This tutorial is going to show you how to create your custom holotapes with custom recorded voices and subtitles.
This tutorial is for both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.
- G.E.C.K. (FO3 or FNV)
- Audio editing program
Before starting is good that you know what audio format is best to use. G.E.C.K. supports WAVE, OGG and MP3 audio formats, but for dialogues the better solution is OGG Vorbis because it seems the engine have some difficulties loading up the other formats taking more time to load the sound file.
The Ogg must be 44Hz, Mono 128kbps for best performance vs quality. You don't need to apply any radio filter to the sound, all filters are menaged by the engine itself adding it automatically, so if is a holotape voice the engine will apply the radio filter in without any further editing of the audio file it self.
What we are going to do now is to create a simple holotape with two entries.
1 - Setting up the holotape entity
2 - NPC and Voicetype
3 - Adding Topics
4 - Audio files and folder structure
5 - Sample file
6 - Conclusion
 - Setting up the holotape entity
Open up the G.E.C.K., load the FalloutNV.esm going to File/Data and after loading save immediatly your addon, the name of the addon is important because it will be the name of your root directory for the audio files, so for now let's call it MyHolotape.esp.
After saving and having all the G.E.C.K. windows setted up, go to the Object Window, on the left column go to:
On the right column of the Object Window now you will notice a long list of holotapes entities. Those are the default ones of the main game.
What we are gonna do now, is to duplicate one of the default. So select one of the holotapes, click once on it and you will be able to rename it. Here again naming is important because you want to find it easily when putting the entity ingame. So for our tutorial write aaaMyHolotape.
A message window will popup asking you to create a new entity duplicate of the first, click yes.
Now you will have your holotape without replacing any of the default one in the list.
Q: Why duplicating the entity and not creating a new one?
A: Because creating a new entity will not associate any model and icon to it and you would unpack the game archives to extract the models as the editor can't look into compressed archives, so duplicating it you will have automatically the associated model and icon of the original entity.
After your entity is created, right click on it and select Edit, it will pop up a new window with all the holotapes features.
Name: This is the name that will show up in the Pip-Boy, you will see that already have one, because of the duplicate entity. Let's change it on whatever you want, for this tutorial I'll put My Holotape.
ID: This is the entity ID that you wrote before, you can change it in any time, but for now leave it as it is.
Model & Icon: This is how the holotape will look in the game, the model is the actual model you an see before picking it up, the icon is the picture that will show up in the Pip-Boy and containers before picking up. Don't touch it.
Note Type: This is the type of note that will be shown in the pip-boy.
Sound: It will play a normal sound.
Image: It will show an image.
Text: Text only note.
Voice: It will play voice lines along with subtitles.
For our purpose we are going to select Voice Type.
Owner Quest: This part for now can be skipped this is used only on quest related holotapes where you can put a certain character trigger a quest using this note and have the NPC as owner of the holotape, this is not important so can be skipped.
Pickup Sound: You can put your own sounds for pickup of the holotape, this is not really needed as the game will play automatically default sounds, so you can put new sounds only if you want to overide the default ones. For now leave it as it is.
Note Data: This part will change depending on what Note type you selected, if is a sound note, you will have a button to select the sound if is Image type, you wwill have a button to select a texture, if is Text type, you will have a white space where you can write the text, if is Voice Type (the type we are going to use for this tutorial) you will have two options menus, Speaker and Topic.
So for now leave the Speaker and Topic options as they are we are gonna to change them later.
 - NPC and Voicetype
The folder structure for the voice lines can't be decided by the user, the engine uses voice types, npc names as reference for the folder structure. This can't be changed so plan carefully your naming.
First we will have to create a new voice type, this have no purpose other than having a unique folder to put our audio files. Is important for organization.
So on the top menu, up the icons, go to:
It will open a new window, we need to put a new entry under Editor ID, right click under Editor ID and select New. Here we can put a new voice type ID, for our example we will write for now aaaMyHolotapeVOICE. After creating it on the right side of the window you can put if the Voice type is male or female, this is important if you want to script some dialogues regarding gender. For our tutorial is not important, so leave it as it is.
With the Voice Type done we are gonna create the owner of this voice type that works also as invisible speaker of the holotape.
On the Object Window go to:
Right click on the right column on under Editor ID, and select New.
A new window will popup, you need only few things for this tutorial, one is the Editor ID name, this is really important as explained early, for the folder structure. I called the ID aaaMyHolotapeNPC. On the right part of the window you will see Voice Type, select it and scroll up until you find your custom voice type and select it. The rest of the options in this window are not important for now, so you can click Ok and close the NPC window.
You have created your invisible speaker for the holotape.
Q: Why creating a new NPC and Voice Type?
A: As explained the engine doesn't allow the user to create a custom folder for where to put the audio files, but instead it will put a folder structure depending on the Addon, NPC and voicetype ID name that you will have to follow in order to make the audio play ingame.
 - Adding Topics
Now the very important part, the subtitles and audio menaging.
Fallout 3 and New Vegas uses Quests as "containers" dialogues, so what you have to do is to create a new quest, to do so go to the Object Window and:
On right column under Editor ID, right click and select New. Here again we have to give the qust ID a name, I call it aaaMyHolotapeQUEST, and check Start Game Enabled which mean that the quest will be active and ready to go if triggered.
Now on top of the quest window you will notice some buttons, the one we are gonna use is Topics, so click on it.
You will see some tabs and check boxes, don't worry we are not gonna use all of it, we need only few things.
On the right column under Editor ID, right click and select Add Topic. Another window will appear with a list of topic, we don't want to use the default ones, but instead right click on the list and select New. Now you can write the ID of a new Topic, I called it aaaMyHolotapeTOPIC. Select it with one left click, and the other tabs will ungrey.
Now that your topic is created you will see it under the Editor ID of the Topics list. Now we can create our text for the holotape that will be shown as subtitle ingame.
On the right part of the window under Topic Text, there is Info. Here right click and select New. Here will appear the New Response window, for now you need only the first tab where is written Response Text. You will notice that the limit for the text is 250 words, this is because the subtitles space ingame, so plan before writing the text, you can subdivide the holotape in more parts that will be played in order.
So write any text you want and click OK, it may appear a window asking you if the grammar of the window should stay like it or you want to correct, just ignore it.
Now we have our new text in place. Now the Topic want to know who is the speaker, and this where our NPC come in use. Keepeing selcted the Response Text go down under conditions, right click on the tab and select New, the Condition Item window will appear, we need only one button, the INVALID button. Click on it and search your NPC ID, select it then click on OK in the Condition Item window.
Now the game know who is the speaker of the note and can formulate a folder structure for the audio files.
Before going through audio files we will see how to add another part of text for our holotape.
To make a text appear after the first in the same holotape you need to add another Response Text, but not again under Info tab, but in the middle tab under Response text. You will se there the previous response, right click and select New there. Another Response text will appear where you can put your second part of the holotape, write something and click OK.
This time you don't have to assign a condition as it keeps the previous one.
You have now created a two paragraphs holotape, is time to put the audio in. In this case we have only two entries so we need only two audio files.
NOTE: Audio and Subtitles works together, when the audio finish the subtitle will switch.
Without closing the Topic tab, double click the first entry under Response Text, the response text window is now opened again, but you will notice some few changes on the bottom part.
Below Sound File you will see an entry with your custom Voice Type name and a Voice File name, and a folder structure, thats how you have to create your folders for the audio files.
So the Data folde it already exist, if you browse under your Fallout install directory you will see it, you have to add the rest. Create the needed folders, then to name the audio file you have to take the Voice File name which is the Response text tab above the folder structure. The file name is without extension, thats because you can choose what extension you want to use, as said at the beginning of this tutorial use OGG.
You will have to do the same for the second Response text.
Now you have to do the last step, press OK on the Topic window, and go back on Object Window to:
Right click on your holotape entity and click Edit. As you remember we left the entity with the Voice Type, and the two options Speaker and Topic to select. On Speaker now select your custom character and on Topic select your custom Topic. Then its done.
Place the holodisk ingame, and test it. You have created your custom holotape with voices.
Q: Why I can't name the audio files like I want?
A: Sadly this is an engine limit, no workarounds. I suggest only to plan carefully the naming of the IDs.
Q: Why the new IDs are named with aaa at the beginning?
A: This is for organization order, aaa will be always at the top of the list except when there are entities with numbers, but is usually more easier to find your entities without scrolling the whole list, otherwise you can use the Filter option at the top of the Object Window with a key word to find immediatly your entity in a certain category.
 - Sample file
You can download a sample file for this tutorial and compare with yours, this addon is for Fallout: New Vegas.
In order to edit the addon, when loading into G.E.C.K. make it as Active File uner File>Data.
You can reuse it as base for your mods without asking permission.
The sample Addon contain also a custom script to add immediatly the holotape on your inventory, you are free to copy the script for your own use.
 - Conclusion
This tutorial may sound complicate at the beginning but as for all things you need practice, after the third time you do it you will have no problem, I encourage everyone to experimenting with it and understand the logic behind all the options listed in this tutorial.
For any question you are free to ask with a PM, E-Mail or under the comments, I will reply as soon as possible.
- Nicola "Neurological" Capecci