Monday, May 31, 2010

Nos' Cosmetic Resource, Uploaded

Okay, I want to say first off that I did not want to actually upload this. I put it off as long as I could... but eventually I couldn't, anymore, so here it is.

This is not an area of Fallout 3 I had ever planned to have a hand in; at least not in the resource area. As a one or two-off for my own NosCo branded companions to make them stand out from the competition? Sure. But freely uploaded for everyone... It's more than a bit unnerving.

This modding thing is beginning to clash most severely with my "don't stand out" policy.

I avoid the forums for a reason, you know.

But, whatever. It's uploaded, go nuts.

It's been a long day. I spent my afternoon rolling around in sand, converting money into recoil and noise, and I'm sore in more than a few places. I put my six hours in today on this mess, and I'm going to do something that doesn't involve FO3 or the GECK.

For those who missed the first link, feel free to try again:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nos' Cosmetic Resource, Delays and Updates

Okay, obviously the package did not go up yesterday, as I had hoped it would.

While I was midway through my lunch, and almost done with the readme, family came a'knockin' on my door. I got to finish neither food nor documentation.

By the time I got home, I had had six hours of my day thoroughly wasted, and had such a headache (the locals are apparently celebrating Memorial Day by burning their garbage, and nylon fumes are not good for my sinus condition) that I wasn't in the mood to go near the Nexus anymore.

Further unfortunate, I didn't get to upload this morning either. I was working on the pack again.

I originally wasn't going to bother... but I decided to add males to the glow-y eyes list. Originally, the males of the races didn't even have the eyes added. The eye meshes were specifically tagged female, and I didn't think it would work. Decided to try anyway this morning... and it didn't turn out half bad:

Blue demon eyes.

Blue normal eyes.

Gold demon eyes.

Gold normal eyes.

Green demon eyes.

Green normal eyes.

Red demon eyes.

Red normal eyes.

Red inverted. (yeah, the terminator shtick is getting a bit thick, isn't it?)

White demon eyes.

White normal eyes.

White inverted.

Now, obviously (as you can tell from all of them wearing the same outfit) the male demo faces are all set as facegen defaults, as well.

Also: I realize I may have been somewhat vague on the differently colored eyes bit. This is not each eye a totally different color. This is set up to allow two colors in the same eye. Now, with some work, it is possible to set up a custom race with glow-y eyes, each a different color.

However. There are a huge number of possible combinations, and I'm not running up another dozen or two example races. It'll be simple enough to set it up yourself, if you're so inclined.

As an example of what the default setup can do, take a look at these:

This is literally about thirty-five seconds worth of work in the in-game facegen. Picked the red inverted, changed hair style and color, and overlayed the amethyst custom eye texture; resulting in the red glowing ever so slightly through the inner part of the iris.

Didn't remember to get a facial closeup, but this is the same idea; except overlayed with the gold eyes instead of amethyst.

The ability to use the red or white center-glow to diffuse-color another eye texture is going to be a huge avenue for customization with this package. While I'm not going to do it now... if there's enough demand, I can set up other 'inverted' colors to allow you to use green or blue or gold or whatever as your diffuse modifier.

Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

Okay, it's 1320 now, and I need a shower. When I get out - assuming I don't get waylaid by family again, I'll be making a quick edit to the readme to include the males, then starting the upload to the Nexus.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

An Appeal

We're going to start the weekend posting on a bit of a ranty note.

I'd like to make an appeal to all my fellow modders out there.

For the love of all that's unfuckingholy, put the name of your mod in your goddamned file name!

I'm so sick of having to rename things to keep them organized in my downloads cache. I cannot tell you the number of times I've run across a file simply named "v1.1.rar", and if it's a week after download, I have no goddamned idea what it goes to.

The number of times I've run across an update archive to Robert's or Breeze's male body mods in my download directory, and thought "Okay... but what in the hell armor bug is this supposed to fix?"

Sometimes a readme will helpfully explain.... but an alarmingly high number of you refuse to include any documentation at all.

I happened onto a semi-game wide Type 3 armor replacer this morning, and the main file is okay. It's named 'T3Armors'. Not great, but not horrid. I can puzzle it out. One of the updates is named 'Fix_for_scribe_robe_color'. Now see, this is the shit I'm talking about. I had to append the file name to start with T3Armor because otherwise, I'd have no idea what that update went to.

Remember: you may know perfectly well what "Meshes.rar" is, but no matter how good you think your mod is, most of us run way more than just it, and will quickly forget.

This results in needless redownloading from the Nexus, which just wastes bandwidth from a site with an already excessive monthly bill.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nos' Cosmetic Resource, Figured Out

Well, after much testing, I've finally settled on how to set up the glow-y eyes so that they're visible, but not overpowering.

I'm sure you want to see it - else you wouldn't be putting up with my blather - so I'll shut up and make with the screenshots.

We have firstly the revamped 'inverted' eyes. I took a suggestion from Herculine's apparently substantial sense of the aesthetic, and increased the size of the "pupil", which seems to have helped out a fair bit. Very creepy, on the whole, eh?

Finalized form of the green demon eyes.

Finalized form of the gold demon eyes.

New blue human eyes.

Finalized form of the red human eyes.

This was supposed to be the new blue demon eyes... but she fucking moved. Actors!

After having my assistant prod her gently with the butt-end of an M14, our blue eyed demonstrator decided to behave, as you can see.

Finalized form of the red demon eyes.

Here's the new inverted eyes in red.

Yep, I finally did it. I went completely off my rocker and created a terminator. These, boys and girls, will be what decimates humanity in the future. Always figured I'd have a hand in it...

Lastly, we have a bit of a proof of concept companion I threw together, just to see how it would all work.

I found that by using the inverted eyes with a normal eye texture, you can get a dual color eye. One color in a band around the pupil, with another making up the periphery. I tried several, and got some amazing combinations, but for our purposes tonight I settled on red and black, just for contrast's sake.

I'd like to introduce everyone to Kiyo. You'll probably never see her uploaded, as she has something like seven master files.

(when working for my own companions, I really don't give a shit about wider compatibility, nor how complicated an install is...)

As you can see, she has dark eyes with a pretty red ring around the center. Quite striking. You'll also notice she does not "glow" under normal lighting.

In the dark, however...

You get just a hint of it.

Not my best work by any means... but not bad for twenty minutes, while I was watching the 473rd rerun of Fast and Furious on Cinemax over my shoulder.

So, in some semblance of conclusion: I'm feeling like I've gotten the problems worked out, and the package seems ready for release. The package of demo companions will have to come later, when I've got names for them all (random name generator FTFW!).

Before I can release, I need to write up a readme, iron out the details, get an archive set up and tested, and so forth. Shooting for tonight, but may be tomorrow or even Sunday - depending on if/how busy I end up tomorrow.

NosCo Vault 1 Remodel, V2.1, Beta Released

That's right, the 2.1 Beta is up, and ready to be ignored by 99.9% of you.

Fixes include the fuxx0red up navmesh in the player's bedroom, some formerly misaligned tiles, the light switch script in the common room, and probably a few other things I can't remember because I have short term memory akin to a colander.

Updating should be a straightforward overwrite of the esp. No cleaning out of containers or such needed.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nos' Cosmetic Resource, Gold Eye Troubles

Think I've finally got the gold eye issues sorted. Tried the middle-of-the-road eye textures, and they seem to tone down the glow enough that it doesn't flair, but is still 'glowing' from a distance.

To whit:

Looking better by far, I think. Want to play with the middle textures on a few other colors, but once that's done it'll be ready for upload.

Also: had one of those moments I just had to capture in screenshot form:

This game is so interesting when it isn't royally pissing me off...

NosCo Vault 1 Remodel, V2.1, Upcoming

Did you ever have one of those days where you smack yourself in the forehead, and say "oh, for fuck's sake, I can't believe I missed that!"

I had such a moment a few minutes ago.

I'm in the new bedroom cell in the GECK, looking over the navmesh, and trying to figure out why the companions-in-tow get to the top of the steps leading down to the bathroom, and won't go any further; eventually warping into the sauna to continue following.

I have visions of it being esp problems to do with the number of triangles in the navmesh, or something corrupt...

I look at the stairs...

...and I fucking forgot to attach the navmeshing at the top of the stairs to that at the bottom. The two separated, the companions can't figure out how to get from one to the other; and so won't sandbox between the two areas, and have to be warped by the game engine to follow you...

Y'know, some days I'm actually arrogant enough to entertain the notion that I really am that good a modder... and then things like this happen, and I realize I'm much more like the nutty professor.

So much knowledge locked up in there... and so little of an attention span for important details.

This, boys and girls, is why you should not navmesh nor bug test at five in the morning.

Going to start testing after my luxurious dinner of three day old pizza. Assuming nothing else is messed up... you'll be seeing the updated beta plugin sometime tonight.

NosCo Vault 1 Remodel, and Cosmetic Resource

Two notes, this eve... err, I suppose 0238 qualifies as morning, doesn't it?

Damn my insomnia.


My game - at least temporarily - working again, I got some time in this evening/morning/whatever in the hell time it is where you are, and have something to report.

First and foremost, on the V2 Beta of the Remodel: I'm not sure how many of you have actually experienced it; but there are a few... 'problem areas' in the navmesh of the new bedroom cell. These areas cause buggy companion behavior when following you to and from the bathroom area, and when your companion(s) tries to follow you out of the jacuzzi. I happened to get lucky tonight, and have pinpointed the exact spots causing the issues. That done, I should be able to at least start on fixing them and hopefully get us to a non-beta release of V2.

On the cosmetic resource: I'm nearly ready to call it good. I tried the black overlay on the gold eyes tonight, and the results are encouraging, if not spectacular.

As you can see, while bright, they no longer really glow. This is a mixed victory. Half the fun of the glowing eyes is how stupidly far away you can see their glow in the dark. Without that... they're just bright-eyed. Not sure I like that so much. Still, I'm not giving up. I have one more trick up the 'ol BDU sleeve. Since black tones it down too far, the obvious solution is to try the steel gray eye texture, and see if that lets it glow a bit more.

I'd like to find the correct balance; because while it doesn't carry through to the screenshots, the 'toned-down' eyes look cool up close in-game.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mod Problems

People wonder, why I don't switch to a more 'advanced' system in my mods.

I could have a sorter that worked with all items without mod plugins. Could have more advanced features, et cetera, et cetera.

Yesterday, EARACHE42 - author of Ling's Finer Things and its satellite mods - released a hot-fix for his other mod series, eXCALIBR.

I didn't see what exactly it was supposed to fix.

Last evening, I went to do some playing and testing and whatnot, and my game wouldn't start. Would load to the intro screen, and then stop. Freeze up. No accepting of mouse or keyboard input at all.

I try the usual. Removing the intro screen disabler, remove/reapply archiveinvalidation, and so on. No dice. Remove the last couple plugins I'd installed but not yet activated. Still nothing.

Just as I'm waffling between reinstalling the game again, and abandoning FO3 altogether; I happen to glance over my load order, and notice eXCALIBR.esm is above Fallout3.esm. Nothing good can come of this, I think - along with loudly wondering why people insist on setting the creation dates on their plugins earlier than the main game master.

Fix the load order, still NFG.

I remember, I didn't just install new plugins; the esm was out of place because I installed the hot-fix. Roll back to the plugins in the .fomod and the game starts perfectly.

Check the file's comments. No specific mention of problems; and one vague reference to "fixing the fix".

By this point, it's after midnight, and I'm in no fucking mood. I abandon the idea for the time being.

Flash forward to this morning. I decide to check the file entry anew, and still there's really no comments specifically mentioning it... but the hot-fix plugins are two mod versions newer than last night.

I haven't installed it, yet. I don't know exactly what was wrong with 2.01, but it's a pretty good illustration.

People wonder often why I don't institute some new feature, or why I waste so much time on testing my plugins.

This kind of stuff is why. I can not for the life of me imagine not testing a plugin at least once before uploading it.

Unfortunately, this also sets back my testing schedule... putting me a day behind on not just 5.63, but also the cosmetic resource; as well as Toad's People PK2, and the re-uploaded-possibly-findable-this-time Chesapeake companion.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010



At some point this morning, I had a kudos point taken away over on the Nexus.

Weird. Never had that happen before.

Not that I particularly care, mind you. Much like endorsements, kudos are one of those silly popularity contest things...

...I am, however, curious what exactly I did to piss off someone who previously liked me. Don't recall having been offensive and/or condescending lately.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Random Reliability Persists

(This is going to be one of those technical issue posts. No mod previews or screenshots or anything like that, so feel free to skip if that's what you come here for.)

I've mentioned off and on since getting back up and running, the heavily variable 'playability' of Fallout 3 in general.

Before the FUBAR, my game was rock-solid stable, and had problems only when the game's memory leak came into play; that is to say, when the system ran completely out of memory, and the game kept demanding more. Results in a happy-fun-time-CTD.

Haven't been so lucky this time around. crashes have manifested here and there, AI problems, texture issues, and so on. 'Normal' stuff for FO3, but infuriating nonetheless when compared to the previous install's performance.

I thought I had it going pretty well. I could play three or four hours at a go - about the max that my 1gb system will tolerate with the Gamebryo engine in any form - the AI was acting right again, and slowdowns were few and far between.

Then, things went straight to hell. In two days, two of my three attempts at playing resulted in the PC hard-locked; requiring a total power kill via the switch on the PSU (stupid ATX power supplies not having a fucking off button like the old ATs. If I wanted the fucking computer to 'sleep', I'd tell windows to do it).

I wasn't sure what was going on. In addition to the locks, I had massive AI problems.

I went through, cleaned up stray files in the Data directory; started running conflict checks, and even began looking closer to every mod I had updated since the last install.

I happened to also be testing four companion plugins during this time. Two for NeilUK02, one for Toadlet, and one for Ladydesire.

After multiple crashes, I finally just called Brooke and Bernie following me 'good enough' and threw in the endorsements. I don't want to deal with them anymore. That Exnem shit is fucked up. Not only does it look like shit, but it causes constant conflicts with my Type 3 armor replacers.

"Toad's People" worked fine as far as I could tell; but consisted of the two groups that I have no interest in my companions being - yard apes and geriatrics. Thankfully no Exnem this time, though. Verified it worked, dropped in my endorsement there, too.

Ladydesire's Chesapeake companion... I gave up on. I couldn't find her to test. I spent forty minutes the first time looking for her, and almost thirty the second. Nary hide nor hair. Never a glimpse. The readme said "in or around Megaton". Thanks, that narrows it down nicely. Second try was on the second version of the plugin, where the author (I thought) was going to move her to someplace actually find-able. I'm not going to rate it down... I'm just not going to endorse. Hoping I can stay quiet on the whole issue, and no one on the Nexus will notice.

As much testing done as I'm going to do, I pulled the plugins, and all of the Exnemized crap from my data directory. Went back three savegames to before I had turned any of the four on...

...and I played for almost four hours last night in one sitting. AI problems still manifested; but like they used to, my companion now got over the issues on her own if I just stood still and waited for her for a minute or two. I can hear the HDD working at something when it happens, so I'm thinking it's some issue in the engine, itself. Hopefully, like last time, it will resolve itself as the game breaks itself in.

Really, I don't want to cast aspersions; intimate that it was someone's companions - and I damned well don't want to discourage anyone from creating and/or sharing them... but that there evimadence is pretty strong.

Empirical research is a bitch to dispute, I know. Worst thing about it is I have no idea what could be doing that. The only thing I can come up with is that the Exnem bad-fake-tits-edition bodies that Bernie and Brooke use was clashing heavily with my Type 3 raider armor replacer. A bit gets out of alignment someplace eventually, and the game soils itself and runs away; as it does sometimes.

Obviously, one randomly working play session is not enough for me to conclusively declare that that was in fact the issue; it seems awfully coincidental - and I don't believe in coincidence.

Suppose I'll do what I always do: grit what's left of my teeth and suffer through plugins with problems to test them for people, and then turn them off when I can.

Just hoping Herculine's next plugin works as well as her Shojo one. While I don't really go for the kiddie thing, this new one sounds interesting.

Still reading this far? Wow. I'm impressed. That's a lot of rambling to put up with. Here, have a reward:

I lied about the no mod previews. Just to reward you, I'll let you know that there are two incoming to go with my cosmetic resource. One will be the plugin full of the test companions you saw screenshots of - suitably renamed, of course - and the other, a group of purpose made, smokin' hot Demonesses to gleefully aid your wasteland rampages. Fanged Demonesses. Ooh, yeah...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Screenshots, 5-23

Okay, before we launch into photomographical evidence of the new cosmetic resource, I want to share a couple of other screens.

First, just for you, David, and your quest for "funny stuff":

This is what happens when you shoot a raider in the back of the head with a 50BMG. Those are eyeballs, and a row of teeth.

I never knew the gore system in FO3 was that detailed. Still, it got a good laugh out of me when I was looting the headless corpse, and saw that the eyes had ended up intact in the fountain.

Second, from the NosCo Vault 1 Remodel, this is a section of the tunnel that leads direct to the player's bedroom.

Now, those out of the way, let's move on to the cosmetic resource.

You saw the GECK shots earlier, but here are the ones from in-game.

'Standard' red eyes.

'Standard' white eyes.

'Standard' green eyes.

'Standard' gold eyes.

'Demonic' red eyes.

'Demonic' white eyes.

'Demonic' green eyes.

'Demonic' gold eyes.

And lastly, a Herculine special request, what I call the 'inverted' eyes. Solid black, with a glowing pupil. This is the test one; with a white glow. Needless to say, the texture needs a bit of optimization. I need to "round" the pupil a bit more and such - the test texture is just a flood fill of the normal pupil. Certainly is disconcerting, though. I think it'll be worth the trouble to play with a bit.

And since I took some more while getting the second draft of those gold eyes, have a compilation and some other shots of the NPCs:

I'm waffling a bit again. On the whole I like it... but I wonder if the gold eyes aren't a bit too bright. They seem to be overpowering the texture and flaring over the top of the details; and the 'normal' eyes' glowmap might need an adjustment. Seems to have some spillover... not positive whether that's actually in the game, or just an artifact of the screenshot taking process. I'll have to get close in-game and look.