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Author Topic: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file  (Read 5835 times)

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Offline cefien

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Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« on: October 24, 2012, 11:54:30 PM »
ok, this Datpacking thing got me confused, cause this is my first time using this....here's my description and questions...
after installing and when i read the readme file....it said something about compressed (packed files) and uncompresed (unpacked files) will cause issue in the SC4 loading order game. in other words, i have to compress all my subfolders within my plugins to avoid this. True??
BUT.....after reading the thread, and almost all comments, i discovered that some of the people choose not to compress some files, in this case the NAM file.....wait what??? What about the compress and uncompress issues above??   ()what()

Offline whatevermind

Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 06:28:07 PM »
It's all a bit complicated, but essentially loading order boils down to alphabetical order, I think subfolders first, loading the contents in each subfolder before moving on to the next one, and finally loose files in the root Plugins folder. Or something along those lines - there's a few threads here that dig into the topic much deeper if you do a search.

What it essentially means though is that by datpacking all these files and folders into one (or several) larger files, you could change the loading order of your plugins. Loading order is only important to a few very specific plugins - most of them it doesn't matter what order they get loaded in.

The bigger concern, and the one people are referring to when they choose to leave NAM, for example, out of the datpack is that once files are datpacked, they can't easily be extracted back out or updated without some higher technical skills. So, for something such as NAM, which frequently updates, you want to leave it loose so that when you run the NAM installer, it takes care of replacing the old files and you don't get out of date.  This is also why it is recommended to keep a separate copy of your plugins as loose files somewhere (outside your Plugins folders), just in case you need to replace/remove files you previously datpacked. This way you can simply delete your datpack, make whatever changes you need to, and then redatpack your plugins using the backup copies of them.

Generally, if you have plugins that you know have to be loaded last, or that you want to keep loose (i.e. NAM), you can just skip over datpacking them. Then your plugins folder is a mix of your datpacks and those files that you wanted to keep separate. You can also always rename your datpacks, or stick them in/out of subfolders to change the order they load in if you think it might be causing conflicts with loose plugin files.

The important thing is to always keep a backup of your plugins, because if your datpack does get buggy or changes your load order in a way that actually matters - you'll probably have to delete your datpack to fix it, which would mean losing all your plugins if you didn't make backups first.

Offline jmyers2043

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Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 08:36:44 PM »

The important thing is to always keep a backup of your plugins, .

Whatevermind just provided the best advice, ever  ;) 

Datpacking is a way of combining and compressing hundreds of separate files into a larger file. This speeds up the games loading time because the hard drive does not have to seek back and forth as much. 

I have four compressed files. Compressed_Farms, Compressed_NAM, Compressed_CAMFiles, and Compressed_AllOther ... leaving the ZZZ folders unpacked. My NAM folder may have 20 or 25 files at the most so it is probably not necessary for me to pack it but what the heck, I only update or change it once a year. I often modify, change, re-lot, and 'improve' my game. So I move files into or out of my plugins all the time. DatPacking is a godsend in that regard.

- Jim




« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 08:38:46 PM by jmyers2043 »
Jim Myers  (5th member of SC4 Devotion)

Offline cefien

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Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 05:08:33 AM »
Alright, i get it,...so i decided only packed my lots files....but not the mods and textures that required updating...including NAM....but now i got a new problem, that my game crushed to desktop during the loading time....no matter it is an existing cities or even new city....  :o
What happen...???:bomb:

Offline vortext

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Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 05:54:37 AM »
As for crahsing during start up, there's either a conflict somewhere or maybe the terrain textures are missing.

Also, the loading order for plugins is quite intricate, if you want to know the nitty gritty details, download Rivit's SC4DataNode, it allows you to see the exact loading order and the read-me has all the details on what comes first.

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Offline Swordmaster

Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 05:57:23 AM »
What happen...???:bomb:

Anything, really. I remember having this, too, years ago. Datpacking files, then getting errors. Try packing the files again, maybe something went wrong during the process. If not, you may have missed some files somewhere.

I haven't done large-scaling datpacking in a long time. It seems sometimes, loading times increase when I do it. Instead, I just pack certain sets of lots/props, to keep them together, and easily move them in and out of plugins.


Cheers
Willy

Offline cefien

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Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2012, 10:04:34 AM »
Thanks for all information....i dont know if this is the cause of crashing or what,..but i got some kind like error message while in the datpacking process, but it didn't actually stop the process, so i continued to let the process run until it's done...and so when i started the city, it crashed....  &mmm
is there any specific explanation of this crash issue... ??? or maybe that error message was the cause... ??
Note: the error message appeared when datpacking some of my subfolder.

Offline jmyers2043

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Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2012, 07:18:18 PM »
Well, if one loads a terrain mod but not the terrain textures, the game will crash immediately. If there are two tree controllers the game will crash. You can have one but not two. That is the sort of thing I'd be looking for.

- Jim
Jim Myers  (5th member of SC4 Devotion)

Offline cefien

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Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2012, 09:13:13 PM »
I got it.....
so what about the error messages i've mentioned before....? did that cause anything harm to my plugins...?

Offline cefien

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Re: Question about SC4 loading order game in the readme file
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2012, 10:29:30 PM »
Hmmmm...i dont understand....i repeated the process....i've only datpacked the lots files and i didn't even touch the texture and mod files, but my game still crushed to the desktop...what could be wrong..?  :bomb: