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kojak747

Help with ETaC Custom textures mod and filling out LOD information

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Hi Sheson, 

 

I've managed to get the alternate textures from earlier versions of ETaC (v13) up and running again for the current ETaC version (v14).  I made a post over on reddit and yausd suggested I post here.  Basically, I'm wanting to know what LOD information I need to fill out and where etc.  What I have done so far re LOD is to specify the vanilla lod meshes for all the new static meshes I added via the CK.  I have filled that out to level 1. I have also made sure that recalc bounds is done for all my meshes.

 

In an ideal world, I would like to use matching lod textures for all my buildings, plus the 3D snow buildings as well, but for the moment I am happy to re-purpose vanilla lod meshes and textures. Once I get this basic setup running smoothly I may look at making custom lod meshes and textures, similar to Spice Of Life Forts, but that's for the future.

 

I have PM'd you the file in case you wanted to have a look at it for yourself.

 

Thanks

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First I suggest to have a look at ..\DynDOLOD\docs\DynDOLOD_Mod_Authors.html. Most of the things are already explained in there.

 

I had a look at the file. I will describe the easiest process based on it.

 

The current plugin uses a non-standard mesh file naming convention. The official content never uses the file name twice even if in different directories, especially if the content of the file is different. Generally DynDOLOD uses that fact to match unique full model filename to unique LOD model filename regardless of the path. This is not a big problem, it just means you need to define the correct LOD models specifically on each of the base records instead. The added advantage is, that this information will also work for for CK/TES5LODGen/SSELODGen.

 

If you go with this option, the plugin name needs to be added to ..\DynDOLOD\Edit Scripts\DynDOLOD\DynDOLOD_TES5_mod_default_lod.txt so that DynDOLOD.exe knows to use the base record LOD level information instead of trying to match filenames. If you give me a heads-up before releasing your mod, I can release an updated DynDOLOD standalone that includes that update. Then you can require users to use a specific DynDOLOD version or newer and they would not need to edit some ini file.

 

I suggest to give the LOD meshes unique names to separate them, because of the reason mentioned above. In case duplicate LOD nif filenames with different content exist in different directories, DynDOLOD.exe needs to ignore them, because the automatic filename matching can produce wrong results. Usually this works out because the default LOD mesh folders are scanned last and take precedence. In case of problems a path fragment needs to be added to IgnoreLODMesh= in ..\DynDOLOD\Edit Scripts\DynDOLOD\DynDOLOD_TES5.ini. Again, if you give me a heads-up before releasing your mod, I can release an updated DynDOLOD standalone that includes that update. Then you can require users to use a specific DynDOLOD version or newer and they would not need to edit some ini file.

 

Typically the best way to deal with re-texturing of the same 3D models is to use the alternate texture feature of the engine. However, since this is not the case here and the farmhouse LOD models use a pre-combined mini atlas anyways, it would not be that trivial either to add that info to DynDOLOD. I will leave that route for another discussion in case it comes up. In any case, this feature is not supported by CK/TES5LODGen/SSELODGen.

 

In this case the easiest way is to create the new farmhouse mini atlasses etc. for the alternate textures sets with TexGen.exe. Read 'How to add LOD textures creation rules to TexGen' in DynDOLOD_Mod_Authors.html. Have a look at ..\DynDOLOD\Edit Scripts\DynDOLOD\DynDOLOD_TES5_TexGen_noalpha_skyrimesm.txt and for example find the lines that create 'farmhouselod01.dds' (lines #39 to #47 I think). Just copy those into a new instruction file with the name of the plugin, update the source and destination textures. For some of the re-textured models, LOD textures can not be created automatically (the citywalls). For those the only way is to maybe render (in nifskope - similar to creating billboards) and/or use an image program.

 

Once you have created the LOD textures, copy the existing LOD meshes (use updated version from DynDOLOD Resources if they exist) to new unique LOD nif filenames and update their texture information to point to the new LOD textures. Then add the new unqiue LOD nif filename to the LOD levels of the base records.

 

Do not hesitate to ask if anything needs more explanation. Since you mentioned 'Spice Of Life Forts' you can peek into its DynDOLOD folder and LOD folder for inspiration.

Edited by sheson

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Regarding the 3D snow cover of the farmhouses:

 

You could 'copy & paste' just the snow NiTriShape with nifskope from the full model to the LOD model (source: right click NiTriShape, block, copy branch; destination: right click BSFadeNode, block, paste branch; update Name of NiTriShape to a valid string index).

 

Most of it should just fit OK. If you know how to edit models with 3DMax or Blender, you could optimize it, but do not worry about the number of triangles too much. Since only a couple buildings are used in LOD, triangle count doesn't matter a whole lot. As long as the shape uses the full textures snow01.dds or snow02.dds you do need to worry about LOD textures or optimizing the UV into 0, 1 for the texture atlas. DynDOLOD.exe + LODGen.exe should take care of that while generating LOD.

 

However, if you want to assign a LOD source texture, make sure the UV stays inside 0, 1 so it can be atlassed. That either requires use of 3DMax, Blender or can be done with LODGen.exe:

 

See the ..\DynDOLOD\Docs\trees.ultra\tools\re-uv\ folder. Change 'tiled.nif' in re-uv.txt to the name of the nif which still uses full texture for UV, add/update LOD texture data in re-uv-miniatlas.txt (find more example at the top of  ..\DynDOLOD\Edit Scripts\DynDOLOD\cache\DynDOLOD_TES5_atlas_map_tamriel.txt - you can also find the lines for snow01/snow02 in that file) and then run re-uv.bat. Then check UV of new nif created in ..\DynDOLOD\Docs\trees.ultra\tools\re-uv\output\. It will use the LOD texture and the UV will be now within the 0, 1 limits.

 

The reason to do this last part would be to create true optimized LOD meshes for CK/TES5LODGen/SSELODGen. DynDOLOD just does this step on the fly if possible.

Edited by sheson

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Thankyou for that comprehensive reply.

 

I know how to do the majority of that, so I'm going to have a go and see how I get on.

 

Much appreciated

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Making progress, but I have a couple of quick questions.

 

1. First, what LOD model should I choose in this instance > Either vanilla LOD nif or the DynDOLOD LOD nif https://imgur.com/a/EWmSW

 

2. When I'm copying in DynDOLOD LOD nif's for my custom farmhouse lod nif's...

 

ETaC has full model names like farmhousealt02.nif. I also see in your DynDOLOD folders  (DynDOLOD/Meshes/farmhouse) you have LOD nif's called farmhousealt02_lod.nif etc.  Do I just copy yours where possible by trying to match filenames, or is it a better for me just to copy your basic model farmhouse02_lod.nif, then for me to rename that model accordingly e.g. farmhousealt02_mjbk_falkreath_lod.nif.

 

Basically, I'm concerned/unsure if your farmhousealt02_lod.nifs may or may not have extra information in them i should/should not be copying into my farmhousealt02_mjbk_falkreath_lod nifs.

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Making progress, but I have a couple of quick questions.

 

1. First, what LOD model should I choose in this instance > Either vanilla LOD nif or the DynDOLOD LOD nif https://imgur.com/a/EWmSW

 

2. When I'm copying in DynDOLOD LOD nif's for my custom farmhouse lod nif's...

 

ETaC has full model names like farmhousealt02.nif. I also see in your DynDOLOD folders  (DynDOLOD/Meshes/farmhouse) you have LOD nif's called farmhousealt02_lod.nif etc.  Do I just copy yours where possible by trying to match filenames, or is it a better for me just to copy your basic model farmhouse02_lod.nif, then for me to rename that model accordingly e.g. farmhousealt02_mjbk_falkreath_lod.nif.

 

Basically, I'm concerned/unsure if your farmhousealt02_lod.nifs may or may not have extra information in them i should/should not be copying into my farmhousealt02_mjbk_falkreath_lod nifs.

 

1. Those are two different LOD models for two different full models. Use the one that matches the full model.

walkwaycwall01.nif has the wall and walkwayc01.nif doesn't have the wall. So each has its own LOD model.

 

2. In this particular case it probably doesn't matter, but typically use the one from DynDOLOD Resources unless it looks completely wrong. The 02alt/02alt2/05alt/05alt02/06alt01/06alt02 versions are just a copies/nifconverted (removes export info) for the vanilla textures ETC.

 

If LOD files DynDOLOD Resources has the exact same filename as vanilla, it is updated/fixed version for vanilla, so always use the DynDOLOD Resources one. If it is a "new" one that kind of already matches ETC additions

 

While I just looked at it. Copy the *glow_lod_0.nif files to the new name of the LOD file you are creating as well. They are for glow LOD windows and will automatically matched to the main LOD file name you are creating without the need to be setup in the base record LOD levels or rules. In case the textures change, it usually just uses the same full model textures. You can check DynDOLOD_TES5_TexGen_noalpha_skyrimesm.txt for 'textures\architecture\farmhouse\farmwindowinterior01_m.dds' rule and copy that to the TexGen rules for the mod, but it is nor required. It just makes mipmap levels of the glow map texture be a bit brighter. Update the glow LOD windows too if you want to support that option.

Edited by sheson

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Making good progress, but I'm not sure how to...

 

1. correctly name glow lod windows. e.g. If my lod.nif is called "farmhouse02alt_mjbk_falkreath_lod.nif",  is renaming your farmhouse02glow_lod_0.nif to "farmhouse02alt_mjbk_falkreath_glow_lod_0.nif" correct or wrong or?

 

2. utilise unique glow meshes for windows - these are the morthal windows which have a different glow shape. Do i just change the paths in your glow lod nifs or ?

 

3. create the mini-atlas for this solitude farmhouse building . I grabbed  (meshes/lod/solitude/sfarmhouse03_lod.nif) lod mesh from skyrim meshes.bsa. I couldnt see any existing texgen rules in DynDOLOD_TES5_TexGen_noalpha_skyrimesm.txt but I might have missed it. I tried to guess a setup using the farmhouse rules but it didnt work out.

 

Thanks

Edited by kojak747

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Making good progress, but I'm not sure how to...

 

1. correctly name glow lod windows. e.g. If my lod.nif is called "farmhouse02alt_mjbk_falkreath_lod.nif",  is renaming your farmhouse02glow_lod_0.nif to "farmhouse02alt_mjbk_falkreath_glow_lod_0.nif" correct or wrong or?

 

2. utilise unique glow meshes for windows - these are the morthal windows which have a different glow shape. Do i just change the paths in your glow lod nifs or ?

 

3. create the mini-atlas for this solitude farmhouse building . I grabbed  (meshes/lod/solitude/sfarmhouse03_lod.nif) lod mesh from skyrim meshes.bsa. I couldnt see any existing texgen rules in DynDOLOD_TES5_TexGen_noalpha_skyrimesm.txt but I might have missed it. I tried to guess a setup using the farmhouse rules but it didnt work out.

 

Thanks

1. there is a _ too much. Just add glow_lod_0.nif to the full name, so the glow LOD becomes farmhouse02alt_mjbk_falkreathglow_lod_0.nif

 

2, I believe the mesh data itself is the same between the windows and the difference is just the textures? Then just update the texture paths in my existing glow_lod and copy to the new name.

If you have any models with changed meshes/vertices just let me know.

 

3. The mini atlas LOD textures for Solitude/Whiterun/Markarth/Riften and Windhelm are pre-rendered and can not be copied together from single source textures with the simple methods build into xEdit/TexGen rules.

If possible try to edit the source textures in an image program, or create your own with the help of screenshotting the new model in nifskope like you would for billboards.

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Ok, no idea what I did, but I reinstalled stuff, changed stuff around, basically threatened it with a hammer then coaxed it with blackjack and hookers and I cant believe I'm actually saying this but...IT WORKED!!! LOOK

 

next...3D snow lod meshes.

 

Thanks for all your help so far :)

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I agree, that the hammer is the most important tool for IT and other computer related problems.

 

Looks great. Good job making the pre-rendered textures for the solitude farmhouses, too.

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Finished!

 

That's custom LOD with new 3d snow lod meshes up and running, for ETaC v14 Dawnstar, Winterhold, Morthal and Falkreath.

 

Thankyou so much for assisting with me all of this, it looks flipping marvellous and makes a big difference.

 

Will PM you the stuff shortly.

 

Cheers :)

 

Bill

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