Sunday, April 14, 2013

Skyrim Companion Stuff

Apologies if this is a little... ramble-y.

I'm trying to get back in the habit of actually posting stuff; rather than uploading screenshots into the Picasa account of no return and then forgetting about them for months.

I don't think I ever posted about it (couldn't find it in the post list as far back as November, anyway); but I did a while back get the whole custom bodies for companions things worked out in Skyrim.

The Nexus forum post I had read last year that went into details as to just how much of a pain in the ass it would be to set up a single-race custom body was apparently completely and utterly full of shit -- which is the result I'm learning to expect. I had downloaded HoneyVanity's companion Bee-V late last year; since I knew from /tesg/ threads that she had somehow managed to get a custom body working for the one companion. I am ashamed to say that the "trick" was not only something I hadn't considered, but in all takes less than two minutes per race to implement. It's as simple as flagging the custom body parts as being valid for use by the vanilla race your custom race copies its armor morphs from. If you don't know what that means, you're probably not messing around with custom races in Skyrim and don't need to worry about it.

My custom races aren't vampire or werewolf compatible -- because frankly I'm too lazy to script that mess; since it involves editing a vanilla script and would thus conflict with any other custom race mod, and I don't vamp or were my companions anyway. Nice thing about only one person using a plugin is you don't have to make allowances for the stupid ideas that the community on the whole gets.

Since my initial screenshot takin' got interrupted by the new GPU (which changed a bunch of video settings and resulted in the old shots looking like shit by comparison), I got sort of sidetracked several times and never actually got around to posting up the latest versions of the girls as they appear in 4E201.

Being as she's the obvious fan favorite, I suppose we'll start with everyone's favorite demoness. As I've noted in the past, Maeva's always supposed to have been on the muscle-y side. Not bulky; but lean and defined. Since much as I like them, the default UNP textures do not qualify as this, I had to look elsewhere. Enter HoneyVanity's barbarian body textures; which are versions of the same base texture she used for creating Bee-V. I have to say I do like these best, as far as "athletic" textures go; as they're well defined, but not the creepy-body-builder kind of stuff that so many seem to end up being. A few edits later (alright, it was actually about seventeen -- but it took some time to figure out compression settings), and we got this...

(you wouldn't believe how much booze it cost me to get the bikini posing)

And yeah; my shadows suck. Those were interim shots -- taken after the new GPU, but when I was still messing with settings. One of these days I need enough CPU and RAM to handle the game with an ENB active. Most recently, I got some shots of her the other night in full armored glory:

...And just because I love when she gives me this look:

I actually need to edit her textures again; as they ended up with some artifacting because of stupid GIMP. I make .png backups now so I have an original to re-export to .dds when the one I use gets corrupted... but sadly these were made before I started that safety measure. At some point I need to take another shot at making her eye meshes glow; the reflectivity is high enough that they sorta glow now under the right light... but it just isn't the same. Less creepy in a dark room, though.

Next up, we have She Who Shall Not Be Named, who continues to scare the hell out of me. Not only has she learned to bait slaughterfish and lead them up into the shallow water to kill them; but I was playing a few days ago and she can now apparently noclip through locked doors at will, and has learned how to follow me down un-navmeshed rocks and cliffsides -- where the other two have to walk around and follow a valid path. You mark my words: when the army of red-headed gynoids marches on humanity, the short haired one will be their leader.

Since Skyrim includes no skirts and button-up shirts that I've been able to find thus far, she's taken to wearing the "Mourner's Clothing" when not armored.


Lastly, we have Natasha -- who is turning out to be as bloodthirsty as the other two. Her AI has developed the tactic of using a lightning bolt or firebolt spell in each hand; but instead of dual-casting (which she has the spells and perks for), she chain-fires and uses the spells in normal form; but to land two hits almost simultaneously. Must be something I did with the combat style and didn't realize it...

And lastly we have one of her looking suitably badass; still glowing with the protection spell she cast during the opening of what was one of the most anticlimactic battles in history:

We were heading into Markarth to spend the night somewhere indoors (since Frostfall makes it a bad idea to sleep outside); and were "ambushed" by four Forsworn at a bridge.

That's right. Four people in animal skins, with stone weapons attacked four people decked out in full armor, expensive fur cloaks, and carrying glowing weapons. Hell, one of our little party is damned near seven feet tall in her armor -- armor that I might add glows red in places. I know why the Forsworn lost the Reach: because they're morons. The "fight" lasted all of ten seconds; they went down so fast that I think the protection spell was pretty pointless... but it made for a nice screenshot.

I don't actually have many well-lit shots of new-Natasha. There's nothing wrong with her AI or combat prowess; it's just that my toaster-like computer doesn't much care for three custom-body companions in tow at the same time. Runs fine if they're not in the party (sandboxing around the house while I do crafting stuff, for example), but once they go into follow mode my FPS tanks for some reason. So I tend to leave Natasha to watch the house.

Not to mention all the pathfinding and traffic jam problems that occur when you take more than two companions into a cave or other close area of questionable navmesh quality.

And finally, in one of my alternate characters, I ended up using Lydia as a companion rather than just leaving her at Breezehome. I decided if she was going to tag along, she'd need to look less bad. This happened:

Interestingly, I didn't rework the face at all -- that's just the normal game-wide UNP textures I have installed. All I did was switch her to red hair (34, 0, 0, I think it was). I guess making them a redhead really does automatically make any woman more attractive.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work with the lasses Nos. You have managed to get them to be more than a little pretty (okay, quite a lot), scary and other-worldly looking all at the same time. Despite the height and the horns, I don't find Maeva to be quite as intimidating as the other two in these images. I really could not tell you why though. *shrugs*

    Interesting how such a small change in Lydia's appearance could make such a big difference. I have to agree, now she looks half-decent.