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Luther Patenge

Fallout 3 Tutorial: You Look Familiar - Altering NPC Appearance

Created by Luther Patenge and Immanuel Alam

In this tutorial we will show you how to alter the appearance and inventory of existing NPCs. This can be useful for changing the mood of a place or may become necessary in order to fit a change in dialogue.

Now that we know how to alter weaponry let’s look at one of the other fun introductory ways to change the game: altering the appearance of Non-Player Characters, also known as NPCs.

If you would like to know about basic set up for a mod on the GECK please see our first tutorial on modifying weapons for more information.

Before we begin there are two things that you should know about changing character appearances. First is that if you rapidly click through the tabs on the NPC window, you can cause the GECK editor to crash, so be patient. This appears to be linked to the vast amount of resources the GECK chews up so faster machines are less likely to do this. Second is that when you enter the game to see your changes, understand that some NPC data is cached in the save games. If you have saved in the same zone as the NPC you are changing it will be necessary to leave the zone and come back to see your changes, I advise just ducking into a building and ducking out.

1. Finding an NPC to modify
The NPCs can be found in the object browser under Actors > NPC. Note that there are automatically generated sub-categories. This appears throughout the object browser and can be used to find objects faster.

Some NPCs have their appearance altered through scripting. This is beyond the scope of this introductory tutorial, so for now select an NPC that does not change throughout the game. Lucas Simms (‘LucasSimms’ in the editor) is a good example. Select the NPC and either double-click or right click > Edit.

2. Changing facial appearance
There are many options to change in the NPC window but for now we will concern ourselves with appearance and inventory related ones only. Some of the tabs we mention may not show up initially, there are two arrows to the right of the tabs that allow you to scroll back and forth to find more tabs. Also, down at the bottom of the NPC window there are two check boxes labeled full and head. Check one of these to see in a preview of what your NPC looks like in the right of the window. If you want to view the NPC from a different angle, click and drag with the left mouse button. Sometimes your changes will only be visible when you hit the ‘apply’ button.

First, under the ‘Traits’ tab (the one that first appears) you can set the race of the character. Let’s make Lucas a Ghoul for comic effect.

Facial features are set on three tabs:
Face – general properties, hair color
Face Advanced – specific sizes of features
Head Parts – ‘Add-ons’ such as beards and glasses

On entering one of these tabs you may receive a warning about missing files. It is ok to select ‘Yes to all’.

Let’s give our chosen Lucas bright red hair by going to the ‘Face’ tab and clicking ‘Select Color’. Note that the preview picture does not update until you either click ‘Apply’ or change tab.

Let’s give Lucas a very wide jaw. Go to the ‘Face Advanced’ tab, select ‘Jaw – wide / thin’ from the list, and set the slider all the way to the top. Note that the preview here changes as soon as you release the slider. There are many values to play around with here, some more obvious than others.

Let’s give Lucas some new hair. Go to the ‘Head Parts’ tab. You can select from the ‘Hair’ dropdown list the option ‘HairWavyGhoul’ to give Lucas some fantastic hair. For other options you can go to the list below the dropdowns. In the list, remove any existing options by right clicking > Delete. Add new features by right clicking > New and selecting an item of your choice. Note that the preview here does not update until you change tabs.

3. Changing outfits, weaponry, and inventory
These things are managed under the ‘Inventory’ tab. Characters will equip items from the list here automatically, selecting the most powerful item first if there are multiple items that fill the same slots. The GECK will crash if you do not turn the previewing off, so be sure to uncheck that box before selecting this tab.

Let’s change Lucas’s outfit by selecting it from the list and changing the ‘Object’ drop-down to something such as ‘OutfitPrewarCasualwear’. We can also give them an extra big gun by right clicking > New and setting the item to something such as ‘WithAmmoGatlingLaserEnclave.”

Start the game, go to Megaton and find Lucas, and have fun seeing your hopefully humorous changes! If his face looks different but not his outfit it’s because they were cached in your saved game. Try changing zones and coming back to him.

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