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The State of Steam and Mods

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Creation & Customization' started by TC01, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. TC01

    TC01 Deity

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    Back when I became a modder in 2010 or so, I recall it being basically accepted wisdom that running mods on a Steam copy of Civ 4 was a bad idea, or difficult to make work, or something like that. As there were (apparently) few around who had such a copy of Civ 4- I certainly didn't- it was never an issue I had to deal with.

    Two years later, I actually have a Steam account, and presumably many more people have copies of Civ 4 from Steam than they did.

    So I feel compelled to ask... what is the current status of running mods on Steam?

    A user reported an installation issue with my mod that was related to Steam, and after investigation I think I've determined that the nested directory structure of a normal Civ install was ill-applied to Steam. It looks like Steam (or, rather, the Windows Registry?) thinks it is Beyond the Sword that has been installed to:

    "Steam\steamapps\common\sid meier's civilization iv beyond the sword\"

    But because of the way Civ 4 works, this folder (apparently) contains top-level vanilla Civ content and BTS itself is located in a subfolder as usual. So.. FF+'s mod install script, which sets the default path to:

    "DefaultDirName={reg:HKLM\SOFTWARE\Firaxis Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 4 - Beyond the Sword,INSTALLDIR}\Mods\Final Frontier Plus\"

    Is apparently installing the mod as if it was a vanilla Civ mod, rather than one for BTS. Thus, the mod fails to launch.

    At least... I think this is the problem. I don't actually own the game on Steam myself, so I've been forced to test with a friend's setup. It's possible I could be completely wrong- it's possible Steam Civ 4 uses a different style registry key and that's not actually the problem, or... I don't know, something else that hasn't even crossed my mind.

    So then I thought to make a thread on the matter- surely other people have had to deal with this issue? Does anyone have any more concrete and perhaps accurate explanations than mine? Or even better, solutions to such short of changing the registry to be correct? A link to an older thread where this has come up?
     
  2. damerell

    damerell Slow Worker

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    I'm upset with Steam at the moment - it turns out the people who warned me that eventually they'd put something stupid in the T&Cs and take away all my Steam games if I didn't agree to it were right - so I don't have a bias in Valve's favour here.

    That said, I do (I did, past tense, at the moment) have Civ IV through Steam, and as far as I can see these ideas get batted around, and they are always complete FUD. I've installed quite a few mods and they all worked perfectly; it's just a matter of getting them in the correct directory; and I can't see any reason why Steam-driven game updates would stomp them.

    And, as you suspect; BTS is actually in "...INSTALLDIR/Beyond The Sword/", which is a bit unfortunate, yes.
     
  3. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

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    This might only be a problem with the Complete Edition.
    Because I've seen the path "sid meier's civilization iv beyond the sword\Bts" also on non-Steam versions (but no idea about the registry key).
     
  4. TC01

    TC01 Deity

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    Hmm... if you install Beyond the Sword from Steam, does it install Complete or does it just install BTS (with all the vanilla and possibly warlords data as well)? What happens if you then install Warlords or Vanilla? Or install Vanilla first and then BTS? Does it make multiple folders in Steamapps?

    See, this (the way the the expansions were handled when the game was ported to Steam) is not FUD, it's me wondering just how broken things are. It may not seem like a big deal if you manually install mods, but for automated things it certainly is.

    Would it be more useful for install scripts, launchers, and anything else that uses INSTALLDIR as the location of BTS to:

    1. Write a script to patch the registry so INSTALLDIR points to the real location of Beyond the Sword (might cause things to break though).

    2. Become more "robust" and handle Steam installations better (sounds good in theory but it would mean a lot more work).

    3. Tell people that if they have a Steam installation they must manually specify the install path for a mod. (It sounds like this is basically what's already being done, except, I'd prefer to make things as simple as possible for users).

    4. Some other solution that other people have already come up with?
     
  5. damerell

    damerell Slow Worker

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    It makes multiple directories, one each for Civ IV, BTS, Warlords; but the BTS and Warlords directories link back to the Civ IV data. You can't buy or install BTS without vanilla (I think). I would not expect the order of installation of BTS or Warlords (or any two independent Steam games) to make a difference.
    I daresay something expects that registry entry to remain un-fooled-around. This seems a dreadful idea.
    You've only really got to look for "INSTALLDIR/Beyond The Sword".
     
  6. TC01

    TC01 Deity

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    Unfortunately, you're probably correct, even though the only thing I can think of would be the uninstaller. I only mention it because (see below):

    This is true, but it's not quite what I meant- every mod install script would have to be patched to have some sort of Steam compatibility check. It's possible some already do, but I don't know.. I doubt it. (Though I'll happily admit that I'm wrong on this).

    I agree, though, that it wouldn't be that difficult to do.
     
  7. Androrc the Orc

    Androrc the Orc Emperor

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    This is why I prefer Gamersgate.
     
  8. damerell

    damerell Slow Worker

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    This isn't. But as things stand, I'll never give Valve money again. I intensely dislike the feeling of betrayal.
     
  9. thadian

    thadian Kami of Awakened Dreamers

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    I usually have some problems with links because of the disorganized file structure. I have a beyond the sword/beyond the sword/mods instead of just /beyond the sword/mods

    I do agree however about never doing business with valve again. I read the articles and despise the practice. unacceptable. The idea that they can "turn off" my ability to play games is completely unethical and now there are risk factors for customers.
     

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