• 04 April 2011

    Interview with TheNiceOne, March FotM winner

    posted by Galahaut Mod News
    TheNiceOne's Map Marker Overhaul won March's File of the Month with 61 votes.

    Continuing with the monthly feature, TheNiceOne has responded to our interview questions. You can read his responses below.

    Q: What was your inspiration for creating Map Marker Overhaul?
    A: When I first played Oblivion, I printed out several paper maps with locations of caves/ruins, etc. and marked the location with a red pencil when I had explored one. That was cumbersome, so when I discovered Map Markers Be Done (by Elis) I installed and enjoyed it, but it had one big drawback, that you only could tag a map marker when you were outside, close to it. So if I forgot to tag one, I had to go all the way back to it if I wanted to tag it. That was when the idea was born, a mod where I could just click on a map marker in the world map - and that was the first feature I created for Map Marker Overhaul.

    Q: What did you find most enjoyable about the creation process of Map Marker Overhaul?
    A: The interaction with the mod users that came up with new ideas that at first seemed impossible, but then keeping the idea in the back of my mind and slowly figuring out how it could be done.

    Q: What were some of the challenges you came across making Map Marker Overhaul?
    A: Several of the features are more or less overriding hardcoded features of Oblivion. Finding ways to overcome that was challenging, and would have been impossible without OBSE. Things like preventing the world map from centering on the player when opened, or making newly discovered map markers be visible in the hud, but not in the world map until some condition is met.

    Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part of the Oblivion tools?
    A: I am a specialist that almost exclusively do scripting (and a little bit of dialogues and textures), so I haven't really discovered much of the CS problem areas. My favourite part is definitely OBSE - without it I would probably not modded much at all.

    Q: What are some other common tools you used in your development?
    A: Gimp for creating the map marker icons, and Notepad++ for editing the scripts.

    Q: Roughly what was the total time you have invested in Map Marker Overhaul so far?
    A: Hard to say, but several 100 hours (in about 20 months), but I'm not sure if it's 200 or 500 - probably something inbetween.

    Q: Are you planning or working on any new features for Map Marker Overhaul?
    A: No, I consider Map Marker Overhaul complete by now (though I have said so before, and then had some user come up with a new good idea which I couldn't resist implementing). I have a few spots that I am going to rewrite in order to improve it, but don't plan on adding any new features. I am trying to reduce my modding, and get into playing Oblivion again. I want one more playthrough before Skyrim.

    Q: Do you have other mods you are working on?
    A: Yes, lots I have 19 uploaded files on TESNexus, of which 13 are proper mods. The largest (both in number of features and work put into it), is Enhanced Economy, which also has been voted file of the month here. But I have worked quite a lot on the others as well, like HUD Status Bars, Enhanced Hotkeys, Dynamic Map, Display Stats, Soulgem Magic, etc.

    Q: Tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from, what are some of your other hobbies outside of games?
    A: I'm from Norway, with wife and two kids, so there's not too much time for (other) hobbies. Though I am very fond of music and films, mostly of the quite alternative kind. Like the band my quote and avatar is taken from, the Canadian industrial group Skinny Puppy.

    Q: What are some of your other favorite games if Oblivion isn't the only game you play? Any other game genres besides the RPG style games that Bethesda publishes?
    A: I enjoy all types of games, not only computer games, but very much old-fashioned board games too. RPG games is certainly among the favourites, but also strategy games (Civilization, Total War), good shooters (Half-Life, etc.) and racing games - and of course Portal, I look forward to Portal 2 now. I only play single-player games though.

    Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring mod authors?
    A: To start out small. Even if you have this great big idea, think of one aspect you can start with, and release the result as a mod. Then start adding new features and polishing the old after that. Trying to do everything at once will most likely make you give up before you're finished.

    Q: And finally, do you have anything you would like to say to our readers out there?
    A: Thanks for supporting Map Marker Overhaul, and my other mods. I would never have made Map Marker Overhaul what it is now, without all the feedback and suggestions from the mod users.

    Thanks again to TheNiceOne for participating in the interview. Check back next month for another interview, and don't forget to vote for April's File of the Month.
  • 02 April 2011

    Oblivion's 5th anniversary and a Bethesda podcast

    posted by Lingwei Mod News
    Last Saturday marked the 5th year anniversary of Oblivion. Who knew? (I was travelling back from New Zealand at the time).

    Since that time The Elder Scrolls Nexus has amassed 22690 files for Morrowind and Oblivion.

    Have a favourite Oblivion memory? Whether it's from before you knew about mods, the first mod you loaded, or the countless hours spent trying to set the mods up so that your game didn't crash every ten minutes, share them with us in the comments section.

    Bethesda has also released a podcast talking about Oblivion's development so if you want to find out who to send coal to for Christmas for the level scaling system you might want to check it out.
  • 02 April 2011

    Levitation in Skyrim available for three hundred dollars

    posted by Lingwei Mod News
    IGN has interviewed Todd Howard about Skyrim.

    While there is not a lot of new information Todd confirms that levitation will be available as a download for three hundred dollars, that unicorns will be available for one hundred dollars and that we can ride dragons - but not in the ahem traditional way.

    It has some new screenshots.

    He also explains how Bethesda has created a 'new engine'.

    We've always used a lot of our own stuff, mixed with other middleware that we liked. Coming off of Fallout 3, we made a pretty big list of what we wanted to change technically. So we redid the rendering, lighting, shadows, animation, faces, foliage, mountains, scripting, interface and more. And by the time we got through it all, it was clear the technology was new enough to give it its own name, The Creation Engine. Same with our editor, The Creation Kit. They go together as technology.

    Some of that you'll notice as a player, like shadows, mountains, and the animations; some you won't, like how scripting or pathfinding works internally. If you looked quickly at our editor, it behaves similar to our old ones; it just does a lot more, and does some old things in better ways. But we don't change things just to change them. We still use the nif file format, because it worked fine for what we're doing and our modders know it well. We still use some middleware that we like, such as Havok. We're not just using their physics this time, but their animation system, Havok Behavior. It makes a dramatic difference in how the game looks and plays. Overall though, the paradigm for how we build these huge worlds has not changed dramatically, we just want it to look better and play more smoothly.
  • 29 March 2011

    Mods and assets from S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    I wanted to bring to light some official news from GSC, the creators of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of games, on some information regarding the use of their assets in other games.

    A few people not in the know have either been using the fact a few mods on the Nexus sites use STALKER assets as an excuse to use assets from other games and mediums or claim that we're some how biased or turning a blind eye to illegal content in some mods.

    We take reports of the use of illegal content very seriously, perhaps more serious than most sites out there but, as we continue to say, we're not always up-to-date with every mod hosted here so we rely on you, the community, to let us know if you think something is amiss by reporting content. Lots of folks do and we're very thankful for it. Similarly we haven't played every game in existence so some times have no clue that the assets in a mod are from another game.

    When the first mods appeared using STALKER assets (a long time ago) we were told that GSC allowed their assets to be used in non-commercial work. Buddah followed this up by contacting the relevant people at GSC and sure enough Buddah was told that this was fine. In recent months new moderator Thandal has pursued the case again, to once again verify the validity of claims (as I said, we take this stuff seriously!), and GSC have now posted up an official response on their forums regarding this issue:

    It is done! GSC made its official lawyer-vetted statement:

    GSC has made explicit its position regarding the legal status of mods, including the use of its resources with others games. You can find the original under the link below. I am attaching a translation, as well.

    Mods (modifications) of a computer game can be made by a person who has legally acquired a licensed copy of the game and exclusively for the purpose of its use on the hardware belonging to the person performing the modification or persons to whom the modification was given on non-commercial basis (such as freely over the Internet).

    This means that the person who makes a mod for a computer game can use this modification exclusively on non-commercial basis.

    The author of the mod retains authorship and exclusive rights on the mod. However, the resources used for development of the given mod belong to another person. As such, the mod does not wholly belong to the author of the modification, who does not have full control over it (such as for commercial use).

    Our company allows non-commercial use of mods for our computer games. If you want to use mods developed for our games (such as from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series) with another game, you have to turn to that game's developers for permission.

    You can check out the original Russian thread or read the English translation on their official forums.

    This is a nice breathe of fresh air in the gaming industry and we definitely welcome such an open policy to the use of assets. Please remember that this policy only applies to GSC STALKER assets and using content from most other games is still a violation of copyright and will not be tolerated here. If in doubt, ask a moderator or post on the forums and someone will tell you for sure.
  • 25 March 2011

    Skyrim's Menu System

    Everyone knows what Oblivion’s menu looks like: the yellow parchment, the large, ugly text, and the sepia map. Many mods fix this, but for Skyrim, Bethesda is making a new user-friendly menu completely from scratch.

    Unlike previous menus, Skyrim’s won’t take you back to the page you were on the last time you looked on the menu. Instead, it will bring you to a compass, where you choose which page to go. If you were to press on the right arrow, then it would take you to the inventory, which separates items by type. You can also view every item in 3D. If you were to press the left arrow, then it would take you to your spells, complete with how each works (for example, shock spells drain magicka as well as health). Pressing the up arrow would cause you to look up to the sky, where the three major constellations will be shown: The Warrior, The Thief, and The Mage. Each has six constellations inside, all of them representing a skill, which means a total of 18 skills. Each skill level-up will go towards a new level. Every time your level goes up, you can choose a supplementary perk for one of your skills. If you use heavy armor a lot, then you’d want to choose one that is related to heavy armor. Like in the Fallout series, some perks can be chosen more than once to be "leveled up".

    Finally, pressing the down arrow will make the screen zoom out to reveal a map of Skyrim, which is fully interactive. You can move across the map and examine the mountains, the caves, or the cities, similar to the 3D item viewing. You can manage markers, plan where you’re going to go, or fast-travel (yep, its still there!). When outside the compass screen and in the game world, you will be able to hit a button and it will pause everything and bring you to your favorites screen. This screen is very similar to hot-keys in Oblivion, except that the slots are unlimited, and you can assign anything to them. In theory, you could put everything in your inventory on this screen. You can’t determine the order the favorites are in, however; they will be listed alphabetically.

    That’s all for now, thanks for reading and keep watching the TESNexus news for more information on Skyrim!
  • 18 March 2011

    PC Gamer ESV: Skyrim preview

    posted by wolfen420 Game News
    PC Gamer has posted a online preview of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. They cover many aspects of the game including Fallout 3's perk concept being implemented into the game.
  • 16 March 2011

    Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Dragon Age: Origins to be considered for Smithsonian exhibit

    posted by Agonofinis Game News
    Good day, everyone. I'm Agonofinis, one of your fresh batch of news writers.

    Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Dragon Age: Origins are all in the running to be displayed at a new exhibition and collection of digital media at the Smithsonian Art Museum in Washington D.C., designed to celebrate "The Art Of Videogames”, which opens on March 16th, 2012.

    The collection will split eighty games into five eras, perhaps ranging from the ZX Spectrum and 8-bit legends Missile Command and E.T The Extra-Terrestrial, all the way up to modern blockbusters such as Mass Effect 2 and, of course, the games represented by the Nexus websites.

    Though the collection is being curated by Past Pixels founder Chris Mellisinos, the public is also able to have a say in what goes into the exhibition. With a choice of 240 games spread over nearly 40 years of gaming tradition, you all have until April 17th to visit the website and register your vote. With only an email address you can help decide what games should be preserved for posterity, and which games Roger Ebert will see when he is inevitably dragged there by a smug industry figurehead.

    Elizabeth Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, stated that;

    “Playing video games involves many personal choices, so, in keeping with the spirit of the exhibition’s content, we want to involve the public in helping us select games for the exhibition.”

    Vote for Oblivion, Fallout, Dragon Age or any other of the selected games now at the Art Of Videogames website, found in the link below.

    Art Of Videogames website

  • 13 March 2011

    Skyrim to return some of Morrowind's atmosphere

    posted by Lingwei Game News
    Todd Howard has admitted to the Official Xbox Magazine that attempts to make Oblivion feel more "welcoming" resulted in the loss of "the wonder of discovery" that characterised Morrowind.

    "With Skyrim, we're trying to bring some of that back and walk the line between Morrowind and Oblivion. Where it's at first familiar looking, but has its own unique culture and spin on it," said Mr Howard.

    The province of Cyrodiil was previously described as a "jungle" in the lore but became a European countryside in the game.

    Bethesda provided no lore explanation of why this change took place. Michael Kirkbride, creator of much of the lore for Morrowind and Oblivion eventually provided an unofficial explanation - that Tiber Septim had changed the jungle into what it is today by his power.
  • 09 March 2011

    OXM Interview with Todd Howard

    posted by Lingwei Game News
    The Official Xbox Magazine posted an interview with Todd Howard.

    The interview contains no new information about Skyrim but does talk about Mr Howard's views about the Elder Scrolls series.

    Mr Howard said that Bethesda game studios treats each game as a new game series rather than a group of sequels.

    He said that his favourite game is the most recently released Bethesda game and ranks the other games in order that they were released.

    Mr Howard also announced that the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages catalogued the lore better than Bethesda themselves had and that the developers often use it as a resource in their work.

    More information is available at the OXM website.
  • 07 March 2011

    Interview with BGSenTinel

    Sentinel's Legendary Weapons and Armor won February's TESNexus File of the Month with 32 votes. The mod's author, BGSenTinel, has graciously accepted our request for an interview which you can read below. We hope you enjoy this new feature.


    Q: What was your inspiration for creating this mod?
    A: Everything started by creating one single katana - Sylvan's one. Then I decided to make the Imperial, Pure Steel, and the Emperor's Katana. I thought I should put this in a set, so I started working on Sylvan's armor. In no time the ideas were coming and as a result you now have 5 armor sets with more then 22 weapons. Talking directly about inspiration it would have to be that I'm fascinated by the Asian culture and I found that there are not any decent mods out there which add lore friendly katanas. There are great katana swords made for the game but they are all real life swords. I wanted to add something which might be integrated to TES lore just like the Akaviri swords.

    Q: What was the hardest part about creating the mod?
    A: Making the mini quest. I'm a total novice when it comes to writing scripts. The CS is not my strongest part at all. Thanks to Hickory (Mike) who actually made the quest possible by writing the scripts for me.

    Q: What was your favorite part about creating the mod?
    A: Making the new textures and the UV mapping. I really enjoyed creating the Sylvan set. It was the first set I decided to make. I was really pleased that my idea of combining the glass armor with the original silver ornaments from the game worked so well.

    Q: Any plans for future projects?
    A: I have plans, but I don't have the time to start. I'm planning to make new armor sets + new weapons in a new independent modification but this time I want to actually add some sort of quest for obtaining the items; (something like the Myths and Legends Weapons)

    Q: How long did it take you to get the mod to where it is now?
    A: About two months with at least 1 hour of working on it every day.

    Q: What are the most common tools you used in your development?
    A: For the textures, I was using Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended Edition, and for the armors composition and UV mapping NifScope and Blender.

    Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring mod authors?
    A: Do what you like to do. The inspiration comes with the work. Modding is done for pleasure, not for fame and glory. In a friendly community like TESNexus, everyone is just trying to share with others their ways to enrich the amazing world of The Elder Scrolls series.

    Q: What are some of your other favorite games if Oblivion isn't the only game you play?
    A: I don't play many games anymore, but my favorite game ever is Heroes 3 and its unofficial expansion Wake Of Gods. Besides that I used to play a lot of the Warcraft III and Unreal Tournament series of games. I'm also a big fan of the legendary Monkey Island series.

    Thanks to BGSenTinel for answering the questions! Check back next month for another interview, and remember to vote for your favorite mod for this month's File of the Month.