* INIGO Introduction :)

Who is Inigo?

Inigo is a fully voiced khajiit adventuring companion with thousands of lines of unique dialogue. He's essential. He’ll level alongside you. He’ll avoid most traps. If you’re sneaking he won’t chatter. If you talk to him while sneaking he’ll whisper. He can run out of arrows. He’s highly skilled in archery, one-handed, and sneak. He has unique, random combat dialogue for most enemies. Your morality is his morality. He tells stories, sings, and is influenced by your time together.

PLEASE NOTE: Although Smartbluecat is a member on this forum, he would GREATLY appreciate it if you could please report any issues you have with Inigo

on the relevant Oldrim/SE Nexus 'Posts' pages (after carefully checking the FAQ first). You will find support there. Redirect links below.

Issues reported via pm will possibly go unanswered due to how EXCEPTIONALLY busy he is.

The more people who don't read the documentation and ask SBC to personally solve their issues, the longer V3 will take ;)

Thank you all for your co-operation. :)

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Author Topic: SBC's Article on Nexus - "How Inigo came to be and how I learned to make him"  (Read 717 times)


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Offline Beowulf1976

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  • This is a copy of SBC's Article on Nexus:

    This article covers the creation of Inigo in two parts. The first is an overview explaining how I learned, and continue to learn, about modding. It's not a tutorial, but if you're interested in creating a custom follower like Inigo you may find some of the information and links useful.

    The second is a more personal account of my journey into modding and the crazy events that surrounded Inigo's creation.

    1. How did you learn how to create Inigo?

    2. Losing a film, gaining a cat - the genesis of Inigo

    1. How did you learn to create Inigo?

    First the negative. I'm asked this a lot, mainly by people who want to make a companion “as deep as Inigo.” They often seem to be under the impression that there's some secret set of simple instructions they can follow that will miraculously output the follower of their dreams. Sadly this isn't the case. For what it's worth it's not the case with anything really. I've spent a long time learning music, animation, illustration, and now modding. I regularly receive the same questions about each discipline. Usually they begin with “I have a great idea!” and tend to repeat words like “just” and “simple” throughout. I hate to shatter the illusion, but ideas are easy. Everyone has a million ideas. Making them a reality is the tough bit. This may not apply to you if your idea is a rehash/variation of someone else's hard work, but if you're planning on creating anything as substantial as Inigo you need to understand what's in store. In truth none of it magically happens and nine hundred and ninety nine times out of a thousand what the world perceives as a creative “gift” is just a heck of a lot of hard work and paying attention. It can certainly be a great deal of fun but it's also painful, difficult, and frustrating. I have over 6500 hours logged in the Creation Kit and that's all Inigo. If you're set on making a follower as content packed as Inigo but don't really want it, or want it for reasons outside of the process itself, you probably won't finish what you start. If you just want to give it a shot and see where it goes, I'd say that's a far more healthy approach. You'll enjoy the process far more if you're not aiming at a specific goal created by someone else. Got it? Good. Right, let's get on with the positive stuff.

    Since I had never modded before I started by watching as many Creation Kit tutorials on You Tube as I could. In the beginning most of them went way over my head, but they helped me get a feel for the basics and how to navigate the workspace, etc. I knew I wanted to create a companion but I also knew if I spent too long planning every facet of his back-story I'd never get anything on screen so I downloaded the CK and got stuck in as soon as I could. In my experience it's always best to start learning by doing. My advice for those who wish to create anything is don't wait until you feel you're ready, you never will be. Go for it and try to have fun. Experiment, make mistakes, press buttons to see what happens. In short, get dirty. My first few weeks with the Creation Kit were a dizzying, confusing, joyride. I started working on my follower, I spent hours deciding on his look, put him in his cell, had him say “Hello” then fudged everything up spectacularly. Eventually it became clear I would have to start fresh. That was all right though. In the beginning I had learned more from mucking about than from the tutorials, but now those tutorials were starting to make sense. My second proper attempt became the Inigo you know today.

    Before I continue this semi-informative ramble THE most important thing you should learn to do is back up your work. Since we're talking about followers the two most vital things you should be keeping versions of are your esp and your Scripts folder. Come up with a backup system that works for you, but make sure you use it. There's nothing worse than having to redo hours of work because you saved after making a catastrophic mistake.

    Anyway, I started work on Inigo properly when I discovered this Deck16 guide:

    It may well still be the most helpful guide out there for beginners. Some of the info is out of date and since we're all trying to make something a little different you may quickly run into areas where there's little or no documentation (I certainly did), but it's a fantastic place to start. Using this guide I managed to get Inigo up and running in his most basic form. I quickly became obsessed with dialogue conditions and started writing responses for a variety of situations on my train journey to work. quickly became indispensable and I still refer to it regularly. Many of Inigo's comments were inspired by this page in particular:

    Many of the conditions are obsolete and a lot of them have no description, so trial and error was the order of the day. I started combining conditions and testing the results. Meanwhile Inigo's story and character were developing. Some evenings I'd take him to a dungeon and just spend time imagining what he'd say, making notes as I played. Those notes often sparked pages of dialogue. I was beginning to see what was possible. I added whispered lines using IsSneaking = 1, and blocked non-whispered lines from playing when crouched using IsSneaking = 0. I realised that I could add race specific insults for enemies. I started playing with location keywords for shops, dungeons, and inns. When I realised I could check if Inigo and the player were sitting, I thought I could use it to separate out certain subjects and prevent topic clutter while also giving people a reason to sit with a follower in safe areas (something I did with vanilla followers from time to time). I went crazy and added the performance review and the story about Inigo's scars, all the while learning more and more. A lot of the time I'd come up with ideas that I never quite managed to work out. At one point I ended up abandoning weeks of work on a feature because I just couldn't get a grasp on the scripting required to make it work. There were as many failures as successes, but seeing Inigo walk and talk made it all worth while.

    After Inigo's initial versions it became clear I needed to get him away from the evil clutches of multi-follower mods. This task was beyond me. I had also come up with an idea for a summon spell that worked in a very specific and unique way. Again, the scripting required to make such a thing was way above my level. I set about trying to learn as much about scripting as I could but none of it was sticking. Luckily a kindly coder
    called Vamyan offered his services and agreed to get Inigo off the vanilla framework. While he did that I focused on learning about scenes, re-texturing, quest structure, nav-meshing, etc. More trial and error. In an early test Vamyan had sent me he had added a warp feature. I explained why I didn't want Inigo warping about and told him about my original summon spell idea. The next day I had a working template in-game. It was outstanding. The work he'd done in a day would have taken me months to figure out on my own.

    Vamyan went on to other things and CdCooley took over coding duties for V2.2. Along with a complete rewrite of Inigo's base code, he also added a number of new features and several genius little touches that made Inigo more his own man. I soon discovered we were on the same page in terms of our overall vision, and it was clear that he completely understood what I was attempting with Inigo. He'd suggest something, I'd get inspired, he'd react to my reaction with a tweak or rewrite, and before I knew it I was recording another 100 lines. I also started to properly understand the basics of scripting at this time (largely by studying CdCooley's work), this allowed me to add many ideas I had previously written off. Sometimes you just need a little help to grasp one tiny thing and the rest falls into place. All the complex work I did on Inigo's combat AI started with me noticing that CdCooley had used a single package with multiple procedures to govern Inigo's follow distance. It was far more elegant than what had been in place before and something inside my head clicked. I realized I could use a more convoluted version of this method to control Inigo's passive behaviour during combat. Of course it would mean adding another 200 lines for consistency but it was more than worth it.

    One last thing on this subject. Follower mod authors often need to know a little bit of everything and it can be very overwhelming at first. Don't be disheartened. For me, a background in audio and writing certainly helped, but I found myself lacking in every other area to begin with. I managed to muddle through, but things would have gone far smoother if I'd had a bit of help in the beginning. Most custom companions are made by teams so if you know a specialist in a relevant area, voice acting, coding, whatever, get them on-board. They'll make your project better and also aid your learning. Inigo is currently the best he's ever been and I couldn't have done that without the help of a talented coder, but if you're working alone don't be discouraged. I created Inigo by myself until V2.0 by which point he had already become quite popular, won awards, and most importantly become something I was proud of. If you're going solo you can make something special. It just takes time and effort. Remember to back up often, get stuck in, and have fun.

    2. Losing a film, gaining a cat - The genesis of Inigo

    I decided to give modding a shot while I was in pre-production for a film project back in 2013. I had been working on the film since late 2011 and needed a little creative variety to keep me sane. I downloaded the Creation Kit and began tentatively tinkering with it in the evenings. I decided I'd try to create a follower for myself – an npc I'd want to spend time with, someone who hopefully felt more alive than the vanilla options. I had plenty of ideas but zero experience with modding so progress was slow. Most of the tutorials I found didn't cover what I wanted to accomplish so I started small and learned little by little, primarily through experimentation and by making mistakes.

    My schedule was a bit nuts back then. I'd get up, shower, shave, go to work, come home, work on the film late into the evening, then I'd mess about with Inigo until the early hours of the next morning. The film was my priority and ate up most of my free time. Inigo was dessert, my reward for pushing through a difficult bit of pre-vis, a script re-write, or whatever film related task I was currently focusing on. Ironically in the end Inigo turned out to be the more successful endeavour.

    I had been doing freelance visual effects and illustration for a while and had often wondered if a small versatile team could create a self-funded feature film. I wasn't the only one. A friend who I'd worked with many times agreed to take on the role of producer/fixer while I wrote and directed. We both operated cameras. Neither of us had any love for the corporate work we often found ourselves involved in and immediately stopped taking freelance jobs and poured everything into this crazy idea. With nothing more than a bit of part time teaching for financial support it was beyond rash, but after a year or so it became clear that success, despite being unlikely, was in fact possible. We gathered a small but competent crew, bought cameras, upgraded editing equipment, auditioned actors, formed a company, tested everything during a mini shoot in 2012, organized locations, and poured money we didn't have into insurance and car hire. Almost my entire life was focused on this one thing - the film, the film, and the film. The final shoot took place in summer 2013 over 26 days and it went pretty well... or so we thought. Daily rushes looked good and it seemed we had everything we needed. At this stage my little side-project Inigo had about 2 thousand lines and I knew I wouldn't have time to continue working on him during post production. After a bit of internal deliberation I decided to release him on the Workshop and call him done.

    Well,actually it wasn't quite that simple. I nearly didn't release him at all. I wasn't really a mod user, I had never played with another custom voiced companion, and after skimming the “Followers” section of the workshop I assumed no one would be that interested in something like Inigo. I was quite happy to leave him on my hard drive... then I discovered Vilja on some place called Nexus Mods. She and Inigo were very different but they shared a similar focus on character. Vilja was technically far more advanced than anything I was capable of but people also clearly loved her character. Character was, and is, Inigo's main focus so I thought it may be worth releasing him after all. I didn't expect much of a public response and that didn't matter. It had been fun learning how to use the CK and seeing Inigo come to life in my game. That was enough. After all, I had my film to work on.

    So, I began sorting through the 7 terabytes of film data we had amassed. I started picking takes, syncing audio, putting together assembly edits, modelling CGI elements, adding score, etc. Inigo would have to wait. Inigo had other ideas though. Videos featuring him started to crop up on-line and people were repeatedly asking for a Nexus version. To my surprise on Steam Inigo was the most popular stand alone follower mod released that month. Over the next few weeks my in-box became clogged with demands, requests, and comments. Not being a real modder or even much of a mod user there was a lot to learn. I only knew what I had taught myself in order to create Inigo and suddenly I was being quizzed about other mods, load orders, and countless other baffling topics. It was lovely that people were enjoying Inigo but I had a film to make and all this attention was distracting, darn it. I had worked out a massive character quest for Inigo during his initial creation, but I had no time to think about all that. I was trying to haul together the accumulation of over 3 years work while attempting to hold down my part time teaching job. I unfortunately just didn't have any more time to focus on my blue friend. Then cracks in the film began to show.

    Certain shots that couldn't be re-done due to a lack of money were slightly out of focus when viewed on a large screen – a random problem related to the AF100 cams we used. On top of that an actor had secretly tried to cover an outbreak of acne with concealer half way through the shoot – invisible to the naked eye but glaringly obvious when the image was blown up. Unfortunately, those shots were unrepeatable and the actor was no longer available, nor did we have the funds to re-shoot extensively. The film was floundering. Every scene became a VFX shot where I had to alter some aspect or other to hide the flaws. I couldn't edit the way I wanted to, each scene was now largely composed around what options I had left. A little of this happens on every film, but in this case it was affecting almost the entire second half. I struggled on looking for solutions. Meanwhile Inigo was going from strength to strength.

    Over the next year I eased back on the film and returned a lot of my focus to Inigo. Working on him was a pleasant place next to everything else that was going on, but I couldn't just cut the cord on the film entirely. By this point we had spent 4 years marshalling every ounce of ability and effort in our possession to create the film. By 2014 I realized that if I completed it, it wouldn't be up to the standards I needed it to be. It wouldn't be something I was proud of. As time went by it became clear we had failed. It was heartbreaking.

    My life had essentially been on hold while working on the feature and now I found myself with no work, no film, and broke. Luckily I had continued teaching part time and that helped keep my head above water. To this day that little job is my only source of steady income. On the bright side working part time allows me to attempt crazy things like the feature film and Inigo. In the end I've been through an experience more comprehensive than any film school could hope to offer, and Inigo has become quite popular in his own little way. Despite essentially having to pay to continue working on Inigo by giving up freelance work, there's very little I'd rather be doing.

    For me art is almost always about communication. I've never wanted fame, and much to the frustration of friends and family (who all seem to think I should be rich by now), money doesn't drive me. What interests me most is using my work to communicate with an audience. In this regard I view Inigo as my biggest success.

    So...what now? Well, other than finishing up Inigo's story in V3.0 I have a few new ideas on the boil. They probably won't be mod related but they'll almost certainly be crazy. :)

    Gary (Smartbluecat)

    « Last Edit: Mon, 12 Jun 2017 - 18:49:43 by Beowulf1976 »
      “Them as can do has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


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