Getting Started with PAYDAY 2 Modding
Alright, so first things first, let's get some important things out of the way.
We aren't going to waste any time on BLT proper because it's fairly straightforward. Navigate to your PAYDAY 2 install directory, which is C:/Program Files(x86)/Steam/steamapps/common/PAYDAY 2/ by default, grab a copy of BLT from here, and then plonk all that good BLT stuff into said install directory and you're good to go.
BLT stands for Better Lua injecTor (yes, it's an acronym that doesn't work, I know), and contains all the good stuff you need in order to be able to add arbitrary code for PAYDAY 2 to run, i.e. all the good stuff you need in order to start loading and using mods.
mods folder VS mod_overrides folder VS Maps folder:
This is a typical point of confusion for people new or inexperienced with using mods for PAYDAY 2, so allow me to provide a simple breakdown.
The mod_overrides folder is supported by PAYDAY 2 by default, and will either come with your PAYDAY 2 install by default (located within the "assets" folder), or require manual creation (read: make a folder in "assets" named "mod_overrides" yourself) but still work anyway. Without BLT installed, all the mod_overrides folder does is tell the game what models/textures/sounds it should be loading as a replacement for which base game models/textures/sounds - for example, if you have the Doom Ithaca mod in your mod_overrides folder, PAYDAY 2 will look inside the Doom Ithaca directory, see that said directory has its own file at /soundbanks/wpn_m37.bnk, and then play sounds from that soundbank instead of the base game /soundbanks/wpn_m37.bnk.
If you want to read more on how to install stuff into mod_overrides, go here.
In contrast, the mods folder requires BLT, and as such does far more than merely replacing sounds and images. Things that go in the mods folder are more advanced, ranging from mods that change the core gameplay of PAYDAY 2 to slick interactive HUDs to things as simple as extra perk decks and throwables.
Note that if you have BLT and BeardLib the line between these two folders starts to blur a little. As a general rule of thumb however, mods that require BeardLib that aren't gameplay-changing mods go in mod_overrides, and the rest goes in mods unless explicitly stated.
The third folder, however, is pretty distinctive. The Maps folder (yes, that "m" is supposed to be capitalized) is something that only exists if you have BeardLib installed, and contains, well, maps. All custom heists you download must go in this folder, and this folder only. Custom heists installed outside this folder will not be loaded by BeardLib and added to the game, and mods that are not custom heists probably won't work if you plonk them here. Note that while the mod_overrides folder is inside the "assets" folder within the game install directory, the Maps folder is actually in the game install directory proper like the mods folder is.
Alternatively, there's the Tsuna Method (for lack of a better word):
- Check the mod files for a "main.xml" and a "mod.txt."
- Presence of a mod.txt indicates that the mod you just downloaded is supposed to go in mods.
- Presence of a main.xml but no mod.txt indicates that the mod you just downloaded is supposed to go in mod_overrides.
- Presence of both indicates that the mod you just downloaded is supposed to go in mods.
There's one last thing when it comes to mod installation however: .pdmod files.
These things are relics from an older time, before BLT, before the override folder, before BeardLib and all of that good stuff. These are largely irrelevant now, except for one key function - .pdmod files can modify shaders and other advanced things.
As such, you should probably avoid .pdmod stuff if you're just starting out. Once you feel advanced enough to have a crack at them, though, you can use the PAYDAY 2 mod tool, yes the really old one, to take these .pdmod files and tell the mod tool that before the game runs it has to tack all the stuff in the .pdmod archives onto the game's code to install said .pdmod files.
SuperBLT isn't mandatory per se, but it is an extremely helpful quality-of-life improvement for both developers and mod users alike. SuperBLT does a lot of things, such as allowing you to manage auto-updates for mods that need to be downloaded off GitHub, making XML work stronger and more concise, and so on, but the most important thing it does is allow you to use custom audio files instead of reusing or replacing audio files from the base game. In short, SuperBLT is what you absolutely need if you want to have weapons/heists with custom sound effects and/or if you want to be able to listen to entirely new heist songs.
Installation of SuperBLT, if you don't already have BLT, is pretty simple:
- Go here, download the Latest Release DLL.
- Extract the the contents of the archive into your PAYDAY 2 install folder.
- Run PAYDAY 2.
- Download the base mod files when SuperBLT prompts you to.
- Once that's done restart the game and and SuperBLT is now operational. Hooray!
In contrast, if you already have previous version of BLT, its highly recommended to upgrade to SuperBLT:
- First, you have to go into your mods folder and delete the base subfolder (SuperBLT has its own version that it'll download automagically on the next steps).
- After that, go back into the main directory and delete IPHLPAPI.dll (SuperBLT uses its own version).
- Once you've done that stuff, follow instructions set above this and you should be good!.
SuperBLT is just the next evolution of BLT/BLT2, so all your old mod would work just fine in SuperBLT.
The other giant quality-of-life matter for developers and mod users alike is BeardLib, and what makes BeardLib so great is that it's this giant library of good stuff that lets you add things to the game instead of replacing them without having to worry about crashing other players, simplify all sorts of different mod things down to basic XML work, make use of the override folder to keep the mod folder neat, and also click on a slider to set an exact value instead of just fumbling around like a moron for ten whole minutes.
The most notable things BeardLib allows for include, but are not limited to, entirely new weapons, entirely new heists, and entirely new masks/materials/patterns.
Installation of BeardLib works like installation of any other normal mod:
- Go here, hit the download button.
- Extract the contents of the archive into your mods folder.
- And you're done!
Keep in mind, BeardLib works by using BLT, so you got to have BLT running proper on your game first, before BeardLib can take effect.
That's all I have for now. More things will be added as time goes on. Thanks for your time, and here's hoping you enjoy the "wonderful" world of PAYDAY 2 modding as much as all of us here at ModWorkshop!