This process basically involves taking existing 3D objects/meshes (NIF) and textures (DDS) that come with Oblivion, editing them, adding them to the game via the Construction Set and then posting them on the net.
You need the following tools:
- 7-Zip (this allows you to compress your mod files into a single compressed file)
- BSA Commander (this will allow you to open Oblivion - Textures - Compressed.bsa and extract DDS Textures)
- DDS Converter 2 (this will allow you to convert DDS files into PSD Photoshop files and then back to DDS format when done)
- NifSkope (this updates the texture paths in the NIF files)
- Oblivion Mod Manager
- A Graphics Editor (such as Paint.NET, GIMP, GIMPShop, Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop)
1. Determine a brief and descriptive name for your project. For this tutorial, we will use MyMod and pretend it is descriptive.
2. Determine a unique abbreviation of your project name to be used as the prefix to every ID you use in the plugin. Example: MyMod.
3. Install BSA Commander, DDS Converter 2 and NifSkope.
4. Use BSA Commander and extract Oblivion BSA files to someplace you have room.
- I installed my copy of Oblivion to E:\Games\Oblivion\
- I installed BSA Commander to E:\Games\Oblivion\BSA Commander\
- I extracted the Oblivion meshes bsa file to E:\Games\Oblivion\BSA Commander\out\meshes\
- I extracted the Oblivion texture bsa file to E:\Games\Oblivion\BSA Commander\out\textures\
Populate Your Project Folder
1. Pick a 3D object/mesh to modify. For example, let us say you want to modify the steel sword and fur cuirass.
2. Find the related meshes which will be the following in this case:
3. Copy them to your project folder in the Oblivion Data folder. Example:
4. Open longsword.nif using NifSkope. Notice that the texture path points to textures\weapons\SteelLongsword02.dds
5. Go back into the BSA Commander Out folder and find/copy the texture to your project folder. Also grab any files that have the same name but with a _n (Normal Map) or _g (Glow Map) at the end. Example:
6. I would recommend renaming the textures to match the name of the NIF file using them. Example:
steellongsword02.dds --> longsword.dds
steellongsword02_n.dds --> longsword_n.dds
7. Go back to NifSkope and change the texture path to use your custom texture. Example:
8. Repeat this process of finding and copying the DDS textures for all NIF files in your project folder. An exception to this process are the body textures found under textures/characters which are normally left alone since you do not want to alter the skin of the player. Example:
9. You will also might want to create custom menu icons as well. At the beginning, you can create placeholders until you finish with your changes and create the custom icons. Find and copy existing menu icons to your project folder. Example:
10. Use DDS Converter to convert all DDS files into Adobe Photoshop PSD files.
1. Open the Diffuse PSD Texture files with your favorite graphics editor and make the visual changes that you want.
2. Once finished changing the textures, you will need to create new normal maps (_n) files. I use GIMP and the normal map plugin.
3. Now convert your changes to the PSD files back into DDS files using DDS Converter 2 with the options of DXT5 and Mipmaps enabled.
4. You should be able to open your NIF files and see the new textures on your model.
Create a New Plugin
1. Start the Construction Set
2. Create a new plugin by Selecting Oblivion.esm, set as Active and click OK.
3. Once it loads the Construction Set, click Save and use the name of your project as the name of the ESP file. Example: MyMod.esp
Add Your Sword
1. To add the longsword with Dwarven quality stats, expand the Items, Weapons and open WeapDwarvenLongSword
2. Immediately change the ID from WeapDwarvenLongSword to MyModLongSword (using your Project ID as the prefix)
3. Set the name to something such as MyMod Longsword
4. Click the 1st button that has the path to Longsword.nif and make it point to your Longsword.nif in your project folder.
5. Click the 2nd button that has the path to Longsword.dds icon and make it point to your Longsword.dds icon in your project folder.
6. Click OK to close the dialog box and answer YES when asked to create a new form.
Add Your Armor
NOTE #1: If you do not have a female version, click the button respective female buttons and then ESC to clear the entry.
NOTE #2: If you do not have a male version, click the button respective male buttons and then ESC to clear the entry.
1. To add the custom fur cuirass with Dwarven quality stats, expand Items, Armor and open DwarvenCuirass
2. Immediately change the ID from DwarvenCuirass to MyModCuirass (using your Project ID as the prefix)
3. Set the name to something such as MyMod Cuirass
4. Click the Male Biped Model button and set it to your male cuirass.nif in your project folder.
5. Click the Female Biped Model button and set it to your female cuirass.nif in your project folder.
6. Click the Male World Model button and set it to your male cuirass_gnd.nif in your project folder.
7. Click the Female World Model button and set it to your female cuirass_gnd.nif in your project folder.
8. Click the Male Icon Image button and set it to your male cuirass.dds icon in your project folder.
9. Click the Female Icon Image button and set it to your female cuirass.dds icon in your project folder.
10. Click OK to close the dialog box and answer YES to create a new form.
11. Rinse, lather and repeat for all other pices you have.
You can enchant these items as well. If you do so, I recommend creating two versions...one set enchanted and the other non-enchanted. After creating the normal versions, you can quickly create enchanted versions by opening your item, such as MyModLongsword and changing the ID to MyModEnchLongsword and clicking OK and answering YES to create a new form. Once you do this for all your items, you will have a new group of items with Ench in the ID to let you know which ones are to be enchanted.
Follow this tutorial for creating enchantments but you only need to read the section called Enchant the New Item since you have already done everything else: How To Add Items and Enchantments
Now that you have custom objects, you can place them for sale or put then on custom NPCs that need killin, create quests to find them or simply place them on the ground somewhere.
Here is a tutorial that will show you how to place these items for sale at existing vendor shops and keep the mod compatible with others at the same time. How To Add Objects For Sale
Test Your Mod
1. Save your .esp plugin and exit the Construction Set.
2. Be sure to enable your plugin the 1st time you create it: Oblivion Launcher, Data Files, checkmark beside MyMod.esp
3. Start Oblivion, test your mod and make any adjustments as necessary.
If you are using Construction Set version 1.0, the internal version number of the .esp plugins it creates is version 0.8 and has no requirement other than Oblivion 1.0.
If you are using Construction Set version 1.2, the internal version number of the .esp plugins it creates is version 1.0 and requires at least Oblivion 1.1.511 before it even acts like the plugin is installed. If you created a plugin that doesn't really require anything from Oblivion 1.1 or 1.2 patches, use a tool to back-rev the internal version number from 1.0 to 0.8 as the last thing you do before packaging your mod.
ESPluginCracker does a good job at determining which version number your .esp plugin is at as well as setting it to 0.8 or 1.0.
Here is a tutorial for more information: How To Back-Rev Your Plugin
If everything is fine at this point, take some screenshots. Screenshots: A Basic Guideline
Create a Distribution Folder
1. Create a temporary distribution folder to place all your files in such as C:/MyMod/
2. You can manually copy all your files over or you can use a helpful utility called TES4Files (tutorial) that will do most of the work for you.
Use the Readme Generator to create a readme file (use the OMOD-Ready template type) and name it something like MyMod Readme.txt and place it in the root of your distribution folder.
Create a Distribution Archive
1. Use 7-Zip and zip C:\MyMod\*.* into a single file. Example: C:\MyMod\MyMod.7z
2. Open Oblivion Mod Manager to Create an OMOD - click Create, Add Archive, pick C:/MyMod/MyMod.7z
3. Set all of the field names, add a short description in the description button, add a screenshot and click Create
4. Now that we have an OMOD created, we need to Create an OMOD-Ready archive by right-clicking on the OMOD name and select Convert To Archive. Name it something like MyMod 1.0 OMOD-Ready.7z and then answer Yes to include OMOD Conversion Data.
5. Take this new OMOD-Ready archive and related screenshots and upload it to TESNexus.com.
Create a RELz Thread
Go to The Elder Scrolls Mod Forums and create a new topic to let the world know about your new mod.
Title: [RELz] MyMod
Contents: Paste the contents of your readme file here. You can omit the install/uninstall section if you like. Be sure to include a link to the download location.
Mirror Location: CS Wiki
Mirror Location: Wiki Nexus
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