DarkRider

CS Basics: Lesson #2

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CS Basics Lesson #2: Refining Interiors

 

CS.jpg

 

 

Welcome Back, Student!

 

Hopefully by now you have dutifully completed the Introduction as well as Lesson #1 and by completed I mean, you have finished your homework assignments. If you haven't done the earlier assignments and are a novice, do take the time to start from the beginning or you will get lost. In this lesson we will be learning how to clutter an interior using havocked items such as dishes, adding custom containers, and also the basics of pathgriding.

 

If you finished the homework, remember to go in game and post a screenshot in the Lesson #1 thread so you can get credit for your work and the points you need to get your CS Medal.

 

Time to cue up the CS if you haven't done so already do that now, we'll wait.

 

Good, now we're ready to get back to work on the tutorial house. Just like before when we started our mod, we're going to load the Oblivion.esm again, only this time, we're going to add a step. Go to File>Data, or click the Data folder icon on the toolbar. When you check the box next to Oblivion.esm, you also want to check the box next to our Tutorial House mod. With the house mod highlighted click 'Active File' to make our Tutorial mod the active file we're going to edit.

 

18.jpg

 

This is an important step when you are returning to work on a mod you've already started. By making it the active file, the CS knows to include any work you do now in that same .esp. Otherwise, the CS will save your new changes as a second mod! :D We don't want to create a bunch of half mods that need one another to play, that would be a real headache so make sure you set your file as the active file when you load it up each time.

 

:wave:Smarty Says: If you check you mod, but forget to set the Active file, the CS will remind you so always pay attention to the messages the CS gives you!

 

Once the CS has loaded your mod, let's find our interior cell in the cell view window and load it in the render window by double clicking on it in the list; if you were paying attention to our naming conventions, you'll find it at the top of the list.

 

19.jpg

 

When the cell loads you'll see your house interior floating in that now familiar gray void. Click on it once and tap C to swing your camera in alongside your house interior, then zoom in with your mouse wheel until you are close enough to work, then tap A to turn on your work light.

 

Part I: Cluttering an Interior

 

Let's start by setting the table!

 

Click on the table you placed during your homework and tap C to swing alongside it, and then rotate your camera a bit so you have a good view of the table. Time to return to the Object Window, only this time we're not going to search for items under World Objects, we want to look at the Items category; just click the + sign next to items to expand the tree. You see a number of branches under the Items category, so let's take a minute to explore what these categories contain.

 

 

Quote
  • Ammo: contains all the various arrows that can be placed for collection by players
     
  • Apparatus: contains all alchemy equipment that can be placed on alchemist tables etc
     
  • Armor: contains all the various armors for the game
     
  • Book: contains all books, notes, and scrolls
     
  • Clothing: contains all clothing, including enchanted pieces
     
  • Ingredient: contains all plant ingredients, not plants, but the bits of plants players can harvest
     
  • Key: contains all keys for the game
     
  • Leveled Item: contains leveled items, these items cannot be placed in the render window
     
  • Misc Item: contains all havocked items like dishes, tools, and miscellaneous clutter like crystal balls
     
  • Sigil Stone: contains the sigil stones used as Oblivion keys
     
  • Soul Gem: contains all soul gems, filled and not, including black soul gems
     
  • Weapon: contains all blade, blunt, staff and bow weapons

 

 

For setting our table we want to start by clicking the Misc Items category. When the list is compiled in the list pane, scroll through and find MiddlePlateTan01, then drag it into the render window. One of the most common mistakes made when handling havocked items like this for the first time, is placing the item too high, make sure you get your dish above your table and tap F to set it level with the table.

 

20.jpg

 

When that's done, let's grab a matching cup, MiddleCupTan01. If you notice, we've been using middle class statics and objects. The Bethesda developers used naming conventions too, but just like modders that are varied depending on the dev who created them. In general middle class items start with 'middle' 'MiddleClass' or 'MC'

 

:smarty:Smarty Says: By paying attention to naming conventions used by developers who can better estimate where the things you want will be located. Don't get discouraged if you can't find something you want right away, with practice you will learn where things are.

 

Now let's add some eating utensils! Find MiddleClassPewterFork01 and MiddleClassPewterknife01 and add them to the table with our plate and cup. Your utensils may be facing the wrong direction and need to be rotated, to do this click on the item you want to rotate, then hold your right mouse button and move your mouse to start rotating it. You may need to click and rotate a couple times to get it rotated all the way around.

 

Once you have a place setting, we're going to save some time using duplication. Duplicating things is a modders shortcut. It saves you the trouble of hunting for things and drag/drop placing things repeatedly. To duplicate your place setting start by clicking on your plate. Then hold ctrl and click your cup fork and knife so that all the items are highlighted.

 

21.jpg

 

Once highlighted, click ctrl+d to duplicate the items. Your cursor will become a cross, indicating you can move the items you're hovered over. Left click and drag the duplicate set over to a new place at the table.

 

22.jpg

 

:down:Smarty Says: Sometimes when you duplicate and item your cursor doesn't turn into the move symbol. To move your duplicates, deselect by clicking a neutral item like the table, the click on your plate, hold ctrl and click on each of your items to reselect the duplicated place setting. Your cursor should change then.

 

Not only can you duplicate and move a whole place setting, you can also rotate a whole place setting. To try this, duplicate your place setting again, move it away from the setting you copied, then with all the pieces still highlighted, hold your right mouse button and move your mouse to rotate it into the position you need for the other side of the table.

 

Whatever the shape of your table you should now have 3 place settings.

 

23.jpg

 

Now to add a bit of food!

 

Click on the Ingredient category in the object window to load your ingredients. Find Breadloaf in the list and drag it into the render window to place on your table. Make sure you rotate your camera to check that your table settings are all level with the table and not floating!

 

Save!

 

Let's leave the table for now, and go to the bookcase placed in your house. If you don't have a bookcase, go to WorldObjects>Static and find MiddleBookshelf04 and add it to your house now. When you have a bookcase ready, click on it, tap C, and zoom in a bit to get it close enough to work on. In the object window, go to Items>Misc Item and find FoldedCloth05 and place it on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. Then go to Items>Book and click book to load the books in the list. Find Book01CheapGuideAnvil and drag it into the window. Like with the fire, books are rarely at the right rotation, so double click on your book to open your reference box and change the rotation until it's in the right position for your bookshelf.

 

24.jpg

 

Save!

 

Cluttering a house is a lot of repetition; you will want to explore the Items tree for cluttering materials. However, clutter items like books and dishes are havocked, so they behave a little differently from static items. You want to keep two things in mind

 

 

  1. Havocked items cannot be placed too close to one another or they will fly out of place when loaded by the player. So leave some space between books and place settings, or food in bowls.
  2. The more small items added in one cell, the higher the impact on a player's frame rates. A house packed with loads of clutter may look pretty to your eye, but is not practical for playing since such homes can render a player's fps to crippling levels. Be creative, but frugal.

 

 

:clap:Smarty Says: Do not use the havoc sim button when placing havocked items. Havoc sim does not behave exactly the same as the in game havoc and can actually cause your havocked items to float unnaturally.

 

Part II: Custom Containers

 

Time to talk about containers! While a very important part of cluttering any scene, containers are the source of two of the most common beginner blunders. In the Object Window, go to World Object>Container and find PCChestClutterMiddleSame02 and drag it into the render window.

 

The PC at the start of a container's name means it's safe for players. You can avoid container mistake #1 by only using PC containers when you make player homes.

 

Most of the other containers are set to respawn after 3 days. These are great for placing in dungeons, or NPC homes, or stables. They are containers players can loot and in a few days, the loot respawns. In a player home though, a respawning chest is an error. A player will store their gear in the containers in their homes, and a respawning chest will respawn and make the player's stored gear disappear! :smarty:

 

Of course, modders like to create custom chests too, with specific goodies inside, like a glass sword. So let's create a custom chest. In the object window, double click on PCChestClutterMiddleSame02 to open its base edit box.

 

25.jpg

 

Now this is where container mistake #2 can be avoided, before you change anything else in the base edit box, change the ID name to aaDRTutorialCustomChest. Whenever you want change an item by changing its inventory, its sound fx, or anything, you want to start by changing the ID name. When the ID name is changed, click Ok.

 

A new box will open asking if you'd like to create a new form. Click Yes.

 

26.jpg

 

This will create a duplicate of that chest with your custom name as its ID. Let's look at our object window. Find the new container we just made in the list; should be at the top of the list. Before we move on, I want to take a moment to really impress the importance of changing IDs on you. Right click on our new chest in the list and choose UseInfo. A use report window will open and you will see this chest hasn't been used anywhere yet. Click Ok to close the use report and go back to PCChestClutterMiddleSame02 in the list.

 

Right click on it and choose use info. You will see this vanilla chest is used once in our tutorial house but also once in the Bruma house. If you change a vanilla chest, like adding a full suit or Imperial armor, you won't just change the one in your house; you'll ALSO change the Bruma house version too. Some containers have HUNDREDS of uses; imagine if they all had a suit of Imperial Armor inside! :smarty:

 

With custom containers, where you are adding a specific item for collection, change IDs, create New Form, THEN make your custom changes. Never ever change a generic vanilla container for your treasures.

 

Now that we've covered the two container errors, let's double click on our custom container in the object window to open its base edit box. The list pane on the right shows what is inside the chest, which in this case are a couple leveled items. Click on each, and tap your delete key to delete those.

 

Then in the object window, go to Weapon and scroll down to WeapGlassLongsword. Drag it from the object window and drop it in the list pane for your chest. Make sure the respawn flag in unchecked and click Ok to save your changes. Then drag your custom chest into your house and place it.

 

27.jpg

 

Part III: Pathgrids

 

Pathgrids tell NPCs where it is safe to stand and walk in any given cell. There are pathgrids in exteriors and interiors. Some modders think that it's okay to leave pathing out, but that's just lazy modding. A proper cell has pathing and so we're going to cover the basics of pathing so you can mod properly right from the start! :clap:

 

Start by clicking the pathgrid button on the toolbar

 

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Starting at the door right click on the floor in front of the door to place your first node; a red node will appear. Hold ctrl and right click a bit further into the room and another red node will appear joined to the first by a yellow path. The green outline around the node indicates that is the active node. Tap the T key to swing your camera to the overhead view, and zoom in a bit so you can see the pathgrid you are creating.

 

29.jpg

 

Holding ctrl creates the yellow paths between nodes. A node tells an NPC 'it's okay to stand here' so you want your nodes to be clear of any furniture. The path tells an NPC 'It's okay to follow this path to the next node, so you don't want your paths to cut through corners, furniture, or any obstacles.

 

Ideally you want to create as many paths as possible, so you want to create a web of paths joined by nodes. So you can click on a node to make it active, the hold ctrl and click another node to make a path between them.

 

Keep working through to plot out a grid of nodes so that your entire house is mapped out for NPCs to navigate. Even in a player home it's important to have pathing for companion animals and companion NPCs.

 

30.jpg

 

Once you're done, go ahead and toggle the pathgrid button off, and Save!

 

This concludes Lesson #2! You should now know how to place clutter, create custom chests, and create a basic pathgrid in an interior. Well done! We'll discuss more about pathgrids in lesson #3, where we will finally be exploring the exterior game world and will be creating an exterior to match our interior. Be sure to do your homework so you can earn the points for this lesson and so you are prepared for the next Lesson.

 

Homework:

This assignment is worth 15pts, the extra credit is worth 5pts. For this homework you are going to finish the interior work by adding more clutter to make your house homey!

 

 

Quote

Main Assignment

  • Add a 4th place setting to your dining table.
  • Add the rest of the Cheap City Guides to your bookshelf
  • Add some apparatus pieces to your home decor
  • Finish cluttering your interior using materials found in Misc Items, Book, Clothing, Statics, and Apparatus

 

 

Extra Credit:

  • Add food from Ingredient and wine from Magic>Potions
  • Add a FarmHouseDooro1 from WorldObjects>Door (We will link doors in Lesson #3)
  • Add another custom container by changing a container ID, then editing the contents.

 

 

In Lesson #3, we'll be venturing into the exterior and exploring exterior pathgrids, basic landscaping, editing exterior cells, cluttering exteriors, and linking doors. Keep studying hard, students, and practice, practice, practice! :cookie4u:

 

Ready to move on? Head to Lesson #3: Editing Exteriors

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Additional Pathgrid Instruction:

Pathgrids can be very challenging for a new modder, it's one of the more seemingly abstract modding concepts until you understand how it works and what it does. It tends to be a stumbling block for many modders and as a result, some modders just flat out refuse to add pathgrids to their mods. Unfortunate for them, because pathgrids are a very important part of how the characters and creatures of the Oblivion world interact with your structures. Do not give up on this important element of modding. To help you, here is some additional instruction on using the keyboard+mouse combinations to place pathgrids properly. :smarty:

(This is not a required section of this lesson, there is no homework and practicing these techniques will not result in additional points.)

Linking Pathgrids:

The house is small, so if you have been having trouble with pathing, go ahead and delete your old pathing to start fresh.

To begin, let's RIGHTmouse click in the cell to add a single node in the cell like this:

Pic01.jpg

You'll notice the node has the green "active" indicator, that's because it's the only node and the most recent one placed. Only one node should be active at once (bad things happen when you activate multiple nodes at once :cookie4u:) If a node is ACTIVE that means you can link other nodes to it. The trick is to master the key+mouse combinations needed to get the result you want.

With this first node activate, HOLD the ctrl key on your keyboard and RIGHTmouse click a bit above it to place a second node. By holding ctrl the new node is automatically linked to the first.

Pic02.jpg

If you had released ctrl, and done the same thing you would have placed a new UNLINKED node instead. That's what we want to do next, leave the ctrl key unpressed and RIGHTmouse click to the left of those two nodes and place a new unlinked node. Place another unlinked node to finish the square.

Pic03.jpg

This is where it might get confusing. What you want to do is activate one of the unlinked nodes, let's start with the lower left hand node. LEFTmouse click on that guy once to activate him. Then HOLD ctrl. Now that he is active and you are holding ctrl, one at a time, LEFTmouse click on the other three nodes to link him to all three.

Pic04.jpg

As a note here, this works the same way in reverse. If you have an active node and you hold ctrl and LEFTmouse click a node it is linked to they will become unlinked.

Now that you have those three new connections, release the ctrl key and LEFTmouse click on the node in the upper left to make that one the active node. HOLD ctrl and LEFTmouseclick the nodes it is not linked to to finish the set.

Pic05.jpg

Practice makes perfect so if you are struggling with this technique, practice creating this grid form a few more times. :wave:

Excessive Pathing:

Another common stumbling block for new modders is excessive paths and linking. The nodes need not cover every inch of open floor space and you don't need every node to be attached to every other node. It's too much for your NPCs to process easily. If you have 3 nodes, A node, B node, and C node and you connect A to B and B to C, there's no reason to connect A to C.

In this shot you can see three nodes linked properly:

LinkedPath.jpg

Then in this shot you can see link A to C is a bit excessive, just not needed:

ExtraPath.jpg

You should avoid paths (yellow lines) going THROUGH furniture as well. When making a path, imagine the npc is a train and you are making a track with your pathgrid. They will not get off the track to go around chairs and objects they will just walk on the track, running into the obstruction endlessly.

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Good work Sugar! Did you make a custom container?

Also, you have your light radiuses turned on, which can make it difficult to see.

RadiusOn.jpg

These radiuses are just a visual cue if you need to see how your lights overlap. To turn them off, tap the L key.

RadiusOff.jpg

Your pathing looks pretty good, but you do have a bit of an excess spot. If you have 3 nodes, A node, B node, and C node and you connect A to B and B to C, there's no reason to connect A to C.

In this shot you can see three nodes linked properly:

LinkedPath.jpg

Then in this shot you can see link A to C is a bit excessive, just not needed:

ExtraPath.jpg

You also have some paths (yellow lines) going THROUGH furniture. When making a path, imagine the npc is a train and you are making a track with your pathgrid. They will not get off the track to go around chairs and objects they will just walk on the track, running into the obstruction endlessly. Just delete those yellow lines that are through furniture by clicking one of the two nodes of that line, hold ctrl and click the other node and they will be unjoined.

By the screenshot of your house it looks as though your door may be backwards. The door face should face into the house! Just need to rotate it! :thumbsup:

Rotate your door, clean up your pathing and show a screen of your custom container in the object window list to get your 5 extra credit pts!

Keep on going, you're doing just fine! :cookie:

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Onwards and upwards.

Photo 1, the table is set for dinner, old bread is drying out for next week, and beverages are out on display.

Photo 2, the small library, containing the requested books and apparatuses, as well as the chest housing the sword. The original large bookshelf from before has been removed to save space and reduce clutter.

Photo 3, Clothing has been set out for the next day, and the door to the outside world is in place.

Photo 4, demonstrating the lighting. Brighter on the dining side, dimmer on the living side. A slightly lower ambient light level than recommended in lesson 1 was selected to more properly simulate light pollution.

Photo 5, the pathgrid.

Edited by ThomasKaira
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Very good Thomas, I really like the extra thought you put behind your CS work, shows creativity. Full marks, you may move on when ready :clap:

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Thomas, looking closer at your screens on my pc it appears you are using the wrong floorplan. Please swap in FarmhouseInterior02 and adjust your placements and pathing to suit. Should only take minor adjustments in such a small space. :yes:

Apologies for not catching it sooner, in the midst of move here and monitoring the classroom primarily from my phone so looks a bit different. :smug:

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Excellent Thomas, quick too, you're on the right track now. :)

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Looks very good Flash, full marks. I think you are ready for Lesson #3 :clap:

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Looks very good Flash, full marks. I think you are ready for Lesson #3 :clap:

Yay! I shall start on Lesson 3 tomorrow!

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Looks pretty good Max, pathing is a bit excessive. You don't need that many nodes in such a small space. Also a few of your nodes are partway under containers, that will cause your NPCs to walk into those containers trying to stand there. The grid itself is very nicely formed, but try to reduce the number of nodes and move those few out from under things. :yes:

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Looks pretty good Max, pathing is a bit excessive. You don't need that many nodes in such a small space. Also a few of your nodes are partway under containers, that will cause your NPCs to walk into those containers trying to stand there. The grid itself is very nicely formed, but try to reduce the number of nodes and move those few out from under things. :yes:

Ok this should do it

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff424/maxtg9/Game%20Images/Pathgridsrevised.jpg (Pathgrids revised)

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Much MUCH better Max, full marks, you may move on :clap:

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Excellent job WillieSea and Son! :good: You can head to Lesson #3 at your ready, points awarded. :D

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Looks very cozy Darth well done, just need a pathgrid shot to earn full credit and move ahead. If you can't take screens in the CS, you can go in game, use the console command tcl and move your character outside and above your house. Then use the command tpg to toggle pathgrids on in game to take an in game shot :yes:

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sorry thought i posted pathgrid here last night

gallery_10804_267_12510.jpg

Edited by Darthkenobi
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Not a bad start Darth, but there are some redundant connections and sort of wild pathing. The section by the bed is a good grid, try adjusting the rest of your grids to be as clean. Have another look at the example pics and try to match. :thumbup:

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It's better in that you got rid of all of the redundant connections but now your grid is very bare. Try adding a couple more nodes, especially in the lower right corner where there doesn't appear to be anything and in the left center where there's a lot of space. Getting very close, don't be discouraged, learning to see and form grids can be challenging for some. :thumbup:

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