Appearances: change the looks

Changing an NPC's default appearances (and adding more via AMM)

Summary

Published December 27 2022 by @manavortex Last documented update: January 06 2024 by @manavortex

This guide will walk you through editing NPC appearances for Cyberpunk 2077.

It uses the following versions:

  • Cyberpunk 2077 game version >= 1.6

  • WolvenKit >= 8.7.1-nightly.2022-11-04

  • (only if you want to add new appearances) AppearanceMenuMod >= 1.15

Wait, this isn't what I want!


Prerequisites

Links will give you additional context. If you can complete the guide without them, feel free to ignore them.

Finding the right files

This section will show you how to find an NPC's .app file, which you will add to your project. We do this by finding the NPC's .ent file, since it will be linked in there.

The .ent file

The NPC's root entity file is the entry point for the game. It defines an NPC's appearances, linking them to the actual definitions inside the corresponding .app file.

You don't need to add this file to your project (and if you do it by accident, you should delete it later). For details, see AMM: Custom NPC appearances.

You can try finding your NPC's .ent file on NPCs and their files. If you can't find your entry, the page has information how you can search for it โ€” please add it to the page, this wiki is a community project!

The .app file

The array appearances will contain a list with every appearance that's defined for this NPC, matching the key appearanceName in the .ent file.

Not all of these have been "published" (as in "hooked up to .ent files"). For an example of this, check base\characters\appearances\citizen\citizen__children_mc.app

The only thing you need to care about is the components array (learn more about these here). This is where you add, remove, or modify parts of an NPC's appearance:

The names of components should be unique so you can manipulate them outside of the .app file. You should generally stick to CDPR's naming scheme, including the prefixes (why is this important?).

CDPR's style of unique naming allows us to find components and their usage across the game files, which will come on handy when we're trying to add items.

This is where the magic happens.

Changing and removing components

Change items by selecting a different appearance or a different mesh:

Remove items by deleting their entries from the list or by setting their chunkMasks to 0:

(Safely) adding components

For a detailed guide on adding hair, check NPV: Creating a custom NPC - Hair

If you want to add a new item, first duplicate an existing one. After that, you can pretend that it is just another change:

And this might work.

Or it might end up leaving them standing in an exploded pixel cloud. In case of animated components, editing them will almost certainly break them (see Animations: if you can't avoid them, copy them as well!)

Anything of the type entGarmentSkinnedMeshComponent is prone to breaking unless you copy everything it needs.

Let's do itโ€ฆ

Step by step: Putting Johnny in Scorpion's vest

You need to find the thing you want to add in the files, check where it is defined, and then copy all of its components.

  1. Search for the mesh name of the vest that you want to use (e.g. ma_vest__high_collar*.mesh)

Animations: if you can't avoid them, copy them as well!

Anything of the type entAnimatedComponent means that components are animated. That's mostly the case for physics-enabled stuff influenced by gravity, such as coats, jackets, or long hair.

Physics gave us the atomic bomb. (It also gave us computers, but this is besides the point right now.)

Animations are usually unique to meshes on a by-pixel basis and do not react kindly to edits or swaps. (Try splitting the obi from Saburo's kimono into its own submesh if you don't believe me).

If you copy an animated component (e.g. Johnny's vest), then you need to copy the corresponding entAnimatedComponent as well, or the mesh won't move.

If you delete a physics-enabled component, you can safely delete the corresponding AnimatedComponent.

Adding new appearances

Adding new appearances to an existing NPC requires you to overwrite that NPC's .ent file (see AMM: Custom NPC appearances). For that matter, it's recommended that you create a new entity instead. You can find a guide for this under AMM: Custom NPCs.

Troubleshooting

My new component won't move at all!

You may have forgotten to copy the animation file. Look for an entAnimatedComponent inside the .app โ€” they're usually called something like xxx_dangle(s) or collar. (See here)

If it's a clothing item not moving, check the skinning array for the component and make sure the bindName is set to root. If you swapped out a component for something else, you also might need to update its matching entry in AppearanceVisualController -> appearanceDependency. But don't do that unless necessary.

I added an appearance, but a random one is showing when I select it

That's what happens when the game can't find the appearance you picked. You're probably trying to add an AMM appearance. Check the spelling between your lua file with the appearance name, the mapping entry inside the .ent, and the appearance's name in the .app file.

For further troubleshooting steps, see here.

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