FALLOUT 4

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  • 19 February 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - GamerPoets - YouTuber and creator of awesome tutorials

    There are a lot of people out there who would love to become a YouTube personality, the thought of creating videos on a subject you love for a living is incredibly appealing. But with the satisfaction of releasing a well-received video comes the incredible amount of work, time, dedication and money that goes into it.

    This week we chat to GamerPoets, a YouTuber who began producing videos as an outlet for an event that rocked his world.



    Hey GamerPoets, many thanks for talking to me today. I guess the first thing we should find out is a little bit about you?

    Well Paul, I’m 6’2, 33 years old, have dirty blonde hair and green eyes that change colour and I like long walks on the shores of Dawnstar. I’m a gamer, a poet, a person who has experienced a lot from all ends of life and I have decided that the modding community is the best of all of it.

    Have you always grown up with consoles and computers? What got you into gaming?

    Consoles yes. Computers… not even close. One of my earliest memories was beating ‘Super Mario Brothers’ and seeing my sister annoyed that her little brother did it before she did. I was 2 or 3 years old. I use to tell my family, “Look! I’m in a different world!” (my uncle reminds me of this frequently). Apparently, I still am (in a different world).

    My first computer came when I was a sophomore in highschool. I used it to bootleg CD’s and create my own music with it (kids, don’t try that at home, no one wants CD’s anymore I mean, it’s wrong to do). My parents thought it was for school, ha ha!

    The first time that I used a PC for gaming was a year before GamerPoets was created. I was tired of my PS3 Skyrim save file becoming bloated over and over again, stealing/pickpocketing every item between Riverwood and Whiterun was forcing me to start a new game due it not loading. I searched for an answer to my problem. I found Nexus Mods. Saw some water mods by SparrowPrince (OpticShooter) and Laast (I think!) and decided it was time to switch to PC.

    So apart from gaming what are some of your other hobbies?

    Wait… I’m allowed to do things beyond gaming? I’m actually just getting back into the sunlight regularly for the first time since starting the channel. I’ve gained 45 pounds since I became a YouTuber due to more and more GamerPoets work and less and less activity beyond it. Folks, get yourselves outside from time to time. I spend a few days doing cardio in the gym to get my health back on track (not always easy having agoraphobic tendencies). I love to cook. I love gardening. Hiking used to be a favourite of mine, but I’ll have to get back into that this Spring. Good books (actual paper in my hands). Though most of my non-GamerPoets time is spent with my girlfriend, dogs and family.

    Where did the name GamerPoets originate?

    I actually had no intentions of making gaming the main staple of GamerPoets. I was doing a lot of open mic poetry at local places as well as recording a few local artists for fun (vocalists, singers/rappers). The name was going to represent my initial intention of having a personal outlet for poetry with the occasional gameplay video. PoetGamer didn’t have quite as nice a ring to it as GamerPoets does. Not only did I not intend to have a full on gaming channel I also didn’t intend for much to come of it… well…

    GamerPoets would suggest more than one person, do you have a team of people?

    I’m always looking to the future. I initially thought that I would get other poets to create content with me but the gaming side of things unexpectedly took off and became consuming. As far as content goes I create everything that you see on the channel. I was being proactive with the name.

    Joe (sjoert) “of GamerPoets” is the mod author of Skyfalls and Skymills. He helped me build my first gaming PC (the previous one was built by a former friend) via a skype chat. He also helped me to learn (and love) a lot about the modding community, to create a home computer network, he taught me a lot about modding in general and is always there to help me with technical issues in between his family time and being a doctor. From time to time he also edits the tutorial scripts that I write for videos as well as give me lore and story feedback. We started talking after I created a second showcase for Skyfalls.

    I’ve had a few others help out over the years. RaccoonImperialist gathered the video footage for what use to be ‘The Assembly Line’ (a short attempt at a mod showcase series). Vohin Gaming helped with some video footage (I may have spelt the name wrong). Sleggo has created some mods and still helps to maintain our facebook page when I’m absent from it (Dustin use to help with FB as well) and there have been a number of people (Alicia, Dre, others) that for short periods of time helped with comment responses on the videos. I like to respond to as many comments as possible. Ven is helping with some template ideas for potential projects and Ed and I sat down a few times over the span of a few weeks refining the tutorial descriptions in recent months.

    This past Fall I tried to branch out to the community to get help with creating some content as spending so much time on a single video takes away from the ability to upload a lot of content, it would be nice to take a break sometimes without feeling as though I’m letting the viewers down. The response was way more than expected. More than 20 people across the globe wanted to help with video creation. Being a crazy person I tried to have all 20+ on board. I set up various Skype chats that spanned nearly 40 hours a week for close to 2 months. Due to taking on more than I could handle, being overly nit-picky about the end product and dealing with day to day anxiety it didn’t work out. I even took a month off from creating content afterwards. I burned myself out. However, they all showed me that GamerPoets is definitely something worth keeping around. I’ll never quit the channel and they confirmed that for me. They also helped me to learn a lot about myself. I will be forever thankful to all of them.

    When did you decide that you were going to set up a YouTube channel?

    It’s a touchy subject that I’ve expanded upon for some but perhaps the full details are a bit too explicit for this chat. The summary of it is that sometime between Christmas 2013 and New Years 2014 I was robbed in my home. Two kids with masks and guns broke through my front door and without being too detailed they robbed me of what was roughly two years worth of savings. I spent the next month or two doing nothing but staring out of my window wondering if they or someone else would come back (I didn’t sleep much). I was a bit traumatized to say the least. GamerPoets was my way of distracting myself from my thoughts and the situation in general. I never intended to be a YouTuber. I just needed an outlet at the time… boy did I get it.

    That is truly awful to hear and I’m sorry that you had to go through that, the only positive I can see is that it has led you to create the channel. What kind of setup have you created in order to pursue this career in YouTube broadcasting?

    It was a long and slow process to put together my setup. If it wasn’t for my friend Joe helping me to find the right parts at their cheapest prices as well as showing me how to set it all up (via email and Skype. He lives in Europe. I’m in the U.S.) I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it.

    Thinking about it now I’ve easily spent over $15,000 on equipment and software. It all started with a single gaming PC that cost about $2,000, which as mentioned, wasn’t even intended to be used for gaming but rather for music. That figure coupled with high internet speeds and general maintenance of things I’m still at least a year or two away from pocketing a single penny from GamerPoets. I know the question wasn’t about money but this stuff can get expensive if you keep trying to upgrade your quality and output. Here is a picture of my current setup:




    Current setup for audio recording

    If anyone reading/listening wants to create content you definitely do NOT need to have as crazy a setup as I do.

    Would you mind letting us know the type of workflow that you follow to create a video and the software that you use?

    Absolutely.

    Depending on the type of video that I’m creating I take different steps. If I’m going to make an RP (Let’s Roleplay) video I spend 2 days on video capture and editing. I then spend 2 days on audio recording and editing. Day 1 is just playing through the quest or segment at hand, making a lot of save points so that I have some references for potential cinematic cut scenes and Day 2 is bringing it all together. Day 1 of audio I take in pieces. I’ll record 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Edit the sound in. Add effects if need be (reverb for caves, so on). Then Day 2 for audio I’ll do some final touchups and add a bit of music where it feels appropriate to me. I also take notes randomly each day of the week if I get an idea for it.

    Regarding tutorials, it can take a while. My first step is to reach out to the mod or application authors and see if they would like me to create one. A lot of folks have gotten to know me so I don’t generally have to provide examples of what I’ve already done but I still do anyway. I have a specific style and I can’t step too far away from it so I make sure that they like it. If I get a response I then ask if they would like a hand in it. Helping me to revise the text structure, add things to it, remove things, so on.

    If I don’t know the topic I have to research it beforehand and practice until I get a good feel for things. I’ll spend a few days writing the entire tutorial out in text (with the help of the author if they would like to help or if they could be reached at all). Some tutorials (such as the current one that I’m working on for BethINI) can take a couple of weeks to work on the text and smooth it out. Even though I trust my resources I still have to test everything out on my own to assure it’s accurate as can be. Then when the text is finished I voice the entire tutorial, edit it into a blank video project so that it sounds good to me (fast enough for those who said my old style was too slow, but slow enough to be able to follow along or to use the pause button without missing important parts). Then I add in a very large template that I’ve created for video navigation. That takes a good three or 4 hours to update and adjust for each project.

    And then into the video.

    After the base video is finished I go back, add effects that enlarge pieces that I feel would help the viewer, add highlights (boxes that draw the eye to topics) everywhere that I can, darken the background if I feel that it will help to focus the eye, and some other things. I do this to help compensate for how quickly I cover specific topics so the viewer doesn’t have to guess at what should be looked at on screen. I also watch the tutorial at least 10 times over throughout the process to assure that things are flowing well as I go.

    After all is nearly said and done I go back a final time, add some text where needed, assure that new changes haven’t been made to the mod or application since I started in case I need to add more info or remove any, and try to add a few fun touches to it.

    As far as software goes I use Adobe: Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition. I occasionally use Bandicam for screen capture but generally, I record PC to PC using an El Gato HD60 . The audio runs through an Allen and Heath soundboard before it enters the PC and I use Event monitor speakers and headphones to edit sound. Recently, with the help of Joe, we’ve set up a mini-network using a NAS as a server in case we need to share files directly with anyone as well as to assure plenty of project storage for when it’s time to update older videos.

    Are you working on YouTube full time now?

    I spend 8 to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week on GamerPoets content in some form or another. That time is spent on learning about mods, software, writing text tutorials to turn into videos, reaching out to and working with mod authors and spending time developing stories for my RP (Roleplay) series. I’m always doing something for GamerPoets (even when I’m not). I’ve been putting this much time in since nearly the beginning.

    My output is less than other YouTubers because I spend a lot of time preparing content to assure that viewers get the best of what I can produce. The entire tutorial creation process generally takes 100 to 200 hours. A ‘Let’s Roleplay’ episode takes about 4 full days to comb over. I’d say it’s full time!

    How can I manage this without making any real income from it? I live on disability. I have Tourettes Syndrome, severe anxiety, pretty bad PTSD and some other fun things that I won’t bother you with, which keep me from being able to excel too much beyond my home. GamerPoets money pays for GamerPoets (Patrons and donations give way more than YouTube income does) and the kindness of some family members who have lent me money that I pay back in monthly instalments are what allows me to continue the channel.

    How have you seen subscribers increase, does it come in bit by bit or a steady stream?

    Whenever I add a big tutorial you see a sudden spike in subscribers. Generally, it’s a slow but steady stream as long as I’m uploading. Though, subscribers don’t necessarily equate to views with the type of content that I create.

    Would you mind walking us through a typical day/week in the life of GamerPoets?

    It’s pretty boring :). Monday to Friday I wake up late morning. Take my dogs out. Eat some breakfast and then I work on content until the lady gets home between 5 and 6. We’ll have dinner. Watch a show/movie/take the dogs for a walk and then when she goes to sleep I spend a few more hours working on content. Saturdays we try to get out and do something but I usually end up working half of the day on stuff again. Sundays I try to spend with family away from the PC (usually doesn't work out). Anytime that I can find to get myself to the gym now I do. Need to be healthy if I’m going to be creating content for another 40 years!


    Example of what a finished tutorial looks like in the project viewer

    This in an example of what a finished tutorial (the one found at the bottom of this interview) looks like in the project viewer. It gives an idea as to how much work I put into each of my tutorials. Each 'line' is a cut that I had to make, each green bar is a bunch of videos/images that have been condensed into a single piece to make them easier to manage as a single object. Audio is at the bottom in green wavs.

    Moving on to the more ‘secretive’ side of YouTube, would you be open to discussing how the monetary side of things work?

    Of course, I’m an open book. I’m glad to divulge information.

    First, if someone is planning on being a YouTuber strictly to make money I would suggest that a part time minimum wage job would be a better route to take. You would work 1/4th the hours, make twice the pay and have none of the overhead (Unless you like to create crap content and use boobs in your thumbnails. You might be ok then).

    To elaborate on things that I’ve already touched upon, an average YouTuber currently makes about $1 per 1,000 views. That can vary depending on how many viewers use ad-blockers, how many ads there are throughout each video, YouTube Red viewers and length of view time. The fluctuation for me, for nearly 3 years now, is about 40 cents per 1,000 views (So 60 cents to $1.40 per 1,000). Then you have to keep in mind how much you need to pay in taxes at the end of the year. I set 30% of the income aside to be safe and let the accountant handle the details. Without dedicated viewers pledging monthly or donating occasionally, there is no way that someone could sustain themselves as a YouTuber unless you one day “make it to the top”.

    Oh, and networks (the people who pretend to give you something in exchange for a percentage of what you generate through YouTube ads) are generally nonsense. Even the “best” ones don’t give you anything that you can’t get on your own. Don’t use them. Suffer the $100 minimum that AdSense enforces before you can withdraw money and do things on your own. Just make sure that you learn to keep track of what you make and pay your taxes.

    How do you deal with negativity on the channel?

    I’m a big guy. I break their knees .  

    I know that many “don’t deal with it” but I do. I block and ban people from being able to comment and from being able to see when GamerPoets uploads a new video. Well over 1,000 users have been blocked since I started. I have a lisp so trolls like to comment on it (very unoriginal, their lack of troll talent is almost disappointing) and the cursing and wishing that creators would die from cancer? I mean wtf? Other than your average troll sometimes you get someone who (“followed your directions to the letter”, “...to the T” “...step by step”...) doesn’t follow instructions properly. Or sometimes they have other mods that conflict with parts of a tutorial or didn’t install the game correctly or something else that has happened prior to the tutorial and they like to dump their stress on you. Thanks for trying to help, right?

    Negativity doesn’t bother me when it’s aimed at me personally. When I was a new creator it did. You get over it if you stick around. It does get annoying when I see others attacking viewers in the comments. People come to the videos to be entertained or educated and they don’t need to be harassed. I try to get rid of as much of the negativity as I can. Most members of the GamerPoets community and the modding community are pretty awesome, helpful and encouraging. Personally being a part of more than 45,000 comments, emails, pm’s and so on (yes, I view the numbers from time to time) I can honestly say that I love “this place”.

    Some will say, “It’s the internet. It’s expected. It’s not real life. Deal with it” ..and other unpleasant variations of those statements on this subject… but no. It is reality. When people are online they are more true to who they really are than when you encounter them in person. Scum gets bleached. I don't bathe in a dirty tub.

    If you had to name your top 10 YouTubers that you look up too, who would they be and why?

    I’m not sure that I have 10. I don’t know that I look up to anyone anymore but I do have some favourites.

    -DirtyWeaselMedia: for always being encouraging to viewers and to me personally. For always testing his information and going above and beyond to try to help folks with his tutorials and just being an all-around good guy. Sadly, I’ve seen his recent video and Cal is no longer going to be working on gaming content. I wish him the best in whatever he does.

    -Gopher: he is the first YouTuber that I ever cared to watch more than a couple minutes of. He’s a classy dude with a good personality and was a major influence as to why I started creating tutorials (and more importantly, the channel) when I did. He covers a certain side of things. I wanted to cover the other. Hopefully, I have helped in doing so.

    -CouchWarriorTV: A great bunch of guys who genuinely care about this community. I’ve been on podcasts with them as well as some personal chats and they really take their time to get across what this community does and what it can mean to people.

    -Slothability: he doesn’t upload much these days but he’s another caring soul. I learned how to properly render YouTube videos because of him. Just look at his name… fun guy.

    -Xuul: a YouTuber who goes above and beyond to create his tutorials and content. I’m learning a lot about modding Oblivion right now because of him.

    -Ze Frank: If you want to be inspired and or feel in touch with life from a down to earth person check him out. HIs content is old but relevant. My thought process is a lot like his and the few vlog like videos that I have on the channel (under “The GamerPoet” playlist... cough) are heavily inspired by his style.

    -DarkFox127: If you want some good info on using the Creation Kit he is your man. I may have to stea...cough..borrow some of his info one day.

    -HarryMurrell: is a classical guitarist who not only lets me use his renditions of gaming music in videos but he has also has created some personally for the channel, he sends me unreleased cuts for specific RP scenes and is considered a member of GP. Awesome guy. (content side note: if you hear another YouTuber's music on GamerPoets I’ve personally contacted them to get their permission and I keep it on file to be safe. I avoided a big copyright issue on the channel by having someone’s email saved. With that being said, I try to stick with Harry as often as possible. There are some other good folks that I talk with from time to time regarding music as well.)

    -Other than those mentioned I would say SorcererDave and Veriax are fun for LPs to me, Rycon Roleplays holds down the Roleplay community well, Hodilton and Brodul for showcases. I guess I really could keep thinking of YouTubers that I like for one reason or another but I won’t drag it out any longer = ). There are a lot of good folks in the YouTube world. Many just haven’t been “found” yet by the masses (GP included for the most part =).

    I would like to also say thank you to some mod authors if it’s cool: Zilav, Sheson, Mator the Eternal, MangaClub, Fore, Sjoert the entire STEP wiki community (all of which I’ve worked with at length on one project of mine or another for things they’ve created) as well as Brumbek and SparrowPrince for their support. Anytime that I’ve sent Arthmoor, Alt3rn1ty, Isoku, Chesko and others messages they’ve replied with good advice when my understanding may have been slightly off about particular subjects. Those mentioned and many others who I have worked with on my videos or who I’ve had long response sessions with over the years... If I look up to anyone in this community it’s them. Thank you for just being awesome people. I know that I’m beginning to sound like an academy award winner but their help has been truly appreciated and I just want to make sure that comes across. Many of us wouldn’t be here on Nexus or elsewhere, including me, if it wasn’t for people like them.

    You create tutorial videos (many of which I have sat and watched) and I am in the process of learning modding as we speak, what advice could you give a noob like me who is just starting out?

    TAKE….YOUR….TIME! Do not install 50 mods at once and think that things are going to work out. TEST….TEST…. TEST! … oh… and sorry for how long the videos are lol. Some like to complain about their length (even though I provide on-screen navigation for veteran modders to skip half of the video in case they know a lot about the topic at hand.) but most new mod users who complain about length will never “make it” in modding. You have to be willing to set up the game properly, prepare the game to be modded, and read everything that the mods you install provide. It comes down to patience and persistence. Learning to mod isn’t difficult it’s tedious. You aren’t installing official DLC. You are incorporating hundreds of individuals works into a single game and are trying to make it function and be stable.

    I spent months breaking save files due to not taking my time when I started out and I only really learned to take my time because I had to for the channel. It still took me another two years to really “get it”. And I do get it. Modding can be a pain in the butt… but… it’s worth it in the end (pun intended). For many people modding IS the game. The game itself is just a bonus when you’re done modding and that’s how you have to view it if you want to have 100’s of mods installed at once without issue.

    Enjoy the small victories. Get one or two mods working, get in game, walk around and make sure that you aren’t crashing, make sure that the vegetation isn’t dancing a waltz and that all your priests are fully clothed. Enjoy today’s accomplishments and stop rushing to emulate what you see in YouTube videos on day one (other than mine lol jk). You will get there. Like most things that are worth anything in life it takes time and eventually becomes easier. If you come across a mod that seems too complicated for you it’s OK to skip it. You don’t have to complain about it and or try to bash the author in a comments section to compensate for what you don’t yet grasp. You don’t have to install every mod that others suggest to you. Mod your game how you like. Have fun with it. I rather have 10 working mods than an unstable game with 100. Know your limits and “do you”.

    Oh… and there’s this awesome thing called Nexus. Use it. Ask questions. It helps… so does the STEP wiki. I try to answer as many comments as I can on videos but I end up referring a lot of folks to STEP because when it comes to certain topics they simply know more than I do. If you take your time to reach out to the right people you will learn to enjoy the community itself more than the actual modding. STEP and Nexus... GamerPoets would not exist without them.

    I noticed that you are now also creating written tutorials that are appearing on the site, can you tell us a little bit about them and why you have decided to create these while also doing your YouTube channel?



    I’ve always had to create written versions of each tutorial to assure accuracy and to avoid topic straying, but they have been less like guides and more like scripts for me to read and record. I would previously link to my google docs (in descriptions) for some videos to aid those who learn better from text but I’ve since decided to create full/proper guides in a format that I would personally want to see them in if I were personally looking for help.

    Every tutorial that I create will be able to be found on Nexus now (or rather, as I complete them) as I just feel it’s a more accessible option for viewers than the doc’s were. Almost everything on the channel is based on something from Nexus one way or another so it only made sense.

    What I’ll be doing to continue the interactive side of tutorials in regards to text is utilising the linking system to allow readers to click on section titles and view corresponding pieces of each video if they so choose. This way you can read the text but you can also see exactly what it is related to in video without needing to watch the entire thing. While text could easily take views (and more importantly view length) away from the channel (which means less revenue and even more personal time spent on each topic) I feel that it’s worth it to provide folks with another functional option. I was the first to build video tutorials around the idea of on-screen navigation and I figure it might be cool to try the same thing with text. In the least, it will provide those who already view the channel with more options. I care about those who support GP and the modding community as a whole. Creating content and these guides are something that I enjoy and ultimately that’s why I do anything regarding GamerPoets.

    When I first started modding, and even now, it was hard to find a lot of videos that told me exactly what I wanted and needed to know in a way that was customised to my personal learning needs. So that’s what I try to provide. Personalization for all as best as I’m capable. Coming back to Nexus to put the text guides up will also allow the community to help out, to give me ideas and suggestions and that will only make both the text and the videos that much better. If you look at the guide that I’ve added so far (just a few days ago, and more on the way) I’ve already credited 4 members for their comments. You might get credited even if you don’t want to. Sometimes reading what others think on a subject inspires me to evolve or change something without them even knowing it. Interacting with good people also just makes this a lot more fun. Sitting alone in a room in your house for so many hours each week can make you a little nutty lol. Being overly nit-picky about my end products and the coherence between each project makes working directly with others difficult if not impossible. The community being able to be heard in this manner, regarding what I create, will also help with my craziness = )

    From here on out, every video that I create will have a proper text guide on Nexus to go along with it and they will link to each other. Text will never replace video because if done correctly you can simply do too much with it to aid those watching in a way that you can’t with text. You just have to care enough and have the free time to do it.



    Is there anything else you would like to say to the people at Nexus Mods?

    Give me a job!

    This community is a special place. Yes, there are trolls and those who can be negative, but overall, there are more people willing to help, willing to provide their creations and time for free and who genuinely give a crap in some form or another than anywhere else on the internet. Treat it well. If it ever goes away or turns into the type of junk that you can find everywhere else online we only have ourselves to blame for it.

    Could you give any advice to someone who is looking to create a YouTube channel? What are some of the pitfalls? What are the perks?

    Create a channel because you love the content that you want to, and will be, providing. Don’t start a channel thinking that you are going to be rich and famous. Most likely you won’t be…. and fame can suck. Even when you only have a tiny bit of it.

    Give credit. If you worked with, got a response from or took an idea from someone give them credit. It doesn’t hurt your video and it will only make those whom you have mentioned support you in return. Don’t just leave a cheesy mention in your video description. Say in video, “Thank you to Gamerpoets for such and such…” “Thank you to this mod author because this and that…”. After the video is uploaded leave a comment to them (without harassing them) and make them aware. It’s appreciated and it will only benefit you. I’ve tried to drive viewers to a few places since I’ve started because I appreciated this.

    If people start looking up to you (and whether you know it or not some will) in some form or another you have a silent responsibility to them. If you ignore that responsibility you aren’t worth the content that you create.

    Have fun. Be yourself. Be honest. People will know when you are being fake. Understand and do those things and you won’t owe anyone anything. Don’t get caught up in what others expect of you. Stay true to your own expectations and keep them realistic. It takes a lot of work to create good content and it doesn’t necessarily pay the bills. And while you may not find riches, what I have personally found is a large community of awesome, caring and encouraging people. I’ve wanted to quit more than a few times due to how much work goes into what I do knowing that I probably won’t make a penny of profit until year 5 (if all goes well). I continue this because there are a surprising amount of awesome people from all around the world who appreciate what I do and encourage me to continue. That is where the rewards are. People.

    Learning the software that you utilise and always trying to improve your quality doesn’t hurt either.

    Thank you once again for chatting to me today and I wish you all the best with your future endeavours.

    I appreciate that, thank you for allowing me to ramble off half of a novel. It was fun.

  • 15 February 2017

    Staff Picks - 15 Feb 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    With Valentine's day only yesterday, we have all decided to give you something that we love.

    SirSalami loves a good hug every now and again, I have a love of Cola (which I really need to try and break off at some point), Terrorfox1234 has found a mod to appease his love of music production and JimmyRJump / HeavyEavy just love the additional playtime that Fusion City Rising has given them. Okay, they are tenuous links at best, but you're not here to read this part of the staff picks, so crack on below and see if there is anything that takes your fancy.

    We love to hear your selections, so if you have a mod you would like to submit to the community (not your own), please check out this new and handy form.

    Please fill out the form completely and ensure that you add some details about the mod and why you have chosen it (similar to how we have below). Just remember that other mods on the site may do roughly the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled and understand that these are just our personal picks. That said, hopefully, you'll find something you may not have seen before. Who knows, maybe we'll even learn a little about each other along the way.


    SirSalami

    Mod: Free Hug Mod - A mod for love
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: T3nd0

    Though it might be over, in honor of Valentine's day it seems a good time to bring back an old favorite. After all, there's never a bad time for a hug. Whether it's a platonic pat or romantic embrace, T3nd0's Free Hug Mod has got you covered.

    With this little mod, a new dialogue option will be available allowing you to hug it out with anyone. With each squeeze, your character can receive a bit of a buff, an increase to your relationship status with your partner, and an increase to your speechcraft skill. Why? Because a good hug is worth a thousand words. You might even find that a well-intentioned embrace can defuse an otherwise tense situation. In fact, I've heard that the best way to an angry Forsworn's heart, is an ol' fashioned hug.

    The best part? As the title implies, T3nd0 has ensured that these hugs are indeed 100% free! You can't argue with a deal like that! So get out there and get huggin'. Maybe even give Nazeem some love. He seems like he needs it.


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Workshop Musician
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: GroveMods

    This mod is a sound replacer that adds looping music samples and beats to the powered speaker. Using multiple powered speakers one can use these loops to create their own music in the Commonwealth!

    The mod is pretty simple right now, with only 18 new loops available, however, I think the concept is great. I'd love to see this expanded upon in the future, which is something the author has said they would like to do, pending enough interest in the mod.

    While it may be simple, I still got sucked into playing around with different loops and timing. Using the delayed starters and delayed repeaters you can come up with some pretty creative stuff. I greatly look forward to seeing more loops adds and perhaps, someday, some more control over how those samples are used and mixed.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Working Vending Machines
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: borjoyzee

    I've often wondered, why on earth I feel so compelled to collect all the pre-war money that I find blowing around the wasteland. I check every cash register, look in every drawer, open every possible hiding place and despite knowing that it's totally worthless STILL grab the money.

    So when I saw that borjoyzee had created a working vending machine where I CAN spend all my pre-war money, I just had to download it and give it a whirl. After the mod has been installed you are able to place working vending machines in any of your settlements. Yes, they do cost more than the simple decorative machines but come on, they do keep your nuka-cola nice and cold. As these are working machines they do need a fusion core to make sure they keep running so check you have a few of these spare. The cigarette machine however, is totally fusion core free.

    One of the nice things with the addition of one of these vending machines in your settlement is the boost in happiness, a nice little touch from the mod author. I just need to make sure my addiction to these sugary, carbonated drinks doesn't spill into the Fallout world else my pre-war money is going to dwindle pretty quickly.


    (Guest submission)JimmyRJump & HeavyEavy

    Mod: Fusion City Rising - Quest Mod Plus
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: Recluse and Thggysmurf

    This week, we had two independent submissions from JimmyRJump and HeavyEavy suggesting the same mod, Fusion City Rising by Recluse and Thggysmurf.

    As JimmyRJump describes it:
    Fusion City: an underground community larger than Diamond City with a mall, subway system, fight arena, hotel, university, player home, clinic, barber, laundromat, bath house, bank, grocery store, church, bars, restaurants, art gallery, residential district, shooting range, every type of vendor, and more.

    Provides hours of new content: New quests, new locations, new enemy factions, and new companions. The time to complete the main story line and all side quests will typically range between 10 and 20 hours depending on how much exploration you choose and how many terminals you read.

    HeavyEavy said:
    This mod is DLC level in size and content. Companions are fully voiced and fun to game with. They have some Great banter and chat. One is romance-able and She's pretty funny to have around. The quests are fun and intriguing and there is a ton of backstory and details. Very well thought out and implemented. I give it a 9 out of 10!


    Every week, we feature a few mods that have caught our staff's attention, as well as some that were submitted by you, the Nexus Mods community. If there is a mod you'd like to see on this list, then please check out this quick and handy form.

    If you haven't already, feel free to follow us on our social media channels where we'll keep you up to date with the latest site news, articles and much more.

     


    Thanks, and have fun modding!
  • 12 February 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - SmartBlueCat - Author of 'Inigo'

    Wednesdays 'Staff Picks' featured two exceptional follower/companion mods that were nominated by our users. One of these was Inigo, a Khajit follower with a great sense of humour and of course, Mr D. I got to chat with SmartBlueCat recently and found out some of the inspiration behind Inigo, where he draws his humour from and what we have to look forward to in v3. Enjoy.

    Hey SmartBlueCat, thank you very much for chatting to me today. To begin with can you tell the community a little bit about you please?

    I'm 36, I live in Glasgow Scotland, and I'm a freelance digital artist who also teaches art part time. I enjoy learning and experimenting with almost any artistic medium I can get my hands on. Over the years I've written music and fiction, worked as an illustrator/graphic designer, completed various video projects, and worked in CGI/animation. Modding is my most recent creative endeavour.


    I have to ask, where did the name SmartBlueCat come from?

    It was the first combination of words that came to mind when I created my YouTube account back in 2006. I like things that are smart, cats, and the colour blue. I should probably make up a more interesting origin story.



    Before we get into the modding side of things, would you mind telling us all a little bit about your gaming history?

    I first developed a love of gaming playing on systems belonging to friends. I played a lot of Atari 2600, Spectrum, and Commodore 64 in the late 80s. Waiting 15 minutes for a C64 game to load only to have it fail really helps you value your active game time.

    My first console was the Master System 2, which at the time came with ‘Alex the Kidd in Miracle World’ (curse that second castle level!). From then on I was a Sega guy until I saw a Playstation 1 running Final Fantasy 7, it looked incredible so I saved up and nabbed myself one. Later I moved to PS2, then finally to PC in late 2005. I haven't owned a console since.


    If you had to try and choose a favourite game, or at least the one you have the fondest memories of, what would it be and why?

    That's so tough! Can I cheat and give you a couple?

    Ico was a real revelation for me. It's a beautifully haunting experience. I'll never forget the moment I first took Yorda's hand and felt a tangible sense of responsibility. That was the first time I truly felt emotionally connected to a digital world and a companion. Ico makes you feel small, overwhelmed, and needed in numerous clever ways. To this day it has more heart than 99% of current titles.

    The Witcher 3 has to be high on the list too, somewhat predictably I am sure. It's an improbably good game. I can't remember the last time my actions felt so consequential within such a well written narrative. The character building, the art direction, the story, the mechanics. It's an embarrassment of well crafted riches, and in my opinion, the new high watermark for narrative driven RPGs.


    Thanks a lot for Inigo by Urshi


    Team Ico also released ‘Shadow of the Colossus’, did you get a chance to play that?

    Yes. I loved every awe inspiring moment of that game. It's a wonderful example of Fumito Ueda's design by subtraction. Those beautiful but sparse landscapes enhance the core themes of the story elegantly and without fuss. Very clever stuff. Ico hit me harder though. It feels like a slightly more focused experience overall.


    Considering ‘Ico’ is one of your favourite games, does ‘The Last Guardian’ tempt you to go back to a Playstation 4?

    Reviews are mixed but I'm fairly sure I'd enjoy it. It's not enough to tempt me to get a PS4 though. If I already owned one I'd certainly pick it up, but sadly I can't really justify spending that much money on an eleven hour experience.


    What were your first memories of playing games on the PC? What game did you start with?

    I remember playing the original Prince of Persia and Battle Chess on PC at a friend's house when I was very young. Later when I was in High School someone installed Doom and Day of the Tentacle on the art department's computer so a bunch of us would sneak in there at lunch to play. The first PC game that totally consumed me was Thief: The Dark Project. A friend bought it while we were in college and we took turns tackling it life by life after class. It's still one of my favourite games to this day. When I finally got a PC of my own I bought The Orange Box, Thief: The Metal Age, and Morrowind. I think I ended up missing quite a few work days that year.



    Okay, so I’d like to chat about your mod Inigo - where did the inspiration for Inigo come from?

    That's a tough one to pin down. He's not based on another character or person entirely, but various influences certainly play a part. A lot of his wordplay comes from a personal love of poetry and layered phrases – something I've played about with a great deal in my music. It felt natural to carry over that kind of writing to Inigo's speech.

    The biggest singular influence may actually be the character ‘Wolf’ from the novel ‘The Talisman’. Wolf's sense of smell, like Inigo's, allows him to experience the world from a unique perspective. There's a scene in the book where Wolf says he can smell that the main character finds something amusing. While Inigo and Wolf are very different in many regards, I gifted Inigo with a similarly intuitive sense of smell, expanding on the idea a little. Inigo can smell when you're unwell, when there's trouble, and can determine your inventory with his nose alone.

    Somewhat loose comparisons can also be made with his namesake from the Princess Bride – a deep sense of honour, a need for redemption, his scars, etc, but really Inigo is an amalgam of countless parts and ideas from too many sources to mention, many of them real-life experiences. To a large extent, he's also very similar to me. I love the rain, a good story, and wordplay.


    Just quickly, ‘The Princess Bride’ is one of my all-time greatest feel-good movies! Sounds like you enjoyed it too - if you had to choose, what would be your favourite scene?

    The battle of wits/Iocane powder scene is probably my favourite, closely followed by the To The Pain sequence. That film is pure brilliance from end to end. The book is wonderful too.




    Did you have a specific goal when creating Inigo? Did you have any previous experience?

    I'm a little ashamed to say before starting work on Inigo I'd never used a mod, let alone created one. I grew up without a PC and I didn't have the internet until around 2006 so modding didn't appear on my radar until quite late on.

    I always wanted to learn more about game design though, so when I heard about the Creation Kit I thought I'd try it out with the loose goal of creating a simple follower with a bit more dialogue and consistency than the vanilla options. I had enjoyed my time with the vanilla companions, but I guessed there was a lot more that could be done to flesh out npcs using the systems they used to decide when to speak and what to say. I wanted to add someone who had heart, who would repeat themselves less, and (hopefully) aid the player's immersion through their conduct and custom reactions.

    Inigo's presence as a person has always been more important to me than him successfully filling the role of a follower. Once I had the basics working I began to use the little knowledge I had to make Inigo more 'alive' piece by piece. Consistency and a lack of repetition were major goals from the beginning. Over time Inigo has expanded in scope, but his prime directives remain unaltered – stay consistent, don't repeat too much, aid believability.

    I also really wanted to build a personality that continued to expand under scrutiny, someone who opened up organically to players who showed an interest. This has become somewhat of a double-edged sword with players who use him casually often never really getting to know him despite travelling with him for months. I sometimes hear people who clearly haven't experienced very much of what he has to offer describe him as if he's just an amusing cat who's good in a scrap - judging the mod on this thin veneer instead of what lies beneath. This is fine of course, I never want Inigo to impose himself on the player, but his humour is a fraction of what defines him and if you get to know him his fears, doubts, and regrets soon bubble into view. Fashioning this organic character progression for people who decide to explore the mod more fully soon became another important focus. Over time Inigo's dark past and self-doubt hopefully re-frame his humour as something a little deeper, while also allowing me to believably introduce themes of loss, fear, depression, and regret, which along with various lighter topics hopefully help form a far more rounded personality. I really don't like number based relationship systems and I felt that by using optional branching conversations to gate certain sides of his character instead I could perhaps give the mod more impact while maintaining Inigo's believability. Unfortunately, this means that players who never choose to get to know him only end up seeing a sliver of the real Inigo. I'm alright with that though, it makes him more special for players who take the time to dig deeper.


    more than a follower by Lashdown10

    With Inigo being your first mod, you must of required some help. Which resources did you turn to in your quest to create your mod?

    In the beginning I was completely bewildered by the CK. I did some googling and eventually found the Deck16 guide to creating a custom voiced follower which really helped me grasp the basics. That said, it wasn't long before I ran into issues that were seemingly entirely undocumented. That's to be expected of course. We're all trying to make something slightly unique and we all come up against problems other people haven't encountered as a result. Rolling up my sleeves and jumping in feet first was the only option.

    I made regular back-ups and started experimenting, making huge mistakes more often than not, but also making progress. Later, when I finally realized that Nexus was a thing, I found the forums to be a wonderful place to learn from those with more experience. I still find myself checking the forums, the CK wiki, and various online tutorials from time to time, but for the most part it's trial and error... mainly error in my case. For every feature that ends up in Inigo there are two or three that never quite make it. A lot of people seem to think that adding a new feature is as simple as hitting Ctrl F. The reality is that a huge amount of effort often goes into the seemingly simplest thing and no one is born knowing this stuff. You need to put in the work and make plenty of mistakes along the way to get good results. In my experience no amount of tutorials or hand-holding is a substitute for getting stuck in.

    When I moved from traditional to digital art I learned in much the same way I later tackled modding – I did some research, rolled up my sleeves, and experimented. That was harder in many ways since I didn't have internet at the time. Instead I took to visiting the computing section of local book shops with a notepad and copied down things to try when I got home. I spent a few years making a series of thinly veiled audio/visual tests which were rough but taught me a lot and eventually led to paid work. Learning how to create Inigo has been a very similar experience, the main difference being that all my successful modding tests are housed within a single project. A companion can be a wonderfully accommodating canvas, especially when they introduce new areas, other npcs, and quests. There's always more I can add and learn.


    With Inigo being a fully voiced companion, did you advertise for a voice artist, was it a friend or did you take the part?

    I voice all the male characters in Inigo. He started out as a side project while I was in pre-production for a film. At that time he was just a personal undertaking I didn't think would go anywhere so I never thought about contacting anyone else to do his voice. I had never acted before but I had directed actors and written a great deal so I thought I'd give it a shot. The cadence has changed since his earlier versions, but the core of the performance was always there. I chose to give him a backstory that freed him from certain khajiit characteristics – third person pronouns, etc. This made him more fun to write and, along with the colour of his fur, gave him a degree of narrative latitude that otherwise wouldn't perhaps exist.


    Raging Flames by corpsehatch

    It must've required a lot of planning in order to get Inigo working correctly with everything, how did you ensure that he didn’t get in the way of the player and avoid traps, etc?

    Inigo has the same AI update time as any other npc, but a lot of people seem to think he's better at getting out of the way regardless. This may be down to him vocalising his player avoidance more often and politely. It perhaps gives the impression that he's more aware of your position. I also added the ability to move him out of your way at will with his whistle power. If you whistle when you're nose to nose with him it fires a scene that forces him to run away from your position until he's put 200 units between you. That probably also helps.

    Other than that, he has the ever-present ‘Light Foot’ perk used by most follower authors which prevents him from triggering pressure plates, and all of his hit/hurt lines are conditioned by health percentage- when you're sneaking he won't react to pain until he's been at least moderately wounded. This means that, for the most part, he doesn't signal when he's made a silly blunder behind you in sneaky situations.

    It all adds up, but I think a lot of the things that people positively attributed to Inigo are a side effect of his personality. For instance, I regularly see players commend him on lines I know don't exist, as if he's somehow gained sentience. Come to think of it, that would certainly explain a few things.


    Did you expect Inigo to become as popular as he did?

    Not at all. He's everything a popular follower usually isn't, and he requires an unusual degree of attention from the player if they want to get the most out of him. I never expected that he'd attract the popularity he has. It's been wonderful seeing so many people embrace him over the last few years. I've heard players say that he's a follower for people who don't like followers fairly frequently, so perhaps his differences are his strengths. Whatever the case, it was a complete surprise when he gained a following.


    Seems you are a jack of all trades (master of many), very talented indeed - gifted or hard work?

    I don't think of myself as particularly gifted, but in my experience, more often than not, talent is just a lot of sheer bloody mindedness and a need to push yourself and your work further. Natural ability is a factor, but a minor one. During my time teaching art I've encountered hundreds of children who perhaps have a greater amount of natural talent than their classmates, but no matter how gifted a person is most individuals quickly give up when the going gets tough. It's those who love the process enough to keep pushing themselves that end up maximising on their potential. It usually doesn't take long for hard work to outstrip raw talent. I'm not naturally very good at anything, but I know what I like, I'm my own worst critic, and I love what I do enough to keep picking myself up after each failure. I'm sure most people with a perceived gift would tell you the same. You don't get anything for free. I often wonder if talent is actually just grit and appreciation for the goal you're trying to accomplish. I fail as often as I succeed but I persevere when things aren't fun or going as planned and I try to say “that'll do” as little as possible.


    Do you have anyone that you can turn to if you ever get stuck with a certain aspect of a mod?

    Mostly I fumble through everything alone, but when it became clear I needed to move Inigo off the vanilla framework to give him the character consistency I wanted, I began working with a code specialist to help realize that and other more complex features that I wanted to implement.

    CdCooley has been handling Inigo's more hardcore coding since V2.1 and he's the first person I go to when I'm not sure if what I'm doing is the best way to do it, or if an idea is beyond my current understanding. In a lot of cases I'll run ideas past him for a simple yay or nay - “If I do X this way will I destroy the universe?” His contribution to Inigo is far greater than that though. He really gets what I'm aiming at and has added to Inigo in numerous little ways that greatly expand his believability. For example, ages ago I had thought about how cool it would be if Inigo got annoyed when you left him in a clearable area, complaining about it when you next met. It was one of many ideas that fell by the wayside over time... then months later CdCooley suggested a vastly better version of the same idea without me even mentioning it. After a brief discussion he created the appropriate framework so I could add Inigo's reactions factoring in location type and times left, etc. The guy's a genius, and, more importantly he really understands what I'm trying to accomplish with Inigo from a character standpoint. So, if there's ever a problem he's the person I go to first. I count myself very lucky to have him on my side.

    I also have to mention Eolhin and MonkeyMakesBrain. They both help out other users on the Inigo forums so I can spend more time working on Inigo, but I also run certain ideas past them every now and then. They both do the occasional bit of testing here and there too. They have become invaluable members of the Inigo 'team.'


    Thanks a lot for Inigo by urshi

    Do you ever check out other mod authors work, to either learn or gain influence from?

    Not as much as I probably should. Most of my influences come from areas outside of modding, through circumstance rather than design. I like to keep my data folder as clean as possible while I'm working and I'm almost always working on Inigo, so sadly I haven't had much time to spend with other Skyrim mods.

    That said, I try to grab a few weeks here and there every year to play with mods that pique my interest, but never for very long. I now mod Fallout NV and Oblivion quite a bit though. I keep up to date with Skyrim modding vicariously through YouTube let's plays and reviews for the most part. I can't wait until I finally finish V3 and can mod Skyrim properly!


    Even though you don’t mod your game a great deal, do you have any Mod Authors that you look up to or who inspire you?

    So many. The entire Vilja team for starters. I wasn't going to release Inigo initially - doubting anyone would be interested in such a character focused companion (not being aware of the Nexus, I only had questionable offerings from the Steam Workshop to go on at the time), then I saw Vilja and realized that there could be an audience for someone like Inigo. So the only reason anyone has met Inigo is because Vilja convinced me to release him.

    Emma, Amgepo, Lycanthrops and co have really created something superlative with Vilja. She's a complete trailblazer in terms of what a follower can do. When Emma contacted me about getting our characters chatting with each other I felt incredibly honoured.

    I also deeply appreciate CdCooley's work (not just because he increased the IQ of my cat) – In all his work he has this knack of artfully filling gaps in the game you never realized existed and his code is as clean as a whistle.

    Chesko is a genius. Every time he releases something I always think “Wow, that's clever.” shortly followed by “Why didn't anyone else think of that?”

    Darkfox127 produces content that is consistently imaginative and well executed. Caranthir Tower Reborn is a beautifully intricate yet robust masterpiece.

    Other honourable mentions would have to include the endlessly creative FadingSignal, the fantastically resourceful Elianora, and the astoundingly hard-working Hothtrooper... just to name a few.
     

    You mentioned CdCooley has taken over the hardcore coding of Inigo, do you still get your hands dirty on the code or do you concentrate more on the other aspects of Inigo? Do you have a team of people to assist you?

    CdCooley completely re-wrote Inigo's framework code in V2.1 and has contributed a great deal in that area (and others) since, but apart from that I handle all aspects of the mod and created Inigo alone until V2.

    I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to my creative work. I'm regularly called upon to be a team player when working as a freelance artist, but when it comes to personal projects I'd much rather learn how to do something myself than have to rely on a team who may not share the same vision, or who, more often than not, aren't ready to put in the amount of work I perhaps would. I do the everyday scripting, ai procedures, voice recording, texturing, writing, story, acting, area and quest design.

    Complicated coding remains beyond me though. I've managed to learn the basics and I'm slowly gaining more understanding, but I still find a lot of it prohibitively abstract, so I'm very lucky to have CdCooley to take care of that side of things if the need arises. My lack of ability in this area has however forced me to come up with some unorthodox solutions that, while probably not the smartest way to go about things, are certainly more fun for me than immersing myself in papyrus. For instance I'm often asked how I scripted Inigo's looting and unaggressive combat behaviour, when in fact his combat relies entirely on conditioned procedures, and his looting is essentially just a collection of X markers being enabled and disabled, then checked in dialogue with more conditions. Honestly, when you're as inept at coding as I am, X markers and conditions solve most problems.

    [img width-600,height=353]https://staticdelivery.nexusmods.com/mods/110/images/40960-0-1478299985.jpg[/img]
    Mr D thinks I am looking good in this armor by Falki

    Speaking again on CdCooley, I noticed he helped you put Mr D on Inigos belt in Skyrim SE. Was it easy converting Inigo over for Skyrim SE? Did you have any hiccups?

    CdCooley first implemented a wearable Mr D for the original version of Skyrim as a part of his wonderful INIGO MCM add-on, using the custom jar and dragonfly textures I had already created along with a variation of Chesko's torchbug lantern meshes (cheers Chesko!). When I was approaching the SE release he suggested we include that part of the add-on in the main file and he re-worked it to function without the MCM. This means that players can see Mr D on Inigo's belt by default no matter what platform they're using. In addition to this I added a number of new dialogue options and scripts that allow people to reset aliases, stop scenes, etc manually should anything go wrong. This way Xbox users, who obviously don't have access to console commands, have a way to fix Inigo if something goes awry.

    The wearable Mr D jar meshes were actually the source of the only real bug on release. While I was updating tangent spaces I missed a couple of the jars during conversion. This led to random black squares after certain fast travels, but that was caught by the community very quickly, verified, then fixed within 24 hours. Other than that the pc SE release was fairly smooth. I spent a great deal of time testing before uploading so there wasn't anything major. The Xbox version had a bigger problem though. I don't own a console so I couldn't test before release. Inigo lost all his lip files because the game couldn't read them on that platform. After some frantic searching and a few quick messages to another author (thanks again, robbobert!) it became clear I had to convert all his dialogue from xwm to fuz. This increased the file size but fixed the issue and everything was working properly within 48 hours. Phew!


    How do you take criticism from users? Do you find it useful or frustrating?

    Both. I embrace valid criticism and always do my best to fix things that clearly aren't working, but I go my own way when it comes to more subjective matters. I can't please everyone so I tend to make choices based on what I personally feel is most important. If I incorporated everyone else's ideas of what Inigo should be he'd quickly dissolve into a far less focused and watered down experience.

    I certainly get my fair share of nut jobs, trolls, and entitlement, and every day I spent far too much time quoting information already provided on the mod page and in the user guide video to players who don't pay attention, but all that comes with the territory. Overall Inigo seems to attract a particularly polite and thoughtful audience, and the little community that has formed around him is consistently supportive and helpful to newcomers.

    Seeing my work misrepresented (often with a heavy dose of faux intellectualism) bothers me far more than dealing with insults to be honest. People occasionally post outright falsehoods about Inigo – stating that he's pure whimsy, script heavy, lore breaking, etc. Of course Inigo isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I find it extremely frustrating when people fabricate reasons that don't exists to bash him. Sometimes these ill-conceived opinions snowball and then become fact for others who haven't ever tried him, which in turn leads to more work on the forums explaining why various silly claims are nonsense. All that said, what I deal with is probably nothing compared to a lot of mod authors, and overall the support Inigo gets from players who actually know him far outweighs the hokum.


    Do you worry about mod compatibility when you develop?

    Yes. From a purely practical standpoint it makes sense to attempt to be aware of what else is out there, how it could affect your work, and vice versa. Since so many people use mods which alter companions and add behaviours contradictory to Inigo's character, preventing their access to Inigo, then providing replacement features that better suit him became a priority early on. I try to support features from other mods whenever I can as long as it's something I can accomplish without personally creating patches (that's a bottomless pit). Inigo will comment on a variety of situations that are not possible in an unmodded game – followers on horseback, players not experiencing the vanilla intro, Inigo being invisible, etc. Hopefully these little touches reinforce his believability within whatever custom version of Skyrim a player chooses to play.


    Visiting the Thieves Guild by EmoryDelano

    Before we wrap up, can you give us a little glimpse into what to expect from Version 3.0 of Inigo?

    V3 more than doubles the current amount of content. It contains a lengthy personal quest for Inigo which takes you to new places, introduces you to a variety of new characters, and has several branching outcomes. I've had most of it figured out since V1 so it's wonderful to finally see it start to take shape. It's a massive undertaking and there's still a very long way to go, but it's the conclusion to Inigo's tale I feel he deserves and I hope that his supporters will be satisfied with the final result... if anyone is still playing Skyrim by the time it's finished. The screenshot below shows one of the new area's you'll be visiting.



    If you could offer any advice to our users who want to get into modding what would it be?

    Start small, back up often, have fun, and get stuck in as soon as possible. When you're new to all this it can be tempting to delay taking practical steps until you feel an idea is fully planned out, but this is often a mistake. You're mod will inevitably change in numerous ways once you gain an understanding of the tools and the best way to see if an idea is really working is to test it in game. The sooner you start making mistakes the sooner your work will improve. With Inigo I started by designing his look with only a vague notion of what his character would be. From there I focused on making him a follower and adding a few basic lines. He grew and became more defined as my knowledge of the Creation Kit expanded. I got to know him and what was possible during endless testing sessions. Only then did I start laying out more solid plans for where I wanted to take the character, but I never let planning delay my work on the mod. I knew from experience that if I waited until I thought Inigo was a hundred percent fully formed in my head before beginning I'd either never start, or I'd waste time changing a lot of it along the way when I came to the practical side of things.


    Thank you for chatting with me today it's been great.

    It was my pleasure. Cheers for inviting me to do this, and a massive thank you to all the Inigo supporters out there. Take care and look after Mr Dragonfly.
  • 08 February 2017

    NMM2 - Update and recruitment

    posted by BlindJudge Site News
    Back in October Dark0ne announced the recruitment of Tannin and the subsequent development of a new Nexus Mod Manager. Since then, we've been working extremely hard and while things might seem a bit quiet on our end, I assure you, we're moving at a great pace! I apologise for the lack of updates but, in between the site redesign and the new mod manager things have just been rather busy here at Nexus Mods HQ.

    Today I would like to give an update on the status of the project and also to reach out to our community for possible assistance, but more on that a bit further on.

    The new mod manager (name still yet to be decided!) has been in development since the beginning of August 2016. The initial process saw us spend extensive time researching which platform we should use to develop the application on. After a lot of deliberation, we have decided upon Electron. Electron made sense due to its cross-compatibility with Windows, Linux and MacOS; the 'themeability' of the platform and because it is open-source and widely known. Its usage of Chromium and Node.js allow the utilisation of HTML, CSS and Javascript to write the application, and this will then give us the ability to use additional frameworks such as React and Bootstrap. That may all sound a bit gobbledygook if you don't speak 'developer', but to provide a TL:DR - it's easy for us to develop on and ticked all of our requirements far more than other potential platforms.

    Around mid-September, we began coding, and by mid-October, we had a very early, pre-alpha "internal release." This was a quick proof of concept to answer some questions that we had - will this platform provide us with the power to create an amazing mod manager? Will it be able to be expanded upon by the community? Will we be able to add new games into the mod manager quickly? Well, the answer to all of these is a resounding "yes".

    At the end of November, we began to add in game specific features such as plugin management for Gamebryo games and LOOT integration. DuskDweller shifted his work full-time to the new manager after working mainly on the legacy NMM up to that point.

    Over the past couple of months, Tannin and his team have released some early versions for the rest of us here at Nexus Mods to try out and while it is beginning to function nicely, it is still unstyled and sparse of content - looking more “Hello World!” than powerful mod manager.

    Up until now, the look, style and general user experience hasn't been our primary concern. Not because it isn't important, but because extensive time and effort has gone into the underlying logic of the mod manager rather than the user interface or user experience. It's now time to bring that underlying logic all together into what we hope will be an extremely newcomer friendly UI and intuitive user experience for initial and beginner users, while also providing extensible advanced functionality for the more hardcore modders out there. A piece of software that caters to newcomers and experts alike.

    This is where you all come in.

    Like we did for the website, we would like to recruit from within our community a UX/UI designer. This person will assist the team in making the software not only function incredibly, but be a pleasure to use, intuitive, and great to look at. Below you will find the position we would like to fill and the requirements needed to fill it.

    Details on how to apply are below.

    UX/UI Designer required
    We are now after an experienced, passionate and driven User Experience / User Interface Designer (UX/UI) to work with our Nexus Mod Manager team on a paid freelance basis (to be negotiated), helping them to create an intuitive and robust system that will provide our users with not only incredible functionality but also be simple to navigate and instinctive to use. This particular role will require the applicant to have an understanding of design principles, user personas and of course, the various current mod tools that are available to users.

    Responsibilities:
    • Work with our team to create the UI for our new 'Mod Manager' from wireframe to implementation.
    • Provide visuals such as concepts and journey flows.
    • Provide advice and ideas to enhance the User Experience.
    • Provide own ideas while also adhering to team requirements.
    • Produce HTML and CSS for primary interface and additional themes.
    • The creation of a Nexus Mods UI style guide.

    Requirements:
    • A team player with a sense of humour
    • Previous professional experience within a UI/UX position.
    • A thorough understanding of how a user interface is essential to a smooth user experience.
    • Excellent knowledge of HTML, CSS and Javascript - including experience with either SASS or LESS.
    • Be an expert of known design packages such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch and prototyping tools such as Balsamiq, Marvel or Invisionapp.
    • Excellent organisational skills.
    • Strong communication skills both verbally and written (English).

    Preferred:
    • Experience with React
    • Experience with Bootstrap
    • Lives in Europe, east coast US or similar time zone.

    To Apply:
    In order to apply, please send an email to jobs@nexusmods.com with the subject of "UX/UI Designer Application" detailing why you would be suitable for the role, attached to this email we would also like:
    • Your up to date CV / Resume 
    • A quick wireframe, sketch or mockup example of your vision for the 'Mod Page' in the mod manager. The "Mod page" is the page that displays all the mods the user currently has installed or downloaded (the mods tab in NMM). 
  • 08 February 2017

    Staff Picks - 8th February 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    This week, we have all gone back to playing two of the classic Bethesda games, Fallout 4 and Skyrim. SirSalami wants to be able to choose for himself what spells (if any) that he starts his playthrough of Skyrim with, TerrorFox1234 is doing a little bit of spring cleaning around his settlement and has challenged everyone to a 'Power Armor Display Off *', and I have been busy trying to make Diamond City that little bit more attractive and inviting.

    We have two guest picks this week that have both chosen follower mods. They are both cracking companions and if you enjoy company within your game, I strongly advise you check these two out.

    We love to hear your selections, so if you have a mod you would like to submit to the community (not your own), please check out this new and handy form. Please fill out the form completely and ensure that you add some details about the mod and why you have chosen it (similar to how we have below). Just remember that other mods on the site may do roughly the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled and understand that these are just our personal picks. That said, hopefully, you'll find something you may not have seen before. Who knows, maybe we'll even learn a little about each other along the way.

    *Terrorfox1234 hasn't challenged anyone to a 'Display Off', but I really think this should happen...

    SirSalami

    Mod: TrueStart
    Game: Skyrim Special Edition
    Author: Sohothin

    While slinging spells around can certainly be satisfying, I've always found it odd that starting a truly non-magical character is not possible in vanilla Skyrim. No matter your choices, your character will always begin the game with at least 2 spells, healing and flames. Why healing? Why flames? Only the Nine know.

    Though it may seem limiting at first glance, this mod aims to give you more choices regarding magic when starting a new character. With it, your character will initially begin the game without starting spells or skills in any school of magic (though they will retain their racial powers and effects). Conveniently however, the author has provided all the beginner level spell tomes both at Helgen as well as the abandoned prison, for 'Alternate Start' users. So this effectively allows you to choose which school of magic your character will start with, if any.

    What's even better is that these features are modular, allowing you to pick and choose which portions of the mod you'd like to implement, with ease. I'm always in favor of more choices and this mod delivers in spades. Thanks Sohothin!


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Movable Power Armor
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: Kentington

    A convenient and effective mod that I’m a bit surprised wasn’t in the base game. This mod simply allows you to pick up and move Power Armor, just like any other piece of your settlement. I know, I know, perhaps it seems “immersion breaking” to be able to simply lift power armor, but then so is being able to summon whole buildings from thin air and move them about at a whim.

    I saw this mod early on in my Fallout 4 playthrough but didn’t give it much thought. At most, it seemed like a novel idea but nothing game-changing. That was when I was still under the assumption that Power Armor was going to be as rare and precious as it was in previous Fallout iterations. A couple of hundred hours and a heaping pile of Power Armor suits later and there I was, downloading this mod. As if I was going to move each PA one by one by getting into them, walking them to where I wanted, hoping I lined up my stance correctly, getting out, nope not right, get back in, etc.

    No way. I want to play Fallout 4, not Fallout: Power Armor Management Sim.

    Now I can just select one of my Power Armors and move them about as I please. I’ve seen all your fancy P.A. showrooms. I suppose it’s time I build mine!


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Diamond City Expansion
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: statsmakten

    I've always found Diamond City a little underwhelming, lacking somewhat in character and certainly not the bustling metropolis that I pictured for the centre of the Commonwealth. It just seemed so devoid of personality. So this week, I have been looking around at the various mods you can get to spruce up or change Diamond City.

    There are a lot of mods out there that can do just that, adding additional rooms, areas and features into the stadium, but the one that caught my eye was 'Diamond City Expansion' by statsmakten. This mod is fantastic and is only looking to get better, with a clear vision as to where it will eventually be expanded.

    Diamond City Expansion is one of statsmakten's first mods, and the effort and finish is exceptional. Interiors are well thought out and nicely cluttered with plenty of areas in which you can go to admire the work that has been put into the mod. A few people have reported a couple of culling issues, but I have not come across any as of yet.

    With some grand plans for extensions to this mod, I am truly excited to see what comes next. Keep an eye out for statsmakten, I think there are some great things to come.


    (Guest submission)Jonril63

    Mod: Rigmor of Bruma
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: Rigmor

    Jonril says:
    Rigmor of Bruma adds a follower named Rigmor who has an extensive backstory and provides an eighteen part questline that meshes seamlessly with Skyrim's lore. The entire mod is voice acted by several talented people who invoke a full range of emotions from the player during the course of the adventure.

    I love this mod for the high quality craftsmanship put into it from the mod author, the superb voice acting from the voice actors along with the depth of Rigmor's backstory and the fit into Tameriel's lore


    (Guest submission)mordivier2

    Mod: Inigo
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: Smartbluecat

    mordivier2 says:
    The most AWESOME follower mod ever and very complex with so much dialogue it's amazing. Inigo feels like a real person and has commentary for every quest you do. He also has personality and changes based on your player choices and comments about your own individual traits/attributes.

    I simply can't play Skyrim without him. Still waiting for his last update so we can complete his personal quest, but he feels like a friend that you go adventuring with. Smartbluecat is also very responsive to his fans and has been super supportive.


    Every week, we feature a few mods that have caught our staff's attention, as well as some that were submitted by you, the Nexus Mods community. If there is a mod you'd like to see on this list, then please check out this quick and handy form.

    If you haven't already, feel free to follow us on our social media channels where we'll keep you up to date with the latest site news, articles and much more.



    Thanks, and have fun modding!
  • 05 February 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - The Skyblivion Team - Recreating Oblivion in the Skyrim Engine

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    It's truly a love affair when a team sets out to recreate one game, in its entirety, in another game engine. That's most certainly the case for a number of 'The Elder Scrolls Renewal' teams who are recreating Morrowind in the Skyrim engine under the name 'Skywind', and Oblivion in the Skyrim engine under the name 'Skyblivion'.

    These teams want to make sure that newer players get to experience these classic Elder Scrolls games in all their glory with more up to date textures and mechanics. Whilst Skywind is still the bigger project, Skyblivion is fast picking up steam and the team is both hard at work recreating the world of Cyrodiil in the newer engine, and actively recruiting mod authors, coders and texture artists to help complete the project.

    We got to chat to a number of the team to find out how things are progressing, what they are up to and what we can expect from the final release.

    Hey guys, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to have a chat with us. Would you mind introducing yourselves and letting us know what your role is on the project?

    - Rebelzize: Hello Nexus Mods, my name is Kyle or Rebelzize and I manage the PR and recruitment for the project. Furthermore, I manage and help organize the landscaping department, concept department and interior design team.

    - Gorgulla: Hello, My name is Adam or Gorgulla, I’m the lead texture artist for this project and the web developer behind skyblivion.com. I handle the texture department where we are working on enhancing the textures in Skyblivion.

    - Greavesy: Hello, my name is Connor or Greavesy. I mainly focus on the development of the UI, although I help with the other departments now and again. I began with porting clothing and fixing other models for Skyblivion and then went onto the UI after a while as most clothes are now ported.

    - Monocleus: Hello, my name is Alex, I’m lead tech developer for Skyblivion, I started to poke at this project around 2012 and have built most of the tools which we are using right now for building Skyblivion.

    - Aerisarn: Hello, my name is Edoardo, I’m lead Creature developer for Skyblivion, but I actually came from the Skywind project and developed the skills and tools required for this project while I was there.



    So I guess the first question should be, why have you chosen to port Oblivion into the Skyrim engine?

    - Rebelzize: Well the original port was created by our lead developer Zilav a few years back, after the port was perfected and made more stable people slowly started to join the project and tried to help out where they could. I was one of these people in late 2013 and have been with the project since. For me personally, the main reason behind working on the project was for my eternal love of Oblivion. 

    Being able to bring my favorite Elder Scrolls game to a new generation and reintroduce it to older fans like myself is something I am happy to invest a lot of time into. And come on, who doesn't want to run around in an updated Cyrodiil.

    - Gorgulla: There are different reasons behind this, one of them is that the Skyrim engine is more modern than the Oblivion engine, and in 2016 Bethesda released Skyrim Special Edition which improves the engine even further. This makes it possible for us to make a more beautiful game that can handle more resources efficiently. This includes dense landscapes, better lighting, models, and textures.
    Second reason is that many might ignore Oblivion for the reason that it’s getting quite old compared to recent games and Skyrim. This may give many users the chance to try the game.

    - Greavesy: I chose to join this project due to my love with Oblivion. Skyrim was a good game, but Oblivion was the first game I played in the Elder Scrolls franchise and seeing Oblivion back in 2015 on the updated engine was amazing to see so I had to volunteer and put my modding knowledge to good use.

    - Monocleus: When my colleague Zilav started to play with Oblivion as an experiment, I thought it was a really cool idea to try to make it work as I really loved the Oblivion world and felt it could be a really enjoyable experience to play it on a much better engine, besides, I thought of it as an opportunity to challenge my tech skills and learn new things.

    - Aerisarn: I was never actually able to enjoy Oblivion (even if I bought it on day one) due to continued crashes/CTD when I tried to play it. When I heard about Skyblivion project, I thought that it was a perfect testbed for the workflow that I was using to create new creatures for the Skywind project.



    Are you all known under a development studio or are you all just creating this project under the TESRenewal project banner?

    - Rebelzize: We are proudly flying under the TESRenewal banner.

    Do you have an expected release date as yet? Or some idea as to when a publicly playable version will be released?

    - Rebelzize: We refrain from giving out any release dates to avoid disappointing people in the future when we can’t make the deadline we promised. I can tell you that the mod has only been in active development for a little under 2 years and that for the first time we are really starting to see a lot of pieces coming together.

    Would you mind giving us a quick breakdown as to how the project started? Was it quite a low key affair to begin with that has slowly garnered momentum?

    - Rebelzize: It started as a cool idea by our lead developer Zilav who decided to port Oblivion to Skyrim late 2012. At the time it was very buggy and missing big chunks of content but impressive enough to catch the eye of a handful of people in the Elder Scrolls community. Soon after Monocleus joined the project and started creating more tools that allowed us to more accurately rebuild the world of Cyrodiil in its new shiny engine. This process would take another 2 years before we had a stable base game we could really work with.

    2015 is where the mod first started picking up a little speed and after the release of 2 more teaser trailers in 2016 we finally had a decent developer team backing the project. Currently, we are making more progress every day and with multiple departments working at the same time, we can now see the end of what has been a long and bumpy ride.

    You’re having to create every asset afresh, how do you keep track of everything that is being worked on, what has been completed and what you have left to do?

    - Rebelzize: Well unlike Skywind we aren’t recreating EVERY single asset, there are two reasons for this. 1. We don’t have the amount of 3D artists that Skywind has (by far) and 2. Unlike Morrowind, some of Oblivions assets hold up fairly well, and every asset that we re-use (after slightly improving it) saves us a lot of time.



    Flora has technically been completed but we are still adding onto and enhancing our current flora assets because we aren’t 100% happy with the quality and diversity yet. Other than that we have partially finished some of the weapon sets, certain pieces of architecture (castle walls), tools, clothing and miscellaneous assets like beds and potions. With the few 3D artists we currently have, I think that we have, here and there, finished almost one of every type of asset that you can come across in the mod.  



    - Gorgulla: At the moment there aren't many texture artists active in this project. The current structure we have isn't optimal, but I’m going to improve the file management service further on our server where it will be easier for our devs to find, change and upload assets.

    - Monocleus: What is important to understand here is that this project didn't get much love up until recent times, and as such, most of the work around it was mostly playing with what we had already. Basically, the idea is that we try to set stuff to run in-game, and then we replace things which we already started due to more and more talented people joining our ranks.

    How many people do you have working on the project at the moment?

    - Rebelzize: At the moment we have 20 active developers (myself included) and 2 concept artists.

    What are some of the challenges when it comes to organising such a large community project and how have you managed to overcome them so far?

    - Rebelzize: Since I have the most experience with this I could write a book about all the issues and difficulties community driven projects like these face, but for the sake of the article I will keep it short and sweet.

    The biggest issues for a project of this scope is the fact that you are working with people from all over the world, this means I have to deal with multiple time zones. During the weekend, for instance, I tend to sleep in, so I stay up late to discuss landscaping with a mostly American landscaping team. The timezones are nuanced but not the biggest issue for a project this scale. The biggest issue is the fact that we work on this project in our (sometimes) limited free time, we all have lives, a job, a family, education and this often leads to the temporary or permanent disappearance of project members. Because we don't have everyone's home cell/personal address there isn’t much we can do about this besides messaging them on various forums and social media in the hope they reply. Most of the time this doesn’t happen and we lose days, weeks and sometimes months of work. 



    How do you all communicate and keep abreast of everything that is going on?

    - Rebelzize: In the past, we used our forums to communicate but since the launch of Discord we have moved our interactions there, so far it has resulted in the project picking up a lot of speed because of the simple fact that we are now able to communicate much easier and even voice chat if needed.

    What would you all say is the hardest part of your roles within the project?

    - Rebelzize: Hardest part for me is keeping my department's organized and deciding/discussing what artistic visions fits the different regions of Cyrodiil, but since I'm weird and I enjoy doing that I'm going to say rejecting people's applications to help out with the project. I’m a nice guy so when you have to tell someone they aren’t skilled enough at the moment to help us out I always feel a little bad, especially when they fight me on the decision.

    - Gorgulla: The hardest would be the difference in techniques and styles that we have, We do have good communication and we give each other tips and tricks on how to do something better and more efficiently. In the end, we just want to have the best quality that we can achieve together.

    - Greavesy: When I started to learn the UI and how it was made for Skyrim it was difficult and now after a few months it’s gradually gotten easier with the knowledge I’ve gained. Another difficulty we have to face is that our artists in this department have different styles, so we have to find a design we all like and can all work with.

    - Monocleus: There are two main things we’re struggling with in terms of the tech department. First, actually tidying tools we’re using and making sure they click with each other so that actually working with them isn’t too painful. This partly connects to number two - most of the tech things in this project were done by 2-3 people, and now that we have recruited more talented engineers to help us out we need to make sure that everyone can work on the tech challenges we have and feel comfortable doing so. That involves knowledge sharing, tools setup, workflow organization, etc.

    - Aerisarn: Mainly the diversity of the tools to be used. In about a year of developing, I had to use more than 10 tools in about 5 different coding languages and face issues not only with community-developed tools that were malfunctioning due to poor community development but also bugs and inconsistencies in commercial products. Of course, that goes along with the difficulty in recruitment and training of new volunteers



    Character progression is handled differently in Oblivion, possibly preventing a direct translation of that mechanic into Skyrim. What can we expect?

    - Rebelzize: Well our aim is to not only recreate the world of Tamriel but also the true Oblivion experience, in order to achieve this we plan on bringing back as many mechanics we know and love from Oblivion. Most of these are still in a very experimental phase and others nothing more than a thought at this point. For instance one of my favorite features of Oblivion was the ability to quick cast spells, this was perfect for me since my favorite playstyle since Morrowind was that of a spell sword (who preferably wields a shield too). We don't have anything implemented to bring this mechanic back but one of our tech wizards has assured me that he already has a good idea on how to re-implement this mechanic in Skyrim.

    At the end of the day we will try our best to bring back as many mechanics and features from Oblivion as we can but whether or not they will make it into the final mod depends on how well we can implement them (nobody likes a broken mess).

    Oblivion is well known to have a lot of characters, but only 13 voice actors, leading to some amusing conversations where an NPC’s voice will change half way through. Is this something you are fixing within Skyblivion?

    - Rebelzize: As much as we would love to re-record every line of dialogue by talented voice actors at this point in time that doesn't seem like something we are able to do. For the time being, we can manually fix broken voice acting lines where possible.

    Jeremy Soule’s original Oblivion soundtrack is one of the best OST’s of all time, what are you doing for the music in Skyblivion?

    - Rebelzize: We are using Mr Soule’s original soundtrack, and on top of that are adding new pieces inspired by his work. At the moment we don't have anything that's in a finalized state yet but with the likes of Fredrik Jonnason I believe we are in good hands.

    If you want to take a listen to his work, please take a look at Skywinds Soundtrack Example: https://soundcloud.com/fredrik-jonasson/wayfarer

    You’re currently porting it to the original Skyrim, do you have plans on also releasing for the Special Edition version?

    - Rebelzize: There are certainly plans and if everything goes as smoothly as we hope upon release, Skyblivion should be supported for both versions of the game.

    - Aerisarn: We don’t have tight plans, but we’re looking into it. Bethesda had to do some changes and we couldn’t resist looking at them, so I think the core team will attempt a port in the future. Right now we’re focused on plain old Skyrim development

    Have you had any copyright issues? For example, creating all of the Oblivion books?

    - Gorgulla: We avoid using any type of samples online as we are very strict about no assets being used from anywhere other what’s made in our team. Texture wise we make different patterns for our team to use and recreate. As for books, they are ported from Oblivion and remade with enhanced paper textures and covers such as a leather texture for example.

    How about the text that goes into each book? Are you recreating that from the original books within Oblivion?

    - Gorgulla: All the books that exist in Oblivion will also exist in Skyblivion with all of its content. The text itself is ported from the old oblivion.esm into the new ESM that exists in Skyblivion, therefore making sure that every single line is included.

    Has there been any contact with Bethesda at all?

    - Rebelzize: Some time ago Matt Grandstaff (Bethesda Global Community Lead) joined our forums, he told us that as long as we are using assets from their game, we aren't allowed to post anything regarding our projects in their official forums. He also mentioned that if we plan on replacing existing meshes and are currently using non-replaced meshes as placeholders it would leave more room for us to discuss the legality of the project.

    Essentially we are allowed to work and distribute the mod but as long as the above is still an issue we can't be endorsed by Bethesda. Now to show some goodwill on our side, the installer included with Skyblivion will check if you have a legitimate copy of Oblivion installed on your PC, this is a hard requirement, without it the mod won’t be installed.

    On top of that, our (ambitious) aim is to remake and enhance all the assets that we have currently ported from Oblivion. Hopefully, this will be enough to get the approval we need from Bethesda.



    Is there a lot of crossover between renewal teams? Is there any sense of competition?

    - Rebelzize: We have a few people who work on both projects like Mangaclub, aerisarn and myself. As TESRenewal’s smallest project, we get made fun of a little from time to time, this is usually directed at me since I also do the PR for Skywind and I like to boast and talk about Skyblivion a lot in our Skywind chat room. All in good fun though.

    - Monocleus: I wouldn’t say we do compete against each other, as we’re in different situations and besides, we have respect for each other team’s work. Also, some of us sometimes help with some tasks for Skywind, too.

    - Aerisarn: A bit of crossover, and, in my opinion, no competition at all; I’d say collaboration, mainly in the tech to be used and in developing skills for the tasks to be done by both the teams.

    How many hours do you think have gone into the project so far?

    - Rebelzize: I’ve been with TESRenewal (at the time Morroblivion) since early 2013 but in all honesty I don’t want to know.

    I go through my email and YouTube videos every single day to answer questions about the project which usually takes me about an hour. On top of that I spend at least 2 hours discussing ideas and visions of the project with other members, this alone costs about 3+ hours every day. In the end its all for a good cause and there is no better feeling in the world then seeing the time I have put into the project pay off.

    - Gorgulla: It’s hard to say how many hours. Some days I can spend more than 5 hours a day while still having a job working for 8 hours. Personally I don't mind the time, I enjoy being part of the project and I like seeing results.

    - Greavesy: Like Gorgulla said, it’s hard to say how many hours in total but on Steam i’ve clocked 96 hours using the Creation Kit and 200 hours testing what I have currently created. I guess that gives you an idea on how long i’ve spent.

    - Monocleus: From my side, I recently had counted to five months assuming full time job, so around 800-900 hours.

    - Aerisarn: I’m afraid to count them, actually, but my work is focused on tools and tech so these hours are split between all the Tesrenewal projects.

    We have a huge community of mod authors within Nexus Mods, is there anything that we can do to contribute to the project?

    - Rebelzize: YES! Most of our recruits come from Nexus Mods, like ClefJ, AceeQ, Mangaclub and many others. Hopefully a few more mod creators will be interested enough to volunteer to help out with the project after reading this article.

    So you’re looking for some more people to help you with the project, please give us a few more details and let us know a bit more about what’s required. I’m sure there will be some people within the community that would love to help.

    - Rebelzize: We are currently still looking for landscapers, interior/lighting artists, texture artists, CK experts who could help with mechanics like spellcrafting, and 3D artists who can work on misc objects, armors, weapons, environmental assets or architecture.

    If you fit this general Description or think you can help in any other way please fill out this volunteer form: https://discord.gg/ZYmpMkt

    We will get back to you through Discord as soon as possible (might take up to a week depending on the amount of new volunteers)

    - Gorgulla: We are looking for texture artists that can help with:

    • Creatures such as the skeletons and ogres. 
    • Clutter such as furniture.
    • Flora such as grass and trees.
    • Clothing, clouds and water.

    - Monocleus: We’re also looking for talented engineers who can help with our tools. Language wise, we’re writing C++, Python and PHP here. We especially need people who have background in data parsing, compilers and advanced reverse engineering.

    - Aerisarn: Some Animators to refine Oblivion creatures would be nice. While Oblivion could live with about 6-8 animations per creature walking cycle, Skyrim has a median of about 10-12, greatly improving the feeling of smoothness.

    Well, thank you all very much for your time. It’s most appreciated, especially considering how busy you all are! Before we go, is there anything that you would like to say to the community over here at Nexus Mods?

    - Gorgulla: Thank you all for reading this. We appreciate all input we can get and make sure to join us on our public discord to chat with us. I would also like to thank Nexus Mods for their fantastic community and staff.

    - Rebelzize: I would like to personally thank everyone at Nexus Mods for giving modders and mod users a platform to share and use other people's creations.

    On top of that I would like to give a little shoutout to some of my favorite mod makers: Gopher, Vurt, hothtrooper44, Arthmoor, Sheson, Chesko, Brumbek, jjc71, anamorfus, isoku, Shurah, ModernStoryteller, AlexanderJVelicky, essenthy, Elianora, KINGPIX, Vorians, QuarnAndKivan, DarN, nuska. On the off chance that any of you end up reading this I want to say thank you for enriching our gameplay environments for the better. This last part goes to all mod makers as you are the reason games like Skyrim, Oblivion and Morrowind are still alive and kicking after so many years.

    - Monocleus: I’d like to thank everyone involved in the modding community - modders and players alike - who truly bring life to the TES world and hope it will stay like this for as long as possible. You guys rock!

  • 01 February 2017

    Staff Picks - 01 Feb 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    This week we have again taken a peek at the mods that are out there and (hopefully) come up with some real crackers for you to check out. TerrorFox1234 has found a great mod collection that is all wrapped up into one nicely bundled 'utility' mod, SirSalami has found some new ways to spend his time in New Vegas, and I have found a mod that was produced following the AMA session I had with Elianora.

    We've had an anonymous submission that I checked out and really liked, their selection is a total redesign of Sanctuary from Fallout 4 that adds many new buildings, fixes the bridge and also changes the road layout - be sure to check it out.

    We love to hear your selections, so if you have a mod you would like to submit to the community (not your own), please check out this new and handy form. Please fill out the form completely and ensure that you add some details about the mod and why you have chosen it (similar to how we have below). Just remember that other mods on the site may do roughly the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled and understand that these are just our personal picks. That said, hopefully, you'll find something you may not have seen before. Who knows, maybe we'll even learn a little about each other along the way.


    SirSalami

    Mod: Take Your Time
    Game: Fallout New Vegas
    Author: ClockworkManatee

    Bartering, crafting, hacking, lockpicking, reading, repairing, and weapon modding: these are specialized skills that should take time to properly perform. That's why I always roll my eyes a little when my character can seemingly repair a rifle in literally, no time at all. This mod seeks to rectify that.

    Elegantly fading to black when you initiate an appropriate action, the mod will then calculate how much 'time' will be spent on the task based on your character's expertise before returning control to you. Though this happens very quickly for the player, the time that passes will affect your character and the world accordingly, making performing these tasks a meaningful commitment rather than a simple chore.

    Fully configurable via MCM, this mod is an excellent addition for immersion seekers and survivalists alike.


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Utopium's Utility Pack
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: Utopium

    Utopium has slowly been taking over a small section of my plugin list. He creates simple yet effective mods that are hard to live without once you get used to them. I was more than pleased to learn that he has packed up most of his little knick-knacks into one plugin.

    Since this is merge of multiple mods, I’ll just give a quick description of each. Be sure to check out each individual mod’s page to get more details!

    Utopium’s Utility Pack includes:

    • Better Free Camera - This is a MCM allowing for fine control of free camera settings, HUD settings, FOV settings, and Time Multiplier settings.
    • Camera Scripter - This is an API and MCM for creating custom camera automations. I haven’t actually made use of this, but it seems like a great way to make a trailer for an upcoming mod.
    • Don’t Push Me While I'm Talking - This mod is a simple SKSE plugin that toggles clipping mode for your character when locked into dialogue with NPCs. This prevents other NPCs from pushing you around.
    • Get Over Here - Another MCM. This one allows you to set hotkeys for moving NPCs around. Great for getting rogue townsfolk unstuck or moving your companion back to your side.
    • Horsing Around - This mod allows you to zoom in on your character a bit closer while riding on horseback. It also disables the forced perspective change when drawing and sheathing your weapon.
    • Let Me Pass - This mod allows you to move NPCs out of the way without the need to equip a spell or item. Simply push against the NPC for a few seconds and they will teleport out of the way.
    • Notification Log - This mod logs all of the notifications that pop up so you don’t have to worry about accidentally missing something. The log is accessed via the MCM.
    • Put On Some Clothes - This is a quick fix for those occasional conflicts that wind up with an NPC walking about naked. Some settings are configurable via an MCM.
    • Quick Deposit - This one allows you to set a hotkey that, when pressed while looking at a container, brings up a selection menu with various options for depositing specific types of items. This on is high configurable via an MCM.

    I will also mention Continue Game No Crash which not everyone may want. You can read up on this one and decide for yourself as there’s no way to quickly give an explanation. That being said, there are two versions of Utopium’s Utility Pack available for download; one with CGNC included and one without.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: No More Radio Station Notifications - NMRSN
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: KernelsEgg

    Some of you may have heard the AMA (Ask Me Anything) that we held recently with Elianora. It was a great evening full of insight, great questions and interaction within the community. There were many questions asked about modding, but one that jumped out at our member 'KernalsEgg' was "What mod would you most like to see created for Fallout 4?"

    Eli mentioned that the one thing that frustrates her in Fallout 4, more than anything else, is the constant pop-ups that occur when you come into (and leave) the range of one of the many radio stations. Well, this mod does exactly what it says in the title and removes the intrusive text for your UI.

    Did it get Eli's seal of approval?

    "MY f***ing ETERNAL GRATITUDE FOR YOU DEAR SIR/MADAM." - Elianora

    I guess that's a yes.


    (Guest submission)Anonymous

    Mod: Sanctuary Lives Again
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: greekrage

    Sanctuary Lives Again is a ground-up overhaul of, well, Sanctuary. SLA contains many new buildings such as a police station, bank, church, cemetery, schoolhouse, hotel and many more. The road has been re-routed so instead of ending in a cul-de-sac it now circles around back to the newly designed bridge. Several buildings are designated for a specific profession, such as medical, food, weapons, etc.

    The level of detail is simply excellent. From the fish stands to the interior detail of each building, is well thought-out though there is more than ample room for anyone to let their creative juices flow to add or modify according to their taste. I personally like the fact the mod author has left several spaces empty to do with as I please. The balance between residential and commercial areas is excellent. Neither are overbearing over the other. This mod gives me a warm feeling as if I am truly coming home after 200 years in cold storage.

    Every week, we feature a few mods that have caught our staff's attention, as well as some that were submitted by you, the Nexus Mods community. If there is a mod you'd like to see on this list, then please check out this quick and handy form.

    If you haven't already, feel free to follow us on our social media channels where we'll keep you up to date with the latest site news, articles and much more.



    Thanks, and have fun modding!
  • 29 January 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - TheModernStoryteller - creator of "The Forgotten City"

    It seems as though games are never taken as seriously as other media forms such as movies, television series, music or even books. To many people we simply play a game, a game created without any thought towards a story, the lore or even the characters. We, as gamers, know that not to be true. 

    However, last year something incredible happened and a mod called "The Forgotten City" won the national Writers Guild award for its script. Proving, at last, that what we create is something that can hold its own against other mainstream media.

    Today I'm pleased to give you the Sunday discussion with the author and creator of "The Forgotten City", please give a warm Nexus Mods welcome to Nick Pearce.

    Hi TheModernStoryteller, thank you for talking to me today. To begin with please may you let us know a little bit about you?

    My name’s Nick Pearce, and I live in Melbourne, Australia. Up until recently, I was working as a legal and strategy advisor for a multi-billion dollar tech company, and modding in my spare time. I released my first mod, The Forgotten City, in late 2015, and it changed my life. I discovered my passion for game development, and the reception was beyond anything I ever imagined: it’s been downloaded over 900,000 times, repeatedly covered by the likes of PC Gamer, Kotaku, GamesRadar, IGN, and won a bunch of awards including an Australian Writers’ Guild Award.

    As a result, I decided to take a break from my legal career, and right now I’m making a beautiful, gripping and intelligent story-driven game with Unreal Engine 4, which should appeal to anyone who enjoyed The Forgotten City. I’m hoping to announce it in the first half of 2017, so if you’d like news and updates, please connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube or subscribe to my mailing list.

    It’s great to see mod authors and creators going the route of their own games, are there any out there that have inspired you to go down this route?

    Thanks! Making the leap from modder to game developer was a huge decision, and I considered a lot of factors, including the precedent set by the developers of Dear Esther and The Stanley Parable, who blazed the trail. I’m going down a slightly different path, in that I’m not re-creating The Forgotten City; I think that might have been disappointing for those who’ve already played it. My new game is a leap forward; it’s grander in scope and much prettier, and free from the constraints of third-party IP. But I’m incorporating all the lessons I learnt from making The Forgotten City, and watching hundreds of people play it via Youtube!



    You mentioned that you are going to use the Unreal Engine 4, do you have any previous experience with this engine or are you going to be learning from scratch?

    I’ve been quietly teaching myself Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) for about a year now. My modding experience really helped; I taught myself the Creation Kit pretty quickly (The Forgotten City was my first attempt at a mod) and that experience equipped me with an understanding of how game engines work generally, and confidence that I could easily skill up in a new engine. I also have some very talented local UE4 developers on my team.

    Going back a bit, do you mind me asking at what age you began gaming and what system it was on?

    I played my first PC game - Snake - at about 6. I was hooked.

    Did you have a favourite game back then? What game stirs up some of your best memories?

    The first game I bought was The Secret of Monkey Island (1990). I’ve since replayed the Special Edition and after 27 years or so, and it’s a masterpiece, albeit a flawed one. It’s a delightfully funny, wacky adventure full of memorable characters and puzzles.

    How about any of the other Tim Schafer point 'n' click adventures such as ‘Day of the Tentacle’ or ‘Full Throttle’, did you get to play them as well?

    I loved Full Throttle too, particularly Ben’s (the protagonist’s) unique take on problem-solving; coming across a locked door and being able to just kick it down was very satisfying!

    Apart from gaming, do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy?

    Spending time with my wife, playing with my dog, collecting liquor, writing.

    Your mod ‘The Forgotten City’ has over 125,000 unique downloads and has seen critical acclaim, winning the Australian Writers Guild award for its script (the first for a game) - did you ever dream it was going to be as big, or well received as it was?

    I had very modest expectations. My target was 283 downloads; I figured I’d put 1700 hours into it, so if 283 people played it for 6 hours each, that would be a work to entertainment ratio of 1:1, and I could call that a win. Since then it’s had over 900,000 downloads altogether, counting the Nexus (both original and Special Edition versions), Steam Workshop, Bethesda.net and ModDB. It’s hard to comprehend numbers like that.



    283 downloads was your target, well safe to say you smashed that figure. How long did it take you to write?

    The entire project took over 1700 hours, over a period of 3 years.

    Wow, that is some huge undertaking, would you mind giving our community a breakdown of the process from initial idea through to first release?

    I was inspired by Vault 13 in Fallout: New Vegas (among other things), a ruined vault in which the player slowly uncovers the haunting story of the people who lived there and some dark truths about human nature. The story left me with chills. It inspired me to tell my own story about the human condition.

    I started with a one-page design document, then built the setting: an underground Dwarven city in a state of ruin. Then I thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go back in time?”. So next I built the time travel gameplay mechanic, and re-created the city in alternative timelines, decorating it with lighting, flora, and characters.

    Over the next 3 years I worked on it whenever I had spare time, learning as I went, and my design document grew to 100 pages.

    When it was almost done, I put out a teaser trailer I hacked together, which got picked up by Kotaku and PC Gamer, and prompted the brilliant orchestral composer Trent Moriarty to contact me out of the blue, offering to compose an original score. Easiest decision I ever made.

    The crunch before release was brutal - I worked extremely long hours for about 3 months - and I released it on 3 October 2015.

    How many voice actors did you involve in sound recording?

    I had help from 18 wonderful voice actors (chosen from over 100 auditions). They’re all really talented and lovely people, and I keep in touch with them via a Facebook group. I strongly encourage anyone making a big, high-quality mod to get in contact with them via contact details on the Nexus mod page, or here.

    Your username now seems incredibly apt, have you always been interested in storytelling?

    Thanks, and yes I’ve been into writing for a while. I’m half way through a novel, which I know is a bit of a cliche, but my excuse is that I’ve been busy with game projects! Also, several years ago I founded a writer’s group, where a bunch of local novelists would get together regularly and workshop their writing, and facilitated it for about 7 years.



    Sounds like you have your hands busy, are you able to tell us anything about the novel or is it under wraps at the moment?

    I’m not talking about my novel just yet... :-)

    Speaking of novels and literature, do you have any favourite genres or authors?

    I really enjoy science fiction (eg. Philip K. Dick) and fantasy (eg. George R Martin), as well as dark and heady classic lit (eg. Fyodor Dostoyevsky). My own style is heavily influenced by those genres: I like to use fantastical “what if” premises to explore serious and dark questions about human nature.

    Do you currently write for anyone?

    I sure do! I’m currently employed as a writer by the Australian Government to write a new RPG for young adults. I’m also working on my own game project.

    Going back to ‘The Forgotten City’, seeing as how popular it is, do you have any plans for either future expansions or a different mod entirely?

    Making mods is an incredibly time-consuming pursuit, and time has a monetary value. Making The Forgotten City took me over 1,700 hours, which is worth over $100,000 of my time - not to mention the contributions of the 18 skilled voice actors and the talented composer who were involved. That’s an awful lot of time/money to give away for free (again), particularly when there’s a potentially lucrative market for comparable games. If “paid mods” had worked out differently, I might have been able to make a living by developing high-quality DLC-style mods like The Forgotten City. But things didn’t work out that way, and with no hard feelings, I need to move on - that’s one of the many reasons why I’m making a new game with Unreal Engine 4.

    Do you get a lot of feedback from the community? The positive must be great, but how do you deal with the negative?

    Yes, the positive feedback is great, and there are a lot of appreciative, thoughtful people on the Nexus. Aside from those people, I’ve found the reaction to be pretty amusing. To illustrate, I’ll use a simple analogy: Imagine modding is like driving around in an ice cream van in the summer, handing out free ice creams to people. In my experience:
    • 0.001% of people toss you a few bucks for your trouble
    • 4% of people thank you for the ice cream
    • 95% of people take the ice cream without a word
    • 0.999% of people take the ice cream, drop it on the ground, blame you, then spray-paint “kiddie fiddler” on the side of your van.

    I deal with the negative (non-constructive) posts by simply deleting them without responding. It’s the only sensible thing to do. As the venerable George Carlin once said “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”



    Did you get outside help from other mod authors for ‘The Forgotten City’?

    Nope. It was a solo project.

    So you create every aspect of the mod yourself, you must have had to learn an awful lot of new skills. Where did you find was the best place to get help or look for answers to questions that arose?

    Yes, I had to teach myself how to design levels, write scripts, re-texture models, troubleshoot, create NPCs and assign behaviour, write non-linear dialogue, cast and direct voice actors, master audio, and record and edit trailers, among other things. When I started, I had none of those skills, and just resolved to pick them up along the way. I got stuck plenty of times, and sometimes googling my question led me to a helpful forum, but mostly I just had to work it out for myself through trial and error and countless hours of determined troubleshooting.

    Are there any mod authors to whom you look up to and respect?

    I found the work of Someguy2000, particularly New Vegas Bounties for Fallout: New Vegas, to be very inspiring. It was a revelation to me that mods could be on par with an original game.

    If you could give any advice to aspiring mod authors what would it be?

    The best thing about modding is that you’re able to take creative risks that commercial game developers simply cannot. Make whatever you want - not what you think a mass audience will like. I took an action RPG about killing dragons and zombies and modded it into a thoughtful murder mystery with virtually no combat. In other words, I made the game I wanted to play, and it turns out a lot of people wanted to play that too.

    Thank you very much for talking to me today, we wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
  • 25 January 2017

    Staff Picks - 25 Jan 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    We have some fun ones for you this week, taking into account the comments that we received last week we've dug deep and struck some real gems. SirSalami has come across some toy soldiers, TerrorFox1234 is trying his best to blend in, and I've been smashing in doors and having a real blast.

    We love to hear your selections, so if you have a mod you would like to submit to the community (not your own), please check out this new and handy form

    Just remember that other mods on the site may do roughly the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled and understand that these are just our personal picks. That said, hopefully, you'll find something you may not have seen before. Who knows, maybe we'll even learn a little about each other along the way.


    SirSalami

    Mod: ColloseusX's Toy Soldiers
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: ColloseusX

    Here's a silly one. This mod adds a set of unique tools to be found outside of Sanctuary that will allow you to spawn miniature minions, simply with the pull of a trigger. Tiny soldiers, synths, aliens, super-mutants, and even deathclaws will all arrive at 1/10th their normal size. These adorable little guys are no less aggressive than their larger counterparts, leading to some pint-sized yet epic battles that are a joy to watch unfold. So grab a bottle of Nuka-cola, spawn a few (or a few dozen) of these little guys, sit back, and watch the fireworks!

    I certainly had a good time with this one. As the name suggests, you really do get a feeling like you're playing with toy soldiers that have sprung to life. Just be sure to back-up your save first as these types of shenanigans could possibly affect the stability of your game.


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Camo Index UI Display
    Game: Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain
    Author: CantStoptheBipBop

    I’ve been a long-time fan of the Metal Gear series (we’re pretending that Metal Gear Rising never happened). My favorite game in the series, by far, is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Along with the beautiful level design and interesting characters, it has some of the best stealth gameplay and mechanics ever. One major improvement that MGS3 brought to the table was the Camo Index, which allowed you to monitor your camo rating in real-time. This was based on your position (standing/kneeling/prone), which suit you were wearing (compared to the environment), line-of-sight, and other factors. Combined with the ability to switch your suit at any time, this made for incredible stealth play as you adapted to your environment.

    Of course MGS4 brought about the OctoCamo, which acted more like a chameleon’s skin. Press up against a wall, tap a button, and watch the suit change to match the pattern. While this was really effing cool, for some reason it wasn’t as memorable to me. Perhaps because it didn’t require much thinking, whereas in MGS3 you were constantly watching your camo index and considering which suit would work best for certain situations.

    In MGS:TPP the OctoCamo was done away with, and the Camo Index returned. It works pretty much identically to MGS3 with two drawbacks. You can’t switch camo instantly (you need to call in an airdrop and wait for it) and the Camo Index is buried in your iDroid, meaning you need to pause the game and navigate through menus to see what your rating is. This mod fixes the latter. While you still may need to deal with the annoyance of waiting for your new suit to drop in, at least you can keep an eye on your Camo Index as you move through a mission (which is still calculated based on your positioning, lighting, sound, line-of-sight, etc).


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Splinterz - Breakable Wooden Doors
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: UlithiumDragon

    "Those pesky-half rotten wooden doors are no longer made out of adamantium and can now be shattered like the soggy toilet paper that they should behave like!" - UlithiumDragon

    It's so true... there is something to be said when you walk up to a door that has seen a nuclear fallout, 200 years of weathering, storms and multiple mutant/ghoul attacks and it is still totally impervious to any of your weapons. Yes you can take on deathclaws, behemoths and an army of ghouls; but a simple door has you beaten.

    Well, thanks to UlithiumDragon that is no longer the case. Now you can take out all your frustration on those pesky wooden barriers, entering properties like something out of an 80's Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.


    (Guest submission)Everlive

    Mod: Loot and Degradation
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: isoku

    Loot and Degradation brings back Oblivion's item durability and repair hammers while also utilizing Skyrim's crafting and tempering systems.
    Weapons, shields and armour will now lose durability with use and eventually break. It is very customizable and allows you to decide if items really do break and disappear, if you get scraps from them, if items have to be under "fine" temperment before breaking, if NPCs and followers also have breakable item, and more. The mod also modifies the loot system to add in items that could already have a level of temperment to them.

    I like this mod because it adds not only a new level of immersion, but also a real reason to have a back up weapon, armour and clothing underneath your armour. A new level of management so even the best of items have a weak point if you don't manage it.



    Every week, we feature a few mods that have caught our staff’s attention, as well as some that were submitted by you, the Nexus Mods community. If there is a mod you’d like to see on this list, then please check out this quick and handy form.

    If you haven’t already, feel free to follow us on our social media channels where we'll keep you up to date with the latest site news, articles and much more.

      

    Thanks, and have fun modding!
  • 22 January 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - Gambit77 - Author of the Armorsmith and Weaponsmith Extended mods

    Hi everyone, welcome to another 'Sunday Discussion'. Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure to talk to a number of people from all over the modding community and the reception has been great.

    Today I bring you Gambit77, author of the hugely popular 'Weaponsmith Extended' and 'Armorsmith Extended'. He talks to us about his favourite 'things', his friends down the street, his history of gaming and what he has lined up in the future. Gambit77 is just a really fun person to chat to...  enjoy!

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for the time you are giving up to speak to me, it’s most appreciated, would you mind letting us know a little bit about you?

    I like Twizzlers, I like the Alligator Bob, and my favorite drama movie is Bloodsucking Freaks, just like your mama. I’ve got Kudos for the first person to get that reference. I am a monk/artist/activist/DJ/music producer/audio engineer/network engineer/gamer/hip-hop hippie.
    My top eleven list of MCs in no particular order is Mos Def, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, Mr.Lif, Immortal Technique, Posdnuos, Gift of Gab, Guru, J-Live, Brother Ali and Homeboy Sandman.
    My two favorite bands to see play live are Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Sound Tribe Sector 9.
    My favorite movie is Bladerunner.
    My favorite series of novels is Robert Jordan’s Wheel Of Time.
    My favorite cuisine is Thai.
    My favorite superheroes are the X-Men.
    Comedy is what keeps me sane in this crazy world, and my favorite comedians are Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, and Bill Hicks.



    Before we get into the modding side of things, would you mind telling us all a little bit about your gaming history?

    The first game I ever played was Donkey Kong on arcade. Lance (a kid on the next street over) had it in his garage, next door to him Seth and Lee had a Colecovision. Eddie (down my street) had a Commodore 64. The first gaming system that I owned was an Atari 7800. After that I had a Nintendo (favorite games were Baseball Stars and Final Fantasy), Sega Genesis, Playstation, Playstation 2 (favorite games were Tekken 4 and Twisted Metal 2), Xbox 360 (favorite games were Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Skyrim), and now I’m a PC gamer. So I was in the position to get to see the history of video gaming from the very start, which I can say along with the other amazing technological advances of this day and age have been what I find most interesting this lifetime.


    Your gaming history is pretty vast and varied then. So, if you had to try and choose a favourite game, or at least the one you have the fondest memories of, what would it be and why?

    My hands down favorites have been the ‘Fallout’ series since Fallout 3. Just on a game design level, I consider them to be the gold standards for their time. My favorite aspects are the open world, “doowhatyoulike” concept and the engrossing stories. I also think on a psychological level that they’re really important. For so long now humanity has been living on the verge of destroying itself, that I think humanity, on the whole, has become desensitized to the fact that everything could be destroyed in a matter of minutes. I think the theme of the Fallout games is a timely reminder of what the stakes are in the game of life, and I hope that reminder influences enough people to act in ways that continue to prevent our demise at our own hands.


    What first attracted you to begin modding? Did you have any previous experience?

    Well, I tried on my last computer to mod TES Oblivion, after playing it on Xbox360. I came across a site like STEP, and I followed it and tried jumping in full steam, but it didn’t turn out too well. Either from jumping in too far, too fast, or my computer just not being up to the task. It just didn’t turn out well, tons of crashing and what not, so I only got a brief glimpse of the greatness that is modding.

    After playing Skyrim on Xbox 360, I came across the Nexus. Later that winter I built my first gaming PC, and after that checking the Nexus became pretty much a daily ritual to me. I made a handful of mods for Skyrim, but they were pretty much just vanilla companion tweaks and compatibility patches, nothing fancy.

    My transition from mod user started out how I assume it did for most people. I got started down that path by using xEdit to merge mod plugins so that I could use more mods. The more complicated the plugins I merged, the more I learned about how the various types of records interacted to make the game. After modding Skyrim, I moved on to modding New Vegas.

    That is where I started to make mods, and it’s when I got started making textures and altering meshes with Blender. I got pretty comfortable using GIMP, not so much with Blender. I’m still pretty noobish with mesh work. For years I would switch back and forth from New Vegas to Skyrim, although I did mod ‘State Of Decay’ for a little bit.


    To further your modding skills you must have to learn a lot of new things, what would you say is the best resource to do this?

    Honestly, I’ve learned mostly by doing. My skill set has just expanded by doing increasingly more and more complicated tasks. I haven’t sought out tutorials on technique, although I know they’re out there. Sometimes, when it’s just an answer to a question I have, I usually get it from forum posts that I have found through Google.



    Do you have anyone that you can turn to if you ever get stuck with a certain aspect of a mod?

    Yes, the Nexus modding community is the best. They’ve never failed to help me get past something I’ve been stuck on. Like I said prior, I’m still pretty noobish when it comes to meshes, so Ousnius has been the person that I turn to most often when I get stuck on something. From trouble with weight painting to fixing meshes with errors, he’s been super helpful.

    Elianora helped me get up to speed when I had to start using Photoshop to make normal and specular maps in the new file compression type. FadingSignal has been helpful with information on processing sound files.


    As a Mod Author do you check out other Mod Authors to either compare or learn from?

    Absolutely. First and foremost I’m a mod user. Right now I have 485 active mods. Most of my modding knowledge has been gained by reverse engineering the Fallout esms and other peoples’ mods. By knowing what they did it’s great to look into their plugin to see how they accomplished it.


    Are there any Mod Authors that you look up to or who inspire you?

    A ton, I’m sure I’ll forget to mention some of them there is so many. I think the people that I look up to the most are the ones that do things that I don’t know how to do. So especially the coders impress me a lot.
    The people that make the tools like ElminsterAU, Hlp, Zilav and Sharlikran for their work on FO4Edit, and Ousnius for his work on Bodyslide and Outfit Studio. That group of people’s work I feel is the most important contribution in our community. Other coders whose mods impress me a lot are Expired6978, Chesko, Talkie Toaster, Fore, Registrator2000, Wenderer, Engager, TheLich, FlipDeezy, and HydrogensaysHDT.

    The 3D modelers that make new stuff from scratch impress me a lot. People like Dragbody, DogtoothCG, Tumbajamba, L0rdOfWar, GrinnginUrchen, Lagrie, Yogensia, Billyro, Jordan1q2, MrRadiactive, MAIBATSU, m150, MikeMoore, Niero, Nivea, TrickyVein, TrophyHunter, InsanitySorrow, Isilmerial, Ghosu, FavoredSoul, ImsumDave, YYK Moral cat, Newermind43, AmethystDeceiver, Caliente, Dimon99 and ZeroFrost.

    Some of the texture artists that I look up to the most are Millenia, Deserter X, Hein84, Ellise, Jester, MadMax713, Printerkop, Ramccoid, SparrowPrince, Vasstek, Vurt, Cabal120, HelloSanta, Xenius, Maevan2, Navetsea, Zonzai, ZZjay, Dreamburrow, Gamwich, and Geonox.

    There are the mashup modders that piece together great stuff like Hothtrooper44, Elianora (whom I also consider the best world designer out there), Moore, Brokefoot, Aarwyn, Skibadaa, Henkspemadres, and Calyps.

    I also look up to FadingSignal; I don’t know how to generalize his place since he does a bit of everything. Usually, his work is needed to fill a void (sometimes one that you didn’t know existed until you start to imagine playing without it), and it’s always creative and well executed.

    And last, but not least, I have a lot of respect for RoyBatterian. I see myself as following in his footsteps making 'plugin' work my specialty.


    Do you work in a team of modders? If so, how do you divide the work and how do you communicate with one another?

    I work with a few teams of modders.

    My first wingman was Valdacil. Once he explained how he wanted to handle the dynamic naming of armor and weapons I was sold on the idea. Once Neanka joined that squad with DEF UI it put all the pieces together for what ended up being a team effort at overhauling the inventory UI experience. Now with Omega9380 making new icons for DEF UI, it’s completed the polishing of the UI experience. For that the work was split up with Neanka doing the UI Flash work, Valdacil handling the dynamic naming rules and item sorting, myself putting all the needed keywords on everything, and Omega adding more texture work on top of Neanka’s work.

    My second wingman is DOOMBASED (Doom). I’ve worked on a couple of projects with Doom, Weaponsmith Extended and Cannabis Commonwealth. For the first version of Weaponsmith, which was a merged plugin for weapons, with a few features like the keyword cap workaround, crafting, and leveled list integration added, he mostly helped me with testing. But for the new version of Weaponsmith, which adds a lot more features, he also helped me with the plugin work. The way we did that was, he would work on a certain task, putting his work into a separate plugin, then I would merge his work into the main plugin. That way we could both keep working simultaneously without waiting on the other person.

    Doom helped me with several tasks like getting all the weapons up to a certain level of polish when the original author's cut corners. We made OBTE entries and modcols for weapons that didn’t have them so that we could do more sophisticated leveled list setups, helping with the ammo balancing, and probably some other stuff that I’m forgetting.

    I work closely with BrowncoatGarrus as there is a lot of interplay between WSE and his New Calibers mod. BrowncoatGarrus’s framework and it’s integration in WSE, the way all the caliber rechamber mods increase the variety of the firearms, is one of my favorite WSE features. I feel like it gives users the same kind of freedom to use whichever guns they like, similar to AE with outfits, in a realistic way that scales well. I also have to mention Battousai124 and ShawnPhillips contributions, as they were both great beta testers and put a lot of effort into helping people out in the comments. Also, Battousai124 does the unenviable job of handling all the outreach and paperwork involved in being able to bundle modders assets to make the install easier for users. It’s a drag spending time on a task that doesn’t have that reward factor of seeing that time materialize as something in the game, so I hope people appreciate Battousai124 spending his time just to save them a little time.

    Henkspamadres’s ‘See Through Scope’ framework is one of those mods that just should have been in vanilla. In a world where everyone has played a 1st person shooter that has ACOG scopes, you just can’t leave this out of your game. Henkspamadre does a lot of work adding STS support for mod weapons, so integrating his work for those weapons by default in WSE was a no brainer.

    Talkie Toaster’s ‘Loads’ framework should also have been in vanilla. We had part of it in FNV, and the way he handled explosive and incendiary rounds compared to the vanilla legendary effect versions I feel is a nice improvement. I prefer the idea of a finite specialty ammo over the magical gun route. It was a lot of work to add Loads support for all the added ammunitions from New Calibers and the mod weapons, but I’m glad I did because it’s a great framework and it’s nice to see it fully integrated with everything else.

    On Cannabis Commonwealth, which is a port of MadNuttah’s Cannabis Skyrim, once I found out that Doom was also interested in bringing it to Fallout 4, we discovered that between the two of us we had the skillset to bring most of it over. So for that project, Doom did all the work porting meshes and converting textures to FO4 format, and I did all the plugin work. Later FlipDeezy and Slevin4Mods joined the team. Slevin had made a mod adding visual effects to alcohol and chems, so I had tossed some ideas for visual effects for Cannabis Commonwealth, and he just nailed exactly what I envisioned. FlipDeezy had made a mod for smoking cigs and cigars with animations, so when he joined the CC team, he added the joint and blunt smoking animations.



    I also work with BigAndFlabby maintaining and updating DrDanzel’s ‘Crafting Workbenches.' I started working with DrDanzel when I moved the Armorsmith bench into AWKCR so we could both use it for our recipes which unified the vanilla outfit and mod outfit crafting, which at the time also allowed us to use shared crafting menu keywords to help with the former Keyword Cap issue.

    As far as communication methods we mostly use Nexus’ PM system, although I do also use Steam for communicating with some of my modder friends as well.


    When I began playing Fallout 4 I got extremely frustrated that I couldn’t put armor on top of some of my overalls, Armorsmith Extended has solved this issue, so huge thanks. With over 744,000 unique downloads did you expect it to be so successful?

    It took off too fast for me to ever form any expectations.


    What combination of armour and outfit do you normally rock in the game?

    I usually rock combat armor. The visual customization options in Endormoons’s Craftable Custom Combat Armor are cool, and there are some nice paint jobs in that. My favorite color scheme is the black with chrome paint job with the carbon fiber textures, and I love the Punisher decal for the chest. When I played a male character my favorite outfits were Unoctium and DogtoothCG’s Veteran Ranger Armor, Eferas’ Badass Vault Dweller outfit that I used one of Nitonizer’s vault suit retextures with, and L0rdOfWar’s Rebel Outfit and Scavenged NCR Armors. Now playing a female character, my favorite outfits are Jordan1q2’s Shirt and Jeans, DeserterX’s Commonwealth Shorts, Babzero’s Gurl outfit, and a bunch of Elianora’s outfits, with my current outfit being her Corset and Shorts outfit from Apocalypse Attire.


    Did you create the mod without the aid of GECK/CK?

    Yes, I made all my mods for FO4 using FO4Edit, Outfit Studio, and NifSkope. I have used GECK/CK for doing some work on FNV and Skyrim mods, but I mostly use xEdit as I have more experience with it so I can do tasks faster using it. I prefer the way XEdit isolates records by a plugin instead of the way that all the entries are compiled together in the CK. I think that makes it easier to learn from what you’re looking at. While xEdit has limitations in regards to scripting, nav meshing, and world edits, those aren’t things I usually deal with, so I never felt handicapped using xEdit. I think using xEdit is better for learning how records interconnect, while the CK is probably better for people that already know how everything works and already know going into a project exactly what changes they need to make.


    Did you expect the mod to become as popular as it did?

    It seems the most popular mods are the ones that have to add in features and content which should have been in vanilla to begin with. So, looking at it from that perspective I’m not surprised that ‘Armorsmith Extended’ and ‘Armor and Weapon Keywords Community Resource’ became as popular as they have. I think a lot of it has to do with not only the features that they add but the way they unify everything to a standard level of polish and integration.

    Honestly, my most popular mods aren’t even what I consider to be my best work.

    I think that the new version of Weaponsmith Extended is the best work I’ve done. I think the reason that hasn’t taken off is because of how complicated the install process is, with it having multiple dependencies on other mods as well as a list of mods that have to be installed for their assets. I know there is a segment of the modder community that finds making their mod dependant on someone else’s mod to be anathema, but I think that’s a ridiculous opinion because all the limitations that can be overcome by doing so.



    What was the hardest part in the creation of Armorsmith Extended?

    Probably the hardest part is the part that I haven’t done yet. Bethesda added the ability in FO4 to add bone weight adjustments to armor add-on entries to adjust the appearance of armor meshes worn over the outfits. This allows you set it up so that armor pieces won’t clip with the outfit under them. I had been waiting on the CK, with the hope that the CK would allow me to change those bone weight adjustment entries while seeing the effects of those changes in real time in the render window. Unfortunately, the CK doesn’t even allow you to view those bone weight adjustment entries. So to make these changes it requires doing the setting in FO4Edit and then loading up the game to see how the changes turned out. So to add these changes to all the outfits would be a massive undertaking of trial and error that would take forever. For that reason, I haven’t worked on them, because it feels like an inefficient use of time.

    I’ve also had trouble doing weight painting for meshes that I want to stay rigid, such as weapon wearables. That’s a skill that I still haven’t quite got nailed down yet.


    Any plans for future mods in the pipeline?

    A few. I have a graffiti mod that, for now, I have just replaced textures and meshes from a different graffiti mod, so I need to do the plugin work for that to make them standalone. I’m going to continuing adding more mod weapons to Weaponsmith. I find it’s easier to add them in big batches, and I try to wait for new weapon mods to finish development because it can be a pain to integrate updates. Also, I plan on making an Armorsmith Extended 2, that is similar to WSE in that it merges lots of outfits into a single plugin and includes leveled list integration for the outfits. That shouldn’t take too long since most of the groundwork is already complete in all the AE versions of outfits plugins, so that will mainly just be doing the leveled lists.


    Do you keep track of recently released mods? Do you ever look at them and think they would be a good fit towards your mods?

    Yes, I check the Nexus daily to look at all the new mods. If I see an outfit I like and want to use, I make an AE version of that mod’s plugin. If I see a weapon I like I download it so it can eventually be integrated into Weaponsmith. My plugin count is high enough that I can’t just install new weapons solo, so integrating them into WSE is a necessity just for me to use them.



    Are you able to complete everything yourself or do you ever have to pass things off to other people?

    I probably could take the time to learn how to do everything I come across, but a lot of times it’s just far more efficient, time-wise, to pass off tasks to other people. When working with a team, it just makes sense for people to work on the parts that are already in their skillset. And when getting help, sometimes it’s easier for someone else to do a task for you than for them to take the time to teach you how to do it yourself.


    How do you take criticism from users? Do you find it useful or frustrating?

    It depends. Bug reports, I embrace wholeheartedly. Even with a team of beta testers, the scope of my mods means that it’s inevitable that a bug or two will sneak through and go unnoticed until a public release gets way more eyes on it.

    Some criticism I’ve gotten on Armorsmith that pisses me off is when people complain that it has too much stuff in it. To me when people complain that it adds apparel items, which if they don’t want to use them they never have to craft them, that pisses me off. What’s the point of complaining about features that are completely optional that you have to opt in to use in the first place?

    Or with Weaponsmith, people complaining about having to download other weapon mods for their assets. That pisses me off because I think they’re just lazy, entitled, whiners. I downloaded and installed all those weapon mods, what’s the big deal? Sure it’s great that some modders allow me to bundle their assets to make the install easier for users, but I don’t consider it a make or break issue. If someone else had made WSE, having to download all the included weapons individually wouldn’t have prevented me from using it. Also on WSE, I get complaints about all the framework dependencies and the scope of the ammo expansion. They want me to make a version that doesn’t integrate Loads and New Calibers. It doesn’t piss me off because it’s a valid opinion on game design, but it’s not one that I share, so it does annoy me because of the amount of effort that went into integrating those two mods. And ultimately people need to remember that I’m making these mods for me, so I make them to my specifications. Asking for me to cater them to you can range from maybe a good idea to pissing me off because you’re asking me to remove work that I spent a bunch of time on. I try not to make assumptions, but I have to assume that asking a modder to undo their work will usually piss them off.


    Do you worry about mod compatibility when you develop?

    Yes and no. I don’t let what other people have done effect how I go about creating what I’m trying to do. But at the same time if what I’ve done effects another mod, if it’s something I use then I usually make a patch to integrate them. I don’t make patches for mods I don’t use. Also, like with AWKCR and the Slot Usage Standard I’ve tried to create shared resources that everybody can use which helps everybody makes their mods more compatible with everyone else's.



    If you could offer any advice to our users who want to get into modding what would it be?

    Open some plugins up in FO4Edit. Take a look at how the records interconnect. A lot of things in the game are accomplished through cascading chains of records, so try to learn how the different record types interact with each other. Once you’ve figured out that then you can start adding new items into the game. Also, a lot can be learned by merging plugins. That’s how I got started, and it helped to learn by figuring out how to resolve conflicts between the source plugins.


    Many thanks for taking the time out to chat with us today.[