Arcane University: Nif Implementation

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In Beyond Skyrim projects, 3D artists are expected to be able to export their own meshes to nifs, if they are simple enough. However, for more complex objects, like animated objects, or those with particle effects, it may fall on an implementer to bring this into Skyrim. Other partner projects of the AU may have the entire responsibility of bringing a mesh from fbx to in-game fall to the implementation team. Therefore, the first thing you should know is how to export to nif from a 3D program or from a predefined format like fbx.

Other subjects covered will be:

  • animation
  • polishing (UV, shader faces, tangent spaces, sanitize, correct names...)
  • special effect nodes

For the basic process of asset implementation, see Intro to Asset Implementation

Nif Overview[edit]

Nif files are much more than models. They also include properties and attributes which define how the model interacts with the game world physically. A detailed reference guide for nifs is available at the NIF Data Format page. Here are some pages focusing in on specific aspects of nifs:

Nif properties[edit]


  • UV map fixes
  • The common sanitize spells
    • update tangent spaces
    • renumber NiTriShape objects
    • fix incorrect names
  • Change structure of nodes (add / remove nif nitrishapes to have additional effects or only parts of an existing mesh available)
  • Change scale

Specific topics tutorials[edit]

Volume physics[edit]

Surface rendering[edit]