The case of the missing peds.meta
I'm posting this because it's strange and unexpected, and I can't even start to explain the process. Despite more hours modding than I care to count, I have never come across something like this - myself or on any forums.
To start, let's say I'm pretty comfortable adding peds. I have 4 addonpeds folders, 1 addon ped DLC folder, and I even have an experimental dlc folder for single peds. In all I must have, 200, 300, peds installed.
So this is the story. Being bored with the crap peds uploaded these days, I searched my own downloads for peds I hadn't installed. Finally found a model that was just the .dds textures.
I took the base ped, replaced the textures in the ytd file using OpenIV, as I"ve done dozens and dozens of times successfully, added a new line in peds.meta, and started the game.
Game is loading, I get up to get some water, game is now hanging in an endless loop. Task Manager, end task.
Now the fun part, with GTA5 shutdown, I launch OpenIV and inspect peds.meta - only to see the file is blank, every single line of code is missing!
Well I'm not the type of whiner who blames the software, I know i screwed up somehow, but I also know I didn't do a ctrl A (as in select all) followed by a delete and a save. Right?
Thankfully I have a pretty current backup, so I keep the existing addon folder but use the peds.meta from the backup. I then see a few peds are missing so I add the lines back. Then I add the new ped in and try again.
Same outcome! GTA5 refuses to load, just hangs about 30 seconds into the opening screens.
Once more I check peds.meta, once more the file is completely empty, nothing.
I had copied all the lines to a simple text file, so I restore my peds. meta, delete the new ped, and start my game.
Conclusion: I can easily explain how adding a mod can break your game. Been there, done that, many many times.
However I never imagined and no way I can explain how adding a mod can delete the entire contents of peds.meta.
Edit: I forgot to mention, that I did, through experimentation, find that one of the dds textures was at fault. Replacing 2 instead of 3 textures did allow me to load the new ped - but this does NOT in any way explain the deletion of all the lines in peds.meta described above. It should have just crashed or not loaded or hung.
@JohnFromGWN seems to be an OpenIV issue, you know, that tool you love. I sometimes get a blank dlclist.xml when adding in stuff and basically peds.meta is a xml.
Suspecting it, OpenIV, to choke on something, ANSI related? Or even when a line break is ALT ENTER instead of ENTER, something like that because when I had it just recently I carefully added line per line instead of copying in chunks of lines (of addon MLOs) after which I was up and running again.
@ReNNie That's likely the cause but although i don't have the desire or patience to definitively solve the mystery, there are still some questions that bother me.
First, as I've recommended several times on these forums, i use your template and process to addon peds. I copy paste one or several existing lines of xml for the appropriate ped, for example normal female. Then i replace the ped name.
Without exaggeration, I've repeated these simple and systematic steps hundreds of times. The success rate is about 98%, occasionally a ped just won't play nice with my configuration.
But never, never, have I've encountered a blank peds.meta. In passing, I added some new peds afterwards without any issues.
As for dlclist.xml, i have edited this file so many times and my current file must have 25 different paths for dlc, but once more never has it gone blank.
When you think of it, for a text file to go blank, there must be a selection as well as a deletion process, so while i absolutely agree with you that in this case the tool is responsible rather than repeated human error, im still baffled as to how it happened.
The only clue we have is that the game hung 30 seconds into the loading screens rather than a crash when spawning the ped, so OpenIV must have thought, hey, this ped won't load, let's do something different and exciting this time and delete every single line in peds.meta!
Or something like that.
@JohnFromGWN Are you sure peds.meta is the only one that got emptied?
Because if you empty or even delete it game loads fine in my game, although of course I can't spawn any of those peds...
I would say go to your dlcpacks folder and sort them as Date Modified. and if you see any dlcpacks that is showing a late date you normally didn't modified, check it's setup2.xml . I can bet you you will find them emptied as well.
I remember I was told you about this problem before in your Danger of OIV Installers post I hope those are not got emptied though (although they are pretty easy to fix too but quite annoying of course) but I can say an empty or non existent peds.meta itself can't cause the game crash or hang in infinite loop.
Perhaps a ped with bad files or textures like you said however can cause it, but to be honest it never happened to me before. Game loaded quite alright but the problems were only happening when I spawn the ped. Either as a crash of trainer I used to spawn or crash of the game itself.
@Aurora11 you're absolutely right about a blank peds.meta being able to load without issue, im well aware of that. You can also have vacant entries as placeholders in the file, as you can for dlclist.xml, and they will simply be ignored.
So we can assume that
- It is the mod that is causing the crash. This is likely a conflict with almost identical mods, the difference being ive changed the textures.
- The deletion of all the lines in peds.meta is consequently a byproduct, collateral damage, of number 1. In other words the mod somehow pisses off OpenIV which retaliates by deleting all other entries, like AI out of control.
I have thousands of hours modding files and years of experience with files and operating systems but im at a complete loss as to the mechanism here. Never happened before, unlikely to happen again.
Thank god for backups.
P.S. Thankfully no other files were affected, i have several addonped folders, each with multiple ped.rpfs, and I was able to reproduce the deletion twice, the constant being the modified ped being added.
Oh, one last point and i can't definitively swear this to be factual, but i do recall once a ped mod crashing my system even though i had deleted the entry in peds.meta. just the fact that the files for the mod were still there caused the crash. Had you told me this was possible i would have said absolutely not, but it did in some way crash peds.meta.
The same isn't possible with dlclist.xml, you can have thousands of mods installed but none will load or cause a crash if not entered in dlclist.xml.
@JohnFromGWN That's quite interesting to be honest. But of course, just because it never happened to me doesn't make it it can never happen. I guess I was just lucky enough to not to encounter that haha
Perhaps you can make a folder in root gta folder, drop the .ytd files there and edit them in there. I have concluded no rpfs are being effects once you do that. But don't create any .rpf inside that folder either. Just the files you need
@Aurora11 Aside from the fact that i've installed and uninstalled enough peds to last a life time, this has never happened before. I can't even imagine how it could be related to the ytd file either.
It doesn't make any sense at all because OpenIV is very unlikely to have a function that does a select all followed by delete on peds.meta because of a customized texture.
All i know is that this wasn't chance or random because i was able to reproduce it. Once I restored the missing lines from the empty file and deleted the 4 files for that ped, problem was resolved.
Afterwards i installed the textures in the correct ped and it spawned properly in game without incident.
What i hate about troubleshooting with this kind of mystery issue, and it would definitely be out of curiosity rather than necessity, is the loading times for GTA5 between attempts, particularly when it hangs 75% into the loading screens.
It really doesn't make any sense and you have to remember that OpenIV is closed, so any deletions would have to be linked to the asi, not the tool itself, and this would happen as the peds.meta is read and the OpenIV.asi loads the peds and other addons.
@JohnFromGWN Oh those loading times are major issue for me as well. Despite deleting every other mods, it still takes quite a while to load up the game even in SSD ugh .. and I was complaining about Skyrim's loading times before It would be a rocket booster compared to gta v...