Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Screenshot Dump!

Not going to be heavily wordy here, but have a mess of stuff that I thought was neat or just wanted to show off or what-have-you.

Firstly: I don't bother posting about it anymore after the last one was met with dead silence; but I am still working on The Estate in FNV. I talked awhile back about taking screenshots from various games, and turning them into artwork in FNV. Well, 'lest ye think tha Nos all talk... I actually did it awhile back:

That's not all of them by any stretch; just some of the first ones I hung. Ended up doing a half dozen different frames: gold and silver variants of the frame on the portrait of NCR President Kimball (you can see on them where the normal maps still have the title engraving even though I removed it from the texture itself -- I really need to see about making new normals for them one of these days); and versions of a larger Gomorrah promotional poster with frames in redwood, black marble, white marble, and one in amethyst that isn't in any of the screenshots because it seemed like a good idea at the time but looks gaudy to an unholy degree in game.

The "paintings" are more than a little frustrating, since they use an odd ratio (2.18:1 for the Kimball portrait frame, and 1.92:1 for the Gomorrah poster) that doesn't mesh well with actual playing ratios. As you can see in that last shot, my old 1024x768 screenies aren't compatible at all without major cutting. Newer 16:9 shots work okay; but still need a bit of trimming to fit the frames correctly.

I started putting some scenic shots in the entryway and will eventually add some more to the hall between the "bedroom" half of the estate and the other half. With that in mind, I've started paying more attention to anything pretty in FNV or Skyrim, and nabbing shots where I can for later conversion into decorative pretties.

While in Zion National Park in my latest FNV game, there were a few spots that reminded me of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, and prompted me to take some shots (that haven't been converted to paintings yet):

Skyrim, of course, has little going for it but the scenery; so I've been paying an extra-close eye to it while playing lately. So. Worth. It:

I want to note: I'm not actually a huge fan of Talos; but that last screenshot was just too nice to pass up.

I should also note: the Skyrim shots should look a bit nicer than the old ones; though I'm not sure how noticeable it is. I didn't upgrade my hardware -- but I did mess with some video settings in Nvidia's software and manage to get 2x AA and a couple other features going without a blatant loss of my already sparse FPS. Loading times are a bit longer, but it plays just as well -- actually smoother in a few spots, proving once again that Bethsoft cannot set up their games to scale to lower settings for shit. I've applied most of the same tricks to my FNV; but haven't gotten any new shots from there since the improvements -- nor even played it enough to know how well it's going to work in the earlier iteration of the engine.

Been messing with a new Skyrim game, too. Nos is alive and well and cruising through Nordlund at level 53 now. Felt like playing a different type of game, so I made myself a Dunmer:

While she's certainly not Nexus Imageshare "quality" (he says, desperately trying to maintain a straight face), I like her. Doesn't have the plastic look; but still a looker. The two women she's flanked by are Lydia and Farun (from my 'Lesser Companions pack').

The basic premise of the game is similar to my "hardcore hardcore" games in FNV: that is, no items, supplies, armor, or weapons except what you can find, buy, loot, or steal. No mod-added houses, either. Can upgrade found items, but no using a forge to make new ones -- with the exception of a couple items that aren't set up to be sold, like the bandoleers and backpacks. I was too lazy to redo their mods to add them to the leveled lists for purchase, what can I say?

From back in the Mojave, the girls got dolled up and we made an evening out on the town while I was fleecing the casinos at the blackjack tables for ammo money early-game:

They certainly do clean up nice, don't they? Though if I had thought about it, I'd have done Dead Money first; and brought back that singer's dress for at least one of them (I forget how many dresses are in the DLC). Oh well, I'm sure to break something updating scripts; and there's always next game...

This one was one of the first I took with the specific intent of making it a painting in the Estate. It turned out nice; though I haven't decided where to hang it just yet so there's no screenie of the finished product.

This one... just about made me tactically soil myself. I forget sometimes how scary the big demoness can be when she wants to. We were up in the hills, heading down into Nipton from the Wolfhorn Ranch along about sunset; but decided to press on and try to get into Nipton even after dark as we were running low of food (four people eat a lot); and I turned around and there she was, lookin' like that.

Wasn't pissed at me, thankfully. Sometimes after combat, companions' expressions stick in the "battle grimace". It resets to normal when you talk to them; but can still lead to amusing incidents.

And speaking of everyone's favorite demon:

I'm still working on Maeva. No major facial changes since I figure that's about as close as the new engine will allow... but that hair of hers is driving me up the wall. Whoever ported it did a straight up abysmal job. I embarked on a quest to improve it after I got sick of it never looking right and found a multitude of problems. The alpha threshold is set so high (190 by default) that six inches or more of the hair is invisible. Turns out it's set that high because the alpha channels got messed up in the conversion and if you set the threshold lower than about 120 there's a jaggy "island" of hair that appears at the bottom in the back. Not sure how to fix that. As well, there's no .tri file so it has fitment issues, I found a mis-set flag, and the hairline file included with the hair? Yeah, it's just a renamed copy of the hair itself and using it causes the two to clip through each other and turn into a flickering mass of shit.

I've fixed what I could -- reset the flag, and changed the threshold to the lowest that doesn't show the island of hair... but it still is far from ideal. Short of redoing the texture's alpha channel(s), and/or reworking the mesh itself (neither of which I know how to do offhand) I can't think of any other way to fix it.

Also: I have got to do something about that lip mask. Every time I install another one, the whole thing disappears, though; so I think I'm going to have to monkey with the facegen texture itself. I've been thinking maybe I could blow it up to 1024x1024; and use a tool to smooth those jagged edges. I recall reading someplace that facegen/tint textures still work when scaled up, as long as the proper ratio is maintained. Failing that, I could blow it up, fix it, and then shrink it back down, I suppose.

Lastly, these are just some more of my favorite subject:

I still really like how that Ebony Mail retexture turned out. Looks even better with a few more graphical niceties turned on. I also kind of wish they had rigged those cloaks to something other than the ankle bones; 'cuz man does it look weird when they sit while wearing one...

Anyway, that's all I've got this time. Or at least all I can remember taking that I'm willing to share publicly.

Enjoy... or y'know, don't. Whatever.


  1. Knowing what I now know about your rig's processor, I gotta ask: what video card are you using? I've got a triple-core processor and 6 GB RAM and still can't run Oblivion with all the bells and whistles, I'm told because my video card is still lacking. That, or the whole clinging onto possession of my own soul thing just isn't working out...

    I like the way the screenshot-to-portrait thing worked out; great idea, that.

    1. "Knowing what I now know about your rig's processor, I gotta ask: what video card are you using?"

      I'm still using that card the good Sergeant gifted me from his spare parts stash when my old 6200 pooched back in... May '10?

      I can never remember the number; hang on I'll pull up the specs... Nvidia 8800GTS, 320mb GDDR3; another 255mb shared from my system's DDR2; PCI Express 16; driver version 280.26 (an old set I know -- but it's been the most stable where Oblivion and FO3 are concerned; while still pulling passable numbers in FNV and Skyrim). I can copy down the various clockspeeds if you like, but I haven't OC'd the card at all -- it's all factory defaults.

      And before you say it: I know. There's no way in hell a system like this should be able to do what it does in Skyrim. I tell ya, this craptastic $350 eMachine is about the most bombproof PC I've ever used. The only one that tops it is my old PIII/800 that I bought when I was still working construction back in 2000 (it still runs; and I used it to play Oblivion for almost a year when my 1.9gig Tbird went to Valhalla in '07).

      "I like the way the screenshot-to-portrait thing worked out; great idea, that."

      I like it, myself, thanks. I think sometimes it might be fun to release as a modder's resource for decorating your own homes... but then I think who in the hell would want to decorate their place with pictures of my companions?

  2. I don't think my old machine is much better than yours, Nos, and I am managing some low, but still playable frame rates in Skyrim. Yes, I said Skyrim. I just can't seem to really get into it though. Although, "Emma" on the Nexus recently released her companion Vilja for Skyrim, so I might give it another run. The posted videos look promising.

    I have been toying with the idea of making up some custom framed pictures to include in my Fallout games myself. Mostly thought about using images of my Nexus friends, although comic related shots or pics of my real life friends have crossed my mind.

    Hmm, come to think of it, images of my Nexus friends and ones comic related might be one in the same o.O

    1. "I have been toying with the idea of making up some custom framed pictures to include in my Fallout games myself. Mostly thought about using images of my Nexus friends, although comic related shots or pics of my real life friends have crossed my mind."

      I don't know how well using the FO3 framed picture (the one of the player's mom and dad) will go. I tried it first, and had some serious issues -- the reflections are set up to show the original image no matter what the main texture is. I never could get it to display right.

      I can send you copies of my custom textures (I made templates to paste the cut screenshots into so I didn't have to re-convert the original every time) and the meshes that are set up to use them. I haven't tried it, but as far as I know they should be usable in FO3 if you just create new static objects -- the only kicker is it wouldn't be uploadable to the Nexus, since technically it would be using one game's resources in another; which is a no-no according to Beth.

    2. Umm, sure, thanks Nos, that would be great! No worry about uploading, as my idea was mostly for a "private home mod" that, should I distribute it, would be limited to said friends via MediaFire or Dropbox.

    3. Minor delay on the picture frames -- I'm currently learning to create my own normal maps so that the things actually reflect light correctly.

      It was too much of an affront to my pride to release them with the originals that didn't match up any more.

      Initial results are good; shouldn't take too long.

  3. I always liked your house mods. They felt more real then whatever random house mods were "teh best" as people like to put it in the nexus area.

    1. Thanks. I don't claim they're "lore friendly", but I do at least try to keep them plausible.