Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doom New Vegas

Okay, so I think I'm finally finished with my first big Doom mod...

...maybe now I can get back into modding the Fallout games...

Sunday, May 29, 2011


So... more comments fun from the Nexus. If I didn't already have an ulcer, I'd be getting one.

In reply to the previous post's stupidity, Herculine said: "The tutorial documentation Nos has provided would be a good place for you to start. "

I added: "I'll second Herculine's suggestion of the tutorial. It was written with the novitiate in mind, and even explains setting up the GECK's ini file.

The tutorial is available for download right next to the main master archive -- can't miss it."

And this morning, our Mensa candidate replied: "and where is this vid?"

...So all tutorials have to be in video form, now?!

Fucking youtube generation!

I wonder how much drinking I could do this morning before spending the rest of the day violently ill...

I suppose I should thank the shortsighted twits with entitlement complexes. Thanks to them, not only have I not touched FNV or NCCS in over a week, but by actively avoiding it I managed to solve an animation issue that had been plaguing my Oblivion install for months. No need to go into detail about what exactly the animations do, mind you... but it's nice to have them working.

On that note, I'm also planning on scrapping NCCS v0.75, and reverting to 0.7; abandoning the new features I had in mind. The one isn't working, and I don't feel like releasing the other. It'll incur too many stupid questions.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I'm going to get one if I don't post this somewhere, and since it'll get my ass banned from the Nexus...

"This looks like a good mod but I would neeed someone willing to repeet themself over and oever again cause I'm REALLY REALLY REALLY new to modding so if any one could help me out that would help "


Here, take some of mine!


Also: spell-check is a standard feature in Firefox. Probably other browsers too, at this point. Pay attention to the squiggly red lines.

Gah. I swear, you people are going to give me a tumor from repressing so many outbursts!

My ever composed partner, Miss Herculine, has already suggested to the... esteemed poster that he should try the tutorial. You know, the one that's sitting right fucking next to the main file; but that he was apparently too lazy to download and look at before begging for help?

Unfortunately, I have encountered this type of person before. They rarely accept documentation, no matter how well written or inclusive; and almost invariably badger people in perceived positions of authority for a hand-holding explanation.

...And now I have the tumor song from Family Guy stuck in my head.

I'm a tumor I'm a tumor, I'm a tumor I'm a tumor, oh oh oh I'm a tumor!

NCCS - Silent Companions, Uploaded

As I mentioned awhile back, I set about tackling the "issue" of NCCS companions having the unmitigated gall to get mouthy when you point a weapon at them, shoot them, or go knocking random shit over.

This is an "issue" that has had several malcontents attempt to fix it now. For some reason, they all decided to butcher the voice types in the game itself; to remove all such undesirable comments from the game for all NPCs.

The great irony, is that to "fix" it, one needed only uncheck some flags on the various NCCS packages.

...I probably should have mentioned that when they asked, huh?

Oh, well.

Anyway, since it's apparently an issue for many people, I decided to make an official fix that doesn't fuck up half the game.

You can find the new plugin in the NCCS file entry, under optional files.

Have tested it, and it appears to work correctly... but as always, I'm sure someone will have a merge patch that it conflicts with and ZOMG TEH WURLD IT ENDZ WIT UR STPID MOD RNNING!11!!SEVENTEEN!

I would have uploaded this last week when I had it done... but I'm, y'know... lazy; and easily distracted to boot.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I've been back in FO3 the last couple days. Doing live-fire testing as it were of the latest batch of revisions and improvements to my personal companions; satiating my own curiosity about just how skilled they are when taken down to singles; rather than operating in fireteam strength as they normally do. Call it a... point of personal pride. Tests have thus far been spectacularly anti-climactic, but are still on going and so will not be discussed in detail today.

No, pertinent to this post is something that's reared its ugly head before -- namely, the lack of decent housing. I still have the 'Springvale Survivalist House' made for Nos' Adventures active; and while it's certainly lore friendly... it's also certainly unspectacular and downright depressing.

I had an idea this morning; on how to make the bedroom windows on my Tower mod actually work. Sunrise, sunset, rain, shine; the river, the monuments, the shore... The view would have been spectacular.

This idea required copying the wasteland worldspace and then modifying it somewhat. While I can create and copy worldspaces in the FO3 GECK without it crashing on me, it seems that my PC just doesn't have the horsepower to copy a worldspace the size of the Wasteland. The GECK locked half or so way through.

I can't really do what I need to do copying the area piecemeal. Creating from scratch isn't an option, either -- it would take months to replicate the view, assuming I could at at all.

Am not sure what I'm going to do. May have a secondary method to achieve a similar result... but it promises to be a framerate murderer that would make Vault 1 Refurbished stand in awe. Assuming the issues inherent to the method can be overcome and it works at all, that is.

Failing that, I'm back to windowless, underground bunkers. Just about may as well whip up another Vault and be done with it. Seems to be what the engine is made for.

Edit: well, option #2 busted, as well. I had forgotten how obscenely off the interior/exterior scales are in this game. The rooms won't physically fit inside the tower meshes; the windows don't align... so much for placing the bedroom in the wasteland, inside the tower. That kills that idea. Chalk this morning up as a total loss.

Friday, May 20, 2011


And no, I don't mean it that way. Look at the capitalization.

Anyway, I got around to replying to my Nexus PMs this morning; so if you've been waiting on one from me, now would be a good time to check.

I will say though, that some of you are lucky I just came off a twelve hour sleep on top of my favorite 38DD pillows. 'Cause the first draft replies I had run through my head to a couple people were markedly less nice than what I ended up sending.

In my defense, though; one of said PMs was a request from the blue from someone for me to make them a mod that changed one of the fundamental ways the engine works -- and a part of the engine that I've never touched before. The other was a snarky "thanks" for my "inadvertent help"; like I go around here intentionally trying not to help people... rubbing my hands together and going Mwahaha! Now they shall never learn the secrets of the scripting engine; and I shall forever rule the world!

Don't get me wrong. If I could rule the world via denying people help with FO3/NV, I'd totally do it. Alas, the universe, she does not work that way...

At least until Skynet manifests, and we find out that bitch mutated out of Gamebryo. Then who'll be the hero in demand?

...Still not me? Well, fuck. Fine. Be that way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NCCS - Nos' Carrie Companion

I decided today to upload one of my personal NCCS companions.

I've referenced Carrie on several occasions now. She's a companion I created; essentially using the tutorial's basic method; to function as a test for NCCS -- to show me the mod in similar conditions as you'd experience if you know jack shit about companion making, and just followed the instructions in the guide.

A lot of you will likely find her underwhelming. No custom hair or eyes; nor custom race. No special scripts or combat style. No Pip-Boy plugin, no recall item; not even a tracking quest. She's just your basic companion. Still, there does seem to be a shortage of moderately attractive redheads for NCCS.

If interested, you may download her here. This is another of those reader rewards mods that won't ever be uploaded to the Nexus.

A readme is included in the archive with starting location, install details, and all that jazz.

Monday, May 16, 2011

NCCS - Silent Companions

On several occasions, players have loudly decried that the companions in NCCS -- and the game on the whole -- are not silent drones. They complain when they get muzzled (and for the record? So do I), when you know things over, start chucking grenades at random, or if they should catch friendly fire.

The prevailing... "solution" has been to gut the game's voices; to remove those idle comments wholesale.

Well, after the last complaint a couple days ago, I happened to be in the GECK working on some super-secret details for v0.75 anyway... so I decided to do something about it.

In what's apparently SOP for me, I did it in a simple way that makes those uploaded solutions seem a little silly. Those comments are controlled by some simple flags on the AI packages. Untick three or four boxes on each of the three follow packages, and boom. No more companion bitching; nor tampering required with every voice for every NPC in the game.

And because I figure people who don't want their companions to talk back probably don't want them talking most other times, I also removed all idle chatter, and hellos to the player. From the following packages, sit packages, and sandbox, too.

Overkill? What's that? Sounds unpleasant.

I just tested the plugin, and it does work correctly.

I'll upload it alongside the master in the NCCS file entry on the Nexus; although as a separate file in the optional section. May get it uploaded today, may be later on -- it depends on how annoying the second of those two secret new features I mentioned continues to be.

Stupid game engine: violating it's own laws again...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Of the Mojave and Proper Companions

As you may have noticed from recent posting trends, I'm on a bit of an FNV kick lately. I had to get it running again to update NCCS, and then there was testing...

Oblivion's getting on my nerves a bit lately anyway. Something in some of those new mods I started running has been a save-game trasher. I just had to delete a set with near twenty hours' play on them and start over from my "clean" save at the exit from the prison sewers.

So, I've been roaming the Mojave.

The main thing that still strikes me about FNV is its complete and utter lack of reliability. It can't even be counted on to fail. I played some three hours and change this morning without so much as a drop in FPS; but several days ago when I was doing final testing for 0.7 before upload, I had two or three occasions where I played less than ten minutes before it crashed at random. The crashing incidents seem directly tied to the game loading new resources (loading new NPCs into the world seems to be the worst about this) so it's probably our old friend the Gamebryo memory leak rearing his ugly head at random.

Nonetheless, I'm also struck by just how far my companions have come in the... what have we had the game? Seven months, now? I remember my first run through Vault 22; an expedition made of suck and fail and enough profanity to make an Airborne NCO proud.

My companions wouldn't move between levels with me reliably; wouldn't move through the elevator at all; constantly got stuck in the lower levels trying to get to enemies. It was a mess, and something that I actively avoided repeating where possible.

I ran it again this morning, and it was glorious. No one got left behind between levels; and when they figured out they couldn't get to the mantises behind the glass, they gave up and went back to following me.

The new combat style revisions are wonderful, as well. [CENSORED]'s performance with her carbine is just beautiful. Hammering pairs, and moving on to the next target. She wastes very little ammo, and was capping those glorified Venus fly traps without breaking stride.

Personalities still seem to exert their pull, however. Armed Maeva with a riot shotgun, and she caught a spore carrier in the face as it was getting up; killing it with the first round. Apparently just for good measure, she then shot the corpse about seven more times. I guess it's like they say in MOUT training: anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice; ammunition is cheap, life is expensive.

Cute little Natasha's been armed with an LMG this time around (yes, I spend inordinate amounts of caps making sure my companions are armed as well as I am); and is proving herself quite capable at killing with short, controlled bursts.

I re-enabled the no-teleport-during-combat in my personal companions; having managed to narrow down what was causing the freezing after combat. The companion scripts, again. The issue hadn't presented itself in NCCS, because I only had my premade pack running -- and those companions run on scripts one, three, five, seven, nine, and eleven. Because I didn't run any other companions on that system, there were no NPCs doubled-up on any one particular script. Conversely; there are three companions in my personal plugin -- all running on one script was causing the freezing. Reverted them each to their own script, and performance went right back to 100%. Results seem to vary from one person's game to another, but I've yet to get any proper performance while running multiple companions on one script. Even when only one of the companions is in your party; in your cell, it still happens -- which sort of shoots to shit the long-held theory that object scripts only run if their object is in your current cell to be loaded. I've no idea if this could be affected by objects that are flagged as quest items getting special consideration; or if it's only NPCs; or if it's only objects that you've loaded at least once;or if it's all objects all the time. I somehow doubt we could get any straight answers out of Bethsoft, regardless -- and I'm not keen on spending a few weeks testing every possible permutation of items and scripts to map it out. Especially considering that empirical evidence has thus far suggested that the rate of failure of multiple NPCs on one script is directly proportional to the size and complexity of the script itself -- that is, larger scripts that run more checks and effects every frame are more likely to fail than simpler scripts that do less.

Simpler by far, says I, to simply run each NPC on their own script and not worry about it.

Have drug my little fireteam through just about everything the game has to offer; indoors, outdoors, water, open desert, high rads (Camp Searchlight); fast travel, by foot. Haven't been able to get them to break, thus far - even in old areas of trouble; the wasted park outside the canyon that Vault 22 is in, for example. It was an area that used to break companions every time I went through it. Either they repaired the faulty navmeshing in the new patch, or the new scripts are able to keep them to keep them going despite that.

Went through the H&H tool factory, and they actually stayed with me for once and didn't set off every damned trap in the place. I was so proud. Also: the pulse gun? Makes short work of anything mechanical.

We also went hunting.

...For deathclaws.

Now, when I hunt for deathclaws, I like the Anti-material rifle, loaded with AP. It pretty well trashes even a Patriarch's DT. And the high ground never hurts:

There is something imminently satisfying about one-shotting deathclaws; making their heads explode from across the quarry while your companions watch the ramp. On that note: the latest version of Weapon Mod Expansion has an upgrade that adds a higher powered scope to the AMR, making it actually useful as a long range weapon. You can actually take pot-shots from so far out, the creature's AI isn't activated yet in some cases.

Which brings us to another point.

You people do horrible, horrible things to your companions. Seriously. Parading them around in a G-string and stack heels; or dental floss and postage stamps. SUCH DISRESPECT!

...And don't give me that look. I'm well aware of the contents of my Oblivion savegames, and I'll have you know I only dress my companions like whores in safe areas. They get proper armor and weapons for adventurin'.

Now this, this is a proper companion:

Notice: long pants, long sleeves, good boots, gloves, eye protection, a helmet, and easy access to spare ammo. Very nice.

...And this is a scary companion. Still need to do some tinkering on that hair alpha, though. Be nice if there was a way to make it not clip and not be spiky.

And that's still a cool effect.

Weekend Oblivion Mods, Again

A bit over two weeks ago, I posted about some race mods for Oblivion that I'd started using, complete with links.

Any of you who actually downloaded those mods, more likely than not noticed the same thing I did: that several races don't display correctly. They're missing the resources needed to drive them.

No, I don't know why they didn't just include it all in one package.

Nonetheless, a couple days ago I did some digging, and came up with the resources needed to drive the Sirens and Tritons (and their sub-races of Angelic, Dark, Freckled, and Southern); the Chocolate elves (which seem to be ridiculously popular on the forums I lurk) and the lop-eared modification of the same Hershey tree-huggers.

I had assembled the three packages into one 7z file to link to Herculine to simplify download; but since I appear to be doing fuckall else this morning (that's a technical term for it, I believe), I figured I might as well share the mini-compendium with everyone else.

So, here ya go. No screenshots to show off. I haven't actually done anything with the races in-game yet; it just bugged the hell out of me having invalid race options.

Given my tastes in companions, I'm far more likely to use the Ice Elves than the Chocolate ones; but who knows, one of you could find these super neato keen.

As always, I didn't create the resources or the plugins; take no credit for them, etc etc. I just crammed it into one archive to avoid having to trawl as many Japanese forums/databases.

Friday, May 13, 2011

...Are We Back?

Looks like posting is re-enabled, after nearly twenty-four hours. According to the tech notice, Blogger somehow ended up screwing the pooch during a bit of "routine maintenance"; which resulted in temporarily losing all content from after the Wednesday data backup.

Posts are back, as is the ability to post. Comments do not appear to have been restored. I'm not sure whether they will be or not. The tech notice is rather unspecific on that point, saying only that they're working on restoring everything.

So, if your comment never returns from its tour of duty in Limbo, that's why. I'm not going through and deleting the things.

...Also interesting, is that my saved post tags seem to be corrupted in some cases. Well, all we can do is hope they restore everything correctly, I suppose...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

NCCS - v0.7, Uploaded


*V0.7: Fixed some omitted code in one of the "Split up" options to prevent loss of items in companion backpacks.

Enabled the NCCS System Options menu in dialogue.

Modified the companion scripts again. Gave companions the ability to share XP from their kills with you, without the wheel being implemented. This can be toggled from the system menu. XP sharing defaults to enabled.

Added "Go Home" option to the split up menu choices. "Set Home" may be found in the system menu. Go home order will only appear after you've set home at least once.

Teleporting code modified. Extra check added to prevent teleportation of companions during combat. Teleporting on the whole has been made optional, and can be toggled from the system menu. Be aware that without teleporting enabled, companions will not be able to follow you into casinos other than the Lucky 38; the cocktail lounge and penthouse of the Lucky 38; across the river to the Legion side, and several other places. As well, companions without teleporting enabled are more prone to getting lost; being delayed moving through cell-change doors; and getting stuck when combat ends. Teleporting defaults to enabled.

Companion scripts also modified to apply the proper combat style when the companion enters combat. This should end any issues with companions displaying incorrect combat behavior for their class. New combat styles added for the ranged classes, that will enable the companion to improve in skill and general effectiveness as their skill rises.

Combat styles themselves have received an overhaul that should have companions behave more realistically. Too many changes to go into deep detail.

Updated my premade companions pack to fix an override it had, keeping the backpack option from showing correctly in the equipment menu. It should work fine, now.

Herculine's companions pack is still removed, pending her decision on what to do about the now-missing resources.

NCCS - v0.7, Upcoming, Part II

Well, true to my word, I decided to rework the companion scripts somethin' fierce.

I modified the included combat styles quite a bit; in an attempt to produce more realistic combat behavior for the companions. Note: I said realistic, not effective.

Companions will now flee incoming grenades and such; are more likely to take cover; have a large radius in which they'll engage in combat; and have had the "wait" timers and the time between shots lengthened considerably.

As well, I've split the combat styles up into three groups: low, medium, and high; for both general ranged and sniper styles. As you progress up the tree, performance improves -- companions become more likely to dodge effectively, spend less time deciding what to do once they've found cover, and require less time to reacquire aim between semi-automatic shots.

The new combat styles' implementation is controlled by the companion script, based on the companion's skill level. As this is based on skill and not overall level, giving companions items that boost the guns skill should be able to push them high enough to advance to the next tier, if their normal skill is close enough.

I remember Tarrant unhappily reported once, a couple years ago, that his combat style changing idea hadn't worked; that the NPCs kept defaulting back to their original.

Though I never uploaded any of it, I did learn how to circumvent this behavior of the engine some time ago. I made use of this technique tonight. A fairly simple bit of scripting, the code takes a look at the companion's class when they enter combat, and applies the correct style. It's reset every time they enter combat, so you should be able to change classes as much as you like, without it ever having issues.

I should also note, before anyone asks: there is no "class type" variable to read in the engine. So, if you've jumped in and created your own class for your companion, the new code will be worthless to you. It only works on the three included.

I've gotten in some more testing, and thus far v1.3 does appear to have improved follower performance, at least somewhat. I've been running Artemis with teleporting off, and performance is acceptable; if not excellent. Had a few delays moving between cells, getting stuck on bad navmeshing; the usual. Nothing heavy duty.

I've decided to shelve the cosplay aspect of the mod for the time being. Aside from the scripting that's turned out to be way more complicated than I was expecting (we're talking about several hundred lines, here), I'm also thinking that it will start a deluge of bitching that companions are randomly starting fights for no reason; you brokeded mai gaem, and so forth.

For now, I think I'll stick to adding features that are more useful and less niche.

I still need to make a couple of small code revisions. Once those are done, it'll just be a matter of re-copying the forty-seven other companion scripts, and I'll be ready to upload the next version for people to bitch about not having a wheel or working with sex mods that break half the game.

You're Still Sick.

Our malcontent from this morning replied to my forum post; as usual, he can't switch his own mods off and see if the game works right -- I'm supposed to tell him which mod of the ones he listed is doing it.

Because I'm equal parts idiot and masochist (and because I know this is going to come up again in the future), I'm looking over the mods. Three of them are sex mods: specifically, AP, MAC, and FNV Sexual Innuendo. Just reading the comments thread on FNVSI, and wow.

Sex-mod runners are still as fucked up as they were in FO3 when I was paying some attention to AP.

I'm also amused to see the non-English posters. I know, we've all got to speak something... but when a mod is listed as being in English, has all the documentation in English, and all the comments in English... what makes one think that posting in French or German will get one anywhere? And when they don't get a response, they just keep posting; like the issue is no one noticed the previous posts...

I mean, if I were to pop into one of those Japanese forums, and start rambling in English, should I expect any help? What about a Russian forum? I wouldn't.

Regardless, I'm looking over the sex mods here in FNVEdit.

Have I mentioned lately what a complete and total mess most FNV mods are? Seriously. Just how dumb of kids are our highschools letting out these days? Well, my brother graduated with a 60.2% average; and he didn't even show up for an entire month (thirty-one days consecutive days, to be exact) his senior year. So apparently the bar really is low these days.

Rampant misspellings aside; I see that all three mods change the GREETING topic. MAC renames it from 'GREETING' to 'Hello'; and AP of course sets its dialogue changes priority to 100 -- overriding any other changes above it in the load order.

I see that MAC also changes the Goodbye topic, the Water Beggar greetings, some Kings dialogue, some 188 dialogue, some strip dialogue...

...And has "deleted" dialogue from the FNV main master.

FNVSI changes about half the "freeform" dialogue greetings and goodbyes in the master, by the look of it. Boulder city, the Strip, Freeside, Kings, Gomorrah, Lucky 38, Hidden Valley, Cottonwood Cove... the list just keeps on keepin' on.

I would still love very dearly to know why it is my responsibility to track down and clear other peoples' piss-poor modding practices.

More Interesting Moonrunes

Glancing over that Japanese image database, I saw this.

Interestingly, a fair bit of the text in the screenshot is actually Russian; contrary to the post title here.

Regardless, I'll have to keep an eye out for a download of the animations to go with that AI package. NPCs actually cooking on a campfire would be pretty cool, thinks I.

NCCS - v0.7, Upcoming

Been working on 0.7 off and on. The companions now share XP (toggle-able), and have a settable home marker.

As well, I've been working on the teleporting -- since from what I can glean from the Nexus, people who know nothing about scripting know better than I do how the companions will act in the game.

I added one of the "checks" to the code: one to prevent teleporting in combat. Made it through one fight, and the companion immediate froze up and required a reissue of the follow order to unstick her.

I'd have tested more, but the game also promptly locked up on me. It's done that three times this morning. So much for v1.3 being a reliability improvement.

Nonetheless, I'm going to leave the no-combat-teleporting check in, and add a wholesale teleporting toggle to the new system options menu; because hey, what the fuck do I know? I just wrote the system from the ground up and have more hours logged on it than a hundred normal players. I'm sure people who have seen the word script twice know better than I how it will behave.

Once v0.7 is done (or at least, modifications to the companion scripts are finished), I need to start in on an updated form of the wheel plugin. I've spoken to ttomwv, and he's stuck working ten hours a day, six days a week. No modding time, there; nor in the foreseeable future.

We discussed it, and I'm going to update the plugin to work with v1.3 and the new version of NCCS, and host the plugin in the optional files section of the NCCS entry -- with full credits to ttomwv for its original creation, of course -- and he'll set the ACM wheel addon to hidden so as not to lose his downloads and endorsements. Once his work situation has let up and he's willing and able to mod again, he'll take back over stewardship of the plugin, set the file to viewable; and I'll remove the interim plugin from the NCCS entry.

Depending on how badly my game misbehaves, I may have NCCS v0.7 done enough for upload today.

I still have to learn how the wheel works, exactly; to update the plugin... but it looks straightforward enough.

Then again, once you write something like the NCCS companion management system, many things look simple by comparison.

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to go purge that incombat check from my personal companions plugin, and fire the game back up for more testing and swearing in general...


So, 0300 this morning, I get a PM. Help help my game is broken et cetera et cetera.

Rather than send info in the PM, or post to the NCCS entry; he creates a new topic in the New Vegas Mod Troubleshooting forum.

Almost no information given; and the second half of the problem with NCCS... has nothing to do with NCCS, and is questions about custom textures for the player.

If I have any friends left in the audience, will one of you please just shoot me in the fucking face? There is no way this is going to end well. No support request that includes a smiley ends well. Ever. Requests for help where the requester is too lazy to spell out the word "character" even less often.

No, I don't know how less than zero is possible either; but it is. Trust me on this.

Man, I need suddenly need a fix...

(Of course, blasting that new Within Temptation album though my trusty SE210s is knocking the edge off a bit)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Unforgiving

Nothing to do with video games; but I was in Hastings earlier and decided to blow some money on the bargain CD rack. Expanded my classic country section with albums from Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, and The Highwaymen; as well as one of Cleopatra Records outstanding Goth compilations, and an older Kylie Minogue disc (yay $3.99 rack).

But, I also grabbed Within Temptation's new album The Unforgiving. Sadly not on the cheapo rack.

Ye Gods, Sharon has still got a set of pipes on her. Why Evanescence ended up mega-popular and Within Temptation didn't I'll never know. Anyway, if you're into that sort of music, The Unforgiving definitely has a Nos stamp 'o approval. Totally worth the sticker price. Came with a DVD, too, but I haven't popped it in yet.

Now if we could just get Tarja to put out another solo album...

That's all. Return to whatever it is you were doing.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Request

Okay, I wasn't going to bug you guys about this; but Herculine's speedy finding of some of that Guyver stuff in the last post made me think there might be good odds at least someone in the audience would know...

I got it into my head the other morning to create an Aeris/Aerith Gainsborough (Final Fantasy VII) companion for Oblivion. I thought I had seen one before, thought I had the hair mesh... but no.

I'm not sure if it was in a previous install, and I've since lost the files; or if I'm just off my fucking rocker again and never did have them.

I've searched the Nexus, and run a couple Google searches as well; with no results. Lots of tutorials on how to cosplay as her... no hair meshes for Oblivion. Found her staff over on PlanetElderScrolls... but that wasn't really something I was worried about...

Kind of odd, really - I have two Tifa Lockheart companions for CM, and I'm pretty sure there are others out there that I didn't bother to download. I've seen her outfits in Oblivion, FO3, and now FONV as well.

But no love for the flower girl?

Guess it's true what they say: most guys really are all about the tits.


I found a hair in my myriad race installs that looks sort of similar... but I was hoping for a specific model - I mean, we have hairs for Tifa, Cloud, and that bishie-emo nutbar Sephiroth... so why not Aeris, too?

So, if someone knows of the hair meshes' existence, and could point me in the correct direction in the form of a download/file/forum topic link for either standalone hair, or a complete companion, I'd be much grateful.

In fact, if the pointing-to is just the hair meshes, I'll be happy to share the completed companion once she's ready to go.

I'm not even going to bother asking about a mesh for her dress...


Oh come on!

How can you post something like this, and not tell us where to get it?


NosCo CM Plugins for Oblivion

I haven't made it any secret that I've been tampering with CM off and on over the last several months.

This has resulted in some plugins, that I have decided to share.


(If Megaupload is a problem for you, let me know and I should be able to upload somewhere else)

These, as you might notice, are not on the Nexus. Call it a regular reader reward for the blog here.

There are three plugins, totaling less than seven kilobytes. No meshes or textures are required.

From the readme:

Nos' CM Partners Strip Order.esp adds a command near the bottom of the CM dialogue labeled simply enough "Strip for me." It does what you would expect. Useful for checking body mods, or... whatever. I'm not here to judge. Opening the companion's inventory and closing it again will cause them to re-equip their items as normal.

Nos' CM No Armor Wander & Offer Services Follow.esp modifies the CM system's Follow and Wander packages. With this active, companions will offer services (the buttons for merchant, repair, recharge, and training) even when following you; so that you can use your special companion's abilities at any time. The modification to the wander package sets it to use the "Armor Unequipped" and "Weapons unequipped" flags; so that they'll sandbox in normal clothing. Remember to put some normal clothing in their inventory, though.

Nos' CM Common Party Containers.esp was specially made at the request of my modding partner, Herculine. She wanted a companion container that would let you offload loot, but in a way that they wouldn't be able to equip it to mess up carefully coordinated outfits. I decided to put six, since Oblivion has that issue with too many items in one container causing engine bugs. You can find the new options on the "Party Items" menu, at the top. Fair warning, I have seen some instances of one of the containers "sticking" in the air in the dining room of Benirus Manor with the Better Benirus Manor mod active. I have no idea why this happens. It doesn't block movement; and is usually only noticable if you're looking for it, but it may bother some people. If I ever figure it out, a future revision will fix this - but since it isn't even an inconvenience; let alone game-breaking, it isn't high on the to-do list.

For the record, I add my handle to plugins not because of my severe pretentiousness (though that doesn't hurt) but because it makes it easier to keep track of them in the load order.

Comments/problems/whatever about the files should probably go in this post's comment section, but I couldn't add a link to the file's readme; what with the post not being made yet and all. Assuming this goes over acceptably, you'll probably be seeing some of my CM companions from over the years uploaded in a similar manner.

As well, this post is also going to be added to a new "Oblivion Files Uploaded" link list on the right side, for keeping track of everything in an easy-to-find locale.

NCCS - "Improvements"

Hey I don't know anything about scripting but I'm nonetheless going to fuck your mod blue and tattoo it because I don't like something it does. You'll tell me how, right?

Seriously, people? You're still on this shit? You still think I just randomly pulled the teleporting code out of my ass and called it a system?

I tested more than a dozen revisions of that code; over months of play. I didn't use other code because the "better" code didn't work right!

From this point on, in effect is the policy that my ever-stalwart partner, Herculine, has been proposing for months now:

Fuck with my code, and you're on your own. "Tinker" with or "Improve" my scripting in any way, and the warranty is void and you get no tech support. (though of course she used less profanity and more grace)

I'm done hand-holding people who have no idea what they're doing but insist on messing with stuff anyway.

If I could get rid of the teleporting and have the companions not get lost every five damned minutes, I happily would. Results, however, have not been what one would call encouraging.

If you can do better; do it. I'm sure the community will welcome a superior system. But I'm not teaching you how.

'Must Have' Revisions

I've been slacking in my updating of the FO3 "Must-Have" mods list over on the right side.

Tailor Maid is gone from the Nexus wholly; as are both Ling's mods. I've accordingly removed their links.

The 20th CW link has been modified to include a notice that it's currently unavailable.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Weekend Oblivion Mods

Well, I had planned to type out a big piece on "big mods"; discussing a couple of the "big ideas" I've had, that others have had, and why they invariably almost never come to fruition - whether mine or other.

But... Friday sucked. Today sucked more. I'm wiped, and just not feelin' it.

So, instead, I hope to placate the rabid masses with an offering of some more obscure Japanese mods.

I know we all love companions, 'round these parts. CM is the standard, but what bout taking other characters as companions? Well, there's CSR, but it has some issues.

I ran across a new mod that's (supposedly) considerably better. It's called Mad Companionship Spells or simply MCS. Despite the page being in moonrunes, the mod itself is supposed to be in English.

If you take a look at the screenshot, it also appears to keep track of recruited NPC locations.

On that note, I may have to dig into the scripting to see how they did that. Would make for a great addition to NCCS - even if NVSE was required (which it almost certainly would be).

Now, I use qualifiers like "seems to" and "supposed to be" because I haven't tested the mod, yet. It's downloaded, and installed; but I haven't fired it up just yet.

I do have some small modicum of trust in the source, though; so I don't foresee many problems. Interestingly, one of the forum-goers reports that MCS is so good it's completely replaced CSR in his install. Apparently there are fewer problems with ex-Bandits getting into fights with the guards, and NPCs in general wandering away when left in their new homes.

There's also the MCS Extension. Machine translations are dodgy at best, but the extension appears to... add new functionality. (ZOMG AN EXTENSION THAT EXTENDS? WHAT NEXT?!)

Specifically, it seems to add things like better inventory management - I see one function here that's supposed to get your new companions to equip tail-slot items; long the bane of we CM players. There is also a sort of 'sleep now' order; something here about telling them whether to wear clothes or armor, some stuff about managing factions to prevent companions from attacking you or each other... and something about an escape portal from "Oburibiongeto" (Oblivion?).

Hell, I dunno. I'll edit the post and report more when I've played it. I would suggest some caution while figuring out what's what, but the system on the whole appears to have quite a bit of potential.

Edit: As promised, I fired the game up and actually had a lookie-see at MCS.

Interestingly, as the name implies, it is not the traditional dialogue-based companion system most of us are used to. MCS is spell based (hence the word 'Spells' in the title, I suppose...).

Rather than speak to a potential or current companion to issue orders, you hit them with the spell:

Now, one of the things that sets MCS apart from other mods, are the other spells:

You get to clear bounties for one, but if you look below it; there's also MCS Repair/Recharge. Hit someone with that spell, and it repairs and recharges all their equipment. Handy.

Not only is this less trouble than CM's dialogue option, but it works on any NPC regardless of their companion system framework - or more to the point lack thereof.

I still haven't gotten to play with it heavily - or use the extension at all - but so far it seems a straightforward and user-friendly universal companion system. I doubt it will wholly replace CM in my game, but it's nonetheless pretty cool.

(and of course, you can also see my hot-as-fucking-hell redhead-wolfgirl character. MBP, how did I live without you...?)

Edit the second:

Done some more playing with MCS, and I'm rather impressed. The MCS extension includes the outfit selector that I mentioned before. What I didn't realize, was that when the setting says "auto", it means it - when weapons are sheathed, the companion dressed in clothing; but when weapons drawn and they go into alert status, they switch to armor automatically. Less than amazingly realistic, the insta-change... but it's nonetheless much better than other systems I've seen.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

FONV - Monte Carlo Apartments

I've mentioned on more than one occasion my feeling that there's a need for decent, companion friendly housing in FONV.

Most house mods are either too small - the various Goodsprings shacks, the Vault built for 2, and several others spring to mind; or they're huge but almost obscenely opulent and completely out of character for the wasteland (Fry's Freehold comes to mind, here); or they're the full Vault-type mod, and have a general feeling of "Here, have a fortress, random person I just met!" to them.

Where, then, is our simple, expedient place to billet companions? Someplace that has bedrooms; that has work rooms; that has access to New Vegas... but doesn't look like something from an episode of Lifestyles of the Wasteland Rich and Famous?

From the first time I cleared it out, I've always liked the Monte Carlo Suites. Here was a cell that wasn't huge or overdone; but could handle eight or so companions with ease. You had reloading and work benches, bathrooms, beds.

The problem being, you have no real provision for fixing it up once the Scorpions are cleared out.

Since the NosCo HQ is a long way from being done, I decided to "convert" the Monte Carlo into apartments.

Most people would have just loaded it up, and started making changes. This carries many downsides. Deleting things from a master isn't a good idea if you MasterUpdate - and no one ever listens when I tell them not to. Conflicts are another issue; though I can't think of any mods off the top of my head that change the place.

So I opted to take a less conventional, but more freeing route. Basically, in this method one copies a cell wholesale. Gives it a new ID, and makes whatever changes they want without worry of conflict.

Then, you script it so that on the plugin's activation, the normal door into the cell-to-be-changed is disabled; and enabled in its place a door that leads to your new cell.

The downside of course being that the mod requires an uninstall command or plugin; to re-activate the original door in the even that the player wants to remove the mod - since the disabled door is part of the base game, it won't be automatically reverted or replaced, and on removing the plugin, a gaping hole will sit where the door should be.

I've been working on it over the last couple days, and finally got the cell itself done tonight. You may be wondering why the rooms would require work, if the cell is copied.

One of the things I wanted to do was remove the rubble blocking the stairs, and open up the second floor.

There is no second floor in the cell; so one had to be created.

With residences on the second floor, the first floor will be converted into utility spaces. Work rooms, storage, a kitchen; probably some basic medical amenities.

The east, west, and south sides of the ground floor had dual rooms on each side. I knocked the walls out, creating three large rooms; with the original two small ones on the same wall as the door.

Bathrooms have been left it place; so that it looks like converted apartments.

The second floor is mostly a carbon-copy of the first; save that I think I'm going to add a ninth apartment where the exterior door is on the ground floor.

Still have to actually put stuff in the rooms - they only have lamps at the moment. Each "apartment" will probably get a suite similar to the ones in the Vault 1 apartments: a bed, desk, dresser, and a chair or two. The Hollywood Hilton it ain't; but it would beat the hell out of being a transient.

The big decision being, of course: how much to give the player? Voila, and your apartments are converted? Or make it an empty shell by default; that you have to visit some vendor to buy stuff to put in it? On-site vendor and/or doctor who just magically show up? Or leave it all to the player?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


So, I mentioned my new Oblivion game, to get some race mods... and some *ahem* other mods fully working.

I've been hitting the ruins surrounding the Imperial City, picking up loots to sell, for pretties from the Goddess store, and houses.

We worked our way around the west shore this evening. I was just going through everywhere as I came across it. Strip everything that isn't nailed down; and if it is nailed down? Here's a crowbar.

Eventually, we happened across Vindasel.

It's been so long since I did Clavicus Vile's quest that I had completely forgotten the significance of the place.

Turns out Umbra is in there from the game start; and we blundered right into her.

At level four.

Amazingly, I survived. It was dumbest luck that I had a few healing potions and a flame-enchanted sword found in previous ruins. I pretended to be a Spartan; hid behind my shield and held Umbra's attention while dealing what damage I could. Survived - barely. Thankfully, I had not just Branwen, but all four of my CW-Neko race companions along as well.

That ebony armor of hers should fetch enough to put us over the top for acquiring Benirus Manor, at least.

Oh man, do I miss carrying automatic weapons and explosives. Going to be sore, tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Try

It may not seem it, but I try really, really hard not to rant and rave and bitch around here. Really, you guys see less than ten percent of it.

But these people on the Nexus... it's like they're making it a point to be as dense as humanly possible.

Posted to the NCCS file comments this evening was this: "Do any of you know how to work the New Vegas Facegen Exchanger? It would really help with my project."

This person has never communicated with me before that I am aware of. I have no idea what "his project" is. Never heard of it.

Now, I can extrapolate from the name what the New Vegas Facegen Exchanger does... but I'd never before heard of this utility. It was not being widely discussed in the comments - nor discussed at all, ever, as far as I know.

So what... in the holy hell... would make it seem like NCCS was the place to ask about this utility?

Why not ask at, oh I don't know... the utility's file entry? If it isn't on the Nexus, why not ask the author direct through their site?

I mean, you have to get the fucking thing somewhere, right? And odds are good, wherever it was made available for download, or linked to in a forum post or whatever... it would seem like someone made it known that it was available because they found it useful.

So... why ask us?

I know I didn't have anything to do with creating the file; and I doubt Herculine did, either - seems like the sort of thing she'd mention if she had authored such a file.

This is a perfect example of why I'm coming to loathe the Nexus more and more. You help somebody once; or write a tutorial or answer a question, and all of a sudden the people come to you with every question, every issue; in lieu of reading the documentation or going to the author of the file in question.

As I've said in the past: helping people on the Nexus is like feeding a stray dog. Do it a couple times, and from then on, any time the dog gets hungry, it expects you to feed it.

It's like the other post, a few down from that one. The individual there thinks I should rewrite the companion tutorial to include a complete primer on every possible method of and technique for ini editing available.

I don't mind helping, guys; really. If you have a problem with one of my mods, or even someone's companions who are dependent on one of my mods - mention it and odds are very good I'll do what I can to get it sorted for you.

But Goddammit, I am not an on-call tech support database. Neither is Herculine. We do like to do things other than answer technical questions and validate inane modding concepts for your new super-plugin that's going to use NCCS but change everything about it.

We are modders. We are not Bethesda Tech Support. We do this for fun; to share our little ideas with the community on the whole - we do not do it to be your personal Rolodex of technical procedures and minutiae.

If you have a question about the inner workings of the companion AI, then fine, ask. That pertains to companion mods. That's fine. Weapon usage, classes, AI packages, even leveled lists. These are all things that are part of the "companion experience", and are perfectly fine to ask for information about, or general help with.

If it doesn't pertain to one of our mods, please: fucking Google it. Search the forum. Then, if you can't find any workable solution, you can ask if you must - though understand that no one owes you an answer or any help whatsoever.

Unless of course I have made a blog post about some mod; then you can ask for help with it, and I'll probably help. Or at least point you to the forum thread where I found answers.

Cosmetic Overhaul for Oblivion

So, I mentioned the other day installing some race mods; specifically, Modular Beautiful People, MPB++, and XEOSP.

I showed off a screenshot of my Aribeth companion as an example of what the mods did to the High Elf race.

This morning, I happened to get in some more play, and started taking note of what it had done to default game characters. Took a few screenshots; thought folks on the fence might be interested to see just the sort of caliber these mods are.

Now, obviously those are a small fraction of the changed NPCs in the game; but it should give you an idea of the skill of the mod-makers.

As I said, these definitely won't be for everyone - as they're more than a tish anime-inspired. Then again, considering the comment-conversation that broke out a few posts down from this one, I'd say many of us are hiding more than a bit of powerlevel, and probably wouldn't consider the inspiration to be a bad thing.

Even if it isn't your bag, tell me that isn't an improvement and a half? I mean, Goddamn; they actually look good. Not "well, I guess this doesn't suck as bad anymore..." that you get from most beauty mods, but actual good.

Now, if you are planning to make this here drastic change to your Oblivion install, do yourself a favor, and go ahead and edit your Oblivion.ini file. bFaceGenTexturing= needs to be 0, where it is 1 by default. This is important; otherwise you get the splotchy, crappy face textures. The number one complaint of people who try to run these mods is that they don't come out looking right because the downloader didn't pay attention when told to make that ini mod. It helps that much, yes.

The GECK Powerup

Modders of Fallout: New Vegas have run into special issues that previous iterations of the construction set didn't have. Those primarily being error reporting. For whatever reason, Obsidian doesn't see fit to enable such things; so if a script fails to compile, it doesn't tell you as much - it simply refuses to save.

We got out around this for months with a utility called the GECK Powerup, or simply GECK-PU. It reenabled the error reporting, fixed some crashes and stability issues, and was an all-round improvement.

Well, we lost the powerup in the transition to GECK v1.3; and still Obsidian couldn't be bothered to enable even error reporting to tell us why the script failed to parse.

I lamented loudly the other day the loss of this utility, as it made the NV-GECK infinitely more bearable to mod with.

Apparently, someone was listening. This morning, there was a new file uploaded to the NVNexus, The GECK 1 3 PowerUp for Fallout New Vegas. If you're a modder for NV, I highly recommend picking it up. I haven't had a chance to test it yet, but I'm not expecting much in the way of issues.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Why Me?

I mentioned in the last post getting the rest of the cosplay code written; based on the one completed section for the NCR that I had tested and found to work correctly.

Well, before I got a chance to test it, things happened that resulted in my not getting to sleep (at all), leaving town, and then later being set upon by a feral succubus...

Anyway; the end result was that I crashed out at 2200, and never got to fire the game up again, until this morning.

Which I just did, only to find that the fucking script - that parses fine, remember - doesn't run anymore. No sneaking, no draw/holster behavior, no cosplay messages.

Son of a bitch.

I've run the script through the validator three times now to no errors.

So, either there's something in there that the new iteration of the engine doesn't like, but isn't causing an actual error; or something got its wired crossed in my savegame again.

First order of business will of course be cleaning said save; but if that doesn't fix it, I'm not sure how to save this feature. I might be able to rig it up in run in a quest script instead of the companion script... but I don't know.

See, this is why I don't announce new features three-quarters of the time anymore - the stuff just stops working at random...


Just cleaned save, and no dice. Looks like it is the script itself. Now I get to go block by block commenting out code until I find the one that lets it run again.

Edit the second:

On the up side, the XP-sharing code does work; and quite beautifully. So while I still have to rewrite the disguise stuff, there is at least that much going according to plan.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fallout NV - Companion Evolution

You guys might have noticed I'm Johnny-on-the-spot with replying to comments this morning. That's because I'm sitting right here.

Having been inspired, I've been scripting on a new prototype script for my personal companions. Assuming the revisions work out, most will make it into NCCS shortly thereafter.

How big of revisions are we talking about?

The script when I started was 155 lines. I just closed the NVGECK, and the new script sits at a whopping 529 lines. I more than tripled the size.

Assuming I wrote it correctly, the companions will now share XP with the player without the wheel being activated; will be able to be "disguised" by wearing certain factions armor or other outfits; and will keep track of your target to remove themselves from said faction should a fight break out - so that they won't hesitate to engage members of the faction they're cosplaying as, should one take a shot at you or things otherwise go to hell.

Must still have it, since I only had to look up two functions during the whole mess. Would've only been one; but I'm not used to using GetCombatTarget and was declaring the reference on the wrong end. I wish they'd pick a format for these things...

Anyway. Testing to begin soon; will let you know how it goes.


Well, it took some doing. The first block of code I used caused an infinite loop of messages. The second block wouldn't parse (stupid GECK). Third time's the charm, though:

Equipped and unequipped multiple times, tried alternate armors, all worked correctly.

I do wish Obsidian had spent as much time bug-testing the game as they did fellating California. There are five factions I saw going through the GECK that the player (and now companions) can cosplay as: Brotherhood of Steel, Caesar's Legion, Great Khans, NCR, and Powder Gangers.

BoS, Legion, Khans, and Gangers all put together have seventeen outfits that disguise the player.

The NCR, by itself, has fourteen.

Also: error reporting for the script editor in the "new" NVGECK? Yeah, they still couldn't be bothered to enable it. I do just love yelling at the monitor: "WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG NOW?!"

I end up having to use Cipcis' script validator tool. It would be really nice if the author of the GECK powerup would poof back into existence, and give us a new version. I don't mean that sarcastically or condescendingly either - it really would be nice. That thing was a lifesaver when it was still compatible.

Anyhow, the new disguising seems to work; but won't be able to report companions by name, so you'll have to keep track of who's wearing what, yourself.

Fallout NV - Roadblocks and Frustration

As long-time readers of the modding blog here will remember, I've been toying with a "NosCo HQ" on and off for well over a year now. A house mod of my own; something made to my own specs. I've come to like Vault 1... but a steel lined hole in the ground just isn't me. Maybe I'm not as much of a redneck survivalist as I'm accused of being?

Anyway, the first draft as it were of this concept was Nos' Tower; which of course I never finished because of massive texture issues (that'll teach me to try to create my own).

I still like the idea of a tower. Yes, it's not as survivable as a bunker; but what are we? Moles? Are we politicians; running away to hide underground every time the wind blows? No! We raise an army, and defend our damned keep...

*ahem* Sorry. Going downright medieval there, wasn't I?

I always liked Tenpenny in that respect, but didn't like its lack of real windows. So, you can imagine my unfettered joy the first time I stepped into the Lucky 38 Penthouse, and looked out the windows onto the wasteland. Very cool.

It still is very cool. I was in there again this morning, around sunset game-time. After talking to House (and as an aside, they missed a golden opportunity there. Mister House could have been a sarcastic ass voiced by Hugh Laurie. Don't get me wrong, Renee did a great job, but come on...) I stepped over to the window and looked out, and was reminded how bad I wanted a penthouse cell of my own.

Now, SOP for creating such things is just to copy. Copy the world space, copy the cell; rename it all so there are no conflicts and change the interior to suit yourself. This approach is frowned upon by some "serious" modders - and a great deal of self-styled critics - but it is nonetheless the most time and effort-efficient method; especially for one's first go at a new type of cell.

Following that train of thought, the first time the idea occurred to me to have a penthouse with a view, I set about copying the worldspace. Keeeeeeee-rash.

So instead, I tried loading the cell to potentially copy it after creating a worldspace of my own.

Crash again.

Much profanity ensued, as anyone who's read my blog for more than a week will doubtless have expected. Shortly thereafter, my interest in FONV waned due mostly to unrelated issues, and the idea was shelved.

Being as I seem to be in a Vegas mood here lately, I decided to try again this morning, after taking in the view from House's suite. This, I think, can not happen again. FNV and the GECK are different versions, installed clean on a new hard drive, and I'm loading them in a different plugin.

Hoo-boy, was I wrong. I still get a crash any time I try to interact with the Lucky 38 worldspace in any way. Can't load it, can't duplicate it; nada.

This strikes me as exceedingly odd, as I broached the subject with my ever-stalwart partner Miss Herculine, once before, and she said she could load the worldspace without issue. So, apparently my GECK just hates me. Story of my life.

Just tried copying the world space to a new plugin in TESSnip. Ate so much system resources that I ended up have to hard-boot my computer to get control back. Thank the universe for Blogger's auto-saving of posts to draft status.

Am beginning to think I'm not meant to have a tower with a view.