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Multiple NWN Configurations, Minimal Harddrive Space (Windows)

Multiple NWN Configurations, Minimal Harddrive Space (Windows) (Forum Link)

Premise

Have you ever wanted multiple NWN configurations on your computer at the same time, without having to have several copies of your NWN Diamond folder eating up all of your harddrive?

I know I have.

Here's what I came up with. I use a windows explorer plugin to expedite the process, but if you're more patient than me you could do this through the command line with a regular install of windows (command line instructions not included here).

Basically, the way we're going to get this up and running, is through a combination of Hard-Links, and NTFS Junction Points. Essentially, rather than having tons of duplicate files, we're going to set it up so that you have multiple NWN instances that point to the same files, with only the files you want to be different being different.

Here's the tool I use, to do this regularly and I find it very convenient, and use it regularly. Link Shell Extension(link is external)

For the rest of this tutorial, I will be assuming you have Link Shell Extension installed. If you want to skip the user-interface feature upgrade and do it manually, a technically savvy person could figure out how to do this looking up windows command prompt commands. You could, (if so inclined) even write a batch script to automate the process. But for our purposes, I'm going to assume we're doing it the quick and easy way through the new "right click(drag & drop)" options that we have with this windows explorer extension.

Making a New NWN Instance

  1. Navigate to wherever you installed Neverwinter Nights.
    • For me that's "D:\Software\GOG\".
  2. Right Click: Drag the folder to an open space, and let go.
    • A context menu will pop up.
  3. Click Drop Here >> Then Click Hardlink Clone.
    • You'll now see a duplicate of your NWN folder. You'll note this was much faster than copy paste, and that no extra harddrive space has been taken up.
    • The folder structure has been duplicated, and each file has a hardlink clone. As far as windows can tell, there's simply two copies of each file, but when you change one of those files, it updates both of them. Your hard drive directory simply has two addresses pointing to the same files now.
    • However, if you copy in a new hakpak or something in the base game, it won't show up in the cloned folder. We're going to fix that next.
  4. Rename it to whatever it's for.
    • I personally have NWN Diamond (base), NWN Dev (where I'm working on stuff), and NWN Thay (To see if I could get individual configurations set up that worked for a PW).
  5. Open up your new folder in one window, and your original Neverwinter Nights folder in another window.
  6. In the new folder, select all of the subfolders, and hit delete. Send them to the recycle bin.
  7. In the old folder, select all of its folders. Right Click: Drag the folder to an open space in the new folder, and let go.
    • The same context menu will pop up.
  8. Click Drop Here >> Then Click Junction.
    • You now have the same folders, but they have little chain link icons overtop of them in the bottom left. That's because now instead of folders filled with individual hardlinks, we have junctions of those folders.
    • Instead of copied folder structure, we now have hardlinks of the subfolders themselves. This means that your file system sees that folder in two locations now. If you copy something to one of them, it shows up in both. Now you don't have to worry about new haks/tlks/whatever not updating when you add it to one.
    • Next we're going to isolate whatever files we want to be different, so they're actually distinct. For our purposes, lets assume that's the overrides folder, the portraits folder, and nwnpatch.ini. I could also see a use for nwncdkey, if you were looking to use a different set of keys for some reason.
  9. Now select your override folder junction point in your new NWN Instance Folder, and delete it. Do the same for the portraits junction point in your new NWN Instance Folder, and your nwnpatch.ini hardlink clone.
  10. Make a new portraits, and override folder in your new NWN Instance Folder.
    • Now, anything you put into override, or portraits, will only show up in your new instance. This (for instance) lets you play with 2da edits and stuff when you're building, without having to muck around when you want to play without them.
  11. Right Click: Drag & Drop nwnpatch.ini from your base NWN folder to the new NWN Instance Folder. When the context menu pops up, click "Copy Here".
    • Now, if you edit nwnpatch.ini, (unlike everything else in the folder) it only affects *THIS*, instance of the game. So you can now slap your (for instance) Thay Optional Patch nwnpatch.ini into this file replacing it, and it'll only be on when you launch this instance of the game.
    • Now when you want to launch your base game, you launch that nwmain.exe, or patched nwncx main.exe. And when you want to run the one (in this case) set up for Thay, run the exe in the other folder instead. You can make auto connecting shortcuts as usual so long as you point to the right exe and set the right starting path.

Done!

Now, we can have a dozen NWN configurations we can just launch without having to do any fiddling, and each one isn't going to take up an extra like, 10+GB of Harddrive space with duplicate files!

Just be sure you remember which files are hardlink clones and which ones are distinct copies if you try to monkey around with them later, as the icons for the individual files looks the same, only the folders are obvious.

 

 

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