legendary Editions that combine their changes into one ESP. As you've mentioned, it simplifies development, allows more interop between DLC and will reduce the size of the Load Order.  Additionally, it simplifies supporting the Unofficial Patch for a mod, referencing one ESP and ensuring that if they support a USKP fix, its truly fixed for vanilla + DLC.

 

It would set an example, encouraging more mods to combine their ESP's, and always think about the DLC when they release a mod.

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Skyrim has been out for ~2.5 years. The recent steam sale has likely reduced the size of the no-dlc userbase to a small minority. Having separate versions for DLC seems unnecessary by this point.

That's no excuse. I think you're applying your own budget to everyone else. Some folks may not be able to afford the DLC, some folks may not have been active during the sale, hell, maybe some folks don't want to own certain DLC.

 

 

Most mods have alot to gain by releasing Legendary Editions that combine their changes into one ESP.

Like what, exactly? More .esp slots for you? In my opinion, if you're that close to the limit already, you probably don't need what you're adding.

 

 

As you've mentioned, it simplifies development, allows more interop between DLC and will reduce the size of the Load Order.

I don't think it simplifies development -- packaging, mainly, but I'm concerned that certain DLC may not be given the proper time necessary to fix issues. As well, it means that beta periods now include the DLCs. Granted, most DLC patch updates are small, but that's still adding more to the potential list of "gremlins" that could crop up.

Interplay between the DLCs is limited to the three things listed above at present, of which only one is an actual bug, the rest are minor inconsistencies and wishing.

As I've said previously, load order length's your own issue.

 

 

Additionally, it simplifies supporting the Unofficial Patch for a mod, referencing one ESP and ensuring that if they support a USKP fix, its truly fixed for vanilla + DLC.

It means that if a mod has the USKP as a master, you as a user are now obligated to purchase $45 worth of additional content to use it. Or wait an indeterminable amount of time for a sale; regardless, it still costs money.

 

 

It would set an example, encouraging more mods to combine their ESP's, and always think about the DLC when they release a mod.

If an author wishes to include Unofficial Patch fixes, it's their prerogative, and it's their prerogative if it requires DLC or not. I do not wish to force the one if they wish the other.

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Anything wrong with continuing to develop the three main patch files while adding as necessary crossover patch files where the DLC interfere with each other?

 

After all, it does not have to be all-in-one patch or one patch per ESM only.  It is perfectly acceptable to have additional patches. Yes, it gets more complicated to install correctly but it does benefit from having the most compatible setup. 

 

Either way is fine with me.  I have all the DLC.

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I get what prince is saying i really do but DLC's are literally becoming dirt cheap.

It reminds me of the internet service provider still supporting dial-up even though they WANT the people to cancel and its more expensive for everyone involved anyway

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That's no excuse. I think you're applying your own budget to everyone else. Some folks may not be able to afford the DLC, some folks may not have been active during the sale, hell, maybe some folks don't want to own certain DLC.

Like what, exactly? More .esp slots for you? In my opinion, if you're that close to the limit already, you probably don't need what you're adding.

I don't think it simplifies development -- packaging, mainly, but I'm concerned that certain DLC may not be given the proper time necessary to fix issues. As well, it means that beta periods now include the DLCs. Granted, most DLC patch updates are small, but that's still adding more to the potential list of "gremlins" that could crop up.

Interplay between the DLCs is limited to the three things listed above at present, of which only one is an actual bug, the rest are minor inconsistencies and wishing.

As I've said previously, load order length's your own issue.

It means that if a mod has the USKP as a master, you as a user are now obligated to purchase $45 worth of additional content to use it. Or wait an indeterminable amount of time for a sale; regardless, it still costs money.

If an author wishes to include Unofficial Patch fixes, it's their prerogative, and it's their prerogative if it requires DLC or not. I do not wish to force the one if they wish the other.

Bit of a hostile response much? Also, my load order is fine, 100 esp/esms. Completely stable on uGrids 5. Don't assume so much.

 

The money argument is always there. There is also the majority vs minority argument. Don't forget that its not some random suggesting this idea.

 

Regardless, the Patches in their current form don't have to disappear. A massive amount of fixes is there for those who don't have all DLC. The Patch can be updated one last time (say, 2.1), then encourage owners of the Legendary Edition to switch to the new Unofficial Skyrim Patch - Legendary Edition. New modpage, fresh comments page. No confusion.

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No, for one very simple reason. It would require me to have all 3 DLC active all the time. That's not how I play.

I start a game with no mods except my own little Basement mod and the No Killcams one, and USKP of course.

I add Hearthfires (and UHFP) when I'm ready.

I add Dragonborn (and UDBP) when I'm ready.

I've played Dawnguard, I don't like it, I probably won't play it again. I HATE being forced to have a follower :(

I don't use any other mods.

 

If this change happens I'll simply retain the last versions of the separate patches and not d/l the combined ones. Also means there would be no point (for me) reporting any further errors as I would never be able to make use of the fixes.

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In principle i like the idea, but after some thought and reading the discussions i'll side with no.

Main reason is backwards-compatibility with mods that require uskp.

With a name change of the esp all those mods need to be updated, some will never be nowadays. Also mod authors who wish to suppport non dlc users need to provide two separate plugins. (Non dlc userbase is still strong, see patch download numbers. ~ 1/6th of uskp users did not download udbp)

Without a name change: no just no. Too much confusion for the less tech savy. Enough threads in the bethesda forum hint at just how easily some are confused and require pages upon pages of individual support.

(Edit: oh wow interesting psychological effects can be seen here. The comments are mostly in favor of the split distribution, while the poll swings the other way)

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No, for one very simple reason. It would require me to have all 3 DLC active all the time. That's not how I play.

I start a game with no mods except my own little Basement mod and the No Killcams one, and USKP of course.

I add Hearthfires (and UHFP) when I'm ready.

I add Dragonborn (and UDBP) when I'm ready.

I've played Dawnguard, I don't like it, I probably won't play it again. I HATE being forced to have a follower :(

I don't use any other mods.

 

If this change happens I'll simply retain the last versions of the separate patches and not d/l the combined ones. Also means there would be no point (for me) reporting any further errors as I would never be able to make use of the fixes.

I couldn't say it better than myself.  So no to one unified patch and I certainly don't want to have the same *fix a bug triggers another bug* issue(s) that exist in MPP/UMP.

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Yes! Of course, even now I can see many ''differencies'' between unofficial patches in TES5Edit, and I always wanted to have only one patch for the Legendary edition! :-)

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I'm against it, because it would exclude people who do not have all the DLC, or choose not to enable them all on any given character, from benefiting from the project. Same for plugin developers, as PrinceShroob noted. It would be an inappropriately coercive move that would affect the community, effectively forcing people to decide between purchasing and using all the DLC, or suffering from all the bugs present in the official release. Because of the project's position, it would force many plugin developers to make the same decision, and that, in turn, gets passed on to their users.

 

Then there's the risk of the changeover wrecking existing save files. Once again, forcing everyone to make a clean break, or suffer. As has been said - the game's been out for years, people are already invested. We're unlikely to find very many more major conflicts between the DLCs, so the few separate fix files shouldn't be a problem. If that becomes unmanageable, then just the cross-DLC conflict fix files could be merged.

 

The major thing that's not clear to me from the opening post is this: are there any issues that could be solved by merging all the unofficial patches into a Legendary edition that could not be solved with a separate fix file?

 

If people are hitting the esp limit, can't they just do what they've always done? Pare down their list, or merge esps themselves.

 

I don't think the project should sacrifice availability at this point, when such an effort has been made to avoid changes that might discourage people from using it. The unofficial patches should be something that everyone should unquestionably be using. If it starts requiring all the DLCs, then whether or not to use the unofficial patches becomes something people have to make a decision about.

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The old patches don't have to go away. There is more than enough work that someone can run those and encounter minimal bugs through a Skyrim playthrough, definitely not any game-breaking ones. Hinging way too much on tip-toeing around players, worried that they might not want the mod causes the mod itself to suffer. Minimize inconvenience of course, but don't depend on the idea of complete inconvenience. Modding by nature has many inconveniences, but players bear through them to gain a better experience.

 

I think too much worry about what is now most likely a minority will only harm what the majority can have. As a side note, think about what the percentage would be of players who have downloaded the Unofficial Patches and never downloaded SKSE. An optional file (Unofficial Skyrim Patch - Extension) could include fixes only possible through SKSE.

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There only appears to be one benefit to the end-user from merging the patches, and that's a reduction in the number of files. So it will save them from downloading and updating those files (which they may already be using a mod manager to do, so no real benefit for those users), and save them a few esp slots. That's it, in exchange for excluding some segment of the community from further benefiting from future unofficial patches.

 

Now, from the development side, there are a few advantages. But I don't think they're worth it. Really though, only Arthmoor can make that call, because he's undeniably put more work into it than anyone else. But at this point, I think the majority of the effort that would be saved has already been spent. Had the decision been made earlier to take the project in that direction, such as when the DLC was just coming out, that might have been different. I still don't think it would have been the right decision for the other reasons, but the development effort argument would have been more compelling then.

 

And there are certainly people who don't use SKSE, and the long-standing policy of the project has been to not require it, for the sake of not excluding those players from benefiting from the unofficial patches. You don't have to understand, like, or agree with anyone's reasons for not wanting any of the DLCs, SKSE, or anything else. Bethesda's games tend to be personal experiences that revolve around choice, and the modding tools that Bethesda or the community provide reflect that -- players are free not only to make choices within the game, but to make choices about the game itself, either by making mods themselves, or choosing to use ones that other people have created and provided. Using the unofficial patch project's position as the mod that everyone should be using to coerce or exclude players that choose to have a different experience seems inappropriate, given the nature of the Elder Scrolls modding community itself.

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No, definetly, and exactly because of all pre-told arguments. And I'll even add another huge one : merging all patches will completely reorder/reaffect all added references with new IDs (whatever types they are). This will probably completely ruin and bloat existing savegames relying on the old ones. I guess you all know very well the Elder Scrolls players community... And what do you think will happen ?

1) Oh yeah ! All 4 Unofficial Patches have been merged, cool !

2) I put all 4 actual patches to the trashcan.

3) I put the whole and only patch now available in my data folder to replace them. I'm saving 3 esp slots, cool !

4) I load my actual savegame.

5) CTDs and infinite loadscreens everywhere ! You fu#@ed- up my game ! Damn you, USKP team ! Damn you !

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If it's a choice of one patch to rule them all, or the current set-up, I'd prefer the current set up.

 

I'm not even sure how/why those of us that prefer not to play all the DLC's will suddenly be told "Sorry, no USKP for you at all then".

 

The other major concern is, of course, updating to an all-in-one patch without blowing up existing games.

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A third issue is one that's been brought up before, but so far hasn't been formally reported - It's not possible currently to support adoptions on Solstheim because it would necessitate code that alters two DLCs. Technically it can be considered a bug that you can't even move your spouse to Raven Rock. It's pretty easy to see why Bethesda didn't even try.

Oh, I was just about to report it ! :D But I have a different approach to submit to you :

As Dragonborn is logically the last DLC in the load order, you could check the presence of Hearthfire and Dawnguard using a script with specific SKSE commands. Yes, I know what you think about SKSE, and I know you would like to keep all patches far from it for many valid reasons. But would it be possible to design this script so as it fails safe if SKSE is not installed ? Non-SKSE users would just not benefit a few fixes.

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Oh, I was just about to report it ! :D But I have a different approach to submit to you :

As Dragonborn is logically the last DLC in the load order, you could check the presence of Hearthfire and Dawnguard using a script with specific SKSE commands. Yes, I know what you think about SKSE, and I know you would like to keep all patches far from it for many valid reasons. But would it be possible to design this script so as it fails safe if SKSE is not installed ? Non-SKSE users would just not benefit a few fixes.

 

I believe it's actually possible to check for the presence of a known plugin using GetFormFromFile(). I know I've seen it used that way, and suspect it was even in one of the official DLC scripts, checking for the existence of another one. The SKSE function is simpler looking, and easier to use, but not the only way to do it.

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I couldn't say it better than myself.  So no to one unified patch and I certainly don't want to have the same *fix a bug triggers another bug* issue(s) that exist in MPP/UMP.

But Leo, we already have that now. It doesn't actually matter what form the project is in, "fix a bug, expose a new one" will always be a potential issue. Just look at Derkeethus for an example of how we've already hit that TWICE just with one NPC. Or Heimskr for that matter.

 

I believe it's actually possible to check for the presence of a known plugin using GetFormFromFile(). I know I've seen it used that way, and suspect it was even in one of the official DLC scripts, checking for the existence of another one. The SKSE function is simpler looking, and easier to use, but not the only way to do it.

GetFormFromFile() is too limited to handle processing a family move to Raven Rock. Several portions of the process need to be directly included in the BYOH scripts to support it, along with at least one alteration to the spouse house script. So trying to do it via this kind of hack isn't going to work.

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I would have to say no myself, for the already stated reasons that not every have every DLC, and its just basic mod courtesy to keep each DLc seperate for those who dont have them all.

 

Whats more, the dragon skeleton thing isnt a real bug, its terrible game design on Bethesda's part, but that skeelton is meant to be there, same with the spouses moving to solstheim thing.

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I am saying no because I am selfish... I don't want to have Hearthfires.... to me it is just a dumb DLC... But when it is all said and done, "My GOD" you guys have a done an amazing job with your patches especially on a game that is long in the tooth. Even the developer said "nuts to this" and walked away... so because of that, the decision is in your hands... If you do merge it all together then my updates will cease and I will wait for the next Bugthesda game... and hope to god you guys will be there...

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Someone asked what would be impacted by the switch to a unified file. Since Nexus is the only place I know of where this data can be accessed readily (for those who have marked it) I'll post what's available from there.

The list of USKP dependencies is irrelevent because the filename for that would not be changing. Which would eliminate issues with 62 files according to the Nexus data.

UDGP dependencies:

    101 lisa again 01
    An NPO Module - Crossbows
    Better Sorting for - An NPO Module - Crossbows
    Clean Saves Archive
    Czech Translation for Unofficial Dawnguard Patch
    Darius Assassin
    Dragon Shouts Rebalanced - BETA
    GW71_Metallica
    No Permanent Essentials
    Proper Combat
    Racial Traits Overhaul
    Requiem - RND - Frostfall AiO Patch
    Requiem - Unofficial Patches Restored
    SAVS - Skyrim Almost Vanilla Saves
    Shouts Reloaded Lite designed for SkyRe
    Simple LOADING Screen
    Skyrim Dovahkiin Spanish
    Skyrim Redone - Complete Crafting Overhaul Remade Patch
    Skyrim Uncut
    ULTIMATE SKYRIM - AtoZ GUIDE to get the most IMMERSIVE and REALISTIC Skyrim
    Uncle Sheo's Stable Modding Guide
    Unofficial Dawnguard Patch -- Spanish
    YASH - Yet Another Skyrim Hardcore mod

UHFP dependencies:

    Clean Saves Archive
    Czech Translation for Unofficial Hearthfire Patch
    Darius Assassin
    Hearthfires Everyone Sleeps
    SAVS - Skyrim Almost Vanilla Saves
    Simple LOADING Screen
    Uncle Sheo's Stable Modding Guide
    Unofficial Hearthfire Patch -- Spanish
    YASH - Yet Another Skyrim Hardcore mod

UDBP dependencies:

    An NPO Module - Crossbows
    Better Sorting for - An NPO Module - Crossbows
    Clean Saves Archive
    Czech Translation for Unofficial Dragonborn Patch
    Darius Assassin
    Dragon Shouts Rebalanced - BETA
    Food and Drinks
    GW71_Metallica
    No Permanent Essentials
    SAVS - Skyrim Almost Vanilla Saves
    Shouts Reloaded Lite designed for SkyRe
    Simple LOADING Screen
    Skyrim Dovahkiin Spanish
    ULTIMATE SKYRIM - AtoZ GUIDE to get the most IMMERSIVE and REALISTIC Skyrim
    Uncle Sheo's Stable Modding Guide
    Unofficial Dragonborn Patch -- Spanish
    YASH - Yet Another Skyrim Hardcore mod

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The funny thing is that those mods will probably be updated. Those have recently been updated to link to their dependencies in the first place, they are ergo still maintained.

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And now that's one of my concerns; We know dAb is no longer around to support or update YASH, and I use that.

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