Creating an armour for Fallout 4. Part 1

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Revision as of 10:34, 28 March 2016 by SydneyB (talk | contribs) (Nif files for the body)
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Overview

This tutorial shows all the main steps you need to follow to create an armour or an outfit from scratch for Fallout 4. If you only want to change the textures of an existing piece of clothing or change its properties and bonus, just skip the first part of the tutorial. If you want to adapt existing armours or outfits to other bodies you will have to follow the steps explained here, except that you won't have to create the mesh (but you may probably have to adapt it to the new body), the textures or the UV maps.

Currently the tools used for modelling are not completely adapted for Fallout 4, there are some steps that require some manual adjustments. Bethesda hasn't either released the GECK for this game, yet, so some other tools made by modders are required at this stage. This will surely change in the future months and this tutorial will be updated when required.

Required tools

Blender User Preferences
Activate Nif Plugin
  • Blender: Main tool used for creating the meshes, assigning weights and creating the UV maps.
    • You can use the old and stable Blender version 2.49, and follow the instructions given here: Installation of Blender to install everything you need.
    • Important: If you want to use a newer version of Blender, don't use version 2.76b, as the copy weights between meshes doesn't work properly. Install version 2.75 instead. Then you should install the Blender Nif Plugin 2.6.0a0.dev4. Take into account that this is not a official release but that it is still under development.
      • The process for installing the Nif Plugin in Blender 2.7x has changed from the one used to install plugins in version 2.49. To install it follow these steps:
        • Download the compressed file containing the nif plugin anywhere you want (remember where it is, though). Don't unzip it.
        • In Blender, select the menu option File -> User preferences. A window like the one shown in the picture Blender User Preferences will pop up.
        • Select the Import-Export category from the list on the left side of the screen, and then click on the button Install from file ...
        • In the new window, navigate to the folder where you've sotred the zip file with the nif plugin you've just downloaded and select it. Then click the button Install from file ... in that window.
        • Once Blender has finished reading the nif plugin files, it will take you back to the User preferences window. There, look for the Nif plugin you've just installed (the text on screen should be like the one shown on picture Activate Nif Plugin) and check on the checkbox at the right to activate it.
        • Then press the button Save User Settings and then close the User preferences window.
  • GIMP: For painting textures. You can follow the instructions given here: Installation of GIMP to install everything you need.
  • Nifskope: Used for fine tunning the meshes for using them inside the game.
    • NifSkope 2.0 Pre-Alpha 4 is the first version of NifSkope that supports the FO4 format. Take into account that it is not a official release but that it is stilll under development.
  • 3ds Max: Only as a bridge between the game and Blender for importing and exporting meshes to the FO4 format. If you are a student you can get your free version of Max directly from the homepage. And 3ds Max Nif plugin: that supports the Fallout 4 nif format.

Creating an armour for Fallout 4

The main steps to create a custom armour or outfit for Fallout 4 are:

  1. Import into Blender all parts of the body
  2. Make the armour's shape
  3. Add a material
  4. Add a UVmap
  5. Create the textures and the normal maps in GIMP
  6. Reduce the amount of polygons of the mesh
  7. Add weights to the armour
  8. Cut parts of the body hidden by the armour
  9. Export the armour
  10. Adjust the armor in Nifskope
  11. Add the armour to the game
  12. Adjust the armour after testing it in game

Fallout 4 armour/clothing meshes

Fallout 4 armour/clothing meshes and character weight

Fallout 4 has simplified for modders the way of dealing with weight sliders vs. how Skyrim dealt with it. Even though you can change the character weight / shape in game, you only have to create meshes for one weight/size: the one that is in the centre of the triangle (the default one when you create a new character as shown on picture Fallout 4 armour/clothing meshes and character weight). The game deals with the rest when you move the weight slider around the triangle.

This means that you will have to create only ONE mesh for each of the armours/pieces of cloth, as In Oblivion and Fallout 3 :)

Import into Blender all parts of the body

When creating an outfit or an armour first thing is to decide what body you want to make the clothes for. If you want to create an armour that fits several bodies (male and female, for example) you will have to create different armours for each body.

That is why the first step is to import into Blender all the parts of the body you want to work with. The nif files that contain the body meshes are in the folder \Data\Meshes\Actors\Character\CharacterAssets\.

Note: The meshes and textures of the game are inside compressed files with BSA format. To extract then you can use jonwd7's B.A.E. - Bethesda Archive Extractor.

If you are going to create the armour for a male, you'll have to import the following body parts:

  • MaleBody.nif: In Fallout4 this nif file contains the torso, arms, legs and feet.
  • MaleHands.nif: If you want to create gloves for your armour, import this mesh that contains the hands.

If you are going to create the armour for a female, you'll have to import the following body parts:

  • FemaleBody.nif: In Fallout4 this nif file contains the torso, arms, legs and feet.
  • FemaleHands.nif: If you want to create gloves for your armour, import this mesh that contains the hands.

If you want to create a helmet, a hat or earrings, you'll have to import the head meshes that are in the folder \Data\Meshes\Actors\Character\CharacterAssets\:

  • BaseMaleHead.nif: front head mesh for male characters
  • BaseFemaleHead.nif: front head mesh for female characters

And from the folder \Data\Meshes\Actors\Character\CharacterAssets\FaceParts\:

  • MaleHeadRear.nif: the back head mesh for male characters
  • FemaleHeadRear.nif: the back head mesh for male characters

References