Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Other Mods

When I have been working on mods lately, it's been in Oblivion. The mod universe is much more diverse there, even allowing for the limitations of the earlier form of the engine.

I've been toying with the Lovers family of mods. Which are not only amusing to watch in action, but no small marvel of scripting and enchantment implementation. They could definitely stand to be translated better, though.

Mostly, I've been refining my older characters. Putting to use things I've learned, and resources I've collected of late. You may recall Branwen, a 'new breed' of CM companion for me - created after I learned the ins and outs of companion making from FO3.

I tried to do some companions that weren't dependent on CM or any other system:

This... did not go so well. After several failed attempts to create standalone companions for the game (that inventory scripting just will not work...) I decided to revisit older companions, and see about improving instead of working from scratch. Branwen was the first to get such a workover:

Improvement. I also worked on features, adding her ability to recharge magical items:

Though the recharge function does still need some tinkering. It will only appear when she isn't in the party. I'm not sure why that is, just yet.

I also tried a new trick I picked up in my web trawling. It seems that one of the ways the Japanese modders get those perfect skin tones on their 'Chocolate Elves' and such - and the reason the rest of us have never been able to match it with the facegen, no matter how long we try - is to change the Oblivion.ini file. There's a line: "bFaceGenTexturing="; this line defaults to 1. Setting this line to 0 removes the engine's ability to texture over the face; it removes the splotchy, the five o'clock shadow, the blush, and the weird ass artifacting around the mouth and nose. The down side? It removes all ability to texture the face - that is, you can no longer change skin tone, flush/blush, or any other small details about the face. It displays at the base texture, and will not be changed regardless of what the slider settings are.

This means that while their complexions clear up, it also reverts every NPC in the game so that every race gets one skin tone. One set of eyebrows, no facial hair male or female.

This was not an acceptable trade-off to me. It may be to you, which is why I mention the line in the ini file. Feel free to play with it to see if you like it - it won't break anything; to revert, you need only close the game, open the ini, and change the setting back to 1.

If you're hardcore, and willing to either ignore most NPCs, or go through and edit them all yourself; this setting has potential. Ignoring the serfs and setting up specialized textures for your player/companion races could result in some stunning characters. It would be a lot of work, though - and base-game NPCs can look really weird; since their faces aren't optimized for such things - even with HGEC/Roberts and such installed.

I should also note, while I've used it for years; I had largely ignored Apachii's Goddess Store. Get a neat outfit here or there for a particular companion, but never got too heavy into it. I've started using it more, and I am very much impressed. Keeping a selection of wigs on hand lets you change a character's look on the fly, without having to resort to the race menu and its accompanying headaches.

Then there are the outfits, accessories, weapons, fingernails/claws and wings and all kinds of useless crap that's oh, so pretty.

I actually have Viconia and Saerileth set up so that they wear different wigs with the casual and armored outfits. Call it on and off-duty hair styles.


  1. The girls are looking very good, Matt.

    Since it involves an .ini setting I doubt that it's possible, but...

    ...I wonder if there's a way to apply that texture setting to just a single custom race? (Perhaps the Japanese know?)

  2. If they do, it's beyond my ability to glean. My understanding of romanji is all but nonexistent. I just know what I can tell from screenshots, google translate, and forum posts by people who can read that chickenscratch.

    Oh, and speaking of Oblivion: I got that thing you wanted done this morning.

    Only trouble is, the game hard-locked my system during testing. I don't think it was my plugin; since it did it the other day, too (seems to be the damned Nvidia drivers randomly deciding to pooch on me); but I want to test again to be at least reasonably sure I won't make your beloved computer implode.

    It'd be a shame if you had to hunt me down and kill me with a big rock.

    I'll email it to you for your own testing once I get it checked out.

  3. Why can't I put your stuff in the 360? Computer sucks to much so got it for the 360 but I need your fun little mods for this game and fallout as what the game gives you is just....yeah crap filled lies.

  4. "Why can't I put your stuff in the 360?"

    That would be the EULA. Console games are officially barred from being modded by the end-user in any way. Doing so and getting caught can get your account banned and so forth. Not sure why exactly they're so uptight about it.

    But being as consoles are massively inferior to the PC in every way for FPS gaming... I had never bothered to read too deep into their motivations.