3ds Max armor to Fallout New Vegas

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3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-01.jpg

Tools you need

Skills you need

  • Modelling
  • Uvw unwrapping / mapping
  • Using the skin modifier / rigging

Terms you should understand

binding of a model to a rig/skeleton so that it moves according to the bones movement
Uvw mapping
unfolding of the mesh on a 2D plane so that you can paint it
the painting of a model
Normal mapping
the creation of a secondary texture which determines light reflections and not modelled details like tiny groves, scars, etc.
original, unmodified game assets


  1. Install all of these tools.
  2. Build your armor however you prefer, there are dozens of methods and which you choose depends on the kind of armor and how you like to work. (see appendix A1 for some examples) just make sure that important joints like knees, fingers, elbows, feet, shoulders, etc are where they belong or you will have to deal with heavy transformations during animations that do not look real in-game.
  3. Import the vanilla skeleton.
  4. Skin the model to the skeleton. (see appendix A2 for examples)
  5. Add a "BSDismemberment" Modifier (that one adds the ability to dismember certain parts of the armor and allows you to target those in VATS)
    - Select a bunch of polygons, elements, etc and assign them to ids and their bodyparts
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-02.jpg
  6. Export your model as *.nif with the following settings
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-03.jpg
  7. Open two instances of nifskope,
    - in one you open your newly exported myArmor.nif
    - in the other open a vanilla armor with as many bones as necessary
    - in both instances click on view --> block list --> show block list in tree
  8. - in the vanilla armor delete every ninode or nishape that looks like a piece of the vanilla armor so that all that is left is the skeleton and the meatcap objects
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-04.jpg
  9. Go to your armor and right click each ninode --> block --> copy branch
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-05.jpg
  10. Go to the vanilla armor now stripped bare and right click the ninode ontop, called sceneroot, right click --> block --> paste branch
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-06.jpg
  11. Select your newly added node, go down to blockdetails and right click name --> edit string index
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-07.jpg
  12. Enter a new name for that node, you can basically use anything you like however there are some restrictions and abilities (see appendix A3 for more detail)
  13. Extend your newly added ninode and make sure the nimaterialproperty does not have a weird name as well, it should not have any name.
  14. Save the mesh
  15. Open GECK
  16. Load Fallout.esm
  17. Double click an armor that closely resembles your new armor attach your new mesh and set its statistics right
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-08.jpg
  18. Create a new Quest, make sure "Game enabled" is checked and click "Ok"
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-09.jpg
  19. Go to characters --> edit scripts --> scripts new
    - Set the script to be a quest script
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-10.jpg
    - Choose a nifty level list to put the item into, sorting them by use count and filtering for words like armor, raider, merc, etc helps finding a good one
    - Your script should look like this:
    scn MyArmorDistributionQuestScript
    short doonce
    begin gamemode
    if doonce == 0
    AddItemToLeveledList Leveled_List_I_Wanna_Add_The_Item_To My_Armor_ID 1 2 0.6
     ;; 1 = at which level, 2 = count, 0.6 = condition
    set doonce to 1
    endquest MyQuest
  20. Attach the script to the quest you created and click on "OK"
    3ds Max Armor to Fallout New Vegas-11.jpg



a - Import a vanilla body into 3ds Max/Blender, extrude the polygons around the upper body to create for example a tshirt

b - Import a vanilla into ZBrush/Mudbox, "sculpt" your armor ontop of the body

c - Build an armor from scratch around the vanilla body

d - Assemble something from parts you cut out of other armors (preferably not using meshes from other games, movies, mods, etc as that would be illegal)

The easiest way is probably a, the fastest imo b, c is only really useful if your armor looks very different in shape from the vanilla body, d creates very good looking results due to the quality of the vanilla meshes in comparison to most modders skills but is rather limited.


a - use the "skin" modifier and weight each part of your model by hand

b - use the "skin wrap" modifier and copy the skinning of another armor that looks similar to yours onto your model (very fast, efficient and yields good results)

c - combine both methods, use skin wrap for soft elements like cloth and skin rigid elements like steel plates by hand


  • names that are used by bones => heavy deformations or crash
  • sceneroot => crash
  • arms => visible in 1st person view
  • upperbody => not visible in 1st person view

You can also uses names like upperbody:1, upperbody:2, etc and the effects of naming it upperbody still apply.