So I've been playing quite a bit of TSL again after the steam version got it's widescreen update, and as a consequence have been downloading a whole host of mods both from here and from the Workshop: Which brought me to an interesting idea using the workshop. I've seen that because there is a lack of merging support in the functionality of the steam workshop, much of the mod content requires merging is unlikely to find it's way onto the workshop. I've also noticed that steam doesn't modify the game files in anyway when installing mods, rather opting to 'mod' the game at runtime. This is a novel idea which keeps the game files clean and mods easy to uninstall/delete. Steam also doesn't seem to automatically delete the files of unsubscribed mods, when unsubscribing, rather leaving them in the workshop content directory. (Atleast this has been the case as far as I have seen) Additionally steam doesn't verify the content of these folders unless there is an update (in my week or so of testing it atleast) , which means you could change the content of the folders, and they stay that way.
So TSLpatcher's primary feature would be merging, something the workshop clearly lacks. My idea involves treating a subscribed mod directory as a 'main' game directory. At the moment I copy over much of TSL's game content to one of my mod folders. (I've made a custom 'mod' for this purpose, which is pretty much just the empty game folder structure) Then install any mods I'd like to try out/use into the folder. The needed merges happen, and the game files are swapped for the modded ones at runtime.
My current method is a bit ham-handed so I'd like some experienced opinions on the topic of what the most commonly altered files are. Because currently the idea involves having two copies of TSL, or taking a look at the altered files in each mod. The functionality reminds me of Mod Orgainizer for Skyrim actually.But I've a feeling that there is no real answer to which files to include: it depends on the mod. Maybe I should just keep a list of what is overwritten in each mod somewhere?
For this to be viable with mutliple mods I'm going to have to figure out how and where steam stores the list of subscribed mods for each game. (if I can figure it out I might write a small app to change between 'game states', without the need for symbolic workshop links online - which probably isn't going to happen because I have a feeling it's stored in userdata) The order which Steam loads the mods is also a problem, but so far it's been loading my TSLRCM before my custom mod. But otherwise it works fine, and it keeps my base game, TSLRCM and 'other' mods seperate, so if I need to get past points due to mods conflicting with TSLRCM, I should be able to swap out the subscription. That is, unless the save is screwed up by it.
EDIT: Maybe can figure out something on a per mod basis from the changes.ini
Also Steam doesn't work the way you say it does. Unsubscribing DOES indeed clean out the folder, only files that weren't part of the mod remain. For example if I unsubscribe to TSLRCM right now, only my Whereami armband files will remain in the Workshop folder, all else will be gone.
Workshop deletes files which are specified in the mod, it does not delete folders though, if files not specified by the depotcache manifest (I believe) are present, then it leaves the folder intact and removes specific files.
Edited by M3ales, 08 January 2016 - 02:31 PM.