Morrowind Tutorials (Part One) – Standard Installation Tutorial (For Mods)


I am a heavy Morrowind player, and I enjoy using a variety of mods. I have a general installation setup that I try to use every single time I play the game. I am going to give you a very detailed run down of the entire structure that I use.  I am going to assume you have the game of the year edition. I am going to walk you through installation, morrowind code patch usage, no-cd crack (legal purposes only), and finally setting up the editor and doing installing some of the “Must Have” mods.  This is going to be the first, of potentially a series of Morrowind blog posts.  I intend to go into some detail about a variety of the mods that I use, in several posts.  This one will just cover the basic Morrowind setup that I walk through every single time I play this game.  Generally when I walk away from the game awhile, and come back I follow these same steps for my installation every single time.

I have a variety of things I want to share. First off, I want to focus on just the basics.  This Blog Post is going to cover basic installation, and all of the setup for the utilities that I generally use for everything.  This covers pretty much the entire setup that I make sure I have every single time I play Morrowind.

Step One Game Installation

Install Morrowind (It’ll also prompt to install TES Construction Set and you need this for modding), Tribunal, and then Bloodmoon in that order.  If you DO NOT have the Game Of The Year Edition, then go to http://www.theelderscrolls.com and download the latest patch. If you do have the Game Of The Year Edition, then do not download it (it can corrupt your game). The GOTY Edition comes with that patch already included. Here is how you can test this out.  Open the launcher, and click Data Files. Make sure all files are checked, and then go back and click “Play”.  Then let it load to the title screen. This verifies 2 things. First off, if it throws any errors at this point, then something is wrong with your game. Perform the re-installation from scratch. If you get to the title screen with no errors, make sure it says version 1.6 something at the bottom left hand corner of the screen. If you get to the title screen and see that version number, and did not get any errors then to this point, you have a good solid install. If not, then you need the patch, as mentioned previously.

Note: Through a lot of trial and error, and a lot of community feedback, I have learned a valuable lesson. Always install Morrowind into the root C directory of your hard drive.  Normally, depending on your version of Windows, it installs into C:/Program Files/Bethesda/Morrowind or something to that affect. You want to navigate to the C:/ directory.  From there you’ll want to type the name of the game after that. So the final destination path should be “C:/Morrowind”.  After that any subsequent official utilities will install to that same directory.  This means that the TES Construction Set, Tribunal, and Bloodmoon will all Auto-Detect the install directory using the registry.    If you have a dual hard drive then it shouldn’t be a problem to install it in another hard drive. The reason they say to install it into the root is because their are a lot of permission issues with certain versions of windows. It’s just cleaner and easier to modify when installed in the root c drive.

Step Two: Vanilla Backup

This is very important. As of right now, your Morrowind folder is in it’s base unmodified state. You have not Modified any files, you have not done any patching to the EXE file, you have not installed any programs. This is your base virgin install for Morrowind. At this point you need to take the entire Morrowind folder and back it up somewhere.  If you ever need to restore, or do a “Fresh” install, then all you have to do is delete your Morrowind folder and restore your backup save.  This is a technique I have just recently learned (thanks to someone from the Bethesda official forums) but it is a good technique, and one that I intend to use regularly.  Also, if you get to a “Milestone” with mods eventually and want to make a backup (for example if you have downloaded a lot, debugged a lot, learned a lot, fixed load order issues, put in patches, and just literally spent 20-30 hours perfecting your install) then you can do the same type of backup. From that back up moment the game will be saved.  A great technique for preventing yourself great deals of stress later on down the road.  Also prevents you from having to do a fresh install…just delete the main Morrowind folder, and replace it with a backup you have made.

Step Three: EXE Patching

I normally start of by applying two EXE Patches.  These patches actually modify the core Morrowind EXE file with changes they cannot be accomplished otherwise.  The first patch is the Morrowind Code Patch, which I will explain shortly. The other is the No-CD Patch.  I apply No-CD Patches to any PC games I play. Note, that it is not illegal as long as you own a physical copy of the game. So… if you do not have a copy of the game, then do so at your own risk.  The reason I use them is to make it easier to switch between PC games since I play a lot of different games.  This also makes Modding a great deal easier, for various reasons.

So let’s first download and install the Morrowind Code Patch. This patch will modify the core .exe file for Morrowind with fixes and alterations that cannot be done by any other means.  I recently had to rewrite this section, because since the last time I played they released several new versions of the Morrowind Code Patch, each with new features that I had to research.  The patch can be downloaded here: http://morrowind.nexusmods.com/mods/19510 You have to register for an account (or login to an existing one) in order to be able to download the patch.  If you wish, read through the notes, readme, and comments as much as you would like to get a feel for what you are downloading.

The core purpose behind this patch is to fix a lot of core bugs in the game, as well as make some major adjustments that should have been done to begin with. Several of the options that “I” enable are done so, to make modding easier and more enjoyable.  Once the file is downloaded (You only need the main download, not anything optional), unzip it somewhere. Also note, if you have issues downloading it off one of the listed servers, then simply go back and try on another one. Some of them are down from time to time.  Somewhere in an empty folder or something.  Once unzipped, delete the original zip file. Then delete the Data Files folder, you really don’t need that for anything, it just takes up unnecessary space. All the Data Files folder is for, is to test out the various features of the EXE Patching. If you do not know much about what you are doing, then your wasting your time with it at this point anyway.

Once your done with that, copy/paste everything that is left into your Morrowind root installation folder.  Then double click on “Morrowind Code Patch.exe”.  Note, for this to work currently you have to have the Morrowind CD in the disk drive, or it can’t access/write over the original EXE file. It will just throw an error about no CD found.  At this point a screen will come up asking you what patches you want to apply. There are a lot here. If you want some outside of what I recommend be my guest, but do so at your own risk.  Below is a list of all the patches that I implemented using this code patch. If you want to implement ones that I have not listed, you are more than welcome.  I also list the reasons why I have enabled the ones that I enabled.

Graphics Changes

* Rain/Snow Collision – (In order for this to work, you need to open the Morrowind INI file and adjust the values that it describes in the patch description.  This isn’t very hard. Just open the Morrowind INI file, and change the values that it tells you to change.  Very simple).
* Bump/Reflect map local lighting – This is a small bug fix when dealing with modded items.

Game Mechanic Changes

* Toggle Sneak – I would rather it be toggle, than hold.
* Swift Casting – Believe me, it’s worth it.  You can read more about this here: http://forums.uesp.net/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=23060
* Pickpocket Overhaul – Major improvements over the original system.
* Alchemy Potion Weight Rebalance – Makes the balancing of the potion weight much more realistic, and fixes a bug in the Core Exe file pertaining to this.
* Item Recharging Rebalance – Makes recharging items…much more realistic, and fair.
* Soulgem Value Rebalance – Re-balances how much filled soul gems are worth. Much better than the original, and more realistic.
* Enchanting Increases Item Value – When you enchant items, it increases their value. Much more realistic.
* On Use ring Extra Slot – Allows you to have two rings that do constant affect, and still equip a third that has an on-use feature.  Keeps it from unequiping your constant affect rings all the time. Very useful. Bethesda should have done it this way to begin with.
* Fortify Maximum Health – Fixes a partially broken mechanic.
* Spellmaking Max Magnitude Increased – Extremely useful. Makes Enchanting so much more fun.
* Spellmaker/Enchant Multiple Affects – Very useful.
* Detect Life Spell Variant – Seems more realistic for it to work on everything.

Mod Related Features

* Improved Animation Support

Interface Changes

* Map Expansion (For Tamriel Rebuilt – This is just a map fixer.  They have a mod out that is gigantic, and this patch helps making playing with that mod a little easier. I will explain about this, and other mods in a future blog posts).
* Display More Accurate Item Weight
* Everything under the “Bug Fixes” at the bottom.

When your done selecting what you want, then click “Apply Chosen Patches” and now your done.  Close it down, and your .exe file has been properly modified. It also makes a backup file, which is useful if you want to roll back and experiment with some.  So keep that original in there as well. Note if you roll back (uninstall) back to the original, you’ll still need to install the NoCD Patch again after your done.

If you want the noCD Patch then go here” http://www.gameburnworld.com/dl/dl.php?file=MorrowindGameOfTheYearv1.6.1820NoCDPatchEng.zip Unzip it and delete the blk files, then move everything else to your Morrowind install folder, then run the exe file. It’ll patch, and your done.  Note, if you ever want to re-patch something different in the Morrowind Code Patch..then just restore the original backup it made, re-run the Morrowind Code Patch with your chosen patches, and then re-run the NoCD Patch. That’s it. Last I checked, this install of it has no viruses.  Be ware if you get it from anywhere else, or run some other No-CD Patch. Again, it’s illegal to use this if you don’t have a copy of the game.

Note, for this to work you also need to insert your Morrowind CD and copy the entire Video folder from the CD to the install directory.

The Morrowind.exe should now be patched (both with the Morrowind Code Patch changes, and the NoCD Crack.  Now take out the CD. Try a test run in the game. If you get to the title screen with no errors, and it shows MCP 2.0 at the bottom left hand corner, then your installation to this point, is solid and error free..

If you get errors at this stage, uninstall the entire game, remove the entire Morrowind folder, run a register cleaner and start all the way over from step one. That is going to be the only way to resolve the issue, because chances are something along the line messed up.  A fresh restart is the only way to guarantee first it was not human error, from there…not much I can tell you without knowing more about your specific situation. Should you need further assistance at this stage, then post in the comments and i’ll answer individual situations the best that I can.

Step Five: Recap and Backup


Make another backup right now at this point.

Alright, now let’s assume for a minute you did everything above, as instructed. Then you do something later and mess up the install completely. Bad mods, or whatever. So your mad thinking you have to redo everything. Well…not really. This is all you need to do.

Restore your last backup.  That’s it. Then your right back at THIS point in my explanation with no issues.  All mods gone (yes) but total fresh install without starting the ENTIRE thing over again.

Assume now you just want to redo the MCP (Morrowind Code Patch) with different options. Easy.

1. Delete Morrowind.exe
2. Rename Morrowind.Original.exe to Morrowind.exe.
3. Run the MCP again (and apply the patches of your choice).
4. Run the NoCD Patch again (TRASDs_Morrowind_Patch.exe) and that is it. Your done.

My main purpose of getting you to this point, is so you had a solid install and didn’t have to fresh install every time something goes wrong (and if you get serious about modding..then things WILL go wrong).

Step four: Last minute details, and some last minute utilities

Now we are moving onto some more advanced applications. It’s very important you read these following sections very carefully, and really know what you are doing. As these are a lot more difficult to implement then anything I have mentioned above.  If you just want to “play” now..and your not interested in mods, and you want to come back to this…the now is the time. You have a perfect install setup to either play the game as is, or have a chance to mod and install mods later if you decide to.  SO if you want to play some before installing mods, then now is the time. Go play your heart out, and come back here if/when you decide to download/install/configure mods, or mod yourself.

OK so let’s get started on downloading the third party utilities, one at a time in order of importance.  Again these are only needed if you are going to be downloading and using mods (especially semi-advanced ones) and/or creating mods yourself as well.

Wrye Mash

The first utility we are going to install is Wrye Mash. It’ll be the main utility used in managing mods. There are however a few dependencies as well.  There are two ways to go about installing this. The first is to install the original application Wrye Mash. This requires several dependencies and is fairly technical.  The second option is to download a self contained EXE install file, that combines the original app, along with the necessary third party dependencies.

The stand alone application can be found here: http://www.fliggerty.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=53&p=63053#p63053

The alternative details can be found here: http://wryemusings.com/Wrye%20Mash.html
However, I found this site to have a better explanation: http://morrowind.nexusmods.com/mods/27588
Specifically looking at the following comment:


FWIW, here’s how I installed this:

  1. Python
  2. wxPython
  3. comtypes

Those are the latest versions of the prerequisites. Then it was a matter of unpacking the zip in the right place, and changing the lnk to work with Python27 rather than Python25.

I use to do this, but since I have learnt a lot about modding….I find the stand alone has all the same functions and an additional tab that handles executable files as well,  also it does not have any new errors that weren’t already present in the original app…so you lose nothing from trying to use the executable, except ease of use, and a much cleaner install (instead of having to install python, pythonx, and the app) you just install the app and the rest is bundled in the executable.

First i’ll explain how to install the stand alone version.  Download it, run the installer and place it app inside the Morrowind install directory.  Then go open the app and specify the Morrowind install location.

In regards to doing it the hard way, i’ll just leave my original old explanation in tact below in quotes,


The first utility is Wrye Mash.  I use to install this the hard way.  I would go here: http://wryemusings.com/Wrye%20Mash.html download and install it.  I would also have to install Python and various libraries and frameworks for it. Essentially I had to install 2-3 applications and systems on my computer for me to use it.

It’s very simple. Installed Python and Python WX.  You can find the download links on the Wrye Mash website.  After those are installed just copy the entire MOPY folder (only) into your Morrowind installing directory.  That’s it, it’s installed.

Now picking up from there, whichever you choose..let’s talk about some issues it has with Mods. Once the app is installed, all mods that you are going to want to install, go into the “Morrowind/Installers” folder.  There are a few bugs associated with Wrye Mash when it comes to installers.

Essentially there are several ways to install Mods with Wrye Mash.  I personally, only use Zip files. I’ll take the mod, and “prepare” it, then i’ll zip it up and name it what I want the mod to be named inside Wrye Mash (useful if you want several versions of a mod to enable/disable as you please). Then i’ll load the zip file(s) in the installers folder that I explained above. What I mean by Prepare is…I’ll load any read me’s into a specific read me folder, among other things to make it a cleaner install, and help prevent files being all over the place on a specifically nasty installation. That also makes it easier to thoroughly remove mods that I am done with, or don’t need anymore. That’s it.  Any other”information” about Mods will be saved for another blog post. Just keep in mind that you download your mods, and the final result is to have the zip file in the installers folder. Alternatively, most mods come zipped. So if you want to make it easier, just install them straight after downloaded by throwing the zip files into the proper folder. This is a little risky and messier, but definitely will get you by with most mods.

If the mods have special characters in the file names, or if any of the files are read only then it’ll have a had time installing them.  These are situations that require you to break open the zip file and adjust what is needed to make it work. I’ll go into much more detail pertaining to installing mods in another blog post at some time in the future.

MLox

The next utility we want to get is MLox.  You can download the latest version from here: http://code.google.com/p/mlox/wiki/Mlox

This is pretty easy. Just download “mlox-exe-0.57.7z“.  Unzip it, and put the entire folder in the base Morrowind install. The folder will be “mlox”. Then download mlox-data_2012-10-21.7z and put that in the mlox folder as well. That’s it. We don’t need to run this program right now, it’s for later.  To make a longer story short…as modules are installed they will, by default, overwrite exising modules. So the last modules to load take precedence.  As you can see, this can cause issues.  So this program rewrites the “order” in which they are loaded (called Load Order) in a way that is most likely to have issues with overwriting.  It has a pre-defined list tha tis prepared by the community, and uses that to sort all installed mods into the most “compatible” load order possible. It doesn’t support every mod in existence, but most of the ones that would be considered important. This is something you’ll use later when you get several mods installed and are ready to play the game.  This will help keep your install cleaner, and easier to use.  Load order can also be managed with Wrye Mash but this program does it automatically…and much better by using the load text file.

TesTool

TesTool is the next utility you want to install.  It’s critical for modding.  It has several uses. First off, it allows you to merge mods. For example..if you have several mods that generally work together, you might want to load them into one file..makes it much cleaner to have less mods installed. Not recommended unless you know what your doing.

So just download the files here: http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=utilities.detail&id=34 and unzip it into the Morrowind Install folder, and your done.  We’ll come back to using this later, as needed for mods.

BSA Reg

Useful to get now, but you won’t need it except on certain mods. It’s still good to have, in case you need it.  Just download the file from here: http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Utilities.Detail&id=29 and move it into the base Morrowind install location. That’s it. When your ready to run it, you’ll just run the EXE file.

Now, to give you a brief rundown.  Sometimes mods will have a lot of files that are required. In some situation, they will wrap these files into larger BSA files.  Most of the time they do this with things like skins, Meshes, and several other types of heavy files. Morrowind has a built in system that allows it to register what is called a BSA file (large collection of files).  So on these mods that come with these types of files, they’ll be installed into the mod folder. The game will read the mod but can’t find the files, as all BSA files that are needed have to be loaded into the ini file. What this BSA program does is scan your mod folder for any BSA and compares them to what is currently registered in the INI file.  If any are in the mod folder but aren’t registered, then it registers them. Likewise if it see’s a BSA registered that isn’t in the INI file then it removes them from registration (so Morrowind won’t throw errors on start up). It’s just a light weight and easy to use tool that makes a normally manual process, automatic and very easy to do.

Morrowind Script Extender

The next (and currently final) utility that I use is called the Morrowind Script Extender.  I get this for several reasons.  First off, it extends the scripting functionality of the original game.  This gives you access to some mods that you normally would not have access to. There are many very popular community mods that require additional scripting beyond what Morrowind allows.  So this script extender just extends the base game with several scripting options and gives players access to a wider array of community  mods.

The next and final utility that I always use is the Morrowind Script Extender.  As of this writing the current version is 0.9.4a.  It took me forever to hunt down the real version. The main links on Google bring you to the standard 0.9.4.  However when you download it you want to make sure the zip is called 0.9.4a because that is the newest release and has a very critical bug fix.

You can get the correct version here:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/mwse/files/Morrowind%20Script%20Extender/Morrowind%20Script%20Extender%200.9.4a/MWSE0.9.4a.zip/download

Download the file, unzip it, copy everything inside the “MWScriptExtender 0.9.4” folder into the Morrowind root directory. Once your done with that, right click on “MWSE Launcher.exe” and click “Send To” -> “Desktop”.  Then go to your Desktop and delete the original Morrowind shortcut, and rename the new one to this, “MWSE Launcher.exe”.

Now let’s test this.  Open that new launcher and click “Launch Morrowind”. It’ll launch the original Morrowind launcher, and then the game.  Which will allow the Script Extender to run in the background. That’s it. Just use that every time you want to play.

So that is it for the generic utilities that I normally download for playing the game.
Update

Step Five: Cleanup And Final Backup

Just note, to keep things cleaner I normally move all the read me files for these apps, and utilities all together in one folder within the Morrowind Install. Generally I call it something like ThirdPartyReadMes so I have them all in one place, then i’ll rename them roughly the same name as the utility/app so they are easy to find when I need them.

This is the most important step.  Right now, at this stage you have successfully gotten together everything you “need” to play morrowind.  Do a complete, and total backup of your entire morrowind folder. If you ever have to revert to your basic (no mod) version, you can just delete the Morrowind folder and paste in your backup.  This is the most recommended step. It will save you hundreds of hours when you get deep into Morrowind modding and gameplay.

Step Six: Optional

A totally optional step, but one I implement.  A long time ago I realized that as a laptop user (only) I had to improvise. I don’t use a desktop. I play all games on my Alienware Laptop (mx17). With that being said…I needed a better control scheme. So I did the following.

1. Went out and bought a Logitech RumblePad controller with a ton of buttons.
2. Went and bought, downloaded, and installed Pinnacle Game Profiler from this website: http://pinnaclegameprofiler.com/ Believe me…I tried every other profiler on the market.
3. Went here and downloaded the profile of my choosing from here: http://pinnaclegameprofiler.com/pc-controller-support/show-all-game-profiles#M

And then setup/configured everything to use a controller.  There is a lot to this and it can get complicated.  You have to buy the profiler, download it, install it, and work your way through their pretty complicated “unlock” process once you get the code.  If there are issues you have to email support and wait for them to sort it out. Then you have to buy the controller, set it all up to work with the profiler and configure the base profiles.  Then you have to find/download the right profile you want for this game (there are 5 on the website) and finding out which one fits best with your play style can take some time. I’m not going to go into any more detail here. If anyone has any issues and wants to ask me in the comments i’ll do what I can. If I find a high demand for additional details then i’ll go into more detail on this section when the time comes. For now, it should be pretty easy to figure out as you go, if you decide to take this route (it was definitely worth it for me).  You can also use a base XBox 360 controller as well, if you want to.  Takes a little more work configuring/setting it up…but it’s manageable.

Going Forward

I have a lot more to blog about pertaining to Morrowind. I’ll end up rewriting and adding to this specific blog post several times as I learn new stuff, and clean up the blog post.  I’ll also end up writing a few follow up blog posts about some of the best mods currently out there. I will be getting a great deal of them downloaded/installed from some of my favorites in the next couple of days, and will write a follow up blog post soon that’ll include a list of some of the best mods that I end up using EVERY time I play, without fail…as well as explanations as to why I use them.

Essentially this is the end of this post.  The only purpose was to walk you through a typical installation that I would do when I play the game. However, this is only half of what I do when I play the game.  The next blog post I create about Morrowind will be a detailed breakdown of all the mods that I use, why, how to install them (step by step guides) and how I make them work well together. I use a great deal of mods..some will be your style, others will not. However what you have now is a base install of Morrowind with everything you need to either play the game, or start grabbing virtually any mods that you want going forward.  

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3 Responses to Morrowind Tutorials (Part One) – Standard Installation Tutorial (For Mods)

  1. curseofnight says:

    I know it’s been a few years since this was posted but….

    Very informative and helpful info. I Just started on my very first playthrough of Morrowind last night, with a couple of small mods, and this post helped me get everything set-up. So thanks! 🙂

  2. ninjakreborn says:

    You’re welcome.

    I will, at some point, write another one that’s more updated. Mods change all the time and I can expand on it.

    I haven’t been writing blog posts for awhile but soon I’ll be writing at least 1-2 blog posts a month to start with and I’ll be focusing on a lot of video game blogging as well. I’m about to start a new playthrough of a few games and will doing a lot more documenting in blogs of some of the stuff I do.

    Morrowind especially, when I start over on it.

    Thanks!

  3. STARk says:

    That no-cd patch don’t work for me,it does nothing.I read the readme and it says that I can put no-cd patch into empty directory and create file named Morrowind.exe. and run it to see what patch writes into Morrowind.exe and that doesn’t work too.

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