As previously threatened, I've been spending some time working on the whole 'milking machine' torso idea. I think it turned out pretty well.
Going with a fixed chest size made building this a lot easier, logistically. Just had to use the original project to expand up a bosom that I liked the shape of- started with the SevenBase Bombshell preset and pumped up some sliders from there- which I then exported out to its own discrete .nif file, and used that as a base to build the milking apparatus around. It does still feel like a bit of a shame to abandon the Bodymorph functions, but all my past experiences messing around with this sort of idea had incredibly negative results when it came to applying morphs to tubes like these. Heck, even just the weighting can be kinda dicey. This positioning helps minimize it, but the tubes definitely warp a bit with motion at the base of the breasts. And I'm slightly terrified to think of what the nipple morphs might do to those nice new suction caps I built up, here.
I did run into a new iteration of a bizarre problem with using Outfit Studio to build this, though. When duplicating or mirroring the parts for the milker I would often notice that the colors would seem to sorta 'flash' as the changes were made. I didn't think much of it until I loaded up the test mod in-game, and found out that OS had, in fact, fucked around with a whole bunch of color settings for no apparent reason.
Many of the parts are darker than they ought to be, and on several the lighting appears to be 'backwards'... The latter of which being exactly the weird issue I was running into when building some of the ground models for the initial DMA release and the UNP Bikini project, and had no idea what was causing it then. The darker parts I did actually have a bit of a clue on. One of the more recent OS updates added some color manipulation features, including a toggle for the 'vertex colors' flag. For some reason or another some (but not all) of the Dwarven mesh sets end up incredibly darkened in-game when that flag is applied to them, which happens to be how the Dwarven Devious armor pulls off it's coloration. So having the clue from that I checked the properties of my duplicated meshes and sure enough, most of them inexplicably had the vertex box checked. So that was a quick fix, but I was still left with the backwards lighting. I had no idea what was going on there, but that same OS update added a 'colors' tab, which seemed like a place to start. Repainting the meshes with the 'edit alpha' brush seemed to do... something, and sure enough when I checked the results in NifSkope that apparently fixed the entire problem.
Still have no idea what's going on or why it happened in the first place, but managing to stumble into a fix for a potentially project-breaking issue is always welcome. I mean, I could've lived with the changed colors, but that backwards lighting did some weird things, especially with the magic shaders. It all just looks much better with that fixed.
This may not be 100% final, though. I tossed the 'bottler' together using the milk jug from Soul Gem Oven as an option of first resort, but I'm not entirely wedded to the design. I mean, it's good, but I kinda want to see what else I might be able to use for the jug, and find myself wanting to make it a larger element to match better with the scale of the rest of the parts. But this is certainly a start.
I might also try building a couple other sizes and shapes, as currently it's just this one fixed size for the milker top. I'm somewhat limited there by the pipe meshes, as changing the size will require adjusting most of the tubing. This shape happened to fit well into the arc of that existing Gilded pipe piece, but anything much larger than that would need a different solution. Although I could maybe do something with the tubing from the Rubber Facility if it comes to that. There are limits to what the Nordic mesh can handle, though. You'll see some other tests using the Manga body preset in the background of some of the above images, and while it's quite good at producing huge... tracts of land, their increased gravity quotient does no favors to the bottom of the substructure. So I'll have to play around with the morphs to see if I can find a way to counteract that should I want to do something similar.
With those other testers as the impetus for the tangent, I'm gonna talk about the textures in use here for a bit. Specifically the skin textures, and the issues I've been running into with them. I mentioned in the prior post the idea of using isolated skin textures for these, driven mostly by my intention to incorporate a vagina mesh into the new pelvis piece. Isolated textures particularly suit my purposes there, since I don't use vagina mods in my normal gameplay and the texture I've been using doesn't support them. Well, the most straight-forward way to alter a texture is obviously to just re-path it on the mesh, right? So I did that for these, pointed to a folder that I had dropped some vagina-capable textures into. And it worked great! ...for the pelvis. The breasts, for some reason, did not change at all.
I don't know if it's because it's a slot 32 part or what, but the game consistently displays the default skin texture on those parts instead of whatever the meshes are actually pathed to. Which is weird and annoying, but there's another way to do this that's less straight-forward but is actually more flexible: Texture Sets. These force the game to swap out the textures internally instead of doing it at the mesh level. That means you can only see the results in-game, and can't preview them in OS or NifSkope, but they do make it more practical to have different textures for alternate versions of the parts. Nice and clean version, beat up and stressed version, oddly shiny version...
I have yet to pick out one to be the 'default' version, but there's nothing stopping people from dropping in whatever textures they'd prefer to use into the folder, which was also part of my original intention for doing the isolated textures. The need to use texture sets regardless does put checking out how well some of the alternate skins I made for the -BAF- set would work with this onto my to-do list, however. But higher up on that list is figuring out how to get the game to stop applying skin tints to these meshes. Partly because I'd like to have these presented as truly swapped-out parts unaffected by the recipient's original race settings, but also because trying to use them on the beast races without race-specific texture variants just does weird, weird things, color-wise.
Speaking of the vagina, for now I've imported the one from the All-in-One UUNP mod. The whole pelvis is still nowhere near finalized... I'm not sure if the HDT even works, to be honest. I don't have anything set up for testing it, and might have to throw together a quick beta mini-mod at some point so someone else can check it for me. It's not really a priority just yet, though, and even if it's not 'functional' it does look pretty good.
For the moment I'm more focused on ironing out the kinks (aheh) with the milker and the tops in general, Although that caused me to go off on a... slightly different tangent. As you can see from some of the above images, I've used Display Model to 'mount' some characters equipped with the new chest pieces and the null limb sets as a sort of cyborg milk farm. This amuses me, but the Display Model furniture isn't really built for this use. The unused restraints sit empty, and the back-poles make it difficult to impossible to have any kind of back-mounted collector without massive clipping, as you can see below where I haven't really even taken it into consideration when building the milker's machinery.
So that's a bit annoying, but... There is something I can do about it.
Something very, very silly.
Yes, exactly that silly.
I guess you can call these 'pedestals'. They're built off of the B-Type spines and took hardly any time to throw together while I was half-asleep yesterday. They're also honestly kinda limited. Locking a character into a set pose via an outfit part like Devious Devices does is completely outside of my skillset, so these don't actually preclude movement in any way. Which... can look pretty silly in a completely different way.
So you'll have to use some other method to lock the characters in a stationary pose. Using Display Model's 'stay' command is one way, actually the only one I've tested out so far, and it pretty much works.
But it's worth noting that using the 'move' command to reposition your participants after telling them to stay seems to partially break the pose. They'll remain standing in place, so the pedestal effect is maintained, but they'll get their headtracking, rotation, and upper torso movement back. Which actually just makes the whole thing that much freakier.
Yeah, I'm totally doing it for shits and giggles at this point.
Additional Bonus: Exterior lighting sho... Oh, right, there's dragons in this game, isn't there?
That's gonna sting.