Porting hairs to Fallout

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This tutorial shows all the main steps you need to follow to port a hair from another game to Fallout 3.

If you create a hair from scratch, apart from the steps explained here you will have to create the hair mesh, its UV map and its textures.

Note: If you are porting the hair to distribute it you must ask permission first to the original author of the hair, and always credit him for his work

Required tools

Porting a hair to Fallout

The main steps to follow when porting hairs to Fallout are:

  1. Importing into Blender the Fallout head mesh and the hair mesh
  2. Modify the hair mesh to fit Fallout head mesh
  3. Export the hair mesh
  4. Modify the hair textures
  5. Adjust the hair mesh in NifSkope
  6. Create an egm file
  7. Add the hair to the game using the GECK

Importing into Blender the Fallout head mesh and the hair mesh

Importing a mesh into Blender

First step is to import the head mesh you want to work with. In Fallout there are several head meshes depending on the age and gender of the charaters (there is even a different head mesh for ghouls). Head meshes are usually located in the \Data\Meshes\characters\head\ folder.

The head meshes of player characters are:

  • headhuman.nif: head mesh for male characters
  • headfemale.nif: head mesh for female characters

Import the head mesh you want to adapt the hair for using the menu option File -> Import -> Netimmerse/Gamebyro (.nif)

* The meshes and textures of the game are inside compressesd files with BSA format. To extract then you can use the "BSA Browser" utility that comes with Fallout Mod Manager.
* If you cannot find that option it is because you haven't installed NifScripts. Follow the instructions given here: Installation of Blender to install everything you need.

Then import the hair mesh of the hair you want to port to Fallout using the same menu option (if it is a nif file) File -> Import -> Netimmerse/Gamebyro (.nif) or the option that corresponds to the format of the mesh you are importing.

Modify the hair mesh to fit Fallout head mesh

Imported hair mesh
Modified hair mesh

Once you have imported the hair, you'll probably see that it doesn't fit the head as in the example shown in picture Imported hair mesh. To fix this work in Edit mode. Select all vertices of the hair (press A once or twice to select them all) and move them and scale them as required until the hair fits the head mesh. Try to fix the hair mesh by selecting all vertices at the same time: this way you'll keep the shape of the original hair. Only if needed work with some of the vertices (to get them out of the head, for example), but be careful and try to keep these modifications to the minimum.

Note: don't move or rotate the hair mesh in Object mode because you want your hair to have the same center than the Fallout hair in Object mode. Do all required modifications in Edit mode.

Export the hair mesh

Exporting the hair mesh

To export the hair mesh:

  1. In Object mode select the hair mesh.
  2. Press the Ctrl + A keys and select the option Scale and Rotation to ObData from the pop up menu.
  3. Keeping the hair mesh selected, select the menu option File -> Export -> NetImmerse/Gamebyro, enter the name of the nif file for your hair (for example Hair.nif) and the folder where you want to save it.
  4. Set the exporting parameters as shown in the picture Exporting the hair mesh. It is important that the parameters are set like this:
    1. Fallout 3 -> selected
    2. Stripify geometries -> deselected
    3. Smoothen Inter-Object Seams -> deselected
    4. Flatten Skin -> deselected
    5. Export Skin Partition -> deselected
  5. Press the OK button and wait until Blender finishes saving the nif file.