December's File of the Month winners are Andalay and Amadaun, creators of Dark Brotherhood Chronicles. Dark Brotherhood Chronicles won with 27 votes. As usual, we have conducted an interview with the winners, and here are their answers:
QUOTEWhat was your inspiration for creating this mod?
Amadaun: I was a big fan of the Dark Brotherhood questline, and I really wanted to continue it. It always seemed that, out of all the Oblivion questlines, the DB was the one that really had the potential to keep going.
Andalay: My inspiration wasn't in creating the mod, rather it was what prompted me to join the team. Quite frankly, I was a bit bored at the time and looking to expand my skills. I didn't join DBC until Dec. 2010 and didn't start working on it until Jan. 2011. I was intrigued by the story the team had written and decided I could help them finish the mod.What did you find most enjoyable about the creation process of this mod?
Amadaun: Definitely learning the ins and outs of modding. My artistic and writing skills have really improved over the years thanks to this mod.
Andalay: The learning process and meeting new friends.What were some of the challenges you came across making this mod?
Amadaun: Suddenly finding myself in charge, for one! I found the first team and helped as a general forum moderator. After that one sort of fell apart, I joined the second team as the head concept artist. Over time, I somehow ended up as team lead! I had to learn a lot of stuff to keep the mod going.
Andalay: The learning curve. I hadn't done a lot of quest scripting before joining the team, so that was new. And DBC presented many challenges. I often muttered to myself: "You want to do what
?" I didn't even know some of the stuff was possible until I did it for DBC.What is your favorite and least favorite part of the Oblivion tools?
Amadaun: The havok simulator was a ton of fun. I never got the AI tools in the CS to work for me, though.
Andalay: I got a kick out of the havok simulator too. My least favorite thing would be the lack of documentation. The quest window is frustrating to deal with too.What are some other common tools you used in your development?
Amadaun: Blender, Photoshop, Nifskope, and the Nvidia .dds plugins.
Andalay: CSE, TES4Edit, TES4Gecko, Wrye Bash, 3DS Max, NifSkope.Roughly, what was the total time it took you to put this mod together so far?
Amadaun: Now, that's a tough question – since its inception in November 2006, the mod has gone through three dev teams, three hosting sites, and a lot of rewrites. And a lot of rough patches, to be honest.
Andalay: With the current team and storyline, it probably would have taken about three years.Do you plan to add any more new features in your mod? Specifically, anything not listed on your mod's page on the Nexus?
Amadaun & Andalay: Yep! The DBC is supposed to be a trilogy extending into Skyrim. We're also going to finish up all the voice acting for Awakening, as well as add a couple more quests.Do you have any other mods you are working on? If so, what might those be?
Amadaun: DBC was my first project, so I don't have any other projects at the moment. I'm sure I'll be doing plenty of stuff now that I've learned how, though.
Andalay: I'm working on the Black Marsh project. I still plan to do one more update to Oblivion XP. Then I plan on porting Oblivion XP to Skyrim. And Amajor7 and I are going to port Imperial Furniture to Skyrim.Tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from, what are some of your other hobbies outside of games?
Amadaun: I'm a freelance artist and graphic designer. I do a bit of writing as well.
Andalay: I'm semi-retired now. I'm a computer consultant when I'm not modding. I'm also the owner and system administrator of the Dark Creations site.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?
Amadaun: I'm fond of puzzle and adventure games like the Myst series and Monkey Island. I also play Final Fantasy, Guild Wars, and, of course, the older RPGs like Diablo, NWN, and Baldur's Gate.
Andalay: I like Dragon Age, Civilization, and adventure games. Also the older RPG's.Do you have any advice for aspiring mod authors?
Amadaun: Don't give up. DBC probably had more bumps in the road to completion than most mods, but it was so worth sticking with it. And don't be afraid to learn something new. I hardly knew anything about 3D modeling or even texturing the models when I started, but now I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it. Same for level design.
Andalay: If you're doing a quest mod, be sure to write out your story and goals. Avoid scope creep - create a plan and stick to it. For other mods, like gameplay changes, identify the features and purpose of the mod and stick to that. You can always enhance it later. Get something completed and then release. The sense of accomplishment is great to keep you going.And finally, do you have anything you would like to say to our readers out there?
We'd like to thank everyone for their support. Many people stuck with us for a long time. We'd also like to thank the rest of the team - there's no way this would have gotten finished without our writers, scripters, modelers and testers. Lastly, thanks to everyone for voting for DBC!
Thanks to Andalay and Amadaun for taking their time to answer these questions. Now, don't forget to vote for February's File of the Month! (And January's File of the Month will be posted in between.)