• 2 January 2012 20:56:22

    File of the Month Interview with Darkrder, creator of Reclaiming Sancre Tor

    posted by LordFrostcraig Game News
    November's File of the Month winner is Darkrder, creator of Reclaiming Sancre Tor. Reclaiming Sancre Tor won with 82 votes. As we have in previous months, we have interviewed him, and these are his answers.


    What was your inspiration for creating this mod?
    I was mostly inspired by Oblivion itself. The lore Bethesda included around Sancre Tor made me want to see it returned to a sanctuary for the Blades. At the very least I wanted to see it used for something other than that one leg of the vanilla main quest.

    What did you find most enjoyable about the creation process of this mod?
    Definitely learning the craft and seeing my vision coming to life on the screen. Having my sketches and notes start coming together and popping to life was really rewarding.

    What were some of the challenges you came across making this mod?
    Challenges are just opportunities to do something you hadn’t envisioned yet and there were plenty of those opportunities in RST. I had my share of the usual modding bumps, folks offering to help with something then disappearing, struggling to promote the mod and keep it in the public eye,

    What is your favorite and least favorite part of the Oblivion tools?
    My favorite part is being able to drag files from the Data folder and drop them into the CS in bulk, which was a real timesaver. My least favorite is a tossup between the broken lip synch feature and the face edit bug where your CS crashes if you don’t remember to view the whole body before choosing the face tab. Such a pain and a bug I didn’t have before Win 7 so it was a hard habit to get into.

    What are some other common tools you used in your development?
    GIMP mostly; I did a lot of the texture work on RST. Also Photoshop, Nifskope, BSA Commander, InsanitySorrow’s MOM, Blender, Audacity, FRAPs, Switch Sound Converter, TES4 Gecko, TES4 Files, TES4 Archive, and TES4 Edit.

    Roughly, what was the total time it took for you guys to put this mod together so far?
    I started the dev plan draft for RST in April of 2007 and I put anywhere from 60-80 hours a week into its early development during 2008-2009, that lessened in 2010-2011, when it was more like 30 hours a week because my daughter was born and family life expanded.

    Do you plan to add any more new features in your mod? Specifically, anything not listed on your mod's page on the Nexus?
    There will be a fully voiced version, and I intend to add some new features to the apprentice companions that will allow them to actually be trained by the player and advance their skills. Those are the only things I plan to add at this point.

    Do any of you have other mods you are working on or do you plan to create other mods as a team? If so, what might those be?
    Actually RST is not a “team” mod itself, that’s one of the big RST myths. I did outsource some work to others here or there, my helpers. Over the years there were many hands that dipped at least once in the pot for a request, and I wouldn’t slight one ounce of credit from those folks who helped me; they went above and beyond for me always and they will always have my gratitude and respect. The majority of the work though is mine: the idea, its development, the creative vision and drive of the project was all my solo work. In hindsight, having a team could have been really useful and may have cut the dev time, but I think my vision would have been diluted and it was worth the extra time and work on my shoulders to maintain that creative control.

    Before Skyrim released I was planning a Winterfell (from Game of Thrones) mod, had done some drafting on the dev plan, and researched the location details. I’m not sure though if I’ll be moving forward on that plan. While it’s small compared to RST, having since played Skyrim it feels a bit like white noise next to Whiterun, Winterhold, and Windhelm, so I may shelve that idea. I do have plans to make a personal tweak mod and release that publicly for folks who would enjoy some the tweaks I plan on making in Skyrim for myself. Having just come off RST, I’m really enjoying some breathing room from a serious modding commitment. I’d like to court a few developers for work and start working on my next writing project for publication.

    Tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from, what are some of your other hobbies outside of games?
    I am an English Lit Undergrad, and a writer. I hail from a bit of here and there following my Dad’s military career. I lived and gone to school in the UK and Italy, and lived all over the US. I settled in the Midwest about 15 years ago now, where I met my wife. Outside of games I’m an avid martial artist, I’ve practiced Aikido for many years. Web-design and development are two of my more recent hobbies since starting TES Alliance. I also like to read, anything from science fiction to eastern philosophy. Most days now though, are spent corralling my toddler daughter who is cut from the same gamer cloth, she already grabs her gamepad whenever the Xbox is turned on, and she is only 14 months old.

    What are some of your other favorite games if Oblivion isn't the only game you play? Any other game genres besides the RPG style games that Bethesda publishes?
    I’m a big fan of the Assassins Creed Series, as well Uncharted, and I’ve recently given Dragon Age and Dragon Age II a whirl; some really great games coming out now, though having a modders eye carries over to other titles too, the magic is gone. LOL.

    Do you have any advice for aspiring mod authors?
    Yep, keep it simple. I see a lot of modders trying to make things super big and complicated and all that does is make their ideas impossible to achieve. Some seem to think modding has to be complicated or you’re not doing it right and that’s just not true. If you can work a mouse, you can mod, just start small and keep it simple.

    And finally, do you have anything you would like to say to our readers out there?
    Hmm, I suppose I should say something more profound than “Hi Mum!” so I’ll go with, be good to one another. This digital age has brought us together in a way our ancestors never imagined, but the source of our strength has always been our spirit of cooperation and togetherness. Don’t use the internet as an excuse to get all angsty and fill your heart with hate. Keep it open and your mind and good things will always find their way back to you. There’s a great community here, and lots of really talented folks drawn together, I’m proud to be a part of such a group, let’s keep working together to keep it great. Thanks for this opportunity and for voting RST File of the Month in November!

    Well, that's November's File of the Month interview with Darkrder, and don't forget to vote for January's File of the Month!

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