Creating armor mashups for fallout
by Quetzlsacatanango I have gotten a lot of questions related to this lately, so sorry to all my e-pals who asked and I never replied.
This is how I do armor mods. I don't know jack about weapons, besides pointy end goes toward bad guy. These instructions are for blender, I don't know anything else. These instructions are also really only for using existing meshes in your armor. Not for creating anything from scratch. I am the Christopher Tolkein of meshes, what can I say? I can't make anything new. These instructions are applicable to either Fallout3 or New Vegas, I'm sure the process is similar for Oblivion as well, though I have never tried it. Additionally, this is basically the same process for converting armor to different base bodies if that is your goal.
It should be read as basic info, to do relatively simple things (if I know how to do it, it's basic :))
1) Import the body you want your armor to fit (type3, breeze, etc). Hide it. and all the meatcaps.
2) Import the armor that has the piece(s) you want. Delete everything of the old body, the meatcaps from this body, and all the bits of armor you don't want. Repeat step 2 until you have all the bits of armor you want.
3) Unhide everything. This should leave you with a body and an armor that probably doesn't fit.
4) Hide the meatcaps on your body.
5) Tricky part - Massage the armor as necessary so that it fits the new body. It will be relatively easy if it's a mesh from FO3, a bit harder if it's from Oblivion or some other game. Remember that the part of the body that you cant see doesn't matter, you can delete those vertices if they clip through.
6) Once everything is fitting ad looks how you want it in game, unhide your meatcaps.
7) Select all meshes
8) Import the fallout 3 skeleton and click the "import skelton only + parent selected meshes" button. By default, it is in the Fallout - Meshes.BSA, so you will have to extract it with FOMM. It should be located in meshes/characters/_male.
9) Select skeleton only and export. Here are the export settings I use successfully:
10) Open in nifskope, select the body portion and change the shader to shader_skin. Make sure shader flags shadow_map and sf_window_environment_mapping are checked. To find the shader info, expand the nitrishape/nitristrip, and highilght BSSHaderPPLightingProperty In the block details, you will see shader_type and shader_flags.
11) Under spells, select 'update all tangent spaces', otherwise you may see weird rings and whatnot on the skin.
13) Right click on your nif and view in geck. If it showed up both in nifskope and geck it will most likely work in game, which is the next step. You can create a new esp that adds it to game, replace an existing armor with it, etc. You will most likely want to put the armor through various contortions and see what clips, and have to go back to blender a few times to fix what you see.
14) Share your new creation on Nexus.
Main keystrokes needed for Step 5:
hold down middle mouse button and drag to move view
right click - select
mouse wheel - zoom
tab - change modes (edit mode, object mode)
g - grab
r - rotate
s - scale
c - center on cursor
h - hide
In edit mode, look for an icon that looks like a bullseye. This is proportional edit, and it is your friend. Mouse wheel adjusts the edit radius. It took me about a year to discover proportional edit.
Most of the time you are good to stop here. But what if you don't want it to look just like regular armors? Here's how to go about a retexture:
1) Open mesh in nifskope
2) Highlight the part you want to change. This will also highlight the nitristrip/shape. Expand that and expand BSShaderPPLightingProperty. Highlight BSShaderTextureSet. In the block details, expand 'Textures'. You will see a purple flower, and most likely the path to the textures the mesh is already using. First will the be diffuse map, which is the one you want. Go to that directory in explorer (or extract it from the BSA) and save it in a new place.
3) Edit it in photoshop, or gimp, or paint.net PS and Gimp need a dds plugin to read dds files. Paint.net reads them natively.
4) Save your new texture IN A NEW PATH/FILENAME
5) Change that path in your nif to the new texture you just made.
6) Save the nif. There is also a way to make new texture sets in GECK, but I think it's kind of crappy because no one else can use it unless they use your esp.
Q - "I get an error on export, vertex does not belong to a body part."
A - In the lower left you will see a vertex group menu. Body parts will start with "BP_". Choose the one that is appropriate for the offending vertex, and click "assign".
Q - "I get an error on export, vertex is unweighted."
A - Right next to vertex groups is Materials. Just click "assign".
Q - Going into the game every time to test is a PITA. Is there a better way?
A - Select the skeleton and press ctrl-tab. Then use your g and r keys on various bones to grab and/or rotate them. This is a quick way to check for obvious issues. If you see clipping here you will almost certainly see it in game. Make sure you don't save any of those movements. You just want to check.
Q - I moved some vertices (especially on the z axis) and now I get unsolvable boobage/cooter clipping or male equivalent.
A - In object mode, select the part of the armor, then select the body, and go to object -> scripts -> bone weight copy. Try quality 3, update selected, and click OK. This is actually a good thing to do on anything that should strictly stick to the body.
Q - I can't even install blender/nif scripts/etc to get started
A -I always just try to install blender first (32bit only, nifscripts don't work in 64bit blender). The installer tells you what is missing, and I go install those things as they come up. They take you right to the download page in most cases.