Friday, 23 March 2018

ECE Special Edition - using spf command as a workaround to obtain chargen data

As today, we can't use the F1 export face model function on ECE showracemenu command (Chargen.DLL not working) and it can be quite frustrating to get correct information about what mods are used when creating a NPC from a preset, since the ECE don't import the correct assets on CK. If we can take note of the name of the hair used in the hair slide, the eye or brow texture used is impossible to know directly in-game.

Luckily we can use a workaround with another console command: save player face (spf). This tutorial will cover only how to gather information from the npc file generated, and use it to properly build your NPC.

Tools used:

SSEEdit for assets reference search;
A Mod manager like NMM, where you can check your load order;
A BSA unpacker of your choice, for extract packed assets;
A .txt read like windows notepad.

1 - Creating and reading the spf file:

First, let's export the .npc file. After finishing your soon-to-be NPC preset, save it as usual, then open console and type 

spf test

where "test" is the name of the file that will contain the chargen information, and it will be stored in your SkyrimSE folder.



You can close the game now and go to your Skyrim Special Edition folder, typically:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Skyrim Special Edition

You should see the test.npc file there, open it with a .txt reader, notepad is enough. Now find the text portion where you read first "Headpart". You should see six lines with the Headpart text, then some numbers - those are the references you need. 



Don't worry, it is not complicated, just pay attention. The order is as it follows:

1 - Head
2 - Mouth
3 - Scar
4 - Eyes
5 - Brows
6 - Hair

Leave the notepad open and check your load order. This part is tricky, so be aware.

Look at the Headpart numbers. The first two digits are the load order in your SE installation, the remain ones are each NPC asset (model or texture) reference. 

The ones starting with 00, 01, 02, 03 and 04 are using vanilla/replacer assets, meaning that those assets are not been added by an .esp mod, but are replacers or just the vanilla ones (from Skyrim, Update, Dawnguard, Hearthfires, Dragonborn).

- The ones after that are added by esp/esm mods. You can see two, starting with 17xxxxxx and 18xxxxxx. Let's check those first, so looking at my load order I have in the 17 and 18 places:



As you can see, I have DrSKnapsacks as 17, then two character beautification mods, an Eye texture and an Hair pack. Those are what I'm looking for, for some reason the npc Headparts file adds one number above to my real load order (can't explain why). Now I know my hair is from SGHairPackAIO, and the Eye Texture comes from Improved Eyes Skyrim. The other assets are vanilla or non-esp mod replacers. Let's check them all.

2 - Getting the Correct Assets.

Open SSEEdit, load Skyrim.esm and all the relevant mods detected above (two, in this situation). Time to hunt the assets.

After SSEEdit finishes loading everything, is time to look for the references. Let's start with the modded esp ones. First the Hair.

Now another trick part. Get the Hair reference from the npc file, and past it to the formID dialogue search; don't search yet, instead replace the two first digits with the two numbers in the mod order in SSEEdit. 

In this example I'll change 18000D9A (NMM load order) for 03000D9A (SSEEdit load order), then hit "enter" to search:



Voilá! That's the hair model. Complicated? At first, maybe. Let's repeat to the eyes.

Same procedure, copy the eye reference number, past it to the FormID and change the first two digits. 17002887 to 02002887 (Improved Eyes is 02 in this SSEEdit load order), hit enter:



Here it is. Easy.

This one has a little trick, and I choose it on purpose. If you look for it on your SkyrimSE folder, you will not found it, simply because it is packed in a .bsa file. So just extract it to get the model.

Now the remain assets, the vanilla/replaced ones is exactly the same thing, and this time just copy the reference to the FormID and hit enter. You just need to check if the file is loose on your folder or packed in the vanilla assets.

With all the models and textures known, start CK and assemble your NPC.

Let me know of any errors or anything that could have a better explanation. 

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