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June 15th, 2007


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03:50 pm - Baldur's Gate Trilogy and stuff ...
So, recently I mentioned I was setting up BGI+ToTSC[1], BGII+ToB[2], using the "Baldur's Gate Trilogy" mod to glue them all togther. Here's far more detail than you probably ever wanted to know about the mods I'm using and how to set them all up ... possibly of interest to lordofthewheel and laurenmitchell (are you still working your way through BG II ?), and ... well, if you read any significant portion of this, comment to let me know, ok ? :-)


Background: There are lots of mods available for the BG series of games, ranging from the essential bugfixes and tweaks, to "mega-mods" designed to introduce whole new areas full of quests and adventures.
I've played BGII(+ToB) a number of times - at least 5 parties through all of BGII, two parties through to the end of ToB too, but I've only tried BG I once and didn't get very far - partly because I played BG II first, and BG I's interface isn't quite as good, plus starting at level 1 is quite tricky after playing the high-powered characters of BG II.
Since then, though, clever people have created mods which convert BG I's content to run in the BG II engine. One is called "BG1tutu", which disables playing of BG II/ToB while playing BG I (BG II can be easily restored, though), and the other is called Baldur's Gate Trilogy, which allows all of BG I & II to be played. These mods allow for a number of improvements to the BG I experience - higher resolutions, better path-finding, TAB key to highlight doors and containers, ability to use BG II kits, etc. I've decided it's time to play BG I through using BGT, and to also install some of the mega-mods in addition to my usual collection. Some of the mods below would be useful even if you've never played a BG game before, some are only recommended once you've played through a reasonable amount of the game, and some are for expert players only, I'll try to explain which and describe why.



Installation

Start with clean installs of BG I and II :
1. Install BG I and Tales of the Sword Coast
a. If you have the original 6-disc set, also install the BG I patch
b. If you have the Original Saga 3-disc set, the patch is already included
2. Install BG II and Throne of Bhaal, then patch 26498 for BG II + ToB
(ToB is required for some of the mods below)

Then for the mods. The general order is BG2_Fixpack first, then the mega-mods, (and I believe any non-tutu/BGT mods for BG I go here).
Install BGT (which converts all of the BGI areas into BGII), then the BGT/tutu-compatible BGI mods.
Finally, install NPCs, other minor quests, and finally any small tweaks.
And then cross fingers and hope it all works !


BG2_Fixpack-v3.exeEssential every time you play, even the first. Squishes dozens if not hundreds of bugs, small and large, in quests, romances, items, spells, etc.
Mega-mods - probably only for use if you've played through the game a few times, and are quite experienced :
SoSv1.11.rar Shadows over Soubar - adds new areas and quests and NPCs and stuff to BG II
TDDv1.11.rar The Darkest Day - more new areas, quests, NPCs to BG II
(NeJ2v691.exe) Never-Ending Journey - adds new areas, based on Icewind Dale I, to BG II - couldn't get this to install, it requires a different fixpack which isn't compatible with some of the other mods. Found out later I could have pochled the install file for it and made it work, but it was too late by then.
Ascension-WeiDU-v1.4.21.exe Modifies the very end of Throne of Bhaal - possibly slightly harder than the standard ending (!)
BGT104_Install.rar Baldur's Gate Trilogy - Converts BG I content and adds it in to your BG II game - good for experienced players, and also people who want to play BG I but are put off by the older interface.
SoBH206Full.rar BG I mod - requires BGT/tutu - adds old AD&D module "L1 - The Secret of Bone Hill" (and most of L2, I believe)
BG1NPC4BGTWeiduv111.rar Updates a number of BG I NPCs - improved dialogues, some mini-quests, etc. Needs BGT/tutu.
BPv177.rar The Big Picture - modifies scripts, spells, and all sorts of bits and pieces to integrate the mega-mods better. I think.
BPv177_TOB_fix.rarBP fix for ToB
BP_s_and_h_Patchv7.zip patch for TBP, probably required.
BP-BGT-Worldmap-v6.5.rar Updated world map - compatible with the mega-mods, and reqired to play them - otherwise some areas may be unreachable
Other major mods
eSeries-v1.8.exe This gives you a set of improved scripts to control your characters.
gMinion-v1.8.exe and this installs improved abilities for summoned monsters
Weimer-TacticsMod-v23.exe Ahhh, Tactics. For experienced players only, and those that like a challenge. There are a few general fixes in here (e.g. a fix called "Slightly smarter mages and liches"), which work roughly as you'd expect. Then there are some fights which are "improved" (generally made more difficult), mainly by making the opponents much smarter and less likely to be defeated by standard "cheesey" tactics. For example, you start BG II in the Dungeon of Jon Irenicus (commonly known by BG players as "Chateau Irenicus" (CI)). In CI, there's a Duergar named Ilyich, who has a few other duergar as backup, mostly low-level fighters, one mage. This group is fairly easy to defeat even playing with a solo character - it might involve resting once or twice to heal/recover spells, but it's manageable. Improved Ilyich - for a start, you can't rest, because you keep getting ambushed by Rune Assasains. Ilyich has a few new friends - like high-level cleric named Zhivago who summons a Fallen Deva, a Neophyte Glabrezu, and a nasty mix of level-12 characters all intent on making your stay short and unpleasant. They can be beaten, but it requires use of everything your party has and clever tactics too - which is the point of this mod, I guess.
1pp-v2.exe Mod by One Pixel Productions, which improves a number of the inventory icons used in the game (bases quite a few of them on either BG I or Icewind Dale versions, I think)
NPCs (all able to join your party)
Weimer-SolaufeinMod-v102.exe Solaufein (a drow fighter/mage in Ust Natha in the Underdark) becomes an NPC who can join your party. Lots of extra dialogue, banter with party NPCs, romance option, and a couple of extra quests.
Weimer-Valen-v45.exe Valen (a vampire fighter/thief in Bodhi's lair) becomes an NPC who can join your party.
tashia205g.zip Tashia, a sorcerer, joinable NPC (with banters/quest/romance options)
KelseySoAKelsey, a sorcerer joinable NPC (with banters/quest/romance options)
KelseyTOBToB component for Kelsey
Tsujathaanother NPC
Saerilethand another
Other small mods - tweaks and improvements of various sorts
BagBonus v1.0.raradds a bag containing some useful items to "Chateau Irenicus".
ImprovedBAMs-v2.exeimproves some of the spell casting animations (borrows from Icewind Dale II)
Oversight-v10.exe Contains fixes to alignments, classes and spells, among other things.
Scriptable_Spells-v1.4.exeupdates spells to be detectable by scripts and more usable in scripts
Sequencer_Memory-v1.2.exeshould allow you to remember what spell strategy you've used when creating sequencers/spell triggers
Weimer-ItemUpgrade-v35.exeGives Cromwell (BG2) and Cespenar (ToB) a whole new list of possible item upgrades, some of which are for simple convenience (e.g. combining Boots of Speed with some of the other types of boots), some are to "beef up" otherwise useless items (e.g. quiver of plenty +1 to +2/+3), and some are to add some new choices to "underrepresented" weapon types (e.g. clubs)
Weimer-Spell50-v6.exeNormally, spell effects are capped at level 20, even if character level is higher. This extends spell effects to level 50 (for players and monsters too - watch out !)
Weimer-Underrep-v5.exeAnother mod introducing "underrepresented" items to the game - in this case a merchant appears with a wide range of daggers, staves, clubs, maces, bastard swords, etc.
PnPCelestials-v4.exeBy the time your characters can summon Devas and Planetars, they tend to be minced by the opposition. This mod toughens them up to make them more like the P'n'P versions.
BG2_Tweaks-v4.exeA whole bunch of useful bits to make the game easier on any play through after the first (and one or two components even for the first), including unlimited item stacking (arrows, potions, scrolls, gems), and the most important - Shut Up "You Must Gather Your Party Before Going Forth" !
Setup_BG2SoAItemImportMod_v2.rarAllows you to bring some items from BG I into BG II.
SetupGUI.exe (from BGT) Updates the GUI and fixes the songlist.2da file to use BG I music.




[1] BG I = Baldur's Gate I, ToTSC = Tales of the Sword Coast
[2] BG II = Baldur's Gate II : Shadows of Amn, ToB = Baldur's Gate II : Throne of Bhaal


In summary / disclaimer : These are the mods I'm using in my current game, however there's no guarantee that some combination of mods here doesn't clash in some way which will mess up the game later on. There are quite a lot of other mods I could have chosen, but it is a bit of a headache trying to find out which mods are compatible with each other (in general, mods which install using "Weidu" will be mostly compatible, because Weidu can be set up to patch/edit files rather than replacing them - but it needs a certain amount of care on the part of mod makers, and if two mods are modifying the same character or location, clashes can still occur).
Hopefully this will be useful to someone !
Current Mood: geekyVery, very geeky.
Tags:

(8 touches | En garde !)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:reverancepavane
Date:June 15th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks. This will be most useful. I've got the complete set waiting for install the next time I feel bored (having only played BGI before).

Then again, I much prefer tabletop/face-to-face role-playing. Actually, come to think of it, I probably most prefer fiddling with the game system, closely followed with world design.

[User Picture]
From:notalwaysweak
Date:June 16th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'm still struggling with the epic quest of trying to get the fucking thing to install properly, but I'm bookmarking this page so that when I do, I can make things interesting.
[User Picture]
From:neo_leviathan
Date:June 16th, 2007 04:51 am (UTC)
(Link)
Some of these mods I've used, the majority I havn't, either because I was worried that they'd screw with bits of the storyline, or becuse they weren't compatible at the time with mods I wanted to use.

What could you have done to make Never-Ending Journey work? (in step by step format :) ), and whats with SetupGUI.exe (from BGT)? Just run that after you've finished all mods?

As for Ascention, you really dont get the proper experience without it. The ending is certainly harder, but makes a *lot* more sense and is more fun.
[User Picture]
From:davidcook
Date:June 18th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm not actually sure how I'd have got NEJ installed/working. I think it would involve editing the file "Setup-NeJ2v691.tp2", and changing or removing this line :
REQUIRE_FILE ~override/AR0702.BCS~ ~Please install Baldurdash-WeiDU v1.6.~

I'd have to Google around and read the forums to find out.
However, I didn't look into it at the time, so it'd be quite tricky now, especially since I'm well in to the BG I game ... maybe for next time :-)
(actually, I think it'll be fairly easy - when you uninstall a mod using Weidu, I think it uninstalls everything installed after that mod too - so I could uninstall whatever came after the point where NEJ was supposed to go, install/fix NEJ, then reinstall everything else ... Hmmm.)

As for SetupGUI.exe, yes, just run it after everything else, even though it comes as part of BGT.
[User Picture]
From:xanni_au
Date:June 17th, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks, this is actually incredibly useful. I'm still working my way through BG I + ToTSC using Cedega (AKA WINE) on Linux. Yes, it's the same game I started when I first bought them retail - I got distracted by a number of other games including Wizardry 8 and Neverwinter Nights! I'm hoping to get to BG II soon, and always wondered about trying Tutu or Trilogy. "Planescape: Torment" also beckons...
[User Picture]
From:davidcook
Date:June 18th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hmmm, let me know if BG II works in Cedega for you. I managed to install it under plain Wine (0.9.33, on Ubuntu 7.04), but it crashed out soon after starting. Since I have XP around anyway, I just went with installing and playing there ...

(and this will be the first time I'll finish BG I, I started it once before but didn't get very far, and I've had it around for a few years now too ... )
[User Picture]
From:lordofthewheel
Date:July 29th, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hello there. Guess what, I'm just getting around to playing around with this, however there is one thing I don't understand. Well, most of it to be completely honest. Now, please excuse my extreme lack of computer l33tness at this point, but I don't understand how to get these downloads to work in-game.

I can click on your link type things, save to disk, and then I end up, when it has downloaded, with a .rar or somesuch on my desktop. What exactly do I then do with this thing to actually get it to make any difference in the game?

Sorry that this is almost certainly a really really rudimentary thing I am missing, but I am not really good with downloading stuffs from internets and so have not really had any XP with it...
[User Picture]
From:davidcook
Date:August 3rd, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hi :-)

Ok, once you've downloaded the file, there are a couple of steps (this applies for just about anything with "Weidu" in the name) :

1. Extract the .rar file (or .zip file or whatever type it is). You'll need to have WinRAR or some other handy archiving program installed to do that (most of them come with free trial versions). Make sure the destination folder is the same place you installed BGII to - e.g. if you installed to C:\Program Files\Bioware\Baldur's Gate II, then make sure you select that folder as the target for the extraction.

2. For most mods, this will create three new things under your main BG II folder :
a. A file named setup-modname.exe
b. A file named setup-modname.tp2
c. And a folder, probably named after the mod

3. Run the setup-modname.exe.
Sometimes a window will pop up and disappear quickly again - if that happens, run it again (see footnote [1]).
Otherwise, you should get a brief description of the mod, and usually some choices about which components you want to install. There's usually a README file somewhere (usually in the mod folder as in item c. above) which details what the components are, so you might want to read that first.

And that should be it, mod installed, and will be available in your next game (mod effects on games you've already started might be somewhat unpredictable, especially if they affect areas you've already visited, so it's best to install mods first, then start a new game).


[1] Weidu is fairly clever - each setup-modname.exe is just a copy of the main "weidu.exe" file - in fact, you can download the latest weidu.exe from weidu.org and copy it to one of those files to make sure you have the latest version. Or, you can copy weidu.exe to your BGII install folder, then any time you run one of the setup-modname.exe files, it automatically looks for the latest version of the .exe in that folder, and copies it to the setup file you're running. Unfortunately, under Windows, you then have to run the program again to run the new version.

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