Revamping Old Mods
Case in point: Unique Landscapes Brena River Ravine.
Initially brought to full release in April of 2009, it was one of my earlier projects. Before this, Faregyl Village was about all there was. Brena River had a lot of content already present in the mod when I took over. I had never done any major landscaping, nor had I molded content into such a large area before. There were a lot of things done with the mod just to bring it to completion. Things I could have done better in retrospect. So I've been taking time to go back over it and improve on things with stuff I've learned over the last 18 months.
By far the biggest feature and probably the signature for it in general is Suicide Falls. While it was an impressive site then, it was only impressive as long as you were up close. Step back far enough and you have a disgusting looking mish-mash of floating objects in the distance and a sizable chunk of the cliff face laying bare. It looks even worse if you aren't using RAEVWD to fill in part of that. There was also a major hodgepodge problem with rock types. A lot of different ones there that don't really fit in with the surroundings that well. Something that's obvious in the screenshot I've linked. Not to mention the seriously out of place chunk of rocks on the upper left side.
What I've done there is clean up all of the ugly rocks, create some clones of existing rocks and placed those into the falls. The large mass of rocks on the upper left has been replaced with another large cliff piece. A couple of Ayleid towers have been added at the top, to accent the fact that it was once part of the Ayleid structures here. All of these new additions to Suicide Falls have also been given proper VWD assets to go with them. So you can be standing down at the end of the ravine and look back to see most of the scene in one piece. Including the water itself. The result there is a much better visual experience, despite the VWD water being unable to flow.
The next big feature in the river are the rock walls on both sides of the larger dam. These were constructed entirely from a grab bag of different sized rocks that don't fit the environment. Even this was a scaled back version of the giant mass of rocks that existed before I built the second dam. I've always felt it looked hideous but at the time I didn't really know what else to do with it and didn't want to disturb things. Even worse is that none of it displays at distance, so the entire complex pops in rather suddenly as you approach, creating a very jarring experience.
Now that I've gotten much better at mastering the CS and all its ills, I've gone back to this area and replaced all the rocks with one type. This allows less rocks to be used, since many of the replacements can also be oversized without sacrificing visual appeal. The entire complex on both sides of the river will have far less polygons to render AND will fit in with the surrounding rock types you find scattered everywhere. Since the rocks being used also have a VWD mesh to go with them, you'll be able to see this set of waterfalls from a distance for the first time. It should also help cover up some of the gaping holes in the LOD landscape.
Fans of the mod might also note that there was a quest embedded in with the bandits who occupy the area. This quest was done entirely without using journal entries, which at the time seemed like a good idea. It worked well enough, but if you've paid attention to forum posts and file comments, it creates a great deal of confusion since there's no record of where you're at in the quest. Something Dwip warned me about back then, but hey. Some things you have to learn on your own before they sink in.
The quest has now been converted into a proper journaled system with actual stages, and even a couple of quest markers. No, I'm not going to give you one for every last thing because part of the quest expects you to have to think and to do some hunting around. But at least there won't be any question as to what you left off doing should you happen to leave the area and return later. There's also been some shoring up of inconsistencies in the quest.
The biggest menace to my earlier modding efforts though has to be grass. The shit's everywhere. Try as you might, getting rid of it usually ends up requiring scorched earth tactics to purge all grass producing textures from a cell. Let me tell you, there are tons of cells in this mod that were crawling with grass, and most of it was obscuring good scenery. I've gone in and used said scorched earth tactic now that I know it's the only way to be sure it's gone. So no more grass growing up through stone objects. While this happens IRL, it looks like crap in the game due to grass always swaying in the wind.
The end result of all this effort is going to be a much better mod for everyone. Hopefully when it's all completed people will appreciate the effort.
Anyone got one of their own to share? Or shall we just start the ball rolling toward 400 posts right now
RIP United States of America
July 1776 - November 2012.
The sword looks very good that way, Dwip. Understandable enough, indeed, that this mod's coming together as you make it so it may take awhile to reach fruition.
Now consider the next stage of that one. The original stirrup design was just a loop for the big toe.. even with modern stirrup designs it's very common for a rider who's fallen to be dragged because their foot got stuck in the stirrup.. conclusion, original stirrup design included very modern concepts of a breakaway stirrup effectively because it was fairly likely you're big toe would break and/or be literally ripped off by the weight of your falling body than you having to worry about major head trauma from being dragged...
Wow. Scary. Dwip's resorting to telling you "Dunno." with regard to Blender...
I chopped off the extra metal bit piece that's supposed to hold reins.
And wow, didn't even notice Dwip's latest sword pic. Is it brown or just a really bad pic?
And hey, plenty of stuff I don't know about Blender. Although I seem to be getting better despite myself. More on that later.
Found a bug in AFK_Frostcrag, too. Ring of Icy Transport crashes the game, apparently. Could've sworn I fixed that.
Hmm, should I be proud of you for having learned to master Blender even further or pity you for having spent so much time in it that you're getting better at it?
Sorry to hear that you've found a crash bug, hopefully you'll be able to squash it pretty quickly and relatively easily.
One day you'll be able to tame the wild beast that is blender.
So I decided to write up my weapon creation thing as a tutorial, going through every single damn step. I'm 40 images in and wondering if I shouldn't have tried to make it a video tutorial instead. This is going to be pretty epic length.
*jumps up and down in excitement*
I heard that speculation already, someone was practically giving a play-by-play of his speech at Quakecom over in the TESA shoutbox. I'll say here what I said there - I would hope any TES:V game has been in the works for more than 2 years now. That's pretty short in terms of game development nowadays. Otherwise, we won't be seeing it for another 2-3 years.
Funny thing. This was actually far, far easier than the sword to create, but took like 3x as long, because writing the tutorial was so time-consuming.
Don't count on it. Bethesda spent a lot of time on Fallout and its DLCs and may not have had the developer pool free to start on TES V right away. One would have hoped they'd be doing that right after Oblivion, but it's obvious as hell that they were working on FO3 instead for its 2008 release.
Plus Bethesda pumped out a bunch of non-TES stuff recently too which probably sucked things down a lot.
I'm not going to be very happy if Todd is talking about Brink rather than a new TES game.
Funny thing too, he's also got AI that quarantines him at home during the end-game even though he's nowhere in the affected area.
Not much content to that link, Samson. In fact, there's far more said in the comments that follow than the actual article. All it says is that word has it that it might be the next in the Elder Scrolls series and might be an MMO but no one's confirmed anything as of yet.
Anyway. For you lot what care about this, I written for you another tutorial. A vast, epic tutorial, so sweeping it deserves a soundtrack.
And yet it's still probably a bit too short. You'll see.
Part 1 | Part 2
I've neglected to say anything about scabbards, so expect a fairly brief addendum on those at some point, tacked on to Part 2.
I'm going to try hands on probably later tonight. Any chance you'll also write something up for swords/daggers? Maybe just part 1, as part 2 would be the same. I ask, because some tuts I've seen create them as all one piece with extrudes everywhere, and that's really where I get lost.
And yeah, I had to stop picturing everything SOMEWHERE. I do at least try to show the end of each step so you can see what I'm talking about. Probably not totally enough, but short of doing a 5 hour long video tutorial, it was what I could do.
Let me know if and when you have questions.
Otherwise, you're amazing, Dwip, with all these tutorials and such, nice job.
What would you consider more important to fix?
An AI pack with incorrect conditions, or a rock that's floating 20 units above where it should be?