Morrowind modding for smarties, part 2: Morrowind specific tools

Continuing on the description of my current favorite modding tools, let's talk about more Morrowind-specific programs.

I will start saying that there is not a all-purpose tool, but using "a little of this and a little of that" we can make our modder life simpler.
 
First, a must-read: get yourself latest version of Morrowind Scripting For Dummies. You should ideally assimilate it and have it as your main scripting reference.
 

MWEdit is simply a must.
pros:
- it can check your scripting syntax and pinpoint the exact line error much better than TESCS
- it can automatically format/indent your code (one script at a time)
- it is faster and better than TESCS on searching/navigating objects (for instance, it can find objects usage in leveled lists)
- it can create templates for similar scripts (you know, something you have to do too often given Morrowind scripting limits)
- unlike TESCS, it can compile extended syntax (MWSE or latest MGE-XE) if you need it.

cons:
- it does not understand some widely used and legit syntax, e. g. referring to variables using the . operator, and using some functions like choice or some console commands, so in such cases you have to comment/check syntax/uncomment code
- no graphic/previews support, so if you are looking for that particular armor piece looking good better get its id from TESCS before
- it can screw things sometimes on saving, especially with big mods, so as a rule of thumb you should save your mod from MWEdit only if you are using extended syntax. If you use it for standard scripting (like I do), use it to  check and format your scripts, then export them to TESCS and compile/save your mod from TESCS


Morrowind Script Editor
is another useful editor.
The main advantage it has on MWEdit is that it can format very long scripts, fixing also some typical formatting mistakes that MWEdit can find but not fix (missing/incoherent spaces) so I mainly use it to format a entire mod scripting exported using Mash.


Wrye's Mash is the single most powerful tool for mods maintenance. It is essential for both mod-users and modders. From a scripter point of view it eases things a lot, allowing to export to a unique text file all scripts in a mod, format/fix everything with Morrowind Script Editor and/or your preferred text editor, then re-import the whole scripts.

There is a precompiled executable version around, personally I prefer the Python source version because it is more easily customizable, if you are able to install and make Python and the needed libraries work I suggest you use the source version.

tes3cmd
is a relatively recent tool. Its stand alone executable version, despite being defined as experimental by the developer, seems to work very well, especially the clean option.

TESTool
is another precious modding utility if used properly. Run it just after tes3cmd.exe clean, and it will fix even the few things missed by tes3cmd.

tes3lint
is another useful tool by the same author of tes3cmd and Mlox, it can't fix things for you but can provide precious info to find and avoid dirty dialog entries.

ESparser
is a useful tool not only for dialog spell checking and NPC lists making, but especially for its on-the fly topic changing and dialog export/import options. Not as extensive as TESCS tab-delimited export dialog, but much more easily editable in your preferred text editor, so you can easily fix the scripting in dialog result code.

For those times when you are in need of record-level editing, probably the most useful tool is Enchanted Editor. It is slower than TES Plugin Conflict Detector, but I find it easier to use for the task.

TES Plugin Conflict Detector
is great for finding conflict though. Couple it with a at-a-glance cell usage view thanks to TESfaith#, and finding conflicts will be a lot easier.

For quick mesh editing, the simpler/faster/more powerful tool is NIFskope.

For mesh/textures fixing I like Morrowind Textures Compress & Reorder aka Ordenador.
If properly used, it can help a lot fixing/optimizing textures (mesh optimization is still risky so always test changes in game if you want to try optimizing meshes).

For the specific task of fixing texture paths inside meshes (.nif) , NIF texture stripper is a fast and useful tool.

Finally, for mod resource checking/packaging/deploy I like TESfiles coupled to Mash installers.

I think it may by enough for now.
Go and get the tools installed, give them a try.

Next time, we will start talking about how to use them for better modding.


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