Mod installation

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Morrowind Mods (such as .esm/.esp plugins, texture replacers, mesh replacers, ...) can be installed and used just like in vanilla Morrowind. However, there is an interesting OpenMW-only feature that deserves explanation:

Multiple data folders

OpenMW supports the use of multiple data folders. The first data folder is typically your Morrowind Data Files folder. Additional data folders can be added by editing openmw.cfg (see Paths for the location of this configuration file). This provides a very easy way to install and uninstall mods:

  • To install the mod, create a data folder for the mod and add its path to openmw.cfg
  • To uninstall the mod, simply remove the folder from openmw.cfg

The main advantage to this method is that mods coming with loose files are much easier to organize: if you had simply dumped such mods in your Morrowind Data Files, then file conflicts (e.g. the same Mesh / Texture file being overridden by multiple mods) are much more difficult to handle - files must be merged manually and uninstallation is extremely tedious.

When using multiple data folders, the priority of each mod can simply be changed by moving its data= line in openmw.cfg to a different place. The last data= line has the highest priority.

Detailed mod installation instructions

  • Your mod probably comes in some kind of archive, probably .zip, .rar, .7z or something along those lines. Unpack this archive into its own folder.
  • Make sure the structure of the folder is correct. Some mod archives contain a single 'Data Files' directory and some additional files, others put everything into where they are unpacked, still others put everything which belongs to the mod into a specially named folder and meta files (like readmes) into the folder where the mod is unpacked. You need to normalize this:
    • Put all ESPs into the toplevel of the folder in which you want to put the mod.
    • Put all resource folders into the toplevel of your mod folder. The relevant folders are 'BookArt', 'Fonts', 'Icons', 'Meshes', 'Music', 'Sound', 'Splash', 'Textures' and 'Video'. Not every mod contains all of these folders (and actually most mods don't contain most or even any of them), but if they belong to the mod, they must be in its toplevel.
  • Open your openmw.cfg in your favorite text editor.
    • If you are on Linux it is most likely in '~/.config/openmw/openmw.cfg'. Note that this is a file called 'openmw.cfg' that resides in a folder 'openmw'. The file is not directly in '~/.config/'.
  • With your editors search function, search for lines beginning with 'data='. Go to the last one of these lines.
    • If you didn't change the openmw.cfg before, there should be only one such line.
    • If you follow these instructions, all of these lines should end up in a single continuous block.
  • Add a new line below the one you just sought out and make a new entry of the format 'data="/path/to/your/mod"'
    • If your mod folder is '~/MWMods/TamrielRebuilt' you add a line reading 'data="~/MWMods/TamrielRebuilt"'
    • Note that a trailing slash is not necessary.
    • Note the double quotes around the path name. These are not optional!
  • Save your openmw.cfg

The following steps are only necessary if the mod relies on any ESP files. Simple texture/mesh/whatever replacers most often do not have any ESPs and in these cases the following steps are unnecessary. The readme of the mod often tells you whether ESPs are necessary.

  • Open the OpenMW-Launcher.
  • Go to the 'Data Files' tab.
  • You'll now see a list of ESPs OpenMW knows about. Seek out the ESP that belongs to your mod.
  • Drag and drop the ESP to the proper position.
    • If an ESP has unsatisfied dependencies (because it is too far up in the load order or because the dependency is not installed), a warning symbol will be shown to the left of its name.
  • Activate it by activating the checkbox to the left.

You now should be ready to start OpenMW with the newly installed mod.