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[FO4] Fixing custom armor & clothing meshes

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It appears to be an accepted fact in the FO4 modding community that the CK may crash very frequently, and this may also be one of the reasons why no one seems to bother finding out why this may be the case.  So far, the CK has working fine for me; there were occasional crashes 'out of nowhere' but I couldn't say that it would crash mor often than e.g. the Skyrim CK did. This changed however recently, after installing a custom mesh replacer mod (that came with the notorious loose files).  Suddenly, the CK became extremely unstable and crashed frequently when trying to open a cell or actor preview window.

Upon investigation of this problem, it turned out rather quickly that the meshes were faulty. Moreover though, this was not an exception with that specific mod, but, very sadly, appears to be a rather common problem with many of the custom arrmor & clothing meshes available for FO4 so far.

I have been looking at a fairly large number of them during the last three weeks, and 80% of the meshes distributed with those mods had one of the two errors described in detail below. So far, only the stock armor & clothing replacers that came with the CBBE mod were all fine. This is a sad yield (and IMHO really bad work of the FO4 modders community), considering that this problem is not new: the Skyrim CK would crash on such meshes as well, as also does the SSE game engine.  The FO4 and Skyrim game engines are more forgiving: they still run with the faulty meshes (one should expect however that they do still profit in some way if those mesh errors are corrected).


(1) The BSSkinIntance of a BSSubIndexTriShape is missing a link to the skeleton root:

This guarantees an immediate CTD of the CK whenever it tries to render that mesh in the cell or actor previews. If you have faulty meshes that may be used as outfit parts of an actor, you're usually not even able to bring up the actor window for that actor, since the CK will already crash upon trying to do this.

The fix is simple: In Nifskope, expand the BSSubIndexTriShape, then select the BSSkinIntance node. In the details view, check the first line. This displays the skeleton root, and if it contains a 'none' entry, replace this with the number of the root node (this is usually zero). Done. Make sure however to check all BSSubIndexTriShapes. If one is missing the link, chances are very high that others are missing it as well.

(2) The root node has an empty extra data array:

This is a rare one, but just like the previous error will guarantee an immediate crash of the CK. In NifSkope, select the root node, and in the details view, check 'Num Extra Data List'. If this is not zero, expand the 'Extra Data List' array. If this contains only 'none' entries, set Num Extra Data List to zero, then right click on the array and run 'Update array'.

This happens when someone uses an existing vanilla mesh as template for his work and removes extra data such as attachment points he doesn't need. They may be properly deleted, but the extra data array is apparently not automatically updated.

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I always have three copies of Beth games on SSD...

First for Creation Kit with vanilla files only or with the files for modifications over which I am currently working/checking. (together with all DLCs), second to test modifications and third for current game play.

FO4 Example.
Each in a separate directory (Fallout 4, Fallout 4 CK, Fallout 4 Test) along with INI files (in Fallout 4\INIApp, Fallout 4\INIDocs) and My custom Wrye Bash (Fallout 4\Mopy) in every directory.

I use NTFS Junction Points for all Beth games INI directory.
C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Fallout4\ -> Fallout 4\INIApp
C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\My Games\Fallout4\ -> Fallout 4\INIDocs

When I want to play FO4 I use "Fallout 4" directory and when I want use CK I use "Fallout 4 CK" directory.
I change the directory names
Fallout 4 -> Fallout 4 Game
Fallout 4 CK -> Fallout 4
As the directory name changes I do not need to change/edit/replace INI files because they are in every copy of the game.
I have been using this system since Skyrim (2011) which almost eliminated my problems with the stability of CK or game.

Fallout 4 Meshes...
Fallout 4 meshes are one for which Beth has provided plugin (I omit Morrowind) but as always, do it yourself and at the same time they are one of the worst done out there.
The number of people who know how how properly do meshes is small, this is due to the lack of support/guide from Beth for doing them and many guides that are wrong.
This is the result of my experience based on the analysis of several hundred meshse for FO4 (~600 modifications)

If something is not clear let me know, my English is not very good.
That's why sometimes I have problems expressing what I know/think.

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