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mods learning how go make mods

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#1
crazyjake252

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Hey, I figure this would be a good page to start since it could contain a series of instructions. I personally would like help with making the following kinds of mods: armor, ammo, buildings, crafting recipes and such, Companion mods, weapons, New Areas and Lands, and pretty much anything else new modders might need.

#2
madmongo

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Crafting recipes and such is easy. That's just a form you fill out in the GECK to create the recipe. This looks to be a decent tutorial:

 

This is a good guide for making a working companion:

http://www.nexusmods...as/mods/45278/?

One note - the example has a quest to hire the NPC which isn't necessary. You can skip that if you want to make a basic NPC. You still need a quest for the NPC's dialog and command options, etc.

 

For other things like armor, buildings, etc. you need to learn how to do 3d modeling. I use Blender because it's free. You can also use 3dsMax but the version that works with nif files isn't free. I can't tell you much about 3dsMax because I don't use it, but you do need the correct version and all of the correct tools installed for it to work. Blender is the same. You need the correct version and the correct tools for it to work. Somewhere on the nexus (might be under FO3 or Oblivion) you can find Blender 2.49b with all of the correct nif tools, all with versions that work correctly together. Some folks were trying to get the nif tools to work with newer versions of Blender, but the last I heard there were still a lot of issues with it.

 

Blender Noob to Pro is a good resource for 3d modeling using Blender. There's a lot to learn with 3d modeling. This isn't something that you can breeze through a tutorial in 10 minutes and start making stuff.

 

For texturing your 3d models, you'll need something that can handle dds files. GIMP and Paint.Net (which is not the Paint that comes with windows) can both handle dds files. Paint.Net comes with dds support built-in these days. GIMP still needs a plugin. Which program you use is more a matter of personal preference than anything else. I personally find GIMP a bit more difficult to use but it also can do some things that Paint.Net can't do.Paint.Net on the other hand is, in my opinion, more intuitive and easier to use. Both programs work fine. You can also use Photoshop, but that's not free.

 

If you are making armor or a weapon, my best advice to you is to start with an existing version that is kinda close to what you want. That way you'll have an existing model to base your 3d model off of that is close to the right size so you can scale your new model appropriately, Depending on what I am making, for armor I will often start with just a body model instead. Once you've created your model, you will have to parent it to the appropriate armature (aka skeleton) in order for it to work. If words like parent and armature in this context don't mean much to you, then you need to do more reading about 3d modeling (again, Noob to Pro is a good resource for Blender).

 

Things like buildings and clutter items are also created with Blender (or 3dsMax), but they don't have armatures. They do have collision though. You'll have to make a collision mesh in Blender when you create your model.

 

If you want to create your own worldspace, then you must be a real glutton for punishment, because this gets you into the buggiest parts of the GECK.  For example. you create a worldspace, then go and edit its heightmap, and when you save your heightmap and exit out of it, the GECK will crash. The only way to avoid this is to create your worldspace, save your mod, exit the GECK, reload your mod, and then edit the heightmap. This isn't explained anywhere in the GECK, but if you create a heightmap that is too low, the GECK will crash. I used to create heightmaps with a general offset of about 6000, but then I found there's another bug that when you do that, trees don't generate LOD properly. So your heightmap really needs to be above something like 20,000 or so. The list of bugs that you run into with worldspace generation goes on and on like this. Worldspace generation is MISERABLE. There's a reason you don't see many worldspace mods and man of the ones you do see use a flat worldspace with landscape objects like cliffs and rocks instead of a true heightmap to generate the landscape.

 

If you do decide to get into the misery of worldspace generation, there's yet another bug with the GECK and the Fallout game itself. For objects, the GECK and the game use a 32 bit number with the upper byte used to indicate what mod it comes from (these are the ID codes that you see in cheat code lists). So for example, bottled water has an item code of 000151a3 (I think). The 00 at the front means it is from the original game. The mod number (based on your load order) would be there if it was from a mod. This means that you only have 24 bits left over for the ID code. This code is the offset into the file, and 24 bits gets you 16 megs in size. A worldspace will take 10 to 12 megs just for the heightmap and landscape, not including navmesh and texturing. If you go over the 16 meg limit and add an object, you brick your mod. The mod will crash both the game and the GECK, and since it crashes the GECK, there's no way to go into the mod and delete the item to fix it. Hope you have a backup of your mod from earlier somewhere, because that's the only way out of it. So if you are going to do a worldspace, do the landscape first, then add all of your objects, NPCs, creatures, etc. to it, and THEN do the navmeshing and texturing last as those don't care about the 16 meg boundary issue.

 

Anyway, that's just to give you an idea of what worldspace generation is all about. If you actually decide to go down that path, make another post about it and I can discuss more particulars as necessary.

 

Getting back to the GECK, there are a few things that are broken in it. It ships with a spell checker but doesn't include the dictionary, so that's just annoying. If you use the GECK powerup you can uncheck the spell checker and disable all of that annoyance at least while you are editing your mod. Unfortunately it won't remember that setting and you'll have to uncheck it the next time you edit your mod as well. Another thing that is broken is the lip generator for dialog. If you have skyrim (or maybe oblivion) you can copy the lip generator from that.

 

It;s a lot to get into. Start with simple things like making your own house or building mod and work up from there.



#3
JoKelly

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I can vouch for having to be a glutton for punishment on world spaces,  I've made three for my current WIP, and every time I turn around I find a new problem.  LOL

 

Making custom models can be time consuming depending on the level of detail, Blender is what I use, but 3DS max is supposed to be better.   If your a student, you can use 3ds for, I think, three years for free after that you have to pay.



#4
JoKelly

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this is something that MadMongo posted on another thread about making a new world space and height map creation that has proven invaluable to me.  

 

 

New worldspace creation is pretty much the same from FO3 to FNV so tutorials for FO3 are ok for you to use. I never found any good tutorials. I pieced together bits and pieces from various tutorials and just plugged through it until I figured it out.

 

SKYZOO makes it sound a lot easier than it is. If you are making a very small worldspace, it can be done fairly quickly. But if you are making a larger worldspace, it becomes a very slow and tedious thing.

 

Also, the worldspace parts of the GECK are among the buggiest and most difficult to use parts of the toolset. Save often, and make backup files often just in case the GECK totally hoses your mod and you need to revert to an earlier version.

 

As SKYZOO said, the first step is just creating the world space. Click on world -> world spaces in the GECK, and when that form comes up, just click new on the left hand side give your new region a name, and fill in the blanks. Exit out of that, and save your mod, because the next step will usually crash the GECK. You might be able to avoid the crash if you save the mod, exit the GECK, and restart it. I dunno.

 

The next step is to create a heightmap. A lot of people skip this and make small, completely flat world spaces, and use things like cliff objects to do the majority of their landscaping. That's ok for things like a small base surrounded by mountains or something like that, but if you are trying to create a town or something it looks amateurish.

 

Warning - If you basically default the heightmap, it will crash the GECK. Seriously, sometimes I think the GECK is a Vault-tec experiment designed to test modder frustrations. The reason for this is that the GECK doesn't like it if the landscape is too low. So the first thing I do is create a random landscape that doesn't have much randomness to it, so that what it ends up doing is creating a basically flat landscape. The settings I use under the random generator are a frequency of 100, an amplitude of 50, and a base offset of 6000. The base offset is extremely important since if you don't set it high enough, the GECK crashes.

 

If all is well so far, save your heightmap and save your mod. If you didn't restart the GECK earlier, chances are that right here is where the GECK will crash. The second time through this it usually works.

 

Now re-open your heightmap, and use the editing tools to create your mountains, rivers, lakes, etc. You can play around with the default water settings in your worldspace to get the water to line up with where you want it on your landscape. If you used a base offset of 6000 when creating the heightmap, a water height of about 3500 tends to work fairly well. When you are editing the heightmap, make very small changes. If you make changes that are too drastic, you basically tear the landscape and the GECK can't figure out how to fix it and it ends up with a broken landscape that either crashes the GECK or crashes the game or both.

 

What you probably have at this point is a landscape that has mountains and plains and rivers and lakes and whatever. Save your heightmap and save your mod. If you were to go and look at it though, it will probably be very flat and unrealistic looking. You can add in some randomness to your heightmap to fix that. The settings that I tend to use are a frequency of 2000, an amplitude of 200, a base offset of zero, and this is very important, make sure you click additive and subtractive. If you don't check the additive and subtractive boxes, it will create a new random heightmap instead of just adding a bit of randomness to your existing heightmap. Now you should have something that looks a lot more realistic. Again, save your mod. The GECK likes to crash for no good reason a lot when doing worldspace stuff.

 

Now you can go to your cell view form, and change interiors (where it says world space) and select your new world space. It will put you right in the center of your new world space. And you'll run into yet another GECK bug. If there is nothing on the landscape, and the GECK hasn't ever focused on any kind of object, the GECK will usually display water instead of your landscape, so you end up looking at a big solid grayish-green blob on your render window instead of looking at your landscape. If this happens to you, select interiors in the cell view, double click on some static object, let the render window display that cell, then go back to your new world space. Sometimes just moving around using the arrow keys will get the water blob to go away once you move far enough to change cells. Once you have objects in your new worldspace you won't have this problem any more, as long as you first go to an area that has objects when you select your new worldspace when you start up the GECK.

 

Now you can tweak and paint the landscape to your heart's desire, and add objects and do all of that fun stuff. Unfortunately, you have only two basic tools for editing landscape. You can use the landscape editing function in the render window, which limits you to a maximum brush size of 15, or you can use the heightmap editor. If you are trying to make something the size of a small pond, the landscape editing makes you feel like you are carving out Mount Rushmoor using a hand chisel, and using the heightmap editor makes you feel like you are trying to do brain surgery with a chainsaw. There's nothing in between. The heightmap editor is also a bit quirky. It tends to leave big black square splotches just outside of the view on your render window, and those don't go away when you close out the heightmap editing box. Even if you move away from that area using the arrow keys, the splotches stay there. You can only make them go away by selecting another area from the cell view and then going back to the area where you were.

 

Buggy buggy buggy. That's the GECK.

 

There's an auto navmesher, but that is buggy as all heck. I've found that it works reasonably well on wilderness landscapes containing simple objects like trees and cactuses. It often completely fails when the cell contains SCOLs and doesn't work well at all if there are a lot of complex objects inside the cell. That means that you end up having to hand navmesh a lot of cells. If your new worldspace only has a few usable cells, this isn't a big deal, and you can navmesh all of them in a few hours easily. A worldspace has basically 64x64 cells, which is 4096 total cells. You can auto navmesh three or four cells per minute, and once you get experienced at navmeshing, you can probably finish a fairly complex cell in a few minutes. If you figure an average of one cell per minute (being a mix of hand navmeshed and auto navmeshed), that's 4096 minutes to navmesh the entire worldspace. That works out to a bit over 68 hours. If you navmesh for three hours per day (because you have a job or go to school or do something that takes up the rest of your day) then it will take you roughly 23 days to navmesh the entire worldspace.

 

LOD generation is similar. It's not too bad if you only have a few cells, but for a large worldspace it takes darn near forever.

 

This is why you need to decide ahead of time if you want to create a tiny worldspace that you can finish in a short amount of time, or if you want to create a major sized worldspace that will take you a huge time to complete.

 

There's a reason that you don't see too many mods with worldspaces on the nexus. It's difficult to figure out, and buggy as all heck. It also takes a huge amount of time, which is why the few worldspaces that you do see tend to be small and simple. I've been working for months on a mod that has two huge worldspaces. At the rate I'm going, the mod will be done just after everyone has switched to Fallout 4, so no one but me will ever play it.

 

One other thing. If you do try to make a huge worldspace, you can use the regions to add a lot of landscape items like cactuses and trees. This is a huge time saver, but be forwarned. If you have ever clicked on an object in debug mode, you'll notice that the object has an 8 character ID, something like 4100D236 (a completely made-up number). This is a hexidecimal number. The first two digits will be the number of your mod (41 in this case), aka its mod index. Fallout gets 00, and the different mods are assigned numbers as you add them into your mod list. On my system, dead money is 01, honest hearts is 02, old world blues is 03, etc. You can see the mod index in FOMM if you use that. So if you add another mod and it ends up loading before this one, that 41 could get bumped up to 42, for example. Now here's the important part. That xx00D236 part means that you have a six digit hex number for the ID. This corresponds to the file offset in your mod. The largest 6 digit hex number you can have is FFFFFF, which is 16,777,215. If the size of your mod's file is larger than this number, then any objects added after this length will cause the GECK and the game to crash. The GECK will give you no errors at all when it saves your mod, but when you try to load it again, it will lock up the GECK. That means you can't use the GECK to fix it. If you are making a small worldspace, then you probably don't have to worry about this at all. If you are making a large worldspace and are adding tons of landscape objects (cactuses, trees, etc) then you can run into this limit and it will break your mod.

 

I hope that you find this helpful.
  The auto navmesher will often not navmesh across roads. However, it will usually navmesh through fences. So be prepared to hand navmesh any cell that contains a road or a fence.

 

Use the b key in your render window to show cell boundaries. You'll want to arrange buildings and structures and other things so that you can easily do the navmeshing. You wouldn't want a building's door to be straddling a cell boundary, for example.

 

Some folks use things like geological survey data to generate their heightmaps. I've never done it but if you poke around on the forums you'll find the basic procedure for it.

 

There's also an auto generate navmesh button under regions. Don't use it. It is very very very very broken. I've made it work under some circumstances but it is incredibly buggy.

 

I've spent the last few year's copying a lot of what I find to a Word document, more or less creating a Tut that covers scripting, world space creation and other odds and ends that I either needed to know or was interested in. 

 

I should clean it up and post it at some point. 


Edited by JoKelly, 15 December 2016 - 06:16 AM.


#5
crazyjake252

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Yes you should, Jokelly

#6
dubiousintent

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This is at least the third time I've seen this subject come up.  More than enough that I think it's time to put the information in a more organized and static format than a post that scrolls out of view all too quickly.  So I've create a wiki article "Getting started creating mods using GECK", which is taken from this thread and some other postings by MadMongo in the past.  As I am not a mod creator or GECK expert, I have heavily plagiarized the posts, removing identifying references to any individuals (including myself) beyond linking to this thread.  If anyone has a problem with that, let me know and I will remedy it.

 

I also added links to the tools and tutorials others recommended or I found in the FNV wiki.

 

Feel free to add or correct as you see fit.  (That's why it's on the wiki.)  And JoKelly can use it either as the basis or a place to link his tutorial when he gets around to it.  I'll even convert it into a wiki article for you, because we need something better than this scattered collection of postings.

 

-Dubious-



#7
JoKelly

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I'll work on it in my "copious" Spare time. LOL.   no seriously, I will try to get it organized here soon.  The problem is, as I found and find stuff.  I just added it to the collection in no certain order.   one question, does it matter if its from other sites.   and be aware some if might be out of date.  

 

I have stuff from the NIFscope site, the GECK site, Reddit and who knows where else.


Edited by JoKelly, 17 December 2016 - 08:49 AM.


#8
dubiousintent

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When something comes from another site it depends upon how you present it.  If verbatim, it should either be quoted under the "fair use" terms of copyright law (which means not too extensively) or noted as reproduced according to the site's terms of use while giving the source, or linked instead.  Basically give credit where due, which is why I wanted people to know I blatantly (but anonymously to avoid taking any credit) plagiarized their words even though under the terms of use of the site.  If you substantially reword it (more than merely changing the order of some paragraphs or replacing a few words), then it becomes your work. 

 

Ideas cannot be copyrighted, but the particular manner and form of expressing those ideas can be.  If you can't attribute a source, then you need to decide if there is another way to express the information in your own words.  (AFAIK, a "thread link" is a source.)  If there isn't, I would put it in quotes with the notation "unknown source", but you want to do that as sparingly as possible so people don't think you are just being lazy.  If the source site is no longer available, note that instead.

 

A lot of this information is what is generally categorized as "tips".  About all you can do to organize it is group related tips together by subject matter.  I usually try to think about where someone looking for that information is likely to look first.

 

As for "just stuff I found and collected", where do you think the "Fallout NV Mod Conflict Troubleshooting" article came from?  Same thing.

 

-Dubious-


Edited by dubiousintent, 17 December 2016 - 03:08 PM.


#9
JoKelly

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Okay, I took an hour today to start going through the video's I've collected and find the actual links, so here to get things started are a few of them and something that Mctavish posted on Nexus recently.   And yes I will post the whole thing in a downloadable format when finished. 

 

but this way I can get some of it out to people interested.

 

making a counter-

https://youtu.be/3Bauvvmo31g

 

Making something happen every day-
https://www.youtube....h?v=RLrV-R_0hnY

 

 

Dialogue tips and stuff

 

Dialogue is one of the things that seems to confuse some people so here are things you might want to know.

 

http://geck.bethsoft...alogue_Tutorial

 

A very basic tut on dialogue

https://forums.nexus...logue-tutorial/

Videos-
https://www.youtube....h?v=zK09aDY8FHY

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=BQdUQmIdvUc

 

Dialogue and lipsynch
https://www.youtube....h?v=NvQCChzifyQ

 

Getting NPC’s to talk  with each other.. yes there is a video
https://www.youtube....h?v=rcqbF0zpxtQ

 

npc idle comments video-
https://www.youtube....h?v=haHdenMkeOw

 

For Random NPC Comments…

 

Drop in Xmarkers at the locations you want specific , give them a unique ref-ID.   Then put a condition of "Subject :GetDistance to that XmarkerRef < 10000" example ... On each of the Info/response.
In addition to a GetIsID condition.

 

And if the 150 char limit isn't enough ... then add another 150 char block in the Response field.

On the Topic text (at top) say something like ... "Do you have any info on this place"   Flag it as a top level ... then the priority will determine where it shows in the list of options after their Greeting.

If you're not within the maximum distance to any marker ... then that option shouldn't show up as a dialogue option for the player.   At least I think anyways.
Source-McTavish , Nexus

 

Faction

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=5f-x2ws6ySo


Edited by JoKelly, 17 December 2016 - 10:47 PM.


#10
dubiousintent

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Thanks JoKelly.  Added to the article.

 

-Dubious-







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