OBLIVION
MALEVOLENT by Simyaz and Arilita
Oblivion » Quests And Adventures
Added: 13/06/2008 - 05:05PM
Updated: 27/07/2009 - 03:41AM

764 Endorsements

1.02 Latest version

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Uploaded by Simyaz

Description

Last updated at 3:41, 27 Jul 2009 Uploaded at 17:05, 13 Jun 2008

MALEVOLENT 1.02
===============
By Paul 'Simyaz' Thomson


CONTENTS:
=========

1 - MOD DESCRIPTION
1.1 - Malevolent - In Brief
1.2 - Malevolent - In Detail
1.3 - Malevolent - Design Focus
2 - UPDATE DETAILS
3 - INSTALLATION
4 - TROUBLESHOOTING
5 - CREDITS
6 - ADDITIONAL


1 - MOD DESCRIPTION
===================


1.1 - MALEVOLENT - IN BRIEF
===========================

Malevolent is a complex, multi-pathed, story-driven quest MOD revolving around the Player's relationship (be it good or bad) with a sentient suit of armour called "The Armour of Malevolence." The Armour himself is a charismatic, manipulative and deceptive personality who likes to consider himself "Articulate Evil" and -after the Player dons the Armour for the first time- decides to invade a quiet corner of the Player's mind and call it his home. The story that evolves from that point changes depending on the relationship the player has with the Armour, and whether or not you choose to resist the Armour's whims, or submit to them (or any combination of the two.)


There are essentially 3 primary paths through Malevolent that reflect this:

ALIGNMENT::RELATIONSHIP::DESCRIPTIVE CONTEXT::PATH-SPECIFIC CONTENT

Good::Parasitic::Resistance::50%

Neutral::Mutuality::Self-Preservation::15%

Evil::Symbiotic::Allegiance::35%


Malevolent features a quest that spans more than 10 hours of gameplay, made up of:

*More than 5000 lines of dialogue (about 1/4 of which are voice acted).

*Dozens of new areas (including the "Armour's Realm", a colourless void of irrationality), created with hundreds of new textures and meshes.

*Highly complex scripted "cinematic" sequences, and tactically orientated combat encounters interspersed with logic puzzles of various designs.

*New music, sound effects, 2D Art, books, etc.


1.2 - MALEVOLENT - IN DETAIL
============================

Malevolent begins where Oblivion (and potentially Shivering Isles) left off. Mankar Cameron and Mehrunes Dagon have both been defeated, and the Player has been ordained the Champion of Cyrodiil.

By chance the Player happens across a Black Horse Courier article in Imperial City detailing a "Military Build-Up East of Skingrad", The article itself goes on to tell of a large number of Imperial Guardsmen who have been dispatched under the command of Captain Maelin -an Aspiring champion of Cyrodiil- to defeat a Lich that resides within a remotely located tower some distance from Skingrad.

Intrigued by the article, the Player uses the information contained within to locate this "Military Build-Up", and travels there to survey the situation first-hand. There he is greeted by Captain Maelin, who recognises him as the Champion of Cyrodiil and promptly requests his aid in defeating the Lich. The player accepts and subsequently works with Maelin and his soldiers to storm the Lich's tower, and gain access to his underground lair.

It is in the bowels of the underground caverns where the Player happens across the Armour of Malevolence, a sentient suit of Armour which offers an interesting proposal: symbiosis between Armour and Player, working in unison to aid one another. Though the player could simply choose to leave the Armour and walk away (which sort of defeats the purpose of playing this MOD in the first place, and essentially ends the story), the intrepid Player will accept the offer and adorn the suit of Armour.

What follows is a test of wills. The Armour; manipulative, persuasive, cunning, and with the ability to provide the player with untapped power that dominates all other magical items, yet with a desperate need to bind himself permanently to the Player for fear of being abandoned, or being subjugated at the Player's whim. This relationship between The Armour and the Player will -for the time being- dominate both of their worldly and unworldy experiences as each tries to wrangle (or oust) control over the other, through means of persuasion, intimidation, or physical domination.

An evil player will see the Armour's offer of symbiosis to be advantageous, he or she may take the Armour up on his offer and do whatever is necessary -regardless of how cruel or perverted- to ensure that the shared dream of symbiosis is made a reality. Or maybe this same player will decide to exploit the delicate, desperate nature of the Armour, and deceive him just long enough to make betraying him all the more tasteful.

A good player will perhaps see the Armour for the malevolent creation that it is, and seek to rid the realms of it's presence by fuelling it's inner turmoil or destroying it. Or possibly compassion for this hopeless, self-destructive artificial sentience will win out, and a tender-hearted player will attempt to draw the Armour of Malevolence away from his chaotic instincts.

And a neutral player will dabble in a curious combination of the previous two alignments, perhaps making a decision to faithfully follow one path as the story draws to a close, or perhaps continuing to walk the shades of grey even throughout the final showdown.


1.3 - MALEVOLENT - DESIGN FOCUS
===============================

Contrary to the finished product, Malevolent was originally desired to be a Quest MOD catering almost entirely to evil players. I wanted to epitomise true evil within the gaming world, rather than the "hollywood" or "homicidal" evil which seems to frequent all forms of text types (and in particular the interactive medium.) The evil persona himself was inspired by Joneleth Irenicus from Baldur's Gate 2 (You may notice that the voice actor for The Armour also modelled his vocal intonations on Irenicus), yet the story itself was inspired by the Crighton/Scorpius/Harvey relationship from Farscape, and also -to a lesser, more primitive extent- the relationship between Baron Glass and the "Devil's Armour" (Kahldris) from the book "The Devil's Armour" by John Marco. I wanted to capture "articulate evil" and package it in a way that was believable and interactive, and focused in such a way that evil players could be a part of that evil creation's designs.

Yet as development continued (and was promptly put on hold due to The Butcher of Armindale 1.0, and Tears of the Fiend 1.0 MODs) I realised that the true strength in the story came from reversing the situation, and making the relationship with the Armour predominantly aimed at Good players. This would in turn place Good players in a situation where they were under the sway of a very evil individual, and often this individual put them into situations where a traditionally "good" approach to the situation simply wasn't possible. By my reckoning, this would ultimately demonstrate as a true test of character for the Player, as "good" is ultimately defined by how it responds to such seemingly inescapable situations.

With so much focus on the Good pathline, the Evil started to suffer. This was aided in part by the fact that I was struggling to find a way to build the Evil path which would make it as deep and meaningful in its own right as the good pathline. Yet I found the inspiration for what would eventually become the focus of the newly redesigned Evil path by looking at the Good path and the aspects that it -by it's inherently "good" nature- opposes. Thus, the Evil pathline became the opponent to the Good path. What the Good player fought against during the Good path, the Evil player would be embodying. And likewise, the role the Good player fell into, was precisely what the Evil player was combating. All of this taking place with the Armour in the middle, whispering sweet promises and pulling the strings of the player, regardless of what side he or she took. To me, this also epitomised the two opposite ends of the alignment spectrum, as it allowed Good and Evil to do what Good and Evil are wont to do by their very nature, rather than merely being "different approaches to the same situation" (as so many RPGs like to do.)

The Neutral path was the easiest of the three, because it is essentially a combination of the two polar extremes of the alignment spectrum, without the more outrageous aspects of either, and ultimately with the Player just trying to survive and escape his encounter with the Armour. Thus the neutral path earned the title: "self-preservation" during the course of development.

When at last I saved the Malevolent.esp for the final time, satisfied that the creation process was complete and only the tedious task of bug-hunting remained, I found that the motifs and themes that resounded most strongly throughout the MOD were not entirely what I had expected. In fact, it was the subplots which resounded most strongly in the story, rather than the overriding story arch which had given the MOD the name "Malevolent."

"Dominant personalities, and lesser personalities" plays a major role. I like to think of the scenario encountered in Malevolent as being a physical representation of "that little voice that tells you what you are doing is wrong". This is further emphasised as that "little voice" becomes more insistent, more persuasive, and more familiar as the individual becomes more accustomed to hearing it. This is reflected by the physical representation that essentially epitomise that voice becoming more and more substantial, and dominating. Furthermore, the impact of these personalities on the individual, and the relative madness that tends to accompany a few too many dominant personalities vying for supremacy also play out within Malevolent's story arch.

"Illusions, perception, perspective and how they interrelate and change" is the second dominant theme, in my opinion. And in hindsight it was this theme which spurred me to use the "colour scheme" which has become symbolic of this MOD: Greys and 2D-styled imagery for what is "not real"; Reds and contrasting pale blues for places of "uncertainty and danger"; and washed-out colours (pale browns, pale greens, greys and navy blues) for all events that take place within the real world, but are not directly impacting the story itself. These colour schemes exist to accentuate the different locations, and to create a certain mood that is associated with them, thus altering how they are perceived for the Player.

Conclusively, Malevolent is a MOD into which a great deal more though has gone than most people would expect. It's protracted (some might say "bloated") development process was caused primarily by the fact that every aspect of the MOD needed to have a certain "feel" which would tie it all together. The motifs and themes all needed to interrelate, and to be accentuated by other aspects of the MOD -the characters, the colour-schemes, the story, and even the designs of the various locations. Though many Players may well complete Malevolent in a few hours, skip through the additional content which isn't essential for the completion of the MOD, ignore the themes and deeper layers behind every single line of dialogue, and hold an average opinion for the MOD against other quest MODs, other players will see Malevolent for what it is: a unique blend of visual techniques, philosophical and psychological writings, accompanied by a story which is designed to elicit many different emotions from the Player. ultimately, they will see that it is an experiment into the untried aspects of interactive text types.


2 - UPDATE DETAILS
==================

UPDATE 1.01:

*Corrected a bug that caused a certain messagebox to pop-up in an infinite loop at the end of the MOD.

*Amended a typo which meant the maze-instructions weren't quite right.

*Removed the likelihood of Malevolent conflicting with MODs that alter the "torches".

*Added a new book mesh for the "Book of a Thousand Curses" that Arilita made in her spare time.

*Amended the Malevolent Guide to reflect these changes.


UPDATE 1.02:

*Corrected a number of custom models and textures used in this MOD.

*Resolved the Crash-To-Desktop bug in the Lich's Lair (*hopefully*, so far all tests seem to have been quite positive, thanks to Arilita for resolving this one.)

*Altered a number of ambiguous quest updates.

*Corrected a few minor spelling errors.

*Resolved an issue that caused certain sounds to loop unnecessarily.


3 - INSTALLATION
=================

NOTE: You MUST be using Oblivion version 1.1 or above for this MOD to work. If you are using 1.0 you WILL receive strange and crippling bugs that prevent quest progression.

Simply unzip Malevolent.7z into your Oblivion directory, being sure to maintain the "folder/directory integrity" during the unzip process. If for some reason you are unable to complete this, the relative files should be placed as follows:

Malevolent.esp file - Oblivion\Data\
Sound files (prefixed with MALEVOLENT_Soundnumber) - Oblivion\Data\Sound\FX\
Voice files - Oblivion\Data\Sound\Voice\Malevolent.esp\\\
Mesh files - Oblivion\Data\Meshes\
Texture files - Oblivion\Data\Textures\

Once the files are correctly installed, start up Oblivion, be sure to select "Malevolent.esp" within the "data files" section of the Oblivion splash screen.

Load up a saved game, or start a new game, make your way to Imperial City and look for "Black Horse Courier" posters which can be found adjacent to most of the "grey fox" posters plastered around the various districts in Imperial City.

Please note that you need to have completed the Oblivion Main Quest in order to progress through Malevolent. Instructions for how to bypass this condition can be found in the included Malevolent Guide.


4 - TROUBLESHOOTING
===================

Refer to "The Malevolent Guide" included in the Malevolent.zip for troubleshooting for both technical difficulties and a complete Malevolent quest walkthrough.


5 - CREDITS
===========

Malevolent Development Team:

Paul 'Simyaz' Thomson
Project Leader/Creator, Writer (Dialogue, Quest, In-Game Books, References, Source Material), Lead Scripter/Programmer, Mapper/Level Designer, Sound Editing, Secondary 2D Artist, Secondary 3D Artist/Modeller, Voice Actor (Lieutenant, The Blacksmith, The Apprentice).

Arilita
Secondary Scripter/Programmer, Lead 2D Artist, Lead 3D Artist, Voice Actor (The Bartender).


Malevolent Voice-Acting Team:

PersianPaladin
Voice Actor (The Armour of Malevolence, Captain Lucius Maelin, Edward Pellew the Paladin).

Zlob
Voice Actor (Cleon, the Butcher of Armindale).


Additional Playtesting:

Wizard of Thay
Ravenholme CP42

NOTE: For a full list of additional credits and acknowledgements, please refer to "The Malevolent Guide".


6 - ADDITIONAL
==============

MAKE USE OF THE MALEVOLENT GUIDE!

The Guide is highly complex and will provide an answer for any quest or technical question that you might have.


EDITING, USING AND DISTRIBUTING:

I really don't care where or how you distribute Malevolent, provided that you don't change the attached Malevolent ReadMe and the Malevolent Guide, and you don't take undue credit for the MOD's creation and development. Feel free to use my script and NPCs all you want, but PLEASE don't plagiarise my story/dialogue. Obviously I can't do anything to stop you, but seriously, there can be no justifiable reason to steal my writing. Basically, as long as you aren't going to publish any changes to this MOD (By posting it online or distributing it in any way) I don't care what changes you make.

If you want to translate any of my MODs into another language with the intent on using it for something other than personal use (distributing) be sure to contact me at Simyaz@Bigpond.com first for permission, and the relative conditions associated with the translation.

MALEVOLENT is Copyright © 2007 Paul 'Simyaz' Thomson


OTHER MODS BY SIMYAZ:

Tears of the Fiend (The Legacy, The Butcher of Armindale, Tears of the Fiend) - http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=11598

Ruined-Tail's Tale - http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=3027


CONTACT POINTS:

E-mail: Simyaz@Bigpond.com
MSN Messenger: Simyaz@Hotmail.com
AIM: Simyaz0