NEVERWINTER NIGHTS

View:

  • 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.[
  • 18 January 2017

    Staff Picks - 18 Jan 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    We're back again with some more staff picks, this week SirSalami dives headfirst into the world of Stardew Valley with a mod to make this awesome little adventure game 'hard'; TerrorFox1234 tries his hand at the mod S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Chernobyl after my recommendation last week; and I get one of my favourite gameplay mechanics into one of my favourite games!

    Our guest contributor this week is ZZZ02, their selection is a total overhaul mod for Oblivion, so be sure to check that 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: Hard Mode
    Game: Stardew Valley
    Author: RamenYum

    Call me a masochist if you will, but sometimes I feel that a little extra difficulty can really add to an experience. I think most of the Dark Souls fanbase can relate, but what about Stardew valley players? If you're like me and would enjoy a little extra spice in your farming life then maybe this one's for you.

    This mod rebalances combat as well as the time and effort it takes to accomplish various tasks around the valley. While some of the changes may seem tedious at first glance, you'll be rewarded with a greater sense of accomplishment which may create a more meaningful gameplay experience.

    Especially to those of you already familiar with the ins-and-outs of farm life, this mod may make your next visit to the valley that much more rewarding. Thanks RamenYum!


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Outfit Addon
    Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Chernobyl
    Author: VodkaChicken

    For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Call of Chernobyl (CoC) is a massive overhaul for the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. It is essentially an entirely new game. On that note, if you are a fan of brutal post-apocalyptic survival games, you really should give CoC a try.

    With the recent addition of CoC to Nexus Mods, I decided to give it a go. I'm still learning the ropes of the game but, as is the case with all of us, I simply couldn't play it without some mods installed! I focused mainly on aesthetic mods and mods that simply added new items to the game, as I didn't want to alter any mechanics and gameplay elements before really spending some time with the game.

    The first mod I grabbed was Outfit Addon by VodkaChicken. Outfit Addon is pretty straightforward. It adds 26 new outfits with custom upgrade trees. It's one of those mods that fits in with the base game so seamlessly, you just sort of forget that it's a mod. Everything is balanced well with the rest of the outfits in the game and aesthetically it fits right in. Variety is the spice of life, and this mod does well to add some variety to the dreary post-apocalyptic world of CoC.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Take Cover
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: registrator2000

    I've always been a big fan of cover systems. One of my fondest arcade memories is playing Time Crisis with a friend, taking it in turns to pop out from behind the wall or crate and fire off several rounds while the other one took a breather and reloaded. The ability to choosing as to when you got shot at, rather than running headlong into battle like someone out of 'Commando', was invigorating and made you feel a little like you were in control. 

    More and more modern games begun to utilise the mechanic, and from the early 2000's there were some notable releases such as Kill.Switch and Gears of War that implemented it incredibly well, with additions such as blind firing and cover vault systems. It's now a regular feature of many games and one that adds realism and excitement to tense shootouts.

    But it seems Bethesda didn't get the memo and Fallout 4 saw you having to break cover and stand full frontal to an enemy to get your shots off. Well, registrator2000 has come to our rescue with the release of 'Take Cover'. This mod gives your character the ability to take refuge behind an object or wall, popping out to take shots at those pesky Raiders only when you're ready to engage.

    I tried the mod using both options and have to say that I prefer the hotkey method that registrator2000 details on his mod page, binding shift+aim to be cover using one of his other mods FO4Hotkeys. 

    Now you have a little advantage over those in the wasteland, enjoy.


    (Guest submission)ZZZ02

    Mod: Maskar's Oblivion Overhaul
    Game: Oblivion
    Author: Maskar

    There are many well-known overhauls for Oblivion but they often have compatibility issues or may just be the same Oblivion with a bit more stuff bolted on. Now imagine a mod with many of these overhaul mods features but done in a clean and compatible way.

    MOO is that and so much more in addition to things you find in most overhauls it adds so much more 'stuff'. It dynamically alters AI; adds stuff to leveled lists; throws in unpredictable encounters and so on. The feature list is so long that there is a whole PDF to download just to explain them all.

    The best part about it is EVERYTHING IS CONFIGURABLE THROUGH INI FILES. The mod can even detect mods with conflicting features and disable them automatically. You can even use another overhaul mod together with MOO. This mod is one mod that you can trust to enhance your Oblivion experience.

    It is an essential mod in my load order, it is very compatible with almost everything and it is the way Oblivion should have been from the beginning.


    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!
  • 16 January 2017

    AMA with Elianora - Audio



    Thank you to everyone who joined in last night's AMA (Ask Me Anything) with our guest Elianora. It was a resounding success and I'm very grateful for the time that she and the community put aside to make it what it was. The questions received were great and I know Eli had a lot of fun answering them all. 

    If you fancy taking a listen to the event, then please head on over to SoundCloud where we have uploaded the audio.
  • 11 January 2017

    Staff Picks - 11 Jan 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    This week there is quite a diverse range of Staff Picks. SirSalami has found a good option to multi-task within Skyrim; TerrorFox1234 has been looking at add-on mods for the new HUDFramework that was mentioned in a previous weeks pick, and I have gone back to a game (or version of) that I loved many years ago.

    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: Read Books Aloud
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: sjors boomschors

    Written lore can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can bring you deeper into a game world by providing details about the setting and expanding your imagination. On the other, forcing you to read text can really drag down a gameplay session, especially if you have limited playtime. Skyrim especially has so much written lore, it can be daunting to even consider reading them all. This mod however, makes that goal a bit more achievable, at least for me, by adding the ability to have the books read to you.

    By default this mod seemingly does nothing on it's own, requiring you to download various plugins before functioning. The 'default' plugin (found in the optional files) contains most or all of the books as spoken by a speech synthesizer. It has a lovely accent and I personally do not mind the very slightly robotic cadence. You can however, find other plugins for this mod voiced by many of your fellow community members as well!

    My favorite part? With full hotkey support, you can choose to continue the audio even after the book has been closed, allowing you to continue exploring while simultaneously learning more about the world that surrounds you, reminiscent of Bioshock's audio diaries. Convenient and immersive. Lovely!


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Explosives Widget and Survival Stats Widget
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: neanka

    Am I allowed to pick two?! I’m doing it. While they may be completely unrelated in terms of functionality, they are both fantastic examples of what is possible with the HUDFramework mod. Both mods come from neanka, the original author of the DEF_UI mods. It seems silly to mention one and not the other.

    Explosives Widget gives you a neat little HUD icon, allowing you to track what type of explosive you have equipped and how many you have. It also lets you display a list of all explosive types, along with how many of each you have. These options can be accessed via holotape in game.

    Survival Stats Widgets gives you status bars for your hunger, thirst, and fatigue. A settings holotape allows you to toggle a few additional options, as well as scale and reposition the status bars.

    I look forward to seeing what else people do with HUDFramework. In the meantime neanka has kicked things off to a good start!


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Call of Chernobyl - Full Release
    Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Chernobyl
    Author: Alundaio

    There is a particular type of game that I seem to fall in love with. It's glaringly obvious now I come to think of it, as Steam makes a point of shoving it in my face every time I log on with its 'Discovery Queue' feature and the 'Tags recommended for you' section. Open world, survival based sandbox games!

    So when S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Chernobyl arrived on Nexus Mods, I was one of the first people to download it. I think the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games were incredible and far ahead of their time upon release, still holding up relatively well even now. Immersive, frequently tense and often quite jumpy, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is the Dark Souls version of Fallout with its instadeath approach to exploration and combat.

    Sadly, GSC Game World dissolved in 2011 and the chance for a further S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game disappeared alongside. However, this hasn't stopped a group of like-minded modders banding together to create a sandbox mod for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat game. Team Epic has created this mod, 'Call of Chernobyl' as a labour of love and I've already spent a good number of hours back within the Zone. By adding character creation, game modes, and multiple gameplay changes, this mod steers the series in a new and exciting direction, which is only being enhanced with the numerous mods you can find online for it. I recommend you check it out.


    (Guest submission)EmeraldHaze

    Mod: JSawyer Ultimate Edition
    Game: Fallout New Vegas
    Author: PushTheWinButton

    What it does: This mod is a cleaned-up and reworked version of JSawyer, which is considered by many to be the "Director's Cut" for Fallout New Vegas. It utilizes the full power of NVSE and scripting to bring the definitive experience to the player. Bugs fixed, balance remade to be more true to the original design, gameplay tweaked and improved. If you play Fallout New Vegas without this mod - you are doing a disservice to yourself! Scoop it out.

    Why is it good: This mod (when used together with YUP) gives Fallout New Vegas the polish it deserves. To paraphrase: "Everything is better, when you experience it with JSawyer Ultimate".

    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!
  • 08 January 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - Jokerine - Prolific modder and lover of Chickens!



    Todays Sunday Discussion is with the 'Queen of Chickens' - Jokerine. With (currently) 245 mods on the site, Jokerine really shows that modding can be both addictive and highly enjoyable. Her interview really made me smile because of her passion, her love of memes and getting into modding due to a 'dare'. Happy Sunday discussion everyone.

    Firstly I would like to thank you for the time you are giving up to speak to me; it’s most appreciated.

    You’re most welcome! Thank you for having me. I’m honored!

    If you don’t mind, could you just let us know a little bit about you?

    There isn’t much to say. I’m just a housewife living abroad who spends way too long modding games instead of cooking dinner, haha! I’ve started to keep plenty of ramen noodles on store for those evenings when I can’t chase these darn bugs in the game, and I lose track of time.

    I also like to bake cakes, enjoy driving my digital truck on Euro Truck Simulator 2 and walks on the beach, love chickens and look forward to an afternoon of knitting, podcasts, and a hot roasted grain beverage.

    I have to ask, you have chickens all over your profile, you sign off with chickens, what is the deal with you and chickens!?

    I just find them super quirky and fun! Every chicken seems to have a personality of its own and can get up to really amusing antics. I follow many chicken-themed websites, own a brand-new copy of “Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens,” and a cool “Just Us Chickens” calendar that I got for free from Amazon. Blame them for encouraging my obsession!

    Seriously, however, my dream is to have a few someday in a big, fancy coop. My husband deals with my enthusiasm well enough; he knows that if we got free eggs I could bake him lots of cakes, and I’d spend less time slaving away at the computer :P



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

    There truly isn’t much to say. My gaming history is pretty lackluster because I’ve never really had the money to get myself a monster gaming rig, so I’ve never really cared about PLAYING ALL THE GAMES and all that. I tend to be really picky and stick with the things I like and run well on my old laptop.

    Checking my Steam purchase history, the very first games I got on Steam back in 2009 were both Half-Life: Blue Shift and Opposing Force. A friend then hooked me up with some leftover The Orange Box games and a copy of Team Fortress 2 (back when you actually had to pay for it). The Half-Life series is what got me into games, although, again, I don’t consider myself much of a “gamer.” I don’t play that many things, I don’t follow the latest tech or stuff like that. I wasn’t even going to get Skyrim, but a friend gifted me a copy as a wedding present.

    My gaming weakness is Pokemon, though. It marked my childhood and helped me during some really rough times when family stuff got difficult. I’d hide away in the corner of my room with my GameBoy and run around chasing the little critters.

    Tragically, my mother threw out almost all of my Pokemon memorabilia in a fit of drunken rage one day, including my console, all the games I had and my seven sets of trading cards. I only managed to save a copy of The Official Pokémon Handbook (yes, I am that much of a nerd) and a handful of figurines because I had stored them away. When I left my country to live where I currently am, I couldn’t bring the book, but I did bring a couple of my figurines including my favorite, Porygon, who’s wearing a sombrero. I keep him on my desk. And I bought myself a used copy of the Deluxe Collector's' Edition of the Official Pokemon Handbook so I could get the poster and hang it on my wall.

    The loss of all those much-loved Pokemon-themed thingamabobs, many of which I had bought with my own money, is the only reason I own an old Nintendo DS Lite (which was the first thing I bought with my first salary - poor thing has taken a beating after all these years). I made it my goal to own legitimate copies of all the Pokemon games, and managed to get them all up to White.

    Sadly money's too tight to buy the latest games nowadays, even though I do own a Nintendo 2DS with access to the eShop. I hawkishly check for sales now and then...

    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 has to be Mass Effect 2, hands down. I legitimately must’ve sunk 3K hours on it or so, no joke. I’ve played so, so much of it that I remember once finishing the game and immediately going to the main menu to start again. I love the space setting, the conversations, and the chance to make choices. The characters are great, with very human problems and conflicts that I find relatable, especially Jack. She’s definitely my favorite character. I enjoy the combat, too - you can use powers instead of weapons and it’s a cool way to spice things up.

    I own physical copies of the three games in the series, including a pre-order of the Collector’s edition of Mass Effect 3, which I may or may not deeply regret now. I just stick with the second. Funnily enough, I never really got into modding it because the process is a bit complicated, what without the official tools and all. I’d mostly just make retextures for it if I could be bothered.

    As I said before, I’m not much of a gamer, so when I happened to spot a boxed copy of Mass Effect 2 during a window-shopping trip, I grabbed it because I thought the setting looked cool (and it was 50% off!). I never looked back. Best impulse purchase ever!!!

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

    I started with the silly task of wanting to turn everything in Half-Life 2 pink after some friends dared me to it. It was a good chance to learn retexturing, even though the tools were rather clunky and, being a noob, it took me forever to get things right. I wanted to change so much stuff!

    I didn’t know what I was doing back then, so I just extracted the textures and played around with them until I figured it out. I made great progress on this texture pack, but eventually lost the files during an HDD crash and couldn’t bring myself to start again. I only have a handful of textures left and some screenshots. I set up a mod page for it here back when I was actively working on it, but looking at it now makes me sad, hah. Perhaps I’ll pick it up again someday.



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

    In my opinion, the best way to start is to open up an existing mod in the GECK to see how it was done. That’s how I started, wanting to tweak someone’s house mod in Skyrim. That way you can mess around and break things without a worry because you can just redownload the mod and replace your broken mess with it. So just open up that esp and go nuts!

    When it comes to videos or tutorials, I guess it depends on the person. Some folks prefer video; others prefer written guides.

    Whatever you do, do a search before you ask other modders for help. Chances are someone else already tried to do what you’re doing and figured it out long ago. Try to be proactive!

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

    I usually ask on the Nexus forums, but only after I’ve really exhausted all options and my rudimentary knowledge has truly proven to not be up to snuff. I’d like to think I’ve become pretty good at hacking things together and getting away with it, haha! In the particular case of me needing animated meshes I tend to ask my friend Pixelhate for help. He’s very patient and can make some amazing things. As always, Pix for Prez! <3

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

    Not very often, no. I don’t care much about becoming “the best” so I don’t compare my work against other people’s. Sometimes, if a mod does something interesting, I’ll try my hand at reproducing it, and if I can’t figure it out, I’ll take a look at the mod to see how it’s done. But, beyond that, I like to work on things my way, at my pace, even if it takes forever.

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

    As I said before, my friend Pixelhate is awesome and can really do magic with meshes! Stroti also makes some beautiful resources for Oblivion that I’ve converted to New Vegas. Then there’s Elianora, who does beautiful interior work; Mindboggles, the creature master; Dragbody, who can whip out some incredible armors; Xazomn, the texture Pro, and both Seddon4494 and Ladez, who are always helping people out with scripting.

    Do you or have you ever worked within a team of modders? If so, how do you divide the work and how do you communicate with one another?

    I tried to participate in "Molag Bal's Inferno" for Skyrim some time ago, but sadly I just didn’t have enough time. Off the top of my head, I teamed up with DDProductions83 to work on Stratos for Skyrim and with GOLDENTRIANGLES to work on Craftable Placeable Sierra Madre Vending Machines for New Vegas, and in both cases, we worked on things separately and then assembled them together.

    I usually tend to prefer to work on my own, though, so I can take the time I always need. I’m slow and rather sickly, so I tend to drop off projects often to pick them up later. I wouldn’t be a very reliable teammate, haha!



    You have a prolific amount of mods to your name, where do you get the inspiration to create them?

    I like to think almost everything in a moddable game can be changed, so I think to myself, “Can I do this? Can I get away with that?” and then fire up the editor to test. If I succeed, then I usually come up with a way to use this in a mod because people’s tastes are so varied that I’m sure someone somewhere would be interested in whatever I’m doing at any given time.

    Often all it takes is for me to think of something that I like or find funny. Then I stick it in a mod, just for the heck of it. One thing I didn't get to admit in one of my releases (a cafe for TTW) was that the only reason I made the whole mod (seriously) was to use the sentence "[PLAYERNAME] withdraws coolly" in a conversation. That’s a meme from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Yes, I am a shameless memester, ladies and gentlemen. I don't know if I should be ashamed or not...

    I really enjoy customizing games to suit my tastes, especially by sneaking in references to things I like. For instance, a personal mod I have for New Vegas that is just a bunch of custom food is about 60 MB, and another with collectible clutter is 75 MB. Both of these are highly optimized with low-res textures and use plenty of Texture Sets to avoid including tons of copies of the same mesh, so the fact they somehow went over 10 MB still surprises me. I’m still adding to them now and then.

    Do you ever plan anything out on paper before committing time and effort into the creation?

    Only dialogue, so I can write out the lines to send to voice actors and figure out the required scripting. Beyond that, I usually get the idea for a mod from somewhere random and mull it over for a while until I got something workable, then launch the editor and go to town. I pretty much just improvise, adding more things as I come up with them and dropping some if I can’t figure out a way to squeeze them in. Then I lose track of how long I’ve spent on the mod and wonder where all these months went...

    Which of your mods are you most proud of?

    Haha, hard to decide. Hm… This may be an odd choice for people who like my quest mods, but I’d have to go with Buddy Chicken for New Vegas.

    It’s based on a cool vintage toy of a chicken that I found on an online store while browsing the web for chicken pictures (don’t judge) and fell in love! But my dearly beloved flat-out refused to waste like a month’s worth of groceries on the thing, so I just bookmarked it and checked on it now and then. Eventually, I figured I could ask my friend Xazomn if she could somehow turn the pictures of the toy into textures. I have no idea what sorcery she used, but she managed to make it work. So I put together a misc item to carry around with me in my game and posted a screenshot of it on the imageshare.

    My friend Bethjunkie suggested I try to turn it into a companion, and with mindboggles’ help making animations and a custom skeleton for it (instead of rigging it to the sentry bot skeleton like I originally did) Buddy Chicken became a reality. This particular mod shows how much the community can influence mods and bring something awesome together!



    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?

    I check on the Nexus a few times a day, so new mods are hard to miss! I tend to make most of my own mods for my game, though, so I rarely ever install new things unless they’re something I can’t make myself from scratch. I just build on a monster esp where I implement random tweaks and the like, as I’m sure many other people do. Gotta cut down on that load order.

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

    I wish I were able to do it all, but alas, not the case. I shamefully tend to pass off animated mesh issues to my buddy Pixelhate, although with his tutorials and help I’ve managed to fix up some things on my own. I’m also at a loss when it comes to creating full outfits, although again I’ve been dabbling in accessory creation lately. It’s just a hassle with all the different body mods out there. If you want to make sure your apparel mods work as intended, you either make patches or give your characters a custom race and include all of the assets to make them independent from body mods. So I tend to fish out other people’s apparel to suit my purposes (that sounds wrong!) and go with that. And, of course, there is no chance I can do voice acting myself because I have the world’s worst accent, haha!

    Besides that, fortunately, I find myself skilled enough to make new clutter, furniture and basic textures alongside general GECK work such as dialogue and scripting, so I’m not too hopeless and can scrape by. But I’m not an all-encompassing modding machine by any means.

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

    Criticism is fine if it’s respectful. As I said before, I’m not a modding machine, and I make mistakes all the time. So if someone wants to help find bugs or make suggestions that’s alright by me.

    However, certain things I simply won’t accept, such as complaints about lore or about the style/scope/direction of a mod. I make what I want, and the beauty of modding is that you can edit stuff to suit your own tastes, so if there’s something I added somewhere you disapprove of it’s easier for you to remove it yourself instead of leaving a message moaning about it and making unreasonable demands.

    To give you an idea, I only have three people blocked from my files on the Nexus (and only one is global, the others are file-specific) because they were staggeringly rude so I won’t share them here. Considering the amount of mods I have, I think that’s a pretty low number. Most people around these parts are not doofuses, fortunately.

    Do you worry about mod compatibility when you develop?

    Not really. 98% of the mods I make start with me wanting them in my own game, so as long as they don’t conflict with anything I have I’m a happy camper. If I wanted to worry about compatibility, I wouldn’t get anything done! New Vegas has been out for a long time, so it makes sense that real estate is at a premium, so to speak.

    Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough not to have many compatibility issues with my mods. Two good ways to avoid problems, in my opinion, are to replicate default in-game functions in your own mod if you can (in case other mod messes with the default systems), and to build in places that are out of the way. Another house mod in Goodsprings or Riverwood is bound to have many more conflicts than one near Lake Mead or The Sea of Ghosts.

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

    As I said before, just grab the editor for your mod of choice, open up a mod that you like and look around to see how it’s done. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Keep plenty of backups, and always do a search in your search engine of choice before asking questions, for everyone’s sanity! And, last but not least, be realistic about your expectations. If you want to mod to become an internet star, it may not pan out. There are some modding celebrities out there, yeah, but for most of us, it’s just a hobby. Don’t let arguments, drama and stress sour you out. Just do whatever makes you happy.

    Thanks again for chatting to us Jokerine, it is most appreciated.

  • 06 January 2017

    Upcoming AMA with Elianora

    On Sunday the 15th January, we are holding an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Elianora, one of Nexus Mods most prolific mod authors, and creator of some beautiful abodes, armours and gear for the Bethesda games Skyrim, Fallout 4 and Fallout New Vegas. We would love for you to come and be a part of it.

    Our previous AMA with Dark0ne, the owner of Nexus Mods, went down incredibly well with the community and gave people an opportunity to ask whatever they desired. The questions varied wildly from ‘the future of this website’ to ‘his favourite vehicle’ and everything in-between. However, we had a number of comments saying that although some people couldn’t make the date to listen, they would have loved to have submitted a question - so I made a tiny form to do just that for the Elianora AMA.

    (This form is no longer active)

    This event will be hosted live on our Discord server in a dedicated AMA channel. This will be created closer to the event and details on how to join will be given out in a separate news post.

    It will be 7 pm UK (UTC) time, translating to the following times in other areas: 9 pm EET / 11 am PST / 1 pm CST / 2 pm EST

    If you are not in any of those areas, then check http://www.worldtimebuddy.com/ for your timezone.

    Please put a note in your diary and don’t forget to get those questions in.

  • 04 January 2017

    Staff Picks - 04 Jan 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature


    Firstly, a big "Happy New Year" to you all! We hope that you all enjoyed the festive period and are now relaxed, ready and rejuvenated to begin 2017 with some incredible mods.

    Today we bring you a few mods that we have tried out over the Christmas break. I have been playing a mix of games, but returned once again to the wasteland in Fallout 4, SirSalami managed to nab himself a bargain with Mass Effect 2 and Terrorfox1234 has been annoying enemies in Skyrim and running away. Today's guest pick is from our community member arecaidianfox and is a great alternative to 'Fast Travel' within Skyrim.

    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.  

    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: ME2Controller
    Game: Mass Effect 2
    Author: Dybukk

    I thoroughly enjoyed the original Mass Effect but for whatever reason, I had never got around to playing its sequels. Thanks to EA's generosity a clerical mistake, I was lucky enough to score a free copy of Mass Effect 2 from Origin a couple of weeks ago. At that price, I had no more excuses. It was finally time to step back onto the Normandy.

    Having played the original on console, I knew I'd be in for a cinematic adventure that'd probably be best experienced on a large screen. For me, that means sitting on the couch and grabbing a gamepad. Inexplicably however and much to my dismay, the PC version does not officially support any console controllers or gamepads.

    Thankfully though, by repurposing existing assets and systems present in the console version, this mod has recreated the gamepad experience perfectly allowing every aspect of the game to be accessed from the controller seamlessly. Something that should've been included in the original PC port, but I am none-the-less thankful for this quick and elegant solution.

    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Follow Me and Swim After Me
    Game: Skyrim Special Edition
    Author: tonycubed2

    I tend to be drawn to simple mods that change something small, yet make a world of difference. I love mods that feel like they should have been in the game to start, and once you get used to them you almost forget that it’s a feature added by a mod. I’m partially drawn to these types of mods for the obvious QoL factor, but also because they are generally free from compatibility issues as they don’t touch massive amounts of records and assets.

    Follow Me and Swim After Me is a perfect example of this. It allows hostile enemies to follow you through doors (this includes following you out of a dungeon), as well as allowing them to pursue you across water. It’s as simple as that, yet the effect it has on gameplay is noticeable. No longer can you swim across the stream, or use the dungeon entrance as a buffer against a tough bandit. Once you’ve gone and pissed them off, you better fight or keep running.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Deadlier Deathclaws
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: MPankey

    It was a bit of a 'love it or hate it' moment at the beginning of Fallout 4 when meeting your first Deathclaw within an hour of beginning the game. Yes, they are pretty spectacular and a highlight of the Wasteland, but seriously Bethesda, that early in the story! Not only do you meet the Deathclaw while you are such a low level, but you also manage to take it down relatively quickly.

    The mod I am choosing to begin my staff pick of the New Year is 'Deadlier Deathclaws' by 'MPankey'. To me, it helps restore balance by once again making Deathclaws the creature you want to avoid rather than hunt. Their stats are boosted to make them stronger, harder and more resilient. 19 new varieties of Deathclaw are added into the game with 'Legendary' and 'Ambush' versions pushing this number higher still. There is now even a Chameleon Deathclaw with the ability to turn invisible; now that is a predator to be wary of.

    If you want a real challenge, take a journey to the Western hills of the glowing sea and find 'The Devil's Den.' This new area is a cavern full to the brim with Deathclaws! This mod really does give these creatures the ferocity and stature that they deserve.


    (Guest submission)arecaidianfox

    Mod: Skyrim Wayshrines - Immersive Fast Travel - SWIFT
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: Pharros

    This mod is wonderful. A way to fast travel without 'Fast Travel', in an immersive way, if I dare to use such a played out description. The mod adds several 'Wayshrines' in various locations throughout the game. All of these Wayshrines are connected, and you can instantly teleport between them. This mechanic does two major things:

    Firstly, it reintroduces fast travelling to the game in a more organic way. No longer do you just open up a map and point and click. Now you have to journey to find these 'Wayshrines' to use them. Leading wonderfully into my second point that discovery and exploration no longer take a back seat to Fast Travel.

    This mod is highly configurable via the MCM. Meaning that if you don't want to discover all the Wayshrines to unlock them, you can do that. If you don't want to deal with the mod's Soul Energy and Soul Karma system (used as a "currency" to unlock Wayshrines and pay for using the network) then just toggle it in the menu.

    I love this mod as SWIFT solves a major dilemma for me. We go through all this trouble of modding Skyrim, making it look wonderful, beautiful, fantastic and awe-inspiring, a surreal yet completely engrossing experience that has collectively captured our imaginations for the last five years. Then we just Fast Travel past all of it.

    SWIFT gives everyone that nice middle ground. For those of you who play hardcore realism with no 'Fast Travel', maybe this will be a good way to have more convenience within your game, without breaking the spirit of your experience. For those of you who just Fast Travel everywhere, maybe this mod will give you a better, more integrated way to fast travel, and allow you to see all that work you as a modder and mod authors put into your game. For those like myself, maybe it will do for you what it did for me, and give a clumsy game mechanic a fresh spin, and allow you to play in a happy medium between those two styles. SWIFT does all of this in a way that feels natural within the game, and I love it for that.

    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 December 2016

    2016: Our year in review

    posted by BlindJudge Site News
    TL : DR


    Full article: 

    It's come to that time of year when we prepare to see in the new year, whether it is with the chink of glass with family and friends, an early night in bed or being sat in front of the television/computer. Yep, 2017 is soon to be upon us! So with champagne and leftover Christmas morsels in hand, Michael Buble still blaring out his renditions of well-loved Christmas songs and people preparing to nurse a hangover, I can't think of a better time to reminisce with our wonderful community over what has happened this past year at Nexus Mods.

    While 2016 has been harsh for the sheer number of 'A' list celebrity deaths, it has been a very successful year for us.

    For starters, we have seen our membership increase by over 2.1 million users in 2016. Our total member count now sits at 12.2 million and growing! We approved 189 new games and their mods to the site and over 92,000 files (including those from GameFront) have been uploaded. We have two new staff members and have seen significant progress in some of our internal projects.

    The beginning of the year started with a bang as we were still riding the Fallout 4 rush. Mods were added to the site at a frantic pace, 4,656 Fallout 4 mods were uploaded in the first quarter alone! It leads all other games for files uploaded between January and October, only being beaten by Skyrim on the launch of the Special Edition. We're now hosting over 16,000 Fallout 4 files and have had nearly 150 million total downloads.

    Other games released during this busy time include 'Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen', 'Darkest Dungeon' and 'XCOM2,' all of which received favourable reviews from the critics and have seen an excellent uptake of mods on the site with nearly 2.5 million downloads between them. Dragon's Dogma and XCOM2 were also added to Nexus Mod Manager, making the addition and management of their mods super easy.



    March time saw us look long and hard at our Ad provider as we were receiving more "bad ad" reports from the community than usual. We introduced the “Report this ad” functionality under each advert to try and gather more information about our advertising and to ascertain how bad the issue was. Over the course of two months, we saw a significant number of reports (8,500+) come in, and Robin decided enough was enough with the ad provider. We successfully transitioned to our new (and still current) provider and hope that the amount of ‘bad ads’ has dropped considerably for you all. Since then, Robin has written an extensive blog piece about the ads on Nexus Mods and how you can report them more effectively to us.

    Dark Souls 3 released to a wave of positive reviews from the gaming media. It is very similar to its predecessors with its level of difficulty and gameplay, and thanks to the bright people in the community getting involved, it is also moddable. It was added to the site in April and has seen over 125 files added to the site.

    It was with sadness that we saw the closure of one of the oldest and once most popular download sites on the internet when in April, GameFront closed its website doors for the last time. Luckily we liaised with the folks over at ArchiveTeam who were working on a project for Archive.org and also with some of the old staff left at Gamefront to ensure that all the mods that were going to get lost in the ether of cyber deletion got moved and catalogued within Nexus Mod's growing list of games.

    Back In May, we decided that we needed to make the 'file uploader' both easier to use and far more robust, enabling it to upload files of any size. The old method had led to some users struggling to upload larger files, meaning that users had to contact us to do the uploading of their mods for them. Site programmer, MrMason, set about creating a new uploader that would enable files to be sent in ‘chunks’, meaning that it was more reliable to use, far faster to get your files onto the site and that you could resume your upload should you accidentally (or on purpose) close your browser window.

    One of the largest mods we have ever hosted was released to an incredible reception in July, Enderal: The Shards of Order. Not only did our community love it (9,192 endorsements and counting), but it also picked up the 'Best Fan Creation' at this years 'The Game Awards'. If that isn't the sign of a fantastic mod, then I don't know what is.



    August saw the release of one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2016, Hello Games 'No Man's Sky'. To say that the game was a mighty disappointment for many is an understatement. It promised to take you to distant galaxies, a journey through diverse and well-populated planets, a voyage of discovery as you will. Instead, it saw many users clamouring for a refund due to ‘false advertising’ and ‘misleading’ videos and screenshots. However, what seemed like an eternity of silence, ‘Hello Games’ are now releasing large and comprehensive updates to try and draw back in some of its initially huge player base. We may yet see it return to its initial promise of a game of deep exploration and wonder. In the meantime, the community once again stepped up to the task and the site has seen mod authors answer the call for more diversity, population and addressing some of the annoyances of the vanilla game.

    On the site side in August, we chose to move our chat platform from the IP.Board Chat application to Discord, not only allowing our users to chat via text but also communicate on a range of different voice channels. We saw the average number of users online at any one time rise from approximately 15-20 people to over 2300! The feedback has been exceptionally positive, and it’s great to see our community chatting together.



    Robin graciously gave up time one evening in September to be bombarded with questions from you all in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) format. It was a cracking night that saw him asked everything from "What is his favourite lunch?" to "Did he ever expect Nexus Mods to get such a large community?" And everything in between. It’s a good listen/read so be sure to check it out.

    Tannin (of Mod Organiser fame) came on board in September to head up the development team of DuskDweller and Luco81 for our new Nexus Mod Manager, we are well underway with this new application, and we look forward to showing you its progress in the new year.



    Terrorfox1234 joined us in October to look outside of Nexus Mods and to represent us on the wider web. He has also begun to look at our social media presence, and we've seen a 29% increase in Twitter followers in just two months. Social media is an area we would like to concentrate on due to its immediacy, and that it grants us the ability to share content with our users quickly and easily.

    The huge story of October was the release of Skyrim Special Edition, that saw a resurgence of love for the world of Tamriel. People once again donned their rags to set foot in their beloved Skyrim, just this time, in glorious 64 bit! This surge in users caused a bit of a mini-meltdown at Nexus HQ due to the sheer number of players coming back to the games.. With our servers begging for mercy it caused a few hiccups and (like an episode of Star Trek) saw us having to reroute resources from elsewhere to keep the sites afloat. We weathered the storm relatively unscathed and saw some outstanding mods appear for the game; our community has been quick to respond by porting over their mods at a dizzying rate.



    Over the course of the year, we have been working diligently behind the scenes on the website redesign. "Be like a duck" is the best way to describe the process as it stands. On the surface, we are making steady progress, and everything is cool, calm and collected. Underneath we are kicking frantically, working hard to get this behemoth of a task completed. Considering the small size of our development team and that they're regularly pulled away from their work on the redesign to fix issues on the current design, we're making significant headway. The internal alpha release is ready, and everything is finally slotting into place. Each passing day more bugs are getting squashed and it is becoming more and more feature complete.

    After the initial internal testing, we will address anything that we find and then pass it over to our very patient and very helpful focus group to get their feedback. Once they've given the redesign some extensive testing we'll then work on our launch process. We'll provide more details on that as the time gets nearer.



    So onwards to the new year and I can already picture it being one of the biggest ever for Nexus Mods. We have the redesign of both the website and the Nexus Mod Manager to look forward too; we have a larger social media presence where we can announce updates, news and giveaways and we have plans to expand our content in new and exciting ways.

    So from everyone here at Nexus Mods, we hope you have all had a fantastic 2016 and wish you a very happy New Year.
  • 21 December 2016

    Staff Picks - 21 Dec 16

    posted by BlindJudge Feature


    It's coming to the end of the year and the festive season is upon us, so this will (probably) be the last staff pick until 2017. We have been pleased with the response from the community and the feedback we have received, so are looking forward to the new year and trying out more of the mods you guys are producing.

    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: Winter is coming
    Game: The Witcher 3
    Author: KNGR

    *ahem*
    Oooh, the monsters outside are frightful
    But the mods are so delightful
    Now I have a place to go
    Where it snows, Where it snows, Where it snows...

    Sorry, I've been trying to stir up some holiday cheer... My local weather forecast predicts dull and unseasonably warm weather, so it's unlikely I'll be seeing any real snow this holiday. But thanks to a little magic from KNGR, it's a great time to revisit the Northern Kingdoms of The Witcher 3, now that snow has begun to fall! "Winter is Coming" brings some of the whimsical fluffy stuff to those of us where it will be woefully lacking. I bet Novigrad looks especially nice this time of year.

    Happy Holidays!


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Aetherial Veins
    Game: Skyrim Special Edition
    Author: Merkcy

    This mod is a compilation of the mods “Touch of Death”, “Master of Illusion”, and “Respite” by the same author. Each of the three mods focuses on a different branch of magic, changing its projectile spells to “touch” type spells. For those of you that may not be familiar with the term, it essentially means that there is no longer a projectile and the effect of the spell is instantaneous. If you cast a touch type spell, you don’t have to wait for the projectile to reach the target. As long as your crosshair is on the target when you cast, they are immediately affected by the spell. To me, this makes a lot of sense for certain spells. For instance, casting Fear on a bandit should just be a wave of the hand, rather than launching a ball of light at them. It looks awesome, and it feels awesome.

    On top of changing the casting mechanic behind certain spells, the author also added new visuals for the altered spells, to better suit the lack of a projectile. Last, but certainly not least, the author made sure to apply the same “touch type” effect to corresponding staves and scrolls.

    Touch of Death deals with reanimation spells, Master of Illusion is pretty obvious, and Respite alters a handful of Restoration spells. The author has provided a full rundown of altered spells and other changes in the mod description, and you can find his plans for the mod in his stickied post under the Posts tab. Enjoy!



    BlindJudge

    Mod: The Christmas Mod
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: Elianora

    When I saw this pop up on my screen, I instantly grabbed it as my pick, stealing it away from the others - mwah ha ha ha...

    Eli is a well-known modder around these parts, and for very good reason. She creates some incredible mods for the Fallout and Skyrim series and this one in particular just jumped out at me (for obvious reasons).  

    I would recommend you grab this quick as there is a 'special' bit of loot that you will find in Diamond City on Christmas Day. As well as this gift, you will find a whole bunch of themed items ready for the festive spirit: Four outfits/two types of hat/loads of different items added to the settlement crafting menu and a whole lot more! 

    Ho ho ho - Merry Christmas everyone.


    (Guest submission)ZCUL

    Mod: Mass Pike Building
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: jpitner

    It’s a home and (optional) settlement mod, open for settlers and followers, has several floors, is a bit pre-decorated and open for much more decoration on the player’s discretion. There are also individually created shops and guard/sentry positions ready for being manned by settlers you assign to (if used as settlement).

    This building, as well as the author’s "Mass Pike Loft" has several clean floors. Cleanliness might be in disaccord with the dirty Boston surroundings – that is a question of taste. The building provides you with a lot of opportunities to let your imagination run wild for decorating this home/base in accordance with your individual liking. Jpitner added a bit of useful stuff into the building as well - free for use at your own discretion. If one likes decorating one‘s home/base/settlement extensively, this mod might be first choice as it will provide you with many additional game play hours, the more, if you additionally run some miscellaneous and fine decoration mods that are on Nexus.


    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!
  • 18 December 2016

    The Sunday Discussion - IceCreamAssassin - Author of "Legacy of the Dragonborn"



    Today I bring you IceCreamAssassin, author of 'Legacy of the Dragonborn'. This quest mod is currently on its 16th major update and will shortly see v17 released. The loyal and devoted fan base ensure that there are always people on hand to answer questions and its mod forum holds the second highest number of posts for a quest mod.

    We chat about what's next for IceCreamAssassin, what his gaming history consists of, how he got the quirky handle and what he feels about modding for consoles. Please give him a warm Nexus Mods reception and feel free to comment below.

    Hi IceCreamAssassin, thank you for agreeing to talk to me today. As always, I’m going to ask you to tell us a little bit about yourself, where you reside and what you do outside of gaming/modding?

    Hey, thanks so much for having me. Well, I’m a 37-year-old father of 2 gamer boys and live in Portland OR USA. Aside from gaming related stuff, I’m a stay at home dad and part time builder/remodeler/handyman. Enjoy camping a few times each year with the family, and am a big movie buff.

    The other topic I love to find out about is gaming history, please may you let us know what got you into gaming and the consoles/computers you have owned?

    I got my first hand me down computer when I was 11, a super powerful IBM 286sx with 512kb of ram :) awesome. I’m a classically trained 1st gen console player that grew up on Atari, NES and Super NES. Got into game design with text-based interactive fiction style games and programming SBBS games. My first publically distributed MOD type work was levels and skins for the original DOOM game and DOOM 2. Tinkered a bit with Morrowind and cut my teeth with Oblivion, and now of course deeply entrenched in Skyrim. I’ve also done a lot of table top pen and paper style game design; RPG’s board games, card games, etc. and even self-published a few titles.

    You have been involved in board game and card game design; that’s something new! Do you fancy a shameless plug? What got you into that?

    Well, growing up, my best friend and I had a fantasy setting comic book series we had been designing (he’s a professional illustrator now), and we always enjoyed role-playing games like D&D and heroes unlimited, etc. and decided to take a crack at designing and self-publishing an RPG. We were involved in building an indie gaming scene here in the Northwest which is still to this day pretty vibrant. We found and inspired other game designers in the area and created a bit of a collective here in our local gaming scene and local conventions. Our first product The CrossRoads of Eternity was published under our Arcadiam Games label and distributed nationally in 2005. It had a pretty good core following for awhile, but we more learned what to do and not to do than anything with the experience. I still have cases of the books in my garage lol. Today I have many projects in various stages that I hope to get Kickstarter projects going for in the future.



    You joined the site in 2011, and your first mods on the site were Oblivion? But you mentioned above that you mod Morrowind and Doom, are there any other games and can you give us some details?

    Yeah, as I mentioned, I tinkered a bit with Morrowind as well but never released anything, but did make one relatively large mod on Oblivion “Imperial Bank of Cyrodiil” and quite a bit of level design for DOOM and DOOM2 which I distributed on old school dial up SBBS and MBBS boards. Back with some of my older computers I also created some text-based interactive fiction games, did some more stuff for Heretic/Hexen and Return to Castle Wolfenstein; basically, anything ID made back in the day. Was also pretty big into playing Battlefield 1942 and messed around with a 3rd party world designer program but nothing much came of it, but I’ve always had an interest in expanding and modifying games I loved.

    I love the handle IceCreamAssassin, where did the name come from?

    Hahaha, yeah, I used to own two Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops for a few years and managed the first one for several years before owning it. My wife is a big Tori Amos fan, and I was listening to a couple of her CD’s a lot around that time and one of her Lyrics “...Trusting my soul to the ice cream assassin” just kinda stood out to me and stuck given my occupation at the time.

    You have a number of mods on the site, but by far the largest is ‘Legacy of the Dragonborn (Dragonborn Gallery)’ that adds an entire DLC sized expansion into Skyrim, did you expect it to be so popular?

    Not at all. My initial intent was just to make a beautiful display museum that looked like it belonged in Solitude that the player could claim and set up all of the unique items from the base game inside. It became quickly apparent that a monster had been born, and I’ve been continually working on it since. I have been so excited by the response to the mod, however, and it’s that energy people bring to it that keeps me so motivated.



    The mod (more like an expansion) is huge and adds all manner of lore, storylines, quests and characters/NPCs into the game, it was added to the site in March 2014 so how much planning went into it before you started on the PC, then how long was development?

    Well if you look behind the scenes you’ll find each of the interior cells of the museum are labelled “DBM_TEST#”. I just pretty much jumped in and started building what I thought at the time was an interior test design for the museum and it pretty much just came together naturally, and I never bothered changed the naming convention. So it’s pretty evident by that, that I just fired from the hip which has its benefits and drawbacks for sure. On the upside, I didn’t over-plan and “shoot the moon” so to speak, and fall short by trying to make something too big right from the get-go. On the downside, my asset organisation and multiple major revisions of layout and functionality had to evolve as I learned more and more about modding Skyrim as I went. So the plan for it developed as I went.

    Did you have anyone around that could help beta test for you?

    Initially no, Legacy has had 16 major “generational versions” and over 100 updates in total in the time it’s been posted, but it wasn’t until V8 actually that I ran an official Beta test run, and then again at V13 which was pretty much entirely a beta. Up until that point, I pretty much ran frequent updating to squish bugs in almost real time at times (hence the 100+ updates to the mod). Now however I have accumulated a pretty good pool of avid Legacy users who know the inner workings of the mod a little more than most users and can tell when things are out of place or not working as they once did, so they tend to help catch those things more readily now.

    It’s still being updated on a regular basis, do you have an end goal for the mod?

    I’ve always stood by the caveat of “No work of art is truly ever finished”, but I have massive plans in the works for other projects that relate to Legacy and the continuation of its story. I have to be disciplined and draw a line in the sand for myself otherwise I could continue supporting and expanding Legacy indefinitely. When V16 was released, I intended it to be the “Final” version barring bug fix updates. Even then I knew there were still a few features I wanted to include and so I kept developing, now I am about two weeks away from the release of V17 which is currently in closed Beta testing. This will mark the official completion of the mod for the time being as I move on to the next phase with “Odyssey of the Dragonborn.”

    Your mod forum page for ‘Legacy of the Dragonborn’ has the second highest number of posts for a mod (just behind Requiem) and a very active community behind it, even joining you to help with the development, patching and support of the mod, how do you keep on top of everything and organise these volunteers?

    I’m very lucky that the community that has grown up around Legacy is such a vibrant and fanatical group of supporters, it makes me giddy just to think about it. They have pretty-much-done things on their own with only occasional input or redirection from me in fact. The Legacy English Wiki page (there’s also a fan run Spanish wiki BTW), was pretty much built and maintained 100% by fans and I’ve in fact had almost nothing to do with it at all and it runs fantastically. Fans have also created and maintained an official patch page on Nexus for Legacy, complete with a FOMOD patch installer that automates everything and, again, pretty much they built and maintained it on their own. And of course I’ve had a few devoted fans who know the mod inside and out, crop up and aid in moderating and answering questions/ do troubleshooting, and they’ve more or less done it all on their own.

    These key folks I proudly refer to as my “development team”, and they pretty much keep me sane through their efforts. So as far as how I organise them and keep on top of it all, I don’t have to. A few PM’s or a comment page post now and then to make sure we’re all on the same page and a clear vision of what is collectively best for the mod and community and where I see things going is all it takes; these are some great people helping me out to be sure.



    How about other mods? You have taken over some Authors work on the site, what sort of support does this include and how do you divide your time?

    Biting off more than I can chew is certainly a problem from time to time. Luckily most of the work I’ve adopted for other authors is largely in a good state. I simply have a vision for making some additions and improvements which I’ve noticed users also mention on their comment pages, or they have a handful of well-documented issues that are sitting waiting to be worked on but the original author just doesn’t have the time or has moved on.

    The key to it is that I tend to work in arcs. I work for a couple of months on one project, release an update, then stick around and do an update or two to fix minor issues, and then I shift my focus back elsewhere… sort of like the eye of Sauron :P

    A lot of my fans from the Legacy page will also frequent those pages and help folks with questions or even bring the questions to my attention via PM or a post on the Legacy page. If it takes more than a few days for me to reply, because they know that if it goes unanswered for more than that, I probably have shifted focus. So again the community helps out a lot. I tend to shift focus based on need and interest. If a mod I’m supporting needs a few critical updates and I’m not adamantly focused on another project currently, I’ll shift over and work it over a bit.

    Do you work solo or do you have a team that help you with new mods?

    I work solo on most projects but outsource certain tasks when able and necessity dictates or go looking for people’s resources and assets to see about adopting the things I need. It’s largely about networking and working on Legacy that has allowed me to accumulate a core group of awesome folks. These have helped with custom content in Legacy, I have brought them on board for development of “Odyssey of the Dragonborn” which is my next big project that has been in the works (though on the sidelines) for a couple of years now actually.

    What would you say are your strongest and weakest points when it comes to creating mods?

    I’d say that my biggest weakness during Legacy’s development was asset management and naming conventions. When you design a mod, you want to ensure that all your mod added files are clearly laid out in their directory structure and that you not only prefix all your forms with a proper tag (DBM_ in legacy’s case) but also have a set pattern for how you label stuff. Otherwise, it gets confusing, really fast, especially when you have over 140,000 record entries like Legacy does.

    Biggest strength I have is that I have always had the knack of focusing on a new skill set and quickly learning and becoming moderately proficient at it in a very short time. For instance, I once had the urge to learn leather crafting (in real life) and decided that I was going to make an entire suit of armor, and over the course of 2 months I learned, got tools and supplies and did it. I did pretty much the same thing with modding, albeit at a much longer and more frustrating learning curve to be sure.

    What tools and applications do you use to create your mods?

    Aside from the Crash Kit… errr Creation kit! I use Blender, NIFSkope and Chunkmerge for modelling. Photoshop and CrazyBump for texturing (but have Quixel which I need to get around to learning). Oscape and TES5LODgen for world space and LOD work. Audacity for voice file work. NIFScan, NIFHealer, a Decompiler for scripts, and a handful of other minor utilities in addition to the essential TES5Edit and Wrye Bash of course.

    Would you mind letting us know a little bit about your process, how you go from initial idea to conception?

    When I was first learning to mod, the process was entirely different than I use now. Previously it was an issue of “I want to do this, now I need to figure out how” and now I have enough tools and skills to say “I can do X Y and Z, now what do I want to make with it?” So the process of learning as I go and figuring out how to make things is reversed and I can now plan ideas around knowing already how to implement them, and instead just determine the best way possible to do so.

    Now that I have some experience under my belt, the process has more pre-planning involved. I tend to get a concept idea, jot a few outlines and ideas down on paper and immediately brainstorm how to make it happen on a technical level since there are dozens of different ways you can correctly implement something and dozens of more wrong ways or “irresponsible” ways. So now that I consider myself a bit more advanced I can think of how is the best way to implement something rather than simply how I can get it to work. Compatibility and Conflict mitigation is central to the design process now even more than what I want to make. I always try and build things so that there is minimal possibility of conflict and I never try directly to edit Vanilla resources via the CK when possible. I usually use scripts, so there are fewer conflicts.

    Despite a little preliminary technical planning and thought, I still do most of my design work in real time. Just jump in and start laying things down, testing out ideas and putting things together as I go. I find or create textures and models as I need then rather than plotting out a list, I write most of my dialog directly into the quest handler instead of on paper first, etc.



    With ‘Legacy of the Dragonborn’ being on par with paid for DLC, what is your take on this year's very controversial subject, paid modding, do you think this is something that should be addressed in depth?

    I definitely support the idea that modding is something done for fun and should be free for anyone to share in, and they should not be required to pay to access a mod. But I am also a huge supporter of the patron model of support, where fans can opt-in to donating on a scheduled, regular basis and not simply as a one-time donation if they desire. Bethesda likes to pretend that this model equates to subscription, which it does not since users can still get the content even without the donation.

    There has to be a middle ground that doesn’t involve a pay wall which will get mod authors the support they deserve for their work and allows Bethesda to get a REASONABLE cut as well. The patron model is how classic artists and musicians lived for centuries; they had patrons support their work so that they could continue to focus on doing what they loved and all people would benefit from it, and the patron would get some occasional perks for their support. You never had Stradivarius (Legendary violin maker) coming back and wanting 75% of the money the composer made, so why should Bethesda get that for our use of the CK?. I’m content with the system that is in place now, allowing donations and tactfully reminding people now and again that the option is there, but it'd be good to have a system of continued support that Bethesda won’t get it’s underwear in a bunch over.

    Skyrim Special Edition was released recently to a somewhat mixed bag of reviews, have you had a chance to have a playthrough? What are your impressions?

    So far I am unimpressed honestly. Aside from the back end x64 stability and processing speed improvements and the improved script load processing, the polished up versions is pretty much something modding has already achieved with ENBoost and the many ENB settings and light and weather and texture overhauls, etc. And yes, SSE will save using load slots for that stuff, but this is modding, after all, the flexibility and customizability is the focus. It looks pretty, but overall feels a bit like having to start over at square one with a lot of things. I ported over Skyrim’s Unique Treasures by Clintmich which I currently support, and it had some stumbling blocks for sure, and Bethesda has once again proven that they don’t want to support the modding community. They just want us to make content for them so they can sell more copies of SSE to console players, they can’t be bothered to answer questions or give support on their SDK. I remain hopeful but am personally waiting until SKSE64 is released, as Legacy hinges on that. When that happens, we’ll see if they have made any further efforts to help support modders, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

    I thought that It was aimed more at the console market to add the ability to include mods into the game, do you think that this is going to become the norm for consoles now?

    Yes, I quite agree, it’s entirely based on selling console copies. I think that the industry will continue this trend, but two things need to happen. First and foremost Sony needs to get their heads out of their you-know-where and allow player created content to be distributed in mods on their platform. It’s absurd that they are so paranoid. Secondly, Bethesda needs to better support modders, both with resource support and by lightening up on or establishing their own fair voluntary opt-in gratuity system. If they don’t, my theory is that the vast majority of modders will not even bother making their mods console capable because it’s more work for nothing and requires us to maintain multiple versions of the same mod, which is a major hassle. I know I for one will not make any of my mods available on console until such time that they do.

    What do you think about the whole PC vs. console culture? I have both and love each for very different reasons.

    Let’s face it, the high intensity; first person shooter dominated atmosphere on consoles has brought about a brash breed of users who “shoot from the hip” before actually thinking things through and speaking out on something. This is probably truer of those who are EXCLUSIVELY console users vs. those who are also PC users, but I find that those who are involved in the PC community are pound for pound a bit more tactful shall we say. Yeah I do get the occasional troll still, and some folks still come off as self-entitled, but it’s a lot less prevalent on the PC end I feel based on what I have seen on some mod author’s SSE ported mod pages.

    On the flip side, I am excited for console users finally getting access to some of the content that PC users have been making for years, and I think it’s long past due. I just have issues with Bethesda’s execution and roll out, as usual, so won’t be partaking in Console mod development, at least not for now. I also don’t have an Xbox or PS4, so I wouldn’t feel right about releasing a mod anyways without being able to test it first.

    Going back to you, do you have or can you see any collaborations on the horizon with other mod authors?

    Yes, in fact, I have been working with a world designer MyBad as well as model designer RonnieMagnum on a project called “Odyssey of the Dragonborn” for quite some time. Some other people have also been involved in the planning process.

    This project is a nine mod series of episodes (Acts) that follows the Legacy storyline and takes the player to several world spaces all across Tamriel in a truly epic quest against the Thalmor. I like many others feel the Thalmor angle was woefully wanton in Skyrim and had real potential that Bethesda let slip and given the history of TES games, it’s likely they will not be continued in any major way in the next game. The Fight against the Thalmor series is an interesting addition, and I use them in my game usually, but I wanted something grander and more directed.

    Once V17 of Legacy is posted before the end of the year, I will be focusing again on full force development of Odyssey.



    Are there any mod authors whom you look up to?

    There are a ton of big names whose work I admire, and I’m sure that if you look at the A List of mod authors, you will find all of them on there. I’ll leave that list with the comment that I really like Chesko, both as a designer and as a person. He’s a good guy and is very knowledgeable and supports the solidarity of mod authors and supporting each other, which is awesome.

    I think that some of the unsung heroes are the people I look up to even more though. Folks like Saerileth (of Druid’s Den), who was a joy to collaborate with when I took over updating Druid’s Den at the request of a fan. They have given me a lot of insight into methods I had previously not been familiar with both during Druid’s Den’s rework and before that. MyBad of (Shadow of the Underking), which was not presented well on his mod page, but I was able to integrate his work into Legacy. I have gotten MANY MANY compliments on his work; he’s an amazing interior dungeon designer and an exquisite worldspace maker and static architecture designer. He totally doesn’t get the props he deserves which is why I’m excited to be working with him on Odyssey.

    Also, Ronnie Magnum has made numerous awesome weapon and ring mods and has contributed an amazing amount of work for both Legacy and Odyssey. Including a lot of new and unique items never before seen in Skyrim and again I think gets overlooked a lot. I’ve learned a lot from these three in particular and can’t thank them enough for everything.

    If you could only add ten mods to your Skyrim game, what would they be and why?

    • SkyUI - an absolute must if you don’t want to go insane
    • Legacy of the Dragonborn - it’s my baby of course
    • Ordinator or SPERGp - lightweight perk overhauls that don’t require me to customize every aspect of my game first
    • Immersive Weapons and Immersive Armor - both because I need the variety over the bland vanilla stuff
    • JK’s Skyrim - a must have for me to keep Skyrim more diverse and interesting
    • Forgotten Magic - love having levelable spells which are unique and interesting and diverse
    • Alternate Start LAL - Who wants to constantly ride that damned wagon every game, not me
    • CCOR - Just enjoy the customizability of it and being able to scrap stuff for crafting
    • One extra slot for trying out different quest mods. None I have played are a must have for every game, but I have loved most big quest mods I have played for the experience they bring the first time through.

    You keep an active website which is full of helpful topics, posts and blogs, is there any resource sites out there that you frequent or you think would benefit our community?

    I use the Creation Kit wiki page a lot. Even to look up mundane things that I probably should remember by now lol. Though it’s a little sparse in places and out of date, it still is quite valuable, and I also contribute there when I discover something new now and again. I also frequent AFK mods at times and TES Alliance, as well as Darkcreations. All three of these sites offer great resources, extended community and a lot of good guides on various modding topics.

    Thank you so much for chatting with me today, to end, do you have any advice that you could give to someone looking to get into modding?

    Don’t shoot the moon. Start small with something that you can manage to learn to make, support, and polish. Do not release a mod unless you intend on getting it to a semi-completed state and as bug-free, as you can get it. The first three months of learning are hard, and the main thing you will learn is HOW to ask questions; learning the terms and exactly how to word a question is the hardest stumbling block in the beginning. Learn as you go but also try and learn the tools and features before attempting to make anything large because you will inevitably be re-working things you have already made when you learn a better way to do it. There is no single definitive way to make things happen in this game. There are better, more efficient ways, but no one way is THE way, so keep learning and keep polishing your work. Don’t give up; it’s all worth it in the end!