Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Does anyone extract bsa archives in Oblivion? I do it for all skyrim mods that don't specify against it. I think it's pretty common practice, too. How about Oblivion? How do bsa's work in this game, regarding overriding assets and such? Do they get priority? Or, on the contrary, are they always overridden?

Back to the extraction, I think wrye bash doesn't do this automatically but there are tools, like BSAopt that do it. One could extract the bsa to a folder and place the plugins in the same folder, then add that folder to wrye bash - if there were anything to gain from it. If you have a ton of texture mods it might make it easier for the game to decide which assets to choose.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually for Skyrim it's not considered common practice. That's a fallacy perpetrated by fans of Mod Organizer. There is no reason to ever extract a mod's BSA file under normal gameplay conditions.

For Oblivion that's a whole other thing. Since BSA load ordering doesn't work, any mod packing one that has files overriding something else is not guaranteed to work, or even keep the game stable. So you'd have to determine if the BSA file accompanying a mod has only unique assets. If it does, there's no need to unpack it. If it has overlapping files, then you should or the game isn't going to behave properly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Arthmoor. I was digging into Kvatch Rebuilt's bsa, so far my only bsa except for base game. All assets "seem" unique but no way to be sure except trying to manually copy them into the data folder... I have a backup of the vanilla game but copying there would only allow me to see if there are assets in common with the vanilla game... Yet I suppose other modders wouldn't just wildly use assets from a mod, especially if it could cause conflict with the original mod, would they?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kvatch Rebuilt should be fine. Last I checked it's entirely unique assets only used by that mod so you can leave the BSA intact there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a dispute whether packed or loose files get assimilated faster by the game engine, whether the bottleneck is disk read speed or cpu/memory (for unpacking). For what I've read they're pretty matched up on modern systems with m.2 ssd's and stuff.

I use wrye bash's unpack to project feature to avoid cramming my disk with redundant full mod archives (since I keep those in classified folders for faster reference). I strip those projects of docs, options, screenshots, picking all the optionals and rebuilding a simple folder structure. I unpack omod's and add the folders as projects do wb and treat them the same way, so I never have to use obmm or any other mod manager. I leave the projects unpacked because I redirected wb's folders to a drive different from the steam drive (steam = m.2 ssd, downloaded mods and bash installers = sata ssd), so my steam drive doesn't get cluttered. Since whether or not to unpack bsa's is an advantage seems unresolved, I'll probably take your advice on kvatch rebuilt but unpack others as a rule, unless someone tells me it's fine too. Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a general rule, Oblivion modders have always been more aware of what can and can't be offered as a BSA. Unless you're dealing with something newer than about 2012, I would go with whatever you get when you download it. We all knew what the engine would and would not do, and even with mechanical drives it's been largely debunked that unpacked vs packed is a significant enough difference to matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

5 hours ago, Arthmoor said:

As a general rule, Oblivion modders have always been more aware of what can and can't be offered as a BSA. Unless you're dealing with something newer than about 2012, I would go with whatever you get when you download it. We all knew what the engine would and would not do, and even with mechanical drives it's been largely debunked that unpacked vs packed is a significant enough difference to matter.

I take your point. It's true that I've seen really fewer mods with bsa archives in oblivion. And then, I've always seen bethesda's engine being beaten up by modders!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017-04-17 at 8:31 PM, godescalcus said:

Does anyone extract bsa archives in Oblivion?

Sorry for my nerco post.  There is one tool that I know of that can extract BSA in Oblivion and that's OBMM, you might want to use OBMM-Extended (requires to have OBMM installed) instead since it's better than OBMM.

So check the Utilities menu or whatever it's called (I don't remember exactly due for not fiddling with Oblivion stuff for a very long time) and there should be an internal BSA extractor tool (OBMM also have an internal Nif Viewer IIRC) in OBMM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bringing this post back to life, baby!

There are several tools for BSA manipulation in Oblivion--my personal favorite is BSAOpt.  DDSOpt merges it, but I like the standalone version.  Before that I used BSA Commander--neat that you can set the archive flags individually (though most of them are unknown as to their purpose), and it offers good compression.  But BSAOpt's compression is outstanding at max, plus it filters duplicates automatically.  Aaand it auto-skips hidden files.  Has a handy browser too.  The malonn likes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BAE is probably the best tool around for unpacking BSA (and BA2) files. It works with everything from Morrowind to Fallout 4. So you only need the one utility for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what I like as well Arthmoor. I got BSAopt as per your recommendation in a thread a while back Malonn. Haven't needed to use it yet as I rarely have need to pack anything. I believe I read a post somewhere a while back by you, Arthmoor, stating that there's no good reason to unpack a BSA, and that the engine is actually more efficient at unpacking on-the-fly then being redirected to loose files. I wish I had bookmarked that post. That seems to contradict what you stated a few posts above. What is your opinion nowadays?

Also I believe I read that there's a problem with loose files under \Data in SSE. Do you recommend not unpacking archives in SSE? I've been toying with the idea of trying my hand at SSE now that the .esl & form version stuff is getting ironed out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's quite a bit of useful info in the BSAs and You topic, in the OP theres a section ..

4.Addendum: BSA Compression

.. Although thats not good advice for Oblivion, it uses older compression methods so extracting its BSAs to a modern SSD I would imagine is probably better throughput than keeping files in the BSAs - Untested, I reckon there's not much in it for Oblivion and for a practically undetectable speed difference you may aswell keep the BSAs in tact.

With more modern games keeping files in BSAs and BA2s is definitely more optimal as proven by Ethatron. I did a lot of testing Skyrim LE replacing every single texture it had (approx 33000 irc), as both loose files and BSAs, and monitoring performance with Skyrim Performance Monitor. Without a shadow of a doubt I can agree with Ethatrons findings. And of course Skyrim SE and Fallout 4 have made BSA and BA2 a lot more optimal with far better decompression speed than Skyrim LE had (compare : Modern BSA read time of smaller compressed files plus very fast decompression, versus, loading bigger Loose files = The former throughput wins by a big margin), but also more optimal storage of textures in particular, making the biggest resolution layer of a texture which is only required on rare occasions up close, in a separate file in the BA2, so that the game only loads and caches the smaller mipmaps regularly for greater loading speed benefits. I try to keep any mods loose files to a minimum these days.

I use BAE to extract any games files from BSAs now when I need to, and wouldn't recommend anything but the official Archiver which comes with the CK for packing them. BSAOpt was really good for Skyrim LE, but you had to be careful some file types were not highly compressed or they would cause problems. The official Archiver knows what files not to compress, and can store textures more optimally as mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the compression is the issue then repacking the BSA without compression would eliminate that problem. The BSA being one file makes it easier to optimize by defragging if it's not on an SSD too.

For Skyrim, in LE or SSE, it's best to stick to keeping the BSAs packed. The game is designed to load things that way and unpacking loose is going to make a mess of things, especially from a support standpoint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice link, alt3rn1ty.  I hadn't come across that thread.  Unfortunately for me (Oblivion addict), Skyrim is much more played and studied and documented.  I mean the Nexus has over twice the number of mods.  I had read Ethatron's work that a modern CPU can uncompress and read quicker than loading a large uncompressed file, depending on compression type, I think.  Starting with Oblivion, Bethesda packed most files--Morrowind has tons that are loose.  One could assume they did it for a reason other than release prettiness.  Installing and prepping for me is quite involved--extract, optimize, etc., repack.  But now I know to stick with the official tool with Skyrim, but for Oblivion I'll stick with BSAOpt for packing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Malonn said:

Unfortunately for me (Oblivion addict), Skyrim is much more played and studied and documented.

I am an OB addict too. Been looking all over for a list of OB records that are merged at runtime. UESP is a great resource, but doesn't seem to have a lot of the real nitty gritty stuff like Arthmoor's compiled for Skyrim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The main reason there's no such document of records that merge at runtime is because there's not likely to be any beyond dialogue trees for Oblivion. So nobody ever suspected it was necessary to look for that kind of information. Skyrim has more systems embedded into it that came with the ability to do this. Systems Oblivion doesn't have, like the Story Manager.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah okay. I asked about dialogues elsewhere over concerns that they weren't being merged into the Bashed Patch as I expected, and was told not to worry because they merge at runtime. So I thought there may be other records of the same sort & went on a hunt for documentation. That explains why I couldn't find anything. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, RavenMind said:

I am an OB addict too. Been looking all over for a list of OB records that are merged at runtime. UESP is a great resource, but doesn't seem to have a lot of the real nitty gritty stuff like Arthmoor's compiled for Skyrim.

A fellow Oblivi-holic.  Very nice.  What is this merged at runtime records list for Skyrim you speak of?  Here on the AFK?  I don't play Skyrim that much, honestly, but there's tons of reasons that it can be enjoyed as much as Oblivion.  Maybe it's time for a "mega Skyrim playthrough"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, everything in that document applies to both LE and SSE. It does not necessarily apply to other games. Those would need their own research to confirm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Support us on Patreon!

×