I wanted to somewhat document my experience using the Gog.com BG-BGII series with the latest and greatest mods so that my experience may be of some use to others. I am about as computer savvy as the average person so to me doing the BW set up and install was not rocket science but it did present some challenges.
If you are super savvy then you can sit back and giggle at me...
Originally I used just a few "essential mods" and that seemed to work out just fine. I did my research to figure out what was compatible and most recently updated. I only used about 4-5 mods so it was pretty easy and pretty fun.
Of course, once you start digging into these mods you come to realize that this game is perhaps the most modded crpg in history. So I got turned on to Big World which will download and install many, many mods and does all the update and compatability work for you.
Big World is the way to go if you want to mod the heck out of your game. Mad props to the amatuer devs and testers (including you) of this fine application.
In a nutshell, this post here got me started: Uereg made a fine post going through his installation, it was very helpful to me
This link here is to Spellhold Studios and is a starting point for research on proper installation and troubleshooting issues. It will also point you in the direction of assessing the mods that you want based on descriptions. (Google is fine too for mods descriptions)
Uereg's great post on this forum is accurate but a couple of items were different for my install so I thought I would add to his guide a bit:
For me the default directory for BGII using gog.com is: "Baldurs Gate II" (no quotes)
Therefore, the directory name needs to be changed to BGII - SoA (a space before and after the hyphen) For the savvy, I am sure there is a way to edit the BW setup to go to your directory but I'm not savvy so i changed the directory name.
Ok, so when you do that you must also change the Baldur.ini (this looks like a text doc with a little cog next to it and is called "baldur") to reflect the following:
c:\games\BGII - SoA under the line "alias" You will have to change the lines for HDO and CD1-6 to reflect the proper path to the directory.
Ok next, you must copy/paste a .txt that has this title: BG2-ToBPatchReadMe.txt (as per Uereg's post)
Then make for youself the folder CD5\movies\25movies.bif You copy the 25movies.bif file from your data\movies folder in BGII - SoA directory and put directly in the directory.
Uereg and most everyone else in the world will tell you not to install in the c:\programs or c:\(86)programs if you run Vista or Win7. This is good advice unless you have admin privelages set for your program files. Which you can do if you want. But lets keep it simples and just install to c:\games
Star a BGI game and then quick save it. Quit start a SoA game go through the Imoen dialogues and wait for the auto save then quit. Start a ToB game, wait for auto save then quit. I cannot stress enough how important this step is. I dont know why it is, but if you dont do this step you will run into problems (I think various things need to "register"...whatever that means)
Now you run the BW setup. Run the testing sequences. Take note of what downloads are available. For example, the zip file IWD_Items was not available for me from BW setup. So I manually downloaded the mod so I could get these items in my game.
So any mods that BW setup cant get you ...you get yourself and keep handy for when you do the BW install. But do look at the compatability of files clicking on the box (...) next to BW Setup
Ok so now you did the tests, you made sure youre paths were all good. Now you pick the kind of set up you want, recommended, standard, expert. These are explained by BW set up. Now the fun part, you click on the right box that looks like (...) and pick and choose what mods you want. For example, the "one day npc's" were part of a modding contest; because I was not interested in most of those, I did not have them installed. I clicked the "check box" off. It is that easy.
Now BW setup will tell you if you have incompatabilities. For example I wanted to install NTotSC but BW setup told me that there were incompatabilities. So no go for that.
Now do continue button and follow prompts; very easy....
Now BW setup will download all the mods for you that you checked off. If mods you wanted did not get picked up by BW setup then download them now to your BW downloads folder.
Any problems or issues will come up if you want BW setup to stop and tell you about it. I choose the option "remove without asking" and just let it do its thing.
Set up will download all the mods you want and tell you when it is done. It will prompt you to go to the BW install.bat (which is a BATch file...go figure) Follow the prompts...it asks if you want the BGtrilogy or BGII standalone. I want trilogy
Now it gives options I take the adult content, no "silly mods" and then it asks about the rules system...
Can someone advise on this? How can I get 3d edition rules but no full plate-packing steel? Since the wording is vague here I ended up with a game that had the FP-PS and I did not want that, not a bad mod but It was too frustrating to put on a full plate armor and have my ac with leather go from 4 to 7. I get the damage resistance and all but the mod is just not for me. Any help would be appreciated.
So I did not pick any option and I will get the standard 2ed rules which is fine but not quite what I wanted....
Then you do the option for widescreen. I like the 1024 768 but you can do different here if you want. If you skip you can still adjust your game resolution from the config in BG.
Now you do the installation of the mods which will take some hours.
When that is done then you can trouble shoot any issues (there ought to be none)
Then launch your game and go to town. I have run int oa few bugs but nothing (so far) that proper saving dsicipline cant handle. For example, since so many npcs have wav files sometimes game freeze occurs as npcs want to talk. I also get a weird pink graphic that comes and goes on my characters or npcs. Nothing game breaking though (so far). The freezes have been the worst of it.
If you totally screw up after this point ...no problem...if you get a bunch of mods you dont want...no problem (buyers remorse? eyes too big for your stomach etc etc) no problem:
Just run BW setup again and revert to your backup which BW does for you! And go through the process once again. (just be sure to launch/save/quit your BGI, SoA, and ToB games as before and add the txt doc and cd5 folder as elaborated above)
Anyway, I hope this is helpful to some who want to enjoy this amazing game with many many mods
I did this post from work so basically from memory so if I missed something let me know. Feedback is appreciated, but as I said, I am an "average" user and not super savvy. But if you run into trouble research, research research the answer to your question is definitely out there
And thanks again to all those in our gog.com community and the those associated with the Spellhold Studios community for 10 years worth of work. Your contributions of knowledge, hard work, and patience and are deeply appreciated by me and many others I am sure.
edit: I neglected to advise regarding the BW Install 9.10 pdf Very, Very useful resource to give "at a glance" all the mods available. If then you want more infor on the mod(s) in question it is very easy to further research them