The crux of using addons in mtm is the pod.ini file. A simple text file that can be edited in any text editor, including notepad, but one single mistake will wreak havoc on the game. So, many pod mounting programs have been made to try and take the sting out of updating the pod.ini file. Problems arise, however, when some utilities, despite the best of intentions, will still create a pod.ini file with errors in it after it's been saved. Or, an mtmer deletes a pod but the utility doesn't detect it's missing and writes the pod.ini file despite it's absence. Older programs often exhibited these kinds of problems. Newer programs have become more sophisticated and often compensate for these shortcomings. It's my hope that cowpod falls into this latter category and will always write error free pod.ini files. Toward this end, no file with spaces in the name will show up in any of the list boxes, and any file in a current pod.ini list that is not also on the hard drive will likewise not be displayed or re-written. Furthermore, cross references are case insensitive, so there should be no duplicate names in any list. And if a pod is moved or deleted while cowpod is open, refreshing the lists should detect the change and make the appropriate adjustments for display. And, while no system is fool proof (fools are quite ingenius) and I will not make claims to perfection, it is my hope that cowpod has built on the tradition of all previous pod mounting programs and will now serve as the defacto standard for creating problem free pod.ini files. Or, at least, until somebody comes along and improves on what cowpod is currently doing.
So, to save the pod.ini file in cowpod, you simply click the save button. There are of course a few to choose from. The large "save & exit" button on the bottom of the main program window will likely be the one most frequently used. You can also just save from the file menu without exiting or click the disk button on the toolbar too. If you're looking to spare yourself a click or two, you can also "save & launch" the game all in one shot. No matter which button you use the result should be the same. A good pod.ini file.
One aspect of previous pod mounting programs that stands out to me is that none of them open or save files in the normal way programs open and save files of their native type. This is probably due to the fact that the pod.ini file is the sole target of all editing, and running the game is the only reason for even bothering with that. However, with near four thousand tracks and almost five thousand trucks available to use in mtm, the situation has now become such that it's desirable to use preconfigured lists that contain a variety of different addons. Lists that can be shared and that save the trouble of constantly updating the pod.ini file one addon at a time. So, it is with using multiple lists in view that cowpod will save an ini file not only as the pod.ini file, but also as an ini file using any name you like. Obviously, the game will not recognize files with just any old name, but the ability to save pre-set lists should make the task of list management easier.
Saving a list in cowpod is much like saving a file in any program. On the menu, goto file > save as... or click the multi-disk button on the toolbar. A save box will open where you can give it a name and browse to wherever you want to save the file.
Note. It is recommended that you make an "INI" folder in the game folder. The reason for doing so is that you can save all your ini lists in one easy-to-find location. If an "ini" folder exists, cowpod will automatically open there. If one doesn't exist, it will just open in the game folder. Either way, saving extra ini files should be problem free and very easy.
There would be no point in saving ini files if you couldn't reopen them. So, on the menu, goto file > open, or click the file folder button on the toolbar. An open file dialog box will open and you can browse for the file you want to use.
Note. When opening, cowpod will correct any errors that it finds.
Note. If an "ini" folder exists, cowpod will open there first. If one doesn't exist, it will open in the game folder.
Important. If you open an ini file and then click save, cowpod will save it as the new pod.ini file. It will not resave it using the same name that you opened. The reason for this is simple. Our game uses the pod.ini file only. Additional lists saved in other ini files are for convenience and for sharing and for easy restoration of alternate groups of addons. But the primary goal of any pod mounting program is to create a pod.ini file, and that's what cowpod does. If you wish to open a saved ini file, make changes to it and then resave it, you can do so by clicking the "save as" button on the toolbar or using "save as" on the file menu. But please let's be perfectly clear, when anything is open in cowpod it is without exception the pod.ini file regardless of where it started out.
Finally, there is usually always a reason to edit the pod.ini file in ways that cannot be done in any program except a text editor. Rearranging the pod order, for example. In those situations, you can send the current pod.ini file directly to notepad (or the default text editor) right from cowpod. Add or remove the files you want, then on the menu goto Files > Notepad or just click the ini icon button on the toolbar. The current list will be saved, cowpod will close, and notepad will automatically open with the pod.ini file already displayed and ready for you. Quick, fast and easy. Make your changes, save them, and close notepad. You can then return to cowpod for any last checking or changes.
But that's not all there is to INI Files. See List Swapping for more details.