|Outdated Tech: The advice on this page is outdated and/or questionable. See discussion tab for more info.|
This is a newly created elementary guide to first-time modders, who want to release their mod for the world.
- Try to make your mod as clean as possible. Remove any excess content that isn't used by anything. This will make it run faster and is less likely cause problems.
- Test it with plain Oblivion with no other mods running, maximum visual settings and as many possible variations you can think of, and if you find another mod that yours isn't working with, try your best to make it work with everything. If not possible, explain this carefully in the documentation.
- Write good documentation for your mod. Describe what it adds to the game and include clear instructions as to how the user is to activate your mod. Also tell him/her how to uninstall it.
There are two main ways of doing version numbering. Both methods are based on the concept of major, minor and micro changes;
- major changes are non-backwards compatible updates. These are any change that will not work for save games that used the previous version. Users must either start a new game or go through some pain to upgrade their savegames to use the new version. Typically this involves de-installing the previous version, making a new savegame, then installing the new version.
- minor changes are backwards compatible updates that improve or add new functionality. These will work with existing save games without any problems, but include improvements and changes that the user will notice.
- micro changes are updates that only fix bugs or make unnoticeable changes. They do not change the mod in any way from how it should have worked in the last version.
There are two recommended version numbering schemes you can use;
- Use <major>.<minor>.<micro> eg 1.12.3. For each type of change, increment the appropriate number and reset the less significant numbers to zero. A micro update would look like 1.9.2 -> 1.9.3. A minor update would look like 1.9.2 -> 1.10.0. A major update would look like 1.9.2 -> 2.0.0.
- Use <major>.<revision> eg 1.91. For a major update you increment the major number and reset the revision. For minor updates you increment the number to the next 1/10th. For micro updates you increment the number by 1/100th. A micro update would look like 1.32 -> 1.33. A minor update would look like 1.32 -> 1.4. a major update would look like 1.32 -> 2.0
Generally anything with a major version of 0 are considered pre-releases and are expected to be incomplete and possibly buggy. Short of a good enough reason to release such a version, you should finish your mod and release it fully working as major version 1.0.0 or 1.0 and then possibly continue development from there.
Archiving the mod
- USE OBMM to build your mod into an omod, then convert the omod into an archive with omod creation information included. See The Oblivion Mod Manager HowTo for more information. In summary its as easy as;
1. lay out all the files in your mod as they would appear in the Oblivion\Data directory. If you have optional files or alternative files, give them different meaningful names or put them in different sub-directories for now. Do not include anything you would not want installed in Oblivion\Data, in particular no readme files.
2. In OBMM, click on the "Create" button, then the "Add Folder" button, and point it at your folder.
3. Populate the all the fields with meaningful information. Note that you can right-click on an *.esp and "Import mod details" to populate fields with information from the esp.
4. Edit the readme filling it full of useful information and details. There is a readme generator available if you don't know what to put in here.
5. Edit the description and add an image. Note that OBMM will show the mod name and version for you, so the description only needs to contain a paragraph describing the mod.
6. Check the plugins and data files listed that will be included. You can right-click on any file to see a menu of actions, including the option to remove it. You can rename them by clicking on them and editing.
7. Write a script if necessary. OBMM scripting allows you to prompt for information, optionally install and or rename plugins and datafiles, patch other plugins... etc. This is where you can automate the installation of even very complicated mods. Simple mods will not need a script at all.
8. Click on the "Create OMOD" button.
9. In the list of omods, right-click on your new omod and click on "convert to archive"... select where you want it created, say yes to "include omod creation information" and you are done.
Publishing your mod
For anyone to be able to find and then use the mod, you need to make a download available for the distribution archive. If you don't have your own website to offer it, there are a number of free file-servers you can employ. The annoying downside of their service is that most require users to register before they allow downloads.
Furthermore, there is no standard location for publishing mods. TESNexus and ElderScrolls-Oblivion.com are the closest to such, and they allow some files to be downloaded without registration*. You can also use FileFront, which is free. Then you should make people aware of your new mod, adding it to the Oblivion Mod Wiki and possibly onto other sites.
Write a good description of your mod that will make people want to see it and get a realistic picture of what to expect. Include screenshots if applicable. While the online description that would appear on the file server and any modlist entries should not be as detailed as the included documentation, let us know what your mod will do for us specifically.
- *) TESNexus has a two megabyte limit for free downloads, ie. sub-2MB files can be downloaded without registration. The other site linked to should have no restrictions as to date. It may change though because they are expressing capacity problems.