Monday, November 29, 2010


Rewriting the creation tutorial.

So... much... text...

I've got the index and basic pages done. All new screenshots across the board, new Debbies made for the occasion.

Still have to do the advanced page. The mods page is going to be short, since there are virtually no mods out for NV that I actually think are good enough to use. I think I've got one radio fix plugin, Herculine's companions, and the rest is all stuff I've created.

Have to lay off for the time being though. After three straight hours of rewriting and screenshotting, I need a break.

Assuming I don't get another attack of the cursed eyestrain, the new guide should go up later tonight, or tomorrow morning.

More NV Strangeness

Annoyed as I am with the 'community' in general this morning, I decided to play with my personal companions some. I added Natasha to the plugin - fortunately, her hair works perfectly in NV.

Got plugin set up and quest written and et cetera et cetera.

Happened to be testing; and she got stuck in some rocks - clipping into them and unable to get out. Normally, I'd open the console and toggle clipping on her, but I decide what the hell, I'll try out the plugin's recall function. Probably a waste of time, since it never worked in testing on my pre-made NCCS companions.

This time? Worked without a hitch. Exact same code, save for the references. Why did it work this time and not before?

I have no idea. None whatsoever.

This only reinforces the theory I've had though, that at certain times, the engine hangs. Scripts hit a certain line and won't process anymore. In the case of my NCCS pip-boy plugins, it was the line that governed reset code.

Apparently it doesn't hang in my special companions plugin.

I swear, Levi's and Crowley's magickal theories made more sense than this damned game.

On another hand, I think I'm going to have to try talking Maeva into a new hair style. I'm not seeing "adjusted" versions of Ren's work popping up on the Nexus; and Gods know I don't have the Blender skill to do it myself.

Don't want to cut her to short hair, though. I'm thinking maybe one of those Growlf hairs. With the braids. Maybe that twin-braid one, with the tails hanging down on her chest. Go for that Alpine look.


You know, I'm cruising the NVNexus this morning; posting a bit of help for Neil... trying to figure out what some of my players are smoking... I happened to glance over the entry for NVRR; when I had a thought. I was looking over the user uploaded images, and happened to see one of someone's first attempt at creating... and I think to myself "I wonder if they uploaded a tutorial?"

Click over to the files tab, down to miscellaneous... and there it sits. "Companion Creation Guide", size 7,427kb. That number looked familiar. It was very similar to the size of the RR guide of mine that I had just redownloaded and modified slightly for NCCS yesterday morning.

No, they wouldn't...

I download, and sure enough. It's my fucking tutorial. "modified for NV". Same pictures and all.

Now, look: I may have agreed to RR pillaging, because as I said, I don't own that one. But as I also bitched about before, I did not agree to having every piece of work I've ever uploaded ripped off.

No one ever mentioned the guide to me. Let alone specifically asked to "convert" it. The guide, I would add, that I spent thirteen hours writing freehand in wordpad.

I have to say... the more times I look at NVRR, the less inclined I am to share my work online with any of you people.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nos' Adventures, 8-23/24-77

August 23/24, 2277:

I’m beginning to think that my diet of questionable meat and cheap hooch is getting to me.

During the wee morning hours, I dreamt.

I didn’t dream about being naked at a public speaking event; nor about being chased or hunted. I didn’t see dead relatives; didn’t meet my dad to ask why he left me.

I dreamed the most vivid dream of my life. Another world – verdant, populated, and primitive.

I was… still me. Still the same unspectacular me. I ‘woke up’ on the sandy shore of an island.

I knew where I was; outside the walls of the capital city. I had no firearms, instead armed with a bow and short sword.

No nuclear wasteland; no mutants or giant roaches or psychotic cannibals.

I actually smelled the breeze. Watched a butterfly flitter past. I knew that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be – that somehow I was supposed to be in a desolate waste… but wasn’t bothered by the knowledge. Being where I was seemed perfectly normal and reasonable.

I found a gate and headed into the city, making for the market district to sell some items I remembered acquiring in a nearby sewer tunnel.

The city was teeming with inhabitants. Humans, mostly, with some of what I knew to be elves here and there.

While walking through the market, I found Ria and Maeva. They sat at an outdoor table, having a quiet meal.

Ria greeted me with a kiss, and informed me they had been awaiting me for some time.

After selling off what goods I had, and acquiring a few supplies, we left the city. Maeva had informed us that she had been told about a wrecked pirate vessel, some distance from the city in a secluded cavern in an oceanic inlet.

Not only, we reasoned, would it make a defensible lair, but would doubtless have at least some interesting swag left lying about. Rumor had it that the cave was haunted by the undead forms of the pirate crew, but this for some reason did not give us even momentary pause.

We traveled a road through forests and hills. Despite the relative civilization and the patrols on the road itself, bandits were fairly common.

Ria had armed herself with a bow and sword similar to my own setup. Maeva carried a massive two-handed sword that had had its blade silvered to make it more effective against supernatural beings.

No, I’m not sure why that would make a difference, either.

Any bandits that crossed our path were dealt with quickly and mercilessly. Maeva’s considerable form and equally considerable blade proved themselves capable of cutting a man in two from shoulder to hip with alarming ease – leather armor and all.

As it often seems to in dreams, time proved less than amazingly reliable. As I experienced it, events seemed to skip forward periodically; in all, we spent more than three days on the road to the coast.

We stopped briefly in another, smaller city midway between the capital and our destination.

The architecture, I remember thinking, was beautiful.

Noon of the fourth day of dream-time, we arrived at the sea.

From the overlook, we could see not only the nearby city’s harbor, but the entrance to the cave – though that entrance wasn’t visible from the angle of the city. These pirates had apparently been quite bold to try to hole up so close to the Legion’s presence.

Inside the cave, we found the crew; still roaming about in barely-animate skeleton form. This, again, didn’t bother us.

Then again, after dealing with Raiders, giant roaches, and a thirty-foot mutant ‘behemoth’, I’m not sure a few shambling skeletons with rusty swords would bother me much in the real world, either.

The things were slow and clumsy, and easily smashed.

Inside the wrecked captain’s quarters, we found the similarly undead form of the captain himself. Maeva’s claymore gave him a second death in spectacular fashion.

We rested a bit then; deciding what to do next. Eventually, Ria announced that she knew someone who could help us make the place a bit more livable. We met the woman on one of the ships moored in the nearby bay; bartering away the lion’s share of the money we had collected selling off bandits’ equipment and loot.

As well, there turned out to be more than a few people dissatisfied with living in ‘proper’ society; who were quite willing to crew our new hideout – turning it into a pirate’s outpost, of sorts. While our cut of the operations going on wouldn’t make us rich, it was projected to be a not insignificant – and relatively steady – supplementary income.

Our business concluded, we bought a case of good spirits, and retired to our lair to celebrate in ways that would likely have made the ancient Greeks proud.

Eventually, I passed out in the newly furnished Captain’s Quarters.

The next thing I knew, I was sitting bolt upright in my bed. Ria had her hands on my chest, and was yelling at me – apparently trying to get me to come back to my senses.

I panicked for a moment. Who was I? Where was I? Why couldn’t I see?

Slowly, it came back. I was in the wasteland that was once Washington D.C. I was no one. I couldn’t see because I don’t sleep with my glasses on; and the lights were off.

After a few seconds, my heart rate began to return to normal; down from its peak somewhere north of one-twenty.

Ria told me that I had been talking in my sleep; thrashing about from time to time. She had apparently been trying to wake me for some ten minutes, after my condition began to worsen.

She held me close to her bare chest, telling me that I had worried her badly; and that I should never do that again.

I do all I can to accommodate her every whim… so it was with regret that I had to respond that I can’t control my dreams.

I explained about my dream as best I could. Ria listened attentively, though she couldn’t see any import from the events; and suggested that some form of wasteland-peyote may have made it into something I ate the previous day.

I hoped that was all it was. The bedside clock declared the time to be just after six in the morning. After getting to bed late, it was hardly enough sleep – but I already knew I wouldn’t be sleeping any more anytime soon.

Eventually, seeing that I was alive and not insane (or at least, any more so than usual), Ria excused herself from bed.

Type 3 NV

Just wanted to drop out a note for those of you who, like me, enjoy the ladies.

I know most of us have probably installed our FO3 Type 3 packages, but it seems there's been an official Dimon99-endorsed release of the package for FONV.

Interested parties might want to grab it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

And More Personal Crap...

...That no one really cares about, but I'm going to post anyway because it's my damned blog and I feel like it.

Thinking I may have deeper mental issues than I normally credit myself for.

Just made dinner - Miso soup with tofu and seaweed, can of roast beef with gravy, and dumped in some instant rice. Stir well, drop in a tbsp of butter for good measure.

...Some days, I heavily wonder about myself.

(It's good, though...)

Doesn't help matters either that I'm reading K-S fanfics while eating.

Pant... Wheeze... Die...

Sweet mother of all that's unholy; I've done more posting on the Nexus in the last twenty-four hours than in the last three months combined.

I am eternally amazed by people that manage to break mods. Don't ask me how they do it... but it's all my fault, I'm sure.

I do notice that fully half of malcontents for FO3 or NV are running AP in some form.

COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT! *dramatic music*

I suppose I should be gratified that it seems destined to be a popular project - but the playerbase don't seem to understand the terms "beta" and "There's only one of me Goddammit!"

This would be why I typically hold off on releases.

Possible Revelation?

Got my girls upgraded, back into the game, and running some new code that takes my previous "go find the player" starting package a step further.

Decided to give them some combat trials. We headed into Vault 11.

Performance was excellent; they swept and cleared the place in a manner that would've made any Delta Force operator proud.

It got interesting at the end, though. I had moved into the sacrificial chamber, and from the focus on the projector and the general shape of the room; I could smell what was coming, and had moved well out of the line of fire.

Needless to say, the firefight was fairly epic; and involved my expending several hundred caps worth of 40mm grenades.

Anyway. What caught my attention - and necessitated a post - was that about halfway through, I got the 'sound bug' for want of a better term; where firing, reloading, and other "item" sounds just stop playing.

At the end of the fight, both my companions were stuck.

Alas, ED-E had been ravaged like a narcoleptic cheerleader on prom night, so I couldn't see whether it had frozen as well.

Rather than use the wait key, I just left them standing there while I explored the new room. As I did, sounds played - albeit slowly and in a disjointed fashion, rather than the every saved up sound at once that it usually does.

When the sounds had finished catching up... the AI unfroze, and the girls put away their weapons and joined me.

I'd never seen this correlation before, but on deeper consideration, it's all coming together.

The AI freezing, the sounds stopping, the scripts that freeze at random.

Something in the game engine is hanging at random. Once it hangs, any new input it ignored. You can't activate affected NPCs, scripts don't fire, holstering of weapons doesn't work.

And, I'd wager, if it stays fucked long enough, that's when you get the crash. A memory request that goes unheeded or something.

Trouble is, because I lack the software to peep into the executable and see what in the holy hell is going on with the engine, this is all base supposition. Even if it wasn't, hacking the engine itself is way above my pay grade. So, even if I am right... what good does it do us?

Either way, it's good to have them back. Those lesser companions were beginning to cramp my style.

Not That Out of Practice...

With NCCS released, I'm updating my special companions to the latest everything, to get back to testing code and features with NPCs I actually like.

Writing in my Pip-Boy plugins at the moment. I just wrote the backend scripts almost freehand (had to stop to look up the UnEquipItem function - I couldn't remember whether it was the first or second flag that told it to unequip silently).

Apparently not quite as sieve-headed as I like to portray myself as being.

NCCS - Reality

I polished off the last of the documentation, got the rest of the screenshots taken, and... I did it.

We are officially in business, Kiddies.

Now just to sit back, and wait on the bug reports and complaints to start rolling in...

Friday, November 26, 2010


And now... another episode of the NosCo movie blog lite!

Caught Faster this evening.

Avante Garde it ain't... but I liked it. Little in the way of wasting time on forced attempts to be witty in dialog, and the violence was brutal and fast. Had pretty good advisers on the technical aspects, as well. Only two problems I had with it: 1) As the owner of a Ruger Alaskan .454, I can say definitively that they have way more recoil than that; and 2) a headshot from said .454 would produce much more of a mess. Like, 'no back of the head left' kind of mess.

Other than that, an entertaining way to waste two hours.

Also: the hitman and his bride going direct from the ceremony out into the desert to work in some target practice? So romantic. Although a truly good woman would have joined in on the job. *cough* Or so I'm told... >_>

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NCCS - Hate

Writing readmes. I hate them.

Wordpad doesn't have spellcheck (got to keep the Word features out of the text file for maximum compatibility), I always miss some detail or other, and nobody reads these damned things anyway...

Companion creation guide and readme are done. Still need to write in the upcoming features and grab those last handful of screenies and I'll be ready to package this fucker up and make for the NVNexus.

NCCS - Broken Streak

It happened. I had to make an actual script edit this morning.

It had slipped my mind, because as I said I'm not much of a gambler, but ttomwv mentioned before that one of the casino door scripts needed to be altered; he just couldn't remember which at the time.

Happened to pop into the Ultralux this morning... and that's the one. Took a look at the script, and it's written to not allow anyone except the player and the official followers out - though anyone can go in.

Apparently it's set up to strip followers of weapons as well as the player. Naturally, this doesn't work on NCCS companions.

I could probably make it work... but why? These sorts of scripts only work on vanilla game items anyway; so as soon as you add mod weapons into the equation they become useless anyway.

Anyhow, dropped an extra bit of code into the script that will allow any NPC in or out - without compromising the stuff for the vanilla followers; so my little edit may conflict, but it shouldn't break anyone else's companion mod.

Checked the Tops, and Gomorrah and couldn't find any similar scripts hiding on their doors; and I already know from experience that the Lucky 38 works fine.

Kind of amusing. The White Gloves henchmen run in during questing in the Ultralux to beat on the player with sticks... and run smack into the muzzle of a brush gun wielded by a more than slightly annoyed woman.

They learned what many tribals and martial artists have learned throughout the centuries: stick does not beat gun. Doubly so when said gun is chambered in 45/70 and the companion holding it is running one of my combat styles...

Regardless, issue with the door appears to be handled, and shan't delay release any at all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NCCS - Release Imminent, Part II

I just came off another test session. I'm up to four companions, all running on one script - plus ED-E.

Thus far performance continues to be excellent, for the most part. Holes and errors in the game's navmesh are prolific to put it mildly; and these naturally give any followers pause. Considering that ED-E stops whenever the NCCS followers do, I'm inclined to believe it a game-wide engine problem, and not some hole in my work.

Script issues aside; my previous conclusions remain. Parties greater than four simply aren't practical in the game; they make it too difficult to move through tight spaces, and friendly fire is nearly constant when they start shoving to get to the front of a firefight.

Issues with the companions attacking anything that tried to attack me remain. Despite pulling the code that triggered it. It seems to come up whenever an actor or creature attempts to target me. Don't know that there's anything I can do about it, either.

That said, the system is as good as I can make it at present; and any further delays would simply be procrastination on my part... so I won't.

Miss Herculine has turned in a version of her pack that's updated to work with the latest beta master, and my own is about as ready as can be.

I still have to take some screenshots, write a readme, and throw together some sort of companion creation guide. After that will be upload time.

FONV - Done Right

I bitch a lot around here about the devs; what I think they could have done better, or shouldn't have done at all - but I'd like to take a few minutes here to mention some things I think they did right.

Firstly, the Presidential Suite in the Lucky 38. This is the first official 'player house' I've seen in TESIV, FO3, or FONV that I actually liked and may well use to the exclusion of a self-made home. It's upgradable without being pointless (see the "themes" from FO3 for what I mean by waste of my fucking time and caps), has plenty of storage, and can sleep four companions in addition to me. Six, if I let them take my bed, as well. My one complaint about the suite is that it lacks a reloading bench or campfire-equivalent; so that you can't do all your crafting at home.

Second, The Strip from a distance. Wow. I watched the sun rise over the Strip from outside the Followers Safe House, and damn; what a view. There's about a half hour in game time where you can see the sun cresting the horizon, while the Strip lights are still on.

Third, Fisto. Congrats, Devs, you successfully made me inadvertently cringe.

Fourth, Crafting. I like the new system. I don't personally use it, but it's nice to have the ability to make Stimpaks myself. Reloading is especially nice; I'm impressed that they went as far as primers and powder type. Kudos, there. Would be nicer if you had to spring for a die set as well as the "recipe", but it's still a massive improvement over other systems where you magically make all ammo out of "powder" and scrap metal.

Fifth, Gun Runners. I like the kiosk design, and how it makes it all but impossible for the player to steal weapons and ammo.

Sixth, Sex. No more beating around the bush (oh, the wit!) here; for once they actually flatly acknowledge that it goes on, and you get to flirt with and even possibly engage in said acts with NPCs. Granted, you don't get to see anything... but it's still better than pretending we're all eight and live in a giant Disney movie where the height of intimacy is holding hands.

Seventh, Gambling. I'm not much of a gambler here in the real world. I know that eventually, the house always wins. Otherwise, they wouldn't stay in business. That said, I developed a bit of a taste for dice poker while playing The Witcher, and it's nice to see another game that lets you wager a bit for something different than running packages and killing raiders. Unfortunately, as in real life, I completely suck at New Vegas Roulette. Not horrid at blackjack, but could certainly live without Caravan; that convoluted mess.

There are also some parts I don't agree with. Not going to delve into bugs, or lapses in setup in some area; this is just the ways things are 'supposed to work'.

Mainly, it's those asinine level requirements on items showing up in a merchant's inventory. Really? We still have to deal with this shit? Look, walk into a store sometime, here in the real world. Do they ask you how old you are? If you want to wear an expensive suit, do they ask how long you've been wearing pants? Of course not. Retailers care about whether you can pay the number on the price tag. Really, it's time to do the same in games. Remove the requirements, let the player buy whatever they can swing the price of. I mean, Combat Armor goes for upwards of four grand in NV, level one players aren't going to be able to afford that anyway.

There's also the matter of the NCR. You devs think Californians are the greatest race to ever walk the face of the Earth. We get it. Now lay off. I'm seriously considering siding with Caesar just because I'm sick of dealing with those blowhards and their OMG SO GREAT backstory. Have you read any of the in-game stuff surrounding them? It reads like a seventeen year old's fanfic dedicated to their favorite branch of the military. Not only are the NCR Rangers the greatest ever, but there's a level still greater! The Super Saiyan... I mean ELITE NCR RANGERS! With their high gloss black armor and expertise in not only every form of combat ever, but also as scouts. PH34R!

...I was so hoping taking control of ARCHIMEDES II would let me turn the death ray on NCR positions around the wastes... but noooooo, it's a one-shot deal that only kills the ones in the courtyard.

We won't even get into how badly the voice actors are mutilating their pronunciations. I haven't heard Latin that bad since I got bored enough to watch Harry Potter on Cinemax once at three AM.

Okay, someone just came through and talked to me. My train of thought is even more derailed than it was when I started the tirade, so I'll shut up now.

Monday, November 22, 2010

NCCS - Release Imminent

I know it's been a bit over a week more than I was hoping it would take... but I just came off a two odd hour play, and I'm impressed. Performance is good, even with multiple companions running on one script.

I've got two running on it actively without issue. I plan to up it to three and see how that works.

Thus far the biggest hurdle to release has been the game itself. Testing out in the wasteland is very difficult because of the constant crashes. In more confined spaces, though, they seem to perform excellent; whatever that's worth.

Went into and out of the Strip by gate, and again there were no fights breaking out. There have been no random attacks on non-hostiles, and since I instituted the last piece of code for the combat end block of the script, there haven't been any issues with stoppages after the fight, either.

Some issues in delays on companions following you do persist. Some of the levels of Vault 22, for example, wouldn't let them follow me in. Once I was in, they took an alternate path to try to catch up, and ended up getting lost. When I returned to the entrance to leave, though, they were right there and still following.

Similarly, no companions - even ED-E - were willing to follow me into the Lucky 38 lounge/restaurant/whatever you want to call it. There's a delay following from House's penthouse to the Casino, but they do eventually make it down. No issues whatsoever going from casino level to presidential suite and back; so there shouldn't be any problems with them working with your new home.

A few issues here and there in Freeside; judging by their behavior, I'd say it's shoddy navmeshing again. Most of the tight spaces between rubble don't seem to be 'meshed at all - probably laziness on the devs' part. Companions always come around in the valid navmesh and catch up shortly.

Obviously I haven't played through the entire game, all its quests, and every interior cell that the player could possibly find themselves interacting with, so I'm sure there are still problems lurking about, but I think this should probably do for an initial release.

FONV - Complications

I've mentioned on occasion that the prevailing opinion on making FONV companion-friendly involves modifying scripts, triggers, and such.

Some of you may wonder why I'm so resistant to this idea. Am I just being my usual contrary self; preferring to learn on my own rather than accept advice?

Well... yeah, partly. But there's another concern.

ttomwv has mentioned to me a few times about needing to fix this trigger or that door or what-have-you to get it working with companions, and I insisted on checking alternatives. Want to see why?

For those of you who have never used the NVGECK, this is the Strip:

This is only one section; between the Lucky 38, and Gomorrah.

See all that crap?

The blue boxes are Idle Markers - things that cause a patrolling or sandboxing NPC to play specified animations. Red X's are your standard Xmarkers: the normal target for patrol points, guard packages, moveto commands, and some dialog sets. Red squares with an arrow on one side are an Xmarkerheading - the same as an Xmarker, but with an addition command that the NPC face a specific direction while doing whatever it is. Then there are your trigger boxes that handle everything from fame setting to initializing audio to starting scripted events around you.

Here's a closer view:

Now, imagine you're looking for one trigger; one script attached to it, to change one line of code.

While there are certainly cases where modding scripts is the best idea... I prefer to stick with my usual less invasive methods, thanks.

Also bear in mind, this is one section of the strip. Not even a couple hundred yards square. There are literally thousands of markers and triggers throughout the Strip.

The irony being most don't even do anything useful; or that couldn't be easily handled by quest scripts instead of triggers. As I've said before: I really think they went out of their way to make this game as complicated as it could possibly be.

I have to wonder whether the devs at Obsidian had ever modded FO3; or whether they just started in on NV blind.

And In Non-Fallout Related News...

Wow. 280 hours, and for the C64.

I'm torn between awe at the length of a free game, and abject horror at how bad the graphics will be.

Didn't own a C64 myself, but I played more than a few of that era's RPGs on the stately 8088, and can safely say I have no desire whatsoever to return to graphics that give me eyestrain every twenty minutes.

Completely Unrelated

I just wanted to note that we're moving into my favorite time of year, here in the northern hemisphere.

Last night, it was 28F, with an odd inch of powdery snow on the ground.

My window? Open fully; with a fan sitting in it running full blast.

I awoke this morning to what was left of my glass of tea being colder than when I left it on the desk.

You know, back when I drank such things, I actually had a half can of Coke freeze on my desk once? Seriously. Woke up to a half a can of Coke-flavored slurpee.

Not only is it the only time of year I sleep halfway decent, but it's complete anathema to the human wretches around me; who skitter indoors to huddle around woodstoves and lay on flat rocks under sunlamps - complaining the entire way that "there's no logical reason it should be so excruciatingly cold." I wish I was kidding about that last part.

Probably good for my PC hardware too, now that I think of it...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NCCS - Strip Ready

...Now that I think of it, that sounds kind of dirty, doesn't it? Oh well, what're ya gonna do?

Did some more testing on the new code. In and out of the strip, no problem. As well as a few other places...

"Your friends aren't allowed in the Penthouse" indeed.

And here were some of the results of the "improved" combat code...

Interestingly enough, Sunny never did anything. Not sure what factional wires got crossed where.

And Ted just looked like a serial killer in that hockey mask and sweater vest.

This would be shortly after Sam decided the residents of Primm needed to see the next life for no apparent reason.

Not bad form, all in all; but she needed to work on that temper... No self restraint, kids these days.

Yet another of the combinations of equipment the random spawns came up with. I've since increased Rin's height a bit. I ran the numbers in my head, and I had her set at like 4'8. Too short.

And lastly, the new decoration dialog options...

When asked to put on a slave's collar.

The menu.

And when told to remove the collar.

...And one just to show Sam almost topless...

NCCS - Partial Success

I've been having a bear of a time with the thing; script data gets stuck in the savegame, so I have to fully clean it every time I make an edit or change an NPC's script.

Had to scrap the code that automatically started combat for the NPCs. NV seems to use the calls oddly - when you fire on someone, the game decides you're under attack... which of course trips the Companion's 'go hurt them in defense of your master' code, making stand-off fighting all but impossible.

I modified the code so it would only fire if the player wasn't sneaking...

...And this somehow made the companions randomly attack everyone who wasn't us. They shot Sunny's dog, even. Many, many times...

Anyhow, this needless to say made the game nigh-unplayable, what with them axing quest NPCs left and right.

I commented out the code, and they seem to work fine again. It looks like the update to the game itself at least partially addressed the hesitating to enter combat issue that had me instituting the code in the first place.

I finally made it onto the strip, too. My stalwart partner's solution to the robo-twits conflicting with the companions appears to be solved, and without modifying a single base game script or faction.

Unfortunately, the method we chose to test the theory was a stopgap, and not suitable for wide use. I'm going to modify the dialog resultscripts some to get a correct method working... although I fully expect it to not work in that method; because this damned game obeys no form of logic my mind can conceive of.

The problem now is going to be sections of the main quest. There are spots that teleport the player to areas rather than letting them move normally. This, of course, leaves companions behind.

As noted before, I've found one; but not a second. Apparently there's some "island" having to do with Caesar that you get sent to while in the service of the latest iteration of Fallout's cliche and boring supercomputer AI controlling everything behind the scenes schtick.

I've been through the backend of more than a dozen quests and their accompanying scripts, and can't find a single moveto command anywhere in them; nor any mention of said island in quest notes or script comments.

Why they insist on hiding this shit is beyond me.

At this point, all I can do is play the damned quest myself and try to see exactly where it happens.

Worse yet, my pip-boy plugins don't work right in the new game. Cycling the tracking quest works fine, but the reset command does nothing. As always, the script passes the GECK's checks just fine, but in game does nothing.

On the up side, I got my Katawa Shoujo demo up to 100% last night. Now I just have to wait on them to release the full game. HURRY UP!

...What? I totally see the hypocrisy of me bitching at someone else's free project to hurry up; I just don't care. So Nyah.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NCCS - Overkill?

So... playing a bit this evening, and progress is being made. The Pip-Boy plugins work, the new Equipment, Personal, and Behavior dialog menus all work; along with their contents.

Have had no following stoppages, no hesitation after combat, no wandering off indoors or out.

Random equipment spawns work, and haven't changed at all in two game days of moving in and out of cells.

I... think I may have overdone the combat calls a bit, though.

I wanted them to forcibly attack anyone who started a fight with me - including the NCR GMPCs.

Well, they do. Unfortunately, they now attack anyone who I enter combat with, making it all but impossible to pick enemies off from a distance.

One of these days, I have got to learn to work incrementally, and not drop my H-bomb as soon as war is declared.

Nevertheless, I think I can salvage it. I've got some code in mind that should allow sniping without them charging in.

Also: NCCS will not have the follow distance plugins seen in RR. There's no need - the options are now included in the dialog orders, and are set up to work individually. You can set each companion on their own to a different distance to pull them in or string them out as you see fit. Settings should also be retained through stay, firing, and re-hire; so that they'll maintain the distance you specify until you order otherwise.

I've put in personal stat and skill displays that will let you keep track of your companion's current health and level; as well as guns, explosives, energy weapons, melee weapons, and sneak skills. This way, you can look at hard numbers, to decide what weapon(s) best suit your companions, as well as whether they're sneaky enough to avoid getting your stealth based character caught. You'll also be able to monitor companions' aggression and confidence - this one is unfortunately displayed via a numerical value and not a name (the script wouldn't allow a name to display); I have, however, added notes to the message that will tell you what the numbers mean.

Further, new dialog options will allow for specifying your companion's aggression at a whim. Three of the four levels are implemented - Frenzied is not, since it's pretty useless to a group effort.

Inventory share command has been moved to the equipment menu, along with an option to equip or remove a Pip-boy on command. There is no Pip-Boy light option at the moment - it caused a lot of problems in FO3, and I haven't decided whether it would be worth trying here.

I haven't decided yet whether the armory and wardrobe are worth bringing back. I never used them myself, and I don't think anyone else has ever mentioned a preference one way or the other.

Friday, November 19, 2010

NCCS - Slacking and Breakthroughs

So, yeah... I've been slacking off the last couple days. Not going into detail since no one cares, but a personal situation got worse a couple days ago, and I needed a day or two of not beating my head against the GECK to keep the chest pain under control (seems the incident six weeks ago left me permanently damaged. Joy.). About out of cartoons to waste time watching, though, so I'm going to end up drifting back into working on the NCCS later today.

Not everyone's as lazy as me, though. It seems Miss Herculine has figured out a way to let companions get in and out of the strip without taking robo-fire, and without touching a single base game script. Color me impressed.

*sniffle* They grow up so fast. Seems like just last week, she was asking about using factions to control dialog, and now she's using them to subvert dev scripting. I'm so proud. Soon, she'll be spouting snark and questioning the legalities of players' births, or insinuating they have Oedipal Complexes.

I've made the modifications to my own companions and the templates, and will try it out the next time I fire up the game, though since it has a 100% success rating going in her game, I'm confident that even if it doesn't work across the board, it will be the keystone that points us to the total fix.

I've also already corrected some dialog issues regarding the new container menus for the companions (sorry about that, Herculine). Seems I had forgotten to set them to only appear for members of NCCS, and random wasteland denizens had the options. Whoopsie. Let this be another lesson not to mod at five in the morning during an insomnia/depression bender.

Even with that done, I still have to make a couple of modifications somewhere to allow companions to be drug along with the player during one of the climactic battles of the main quest. The player is moved to said battle via script, and vanilla companions drug along.

Unfortunately, we can't call NCCS companions in the same way, since your personally made companions could be named literally almost anything. I've got an idea to set up their companionscript to allow them to move with the player when it happens... but with this screwy scripting engine, who knows whether the scripts will even fire correctly at the time.

Also, I'm hardly through most of the game quests myself, so if anyone knows of any times the player is forcibly moved by script other than in service to Mr. House, let me know via comment, email, or PM; so I can try to script out around it without having to resort to the ever-buggy teleport code block in a companion script.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NCCS - Slight Delay

I know, I said the beta was done.

At the last second, I decided to add the Pip-Boy plugins to my pre-made companions. Six quests, twelve items, twelve scripts, and a couple dozen lines of dialog take time to write in and test.

I'm nearly done, but there's one more point that remains.

Miss Herculine reports that companions get into fights at the Freeside entrances to the Strip. Firing on random gate guards and Kings members and so on.

Going to have to work out that faction issue... which is proving difficult, since the malefactors in question (oh come on, you know if my companions shoot at them; the bastards have it coming. I'd never create evil, trigger-happy NPCs!) aren't readily find-able in the GECK.

Looks like to find exactly who's causing the problem, I'll have to move into Freeside myself and have a looky-see personally.

Seems they also occasionally fire on children. Probably another faction issue... but I can't blame them, there. I get the urge to randomly unload a magazine at groups of kids myself, from time to time. Annoying little shits.

Though I, for one, would love to know why Fallout 3 and NV do this. The factions aren't set up to have an opinion one way or the other about any faction except their own. Theoretically, the companions should be no more liable to fire on Kings than on denizens of Goodsprings. Unless of course someone takes a shot at them. So why, then, do NPCs randomly choose to attack certain factions for no apparent reason?

Either way, I want the companions to be able to move into the Strip with you before I release the system. Hopefully a fix won't be long in coming.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NCCS - Successes and Failures

As usual, half of what I do isn't going to plan.

I had had the idea to set up the NCCS companions to spawn random equipment once, and then have normal inventory.

Troubles arose. In Oblivion, the trick works... but apparently in New Vegas, removing the leveled lists from the NPC's inventory also removes the items it spawned... so it ended up with naked, unarmed companions.

Not super handy in a fight.

So, I've defaulted to plan B: using lists that aren't removed. This means that companions will periodically switch out their equipment. Any items you add to their inventory in-game will not be affected by this. In FO3, lists only spawned new equipment when the companion was left in a cell long enough for it to reset; it didn't happen as long as they were in your party. I'm hoping that will be the case here, as well... but we'll have to wait and see.

You can see here two of the projected starting loadouts for a companion. The only change is that I've modified it to add a second weapons list; since two of the one list kept turning in two of the same weapon. The different lists generally spawn different weapons, though. Each with its own ammo; this gives companions a primary and secondary arm, and enough ammunition to hold out through your first bits of adventuring together, until you can loot or buy more ammo or other weapons for them.

List options will be armor, clothing, headwear, and the two weapon lists. All pretty self explanatory. The only caveat being that 'headwear' at the moment includes both armored and normal pieces, so it can occasionally come up with some humorous sets. I saw once a tuxedo with a Fiend helmet. James Bond meets Mad Max, I suppose. Should be good for a chuckle here and there; and potentially adds some personal style to companions.

Here's Steve (one of my pre-made companions for NCCS). This is two different save-game loads, and not the results of changing cells or any such. They can end up looking like completely different characters from game to game.

This is Artemis, showing off the funny possibilities. She spawned in reinforced combat armor MKII, and a fancy gambler's hat.

On that note, I don't care for the female models of the gambler's hats. The males look fine, but the females' look more like mourning veils than on-the-town swanky-wear.

More on the success side, I think you guys will be pleased with the companion system on the whole. In RR, I held back. A lot.

It was never my mod, you see. I always figured that someday, someone else would end up copying my work and slapping their name on it. I hadn't figured it would be a new game in the franchise, though.

Either way, once RR was "fixed", I didn't stop development; I just stopped sharing what I came up with. This resulted in things like the Pip-Boy plugins that handle tracking and companion retrieval without the use of a terminal; the improved combat styles; some extra dialog options; improved health management, and a few other things. I have, for example, figured out how to set companions as essential or non through dialog; removing the need to modify plugins to do so.

At the urging of Miss Herculine, I've decided not to hold back this time; seeing as NCCS is an original work and I can tell anyone who wants to copy it to sit on it and rotate.

A lot of the new stuff isn't ready for release yet, so the initial NCCS is still going to be comparably basic, but the combat style has come along nicely.

Case in point: in FO3, standard companions getting into a tiff with my special companions quickly results in shredded RR's. Playing NV this morning though, I had Steve and Artemis along with Maeva and [CENSORED], in the Vance & Vicky casino. When the NCR deserters busted in and demanded caps, I of course told them where to shove it; resulting in a fight.

The NCRs didn't last long, but once it was done I still heard fire.

See, in this game there was no pre-made system for me to utilize, so I wrote my personal companions off-the-cuff, with their own self-contained system. NCCS is a completely separate plugin, and the two don't interact in any way.

You can see where this is going. I forgot that their respective factions weren't told to play nice, and apparently one tagged another during the fight; resulting in a new fight going down.

The NCCS companions weren't losing. Don't get me wrong, they weren't winning, either. The two pairs had fought nearly to a standstill, and were trading sporadic fire from cover. My girls had a slight advantage because of customized weaponry, but the NCCS duo were acquitting themselves admirably.

Suppose I need to make up a bridge plugin to fix the factions...

In any event, the first beta is essentially ready for upload. My companions pack is done, and Herculine has sent me the latest version of hers for inclusion with the master. I still need to take some screenshots, and then write a readme. Once those are done, you can expect to see NCCS on the NVNexus, ready for your breakage attempts.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NCCS - Update II, Aftermath

Actually managed a three hour play tonight without any crashes, so apparently the mutant Skynet-precursor AI that lives in my Emachine is learning how to run NV correctly. Just wish it would hurry the hell up about it.


If you read the comments on the last post, you'll see Miss Herculine's prognosis that the system is stable enough for release after her own play testing.

After tonight, I'm inclined to agree.

We've hit one snag that isn't wholly resolvable thus far. There's a bug in this Fallout, much like the last. It seems that if one selects a non-Caucasian race for their NPC, in-game the head will display correctly, but the body will be white. Correcting the head egf setting in the ini files doesn't fix it. I'll confess I likes me some pallid beauties (as though you hadn't noticed), so I haven't played with it much.

However, Miss Herculine - being the fine, upstanding proponent of diversity that she is - has gone to more than a bit of trouble investigating the issue, and tells me that turning your plugin into a master, when used in conjunction with the egf reset, does fix the issue. So, it looks like we're all stuck esmifying our plugins again. But, as far as bugs go, this is a minor one - at least all of us who did NPC work on FO3 are already used to it.

With the system apparently ready for release, I'm going to finish off my own pre-made companion plugin, and we should be ready for a beta release.

And now, screenshots:

You can see here I've about finished revisions on the form of my special companions. They're looking quite nice, again.

Here, we were moving through Scorpion Gulch. Unfortunately, the littler of the two redheads is fucking murder with that cowboy repeater (that someone resembling me may have customed up for her), which makes it difficult to get any decent combat screenshots.

Maeva, for reasons which will forever escape me, loves that High Power, using it to the exclusion of virtually all else. She also has a caravan shotgun, but refuses to use it unless she's run completely dry of 9mm ammo.

This is one I wish I had a video for. At the border between Scorpion Gulch and Hidden Valley, we were on top of the cliffs (where the bugs can't reach). Rather than walk back and around the path, I just hopped down to an intermediate ledge, and then on to the ground. ED-E took off back up the path. My companions jumped off after me.

They're also already showing a predilection for crossing impassable terrain to stay near me.

Here you can see I ported over two mods this evening. One was Cat Outfits - which contains the demon horns and tail I use on Maeva. The other was my "special equipment" plugin, which has stuff like my retexture of the Blackwolf backpack that you see in the screenshot, as well as a bunch of outfits I've pulled from various non-English-speaking mod databases over the years (Schoolgirl outfit sans panties, woo!).

On the whole, NV still feels clumsier and less refined than FO3... but it's getting better. It'll be a lot better once I get the companion system out there, I think.

Though I think I am going to have to do a house mod (separate from NCCS, I assure you). I found the perfect spot yesterday.

NCCS - Update II

I had hoped to have the initial version uploaded by now... but I'm just not comfortable releasing it yet.

There are simply too many issues.

I've made headway, but not enough.

Firstly, I've got to note that followers are even shittier in NV than they were in FO3, difficult as that is to believe.

I have constant problems with ED-E not following, not engaging in combat, not immediately following through cell-change doors, and getting lost.

My own companions are proving only marginally brighter.

I've narrowed down the problems, at least. For the most part, issues occur in the open. This seems to be because the Wasteland cells aren't navmeshed correctly. Either the engine has been changed and the navmesh is no longer read by the AI right, or the devs just couldn't be bothered to do it correctly. I'm voting for a little of each.

Random running off during combat seems to be an issue with cover - they're going in search of it. When the roll determines that they shouldn't seek cover, they fight normally. When it does determine they should seek cover, they run off in search of it. This leads me to believe that either the navmeshes don't have the cover edges identified correctly, or the engine can no longer read all the IDs. Either way, it's a sizable pain in my ass.

Further problems are found in simply moving. The navmesh is quite dodgy in places, and they get stuck or have pathfinding problems often.

Again, this behavior is commonplace with ED-E, so I can't chalk it up to my own incompetence.

Problems are also observed when combat ends. The AI temporarily loses its damned mind; locking the companion into an almost stasis like mode, where their script doesn't even run. Once an in-game hour has passed - either by using the Wait function, or by simply letting it run out at your current timescale - they snap out of it, and begin behaving normally once again.

Once combat has begun, the companions either perform perfectly, or are totally worthless. They seem to have quite a bit of trouble actually entering combat. Some code I added has helped this, but it's not 100%; or even close.

Even with their combat style set to 0% chance of taking cover, and 0 search for cover radius, they still occasionally run off when the player enters combat. This, to me, feels almost like they're having trouble finding the enemy. I've seen the behavior before. When working out the kinks of the RR Companions Vault, I moved into the fence at Fort Bannister. While there, we took fire from a sniper. The companions - who were using my at the time newly developed combat style - couldn't find where they were being fired on from, so they retreated, taking cover behind a section of wall while running their search routine.

Trouble is, now it's happening out in the open; with enemies in plain view.

This one doesn't happen with ED-E much, so odds are it's a combat style issue. Something has changed in the way the game applies the settings. Trouble is, it's an unintuitive change; nothing is showing itself as incorrect to my eye.

On the up side: when it works, it works. We walked through Scorpion Gulch earlier, and the girls proved themselves quite adept at dealing with the ambushing scorpions; but not always at dealing with the giant radscorpions. The radscorpions come at you from a distance, down the corridor; where the ambushers just spawn next to you.

This suggests that the issue may be in the pathfinding. That the companions know there's an enemy, but can't figure out how to get to it, and so backtrack to look for another route.

Unfortunately most of these issues - assuming they are what I think they are - are engine issues; and not something I can fix.

I've still got a few scripting ideas that may be able to lessen the issues... but I don't think I can wholly alleviate them.

We should bear in mind: it was around a year before Bethsoft saw fit to unfuck companions in FO3, so we shouldn't expect a quick resolution here, either. Why they have such a hardon for punishing players who like to have followers along is beyond me, though.

Regardless... per my usual tactics, I've been making my test changes to my companions. I think I'm going to throw my latest changes into the NCCS, and forward a fresh copy of the master to my partner for some more internal testing. With luck, her fortunes with the new changes will be better than mine, and I'll be talked into a release soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nos' Adventures - Thoughts on New Vegas

Since I'm well beyond too pissed off to mod this eve... er, morning now... I thought I'd have a sit-down with my two favorite girls in the whole damned universe, and get your thoughts on the new digs.


No bloodshed this time?

No, no bloodshed this time. So, we've logged about ten hours... thoughts?

I think I'm not even in the damned game!

They haven't ported your hair, yet. You've seen Maeva - she has a bald spot with that uncorrected hair. I have to keep her wearing a helmet.

That's right... taunt the demon. What could possibly go wrong?

Slack bastards! They need to hurry up. That, or make a version of that Conformulator thingy that doesn't fucking crash when you try to use it.

Focus, tangent, off-topic, et cetera.

I. Hate. The. Fucking. Desert. Seriously?! Another desert waste?! Why can't they focus one of these damned games in the Sawtooths? We could take over Sun Valley, rule our empire from a converted ski lodge... It would be so nice. Plus, ski bunnies!

I dunno; we haven't seen the Strip yet, but I always thought Vegas was pretty groovy. I spent some time there back in the '60s - uh, the 1960s, that is. The Rat Pack was big at the time, you know. Caught some shows, got wasted on some truly excellent single-malt. You wouldn't believe how much hot cabaret dancer tail you can get as a mysterious high roller...

Oh, come on! The Nevada wastes are every bit as much a pile of shit as the DC wastes. We don't even have a decent place to live. I never thought I'd miss that converted tin can in the ground...

What? I leased us that motel room.

Reminds me of a motor-lodge I stayed at in Trenton, once. Suppose it's better than sleeping in the sagebrush, but beyond that I don't know.

It's only got one bed! I don't like that damned demon rubbing up against you like that when we sleep!

There's enough of him to go around. I've already told you: I may occasionally want to borrow, but I won't try to keep him...

And I've told you that I'll cut your fucking demon heart out with a rusty spork and hand it to you.

Ladies - and believe me, some days I have to use that term loosely - can we please be civil? I'd ask you to kiss and make up, but I know you both swing that way; and death-by-marathon-three-way isn't on my list of acceptable ways to die, believe it or not. Let's talk about the new factions. What's your take, there?

Goodsprings is a shithole, and I still don't like the way that 'Sunny' skank was looking at you when you weren't paying attention.

Not impressed, myself. Standard cliche garbage, mostly. NCR are douchebags. Supposedly some Brotherhood around, too, I think? We need to find the Legion, though. They sound fun. Toga! Toga! Toga! Libations and slave-girls!

Brotherhood! I was hoping I'd never see them again. Goodie two-shoes, tin can wearing, boy scout, motherfuckers! I swear, if you make me deal with that Lyons bitch one more time... (The ranting continues for some time.)

So, uh, Maeva: you really think the Legion will be okay to side with?

Eh, they'll probably try to fuck us. Figuratively, hopefully. I fully expect you to be your usual evil bastard self and try to destroy everyone who isn't us.

Plan A has always worked well in the past, and if we get full control of ARCHIMEDES II...

Ideally, but remember the writers. That whole Highwater Trousers thing was a complete waste of our time. Though it was amusing when you first heard the word Archimedes. You know you grinned and muttered "death ray"?

Is it my fault I have an interest in history and know what Archimedes was famous for?

...and Goddammit I never signed the Geneva convention, so I don't know why I should be held to it! It was just the one incident with a Ka-Bar and some dental tools...

...Oh, man that woman scares me sometimes, even after all these years...

Heh, yeah... I keep expecting her to grow horns any day now. How's that glorified eye-bot going, anyway?

ED-E? He's the Yugo of companions. I expect him to burst into flame any moment. Why, I ask you, can't the robot companions in these games ever be hot? Something akin to a Persocom, with a nice, big set of... eyes... Yeah, that's it...

Agreed. I loves me some big, bouncy, firm eyes.

It's not my fault a badger wandered into the tent where he was tied up! There was also no way I could possibly know it was rabid, or that it had a taste for bait and tackle!



And I swear I was not the one who gave that initiate the Bloody Eagle! There were roving bands of Norsemen, I tell you!

I uh... think I'm going to end this conversation, now; before she starts speaking in tongues or such...

Good move, Master. Might I suggest we also run like fucking hell? Don't look back - you may become a pillar of salt.