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Managing the 'custom_levels' folder


Satoh
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Too many custom maps?

My (gaming) project for the day was the creation of a little mod to use with JSGME (JoneSoft Generic Mod Enabler) that will load a new version of the "custom_levels" folder containing only the maps used on my favorite GRAW-1 [GR] Co-Op server.

I have 180+ maps in my "custom_levels" folder, and it takes quite a while to load the game because of it. I need to weed out those maps I don't need *all the time*, but still keep all those golden nuggets handy. Reducing the number of maps (.bundle files) in the "custom levels" folder at game start-up should significantly* speed game loading time.

* your mileage may vary ;)

Actually this may be more of a "template" that you can use for any dedicated server you happen to frequently play on. The examples below are for The Gamer Planet's dedicated 'One Death' [GR] Co-Op server.

I won't be including the the actual map files (why make you download what you already have?), what I'll do instead is include the folder structure required for the mod and provide directions for copying TGP's map rotation .bundle files into the proper folders.

A couple different ways to go about it, here's what I did:

  • Download and install JoneSoft Generic Mod Enabler to your GR:AW-1 folder (if you haven't already got it) : JoneSoft Web Page Link

    ~~~
  • If this is your first time using JSGME in GR:AW-1, open it and select "Tasks..." from the links in the center of the window, then "Generate snapshot of game files". Close JSGME.

    ~~~
  • Download this little zip file (2kb) and extract using folder options to the <drive>:\<folder>\Ubisoft\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\MODS folder. JSGME creates that "MODS" folder in the step above. Note that the zip file only contains one file (the "map_downloads.xml" file) but creates the path ...\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\MODS\TGP Maps Only\custom_levels. You may replace that .xml file with your own if you like (found in your original "custom_levels" folder).

    ~~~
  • Copy the .bundle files needed for <edited> your favorite server's map rotation into the new ...\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\MODS\<server name> Maps Only\custom_levels folder. Screenshot Link (image shows The Gamer Planet's server map rotation as an example)

    ~~~
  • Repeat the steps above as necessary for any other servers you may want to set up specific "custom_levels" folders for (like the VMTFR co-op server for example). Simply copy the .bundles files corresponding to that server's map cycle. Be sure each new server folder contains the "map_downloads.xml" file in addition to whatever .bundle files are necessary.

    ~~~
  • Re-name your original ...\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\custom_levels folder. If you like, you can create an empty copy of it instead. Save/backup the original though. For this mod to work correctly, the ...\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\custom_levels folder must be either empty or not present! (Note: your game may not start if it isn't present however). Screenshot Link

    ~~~
  • Open JSGME again, and select the "TGP Maps Only" mod to activate. Screenshot Link

    ~~~
  • Activate the mod by selecting it's name in the left pane and clicking the right arrow. The mod's name will appear in the right-hand pane, and the "close" button will be accessable, when activation is complete. Screenshot Link Close JSGME after the mod is activated, and start GR:AW-1 and join the TGP server (or whichever server you've loaded the maps for). Note: You can apply different server map rotation setups on top of each other, each additional one will simply add more files to the "custom_levels" folder.

    ~~~
  • To de-activate the mod, open JSGME, select the mod you want to disable in the right pane then click the left arrow. The mod's name will appear in the left-hand pane, and the "close" button will be accessable, when activation is complete. Screenshot Link Close JSGME after the mod is de-activated.

~~~

I noticed a two- to four- minute decrease in game loading time. Not much I suppose, for all the fiddling around involved. But that one time you have to reload a map's file and want to get back into the game as quickly as possible, it may prove quite useful. ;)

~~~

A note on map updates or having to reinstall a map's files due to corruption: Disable the mod first, then extract the new files to the ...\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\MODS\<server name> Maps Only\custom_levels folder. Then re-enable the mod and start the game.

I hope this may prove useful... if for no other reason than to desire a really cold beer after reading all this stuff. :P

Edited by Satoh
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Oops... Wrong forum area, I meant the post above to go into the GR:AW-1 area. Mods, can you please move this topic to the correct area?? **Sorry for the mistake!**

Moved, no worries.

Edited by Rocky
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If nothing else, that has to be the most impressively formatted posts I've seen in a long time ...

That's a really good guide for handling multiple mods though, thanks!

LOL... I tried to make it readable, and vaguely understandable, to anyone who cares to sit down and read it. Different forum software types handle the formatting in different ways; what you see seems to work on at least two different forum types without appearing all mashed together and unreadable.

I'm a big-time JSGME pimp. It's a really great tool for working with big or small mods in almost any game that involve moving around files. What it doesn't do is empty (and back-up) the contents of existing folders though. Which is why the folder renaming bit in the outline above is present.

Which reminds me, I need to ask about the progress of that idea...

Oh, and thanks for putting this topic where it belongs, Rocky. :blush:

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satoh, I think you've stumbled on to something that this community has been saying for a long time, how to handle multiple mods in GRAW/GRAW2

JSGME has been around for a long time... I stumbled onto it a couple years ago when I was looking for a way to easily switch versions of the IL-2 series flight sim (new versions were released, but it takes a while for all players to have compatible versions. Using JSGME to move a few files back and forth to change the game version was a fast and painless way to accomplish the task).

I use (or have used) JSGME in the IL-2 series flight sims, the Silent Hunter series of sub-sims, GTR2 racing sim, Condor soaring sim and most recently with GRAW-1 and -2. (see my download about how to enable the two unfinished [GR] co-op maps for GRAW-2).

As you can see in the screenshots I posted links to in the post above, I use JSGME to manage two versions of Bretzies weapons mods, two versions of the OGN weapons mod as well as this new map manager thing. I alxso use it to enable Bretzies new weapons mod for GRAW-2. By simply enabling or disabling the mods I can go from stock game files to modded -and back- in about a minute.

I'll grab a couple screens showing the folder structure of the mods and post them up. Basically anywhere a mod author says "replace existing folders/files..." you recreate the folder structure within the MODS folder, and place all the mod files there.

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Here ya go... screen-shots of JSGME folder structure for GRAW-1 and GRAW-2 mods:

Folder View #1

Folder View #2

Enabling Bretzies 3.3 in JSGME

Folder View after enabling Bretzies 3.3

Folder View GRAW2 vanilla

JSGME : Enabling Bretzies 1.1 in GRAW2

JSGME : Bretzies 1.1 Enabled in GRAW2

Folder View : GRAW2 Bretzies 1.1 Enabled

(I've got several non-standard folders in the GRAW2 folders, backups mostly)

Edited by Satoh
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Wow, I'm on a roll I guess. Twice in the last week or two I've had articles on the GR.net news pages (thanks Rocky!)

Now that my ego is properly inflated ... :whistle: ... I'll jump on a server and get the hot air let out by a rookie AI with a pistol. :o=

~~~

Anyone have any questions regarding JSGME? It's own help files are pretty complete and give a good indication of what needs to go where, but I can try to answer any specific GRAW issues with it's use.

A good thing to note is that once you have downloaded JSGME, you can install it to any number of games. It doesn't create or require registry entries, so it has no problem coexisting in several different games at once. Each installation is to the root folder of the target game.

Here's a section of my desktop with several games I use JSGME with on a regular basis...

desktop.jpg

I renamed the default JSGME shortcuts to match which game they go with.

:)

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Great work Satoh, I'm dumb when it comes to this kinda stuff, so my question's are what is this training mission I'm seeing in the screenshot for the GRAW2 version? I know about the training range that's in the game but is the training mission you show in the brettzies mod folder? and how did you set it up?

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Great work Satoh, I'm dumb when it comes to this kinda stuff, so my question's are what is this training mission I'm seeing in the screenshot for the GRAW2 version? I know about the training range that's in the game but is the training mission you show in the brettzies mod folder? and how did you set it up?

Thanks! :)

It's in the latest version of Bretzies mod (Bret released it seperately first, but it's now in the main download). All it does is allow Bretzies new weapons to be available from the range supply wagons, where they weren't available before.

As for setting up Bretzies mod for use in JSGME, create the following folder tree :

<drive>:\<folder>\Ubisoft\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2\MODS\Bretzies 1.1\local\english

... and extract Bretzies mod (with folder options 'on' so all the subfolders are properly created) into the "english" folder. Open JSGME from the desktop shortcut and activate/enable the mod.

This screen-shot (from a post above) shows the folder structure after Bretzies mod has been installed *and activated*. The bottom left of the graphic shows the mod's folder/file structure extracted into the "MODS" folder, and the center of the graphic shows how the files have been copied into the game's original folder/file structure. Deactivating the mod removes all those folders/files from the original structure, so you're back to box-stock.

Edited by Satoh
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