View Full Version : Safety tip: Disabling your Custom Folders

18th Feb 2003, 23:59
(Note: This may occasionally refer to something specific to Thief2, but the same principle applies to the custom folders for both Thief games)

Sometimes custom Thief folders can cause problems, especially if you've modified some original Thief material, as these would overwrite the originals. E.g. You could modify an original ambient music file, and replace it with something completely different to suit your FM. If you then played someone elses FM that uses the original ambient, your new one could spoil the inteded mood.

But this problem isn't limited to replacing stuff. Strange things can happen when you build your custom objects, textures, sounds etc from scratch. I will use something I encountered a while ago as an example. I had some custom objects, and hence the obj folder. At some point, I went playing through Blackmail (OM), through DromEd, and noticed that all the Giant Wooden gates had been replaced with white wedges. The thin black slice that serves to block the AI's vision was still there, but the mesh itself wasn't.
I then went into the level via Thief proper, thinking that maybe it was a DromEd bug. It wasn't. Thief itself doesn't draw white wedges, it's DromEd that does that. The black vision blocker was still there, as it should have been, but the gate wasn't.

Now I had done nothing to the original gates model, so there was no reason I knew of that would cause it to dissapear. I eventually disabled my obj folder, and the gates reappeared. Strange.

Another potential problem arises if you install someone elses fan mission, and it has a file which has the same name as one of yours. Darkloader does create a backup of the original if this is the case, but I've noticed that sometimes this takes a while, even with small files.

The solution I've come up with is, before installing an FM, or playing through Thief normally, I rename each of my custom folders so that Thief will no longer find all those textures, sounds, objects etc, and thus there is no way for them in interfere with the running of the game/FM.

It doesn't matter what they are renamed to, but you only need to make one small change to each folders name to stop the game finding what's inside. The method I use is simply to add an underscore to the start of each name, e.g. fam is renamed to _fam, inrface to _intrface and so on.

As well as renaming my folders, I also rename any miss files of mine that have standard names, such as miss22.mis. This becomes _miss22.mis. The reason for renaming my .miss files is because other FMs could easily be using the same filename, so Darkloader would have to compress the original first which, as I said previously, can take a while.

I also include GayleSaver's two script files, again to save Darkloader the trouble of compressing them should another FM be using them.

Manually renaming each file one at a time would be very tedious, so I use a batch file to do it in one double-click. I also use another batch file to reverse the renaming (ie enalbe the folders again).

To disable, I have called the batch file add_.bat, and to enable, rem_.bat.

An example of add_.bat:
rename fam _fam
rename intrface _intrface

An example of rem_.bat:
rename _fam fam
rename _intrface intrface

Note that with files, the extension must be included, e.g. rename miss22.mis _miss22.miss.

If you think that this is unnecessarily paranoid of me, you may be right.

But I also use this batch file renaming method to swtitch between my own custom folders, normal Thief, and the [b]DromEd Deluxe[b] custom folders.

Setting this up takes some care initially, but once set up is quick and easy.

First you should run add_.bat to put the underscore at the beginning of you custom folders (I mention something about the custom scripts files later). Then put the DromEd Deluxe folders in your Thief directory, as it says in the DEDX readme files. You won't have to worry about overwriting your own stuff, because you've renamed the folders.

Now you'll have fam, obj, snd folders etc (from DEDX), plus all your renamed ones. In order to switch between DEDX and your folders, you'll have to rename all of these folders as something like famX, objX, sndX[i] etc. You'll clearly need another batch file for this, and another one undo the change. I've called mine [i]add_X.bat and rem_X.bat.

Now you can have both your own, and DEDXs custom folders all in one place, without having to merge them. You can use this to see which files you will need if you use things from DEDX.

E.g. If you want to use on of DEDX's custom objects in you mission, you could disable your own folders, enable DEDX, examine the it from DromEd and work out which files you think are needed ie which bin, gif(s) etc). Then you could copy these files to your own folders (even though they are still disabled), disable DEDX, re-enable your folders, then create the object in the world (after restarting DromEd of course). Then you can check for missing textures etc.

Sorry if it's a bit long :D

Any questions?

19th Feb 2003, 05:43
I just have 2 completely separate Thief 2 installations on different partitions of my hard drive - One for my own Dromeding and one for playing FMs and such. :)

19th Feb 2003, 15:38
I don't have a huge amount of space.

Isn't T2 a 1gig folder? My method only adds less than 1MB of non-essential stuff. Having three installs would add an extra 2GIG!