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A page (or pages) of miscellaneous content.

This page: Multi-Launcher, how to manage multiple versions of the game in an easy GUI based launcher.

 

 

A collection of small, often uninteresting, usually important scripts and tools/apps.


Handling Multiple Game Versions - The Multi-Launcher

One of the critical ways I work, is with multiple versions of the game. This allows many benefits over the simple "Clean and Mods folder" way of running multiple versions. I should add right away that this wouldn't be possible without the Launcher Bypass mod, for me, this is the single most important mod I have on my system.

From a developer's perspective, the biggest benefit is being able to test scripts in multiple game versions to ensure compatibility. I always mod in version 1032 because it has a good gameconfig that keeps things stable. But I also have a version that is fully up to date, so that I know my mods are always working. This is useful for cases like the brake disc mod, where it was requested by someone who possibly has their game always updated.

From a player's perspective, it opens up the opportunity for running a version clean, a version fully modded, a version with different graphics mods etc... I have a version that was totally dedicated to building the World Guide System, so it has that as the main mod but also the location collector and tracker mods to help with that. From doing the Hill Climb Challenge with Tobsi Cred, I have a version that just runs that mod. But rather than a bunch of shortcuts, I decided that I wanted to build a proper launcher, so I did.

This is the launcher I use. It is set up to run anything from 1 to 6 versions of the game. In this shot, 1493 is the active version and that's shown with the highlighted text. Clicking any image switches in that game version and then runs it. But you can also right-click any image and then switch to that version. This is useful if you are working in OpenIV and you need to check files in different game versions. You simply close OpenIV, switch versions and when you run OpenIV again, you're in that new version's files.

The whole thing is managed by a multi-folder setup but unlike the normal multi-folder mode, I made those multi-folders work one level higher. So as you can see in this next image (opens in a new tab), the main Rockstar Games folder has multiple versions with a version number on the end. So instead of having Grand Theft Auto V - Clean, I effectively have Rockstar Games - Clean instead. This is what opens up the flexibility.

Inside each of the Rockstar Games folders is a Symbolic Link to a Grand Theft Auto V folder. That GTAV folder can be anywhere on your system. I have these 6 versions spread across 3 drives, I am no longer limited to having every version on the same drive as it was installed.

Inside the versions.txt file is a number that matches those on the ends of the folders. It is this file that determines whether a version is present in the launcher or not. You can also see there is a settings folder and this contains the settings.xml file from the My Documents folder, customised for each game version. So my main modding version runs QuantV with Reshade and ENB, so I can turn up AA levels to make the most of the graphics enhancements. My updated version runs clean, so I can drop details to maintain 60fps, that kind of thing.

In this image, I have disabled 2 versions of the game and you can see how the launcher adjusts itself to only show working versions.

Using symbolic links, games can also share scripts folders, or have their own. Equally they can share mod files or have their own. Obviously, they can't share the update.rpf files if they are on different versions but using Symbolic Links on the dlcpacks folder will share those files.

Of all the things I have done to my game, this has proven time and again to have been the most beneficial. Sometimes it truly is the smallest things that reap the greatest benefits.