Tutorial #1: Cloning

Cloning, attaching mesh pieces to bones and removing phyique data.

OK, for this excercise we will take Grenadiers superb FV_dracona_lsh_horns mesh and give her four horns. What’s more, we are going to put the extra horns at the back of her head, and make sure they don’t float about.

First make a complete copy of the fv_Dracona_lsh_horns directory and name it something unique. fv_Dracona_test say. Open up the mesh in NIFscope. Set the texture directory so that she skins. Watch the texture selection window. It allows selection of multiple directories and is a little sensitive. It has the habit of selecting multiple directories if you aren’t careful. If it does, just unselect the unneeded ones.

Open up the scene root, NI node 0, and find the horns node. Left click on it, and then right click. Select block, copy branch from the menu.

I’l discuss the intuitive action here. DON’T do this. It seems obvious that, pasting a copy of the branch on the scene root will give you four horns, and it will. You won’t see them till you adjust their position, but they will be in there. If you just want to move the extra horns a little, this technique is acceptable. The horns still have physique information and will move a little, especially on radical moves, but it won’t notice in game and only if you look closely in the character tool. We want to move the horns close to the back of her head. This will look shoddy in the charcter tool on radical moves, as the horns detach and float about.

So, we paste the horns onto a bone. Open up the block view at:

bip01, bip01 footsteps,bip01 pelvis,bip01 spine,bip01 spine1,bip01 neck,bip01 head

select THIS node (bip01 head), right click and block,paste branch.
The horns will appear somwhere, possible near the head. Don’t worry about this because you aren’t done yet. The horns have physique information that now gets in the way. You won’t believe how much those horns will move if you keep it. You need to dispose of it. But first rename the horns. double click on the new horns value ‘horns‘ and change it to read ‘horns2‘. This renaming is important. Click to open up all horns2 child nodes. See the NIskininstance node and its children? They are the source of all sorts of anguish if you leave them there. Click on the NIskininstance node, right click and select block,remove branch. Poof!

After all this, those horns could be anywhere. You need to bring them back. One good trick is to find another object on the head, like a tiara, click on hero01_tiara, right click and select transform,edit. Then make a note of all the values for coordinates. Then right click on the horns2 node, select transform,edit and put those values in. That’ll get the horns close. Don’t be surprised if they are upside down or at 90 degrees. Just adjust the values for x,y,z,pitch,roll and yaw until the horns are embedded in her skull at the desired location.

Watch out for the edit window. It’s a little touchy. It doesn’t seem to like you editing more than one digit at once. Writing the desired values in notepad and then pasting them over the current values often works well.

That’s it. Save your work, open up the character tool and make her cavort about. The horns should not move at all, even with fall forward/fall back, which tend to be the bane of radically hexed meshes.

Important note: The ‘de-physique and graft to bone’ technique detailed here works well in Freedom Force. It hasn’t been tested yet with FF3R meshes or FF meshes converted to FF, but it is supected that it may have poor results. Caveat emptor!