This tutorial is going to provide some basic information on what modular armors are and how the user can easily customise them using the program Nifskope.
If you know of armors that are modular, feel free to mention them in this thread so people can find them!
OVERVIEW / TL;DR
Part 1: remove armor parts
Open armor_0.nif in Nifskope
right click the parts you want to delete in the right pane
Block > Remove > OK
repeat for armor_1.nif
Part 2: make armor revealing (aka show the schlong)
find the NiTriShape SAMRevealing in the left pane and expand
left click BSLightingShaderProperty
find the Alpha value in the lower pane and set it from 0 to 1 (0= invisible, 1 = opaque)
save changes (also in both *_0.nif and *_1.nif)
SLOW AND CLEAR
I. What do you mean, 'modular'???
In the vast and exciting world of Skyrim modding, an armor set that is described as 'modular' usually consists of several pieces of armor that can be equipped individually in-game. While that is cool and all, it is not the kind of modular we mean in this tutorial.
In the context of SAM, "modular armors" are armors that appear as one single equippable item in-game but have been 'cut up into pieces' for external editing. The idea is that you can hide or delete the armor parts you don't want to create armors that are as revealing as you want them to be. Not many of these modular armors have been created, but for the few modular armors that do exist, this tutorial will teach you how to make use of their unique feature.
The only way to identify if a piece of armor is 'modular' in that sense is to open it in a program like Nifskope and check.
This is what a non-modular armor looks like when you open it in Nifskope. The whole armor is one big shape that can't be edited without extensive know-how.
And this is what a modular armor looks like in Nifksope. The armor is split up into several shapes that can easily be edited independently from each other even with little know-how.
II. Getting ready to do the thing
The only tool you need to edit modular armors is Nifskope. The latest build at the moment of writing is 2.0 Dev 7. Some people prefer older builds, but it doesn't really matter for our purposes. Download the archive, unpack it to wherever you fancy and Bob's your uncle.
Next, we need some modular armors to actually edit. The most prominent ones are the originals by Vector. They are available on SAM's main download page.
Download the archives, unzip them and locate the main armor files. Alternatively, install the files with your mod manager of choice first and open them afterwards through your mod manager.
The files we want to modify are the cuirass/armor meshes. Boots, gauntlets and helmets don't matter for our purposes, so simply leave them alone. Also, notice that there are two files of everything, a *_0.nif and a *_1.nif . This is necessary for SAM to function correctly. Thus, if we make changes in one of the files, we need to make the same changes in the other file as well to retain functionality.
III. Do the thing
Note: What we are going to do to the .nif files is irreversible, so you should keep a back-up copy of the original files in case you are unsatisfied with your edits or want to switch back and forth between them.
Now, let's start by editing the Daedric cuirass as an example. It is located at
1. Open daedriccuirass_0.nif in Nifskope. It will look something like this:
Note: The funky colors are Nifskope 2.0's way of telling you that it is unable to find the armors' textures. If they bother you, click on the light bulb in the upper tool bar and then on the icon that shows a grey checkerboard to make everything appear as grey. In older versions of Nifskope, everything will be displayed as grey from the get-go.
2. Right click on the part of the armor you want to remove. In the menu that appears, go to Block > Remove . Click OK if a warning appears and the shape will be deleted. Repeat with all armor parts you want to remove. Note that in this particular armor, the glowy parts are also individual pieces, so don't forget to delete them as well if you remove the meshes underneath or they will float in thin air later in-game.
3. Save your changes. Then close daedriccuirass_0.nif and open daedriccuirass_1.nif.
4. Delete the exact same parts you deleted in daedriccuirass_0.nif. Save and close.
5. If you edited the files before installing them, repack everything to a new archive, give it its own name and install it like you would any other mod.
And that's it, you successfully customised a modular piece of armor. Again, deleting the meshes is irreversible, so always keep a back-up copy of the original, unedited file.
IV. Make modular armors revealing
If you want these armors to be revealing, just deleting the underwear mesh won't be enough. A few extra steps are necessary to let it all hang out.
1. Delete as many armor parts as you like following the steps above. Notice that you don't need to remove all shapes that cover the crotch area for this to work, but the schlong might clip through anything directly in front of it.
2. Once you are satisfied, look at the left pane and find the NiTriShape SAMRevealing. Expand it by clicking on the little arrow next to it and left click on BSLightingShaderProperty.
3. In the lower pane, find the Alpha value. Left click on the numbers and set them from 0 to 1 (0 = invisible, 1 = opaque)
4. Save your changes. Don't forget to make the same edits in both the *_0.nif and *_1.nif files.
Note 1: If the piece of armor you are editing doesn't have a SAMRevealing node, it can't be made revealing with this method. In that case, you may want to ask the mod author for help.
Note 2: If there are gaps around the schlong when you equip your edited armor, the file is probably faulty and you may want to try a different mod or ask the mod author for help.
And that's it! One last thing to note is that you don't have to delete the armor parts. Instead, you can do the same thing we did with the SAMRevealing node: click on the armor part you want to edit in the left pane, go to its BSLightingShaderProperty page and set the Alpha from 1 to 0. If you do it this way, you can easily reverse your edits. The downside to that is that not all armor parts have a BSLightingShaderProperty page attached to them, so it doesn't always work.