Installing Dragon Age mods

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Editorial

This Guide should cover the basic questions of how to get a Mod to work with your Vanilla Dragon Age game, how to update it and how to uninstall it propper. Its quite basic information, but everyone has to start somewhere, thats what this Guide is for. Read it and maybe you learn something new even if you think you know how to do that already =)

Normally every Mod should have a Readme or Information posted how to make it work with your Game, but some dont, and when you are new to this kind of thing then you might not know what to do with those files you can download here. I can only cover the things i know, and i am myself no modder (yet), but i hope the information i can give may be enough to get you going if you have no clue on where to start =)

All the locations i give you are for a Windows XP Operating System, becouse thats what i have. But the paths should not differ very much if you are using Vista or Win7. All screenshots show german language couse thats what i have, but i hope that dosent matter.

Its good to work with a User Account on your Windows OS that has Administrator rights and to set all files and folders to visible on your PC if you are dealing with mods, so you dont overlook any files or run into access problems. Use google or ask in the Forum if you really have trouble with this things.

And lastly some mods need further tweaking or are dependent on other mods to work, thats nothing that can be covered in this general FAQ sadly, so ask then the Mod-Author via Private Message or in the comments of the mod you have trouble with. If nothing helps ask in the Forums here, most often some other Member will help you.

There is also another wiki article that discusses Dragon Age mods more generally : Using Dragon Age Mods for Dummies .


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Now that DAModder is available i would recommend anyone to use that great tool to manage the Mods for Dragon Age, instead of installing them with daupdater or manually. See more Info to that in section 3 of the Guide.

All mod authors are welcome to link to this guide!

Updates

All information here is based on Dragon Age Version 1.02 as it is on the 10-12-2009.

V1.0 initial release

V1.1 Updated 24-11-09: spelling errors, .dazips section expanded

V1.2 Updated 24-11-09: incooperated feedback, edited links, thanks section added, better formatting, added updating .dazip-files section, header pic added

V1.3 Updated 25-11-09: included a description how to uninstall .dazip files with the Toolset

V1.4 Updated 26-11-09: minor spelling fixes, links & text-colors finally work in the Article, Updating Mods Section expanded, Force Loading Section added

V1.5 Updated 28-11-09: spelling & formatting, content overview added, Uninstallation/Updates of files that use the Override Folder rewritten, link to German version added

V1.5.2 Updated 06-12-09: German language Article translation finished.

V1.6 Updated 10-12-09: included DAModder section, cleaned up rest of the Article, many small tweaks here and there

Status August 2010: Because my Focus changed from Dragon Age to other things, this Guide wont be updated any more. I am not sure if all Information is still accurate after that much time. Please take it as it is, and excuse eventual inacuracies.


Four ways of content adding

First you have to know that Dragon Age has multiple ways to add content to the game.

- There are the official Addons/Downloads (like Wardens Keep, ect.). Those are not covered in this Guide, looking up information for them in the offical Forums should help you if you have trouble with them. Bioware Social Network

- Then there are .dazip files (see 4.)

- And there are files that use the "override" Folder (see 5.)

- DAModder offers the easiest and best way to add Mods to your Game. (see 6.)

Dazip-Files and the daupdater

Some Mods you can download have the extension ".dazip", they are basically .zip files that contain the files and settings for a mod that someone has created with the Dragon Age Toolset. As far as i know these Files are the preferended way from Biowares point of View of how to get a Mod installed into their Game.

You could use the daupdater.exe to install these files. This updater is located where you installed the actual game in the bin_ship subfolder. The path is normally: "C:\Programs\Dragon Age\bin_ship\daupdater.exe" If you installed to another drive or location you can find it there in the "\Dragon Age\bin_ship" folder.

Make sure your game is not running and go to that directory and run the daupdater.exe, you should get this Window on your Desktop.

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Now you can just drag and drop the .dazip file into the window OR select it from your download location by pressing the "select DAZIP"-Button (or however its called in your language).


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When you have done that you see the .dazip file in the list, (you could add more than one file and install them all one after the other) now select it by clicking on it and press the "install selected" button.


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Now the daupdater processes the file and after a short while you should see something like in the next picture. Dont get irritated by the loading bar thats not fully filled, when it says installed then its done.


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You can check the sucessfull installation when you click on the log tab as you see in the next picture, at the end of the log it says that it succeeded. (or that the Installation was chancelled because there was an Error, normally with a fault message/mention of the file that caused it) Basically the daupdater is like a enchanced unzipper, it unpacks the contents of the .dazip-file into the correct location so it can be used by the game. You could do it manually too if the daupdater.exe is not working for you, but its alittle complicated. (normally the daupdater should only fail if your Game-Installation or your .dazip-File has a problem)

This location (on winXP) is normally a new folder in the "C:\Documents and Settings\YOURNAME\My Documents\BioWare\Dragon Age\AddIns"-folder, the path differs alittle on win7 and vista but its allways "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\AddIns", i am sure you will find it. Additionally most .dazip files also put files into "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\packages\core\data" and use the "Manifest.xml"-file to put information in the "AddIns.xml"-file both located in "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\Settings"

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The reason i tell you this is, unless you use the DAModder, you cant uninstall this files automatically, and these are the places where you can find what you installed, so you can delete it later manually if you are not happy with what you installed. More to that at the Uninstall Section.

But back to the installation, after you installed the .dazip file you wanted to install you can close the daupdater and start your Dragon Age game. Then click on "Download Content" (or whatever it is in your language)

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In the window that popped up select the upper bar "installed content/mods", now you should have a new entry below all official content that is normally green colored (not in the below pic) to show you that its new. When you select it it should give you additional info to what it is in the right info aerea. Make sure its enabled and activated by checking the box right next to the entry in the list, it should say "Activated" below the modentry.


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Basically your mod should now be ready for play, its installed and activated now. Remember that some mods require additional steps or are dependent to other mods. Allways refer to the readme file or additional information that should be aviable at the mod-site.

Updating a mod with the daupdater

Normally you just install the new version over the older one in the same manner you installed the mod the first time. But refer also to the mod readme, if aviable, sometimes additional steps have to be taken depending on the specific mod.

According to feedback the daupdater not allways succeds in updating a mod that was allready installed to the new version. You can of course install every dazip-mod twice to be sure all previous data is removed/overwritten. In most cases that should be enough to get it updated.

There is another procedure to be sure your Mod gets propper updated, but you should only use it if the mod you want to update is not tied to any Quests or Single Player Scrips, like for example you should be able to use it for a texture or color change mod but not for a mod that adds a new quest line to the game, if you are not sure ask the mod author or dont use this method. Use it at your own risk!

First reload the mod you want to update with the daupdater.exe, after it has finished start your Game and UNCHECK it in Downloadable Content, then Force Load a game without it (Force loading means to load a game when you uninstalled a Mod that was installed and is now not aviable any more). After force loading through the warnings make a new savegame, then exit to the menue and recheck the updated mod in the Downloadable Content List. When you now load the new save game you have created, the mod should be propper in effect.

Again, do this at your own risk and ask the Mod Author how to update if you are unsure if the mod can be updated this way. Refer to the Force Loading Section further down this Article for more Information about it.

Deactivation and Uninstallation of .dazip-files

If you ever want to Uninstall a mod that you installed with a .dazip-file, first make sure you have a clean and propper savegame, then go to the mod-list in the game and deactivate the mod you want to get rid of by unchecking the box next to the name of the mod, it should say deactivated under it. Now its deactivated but not uninstalled. For most times this should be fine and all you need to do.

Many Mod-Authors tell in their readmes and instructions that deleting the mod from the Addins Folder is enough to delete it. That is NOT TRUE! Read below how to uninstall those Mods completly.

The easiest and safest way to uninstall a .dazip-Mod is to use DAModder for that. The information below is for if you want to do a manual uninstall.

For manually uninstalling a .dazip-file, there are two ways that this can be accomplished with,

- for the first you need to have the Toolset installed and need to be at least basically familiar with it (see A.), - the second way is a manual delete with the edit of important game files that can be dangerous if you mess it up (see B.).

Since there is now DAModder aviable, there is no need to manually uninstall modfiles any more unless you choose to. I recommend using DAModder.


The Uninstall with the Toolset(unconfirmed)

The following information is from a comment to this Article by Gaias (i havent verified it myself because i dont have the Toolset installed)

For this first method you need to have the Toolset installed and working ( you can get the Toolset here ), and need basic understanding with it, dont try it if you dont know what youre doing, the Toolset is a mighty tool and you can cause all kinds of harm to your game if you mess things up, be warned!

- First start your Toolset and open the file 'Profile.dap' in the Settings folder.

- Then you navigate down to the string entry 'SAVEPROFILE_ADDIN_LIST' stringlist and find the entry that corresponds with the name of mod file in your AddIns folder that you want to uninstall. It should be listed last in the stringlist once you have expanded it. Just left click on the entry and hit the Del key (or right click for the context menu) and save the file via the menu. The toolset will automatically create a backup file that will be located in the same folder as the saved one.

- Proceed to delete the files associated with the mod and start up DA:Origins. Go to the Dowloadable Content menu and click on the Installed Content tab.

- Then proceed to enable or disable any of the content within and it should create two new "Manifest.xml" and "AddIns.xml" files, with the content as shown on the screen.

This should be a relative safe and working way to uninstall the mods that get installed via .dazip file, but be advised that i havent tested this way yet, if you want to confirm this method is reliable and working, or if you want to add something then please post in the comments to this article and let me know!

If you are unsure about it just disable it ingame and dont try a manual uninstall, or use DAModder. Use these informations as they are at your own risk.


The manual Uninstall

The following information is partly from a Tutorial from Rheinguard from damods.com


This second method is alittle more tricky and potentially dangerous to your game and DLC, be warned!

REALLY - Dont try that if you are not sure what you are doing.

- Disable the mod you want to uninstall in your game and exit it.

- First go to the "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\AddIns"-folder, and locate the mod-folder for the mod you want to uninstall and delete it.

- Second you have to check the "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\packages\core\data"-folder, and delete all files that belong to the mod you want to uninstall there (normally one .erf-file).

- Third but most complicated, find your "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\Settings"-folder and locate your "Manifest.xml" and "AddIns.xml" files. Save them to a secure location in case you mess something up!

- You can open both of this files with a basic Editor like Notepad, or better with an .xml Editor that should come with your Operating Sytem or IE Browser. There you have to delete any information that belongs to the mod you want to uninstall. Most times only the Addins.xml contains Data for mods you installed, the Manifest.xml contains data for official DLC. Close them after the edit and save them again.

- Now the .dazip-mod is really uninstalled.

BE REALLY CAREFULL WHEN EDITING "Manifest.xml" and "AddIns.xml", they contain also information of your bought DLC, like Wardens Keep and all that, if you delete the wrong lines you can damage your DLC!


Again If you are unsure about it just disable it ingame and dont try a manual uninstall, or use DAModder. Use these informations as they are at your own risk.


Force Loading Savegames

If you load a savegame after you deactivated or uninstalled a mod that was installed when you created the Savegame you have to "Force Load" it. Force loading means to load a game through the warnings that the game gives you, about the content that isnt aviable any more.

What effects this can have depends only on the mod/content that is now unaviable to the game for loading. If you disabled a mod that alters the color of a item the color will be original again, if it was a mod that adds a new aerea to the game that location will be gone. Of course this can have consequences for your saved game and could make it unplayable, the more complex the mod the more things could happen, allways depending on the circumstances and the mod.

If you are unsure about force loading a game after you disabled a mod, ask the mod author before you do it to be aware of what can happen with that specific mod.


Modfiles that use the Override Folder

This Override Folder is normally (under winXP) located here:

C:\Documents and Settings\YOURNAME\My Documents\BioWare\Dragon Age\packages\core\override

The path differs alittle on win7 and vista but its allways "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\packages\core\override", i am sure you will find it. If you dont have the "override" folder in the "\core" folder then you can create it.

Normally you NEVER have to overwrite any files in the location where you originaly installed your game, so you dont have to edit anything there. Specific mods may have special occasions where that is necessary, but i never saw one jet that required that. If you have to overwrite game files for a mod you want to try, ALLWAYS make backups of these files so you can undo the overwrite if necessary.

Also, and i would recommend that to anyone, you can make ONE SUBFOLDER for every mod you install, so you can keep your Override Directory tidy, and know what files belongs to which mod. You dont have to of course, but the override folder can become a mess the more mods you install without subfolders, and then you dont know what to delete if you want to uninstall a specific mod.

According to Feedback you can also make subfolders in these folders you create in the override directory, there just seems to be a total path length restriction of 255 characters, so be sure that you dont get over that length and choose shorter foldernames over longer ones.

"...\BioWare\Dragon Age\packages\core\override\Somemod" <-- works "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\packages\core\override\Somemod\Subfolder" <-- works also "...\BioWare\Dragon Age\packages\core\override\Somemod\Subfolder\anotherSubfolder" <-- works not the total pathlentght cannot exceed 255 characters

Ok, now you know where this Override-folder is, and you have downloaded a modfile like...

"hf_genfl_morrigan.mor" for example. (just an example, most mods contain more than one file) To make this file work create a folder in your Override directory like this:

"...\BioWare\Dragon Age\packages\core\override\Morrigan"

and in this "Morrigan"-folder you copy that file(s). Simple as that thats all you have to do.

If the mod you have downloaded allready comes with a preexisting folder structuere, like this: "\Morrigan" or "\Morrigan\subfolder" you can normally safely copy this into your override directory and it should work, just like if you created the folder yourself.

When you start your game and load a save the mod should be in effect. (sometimes you need to enter another zone for some mods to take effect)

Basically the game checks everytime you start it if there are files in that folder that modify files from your original installation and uses then the modded files instead. (like different textures ect.)

Uninstallation/Updates of files that use the Override Folder

If you want to uninstall such a mod go to the Override folder and delete the folder (+ subfolder) of the specific mod, easy as that, and much easier than with the .dazip-files.

Updates are similary simple with this method, normally you simply delete all of the files from the mod you want to update (just empty the subfolder if you created one) and copy the new files to the same location again. (in the subfolder if you have one). I wouldnt just overwrite them becouse that could lead to problems if the Mod-Author left out files with an update. Those would still be in your subfolder if you just overwrite files.

For Questions about Force loading Savegames refer to the section about it that is further up in this Guide.


Using DAModder to manage mods

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The DAModder Website

The DAModder Nexus-Download-Page

The DAModder Support Site & FAQ



With DAModder you can easily install and uninstall mods of all types, even those that use the Override Folder. I recommend it to anyone. It has a Backup System not only for mods and settings but also for save games, and it offers localization Info for mods where its aviable. Its easy to use and works with allmost any mod that is aviable. And it will get better and get more Options in the future. I was a Betatester from the start for DAModder and i am sure when you tried it you dont want to use anything else to manage your mods again. Learn more about it and the Features on the above links.

First you need to download the Application, use the links above to get the latest public or beta Version.

The Installation is easy, there is none. Just make a Folder where you want to have it located (your Desktop for example) and name it DAModder (or whatever you choose). Then copy the contents of the downloaded File into that folder. The .exe-File in the Folder is the DAModder Application, with a doubleklick you can start it. If you choose another location than the Desktop, you can create a shortcut for the .exe and put that on the desktop if you want to, that ensures easy access to it when you need it.


How to install a Mod with DAModder

On this FAQ Site you can find the latest information on how to install mods with DAModder.

In general, there are two ways to install mods in DAModder. You can either Drag & Drop the downloaded mod onto the DAModder window, or you can click the Install Mod button and then choose the file to be installed. This works with .dazip-Files and most .zip-Files.

If the mod is packaged in a .RAR or .7z file, DAModder will not be able to process it. In this case, extract the file manually to a temporary folder, and then drag the folder onto DAModder for installation. The same goes for .zip-files that are packed in a non compatible format, like subfolders or different installation options/mod versions in the .zip-file. Just extract the content you want to add to the game into a temporary folder and drag it then onto DAModder to install it. Refer to the FAQ Page for more information about installing.


How to uninstall a Mod with DAModder

On this FAQ Site you can find the latest information on how to uninstall mods with DAModder.

Uninstalling a mod is extremly simple, just select the mod in the list of installed mods on the install/uninstall tab page, and click uninstall. Make sure the Toolset is closed before uninstalling a Mod with DAModder.


How to make a Mod compatible with DAModder

DAModder is designed to be as flexible as possible, but the most benefits come from using DAModder Compatible packages. This not only makes the installation easier, it allows you to take advantage of future features planned for DAModder such as the ability to configure compatible mods inside of DAModder. If your mod is not currently in a DAModder Compatible Package, i encourage you to make one. DAModder Compatible packages still work fine outside of DAModder so its the best of both worlds for the author and its much more user friendly for the the Mod-User.

There are two types of mods in general. Standard mods and Core Override mods: - Standard Mods are those that are released in a .DAZIP file and can be installed with DAUpdater. - Core Override Mods are mods that aren't technically a "module" by the game's standard, but instead simply drop files into the players "Core Override" directory to change the behavior of the game.

If your mod is a standard mod, that is currently installed by DAUpdater, then chances are pretty good its already compatible with DAModder. If you are just distributing the .DAZIP file, or you are ziping it up along with a Readme file, it will work fine with DAModder. The user can simply drag and drop the .DAZIP file or the .ZIP file into the application, and hit install. No problem. About the only way a standard mod would be incompatible right now is if you're doing something like zipping it up, but hiding the DAZIP in a subfolder.

Core Override mods are alittle more comlicated. By definition these are not "modules" by the game's standards, and as such there is no module data for DAModder to parse. In other words, DAModder has ZERO information on the mod. The instructions in the sample package below show some small changes you can make to how its packaged so DAModder can essentially be "told" the mod's details. This will make the end user experience for your mods much better, as users will be able to see details like Mod Name, author, version, URL, description, etc.

  • On this FAQ Site you can find the latest information on how to Create a DAModder Package for a Core Override mod].
  • On this FAQ Site you can find information on how to use DAMarkdown to make your Descriptions and Readmes better readable in DAModder.

If you have questions about how to make your Mod DAModder compatible, refer to THIS THREAD in the Nexus Forums or ask at the Support Page .

Epilogue

I guess thats all i can help you with, you should now be able to install and to uninstall mods you download here. I recommend you to use the DAModder to manage your Mods.

Remember that every mod is different, so there could allways be some alterations to the "standard"-installation-process. Read the Readme or the information on the mod specific page, and read the comments, they often give solutions if you are stuck.

If you have questions about a specific mod ask the Author of that mod in the comment-section for his mod or via private message. Or you can allways visit the forum here and ask your questions there =)

My native language is german so please excuse minor spelling errors if you find some.

Thank you for your time and reading, if you find an error or want to add anything, please leave a comment.

A word to the Mod-Authors:

All mod authors are welcome to link to this guide if someone has problems using the mod you have made, unless of course your mod needs more advanced installation/updating/uninstallation procedures that are not covered in this guide.

Please make your Mod DAModder compatible, refer to the section above on how to do that.

Please consider packing your mods in .zip files (or whatever packer you prefer, link to it in the description if its something uncommon) with a propper readme (there is even a readme generator here ), and maybe include a small .jpg where it applies.

That helps everyone, and if you ever reinstall something you have all informations at hand =)


Some helpful Links:

- The Nexus Forums

- The DAModder Website

Official:

-The Official Game Forums

-The Official Game Site

Mod Info:

- DA Builder Wiki

- Beyond Ferelden Blog

- damods.com

Game Info:

-The unofficial Dragon Age Wikia

-The official Dragon Age Wiki


Thanks to:

Bioware for making Dragon Age The Staff and owners at dragonagenexus for providing this great site

John Vanderbeck, for writing his Beyond Ferelden Blog and helping so many pepole with modding Rheinguard, for the information on how to propper uninstall .dazip files Pheelon, for the helpfull feedback provided Gaias, for the second way to uninstall .dazip files



Legal: This Article (including pictures) can not be replicated anywhere else than on the site dragonagenexus.com without my agreement, especially not for profit. If you want to publish it elswhere contact me via private message here or via mail at: alexspeed75 AT yahoo.de This article is linked at my Bioware Project Site , the german and english official Forums, at the Tutorials Page of the DA Builder Wiki, damods.com and dao-diewacht.co.de has permission to link to it and publish it partly or fully. I cannot be held responsible for any damage to your game or your pc. Use these informations as they are at your own risk.