Thursday, March 25, 2010

RR Companions Vault, v5.6 Beta 5

Yeah, I know - I just released Beta 4 the other day.

Trouble is, I was struck with some inspiration this morning. Had the thought that I wanted to leave a companion someplace on a guard package. Went to hit the option... and there isn't one.

There's a group guard, but no single order. Would've sworn there was one. Not sure whether ttomwv and I just talked about adding it, or if my sleep-deprived and caffeine-saturated brain is confusing the group and single orders again.

Regardless, not seeing the option, I decided to just implement it; cause hey, that's what I do.

Ended up writing in four new guard options. One to guard Megaton, one for Arefu, and one for Bigtown. The fourth is a generic "guard here" order that works anywhere.

First go didn't work so well. Was in Bigtown anyway, decided to nab Sandra and stick her guarding the bridge into town. Recruited her, gave the order. She promptly went over to the bridge... and hit Dusty in the face with a sledgehammer. Poor bastard never even got a shot off in defense.

...sometimes, I really think I may have overdone it on the aggressive AI...

So, some scripting was in order, apparently. Set up a set of factions, that temporarily make the guarding companion friends with the locals, so they don't run amok and brutally murder the entire town. Added some code to the dialog to automatically add them to the faction when they get the guard package, and remove them when they're told to follow you again.

So far, it's working in testing, but I'm still tinkering here and there.

I know: when am I not?

Assuming no more interesting occurrences, I'll be uploading the new beta later today; after a bit more testing to verify the practicality of the radius settings and such.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One More...

...Screenshot today.

Had this one present itself, and I just had to take it.

I think it may take over the desktop wallpaper spot from the Larue Tactical calendar I normally use...

Be perfect, if not for that damned neck-seam...

PSA: Custom Player Races

I started playing with another new game.

Didn't axe my last new one, but I felt like trying something different. Different character spec, and... female.

I'm not normally one for cross-dressing in video games, but let's face it: there are two really cool outfits for males in these games: Jack and Shit. I mean seriously. What do we get? A Dante outfit, some crummy T shirts, Slof's chippendales outfits, and that naked-except-for-a-necktie-and-dress-socks "outfit"... which is just creepy.

Don't get me wrong, Slof's work is outstanding from a technical standpoint. Beautiful modeling, really. I'm just not into looking at mostly naked guys covered in piercings and body jewelry.

So, yeah. It was time to have my cadre of gorgeous redheads with guns led by... another redhead with a gun.

I'm still me, what can I say?


Decided to have some fun with this one. Since I don't own Broken Steel and have no plans to purchase its bug-ridden ass, I saw no issues with setting up a custom race for my new avatar to add my new glowing eyes and some nice hairs.

Set up a custom race, decided to use the glow-y red eyes, as I like them better than the white, green, or gold. Set it up to use Dimon99's Cali body, and covered that lovely curvy form in one of my reworks of his textures. Added Ling's as a master to get the hair styles, and threw the ones I was interested in onto the race. Cheated, created an NPC and set up her face, hair, and eyes and set her to be a facial template. This, for the record, is much easier than working with the in-game interface, that's quite primitive by comparison.

Got the game started, AS-R'd my way into the wasteland. Immediately noticed a problem. The hands showed as bright, neon purple. Also known as "Hey moron, your texture's missing!". I figured it was an issue with the pip-boy glove not liking the custom texture. Threw together a plugin that made the pip-boy and glove removable items, and tried removing it. This helped... in that it let the outfit's full-fingered gloves take over and not show the skin.

Tried cutting to third person, removing all clothing... nothing. The hands still showed as missing textures.

This vexed me. I've been using custom textures on companions for a year now, and have never had such a problem crop up. I knew the textures were there - two of my three "special" companions use it, and their hands looked fine.

Switched for the game-wide replacer I use, and it showed up fine. This told me there was something wrong. So I got to looking.

I happen to notice that there's an extra set of textures in the textures\characters\female directory., along with the _n and _sk supporting textures. This, I think, may be it, since I vaguely recall those being used for the first person view in Oblivion. Not sure why it would affect the third person view as well... but this fucking game has never made sense before, why would it start now?

Fortunately, the *1st textures are simply renamed copies of the standard hand textures. A quick copy, rename, and move back into the directory with the main textures was all that was required.

Fired it up, and sure enough, all is well now.

Normally, this wouldn't have warranted a PSA on my part. Problem is, I searched both Nexus and Bethsoft forums for hours, and found nothing even remotely similar. I swear, that forum software has the shittiest search engine I've ever seen. It makes Google look all-knowing and easy to use.

So I figured I'd do everyone a minor solid, and upload my experience. If you're having such issues, this may help, and if not you can always file the information away in your mental FUBAR database for later use, should it ever come up.

Now, because I'm sure at least some of you are curious what my work will have turned in, in the form of player character...

(warning: before you click the link for full-size, bear in mind this is a biggy, weighing in just shy of a megabyte even in .jpg form)

You can see us here, after clearing out the Super Duper mart. We holed-up inside for the night, and struck out for Megaton after dawn. Decided to catch the sunrise before leaving, even the digital me never goes anywhere without a pair of tinted lenses handy.

For the record, the outfit is: Wasteland Charmer with no stockings, vambraces from metal armor, a set of Raider Painspike shoulder and hip guards, a Vault 101 security armored vest, and a set of Lucky Shades.

It kind of sucks having to start again, when I just managed level nine with my other new "me", but I've been wanting to play a new build.

I normally play my characters based on my real skills. Small guns, repair, and sneak as tags, with minors in lockpicking and barter.

Miss Caridwen here is more a tough customer. Tags Small Guns, Big Guns, and Medicine. No speechcraft, no barter, CHA5. She pretty much just hurts people and breaks things... and knows how to stim an injury quite expertly.

I'd try something completely out there like a non-combat oriented character... but there's just no way around combat in Fallout 3. Not taking at least one weapon class as a tag skill seems like it would just be making things harder on yourself than it needs be.

Redecorating Headaches, Part VII

Been quiet 'round these parts lately, eh?

Still been working on the remodeling. Running into problems, still. Got the vault re-floored down into the second sub-level. Overseer's office can't be tiled because of that round depression, but the bathroom is done.

Still have to get the lab, and the clinic. Probably not going to bother with the jail, since I still plan on getting rid of it altogether.

Probably not going to bother with the dorms, either. Not only would it be a stupid amount of work with thirty rooms and the odd quarter mile of hallway, but it's largely pointless to me since I almost never go in there. Maybe at a later time... but not for version 1.

So, I'm sure you're all tired of my prattle already, and want the updated screenshots, yes? Well sit down and be quiet, I ain't done yammering yet.

Since the last update, I've rebalanced the lighting a couple more times, and have reset some of the tile patterns. Decided I didn't like the gold circle on black tiles. I like the idea... but it just never looks right. So I got rid of them all and went to just the brown tile and black and gold marble.

Still have to finish setting some of the fluorescent banks to the correct height, too. No major deal there, though.

So now, without further boring of you on my part, here are the new screenshots.

Here we have the pool. Tiled as well, and showing off the newly adjusted lighting. After some work, I also finally got the pool light switch behaving correctly - green = lights on, red = lights off. That's annoyed me since day one.

Here we have the latest guard house in the entryway.

The entryway. Lighting still slightly annoying. The dark tiles you can see are a known issue with the engine when you use room bounds. It's unfixable as far as I've been able to find out.

Rebalanced lighting in the alcove off the entryway. The previous lighting seemed a bit bright for a nap on the cots.

Nothing new here... but I finally caught one of the Vault residents using the new waiting room. Still wish there was a working exam table. I've got to learn to do animation modeling...

The bar. Track lighting showcases the booze racks behind the counter. Softer lighting illuminates the bar itself, and there's a big honkin' pair of daylight banks over the pool table; cause hey, everyone needs the extra light to make the bank shot.

Same place, different facing direction. Softer lighting over the booths. Not the atmosphere I was going for, but the two sets of lighting aren't coexisting very well in one room. The pool table lighting is overriding the booth lighting. I don't think it's fixable without implementing a bedroom-type two-sets-of-lights switch. Would require killing the bar and pool table lighting to make work, so not sure I want to bother.

View facing the door. You can see the booth lighting a bit better here without the overpowering glare, but it's still not as warm as I had been shooting for.

Classroom. Lighting done, tiled. Still may throw in a teacher's desk and some bookshelves. Haven't decided yet.

Player's bedroom, yet again. I like the new tile pattern best of all the ones I've tried so far, and I did try several.

Hallway leading down from the entryway to the atrium. Looks nice, I think.

And the entryway again. I added another light in the corner there, which seems to help quite a bit.

Had even more headaches with those thrice-damned room bounds. This time it was one in the hallway, that had been left higher than it should, and was blocking the tile from appearing. After moving it below the hall's floor, it all appeared correctly.

Still... I know what to look for now when it does that, so it was a fix that didn't involve much swearing.

Still can't give a hard estimate on release. I'm moving forward... but I'm not what you call extraordinarily motivated at the moment, since the stuff left are small detail bits that don't matter so much to me personally, and that I'm only going to bother with at all because I have OCD.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


... do they keep finding me?

Seriously. What do I do to attract the fucking morons of the universe?

There's something(s) in the goddamned groundwater I tell you.

Guy posts to the RR master comments. Two posts, three or so hundred words, not one piece of punctuation. Not. One. Worse yet, is the 75% misspelling rate.

Now, my internal idiot to American English translator is pretty good, but fuck me... I can barely puzzle out what in the holy fuck he's talking about.

I give it ten or so minutes thought, re-read a couple parts, and clean my glasses (just in case...).

As far as I can muddle out, one of the problems seems to be that he runs two hundred odd mods without knowing what any of them do, and isn't smart enough to RTFM. I tell you, Kiddies, some days I wonder why I bothered spending the dozen hours I did writing that damned readme. No one uses it.

Problem number two is that his copy of Vault 1 "resets". Somehow, it loses all NPCs, placed bobbleheads, container contents, and reverts to initial state, until he leaves and re-enters a random number of times, at which point it will load correctly.

Granted, FO3 has violated its own laws of physics on more than one occasion, but I really don't see any way for this to happen. There's only the one Vault 1 cell, so even if something was messing with the teleport doors... there's not another V1 to enter by mistake. Moreover, Vault 1 doesn't reset so far as I've ever seen, and even if that WAS the issue, it wouldn't be able to randomly reset itself back to the previous state.

I've dug around the forums a bit, and can't find even an oblique reference to anything similar.

I said as much, and receive another post of a couple hundred words (again with no fucking punctuation or spell-check), detailing another dozen mods that have nothing to do with anything, and that he's going to "undo" the mod to see if it helps.

What does that mean? I have no idea. You know, I speak the American derivation of the English language fairly well; I'm pretty highly rated on my vocabulary and general grasp of the language. I speak more than a bit of Spanish. Some conversational German. A bit of Japanese. I even know some Welsh. For the life of me, though, I can not figure out what these people are talking about three quarters of the time.

It's just so... random. No spelling or grammar structure; no consistency... it's apparently just whatever pops into the sieve-like mind at any given moment.

These people can drive cars. Buy guns.

They can vote.

This scares the hell out of me.

And, of course, I can't simply call the person a genetic defective. Nexus rules prohibit being unkind to the chronically stupid.

While I can say without conceit that banning me from the Nexus would hurt the community far more than it would me (I help way more people than I download others' mods, after all), this is still my prevailing hobby at the moment, and finding another would be inconvenient.

Fortunately, this here is Blogger territory, where I can say whatever I fucking well please about the stupid shits. HA!

...Yeah, I have issues. I know.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Redecorating Headaches, Part VI

Been a busy boy this morning.

Players of Redecorated in versions past and long-time readers of the blog here will recall that I've tried on numerous occasions to tile the vault with my favorite floors - the varying marbles from the Underworld and 'Neoclassical' sets.

This has always ended in dismal failure; clipping floor pieces and such. Even my lone "success" - the player's bedroom, was rather underwhelming, with the tiles that don't fit the floor correctly, and have gaps between them. After much work, I've finally learned what I need to do to make it work, and have begun to implement it.

Thus far, I'm probably 40 to 50% done with the entire vault. Or at least as much of the vault as survived my initial redesign.

It's still not a perfect fit. The dropped-on floor tiles simply won't allow it. The different construction sets have different setups and exact sizes. Still, it looks like the slaves at least did a good job of installing the new flooring.

So, without any further buildup on my part, I give you the new flooring:

The hall leading to the player's bedroom, as seen from the museum entrance.

The hall again, this time from pool-side.

The hall, facing the museum.

The re-tiled and lighting adjusted player's bedroom (look, no gaps!).

The mess hall.

The common room.

Pool side.

Still pool side, but at the other end. Notice that the tile has been matched to the stairs leading into the pool. I'm particularly proud of how seamless that turned out.

The opposite side, near the bar doorway.

As you can see, I tried to stick with a common theme. That being the large rooms have a center of black tile with gold circles, brown diamond tile around that, and bordered by the black tile with a gold square.

The atrium has a pool in its center, so no gold circles there, and the hallways aren't big enough to allow the extra tiles, and so just got the brown and black border.

The new bar is effectively done, but still needs some lighting adjustments made before I'm ready to show it off. It would be really nice if the GECK and the game would agree on what lighting looks like.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Game

Yeah, I started one.

Kept my level 20 saves, in case I need to go back for whatever reason, but I created a new set.

There were new mods I wanted to play on that worked best with a new game, and I was topped out on XP and had found pretty much every location in the game. Also, I wanted to minimize 'dirty save' issues when working on the new Redecorated, and Vault 1 is really bad about dirtying saves for some reason.

This new playthrough is much like a new game. I've added Arwen's Tweaks, the Auto-aim fix, ammo toolkits, the Dragonskin armor, Expanded Talon Company, Fellout, MK14 series rifles, Tailor Maid, Useful Wasteland Clipboards, and WAR Radio. Granted, I like Ink Spots as much as the next guy, but I can only listen to someone warble I don't want to set the world on fire so damned many times...

I tried to add IMCN, for even more fun, but the author for some reason decided to code it to only start properly if you play through the tutorial, or use FWE's alternate start. It ain't that cool a mod to get me to do either of those.

Arwen's is probably the most interesting of the bunch. Her smarter AI module is playing hell with my companions. It's a testament to the rest of the package that I'm going to the trouble of trying to adapt the girls' AI to work with it. Still hit or miss, but they're performing decently. Standard RR companions shouldn't be affected, since they all use standard game combat styles - that are also modified by Arwen's smarter AI module.

It's an interesting experience. The weapon skill requirements kept me from even being able to use the sniper rifle AS-R started me with. Had to get by on a 10mm pistol.

Thought I'd be sneaky, and just use a 20thCW rifle, once I made it to the vault - which took a while, since I'm not letting myself use fast travel in this game; save to get into and out of Megaton, since the main gate is apparently perpetually fucked for companions.

Went to pull the Sig552 I had taken from the guard house, only to be informed that I couldn't use it at my skill level.

I have to grant Arwen this: it's not often my evil schemes are thwarted so skillfully.

Fortunately, I've seen to it that the Vault 1 guards are well stocked, so it was just a simple matter of putting the 552 back and grabbing a bolt gun to use until I could level up and get myself some skill points.

Perhaps most interestingly, the skill requirements also apply to NPCs. At level one, I saw several guards in the vault who couldn't use the weapons they had spawned with.

Been playing in between redecorating sessions, and am level six now. With backpacks on, me and my two traveling companions can still carry a fair bit 'o loot, but without fast travel, we still ditch quite a bit in the course of walking to a vendor as we come across more valuable stuff.

For once, I'm not using Enclave Enabled. Coming across an Enclave patrol at level two is bad enough in the standard game. I think it'd be nigh-suicide in this one. Especially considering the number of Enclave camps that include a deathclaw.

In the course of playing, I've also had a bit of inspiration for the companions pack. I'm going to see about setting it up so that you can ask one of the girls for help, if they have the appropriate skillset. Since the game has no provision for getting an NPC to pick a lock for you, I'll simulate them "helping" by giving the player a temporary buff to the relevant skill. This will allow you to combine your skills to make up for deficiencies, as well as giving you a reason to keep companions in your party who might not be the most useful fighters.

And now, because no game report is complete without showing off the latest tweaks to my personal girls...

Gotta say, I really dig Tailor Maid. The sheer variety of outfits you can set up is amazing. Will get even more interesting when we roam far enough to get some of the cooler outfit pieces.

Redecorating Headaches, Part V

True to my usual form, after ranting and raving and bitching in a manner most foul, I calmed down enough to get back to work with a fresher perspective on the entire clusterfuck.

With some more work, and the wholesale deletion of all "undeleted and disabled" references, the problem helpfully went away. For now, at least.

Latest mod-breaking problem crushed, I was able to get some more work in.

You all know what that means? That's right, it's screenshot sitrep time, Kiddies!

We'll start off with the new bedroom lighting.

This shows my new custom light type - one of five, actually. A nice, neutral, white light that isn't blindingly bright even with HDR enabled. May add a couple more, yet. It's not blindingly bright, but also a bit on the dim side for examining textures or taking screenshots or whatever. While it's harder to see, I also replaced the light over the bobblehead stand with a warmer, orange-y light, and added a glow to the front of the Nuka machine.

The bedroom, under the dimmer, warm lighting. Still controlled via switch, but has had the chandeliers - and corresponding lights - doubled from three to six, for more full coverage of the bedroom.

Two of the three new dim lights are over the workbench and jukebox.

Lighting in the museum has been toned down about fifteen percent, to cut the glare. New ceiling panels have also been inserted, along with an extra row of track lighting in the branch... that I apparently forgot to get a shot of.

New classroom lighting. Still needs to be expanded a bit at the edges. Think I'm also going to add a teacher's desk, and perhaps book shelves. Kids gotta learn from something besides a chalkboard, right?

Entryway's overhauled lighting. Now has bright, white lights at the entry, for identification purposes. Lighting is softer back on the inside, but I figured it would pay to temporarily blind anyone coming in from the tunnels, from a purely security staindpoint.

You can see here a closeup of the new lighting fixtures.

New lighting in the little alcove in the entryway. You can see two of my banks of fluorescent lights.

Room bound problems overcome, I give you the new guard house. Ceiling panels, and banks of fluorescent, of course. You can also see the lounge area, with table, stools, diversionary material for breaks, fridge and Nuka machine. There's also a row of respawning weapons lockers and ammo cans for keeping guards supplied, as well as a coffee pot; cause hey: what guard duty would be complete without a steady caffeine infusion?

I also adjusted the pool lights to even them out, as the "hot spots" were making it nearly impossible to see anything with HDR enabled.

As you can see, all the rooms that have the capability to have gotten the new ceiling panels inset, all the hang-down lamps have been replaced with fluorescent. The pool area still needs more lights added, as do most of the other rooms. I've got the basic work done on the bar, mess, and common rooms, but haven't finished enough of the detail work to warrant showing off, just yet.

Added a pair of light switches to the hallway leading into the player's bedroom, so you can kill those lights if so inclined. Most other rooms will get the switches as well, but they're not scripted yet.

Room bound and disabled reference(s) issues notwithstanding, I'm pretty pleased with how it's coming out. Going to take awhile to get all in place, though.

I should also note, for anyone who may not be clear: this is not going to be simply my version of Refurbished. As I've said before, nice as it is, Fry's decorum just ain't my style.

This "re-envisioning" is going to be made for me. My own style, how I want the vault to look. Whatever I have to do to it to actually want to spend time in the vault, and not just use it for storage.

Consequently, while I will be sharing this plugin with those of you who want it, I most likely will not be taking suggestions or requests - unless of course the idea proposed strikes my fancy. This is to be my personal Vault. If you'd like your own personal vault, I suggest taking up the GECK.

Redecorating Headaches, Part IV

Getting annoyed, again.

Now, there's an invisibility box in the V1 entryway. All objects disappear. Player, NPCs, doors. Step outside magic box, and all become visible again.

Normally, this would point to another problem with those thrice damned room markers.

Trouble is, I haven't touched the room marker in the entryway. The GECK is showing all is fine, as usual. No occlusion planes in the area.

All I can figure it its something else that got fucked up when I foolishly let FO3Edit "improve" my plugin.

Trying to work with the bounds of someone else's universe, though... worse yet, a universe that they couldn't be bothered to finish or troubleshoot.


Some of the resources I've been playing with don't work. The horns I use won't work in any mod but their original. I've replaced egm files, I've updated facegen model compatibility, I've renamed meshes. Nothing. And the Bethsoft forums are oh so helpful. Which is to say they're totally useless, as usual.

To top off my day of shit, I can't get to my PM box on the Nexus, either. It's been saying "come back in three hours" for almost twelve. No mention of anything on the forums.

I wish I could say I was surprised.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nos' RR Companions

Yes, we're moving closer to the release of 1.8.

The voices aren't in place yet, but I just finished off the combat styles and AI settings.

Each of the girls will now have their own individual combat style, and general attitude.

Some will ignore the possibility of harming bystanders, some will flee if the odds look overwhelming. There are different ranges they're willing to go to find cover, different chances and directions of dodging; different lengths of time before firing, between bursts, and how long they'll stay in cover before moving again. Among many others.

Bravery, aggression, and how easily they get bored when sandboxing have also all been reset to fit the personality of the individual NPC.

I've got the custom bodies in place and lined out, the hairs are as eyewear-friendly as I can get them, and the girls are all using the new high-res eye textures I also finished up this morning. No glow-y eyes for them, though.

Just have to get those damned voices in place. So many sound files to dig through...


I'll be the first to confess, I do odd things sometimes to relax.

I listen to German industrial-trance-opera, read everything from John Milton to Ken Akamatsu... if you read my other blog from time to time, you'll see that I oftentimes "relax" by plotting exterior and terminal ballistics.

One of the more mainstream things I do is mod. What's less normal is what I mod, and why. The 'Special' companions pack I mention from time to time is a perfect example. I've put dozens of hours into it, the texture directory that goes with it alone is over six hundred megabytes, and if I were ever to upload it, it would be a showcase of my modding talents. Custom skin textures, body meshes, armor and clothing, specially modified hairs, behavior packages, dialog... it's all in there.

Now, I say this all not to taunt you, but to point out just how odd I can be sometimes, putting so much work into something no one's likely to ever see directly.

I took that one step further this morning. In my Oblivion screenshots, you've seen I use Nequam's glowing eyes. I've lamented the fact that I have no similar options in Fallout 3.

Well, now I do.

Tonight, I got bored (oh, how many of my greatest modding achievements have begun with that line...), and decided to rectify that. I dredged up my talk about .dds compression for glow maps from my conversation with Dimon99 months ago from the black hole I call a memory, did a little reading around, and decided to go for it.

On a last second whim, rather than unpacking and editing all the required meshes from the Fallout 3 bsa files myself, I decided to search the Nexus real quick for a modders' resource.

Sure enough, Kikai was kind enough to upload one about this time last year. Yes, it's that Kikai.

This allowed me to be a lazy bastard, and not do the mesh conversion work myself. As I'm not a huge 3d modeling buff, this worked out lovely. All I had to do was a bit of texture path resetting, and add the new eye meshes to the custom race...

You see here the initial effort. Not bad... but not great. The glow is weak, and Kikai's 'proof of concept' glow map didn't match up to my custom eye texture properly.

I've been working over the eye textures recently anyway, creating much higher quality ones to replace the existing ones in my companions pack - which look spiffy to the casual user, but are not nearly as nice as could be. I'm a perfectionist, what can I say?

So, I popped the new texture open, and created a glow map for it from scratch.

This is the result:

Notice the lack of spillover from the iris, the clean cut of the cat-eye pupil, even the little brighter and weaker spots of glow around the edge. Sometimes, I do impress myself.

And one of the new glow-y eyes in a dark room for full effect.

Much better.

While red was my first attempt, I can do glows in any color, and plan to add green and white to the list here shortly.

The problem is, I don't know that I'm going to actually upload it.

Don't get me wrong, there are no legal issues. Kikai has clearly stated that the modified meshes' use in other mods is perfectly fine provided credit is given - something that I make it a point to do anyway.

The problem is I'm not sure how it'll go over. I know most of you don't have the thing for 7', gun toting, eye-glowing, red headed demonesses that I do. Consequently, I hesitate to force the change on everyone by incorporating it into the 'normal' Maeva in the companions pack.

I'm tempted, I must confess, in my new spirit of doing what the hell I want and people can just not download if they don't like it... to take the fangs, horns, and tail that I use on my special Maeva (since they're freely reusable resources as well) and create a new sort of alternate guards plugin. One that is all lovely, scary demonesses. Doubt it'll get much lovin', but I find I do my best work when I mod for me, and not for you.

Selfish as that is.

Also been thinking considerably, and I'm going to take the new Redecorated mod even further, by creating my own custom set of lights for the Vault. Get rid of that terrible fluorescent shit and put in two sets of lights; one 'daylight' type for "high" lighting, and one lower set akin to torch or strong candle light, for normal lighting.

It's how I run my actual lights, and I find it not only enhances the mood, but doesn't give me a headache. Hyper-photo-sensitivity is a pain in the ass, let me tell you.

This will, unfortunately, necessitate that I also remove the terminal option to change imagespaces in the vault. Sorry about that... but does anyone actually use it? I think I did twice, and that was shortly after I started using the mod - for screenshot purposes.

Also decided that I am going to redo the laboratory, replace the jail with something. I just haven't decided what, yet.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Redecorating Headaches, Part III

Still chipping away.

Had several hours' worth of problems because like an idiot, I listened to the "Tome of FO3Edit" about making the mod properly, and clean. Rather than the way I've been doing them for the last year.

Yeah, I knew I did it the way I do for a fucking reason...

Doing it "correctly" was leaving an ostensibly disabled light in place. Wouldn't have been an issue... except it was also moved so that it clipped through the floor of the entryway.

No, I don't know, either.

Tried getting the hex objectID and changing it to disabled in the holy FO3Edit. That got rid of it... unfortunately, it made three more appear in its place. Somewhat counter-intuitive, if you ask me.

After fighting with the GECK (which wouldn't show it there for me to remove) for a couple hours, I finally got frustrated and just deleted the whole mess of stuff I didn't want to appear in the vault anymore, rather than the "correct" method of disabling it.

Problem went away on the first try.

Will someone remind me why I keep putting up with that 50mb html file that passes for an FO3Edit manual? Fucking thing doesn't even work right with Firefox, and I detest IE at the best of times.


Convoluted bullshit masquerading as a mod program aside, with that light out of the way I started making progress again.

I give you, the new and improved Vault 1 infirmary:

As seen from the doorway, facing right. There's now a small waiting room area with the desk and computer. Books, magazines (what self-respecting Doctor's office would be without two hundred year old periodicals?) a Nuka machine, even a potted plant.

Facing left from the door, you can see the patient treatment area. Cut it back to one surgical/exam table, cause really... V1 has a normal population of what? Twenty-five? Maybe thirty-five if you have a hell of a PC. How many surgeries are they going to need to perform at once? Added two light switches. One controls the main four lights, the second controls the special light over the surgical bed.

You can see the doc doing some lab tests here. Yes, I make her wear the Sexy Nurse outfit from LFT. Shut up. The locker you can see part of is one of two, they both contain a mess of medical equipment. Braces, crutches, surgical tubing, surgical tools and such. Not only for realism, but as a handy repository for people who run one of the many "realistic" overhauls that require you use more than stims to treat your wounds.

Here's a better view of the exam/treatment area, on the other side of the privacy screen. The kit on the wall is medical supplies (both it and the one next to the desk respawn), and the other kit on the cart is the one formerly from the player's bedroom; with the 'My First Infirmary' underneath it still. Figured it made more sense to have in the infirmary than your bedroom.

As you may have guessed, I expanded the infirmary. Added roughly 33% to the floor space, and put in a half dozen or so new idle markers. NPCs in the infirmary will now use the testing equipment, sweep the floor, and ponder the mysteries of the Nuka Cola machine. As well as the usual sitting and computer using and whatnot.

Tried to find an idle to get them to climb up on the exam table, but couldn't see one that would work.

Shame, coming in and finding one of the girls "examining" another would be pretty... err, or is that just a fantasy of mine?

Moving on.

Not sure when I'll be releasing it. I still want to tinker with it a bit more. Work over the lab, maybe. Decide what to do with the jail. Probably move the 'My First Laboratory' out of the bedroom, and into the lab, as well.

I'd like to put in another pool. A smaller one, sort of like a hot spring. I'm thinking the jail may be a good area for that, but I'm not sure yet.

A few details, though.

1) The mod will still require the custom textures from my existing redecorated plugin. No new ones, at the moment.

2) This plugin won't work with the sorters at all. No, I'm not going to modify it back so it can. It also won't work with Refurb (obviously). No idea yet how it plays with the RRQuest plugin.

Redecorating Headaches, Part II

What did I say about the game doing whatever it wants?

After an odd hour of searching the Nexus forums (tons of fun, by the way, since the search engine sucks and 95% of forum posts are either about a load order, CTD, or the head/body texture mismatch bug) I came across the aforementioned arcane knowledge.

Seems that 1) they are not called "room bounds" as I most often see them referenced as, but are in fact "room markers"; and 2) the GECK can be told not to display "rooms and portals" (lovely choice of names, by the way, since 'rooms and portals' only implies room markers to people who are thoroughly familiar with the system, and only then by association with 'portals').

Mine decided amongst itself not to show them anymore, apparently.

Managed to get it to show them again, and sure enough that was it. Changed the "marker" to encompass the expanded room, and it seems to show fine.

Still a couple holdout problems to track down, but I at least won't have to abandon the work.

...This time. I make no bets as to what tomorrow will bring around here.

Redecorating Headaches

...or perhaps: "Why I hate this fucking game."

I've been waffling a bit. Trying to decide what to do for my "home" in the wasteland.

I've said before, I don't like vaults. Steel lined holes in the ground. Not a fan. I like Vault 1 even less than most.

Don't get me wrong, for what it is, its technically well done, and I know ttomwv put a ton of time and effort into it... but the reality is a solid 30% of Vault 1 is totally worthless to me, and does nothing but drag on my framerate.

Worse yet, rather than being broken up into three odd cells as most vaults are, this one was done as a single mega-cell, which is not kind to the FPS on a good day.

I mentioned "Nos' Tower" once before, but I've been holding off on doing much of the interior.

Why? The fact of the matter is that I'm tied to my girls. I like them more than I dislike the vault.

Honestly, my original intent was to leave the RR Companions Vault as it is, and just call it done. Rip the companion system out, make it a standalone, and run up a plugin to tie it into my tower.

Well, NeilUK02, Elraweil, and a couple others have thoroughly fucked that plan. Neil especially. I won't rip the rug out from under the boy, just as he's getting the hang of making companions. Just wouldn't be neighborly, as they say where I grew up.

So, to keep my girls, I have to keep the RR mods going. This leaves me with two options. I can either tie the tower into the RR Companions Vault and add new sets of options to let companions be billeted in either place, or I can work on the Vault itself.

Try to de-suck it, as it were.

I spent an evening a couple days ago trying that. Results are... mixed.

Starting with my 'Redecorated' plugin as a base, I decided to be more aggressive. I completely tore out the training room, armory, and museum. Removed the collision planes and markers from the jail (until I decide what I want to put in there instead) and got rid of all the protectrons and their pods from the guard house.

Remodeled the guard house to include a lounge. Rebuilt the museum to be more efficient and less like an old store room that someone threw pedestals down in. Modified the bedroom a bit, to include more wardrobe containers. And fixed the classroom where I ripped out the doorway leading into the training room.

As you can see, things were going pretty well:

The new museum from the entry. Still holds up to twelve mannequins, and has four large glass-topped weapons cases.

Same view, but with the overheads killed.

From the opposite side of the room.

The rest of the museum, where it branches off to one side.

And of course with the overheads off.

The museum floor. Tan tile with a black and gold marble border. Laid in such a way that it looks nice, but you can clearly still tell it's a converted vault room.

A shot from the museum doorway, looking out into the hall between the vault main area and the player's bedroom. You'll notice a speaker. I added several new ones here and there, slaved to the jukebox in the player's bedroom. With it on, you can hear GNR clearly from anywhere in the bedroom, museum, or hall.

Converted lighting in the hall. I removed the normal lights, and put in banks of fluorescents. Given time, I'll likely do the same to the rest of the vault, for "high lighting" purposes.

The new player's bedroom. I've become quite fond of not just Ling's Finer Things, but also Tailor Maid. Consequently, the two dressers I had in there before did not cut it for keeping clothing and armor organized in a way that did not take ten minutes to find something. So I added several more, all specifically named for particular categories. Full outfits, tops, bottoms, jewelry & accessories, swimwear & unmentionables, armor, and power armor.

Got rid of the shelves, because they weren't really doing anything.

And of course, the new layout under my cozy lighting scheme.

Here's the new classroom. Notice the lack of door.

The guard house, as seen from the window in the entryway.

Here's where we run into the problem.

This is a shot from in front of the monitors you saw in the last screenshot. The room should continue on past the shelving, to show off table, fridge and nuka machine, coffee pot, and radio.

Walk through the blackness, and you can see it all fine. It's there. It's the same problem we had awhile back when the occlusion planes opted to move themselves into hallways.

The problem now is that... there are no occlusion planes in the way. No room bounds. No sky plane. No nothing. The GECK does not show one single thing bisecting the room like that.

I've tried a dozen times now, and can not find anything that could be doing it. I thought it might be a dirty save, keeping an old occlusion plane in place. Started a totally new game, and it's still there.

You get no help from the devs, and Zenimax helpfully took the Bethsoft forums offline for "maintenance" yesterday. No idea when or even if they're coming back up.

This is what I hate about this game. There's no rhyme or reason. No logic. Stuff just... does what the fuck it wants.

This is also why I dislike working in Vault 1. I didn't build it. For all I know, ttomwv cut the guard house off where it did because of this issue, when he didn't feel like remaking the cell. I can hardly ask, either.

So... what do I do at this point? I'm only five or six hours into changes to the cell, plus a similar amount in attempting fixes. Annoying... but a couple days' work isn't even enough that I won't write it off and throw the work away in favor of something that will operate as intended.

That said, if I do that... then what? Creating an entirely new cell and tying it to the Vault 1 entrances is a clusterfuck of epic proportions, with all the references to change. Just going back to the tower throws me back into the realm of splitting my efforts more than I want to.

The whole situation has got me pissed off to the point that I was informed last night I'm bucking another mandatory vacation if I don't relax.

Just once, you know, I'd like to make a change to Fallout 3 and have it work without embarking onto a quest for long-forgotten knowledge on the unholy rites required to make it appear correctly in game.