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[LE] NOOB: Mod-Packing and Uploading?

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As far as ambiguity among programmer/creators. Terms are not only known but deeply known. To the point the names no longer matter. But I can see your point of view. We sometimes assume you have basic knowledge of the subject at hand. That's what we get for assuming. :wink:


As far as disagreeing, that is a good thing. It's more of a discussion than a fight (at least it should be). Each pointing out the advantage of their techniques. The best help you can get is programmers discussing alternate techniques for doing the same thing. Everyone learns something new and true programmers are always in a state of learning. Some take it as insults some know better. I'm sure both of us here took everything said with a gain of salt and checked it out for themselves.


This is what this explanation would sound like experienced creator to experienced creator.

Just create a .bsa, ditch the loose files and upload to the nexus.

Edited by NexusComa2
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Wow, what a great thread! We think everything we need is in this discussion. We like discussions where experienced pros disagree. It's just elsewhere some users can be sensitive to disagreements.


Meanwhile! We're still puzzled, though we may have enough to proceed.




Here's what got us troubled in the first place, when we started with making our BSA directly from the CK-archive function.


The CK popped up a warning, something like "No Facegen/Tintmask" and messed up and "lost" our custom Tintmask.


(We might not recall this warning exactly, but the warning was close to that. We do recall when we returned to our FaceGen folders in both Meshes/Textures, the CK had altered our NIF (yuck!), altered paths, and also replaced our custom tintmask, while in-game the NPC face was wrecked.)


The CK-extract function did not seem to see, find, and include our custom tintmask, no matter the three times we tried to replace the results of the CTRL-F4 function in the CK one with ours. We also learned to make a backup of our custom tintmask since the CK kept losing it.


We could have given up on our tintmask, and gone straight vanilla, and let CTRL-F4 give us all our straight-up textures and files, but we really had made a pleasing tintmask. (Experienced modders are making and uploading excellent custom tintmasks with their NPC's!)


So, we decided to pack our files manually, and successfully include our custom tintmask. Which brought us here to this forum.


We think this tintmask issue is kind of well known among experienced NPC-creators? Which is why they use the Archive.exe method, rather than make an archive through CK? But we found even the Archive.exe tutorials a bit confusing. Sad on us?




(We are also posting a new question and topic shortly, on how to "duplicate" and rename one of our personal custom NPC's (call that NPC Stelja, let's say) who is "inside" one of our large personal Mods, call that bigger mod ManyNPC'sMod.esp, let's say, and making that Stelja-duplicate NPC character have no dependency whatsoever on our original ManyNPC's.sp mod.


+Is this doable? We think the CK will allow us to uncheck the dependencies, which we can then confirm through TESVedit? That's how we anticipate the process so far?)



Edited by Gorgopis
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Ok now we are getting down to the real problem here.


That happens because you can't put some of the NPC files in the pack archive.

When you have a NPC or Follower you need to keep them facegendata files as loose files.


Everything is exactly the same except you now do it both the ways we stated.

You will have to build a folder structure matching the one in the games data folder for the gen files.

Put them in that data folder you created and zip it up as normal. Don't include them in the packed .bsa

or do ... it don't matter if you have the loose files in the proper spot(s). It will use them over the .bsa files.


I haven't done this for awhile so ... I think all you need is the face textures.

Hmmm ... Download a working follower mod and see what was used for the facegen files as loose files.


Note: This one thing is the cause of 1000's of questions and 100's of broken follower mods.

Welcome to the next level .. gratz :wink:

Edited by NexusComa2
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I think we're graduating from white belt to yellow belt. (Two of us working these issues out on our one PC).


We're a long way from "green-belt" and we'll never be black-belts at this rate!


We did examine a successful follower mod, and found wonderful custom tintmasks.


But we assumed these had been generated by the CK-archiving function.


We did not know, at first, that the modder had to pack the facegen files as loose ones.



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Understandable. It's one of them dozen or so things out of the blue modding Skyrim. I honestly fingered that out by running across a follower mod that had only that as loose files. I didn't understand why they didn't just pack that too. A light bulb went off and I fixed every black faced follower I had in the same day. :smile:


Sorry I didn't catch that right off the bat. I'm getting slow. Should have got that from your very first post. Clearly hinting at the solution right from the start. Give yourself credit for realizing things were just not working in a logical way and this problem was more than what you were looking at.

/tosses the yellow belt /hands you the green belt /puts back on the brown belt ...

You can see why it was done this way by the kit. They then were able to make a lot of generic-ish NPC data then add the graphic face data later so they all look different. 10 bandits are 3-4 different types with 3-4 different gear. done .. Now add the graphic face data loose files and they are all different looking.

Edited by NexusComa2
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I don't like running procedures like packing into a bsa or even making a zipped archive on my mod. I'm a bit paranoid about messing something up. I put a folder on my desktop with all my mods loose files and the esp copied into it and name it MyMod Loose Files. Then I use either BSAOpt or BSA Browser to pack everything except my esp into a BSA from that folder. I don't really like the CK's bsa packing program. I prefer more control about exactly what goes into it and as I said I don't like to mess with my mod's files directly. Then I make a folder on my desktop named MyMod Packed with the esp and the bsa inside. Then I'll zip that and name it MyMod .zip. and save all 3 folders somewhere for storage. Don't tell me I go overboard about saving copies I already know.


I do have a mod with some npc's with facegen data packed into a BSA and I haven't seen any problem with their faces. Could it be a problem with the CK's bsa packer not working correctly? I don't use it myself so I haven't paid much attention to problems about it on the forums.

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Have you solved your problem?


I use WinRAR with the, make an archive option on the back click (right mouse click menu over the folder I want to archive).

I have used both WinRAR and the pack option from the Creation Kit for decades and they work perfectly. Tools of the trade so to speak.

With WinRAR you can also create executable archives. I use them for about everything I store and for quick change options on many things.

Well worth the time to learn how to use them both. I also use the BSA Browser as a tool. Good stuff! ... But in this case the tools meant for the job

are the best ones by far. Also using WinRAR is just better than .zip files in many ways.


By putting the files on your desktop they are in fact buried in your hard drive folder structure. On pack the browser is collecting files via your personal [secure] folders. Making the pack from the browser even more unnecessarily complex and even more prone to errors.

You're not going overboard you're just using the wrong tools. Consider this ... the Creation Kit pack knows what not to take and what to take automatically. The 1st time before you added the tintmask manually it wasn't there in the pack. Then you had to use alt-f4 to manually obtain the tintmask (that was the kit screaming "this is a loose file"). Then when you packed it again it took the tintmask as a data file in the pack not a tintmask. There was no references from the NPC to the original because that and the tintmask location is handled automatically via loose files based off the NPC name.


Also, in this case you do not remove the facegen data after you're done testing it (needed loose files).
Looking at one of my follower packages I singled out one. These are the files needed for that follower.


Packed data folder would be ... LegacyFollowers.rar (or zip)

Gimp can work with .dss if needed and save .tga format. These were generated with the Alt-f4 from the Creation Kit.
Everything else for that follower is in the .bsa ... I think we may again be mixing up terminology with the word tintmask.
All of the pics are "tintmasks" per say. If your follower has a actual tintmask for things on the face like eyes exc ...
you will need to pack and keep them as loose files also.

If some of this stuff came from a package on the Nexus. Then you wouldn't add them file in the .zip archive as losse files.
In that case you would credit the author and list that mod as a dependant. Like this one for that follower ...

data\textures\actors\character\character assets\tintmasks\femaleheadhighelf_lips.dds

This is a part of a face package so I wouldn't add that my .zip file. But, would need to list that face package mod
as a dependant on my mod page. Or not ... everyone had some type of face package and they tweak them themselves.
Some people don't list them as a dependent. They just tell you that in the description and only offer the generated ones.
Edited by NexusComa2
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Thanks for continuing, to both respondents.


We think we're on one right track. We're perhaps trying too hard to "speed' publication, before having full comprehension of the-steps-to-publication-processes-with-custom-tintmasks-in-our-FaceTint folder.


We're currently aiming at a hybrid remedy, by 7-zipping up our meshes, textures, data, + custom tintmask, this latter, or maybe all? as a loose file. On these forums, @IsharaMeradin had mentioned that users prefer BSA files, so we wanted to try and attain that goal.


(We made our custom tintmask with our own eyelid- and lip-shaders: and the mask is in our FaceTint folder location, following our .esp. This mask kept wrecking our CK-extract attempts, as the CK kept saying one didn't exist, even after trying to make a new one after CTRL-F4.)


We're not using WinRAR. We're familiar with the program, but not in the sense that we're experienced with the execution of using WinRAR.


We're also unfamiliar with BSA Browser/BSAOpt. We use BSA to extract assets, but we're not sure we're using Browser/Opt, when we do so.


We understand the reference to the "desktop" issue, since what's on desktop "points" to folders in a hard drive.


Thank you so much for showing a folders breakdown!

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"(We made our custom tintmask with our own eyelid- and lip-shaders: and the mask is in our FaceTint folder location, following our .esp. This mask kept wrecking our CK-extract attempts, as the CK kept saying one didn't exist, even after trying to make a new one after CTRL-F4.)"


Ctrl-f4 only generates overwriting defaults. Anything you add to face will not be part of that.

You just need to add all your added things to the face as loose files.


(In some case I've use NifSkope to aim the mesh at the correct files.)

Edited by NexusComa2
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If you are having trouble understanding how to pack a BSA try this youtube by darkfox127.

Creation Kit Tutorial (Creating & Unpacking BSA Files) - YouTube


It's what I followed the first and only time I needed to pack a BSA. It's pretty clear if you keep the video open while packing your mod and pausing it at each step. Most of his tutorials are incredibly useful,

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