LOOT

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Installation & Uninstallation
  3. Using LOOT
    1. Initialisation
    2. The Header Bar
    3. Plugin Cards & Sidebar Items
    4. Filters
    5. Editing Plugin Metadata
    6. Editing Settings
  4. Themes
  5. Contributing & Support
  6. Credits
  7. License
  8. Version History

Introduction

LOOT is a plugin load order optimiser for TES IV: Oblivion, TES V: Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4. It is designed to assist mod users in avoiding detrimental conflicts, by automatically calculating a load order that satisfies all plugin dependencies and maximises each plugin's impact on the user's game.

LOOT also provides some load order error checking, including checks for requirements, incompatibilities and cyclic dependencies. In addition, it provides a large number of plugin-specific usage notes, bug warnings and Bash Tag suggestions for Wrye Bash.

While LOOT is able to calculate correct load order positions for the vast majority of plugins using only their content, it cannot do so for all plugins. As such, LOOT provides a mechanism for supplying additional plugin metadata so that it may sort them correctly. An online masterlist is provided to supply metadata for many plugins that need it, while users can make their own metadata additions, which are saved in their userlist.

LOOT is intended to make using mods easier, and mod users should still possess a working knowledge of mod load ordering. See Introduction To Load Orders for an overview.

Installation & Uninstallation

LOOT requires Windows 7 or later.

LOOT can be installed either using its automated installer or manually. To install LOOT manually, extract the downloaded archive to a location of your choice.

If LOOT was installed using the installer, then use the uninstaller linked to in the Start Menu to uninstall LOOT. If LOOT was installed manually:

  1. Delete the files you extracted from the location you chose.
  2. Delete the LOOT folder in your local application data folder, which can be accessed by entering %LOCALAPPDATA% into Windows' File Explorer.

Using LOOT

Initialisation

When LOOT is run, it will attempt to detect which of the supported games are installed. If a default game has been set, LOOT will run for it, otherwise it will run for the same game as it last ran for. If the relevant game cannot be detected, or if there is no record of the last game LOOT ran for, it will run for the first detected game.

LOOT can also be launched with the --game=<game folder name> command line parameter to set the game to run for. If the supplied game folder name is valid, the default and last game values are ignored. The default folder names are Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout3, FalloutNV and Fallout4.

If LOOT cannot detect any supported game installs, it will immediately open the Settings dialog. There you can edit LOOT's settings to provide a path to a supported game, after which you can select it from the game menu.

Once a game has been set, LOOT will scan its plugins and load the game's masterlist, if one is present. The plugins and any metadata they have are then listed in their current load order.

If LOOT detects that it is the first time you have run that version of LOOT, it will display a First-Time Tips dialog, which provides some information about the user interface that may not be immediately obvious.

The Header Bar

LOOT's header bar, divided into sidebar and panel areas. The sidebar area contains the plugins and filters tabs. From left to right in the panel area are the Jump To General Information button, the game menu, and the sorting, masterlist update, search and main menu buttons. The game menu, masterlist update button and sorting button have been disabled, as the metadata editor is open.

The header bar provides access to LOOT's main features. Most of these features get disabled while the metadata editor is open, so if you're trying to use an option that is faded out, first close the editor.

Game Menu

LOOT's active game can be changed by clicking on it in the header bar, and selecting another game from the menu that is displayed. Games that have no install detected have their menu items disabled.

Masterlist Update & Sorting

The masterlist update process updates the active game's masterlist to the latest revision at the location given by the game's masterlist repository settings. If the latest revision contains errors, LOOT will roll back to the latest revision that works.

By default, sorting first updates the masterlist. LOOT then calculates a load order for your plugins, using their internal data and any metadata they may have. If a cyclic interaction is detected (eg. A depends on B depends on A), then sorting will fail.

Once LOOT has calculated a load order, it is compared with the current load order. If the current and calculated load orders are identical, LOOT will inform the user that no changes were made via a pop-up 'toast' notification. If the calculated load order contains changes, the plugin cards are sorted into that order and the masterlist update and sorting buttons are replaced with Apply and Cancel buttons, which apply and discard the calculated load order respectively. Changing games is disabled until the calculated load order is applied or discarded.

LOOT is able to sort plugins ghosted by Wrye Bash, and can extract Bash Tags and version numbers from plugin descriptions. Provided that they have the Filter Bash Tag present in their description, LOOT can recognise filter patches and so avoid displaying unnecessary error messages for any of their masters that may be missing.

Any errors encountered during sorting or masterlist update will be displayed on the General Information card.

Search

The search toolbar is displayed by clicking the search icon in the header bar, or using the Ctrl-F keyboard shortcut. It may be closed using the close button at the right of the toolbar.

Searching is performed as-you-type, or when the Enter key is pressed. All content visible on the front of plugin cards is searched, so the results may be affected by any filters you have active.

The plugin card list will be scrolled to the first card that contains a match. Matches may be scrolled between using the up and down chevron buttons, and the current match and the number of matches are displayed between them and the search input.

Main Menu

A few items in the main menu are not self-explanatory:

Plugin Cards & Sidebar Items

Examples of plugin cards.

Each plugin is displayed on its own card, which displays all the information LOOT has for that plugin, and provides access to plugin-specific functionality, including editing its metadata. Each plugin also has an item in the sidebar's Plugins tab. The sidebar item contains the plugin's name and icons for plugins that load archives or have user metadata. It also displays the plugin's in-game load order index if the plugin is active. Clicking on a plugin's sidebar item will jump to its card, while double-clicking will jump to its card and open it in the metadata editor.

The plugin card's header holds the following information, some of which is only displayed if applicable:

  1. The Active Plugin icon.
  2. The plugin name.
  3. The plugin's version number, extracted from its description field.
  4. The plugin's CRC, which can be used to uniquely identify it. CRCs are only displayed after they have been calculated during conflict filtering or sorting, except the the CRC of the game's main master file, which is never displayed.
  5. The Master File icon.
  6. The Empty Plugin icon.
  7. The Loads Archive icon.
  8. The Has User Metadata icon.
  9. The plugin menu button, which provides access to metadata-related features for the plugin. These are explained in later sections.

Bash Tag suggestions and messages are displayed below the plugin card's header.

If LOOT suggests any Bash Tags to be added, they will be displayed in green text, while any Bash Tags to be removed will be displayed in red text. For completeness, the list of Bash Tags to add will include any Bash Tags that are already specified in the plugin's description field. Users generally don't need to do anything with this information, as if they're using Wrye Bash it will automatically apply LOOT's suggestions, and if they're not using Wrye Bash then this information doesn't apply.

LOOT's plugin messages are a valuable resource, acting as a means of providing users with information that they might otherwise not obtain. It is important for a stable, healthy game that you act on any messages that require action. If you think a message suggests an unnecessary action, report it to an official LOOT thread. If you encounter a message that is non-conditional, ie. it suggests an action but is still displayed on subsequent runs of LOOT after the action has been carried out, also report it to an official LOOT thread, so that it can be made conditional.

Filters

Clicking the Filters tab in the sidebar will replace the sidebar's plugin list with a list of filter toggles that can be applied to hide various combinations of plugins and other content. The available filter toggles are:

The filter toggles have their states saved on quitting LOOT, and they are restored when LOOT is next launched. There are also two other filters in the sidebar tab:

Editing Plugin Metadata

The metadata editor panel.

LOOT uses metadata to supply plugins with messages and Bash Tag suggestions, and to help it sort plugins that it can't otherwise sort correctly. Users can add to their plugins' metadata through the metadata editor panel, and plugins with user metadata are indicated with a Has User Metadata icon.

The editor panel is accessed by clicking the Edit Metadata item in a plugin's menu, or by double-clicking a plugin name in the sidebar. Only one plugin's metadata can be edited at a time. While the editor panel is open, the plugin sidebar also displays any non-zero plugin priorities, to aid setting new priority values. The editor can be resized by grabbing the top of the editor's header and dragging it up or down.

The editor's header displays the name of the plugin being edited, Save Metadata and Cancel buttons, and a row of tabs. The Main tab's page contains the following inputs:

The other tab pages contain metadata tables, which are detailed below. New rows can be added, and existing user-added rows can be removed, though rows containing metadata from the masterlist cannot. The Load After, Requirements and Incompatibilities tables can have rows added by dragging and dropping plugins from the sidebar into the table area.

TableDescription
Load AfterThis is a list of plugins which, if present, the current plugin must load after, but which are not required. This metadata can be used for resolving specific compatibility issues. Each entry has three fields:
  • The filename is the path, relative to the game's Data folder, of the file to be checked for. This field is required. It gives the filenames of installed plugins as autocomplete suggestions.
  • The display name is optional, and if specified will be used instead of the filename in any error messages that are displayed if a problem is encountered relating to the file.
  • The condition is the optional condition string that is used to determine if the file should be checked for. If left blank, the file will always be checked for. Condition strings are a relatively advanced part of LOOT's functionality, and their syntax is covered in the Metadata Syntax documentation.
RequirementsThis is a list of files that are required by the current plugin for it to function correctly. The current plugin will be loaded after any plugins listed. LOOT will also display an error message if any of the listed files are missing. Any file, not just plugins, can be listed here, and each entry has the same three fields as for the load after table.

Note that listing a plugin's masters as requirements is unnecessary, as LOOT already checks them.

IncompatibilitiesThis is a list of files that are incompatible with the plugin. LOOT will display an error message if any of the listed files are found. Any file, not just plugins, can be listed here, and each entry has the same three fields as for the load after table.
MessagesA list of messages that are to be displayed for the plugin in LOOT's report. These have no bearing on a plugin's position in the load order. Each message has four fields:
  • The type is fairly self-explanatory, and is used to provide messages of varying severity with appropriate emphasis in LOOT's report.
  • The content is the actual message text.
  • The condition is, like for the corresponding file field, used to determine if the message should be displayed. If left blank, the message is displayed.
  • The language is the language LOOT runs in that the message will be displayed for. This field has no effect for user-added messages, as they cannot contain multiple localisations, and LOOT will always display messages that have only one localisation, even if it doesn't match the current language.

If a message's condition determines that it should not be displayed, then it will not be displayed, no matter the language. However, if a message's condition determines that it should be displayed, but the language is specified and doesn't match the language LOOT is running in, the message will not be displayed.

Bash TagsA list of Bash Tags. These are used by Wrye Bash when generating a Bashed Patch, and are detailed in Wrye Bash's readme. LOOT's metadata includes Bash Tag addition and removal suggestions, and any Bash Tags that came with the plugin are also displayed.

As LOOT can suggest Bash Tags be added or removed, it is possible for the same Tag to appear twice, being suggested for addition and removal. In such cases, removal overrides addition.

Each Bash Tag has three fields:

  • The state determines whether the Tag is to be suggested for addition or removal.
  • The name is the actual Bash Tag name. The field gives autocomplete suggestions for Bash Tags supported by the current game.
  • The condition decides if the Tag is to be suggested or not. It functions as for files and messages.

If a plugin's masters are missing, an error message will be displayed for it. Filter patches are special mods designed for use with a Bashed Patch that do not require all their masters to be present, and so any plugin with the Filter tag applied and missing masters will not cause any errors to be displayed.

Dirty InfoA list of dirty plugin CRCs and related information. Each row has five fields:
  • The CRC of the dirty plugin.
  • The ITM Count for the dirty plugin.
  • The number of Deleted References that the dirty plugin contains.
  • The number of Deleted Navmeshes that the dirty plugin contains.
  • The name of the Cleaning Utility to use to clean the dirty plugin.

LOOT uses the information supplied to construct a warning message for the plugin if it matches any of the given CRCs.

LocationsA list of URLs that the mod to which the plugin belongs can be found at. This metadata is not currently used by LOOT, but it may be useful to record it. Each location has two fields:
  • The URL at which the plugin's parent mod can be found.
  • The Name you wish to give the URL.

Editing Settings

LOOT's settings dialog.

LOOT's settings may be accessed by clicking Settings button in LOOT's menu bar. The settings are detailed in the table below.

SettingDescription
Default GameIf set to something other than Autodetect, this overrides game autodetection. If the game specified is not detected, LOOT falls back to autodetection.
LanguageControls the language LOOT uses. Any plugin messages that do not have translations in the selected language will be displayed in English, if available, or in their available language otherwise.
Enable Debug LoggingIf enabled, writes debug output to %LOCALAPPDATA%\LOOT\LOOTDebugLog.txt. Debug logging can have a noticeable impact on performance, so it is off by default.
Update masterlist before sortingIf checked, LOOT will update its masterlist, should an update be available, before sorting plugins.

LOOT's game-specific settings can be customised in the games table. New game profiles can be added, making it easy to use LOOT across multiple copies of a game, including total conversion mods. LOOT ships with settings for the Nehrim - At Fate's Edge total conversion mod as an example. Game profiles can also be deleted, though the active game cannot have its profile deleted, and LOOT will recreate the profiles for the base games it supports (Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4) when it is next run.

The game settings are explained in the table below.

Game SettingDescription
NameThe name of the game, or another identifying text, that is displayed in menus and the LOOT's title bar.
Base Game TypeEvery game LOOT runs for must use the plugin file format and load order system of one of the following games:
  • TES IV: Oblivion
  • TES V: Skyrim
  • Fallout 3
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Fallout 4
LOOT Folder NameThe sub-folder which LOOT uses to store the game's files in. Each game must be given a unique sub-folder.
Master FileThe game's main master file. This is checked for when detecting if the game is installed.
Masterlist Repository URLThe URL of the repository that LOOT uses to update its local copy of the masterlist. If left empty, masterlist updating will be skipped.

Masterlist repositories are Git repositories that are configured to allow unauthenticated read access and contain a masterlist file named masterlist.yaml in their root directory. The LOOT team maintains a set of official repositories for the games that LOOT supports by default.
Masterlist Repository BranchThe branch of the masterlist repository that LOOT should get masterlist updates from.
Install PathThe path to the game's folder, in which the Data folder lies. Either this or a registry key must be supplied.
Install Path Registry KeyThe registry key, in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, that contains the install path of the game. This is used to obtain the install path if LOOT has no previous record of the game's install path, or LOOT's stored install path is invalid. Either this or an install path must be supplied.

Themes

LOOT's user interface has CSS theming support. A dark theme is provided with LOOT: to use it, rename dark-theme.css in the resources/ui/css folder to theme.css. A working knowledge of CSS is required to create new themes, though the provided dark theme CSS file is commented to provide some assistance.

Contributing & Support

LOOT is very much a community project, and contributions from its users are very welcome, whether they be metadata, translations, code or anything else. The best way to contribute is to make changes yourself at GitHub! It's the fastest way to get changes you want applied, and you'll get your name automatically immortalised in our credits.

If you encounter an issue with LOOT, check the Frequently Asked Questions page in case a solution is available there.

Otherwise, general discussion and support takes place in LOOT's official forum thread, which is linked to on LOOT's homepage.

If you want to submit metadata, the easiest way to do so is to add the metadata to your own LOOT install, then use the Copy Metadata feature to easily get it in a form that you can then edit into a masterlist on GitHub or post in the official forum threads.

Information on dirty plugins is very welcome, but for such information to be useful we require at least the filename and the CRC of the dirty plugin. The CRC may be calculated using Wrye Bash or 7-Zip, with other sources being unverified as correct. In the case of 7-Zip, the CRC checksum for data is the one required. In addition to the CRC, the number of records removed (the ITM count) and/or undeleted (the UDR count) are also welcome.

Credits

LOOT is developed on GitHub, and a full list of GitHub contributors may be found here.

LOOT's masterlists were largely converted from BOSS's masterlists, and so credit is due to the very large number of sources and people who have contributed to them.

In addition, the following are credited with application-related support:

LOOT is written in C/C++, HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, and uses the Boost, Jed, Jed Gettext Parser, libespm, libgit2, libloadorder, Marked, pseudosem, Polymer and yaml-cpp libraries, and the Chromium Embedded Framework. Copyright license information for all these may be found here.

License

LOOT is distributed under the GNU General Public License v3.0, aside from the documentation, which is distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License v1.3. The full texts of the licenses are included with LOOT in the accompanying GNU GPL v3.txt and GNU FDL v1.3.txt files.

While the GPL license allows anyone to make derivative works of LOOT, the LOOT Team encourages those thinking of doing so to first discuss their reasoning for such an endeavour with the Team. It may be that what the derivative work would do differently is already planned for a future version of LOOT or would be happily integrated into LOOT, thus avoiding any extra effort by others.

LOOT has been specifically designed to prevent it being locked into the LOOT Team's official masterlist repositories. Nevertheless, the LOOT Team appeals to the community to avoid the distribution of unofficial masterlists, as this would only hamper the effort to create one set of stores for load order information. Any issues with a masterlist are best brought to the attention of the LOOT Team so that they may be remedied.

GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.3 Notice:

Copyright (C) 2012—2016 WrinklyNinja
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the file named "GNU FDL v1.3.txt".

Version History

Only program history is recorded here. A full history of masterlist changes may be viewed by browsing the GitHub repositories.

0.9.2 - 3 August 2016

0.9.1 - 23 June 2016

0.9.0 - 21 May 2016

Fixes

Additions

Changes

Removals

0.8.1 - 27 September 2015

0.8.0 - 22 July 2015

0.7.1 - 22 June 2015

0.7.0 - 20 May 2015

Fixes

Additions

Changes

Removals

API

0.6.1 - 22 December 2014

0.6.0 - 05 July 2014

Fixes

Additions

Removals

Changes

0.5.0 - 31 March 2014