The complete mods include their own customization folders where you just have to change theme from the main menu to use 90% of the mod content. There are further items that can't be as easily modded such as the weapon visual effects, sounds effects, and flags. These extra add ons require you back up the originals, and install them manually outside the customization folder.
If you feel uncomfortable about backing up the original artwork you can just as easily create your own quick customization theme where you can store all the various ship artwork. Just create a folder with a name of your choosing for example c:/Matrix Games/Distant Worlds/Customization/CoolShips/shipImages/family0
When you go to Change Theme from the DW main menu, you will see CoolShips as a selection.
family0 is the humanoid race ship set, which you can replace by simply copying the ships sets you find here. Make sure the names are as escort.png, frigate.png, etc.
To install multiple ship sets just create another folder1, folder2, etc in the shipImages folder, this way they will all be accessible in game without having to edit the default images and worrying about changing things back. When the game loads it will just use the files you have in customization then load the default game data to fill in the rest, so you don't have to have a complete theme.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that the game has yet to support adding races and ship families, so you may run into another race with the same cool looking ships you have.
< Message edited by lordxorn -- 5/1/2010 5:02:41 AM >