Modding Tutorials – Cleaning Mods

For a tutorial on cleaning mods with TES3CMD go here.

For a tutorial on how to install Morrowind mods go here.

The ability and know-how to clean mods is fundamentally important, whether you’re a modder making your first mod or just a player looking to install and play mods, knowing what to look for and how to clean mods is essential to making sure your save-game and other’s save-games remain uncorrupted and pointless conflicts are avoided. There are a number of free utilities to help with cleaning mods, and this tutorial will go over cleaning mods with the Enchanted Editor and TESPCD in particular.

So where do we start? How about why it’s so important to clean mods. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You’d be surprised, things like GMSTs and dirty references can cause game crashes, break quests, corrupt game data, and create unnecessary conflicts with other mods. So yes, it’s very important to check and make sure your mods are clean.

GMSTs:

Now that that’s over with, let’s go over the basics of the cleaning process. The easiest thing to look out for is GMSTs, these are called “Game Settings” and they’re very bad, you don’t want any dirty mods with GMSTs in your save-game. To clean them out is a fairly simple process, and I’ll be using Enchanted Editor in this case to demonstrate how to remove them.

When you load up Enchanted Editor with your mod, all the notable changes are listed by category on the left-hand side. As you can see here, “Game Setting” is circled. You’ll want to select and check-mark the GMSTs and then hit “Delete Marked”. That’ll remove all the GMSTs from your mod, and you can then save the now-clean file. Keep in mind that every time you make any alterations to your mod, it’ll generate new “GMSTs” so you’ll have to go through this cleaning process again.

Dirty References – General:

The next item you have to check for in order to ensure your mod is clean is dirty references. What are they exactly? Dirty references are objects or dialogue from the original game that have been changed by a mod accidently. For example, say a modder changed the object barrel_01 in the editor to include a lute, but did so unwittingly because he added it to a local object not realizing that every instance of that object in the entire game would now contain a lute. This is a dirty reference, the unintended modifying of the games original objects. More often than not, modders will create dirty references when they move objects around in the render-window and then press the ‘save’ button to save the position of the object (this is what you’re supposed to do in Oblivion and Skyrim’s editors), however in Morrowind its unnecessary to do that, and in fact creates a dirty reference.

Now the problem with dirty references, particularly with items and exterior/interior cells, is they create unneeded conflicts with other mods. To clean out these hazardous dirty references, I’d recommend using TESPCD (which I’ll demonstrate below). Now you must be careful when cleaning mods of dirty references, since on occasion, the dirty reference is in fact deliberate and part of the mod’s desired functions. This would still be reported as a dirty reference, but in this case cleaning it would actually be deleting the entire purpose of the mod. Here’s an example.

This is the screen you get when you load up all active mods to TESPCD (active mods being the ones you’re currently using in your save-game, you could also just select each mod individually). To get the list of dirty entries, which you can see in that central list, you’d go to “Operations” and “Check Unclean”. In the list in this example, you can see under “Warnings” the message “Entry Identical to Default Entry” which means that modifications have been made to the game’s original objects. To delete these dirty references, just use “Auto Delete Unclean” under “Operations” and, once that’s done, hit “Save Results”. You have to be careful though, remember to check a mod’s description to see if it’s supposed to alter one of the game’s original objects before cleaning it for dirty references.

Dirty References – Dialogue:

Unlike regular dirty references, dialogue dirty references are pretty much impossible to avoid due to the way the dialogue system in the Construction Set is set up. For example, every time you create a new ‘Greeting’ entry for a specific npc, you also modify the entry below and above that entry, so both become dirty. It becomes essential then that if you have a mod that adds any new dialogue at all, to clean it out. There’s an extra step to removing unclean dialogue in TESPCD, which I’ll show below.

To clean out dirty dialogue entries, you’ll need to go to the “Operations” tab and “Options”. Under “Options” as you can see here, you’ll need to check-mark “Report Dialog Text”. Now when you run the “Auto Delete Unclean” operation, it’ll also clean out all dirty dialogue entries. Make sure after you run this operation to save the results, and you’re done, the mod is completely clean and free of potential dialogue conflicts.

This concludes the tutorial. Remember whether making or playing mods to always clean your mods, whether adding them to your save-game or releasing them for others to download and enjoy. I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful, and good luck with your mod projects!

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