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Forum Home > Off-Topic Pit of Oblivion > [Tutorial] Get a custom weapon into Morrowind

Posts: 53

This tutorial is aimed for people who have trouble getting a custom or ported sword meshes or whatever into Morrowind. Beginners might have problems with explainations. Simply stick to the pictures and read carefully the text. Missing out one or two things can lead you into problems. BTW, I have not written this monster of text and took tons of screenshots in 6 hours for nothing.

-What do I need?-

You will need:

  • a 3D modelling program (3dsMax, Blender etc)
  • an image editing program (Paint.NET, Photoshop etc.)
  • TES Construction Set + Morrowind (TESCS to really get it into the game and Morrowind to use it)
  • NifSkope (get it here)
  • optionally Unreal Tournament Package Tool if you want to port over any UT meshes
  • the iron will and patience to read this tutorial

Let's skip all the other intro shit and get straight to the first step:

-Getting the raw files for a weapon-

In this example, I will port the "X4" Combat Knife from Ballistic Weapons into Morrowind. I always start with UTPT (UT Package Tool, faster than UnrealED). If you already have a knife/sword model with the required textures, skip to step 2.

Start UPTP, then click on File, then Open. A window will appear and then you have to browse to UT2004's StaticMeshes folder and then, open the desired file. Here a picture.

Now you should have this. Now right-click on that what is marked there in the picture, you get a menu with a few options. Hover on "Extract Mesh", then 3DStudio (if you have Blender, you should get a 3DS import / export plugin). A window will appear and it wants to know where you want the model extracted. Choose your destination, I mostly choose Desktop because I find all my work-files there. After exporting, you should leave UTPT opened.

Now we need the texture file. We don't know which, so we pull out the information from the file itself. In UTPT, right click on the model file you recently exported. Now choose "View Object Properties". UTPT will show on the right side the object's  basic information. Look here.

There is written Texture'BallisticTextures_25.X4.X4_Main'. The RED marked part is the name of the texture package. The ORANGE marked part is the category. The BLUE part is the texture's name.

We got the information now. Now click on "File" -> "Open" then browse to  UT2004's "Textures" directory. Now open the BallisticTextures_25.utx file. After opening that, you should see this. That selected file in the screenshot is the required file. Right-click on it, then export the texture file as TGA. Seen here. Only First MipMaps, nothing else. Exporting All MipMaps gives you textures you don't need. This section is finished, you should have a 3DS file (the model) and a TGA (the texture) file.

ADDITION: Or completely forget that I said about exporting it as TGA, export the first MipMaps as BMP instead. You will recieve error messages when trying to import the TGA texture somewhere.

Step 2: FUUuuuusion, HAH!

...aka assigning textures and preparing the model for NifSkope.

Those who already have a model file with a texture can hopefully adapt this.

Now you will need a 3D modelling program which supports 3ds importing. It's basicly rotating -> scaling -> texture assignment. In this tutorial I will use 3dsMax 2012, Maya users should adapt this well, Blender users should have no problems with rotating, scaling and texture assigning in their program.

Start up 3dsMax, then click on Import in the main menu. In the window, browse to the file you have exported from UTPT. Open it, choose "Completely replace current scene", and then we have THIS. You MUST align the model viewport to "Top". Like this. Note that the axes in the bottom left corner is aligned like this. This goes for any modeling program when attempting model ports to Morrowind. Explained later after the TESCS section.

Now we need to rotate the model. In the original Ballistic Weapons mod the knife is held "upside-down" and the hands have their attacking animations. In Morrowind however we don't have badass animations, so we rotate it to hold like a normal knife in the hand. To achieve this, just click on the model and then right click on the rotating tool.

A small window appears where you can type more specific values to rotate the model. You should stick with the following values for now, seen here.

Now it's time for the texture. Go to Render -> Material Editor -> Compact Material Editor (in 2012 version). Then a window with 6 grey balls shoud appear. Below those are some options, focus on "Diffuse". Next to "Diffuse" is a grey colored box and another box. Click on the small box, which will open a material selection menu. Choose Bitmap. See here what I mean. The blue marked box is the button I mentioned to click.

Now you will be prompted to choose a texture. We choose the texture file we have exported from UTPT.( If you get a message error when trying to select the texture, you most likely have to re-save the texture. Open UTPT again, go to the texture we needed, export it as BMP. Then  open the texture in Paint.NET, Photoshop or whatever you use, then save the texture as a tga file, delete the old one because it's useless.) Alright, the texture is choosen. Now assign it while having the model selected.

Please note that it doesn't look like this, it is because I still have the corrupt texture which was exported from UTPT. As mentioned above, converting it from a BMP to TGA will show it correctly.

And now it's time for scaling. Why? Because when the scale left as it is, the model will end up too big ingame and it just looks ugly when trying to backstab an enemy with a big sword which was supposed to be a knife.

To achieve the knife scale, click on the model to select it when not selected yet. Right click on the scaling tool will open a window. Scale it down to 25%, like here. Hit Enter and then your model will be small like here. Before you happily continue, make sure that the handle of the weapon is at the center, as seen in the pictures. And think about this rule: 3 - 4 fields from the center is a knife or a shortsword. 5 - 6 fields from the center is a sword or a katana.

Exporting time. Go to the main menu and hit "Export". Type the name of the file, like "X4", "mylittleknife" or whatever. For the file format, choose the OBJ exporter, then save. Another window will show up with settings. Set them to these settings and then hit "Export". You will find these files where you have saved. You can close 3dsMax/Blender or whatever, we finally prepared the model for NifSkope.

Step 3: NifSkope

If you haven't installed NifSkope yet, then do it. But before we jump into NifSkope, move the texture file to Morrowind's Texture folder. The path is basicly C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Morrowind\Data Files\Textures. In the textures folder, make a new folder with a name you like, I am using my own Textures folder named "MKTex".

So the path should look like this: C:\Program Files\Bethesda Softworks\Morrowind\Data Files\Textures\MKTex.

After you have put the texture in your folder fire up NifSkope. Oh, I forgot to mention that NifSkope doesn't make a shortcut on the desktop. So start it manually here: C:\Program Files\NifTools\NifSkope\NifSkope.exe

Opened NifSkope? Good. Following the text and pictures will probably help you alot.

  1. When opened, you should have this. If not, hit F3.
  2. Open settings, go to "General", then set the startup version to
  3. Import the OBJ file we exported from Blender/3dsMax/whatever.
  4. You should have this.
  5. Check your file's branches. If there is already a "NifTexturingProperty", skip to 8. If there isn't, then you need to insert it. Right click anywhere, go to Block -> Insert and click on it.
  6. A menu should appear, hover over "NiT", then select "NiTexturingProperty".
  7. Assign it to the NiTriShape. They way how shown here.
  8. Then assign the base texture. Right Click on "NiTexturingProperty" -> Texture -> "Add Base Texture". Those who had that already, just extend the branch until you see "NiSourceTexture", then click on the violet flower thingy.
  9. You will be prompted to select a texture. Just go to the folder where you dropped in your file.
  10. If you see a textured mesh, then you succeed. Now save it as a NIF file.
  11. Give it a name you like, save it in the "Meshes" folder from Morrowind. If you want, you can make your own folder in the "Meshes" folder and put it there instead.

Step 4: TES Construction Set

Now the final part. Fire up TES: Const. Set.

Well, there is nothing much to explain when you know how make weapons there. Just open the Morrowind.esm file, then go to the "Weapon" tab, right click on anything, then "New". A new window shows up. First, click on Add art file (choose the knife mesh), then add an Inventory Image (a 32x32 resized war-knife image is enough), copy these stats and values. If you want, you can place it somewhere like Caius Cosades' House to pick it up. If not, get it via console: player->additem X4 1 (the console is opened with ^ or ~ )

And my folder is called "WOW" because I was using World of Warcraft meshes and unintentionally added other meshes into that folder, if you just wonder why.

To finish, save the plugin file under some name, start the Morrowind Launcher and the go to Data Files, activate your plugin and play the game. Pick up the knife or get it into your inventory with the console method mentioned above.

Remember: publishing add-ons with contents from other games without giving proper credits can let you slip into (copyright) problems.


-Questions Section-

Q: Why the thing with the axes?

A: To set it correctly into the hand when holding a weapon. The blade of the sword must show Y upward. X axe where the blade is facing to. Let us say, in this scheme X is facing to the enemy and Y is the blade. The Z axe is completely ignored, since it's never used for a sword mesh. The middle point is the  handle, and the handle should be placed there.

Q: Why setting the scale?

A: I can't explain this, mostly from ported models their scale are too big or too small. For most daggers or knifes, 3-4 fields from the center is the standard scale for Morrowind.

Q: I can't find the model file's texture package in UTPT.

A: You either have to find it somehwere, or try another model. Happens often when extracting UZ2s.

Q: I have exported the First MipMap as TGA. It says it is corrupted when trying to open it in Photoshop / Paint.NET / whatever. What now?

A: I don't know why UTPT screws up TGAs. Just reopen UTPT, look for the desired texture and save it as a BMP instead. Then save it in another program as a TGA. BMPs in UTPT aren't corrputed for a strange reason.

Q: I have successfully ported a UT2004 weapon into Morrowind. However, I don't know how much damage they do. How do I find it out?

A: There is a mutator for UT2004, called "Show Damage". It shows how much damage you do whatever you do. Selfdamage included. But be warned: applying damagescale of over 100 can destroy the gaming fun, because most of the NPCs and other enemies have just something around 100 health. I have this instakilling problem often.

Q: My model file is saved as OBJ, but it won't import.

A: Try 3ds filetype. If it still doesn't help, then your file might be corrupted.

Q: My weapon is held wrong ingame.

A: Open up your model in a model editing program, make sure the blade is facing to Y straight the line upwards, X towards the line, and put there where the handle is to the center as seen in the screenshots, save it and redo the NifSkope step again.

Q: I have followed every single text of this tutorial, but my mesh is shown as a big yellow exclamation mark or crashes the game. What can I do?

A: If you have tried opening NifSkope by right clicking on the OBJ model file -> open with -> NifSkope just to save some time, then your file's version will screwn up and the NIF file is broken. Another way that can happen is that the version number is set wrong. Morrowind only supports NIFs.

Q: In another add-on I have a weapon which is classified as "Marksman" but whenever I shoot it, I hear custom weapon sounds. This is cool, how can I achieve this?

A: This tutorial will not cover making scripts, but I can explain how they work: the weapon runs a simple script which tricks the engine to replace the original shooting sounds. The script tells the engine to lower down the original bolt-shooting sound's volume to 0 (it sounds dumb and lame anyway). Then the script demands playing a specific imported sound.

That's all, my spine, eyes and hands hurts after finally finishing this tutorial.

Tutorial written by: Mecha-Kirby

CREDITS: "X4" Combat Knife by Runestorm and their respective creators

PS: I hit the maximum of typing characters. LOL.


A truly SHOCKING experience!

July 25, 2011 at 2:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 233

Thanks for the help!


July 26, 2011 at 8:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 53

Sure Lobob, glad I could help.


A truly SHOCKING experience!

July 26, 2011 at 11:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 233

Okay so I finally got my morrowind model editting to the point where i might actually use the stuff in game. My only question would be, how would one do something of a crossbow etc?


September 12, 2011 at 8:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 53

Getting a custom weapon like a pistol or a machine gun into Morrowind could be tricky. The most important things for a shooting weapon is the animation bone and the correct alignment on the axis. I can't animate, so I do it in this way:

1. Opening some crossbow from Morrowind in NifSkope

2. Deleting NiTrishape of the crossbow, so only the ArrowBone is left

3. Scaling the custom model for the correct size

4. Rotating the custom model to fit into the ArrowBone

5. Importing and putting the custom model into the NiNode where I deleted the NiTrishape of the old crossbow (similar like tutorial step 3, only you have to set NiTrishape of the model as a child into NiNode of the delted crossbow)

I think that should help, otherwise I make another tutorial with pictures and stuff.


A truly SHOCKING experience!

September 13, 2011 at 8:59 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 233

Hmm, I'm having troubles getting the weapon to show up in game. I get what you're saying, I just dont understand why its not showing up.


September 13, 2011 at 5:50 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 53

Hmm... I guess I make a tutorial about it. I will update this post when it's done.


A truly SHOCKING experience!

September 14, 2011 at 7:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 233

I finally got this thing to work, apparently I was deleting wrong stuff :P

Now I can go create the most non-sense Morrowind mod EVAR.


September 18, 2011 at 8:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 234

Morrowind modding ?

Speaking of Elder Scrolls games, anyone else getting Skyrim ?


"You better have BURN HEAL!"

Send a PM if you want to exchange 3DS friend codes.

September 18, 2011 at 9:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 53

To »Prôwêrz«: that's great! Since you got it working at your own, I think I don't need to make the tutorial :) And sorry for the late answer, the weekend was a bit hectic.

To psy°chief: I would get it, but I am really curious about the system requirements. I hope there will be DirectX 9 support, otherwise I can forget the game until I got a new PC.


A truly SHOCKING experience!

September 19, 2011 at 3:09 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 233


Idk if I'm going to get Skyrim or not


September 20, 2011 at 7:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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