Monday, May 21, 2012

Mojave, Nos' Style - Armor

Another part of last night/this morning's modding binge was armor.

One of the things I did in my revamp of my personal companions plugin was raid my mod archives for armor and clothing I liked. Plugins were irrelevant -- I only needed meshes and textures. Found some interesting stuffs; mainly things for the girls to wear around the house when not adventuring (and I spent more than a bit of time rewriting their companionscripts to automatically switch between said outfits depending on what cell they were in at the time).

The problem is, as any long-time reader of the window into my insanity will know, I don't like dressing my companions like whores to go adventurin'. I like practical armor -- stuff that actually offers protection, both from attacks and from sun and wind.

This is an issue because good and practical armor in these games is few and far between. Men get jack and shit as a rule, and most of the well done female armor borders on pornographic -- some does way more than border.

I generally use Dragonskin Tactical Outfits for me and the girls, but those have the twin disadvantages of being obscenely expensive (the DTO bonus pack-added Multicam outfit runs upwards of 18k caps, as I recall) rendering it mid-late game before I can afford four sets; and there's also the matter that it isn't cut for the larger T3 bodies. Look, I know good tactical gear doesn't leave tits hanging out... but when you're packing DDs? They don't make enough sports bra to completely flatten that chest-bulge.

Base game armors come converted (many, at least) but are almost universally terrible. Leather armor is decent; but suffers from low DT, and a pronounced lack of bullet-resistance. Metal armor looks like something from Mad Max. The so-called "combat armor" leaves the arms and hands totally exposed -- I can only surmise Bethsoft's modelers have never ventured far from their offices, and thus have no idea that things like long sleeves, gloves, and elbow pads are all very handy when rolling around in the desert and/or working your way through brush. I tell you, I only had to go down into one pile of what I thought was sand but actually turned out to have rocks and glass in it before I learned the value of a good set of knee and elbow pads. We won't even talk about how much fun it is running your elbow into a doorframe without pads on -- don't worry though, the damage does eventually heal... usually.

Anyhow, I was downloading some Type3M converted armors awhile back, and glancing through the meshes in Nifscope.

I quite like the Cass' Outfit rework -- even if it isn't field-worthy -- but what got my attention more was the converted Stealth Armor from OWB. Good stats, nice sneak effect, the armor covered plenty of skin and actually had gloves... It would have to be added directly to my plugin, since the set in OWB is singular (and a pain in the butt to get, as I recall) but aside from that it wouldn't be bad...

...Oh, right. Now I remember why I didn't like the Stealth Armor. Where in the hell do these texture makers hang out, that black with a day-glow white racing stripe is considered stealthy?

Well, I wasn't going to let that little detail stop me. To the GIMP we go!

Left-to-right we have original, black (which ended up not -- in-game it looks bright gray), desert, Multicam, and olive drab.

I couldn't decide which would work best in NV.

Here we have the OD in the closet. Those fluoros don't do the stealthiness any favors, either...

So, taking it outside under more natural lighting, we have the desert colored stealth suit:


And all three:

I decided right off that the green just wasn't going to work. It was just too artificial looking. Which left it between the MC and desert. After careful consideration, and wandering around half the northern wastes, we decided desert won out. MultiCam had better versatility -- doing sand, forest, and indoors equally well -- but desert was just too much better outdoors, especially with so little of the Mojave being greenery.

And of course, you can see the male version there in that last one, since I was hardly going to be left out of our new team uniform.

The metal parts ended up a little... orange; but with the normal map it is impossible to get those pieces to not shine, short of masking the entire thing with 100% opacity camouflage (which I didn't think would look good).

You'll also notice if you look in the last several shots that the Alexscorpion thigh holster I mercilessly ripped from Ling's got a retexture from black to multicam. Yeah, I know, I use it a lot; but it's one of the few patterns that can be applied at 20 - 30% opacity and look decent while still letting you see underlying details to make it look like less of a hack job.

Edit: also, just realized that the third screenshot in this post marked my 500th screenshot since installing FNV. Wow, that's a lot of screenshots for mods no one even likes.


  1. Blogging screenshots for mods no one even likes? Stay right there while I go get my violin...

    ...also, I take great exception to being called no one...

    I have to agree with you that the desert outfit is the most appropriate and the best in appearance. My only suggestion might be to do an alternate brown MultiCam; I think it would have a more military appearance, at least to us Civies. Whenever I picture Desert Storm soldiers in my mind, I see the brown & tan MultiCam.

  2. "Blogging screenshots for mods no one even likes? Stay right there while I go get my violin..."

    Can it be the world's smallest? I've always wanted that one played for me.

    Also: quick primer on camouflage. When I say "Multicam" I'm not using a short form for slang or anything like that. Multicam or MC for short, is a specific pattern, and a registered trademark of the Crye Corporation. There are no other shades of it.

    I used samples of Multicam, the old US military woodland, ACUPAT, MARPAT, and 'urban digital' (similar to MARPAT, but all in shades of black, gray, and white -- never actually used by any military I know of) to create flood-fill patterns in the GIMP -- to let me apply the specific patterns at varying opacities to my silly little textures.

    When you say brown, I figure you're thinking of the 3 color desert camouflage, or maybe the old 6 color or 'chocolate chip' pattern of Gulf War PT I fame. Oddly enough, I don't have either of the desert patterns as fill patterns.

    I've been using a tan "wood" pattern that came with the GIMP for the tan armor. It works surprisingly well, and from a distance the FNV textures don't have the resolution to be able to tell the exact pattern in use anyway.

    I've found some of the more stylish patterns like the old Vietnam Tiger Stripe don't lend themselves well to tiling, since it's blatantly obvious where the pattern doesn't match up at the edges.

    Regardless, I've tried making the patterns more opaque; more obvious... but it either tiles badly or doesn't look right on details like belts and such where there should be a seam between armor pieces. Sadly, I have not the image editor skill to do such things by hand and blend it all to look decent; so I have to rely on flood fill set to only work on pixels in a certain color range. World class texture work it ain't.

  3. I always learn something new here. I must have been thinking of the 'chocolate chip' pattern. I've never served in the military and can only go by what I see in the mass media. If I hang around here long enough though, I just might get an education.

    I think I know how you feel with the texture editing. I've only ever done a texture mod for one game (Oblivion) and it was not good enough for most folks (not high enough resolution). This texturing business definitely ain't as easy as some folks make it look.

  4. "I've never served in the military and can only go by what I see in the mass media."

    Camo's not just for the military. Granted they have the largest need, what with the risk of getting extra holes in the ass if seen... but still, is also popular with hunters; and great for stalking...

    ...did I say stalking? I meant bird watching. Oh, yeah; them birds, man... and... watching them... do... whatever birds do. Great hobby.

  5. For some reason, I have found myself quite fond of the look of the OWB stealth suit every way except the colour scheme: having white/silver stripes on a black steath outfit just seems rather counter-productive to me. Your recolouring of the suit to a desert tan seems to have greatly improved the look of it to me. That choice in colour seems to work well with the shape/form of the suit.