BAIN an understanding
NOTE I take no credit for any information linked here. The information provided is Psymon's work. I found it very useful and share it when others need guidance. This was originally a reply to some BAIN questions. I saved it here for my personal reference.
Please read over this post first I'm just going to give you an overview of what's possible. Then go back and check out the links for the in-depth information to cover all of the bases. At the bottom of this post I have a few screens of my Installation order for visual reference if you need it at any time.
Some archives are already BAIN-ready. You'll see numbered folders in the Wrye Bash installers tab for properly setup archives. Such as 00 Core 10 Add ons etc... Just because an archive is recognized doesn't mean it's fully BAIN ready. Proper archives allow total control of the install, instead of installing in bulk. Only a handful of mods are properly archived.AWLS and Better Cities are excellent examples of complex BAIN archives.All Natural is another complex archive, just less complex.
A simple BAIN archive is any archive that doesn't have sub directories. All files are at the top level. By top level that means they go directly into the Data folder. Meshes, Textures, Sounds, etc. Simple packages have Black text, Complex have Blue. There are various other colors and such, check the footnote.
This thread should answer most if not all of your questions BAIN.
This thread will show you many examples of complex BAIN packages.
Love me some BAIN
I currently have almost all of my mods in BAIN ready format. It makes installation and removal a breeze. BAIN also allows for much greater customization for overrides. This comes in very handy when you want to mix and match texture packs. Instead of one texture pack, the last installed, dominating any previously installed textures you can pick and choose what will be conflict winners or conflict losers. i.e. Conflict winners is the end result, what you see in game. You also have an installation order much like a load order. You can drag packages around to modify your order. But simply dragging them around doesn't mean the changes immediately take effect. You can have 'Underrides' allowing files lower in order to take precedence over later ordered mods. You have to Anneal the package to correct this, IF you don't want the underride to hold. Anneal: Will "anneal" the selected file(s). This will install any missing files and correct any install order errors (aka "underrides"). Remember it's not necessarily an error, you can choose to underride for various reasons to achieve your desired end result.
BAIN also allows you to "rewind" installations. What I mean by this is if you install two mods that share identical files, such as textures or menus, etc.., when you uninstall the conflict winner it will "rewind", making the previously installed conflict loser once again active, instead of just deleting the file and then you have a missing file for what was once the conflict loser. So now you have uninstalled a mod and the other mod sharing that same file space has now been Annealed, put back. So that mod works 100% as it was intended. Again this is great for trying out different texture pack combination. I currently have about 10-12 different texture packs for various in game models and all of them are mixed and matched as I choose. And I can change this with a few clicks in a matter of minutes before loading my game. Want to run QTP3 with one character but use Bomret's and Koldorn's, maybe Amp's Caves for another? No problem. Make a few clicks, change the order around and do some Annealing. BAM. A few minutes later you have a completely different set of textures and you're back in game. Great huh? ;D
I've only scratched the surface, well maybe a little more. But the links I provided you are VERY in-depth and do a much better job at explaining this than I can. I just wanted to try and give you an idea of what can be done. I know this all sounds a little complicated but really it's so simple. It's just putting check marks in boxes and clicking Install, Uninstall, Anneal, and a few other options like Install Last. That's a good one. Automatically puts the mod at the very end, overriding any other mod. Then you can drag it in place to group it with other similar mods to keep it organized and the changes are still in effect. I'll link a picture or two so you can see my setup, maybe it will help to visualize it. You'll love BAIN once you get going, it blows OMODs out of the water. I don't know how I got by without it. Go ahead, hop on the bandowagon and get out of the stone age known as OBMM. Well I keep OBMM for one reason, creating and extracting BSAs, that's it. It does this well.
Oh I almost forgot to use OMODs, it's best just to extract them with OBMM. This puts them in their respective folders; meshes, textures, etc.. Then you can create and name your directories for BAIN structure. So yeah I use OBMM for 2 things, both involve extraction though.
Install Order and custom categories on left - General Tab selected on right.
BAIN Complex - DarkUI DarN Extreme selected
Conflicts Tab - Notice Higher and Lower conflicts. Winners and Losers, respectively. Unless Underriden.
Underrides - UOP selected in Installation Order (Left) - Notice one underride. This file is seen in game, the conflict winner, even though it's the first package in the Installation Order. A desired Underride.
Right Click Menu - This contains various options for Installation and Removal, Annealing, Create, etc...