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Tutorial NifSkope Addons Baby Steps

Rudy

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There are several NifSkope tutorials out there, including AddOnNodes, but they did not present the baby steps I needed to add a light to a static model (NIF). So I am writing this!
Resources:
List of AddOnNodes Includes Vanilla items in a SPOILER drop-down
Finding all AddOnNodes in the CK:
  • Set your filter to addon
  • Go to the bottom of the 'tree' and select *All
  • Wait
  • They will load alphabetically so the DLC ones will be grouped together.

This guide will be in three sections:
  • The Long Way which will provide all the baby steps to make an AddOnNode that does a thing.
  • Shortcut which will show how to copy an AddOnNode from one NifSkope window to another.
  • Checklist to ensure that even when you think you know what you're doing, you don't screw it up.
The Long Way
This assumes that you have a NIF loaded up into NifSkope and you're ready to add an AddOnNode.
Before we begin, there are some important notes to cover first.
  • NifSkope does not allow deletion of anything. Once it is in, it's in. I highly recommend working from a copy of the NIF you want to add your AddOnNode to. This way, if you screw it up, you can reload and start again without having to go back into the Creation Kit (CK).
    Edit from @Whisper You CAN delete a thing in NifSkope with Ctl-Delto delete any node (and subnodes)
    • Example: I want to add a light to a candle on top of a wall. The CK NIF that was created is called CM00007311. I will open this in NifSkope and promptly save it as Wall01.NIF.
    • The CK will drop this randomly named NIF here: Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 4\Data\Meshes\SCOL\[your_modname].esp
    • I recommend having your working directory outside of your mod directory. When you have your final copy all done, you can copy it into your mod directory.
  • An AddOnNode contains only a number. There are hundreds available in the vanilla game. If you need to make a new one (as I did to get a candle glow light effect that wasn't in vanilla) realize that a mod conflict may override your number. This means my candle glow could shoot unicorns into space. You should have a warning about mod conflicts messing with your AddOnNodes on your mod page.
    • No, there is no way to know what all the AddOnNodes are out there that aren't in your CK's list of active mods.
  • NifSkope works in a hierarchy and every AddOnNode needs to start at the top level. If an AddonNode get attached underneath another anything on your NIF, it's a bad thing. Your NIF will likely crash your game.
So you have your NIF open in NifSkope and you're ready to stick an AddOnNode onto it. Kinggath uses a method for the Project Blue Print that I adopted, so I'm going to share it here. In short, we will make an AddOnHolder NiNode, A BSValue entry named AddOnNode, and then use that to set the actual value of the AddOnNode.
The order will look like this (numbers 76 and 78):
upload_2020-3-5_18-12-19.png

Here is how we do that step-by-step
  1. Select the highest level parent (0 BSFadeNode)
    upload_2020-3-5_18-14-47.png
  2. We have to tell all the things that care that we're going to add on an AddOn. Click on the BSX Flags entry, go down to the bottom Pane, and right-click on Flags.
    upload_2020-3-5_18-32-55.png
    upload_2020-3-5_18-33-36.png
  3. Check the Addon flag and Accept it.
  4. Now we're going to add the add on node to add on a thing.
    Right-Click on the TOP Level row and select Node then Attach Node A long list appears.
  5. Click on NiNode to add it.
    upload_2020-3-5_18-16-45.png
    Notice that the text is blank. That's fine. we will fill it in in the next steps.
    1. Note: This just makes the AddOnNode process human readable.
  6. In the bottom panel, right-click in the Name field and then click on Edit String Index.
    upload_2020-3-5_18-20-4.png
  7. Type in AddOnHolder or whatever you'd like to remind you that this is where you're sticking an AddOn.
    upload_2020-3-5_18-24-8.png
  8. Now we will add the BSValueNode that will hold our AddOnNode value. There are a couple of ways to do this, but this is the easiest that I've found.
  • Highlight the NiNode we made. Go down to the bottom panel.
    upload_2020-3-5_18-37-18.png
  • Set Num Children to 1
  • Select the down arrow under Children so that it looks like the image above. This is how we're going to add the BSValue Node.
  • Click the + Symbol
  • Select Bethesda --> BSValue Node
And I just ran out of images I can attach to a single thread. To be continued in part 2!
Don't worry, we're literally almost done.
 

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Rudy

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Part 2
Your new AddOnNode so far should look like this:
upload_2020-3-5_18-41-26.png

Now we're going to edit the text of the BSValueNode so everything that needs to know does know that this is holding an AddOnNode.
  1. Like we did with the NiNode, highlight the BSValueNode in the top window and then edit the name field in the bottom panel. This must be named AddOnNode. The case doesn't matter (addonnode works just as well).
  2. Edit the Value to equal the AddOn you want to... add on.
    upload_2020-3-5_18-45-8.png
  3. Boom! You have an AddOnNode attached to your thing!
    Now what?
    Where do you want it? Cuz the Translation has a whole lot of 00000's.
SAVE
If something explodes, you have your AddOnNode in. You can revert back to this save from now on if the inevitable happens.

Moving the AddOn
There are two ways to do this: The hard way and the "why didn't I think of that!" way. I did it the hard way... a lot.
To edit the location of the AddOn, right-click the NiNode [AddOnHolder] select --> Transform --> Edit. A window pops up with the X,Y,Z coordinates of the AddOnNode.

Hard way:
use your mouse-wheel in one of the X,Y, or Z fields to move the AddOnNode an inch at a time. This is wicked tedious.
Plug in numbers to jump it around.
Move the camera.
Realize you're a hundred miles off because you're moving something in 3D in a 2D plane. Rinse / Repeat.

Easy way: The X,Y,Z coordinates of a new AddOnNode start at 0,0,0. Copied ones retain their old coordinates. If you open the CK, Fragment your SCOL and click on the object you want the AddOnNode to be 'attached' to... you can just transcribe those numbers into NifSkope. Then all you have to do is make minor adjustments. The 0-plane of NifSkope may not be 100% the 0-plane of your fragmented SCOL. You may need to move the candle glow above the candle instead of the base... but you're MUCH closer.

SAVE
It takes a lot of fiddling to get an AddOnNode set up and in the right location. Now that you think you have it in place, save it.
Test in game.
Tip: You can have NifSkope open while the game is running. If the AddOnNode isn't in the right place or whatever you can quickly make adjustments.
  • Delete the object in the game
    • This clears out the old copy from the game's memory
  • Adjust the AddOn in NifSkope (change location, change the AddOnValue, etc)
  • Save in NifSkope right over the top of the in-game asset NIF name
  • Go back into the game (Alt+Tab)
  • Place the object again
    • Since the old copy was deleted, the game has to call up the newly saved NIF since there isn't already one loaded in the game.
  • Rinse / Repeat
Adjust if necessary.
Final Save.
 
Last edited:

Rudy

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Crap I did a thing...
As stated way in the beginning, you can't delete a NiNode or NodeyNodeNode from NifSkope like, ever.
Edit: You can delete one! See above in the first page. Ctrl + Del will do it.

If you muck up something, like putting a NiNode under another Node that doesn't want to have an AddOn and breaks the game...
upload_2020-3-5_19-29-14.png
That little guy, right there. Click on the folder, find the last good saved version you have, and pull that back in.
NifSkope will think you're better at this than you are and ask you if you want to abandon all the recent changes you've made.
Of course you do.
Click No.
Wipe your eyes.
Begin again.
 
Last edited:

Rudy

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Short Version
  1. Open a NIF in NifSkope that you know has a working AddOnNode
  2. Open a second NifSkope window with the NIF you want to add on an AddOn.
    1. Don't forget to change the flag value of the new NIF to accept the AddOn.
  3. In the first NifSkope, highlight the AddOnHolder (or equivalently named) row.
  4. Press Ctrl + C to copy it (only keyboard commands where here)
  5. Go to the second NifSkope where the fresh NIF awaits an AddOn of its own.
  6. Highlight the TOP row of the hierarchy.
  7. Press Ctrl + V to paste the copied AddOn right onto the new NIF.
  8. Adjust.
    1. You can change the value of the AddOn to adjust its effect
    2. You can Transform -> Edit to move it to a new location.
You can even do this once you have an AddOn on your object, and you just want to make another one. Copy / Paste and Adjust.

Note: The Copied AddOnNode will lose its fancy names that you added to it, like AddOnHolder. You can add them back in or not be bothered with it.
 
Last edited:

Rudy

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Checklist:
  • Change object's top BSX Flag to include AddOn
  • Add NiNode to TOP level
    • Edit name to be AddOnHolder
    • Change the NiNode's children to 1
    • Click the + to add a BSValue Node
  • Name the BSValue Node AddOnNode
    • Save
  • Set its value to what you want
  • Move it around
    • Save
 

Rudy

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Feel free to add to this! Post away!
There are probably things I've left out, don't know, or assumed (I tried hard to note each step but PLEASE let me know if you hit a wall somewhere).
 

RobotsSmell

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Edit from @Whisper You CAN delete a thing in NifSkope with Ctl-Del to delete any node (and subnodes)

Caution. You can delete nodes as @Whisper says, but, if any sub node used in the node you delete is used in a different node, that reference will also be removed. ie, if a material node is used in 3 places (under different trishapes), you then delete the NiNode complete, the sub node for the other trishapes are also deleted.
To get round this, you remove all the other references from the ninode you want to remove, ie set children to 0, shader property to 0, then any orphaned trishapes or items go the bottom of your directory tree. You can then delete then one by one. Then delete the NiNode you want to be gone.
If say the shader property node is used in more than one place, it wont be orphaned at the bottom of the tree.

Hope that all makes sense.
 

Rudy

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I got that figured out. Animating them is still challenging. I think I will tackle that after I get wallmageddon 2.0 out the door.
 

RobotsSmell

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What do you mean by animating them? (Only asking before try going down that route!)
I noticed in a different post / forum, you said something about them not actually doing what you expected.
 

Rudy

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Whisper mentioned in Discord that a NIF can only have 1 animation. So if I want my candle flicker light to actually flicker, I have to check and set up a few more things. Not entirely sure what they are though.
Right now my candle flicker lights don't flicker.
 

Whisper

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Public Service Announcement: Stick with non-shadow-casting lights.

While having waving razorgrain casting shadows on walls is awesome to see - the framerate kill from 60fps down to 45fps is not so awesome to see. :)
 
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