This paragraph will focus on the various folders which are present in the download of the mod. The folders are used to contain information, pretty much like all other folders on your computer.
Let’s start by explaining how a game is installed on your computer, when you are running the installer of said game. Until not that long ago (2 years ago?) you’d visit a (web)store and buy a physical copy of game x. When you came home, you would insert the CD into your computer and this would generally launch an auto-installer. You hit ok and voila! There’s your game!
Let’s pause here and consider what has happened. For those of you who are more experienced in computers I would recommend skipping this part and head over the next one
When hitting ‘ok’ on the auto-installer, the installer creates a structure of folders on your ‘main harddrive’. This is usually the harddrive used by your operating system (often labeled with the letter C in Windows). These folders contain the information, necessary to play the game. Similarly, the other folders on your pc all contain information to be able to run all software you have currently installed (including your operating system). The creators of said software use folders to structure information. Most of these applications go into a folder called program files.
When talking about this folder structure, we refer to it as an ‘installation path’.
Let’s say we’re installing a game called Olah on a brand new PC with windows. Your main drive has been labeled ‘C’ and the creators of the game are called fourthreefour. The installation procedure is quite old fashioned, since you had to actually pick up a physical copy! After inserting a CD to your CD drive a window pops up asking you whether or not you want to run an auto-installer. You hit yes and the installer asks you were you wish to install your game (Olah). The auto installer suggests the following folder structure: C:\Program Files\fourthreefour\Olah
This means the installer will navigate to your harddrive, into the program files folder were it will create a new folder called fourthreefour. After creating this folder it will create another folder called ‘Olah’ in the fourthreefour folder and it will start installing all files necessary to play the game.
The folder structure does not end here however. The amount of information is usually categorized into various other folders, each with their own purpose. The main branch will always feature the general lay-out and in most cases it’ll also feature a shortcut to start the game. With this in mind, let’s switch to the content of these folders, taking Empire at War Forces of Corruption (the game the Covenant at War mod was developed for) as example.
First of all it’s important to point out that the general lay-out of Forces of Corruption and Empire at War do not differ much. If you understand the general lay out of Forces of Corruption, you will also be able to apply this to Empire at War.
The installation path we’ll be using is: C:\Program Files\Lucasarts\Star Wars Empire at War Forces of Corruption.
When opening the Star Wars Empire at War Forces of Corruption folder, you will find a few other folders including a ‘data’ folder. This folder contains all specific data, necessary to run the game. This folder includes models, sounds, textures and codes. When dealing with a mod, this is one of three important folders. Usually we don’t have to touch this folder thanks to another important one (the second). This particular folder is called the ‘mods’ folder. Very important is the fact that this folder is NOT included when installing the game. If you can’t find this folder then there are two options:
1. You have never played a mod before, this means you will have to make it
2. You have installed a mod before, but simply overwritten the data folder
The third important folder is the ‘custom maps’ folder. This one is important when creating new levels with the map editor.
Now that we are aware of the various folders and their purpose, we can explain how an installation path of the mod would look like. Which will be explained in the following example:
A typical installation path for the Covenant at War mod would be: C:\Program Files\Lucasarts\Star wars Empire at War Forces of Corruption\mods\Covenant at War
The Covenant at War folder also features a data folder, which in turn includes the same subfolders that are present in the regular data folder (in Star Wars Empire at War Forces of Corruption). The folder structure allows the game engine to determine that not the regular ‘data’ folder is to be used, but rather the ‘data’ folder in the ‘Covenant at War’ folder. For this reason the regular ‘data’ folder and the ‘mods’ folder are present in the same (overall) folder. It than uses the various subfolders found in the ‘Forces of Corruption\mods\caw\data’ folder instead of the ‘Forces of Corruption\data\’.
Example of the vanilla Forces of Corruption folder
Example of the vanilla Mods folder
Example of the Steam Forces of Corruption folder