The Elder Scrolls

Clarification of Conflict Resolution Patches

Content of the article: "Clarification of Conflict Resolution Patches"

Not new to modding Bethesda games but new to using a huge number of mods that will almost surely have problematic conflicts (author compatibility patches aside), and therefore require more intervention than just optimizing load order. So I've been doing research into this topic and am trying to get a better sense of what each tool actually does. In particular, when seeing things like "make a patch and then edit the remaining conflicts in xEdit", I'm uncertain of exactly what the automated tools does and therefore how to take it into account when making manual changes after the fact.

My question, that is ultimately rhetorical, is this: Why are records in plugins handled in such a matter that conflicts are registered at the record level, instead of via a comparison of each and every attribute of said record regardless of node depth? It makes sense if the exact same attribute of a record is modified (i.e. starting level of NPC) that this creates a conflict that can't be resolved automatically since its impossible to have the change from each mod in effect at the same time. But for changes to parts of a record that are not direct clashes it seems silly that the engine will throw out all previous changes to the record just because a later patch changes something else.

More or less the example always given is something like Mod A changes the location of a light, but Mod B changes the brightness, without a compatibility patch only the change of the plugin that loads last will take effect? Why? The idiomatic approach and what users would want 95% of the times (I can see some specific situations where you'd want to throw out the contents of the old record, but there should just be specific flags for achieving this in a plugin, like Delev, instead of it being the default) is to just keep both changes to the record, position and brightness, since they aren't within direct conflict. The same issue is present for leveled lists and all other records.

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The question is rhetorical because that decision was made by Bethesda and so we can't know for sure why they made it that way, neither can we do anything about it without heavily modifying the engine?

So, my actual question is: Going off this premise, are there tools that scan over every individual change of a record recursively and automatically build a compatibility patch for all loaded plugins that sets all modified records to a version that combines all unique changes made by mods higher in the load order, leaving only singular direct value conflicts (most likely using the original conflict winner for those values) to be handled by the user in xEdit since those literally cannot be automatically resolved?

Is this what Bashed Patches (for records that Wrye Bash handles) and Smashed Patches (for more or less all records) do?


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