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Argent
Disciple

Reged: 02/05/03
Posts: 1760
Loc: Australia
BSA Browser v 1.0
      #2657441 - 06/05/04 02:41 AM

Purpose
This utility allows you to browse, search, pack, unpack, and register Bethesda Softworks Archive (bsa) files with a user friendly interface . This program was inspired by Ghostwheel's BSAPack (which the program uses to perform 3 of the 5 functions mentioned), and Splender of the Ashlands' BSA Reader, which are both command line utilities. BSA Browser is ideal for those 'who get lost and panicky at the words "commandline" ' (-Brash).

Why should you use BSA files?
Firstly, it's how Bethesda package their data files for the expansions.
Secondly, it simplifies the installation, and more importantly, uninstallation, of mods. Users only need to install a plugin file and a single BSA file, rather than loose files and folders with lots of sub directories.
If you choose to use loose files, and the end-user already has one or more files of the same name on their computer, then their original files will be overwritten. Permanently.
The use of BSA files ensures that no files are ever overwritten, and should one mod alter the textures or other files of another mod, that change will not be permanent, and can be undone by deregistering the BSA file (deleting the name from the Morrowind.ini file).

This version improves substantianlly on v0.5; files are now displayed in a tree view as they would appear in windows explorer, and I have added a search feature for quick file locating.

[EDIT] Download is now from my web-site.
Download BSA Browser v1.0

BSA Browser GUI



--------------------
Immersive Architect: Make Morrowind your world builder.
My Mods Page

Edited by Argent (06/05/04 02:03 PM)

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Eskrimador
Acolyte

Reged: 04/13/04
Posts: 104
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2657540 - 06/05/04 03:16 AM

Great idea Argent. Hopefully this starts a new trend in modding. Have a few of these

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zahratustra
Disciple

Reged: 05/13/03
Posts: 1338
Loc: London, England
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2657558 - 06/05/04 03:21 AM

Looks like a very usefull tool Argent, and, since it is a weekend, i will have a chance to fiddle around with it !

--------------------
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Blith_Erring_Idio
Acolyte

Reged: 11/15/03
Posts: 100
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2657565 - 06/05/04 03:25 AM

May I host it also? I feel this needs publicity!

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BlindEye
Novice

Reged: 04/10/04
Posts: 20
Loc: Canada
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2657581 - 06/05/04 03:32 AM

Excellent post Argent!

--------------------
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Argent
Disciple

Reged: 02/05/03
Posts: 1760
Loc: Australia
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Blith_Erring_Idio]
      #2657644 - 06/05/04 03:55 AM

Quote:

Hopefully this starts a new trend in modding.



I would hope that this will become the new standard (dream on!), and would go a long way in preventing such mod 'conflict's as the FoV incident.

Quote:

May I host it also? I feel this needs publicity!



Absolutely; in fact, I'll be contacting you shortly (day or two) about hosting some other stuff too.

--------------------
Immersive Architect: Make Morrowind your world builder.
My Mods Page

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GhanBuriGhan
Diviner

Reged: 10/06/01
Posts: 2758
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Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2657646 - 06/05/04 03:56 AM

Oh, excellent! While I dont panick, I am not exactly fond of command-line programs either. This will definitely be among the most useful tools yet.



--------------------
--//Forum Scholars guild\\--
MW Scripting for Dummies, Traveling Merchants, Combat Moves:
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TwoFace
Novice

Reged: 06/03/04
Posts: 42
Loc: Somewhere in the Middle
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2657699 - 06/05/04 04:08 AM

This sounds good. No more: 'put this file here and that file there'.


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Blith_Erring_Idio
Acolyte

Reged: 11/15/03
Posts: 100
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2658030 - 06/05/04 05:57 AM

Quote:


Quote:

May I host it also? I feel this needs publicity!



Absolutely; in fact, I'll be contacting you shortly (day or two) about hosting some other stuff too.



Great! It will be up shortly... looking forward to hearing from you!

--------------------
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Varana
Acolyte

Reged: 11/20/02
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Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: TwoFace]
      #2658076 - 06/05/04 06:09 AM

Nice.

What exactly is the load order of BSAs and other Data Files?
If I, say, pack one of the texture replacers into a BSA, I have the same texture twice, one in morrowind.bsa, another in the replacer.bsa. Which one will show up in-game?
What if I then put the same texture again into the Textures directory?

*hates that cluttered Textures folder*

--------------------
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Bladmand86
Initiate

Reged: 06/03/04
Posts: 60
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Varana]
      #2658149 - 06/05/04 06:39 AM

Could you post the changelog? :P

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Nigedo
Diviner

Reged: 05/30/03
Posts: 2106
Loc: Deep beneath Vvardenfell
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2658350 - 06/05/04 07:48 AM

You are a star Argent. Much thanks to you, Ghostwheel and Splender too.

I am going to start trying to use this straight away and I would like to adopt it as my standard approach to packaging.

One question; does BSA packaging compress resources at all? In other words, will this add greater overall compression to archived mods?

--------------------
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The Whirling School | Academy for Dwemer Studies | TES Lore FAQ

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Argent
Disciple

Reged: 02/05/03
Posts: 1760
Loc: Australia
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: TwoFace]
      #2658726 - 06/05/04 09:54 AM

Quote:

I am not exactly fond of command-line programs either



Me too, yet I am still known to produce them on occassion. Good for the developer, bad for the user.

Quote:

No more: 'put this file here and that file there'.



That's right- and no more 'Which mod does this texture come come?' and no more posts about 'When I start my game there's this big yellow exclamation mark...' (hopefully).

Quote:

It will be up shortly



Great! Many thanks .

Quote:

What exactly is the load order of BSAs and other Data Files?


I haven't yet tested this, but I'd hazard a guess that it would load in much the same way as plugin files- last one takes precedence (no one quote me on that though!)

Quote:

*hates that cluttered Textures folder*


Ha! Same- in fact I hated it so much, I reinstallled Morrowind, and every mod that I used I packaged into a BSA file- makes things very neat. The only contents of my Data Files folder is my own WIP stuff.

Quote:

does BSA packaging compress resources at all?



The BSA format does not compress files at all.

Quote:

Could you post the changelog?



Fixed: Packing/Unpacking leaves a copy of BSAPack in the folder that was packed.

Fixed: Packing/Unpacking folders/files in the same directory as BSA Browser will 'break' the BSAPack.exe file (will display as 0 KB is size).

Fixed: Files are displayed in a list and not a tree view (as was intended). This will be added in a later version.

*This is also in the help file (browser.chm) athat is packaged with the app, listed under Bugs and Limitations.


--------------------
Immersive Architect: Make Morrowind your world builder.
My Mods Page

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Thepal
Curate

Reged: 06/21/03
Posts: 963
Loc: Gold Coast, Australia
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2658741 - 06/05/04 10:03 AM

Ooooh. So very helpful. Good work

--------------------
-==Thepal==-

Life to Morrowind Mod - Cancelled
Unofficial Morrowind Patch (Biggest bug fix plugin)
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OldeCow69
Adept

Reged: 04/06/03
Posts: 319
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2659264 - 06/05/04 01:50 PM

Nice to see an update Argent, many thanks.

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burningrave101
Curate

Reged: 05/21/02
Posts: 842
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2659309 - 06/05/04 02:00 PM

Quote:

What exactly is the load order of BSAs and other Data Files?

I haven't yet tested this, but I'd hazard a guess that it would load in much the same way as plugin files- last one takes precedence (no one quote me on that though!)




There shouldn't be a load order for the BSA files should there? Aren't they just an archive that the .esm files access? Whatever load order you have for your .esm's and .esp's should be the only load order and the BSA's should be just like having your textures and meshes in a .rar or .zip document in a manner of speaking.

Heh maybe i'm wrong but the only files that load when you fire up Morrowind is the ESM's and ESP's.


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Argent
Disciple

Reged: 02/05/03
Posts: 1760
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Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: burningrave101]
      #2659354 - 06/05/04 02:21 PM

Quote:

Whatever load order you have for your .esm's and .esp's should be the only load order



Actually, that's a more likely scenario- it would probably search for each data file as it initializes each plugin file.

The other issue to resolve is which file takes precendence; archived files or loose files. I remember Brash having a problem with a texture replacer packed in a BSA, but I can't remember if that was just a Bloodmoon issue or not.

Also, it's been reported that BSA Browser and BSAPack fail to read the XBox archive; I can't test it myself though as I'm no XBoxer.

--------------------
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My Mods Page

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Nigedo
Diviner

Reged: 05/30/03
Posts: 2106
Loc: Deep beneath Vvardenfell
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Argent]
      #2659377 - 06/05/04 02:28 PM

Quote:

Quote:

What exactly is the load order of BSAs and other Data Files?


I haven't yet tested this, but I'd hazard a guess that it would load in much the same way as plugin files- last one takes precedence (no one quote me on that though!)



So this means that we still need to keep to our own existing naming conventions for files within the BSA files, otherwise there is a danger that our mods will reference newer files with the same names?

Is that right?


Edit: sorry, for clarity, I'm talking here mainly about textures. In a thread about putting textures in subfolders, I read that the Morrowind engine looks for the named texture in the Textures folder first and only looks in the appointed subfolder once it has not been found in the main folder.

I assume something similar could occur with multiple BSA's too. Perhaps it just uses the first texture of that name that it finds, regardless of the BSA??

--------------------
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burningrave101
Curate

Reged: 05/21/02
Posts: 842
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Nigedo]
      #2672133 - 06/09/04 05:41 AM

*bump* for a great utility!!

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Argent
Disciple

Reged: 02/05/03
Posts: 1760
Loc: Australia
Re: BSA Browser v 1.0 [Re: Nigedo]
      #2674926 - 06/10/04 12:29 AM

Firstly: Minor Update
I fixed a couble of quirks: removed case sensitive searching (all bsa files names are lower case anyway); fixed some error reporting and made sure the program 'releases' files after reading them (anyone who tried to move/rename a bsa file after viewing it will know what I mean). Just make sure you don't move a file while trying to extract files from it.
Update

Secondly: Testing
Load order applies to bsa files, last one taking precendence. This also means that us modders will still need to stick to naming conventions to avoid in-game conflicts.
In regards to using archives for textures replacers, it is possible, but requires the end-user to alter their ini file.
;-1 Use raw data, 0 Use Newer, 1 use Archive Only
TryArchiveFirst=1

Using the default 0, I observed the following precendence from highest to lowest: Loose files >> Morrowind.bsa >> custom.bsa.
This means that loose files will 'overwrite' standard game textures, but Morrowind.bsa content takes precendence over custom files.

However, if you alter the above ini line to 1, the custom.bsa file takes precendence, meaning you CAN use BSA files for texture replacers. I used Carnajo's textures replacers for testing; red in loose files, green in an archive. Set to 0, I get red, set to 1 I get green, set to -1 crashes with error message. Having both in archives gives the standard MW brown.


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