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Understanding Portraits in EET (& Possible Mod Idea)


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Hi all,

I've been copying a set of portraits to my override folder for years to replace companion (and some major NPC) portraits and make them consistent across all games and mods.

My set is:

  • High res & properly sized (for EE).
  • Lore accurate (mostly from Enkida's Portrait Pack).
  • Left facing - so everyone looks at the game window!
  • Complete for all canon companions in BGEE, SoD (untested) and BG2EE.
  • Complete for mod NPCs that also appear as non-companions in the vanilla games.
  • Includes alternate portraits for specific quests (Edwina, pink Xan, Boo-less Minsc etc.)
  • Has a few major NPCs (Bhaalspawn etc.) from Enkida/PPE/others.

Happy to share if anyone wants it. I started a list of artist credits, but it needs work, so I won't share publicly.

Now that I'm venturing into EET, it occurs to me that I don't know how EET handles portrait (and avatar) consistency. I see components in EET Tweaks for those companions that have multiple portraits but am unsure how they work.

For Imoen in particular, I prefer to have her portrait change with each game (and would love to do the same for other NPCs, showing them age, gain scars etc. if anyone has editing skills) but I worry that the consistency mods essentially just select one portrait and have no idea how EET deals with BGEE/SoD to BG2EE changes.

Questions:

  1. Can I still just dump all my files in override and have EET use them?
  2. Do those consistency tweaks force all versions of an NPC to use one portrait?
  3. Which one?
  4. Do I need to rename anything to have EET recognise it?
  5. Does EET deal with BG1 NPC cameos in BG2 somehow?

Finally, I'd love to contribute to a lore consistent portrait and avatar mod for EET and EE. At the moment I only have ideas and assets, no real modding experience/knowledge. Maybe this should be part of EET or EET Tweaks?).

Thanks for reading.

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Looks like EET_Tweaks sets all versions of a companion to use the same portrait, so it's best not to install it if you want portraits to change.

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18 minutes ago, 4udr4n said:

Looks like EET_Tweaks sets all versions of a companion to use the same portrait, so it's best not to install it if you want portraits to change.

Actually I would like it to be consistent, so it's good to now, it's working like that 😛

But your project looks very interesting.

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Hmm? It's quite straightforward - you just assign your custom portraits to the relevant creature files.

- If your custom portraits have the same name as the default ones, after you drop them into override they will override the default ones, and that's it. For example, make three custom portraits with names NAERIEL.BMP, NAERIEM.BMP, and NAERIES.BMP, drop them into override, and Aerie will use these portraits ingame. If you want to know the name of the portraits used by anyone, you can track the creature files down, maybe via the area the character appears in, or via their dialog file by looking up something they say in dialog.tlk.

- If you don't want to override default portraits and use custom names for your portraits, you either have to edit the creature files and assign your custom portraits to them, or edit their script and add a custom piece of code that forces them to change portrait. Heck, you can even make your own custom creature with a custom script and spawn this creature using the console and have the creature do the portrait change for you via script. I think this is way more complicated than this task needs to be, but this way you won't have to touch the original creature files or their scripts, so it's still an option.

- As for the naming rule, I believe the portraits' names can't have more than 8(?) characters and have to end with L, M, or S.

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4 minutes ago, ABlake said:

As for the naming rule, I believe the portraits' names can't have more than 8(?) characters and have to end with L, M, or S

I think I've read somwhere that characters limit for EE's is 7 not 8 as it's in vanilla. But don't quote me on it.

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I wasn't sure if EET_Tweaks would just use override and copy portraits, clearly it doesn't.

@ABlake Thanks. I'm happily using override and have a list of the standard names. My questions are about what EET does specifically, as it imports creature files from BGEE and may edit them. Also, various tweak mods change the portraits either by dropping alternate portraits into override, or editing the creature files. I want to understand what EET_Tweaks does and whether it uses the standard portraits or new ones, so that I can override the correct ones.

Basically, because my coding skills are shit, for now I just want to get a comprehensive list of all of the required XXXXXXX.bmp names for portraits for recurring NPCs across EET and major mods, and understand where they are used. This will let me build an override folder that replaces all of them with my lore-consistent set and optionally include the character development series I have for Imoen and others.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, 4udr4n said:

My questions are about what EET does specifically, as it imports creature files from BGEE and may edit them. Also, various tweak mods change the portraits either by dropping alternate portraits into override, or editing the creature files. I want to understand what EET_Tweaks does and whether it uses the standard portraits or new ones, so that I can override the correct ones.

Basically, because my coding skills are shit, for now I just want to get a comprehensive list of all of the required XXXXXXX.bmp names for portraits for recurring NPCs across EET and major mods, and understand where they are used. This will let me build an override folder that replaces all of them with my lore-consistent set and optionally include the character development series I have for Imoen and others.

I suppose you have a few ways of going about this:

-. Dig through the mod's .tp2 file (this may be the least efficient way)

- Browse through the images (I think it's safe to simply search for bmp's) inside the mod's folders, see if you can find the portraits

- Install the mod or mod component, launch the game, recruit the party member(s), make a save, then use Near Infinity to open the save and check the creature files and see what portrait files they're using

Edited by ABlake
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On 5/1/2020 at 3:54 PM, ABlake said:

-. Dig through the mod's .tp2 file (this may be the least efficient way)

- Browse through the images (I think it's safe to simply search for bmp's) inside the mod's folders, see if you can find the portraits

- Install the mod or mod component, launch the game, recruit the party member(s), make a save, then use Near Infinity to open the save and check the creature files and see what portrait files they're using

Done the 2nd, and the 1st is probably better and quicker than the 3rd, it looks as though several mods copy and rename portraits from the mod folder, so their name there may not be what they need to end up as.

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I don't know about the portraits. I think unmodded EET changes to the portraits that are common for the campaign but I don't know how. Maybe by switching the portrait name of the NPC to the one used in the campaign (for SoD for example the portraits have a BD prefix) like it is done for Anomen or per script.

The NPCs are realized as continuous NPCs. This means the way you left them in BG1/SoD you will meet them again in BGII. This also means that NPC who died will not reappear agin, except for I think Imoen, Edwin , and Xzar because they are quest givers.

EDIT: Does that answer your question or where you aiming at a more technical answer?

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Just now, jastey said:

EDIT: Does that answer your question or where you aiming at a more technical answer?

Thanks, getting there.

What I'm trying to achieve is to set each NPC's portrait, paperdoll and sprite appearance (and perhaps eventually class, kit, stats and locations as the code for these in other mods does not terrify me as I feared it would!) to be more lore accurate, and to be able to have their portraits change with each campaign.

In an ideal world this would mean being able to give imoen a (slightly) different portrait for:

  1. BG - IMOENL/IMOENM/IMOENS
  2. SoD - BDIMOENL...
  3. BG2 - NIMOENL...
  4. (ToB - currently no specific image)

I'd like to do this for every companion who occurs in more than 1 campaign, but Imoen is the one I have all 4 portraits for and who probably goes through the most change throughout the campaigns.

10 minutes ago, jastey said:

The NPCs are realized as continuous NPCs. This means the way you left them in BG1/SoD you will meet them again in BGII. This also means that NPC who died will not reappear agin, except for I think Imoen, Edwin , and Xzar because they are quest givers.

Hmm, do you know if the BG2 cameos are removed as well?

  • Ajantis in Windspear Hills (Will Keldorn and Anomen still say anything?)
  • Coran & Safana in the Forest of Tethyr
  • Faldorn in the Druid Grove
  • Garrick in the Temple District
  • Montaron - if dead, is Xzar's BG2 quest altered?
  • Quayle in the Circus
  • Tiax in Spellhold

Is any explanation given for Imoen, Edwin or Xzar (and cameos if they do) returning? It would be good for immersion to have some reference to resurrection or excape.

Are Mod NPCs also prevented from spawning if dead and would they usually have the same stats/kit/level as their earlier character (I would assume not, or that this depends on the mod author)?

There are mods for all of these to return:

  • Alora (BG2)
  • Branwen (BG2)
  • Coran (BG2)
  • Skie (BG2)
  • Kivan (BG2)
  • Xan (BG2)
  • Yeslick (BG2)
  • Shar-Teel (SoD)
  • Skie (BG2)
  • Angelo (BG2) (not originally a companion, but I'd like a consistent portrait!)
  • Caelar (BG2)
  • Irenicus (BG2) (can I ensure his NPC and companion portraits are consistent?)
  • Yoshimo (ToB)

Generally portrait changes for these mods is just about finding what they save a .bmp to override as and replacing it, which I can do/have done. More consistency than that may be a big ask!

P.S. Should I really be asking @K4thos or others these questions?

I'll (eventually) produce a mod to handle at least all of the portraits for the above within EET, and would be keen to collaborate to do more, or include anything I/we produce in either EET itself or EET Tweaks if appropriate/desired.

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11 minutes ago, 4udr4n said:

Hmm, do you know if the BG2 cameos are removed as well?

I think there's a misunderstanding here? EET does not spawn or "transports" any NPC into the next game that are not supposed to be there originally. You will not have one specimen of original NPC X in your group in Irenicus Dungeon because he was in the group at the end of SoD. This also means that no, EET does not remove any cameo appearances as they are the way the NPCs are meant to reappear in BGII.

14 minutes ago, 4udr4n said:

Are Mod NPCs also prevented from spawning if dead

No, unless the mod considers it. EET doesn't change mods' contents.

14 minutes ago, 4udr4n said:

and would they usually have the same stats/kit/level as their earlier character (I would assume not, or that this depends on the mod author)?

No, unless it is considered by the mod author as you already assumed. Currently, I think Breagar is the only NPC mod that has a "continuous" cre structure. My mods Grey, Brage, and Brandock the mage will too but they do not have official SoD+BGII content yet. Other mods, especially the ones that were written when the games were still separated work with different cre files for BG1 and BGII.

 

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1 minute ago, jastey said:

Hmm, do you know if the BG2 cameos are removed as well?

Wait, I think I misunderstood. You meant if the NPCs are dead, whether the cameos are removed then? I do believe so, yes, but I am not sure about Coran&Safana etc. I think Xzar makes an appearance in all cases because he is a quest giver.

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