Creating an Archive (.bsa) File
After finishing your mod, writing all your scripts, exporting your facegendata, adding your custom armors, you have to package up all your files for download. You can use the classic, loose file system, or, to make it easier for players, you can package all your resources into an archive file. Doing so is simple and everything you need to do it is already on your computer.
- On your desktop create a new folder and name it "data". This will make it easier to package later.
- Following the file system of the Skyrim data folder, copy all your mods resources (except for the .esp) into the data folder on your desktop. Make sure you include NPC "facegendata" - more info here.
- Navigate to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Skyrim" and double click on the "Archive" application.
- In the menu bar at the top, click on Edit-Add Directory and select the "data" folder on your desktop.
- In the "Archive Stats" section, check off all the types of resources you are packaging in your archive.
- Below that, make sure all the folders and checked so they get saved in the archive file.
- In the menu bar, click File-Save As and make sure you are in your actual Skyrim data folder (not the one you made on the desktop).
- In "File name" enter the name of your mod and click "Save".
- Package YourMod.esp, YourMod.bsa, and YourMod.bsl into a zip folder, and now you are all ready for upload.
Creating a Master (.esm) File
There are some cases where having a master/plugin file setup for your mod is beneficial for the users. To do this you are going to create your mod as a plugin file like you usually do, but after you're done just follow these steps to make it a master file. *Requires FOMM*
- From the FOMM file, open up TESsnip.
- Click File-Open, select the file you want to convert, and click "Open".
- Select the file in the window then click Spells-Make esm.
- Set the file name as the name of your mod, and change the "Save as type" to "Master File" then click "Save".
Removing a Master File Dependency
When you create a new mod (.esp file), it is dependent on the master file "Skyrim.esm". If your mod uses assets from the DLC's it will also be dependent on those DLC's master files (ie. Dawnguard.esm, Dragonborn.esm). When releasing a mod to others, you only want your mod to be dependent on those DLC's if your mod uses assets from them, otherwise people without the DLC's cannot download your mod. This being said, there are times that you accidentally make your mod dependent on certain master files (it's happened to me plenty of times); and instead of having to settle or remake your whole mod, you can simply follow these steps to remove that master file dependency.
- In Creation Kit, click on File-Data... as if you were going to load up your mod.
- Select your plugin file in the list and you should see the "Parent Masters" field populated with the master files your mod requires.
- Select the master file you no longer want your mod to be dependent on and press Ctrl+Del (If you get an ID message just click "Yes").