Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Well Ain't That Some...

So, regularish readers are probably aware I'm more the fan of 'advanced' companion mods. My companions tend to feature things like custom tailored armor, special weapons, and individual body meshes and textures. The armor and weapons haven't been that big a deal in Skyrim; but the custom, one-off and individual bodies are proving just shy of fucking impossible. I'll refrain from ranting about it since I know no one cares what I think, but I did want to pass along something I picked up this evening while tinkering with the custom bodies, trying to get them to work.

Mod any Skyrim bodies or armors/clothing -- even just installing replacers -- and you'll probably notice many are doubled up. One mesh will end in "_0" and one in "_1". This drove me nuts previously, as I could find no mention anywhere of what the damned suffixes meant (I've nearly given up on forums and wikis as viable sources of information, since they seem to perpetually be the equivalent of open mic night).

Figured it out today. On meshes properly set up to scale according to the bodyweight slider, the mesh suffixed "_0" is zero weight, or minimum slider; while "_1" is 100%, or full weight. I'm not sure entirely how the game handles sizes inbetween the two; but digging through my meshes hierarchy and looking over several sets of bodies and armors, this convention bears out.

Didn't do any of my girls' custom armors with both sets, since I couldn't figure out what they did at the time. Now I suppose I need to dig through and replace the sets so that the armor will scale correctly to their weights.

Now if I could just get the stupid SuCK to let me swap body textures without having to mod every armor in the friggin' game to get it to work with the custom race...

5 comments:

  1. Not quite sure I'm understanding that. Does this mean that in SKYRIM there can be fat characters? Serious question.

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    1. I'm not surprised you didn't notice when you were playing -- on the default body, the weight slider does next to nothing (the only observable effect I recall during chargen is how wide it makes your wrists). I haven't had the default body installed in forever, but depending on which mods you run? Yeah, you can have overweight characters.

      You'll play hell finding armor rigged that big; but in the chan of less than five but more than three TES generals threads I've seen a guy post screenshots who makes hefty female companions that have their own properly sized armor and everything.

      Most bodies are less... dramatic; and largely only change breast, hip, and butt size when you change the "weight". The UNP base body runs between about an A cup and a C cup, while staying pretty slim the whole time (late warning, NSFW screen, et cetera). The UNP "Blessed" body I use keeps the same slim A cup for 0, but at 100 ramps up towards the larger DDs (again, NSFW).

      I prefer UNP because it uses normals compatible with the default body; so you can use it with base game armors if you want to. I find UNPB also gives a good, variable weight range to NPCs across the game world, from skinny/athletic to GodDAMN, baby; where were you hiding those things...?

      If you're willing to throw vanilla compatibility out the window, CBBE gets... more interesting. Bodyslide, for example, is a utility that lets you generate a set of CBBE bodies with the exact weight range and body features you want. It doesn't generate matching armor, so you'll only see "your" body when they're naked... but it's still pretty friggin' cool, if you ask me.

      I've never actually tried it, but I've seen screenshots where people have used Bodyslide to create a body type that looks pregnant at 100% weight.

      That said, I find UNPB suits my tastes well enough on its own, and it has its own correctly cut armors; and more that are close enough from UNP-standard, so I don't feel the need to destroy my vanilla compatibility with CBBE.

      I don't keep up on CBBE armors (since I don't use the body) but I keep a fairly extensive tracked list of armors I like for UNP/UNPB. If you're planning on diving back into the game I can forward you a list.

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    2. Thanks for the detailed reply and links.

      I agree that the UNP/UNPB bodies look best and I will most likely go with UNPB.

      As I'd suspected, anything else looks like degrees of the extreme where I would have preferred more realistic moderation.

      If it's possible (as it was in the previous games) to create custom races for specific NPCs with custom bodies rather than changing every character in the game, then that might be something I would use the other body types for. For the sake of realistic immersion everyone in the world shouldn't look like Norse deities and it would be nice to see a portly smithy or a Rubenesque barmaid here and there.

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    3. "If it's possible (as it was in the previous games) to create custom races for specific NPCs with custom bodies rather than changing every character in the game, then that might be something I would use the other body types for."

      That's what I've been fighting with on and off... well, since the SuCK came out.

      It's what the rant I avoided above was about.

      See, when 1.6 hit, the "mounted combat" garbage they're so proud of broke custom races, like... completely. Any race-specific body broke (turned invisible) and any custom race would have b0rked animations. It's since been fixed in a subsequent update to the SuCK as far as I can tell; but that just sets us back to the original.

      As I understand it:

      Rather than having a body connected to an armor, and that body simply being displayed whenever the armor is equipped, Skyrim has armors set as usable for specific races. Now, you can set them to "copy" another race's armor settings; but if you do that, they won't display any body or texture except the same one as the race they copy from.

      Example:

      Say I want to give Maeva her own demon race. We'll say, UNPB with a muscled texture. If I set her race up to use that mesh and/or texture, then I can't have it copy the armor settings from the Nord race, or the one-off body won't display. If it can't copy the armor settings from a vanilla race, then every armor in the game has to be modified to be flagged as valid for the new demon race.

      If she should try to equip an armor not flagged as valid for her race, it'll simply turn invisible... along with her body.

      Since changing the race flags on an armor flags it as modified, the "fixes" to allow the custom race to use vanilla armor would conflict with every other mod that changes anything about the armors.

      As well, no mod-added armor would be available for the new race to use, since the race wouldn't exist in the armor mod's plugin to be selected as valid for equipping.

      What it boils down to, at least as far as I've been able to wrap my head around this Gordian Knot of a mess, is that you can have custom bodies for individual races, or you can have custom races that work with armor without building complex 'compatibility patches' (and there's no utility to make those as far as I know, so it'd all have to be by hand). You do not get both, as you did in previous games.

      Essentially, Bethsoft has fucked over custom race and body modders every chance they got, and in every way they could think of in this game. I hear tell it's all part of an effort to make nude mods and sex mods so much trouble that no one runs them this time around. Apparently they're quite scandalized by what happened with Oblivion's modding scene. Or so I hear.

      Modders may figure a way out around it eventually... but for the time being I've just picked the body and texture that I found most generally acceptable, and used them game-wide; with my girls' custom races set to use the Nord armor list. I figure not getting per-race custom textures is worth full mod-added armor compatibility.

      That said, since I started playing the game again I've started getting a feel for the SuCK and the engine in general, and I have an idea or two for getting around this whole mess and getting my custom bodies back... but I haven't tested them yet.

      I swear, if not for the scenery I'd already be migrating my ass back to NV.

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    4. I disagree with the theory that the complications you mention are part of a conspiracy by the developers to make the creation of body replacers and sexually-oriented mods nigh-impossible. While they don't include nudity in their games, I believe that the devs know fully well that sex sells and such mods (and any others that we create) generally serve to keep their products selling copies; thus they continue to give us modding tools (bug-ridden though they may be). It would be foolish of them to deliberately make such things impractical to create. I believe these issues are more likely attributed to the fact that they continue to make things more complex with each game, attempting to impress us with flashy bells and whistles, and thus the games are inevitably becoming more difficult to mod. Just a theory, mind you.

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