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DarkRider

Introduction: Construction Set Basics

 

 

CS Basics: Introduction to the Construction Set

 

CS.jpg

 

 

Introduction:

 

Welcome to Construction Set Basics!

 

If you've found your way here then you have likely decided to begin your journey into the wonderful world of modding for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion! Congratulations! If you are a fan of the Elder Scrolls series you will find no greater joy than creating your own content and experiencing it in your game the way you envisioned it! :D

 

By now you will certainly have lots of grand ideas about all the things you'd like to create, and with some careful study of the tutorials available here on TESA you will soon achieve those goals. However, jot them down and set them aside for now! The first thing you want to do is spend some time studying the tutorials and learning how to mod, rather than stumbling through your mod idea one tutorial at a time. If you start with your ideas first the margin for error is greater and you may find yourself having to fix and even redo things later when you learn new skills. So for now, let's focus on learning the some CS Basics! :cookie4u:

 

:wave:Smarty Says: Hi! I'm Smarty, I know everything there is to know about modding for the Elder Scrolls and I will follow you along your course of study in all the classes on TESA. I pop up in some of the strangest places but always have useful tips and reminders for you, so keep your eyes open for me!

 

What You Need:

 

 

 

 

Terms to Know:

 

CS- A shorthand term for Construction Set

 

TES- Not to be confused with CS, TES stands for The Elder Scrolls

 

.esp- A common file extension for mod files or Elder Scrolls Plug-ins

 

.esm- Another common file extension for Elder Scrolls Master files

 

OBSE- Oblivion Script Extender, an extension for Oblivion code scripting abilities.

 

About OBSE: Many modders recommend OBSE when modding for the extra scripting abilities it can add to a project, some situations may actually require OBSE to create, but to start modding with OBSE can prove difficult for some modders. Since it's best to learn how to walk before you run, for now we will begin with standard Oblivion scripting and will discuss the benefits of OBSE in later lessons.

 

Part I: Installing the Construction Set

 

Once you download the CS Installer from the link provided it's time to install. These steps will walk you through painlessly!

 

Step 1: Running the executable

The CS comes as a .exe file, meaning it's an executable and will install almost automatically. Just download it to your desktop and click on the icon to run it. You only need the Installer not the patch.

 

Step 2: Accepting the Disclosure

It's always important to have a read of these important agreements, after all they are legal contracts and when you choose "I Agree" you are binding yourself to that contract. Seems like no big deal, but if you accidentally break the terms on the contract because you didn't read it, you could be in some trouble, so read it over and click "I Agree".

 

Step 3: Finishing the Install

The CS executable will run automatically from there, detecting your Oblivion install, which needs to be complete before you install the CS. Once it's finished, click finish and the CS icon will appear on your desktop.

 

:smarty:Smarty Says: Where have you installed Oblivion, Vista and Win7 Users? When you install Oblivion the installer will ask you to choose the folder it will install to, and will provide you a default suggestion in C:\ProgramFiles\BethesdaSoftworks You do not want to install to this default location if you are running Vista or Win7. Instead, use your keyboard to omit ProgramFiles giving you the location C:\BethesdaSoftworks\Oblivion instead. Installing to Program Files on Vista or Win7 is one of the leading causes for missing mods!

 

Part II: Anatomy of the Construction Set

 

Now that you have the CS installed it's time to load up the Oblivion master file (Oblivion.esm) and get familiar with the primary tool of the modding trade. Regardless of what you'd like to do in the modding world, sooner or later you will need the CS to make it happen, so let's get started!

 

Click the CS icon on your desktop to start the program. When the CS opens you will have a total of 4 windows, 3 smaller ones nestled inside the main window. On the main window click File>Data

 

00-1.jpg

 

A new window will open, on it, check the box beside the Oblivion.esm, and ONLY this box. Then click Ok.

 

01-1.jpg

 

The CS will then load the Oblivion.esm. This may take several minutes depending on your rig, so be patient. But NEVER EVER EVER click on anything on the CS while it's loading anything - ever. The CS doesn't like to be bothered while it's thinking and clicking on it impatiently can make if freeze, crash, or both, so just give it the time.

 

Once the Oblivion.esm is loaded, you'll see the little windows have now become filled with interesting bits of data. Go ahead and make the main window full screen by clicking the full screen icon in the corner. Once that's done, you can reposition the other windows to suit your taste for your workspace.

 

This is one configuration, you can move them around until you find the configuration that suits you:

 

02-1.jpg

 

Okay so now what are all these windows for?

 

This window is called the Object Window

 

03-1.jpg

 

The object window contains all objects that can be used in creating mods, including static objects, clothing, armor, architecture, creatures, NPCs, and loads more. Most things in this window can be added to the game by simply dragging and dropping them into the Render window.

 

This window is called the Cell View Window

 

04-1.jpg

 

The cell view window contains a list of all the cells in game, including interior and exterior cells. It also contains cells for all the various worldspaces available in the game. A cell is a canvas to build game content on. In the exterior world cells are placed side by side in a grid fashion. In the interior, a cell is a nebulous 3D space to build home/dungeon/castle interiors.

 

This window is called the Render Window

 

05-1.jpg

 

The render window allows you to visually navigate the Oblivion game world. By dragging objects into the render window you can add things to the game world and make mods! The render window loads cells selected in the cell window.

This window is the Main Window

 

06-1.jpg

 

The main window not only surrounds the other three windows, it also contains a number of valuable shortcuts and tools. Examine the image above carefully for the coordinating numbers for the explanations below on what these tools are!

 

 

Quote

1. Open File: A shortcut for Data>File

 

2. Save: Saves the active mod

 

3. Preference: Allows you to alter camera speed, rotation speed, etc

 

4. Undo: Undoes the last action (ctrl+z is the keyboard shortcut for undo)

 

5. Redo: Redoes the last undone action (ctrl+y is the keyboard shortcut for redo)

 

6. Snap to Grid: When activated snaps objects to the invisible cell grid

 

7. Snap to Angle: When activated snaps objects to a specific angle

 

8. Worldspace: Allows you to select a worldspace to view

 

9. Landscape: Turns on the landscaping tool (keyboard shortcut H to open)

 

10. Pathgrid: Turn on the pathgrid tool. when active you can place and change pathgrid nodes, but you cannot move any static objects in the render window.

 

11. Havoc Sim: When turned on, it will simulate the game's havoc so will cause fires to burn and objects to fall in the Render Window.

 

12. Worklight: Toggles the worklight on/off in the Render Window (keyboard shortcut A)

 

13. Sky: Renders the sky in the exterior and in interiors where the lighting is set to behave like an exterior, can give you a better idea of how the scene will look in game, but can lag your rig so it's best left off most of the time.

 

14. Leaves: When on, renders leaves on the trees in the render window. When turned off, trees will appear bare in the CS, but in game the leaves will render. Turning them off is just to conserve resources.

 

15. Questbuilder: Opens the questbuilding tool. The Questbuilder is used to create quests and also to add dialogue to custom characters.

 

16. Filtered Dialogue: Opens the filtered dialogue feature that allows you to see what dialogue each character speaks. It can be useful for tracking down dialogue your NPCs are saying. Not used for creating dialogue.

 

17. Script Maker: This opens the script notepad where you can view existing scripts and create your own. (See our Scripting Class for information on creating scripts)

 

18-24. Main Menu: These categories contain several more shortcuts to the various tools in the CS, many the same as what we've already reviewed; the most commonly used ones we've already explored on the tool bar. But these will come into play in later lessons.

 

 

This concludes the basic introduction to the Oblivion Construction Set. You should now have the CS installed, have a workspace configuration that works best for you, and should have a good basic knowledge of where everything is in the CS. Well done! :clap:

 

If you have questions on what we've covered so far, post them here in the General Questions thread, or start a new topic!

 

If you're ready to move on, then head to CS Basics Lesson #1: Rendering Oblivion

 

Make sure you read "About the CS Basics Class" so you know what's expected of you! :down:

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:cookie4u: About the CS Basics Class :wave:

Oblivion2009-04-1422-29-29-38.jpg

Description:

The CS Basics class has been designed to give beginner modders a solid understanding of common and basic construction set functions needed for creating mods for Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The class does not cover every subject, such as scripts and NPCs, as those are covered in other classes.

Rules:

CS Basics Students are expected to adhere to the general rules for Enclave Decorum. Be sure to read through them before posting in this class. Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse for breaking them, so have a read and you'll be set to go.

Homework:

By Lesson #1 homework is introduced. The point of the homework assignments is to give students an opportunity to practice what they are learning while still being guided by the class. Doing the homework is optional for casual learners, but necessary if you want to earn your CS Basics medal.

Extra Credit:

Extra credit is just that, extra, doing some of these will be necessary to earn a total of 100 points, but you can pick and choose what you do to make the grade.

Credit Challenges:

Credit challenges are small tasks worth points but offering little guidance. This enables students to boost their point count while expanding on their skill set and gaining some confidence for working without guidance.

Final Exam:

The final exam offers one of the best opportunities to earn points as it's worth a total of 30 possible points. Finishing the exam in a cell of your choosing and releasing will earn you an additional forum medal.

Points:

In the class, you are required to achieve at least 100pts in order to receive the CS Basics Medal. There are more points possible however and doing all of the homework and all of the credit challenges will boost your skill set and your confidence.

About Advanced Students:

Some of you may be more advanced but still want to earn a CS Basics Medal by doing the assignments. Regardless of your skill set, if you do the homework assigned in step with the class you can certainly earn a medal. However, with advanced skills comes the temptation to show off a bit and add in resources and other custom touches like different interiors or locations. Screenshots of your work will only confuse and invalidate the other students who are just learning, so such images will be nixed and you won't get credit for your work toward a CS Medal. If you want to do the work, you must do the assignment within the outlined spirit of the class.

:smarty: Smarty Says: Once the class is completed and points are tallied everyone, beginner and advanced students alike, are welcome to add whatever they like to their creation to make it custom.

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the 3.2 patch that's right below the CS installer HERE.. download that as well?

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The object window contains all objects that can be used in creating mods, including static objects, clothing, armor, architecture, creatures, NPCs, and loads more. Most things in this window can be added to the game by simply dragging and dropping them into the Render window.

could you give me an example of a static object? :cookie4u:

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could you give me an example of a static object? :wave:

A static is an object that can't be moved by the player in game. This is explained in detail in Lesson #1, which I just posted, so keep going forward! :cookie4u:

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thank you for this, much appreciated.

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Rules:

CS Basics Students are expected to adhere to the general rules for Enclave Decorum. Be sure to read through them before posting in this class. Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse for breaking them, so have a read and you'll be set to go.

:)

Enclave Etiquette

  • Do not post in a classroom thread if you are not participating as student or professor. It clutters the thread and derails clear teaching.

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Hello all,

I'm just getting started here and just ran into a snag.

I have download and installed the TES construction Set v1.2.404 , which now resides in c:\program files (x86)\ Bethesda Software\Oblivion and is fully functional.

I have downloaded and ran the Oblivion v1.2.0416 Patch file as outlined above. When installing it I receive the following dialog; First - TES Construction Set Update - The TES Construction Set is about to be updated to version 1.2.404 (ok/Cancel) I click ok (naturally :yes: ). A box - Updating TES Construction Set ... pops up, basic progess box, the I get Patch Error box: Old File not found. However, a file of the same name was found. No update done since file contents do not match.

Can I assume that since it's telling me that it's updating to v1.2.404, which is what is installed that I don't need the patch?

Ek

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:down: Please note:

:smarty: Smarty Says: Where have you installed Oblivion, Vista and Win7 Users? When you install Oblivion the installer will ask you to choose the folder it will install to, and will provide you a default suggestion in C:\ProgramFiles\BethesdaSoftworks You do not want to install to this default location if you are running Vista or Win7. Instead, use your keyboard to omit ProgramFiles giving you the location C:\BethesdaSoftworks\Oblivion. Installing to Program Files on Vista or Win7 is one of the leading causes for missing mods!

This same rule applies for the CS, you don't want it in either of your program files folders. :no:

As for the patch, that's only needed if you are running an old 1.0 version of the game, because the old 1.0 game is incompatible with the 1.2 version of the CS. Odds are good by now you have acquired this patch, for example If you have Shivering Isles or are playing the GOTY version, you would have been patched to 1.2 already. Run your Oblivion game, and in the lower left hand corner of the main menu screen it will have your version number. If it's 1.2 you're good and don't need the patch. :good:

Happy modding! :clap:

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Thank you DarkRider. I can confirm that I'm indeed running v1.2 and don't need the patch. I have uninstalledd the game and *tear* removed my saved games just to have a clean slate to work with (no mod conflicts). I have Installed Oblivion to c:\games\Bethesda Software\Oblivion and the contruction set works prefectly and I'm continuing with Lesson #1, whhOO :thumbup: ...hmmm.... don't know if that's good or bad as I get sucked down into the black hole for modding ... :shrug:

Ek

Edited by Ekanar
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Once you're far enough down the modding black hole you won't mind it :lmao:

Happy Modding! :dance:

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Ummm... the link above that should show us where to get the CK seems to be outdated.  

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