For many moons now, I have been working on a secret project; that I have not even told my partner, Herculine, about.
...Okay, actually, I got bored and started working on it Saturday morning.
The project was my "Next-Gen" companion. A Fallout 3 companion who utilizes all the neat tricks I've learned over the months that RR has been languishing; and several of the new features I've recently pioneered in playing with my personal companions' scripting and such.
Ladies, Gentlemen, and people of indeterminate and/or transitory gender (don't want to leave anyone out...), meet Lillian:
Lillian is similar to Maeva in looks, though not a direct copy. She nonetheless uses the same "fiery" eye technique - albeit with a slightly modified eye mesh I used to try something new. The difference was not astounding in its magnitude, but at least it didn't make things worse. Lillian is slightly shorter, being an even 1.1 on the height scale - or about 6'3 in real-world terms.
Lillian utilizes some features that are standard on my companions. Drawing/holstering, sitting, a settable home marker, healing herself and the player.
There is where the similarities end, for the most part.
Lillian has not just one, but three combat styles; tailored for realism more so than making her an avatar of death. The three styles represent three levels of performance, and are intended to simulate her learning, and refining her techniques as she levels with the player. These combat styles will be cycled through automatically by her script, and require no modification on your part. As well, items with buffs to small guns may push her over the line; and get the script to advance to the next style; while later removing the buff would result in her reverting to a lesser style.
Lillian is not intended to be a one-woman-army. Her tag skills are small guns, sneak, and repair. Her class is not changeable.
Requiring the inclusion of Repair in tag skills was the fact that she... repairs. Lillian has a repair menu, and can fix your items for you. Note that costs still apply - this is hard-coded into the engine, and no one has been able to figure out how to get free repairs from an NPC that I've ever seen.
Lillian has a System Options menu, that allows toggling of her essential flag, the teleporting code, and her tracking quest. Defaults are: essential on, teleporting off, tracking on. These can be toggled at any time by speaking to her; even if she has not been hired or is not in your party.
Teleporting code has been optimized to have her "pop" in away from your front to avoid getting in your way.
Lillian has a custom body and skin (Type 3's BaseHD body and Waxed skin, to be exact).
Lillian can equip and remove a Pip-boy. When equipped, she may activate the Pip-boy's light.
Lillian comes with her own Blackwolf backpack, in black. When equipped, this offers access to a secondary storage where you can place items that she will not be able to equip. If she should die, the backpack-container is moved next to the corpse, to allow item retrieval.
Lillian has her own armor, and clothing. Equipped clothing will be automatically switched out at the start of certain packages. (note: armor and clothing may not make the final cut; depending on permissions from the relevant authors - if removal should be necessitated, the items will be replaced with default game items in the Nexus version; and a second download offered at a file sharing service with the original items intact)
Lillian's weapons and ammunition will spawn randomly at the start of each game, as well as potentially being changed if she is left alone long enough for her cell to reset.
If given stimpaks (she spawns with some), Lillian will heal herself when wounded or crippled; as well as the player when they reach a certain point in health (50% or less at the end of combat; 25% or less will have her immediately end combat and come to help you instead). This is not toggle-able at the present time.
Lillian's "Stay here" package is fully compatible with being used outdoors - she should not wander off and disappear.
Lillian has a settable Home marker; and new "Go Home" command that will have her travel back without the possibility of getting lost that previous attempts at such travel packages have had.
Lillian is fully death-compatible, and even has a quest entry berating you for letting her die, you heartless bastard. Why couldn't you leave the essential flag on? WHY? Now she's gone forever!
Initial tests had her performing well from the start. Though not quite at the level of my personal companions, this difference can be explained by the more "realistic" changes made to the combat styles; and the fact that I was level three at the time ensured that she was still on the Novice style. I made similar adjustments to my personal companions, and they performed similarly.
Lillian did exhibit the same looting behavior as the others did before.
"Firing" Lillian results in her returning to her starting position; rather than staying wherever you wanted to leave her; as well as automatic disabling of her tracking quest. Items left in her pack are not automatically returned.
Lillian is rather short on cheating aspects. She does not spawn with excess ammunition, weapons, or chems. Her pack is not removable. Her armor and clothing are playable, but of stats equivalent to their closest default-game analog.
Lillian's plugin comes as an esm/bsa pair. There are no loose files, nor directory structures to worry about.
Sound files have not yet been implemented. They may or may not be in the final product; depending on how lazy I end up. Adding voice files is a ton of horrendously boring work.
As well, there is no back story added at present. One may be, I haven't decided yet. She will not have an epic quest-line.
And now, for more screenshots:
You can see here her backpack, as well as her custom, helmet-less (and bra-less, apparently...) stealthsuit.
For proper testing with a minimum of interference, I cut the party back in size. My usual companion does not seem to trust the new girl...
Lillian in action, firing on a Raider in the Super Duper Mart.
Outside the 'Mart, under some morning daylight for a better look at her. It was apparently colder than I thought, that morning.
And lastly, after we had made our way clear to Rivet City; here's Lillian showing that even sunglasses can't tame the glow of her inhuman eyes.
The first beta version of the plugin went out to Herculine this morning. Once it's been tested a bit, some debugging done, and perhaps a few more features added, this one will be going up for download.