Skyrim's game director and producer Todd Howard jokingly stated in an interview with the Norwegian magazine Gamer.no thatQUOTEThe game is actually too big.
Not that the map will be much bigger than Oblivion's. According to the interview the maps are about the same size. Howard saidQUOTEIf you put the maps on top of each other it is about as big as its predecessor. But Skyrim is different because of all the mountains that form our routes.
The terrain makes it smaller in practice, but you spend more time trying to move through it because they often can not be crossed. So it probably seems bigger.
He also said that there will be six or seven different types of environments, which should provide quite a bit of variation in the game world. The image to the right shows one of these environments. Howard statedQUOTEYou have already seen the spruce forests and mountain-ranges. We also have grassy tundras, a volcanic tundra, a forest in the theme of autumn and a glacier.
Concerning dungeon, Howard stated that there will be around 120 dungeons in the game. He also said that there will be more diversity among the dungeons/caves in Skyrim than there was in Oblivion. Dungeons and caves in Skyrim will range from ice-coated to vegetation-covered and will all maintain some degree of uniqueness.
Something that a few mod authors have brought up recently is that a lot of the staff team here at the Nexus aren't as active within the modding community as we have been in the past. We've been moderating as per normal and dealing with all the reports that come our way but a few folks have felt saddened that some of us haven't been around doing other stuff within the community as much as in the past. It's true many of us have been swallowed up in various real-life and work issues recently. Hopefully we'll all be coming back gradually over time.
With this in my mind I have worked today on providing a better avenue for mod authors to talk to us, and with each other, without outside interruption from other users who are not mod authors. A private place for recognised mod authors to come and talk with each other, talk about their problems, help each other out and talk with the team here about how we can make your life easier.
A recognised mod author is a user who has 1,000 or more total unique downloads on their files across one, or more, Nexus sites. At the moment that total is at 6,250 members. These members have been put in to a secondary member group on the forums that allows them to view the private mod author forum on the forums. If you're in any special member group that has special features (like being a Supporter or Premium Member) then those features will be unaffected by this change. New members who meet the recognised mod author criteria are added automatically once a day.
It's my hope that mod authors will feel welcome to use the private mod author forums to collaborate, cooperate and get to know one another and provide feedback to us that will let us help you (cliché but true).
The private mod author forums should be visible at the top of the forums for all those mod authors who qualify.
Tomerk's Liquid Water won April's File of the Month. There is an issue with the TESNexus voting which is currently preventing April's votes from being finalized, but Liquid Water was (and still is) the top vote earner with a current total of 58 votes.
Update: That issue is now fixed; Liquid Water ended up with 59 votes.
Continuing with the monthly feature, Tomerk has responded to our interview questions. You can read his responses below.QUOTE
Q: What was your inspiration for creating Liquid Water?
A: When I first got into playing Morrowind, I was a big fan of the MGE water. When I got back into Oblivion I wanted something like MGE’s water to exist for Oblivion. Even before that though, back when Crysis was new, the visual aspect of Crysis I wanted most in Oblivion was the water, so Crysis water was also a big inspiration.
Q: What did you find most enjoyable about creating Liquid Water?
A: Researching models of how water visually looks and figuring out how to implement real-world models of water in Oblivion was a lot of fun. Making my own water rendering system was much more interesting than if I’d just tweaked Bethesda’s default water.
Q: What were some of the challenges you encountered making Liquid Water?
A: Oblivion was never designed to have its water replaced. This meant that I had to figure out both how to stop Oblivion’s default water from showing up, as well as how to create new water with the limited information I had about the in-game world. There are still bugs left over from the methods I took to get around this.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the Oblivion modding tools?
A: To be honest I didn’t spend much time with Oblivion’s modding tools. For the most part I only used the script editor, so ShadeMe’s construction set extender helped quite a bit, as the original script editor is very difficult to work with.
Q: What are some other tools you used to develop Liquid Water?
A: Dreamweaver, pencil and paper, and my calculator were very useful.
Q: Roughly what is the total time you have invested in Liquid Water so far?
A: So far part of my free time for the past three months or so.
Q: What are you working on next for Liquid Water?
A: Right now I’m working with Ethatron to fix the bugs Liquid Water has. After that I’m planning on improving the shoreline effects, e.g. adding shore foam and making waves roll onto shores then recede rather than the chaotic movement of the current shoreline effects.
Q: Are you working on any other mods?
A: Not at the moment, although when I work on other things they’re usually for OBGE.
Q: What would you like to see done next with OBGE?
A: Most immediately I would like to see Ethatron’s work for OBGE completed. That will greatly extend the capabilities of what OBGE can do, as it will enable simple replacement of all of Oblivion’s default shaders for anyone interested in developing shaders and effects.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in Skyrim (if anything)?
A: Playing it, and seeing how much detail has been put into the game’s world.
Thanks again to Tomerk for participating in the interview. Check back next month for another interview, and don't forget to vote for May's File of the Month when you can.
Bethesda has launched the first Skyrim "fan interview" in which fans submit questions for Todd Howard and other Bethesda employees to answer. Questions can be submitted on the BethBlog, the "Elder Council" (Bethesda's Facebook page for the Elder Scrolls), or the official Bethesda forums. Questions will be answered "in a few weeks" but no specific date has been announced yet.
As an example for those wondering what type of questions get answered, you can read the fan interview from Oblivion.
Recently, an interview at Gameswelt (I believe its German) with Todd Howard has him talking all about the Elder Scrolls. Todd says in the first twenty seconds that the feeling they were going for with Morrowind was that you were a stranger in a strange land. For Skyrim, he says that feels wrong. After Morrowind, they wanted to go back to a more “classic fantasy game” for Oblivion. He then goes on to explain how between Arena to Oblivion, Morrowind is the odd one out; the alien in the series. And, the reason that they love Morrowind so much is that the wonder of discovery is present throughout the whole game, and is delivered in ways you wouldn't expect. With Skyrim, they’re going for the “traditional” look at first glance, but then the alien things are present throughout the game. The Dwarven ruins are back in Skyrim, and the way that the Nordic cultures view things are different; similar to how the Houses in Morrowind viewed things.
During the interview, Todd says that nothing will be as alien as things in Morrowind. Going on, he says with the new HD graphics, they can make things the way they want to look. The bigger cities still have walls, so you’ll have loading screens at those. After Fallout 3, they had a list of improvements going, and then says they got the list done, and more. Even traps have gone a long way in Skyrim; Todd says traps are a lot of fun to work with. Spatial puzzles will also come into play. Points of interest, as Todd says, are in the game, such as Necromancers around an altar. Well over a hundred points of interest are present, from his last count.
The natural creatures, such as wolves or deer, roam and do things they’d do in real life. Giants will often be with mammoths, according to Todd, and in the future, he claims, they’ll show more creatures. Also, he goes on to say a lot of the Divines and Daedra will be making an appearance in Skyrim as well; a big part of the world is still around Oblivion. Regarding Oblivion, the land is about the same size. The ten races of Oblivion are in Skyrim, but they’re focusing on making those as different as possible, instead of adding more generic ones (See Orc picture for example). Since Skyrim is referred to as the original home of men, Nords don’t like elves much. The stealth system is upgraded quite a bit from Oblivion as well. As you are detected the eyeball gradually opens giving you time to hide, unlike Oblivion where you were instantly detected, which they want to avoid. Radiant AI is back as well, and animations made to add to the AI are present. If they’re a cook, then there’s an animation to make them cook. Jobs NPCs do you can do as well, such as mining, making armor or weapons, cooking, and working leather. For cooking, a menu will open that tells you the food you can use, and what you can cook it into. Raw food is used to be cooked into cooked food.
He then goes on to talk about some other things, such as crafting. Magical crafting is enchanting and crafting for warriors is smithing. The most interesting items come out of your own making, according to Todd, and all experiences are trying to be made as diverse as possible. Dungeons can range from fifteen minute heists to epic two hour dungeon crawls. Alchemy hasn’t been explained to much, but it will be a lot different than that of Oblivion.
A reporter for Machinima, Rob Smith, got a first look at Skyrim earler this week. He interviewed Todd Howard and got a few answers on what it means to be a Dragonborn, technology, the world, and more.
The interview can be found here.
One of the reporters who was invited to the BFG 2011 press event captured several seconds of Skyrim footage.
It can be found here.
A slowed down version has also been uploaded to Youtube.
The footage shows the player approaching an alter in a frozen location. As he approaches the alter the lid of a tomb blows off (what emerges is probably a Draugh priest mentioned in the print previews).
Bethesda Softworks held something called a BFG 2011 press event where they showed off a Skyrim demo to the gaming press. This resulted in a heap of previews being released by a number of gaming sites. A recording of the demo has not been released for viewing by the general public to make up their own minds.
IGN gives a general overview of new and already known features.QUOTEYou'll still get to pick from one of 10 fantasy races, customize your physical appearance, and select a gender, but after that it's right into the game you go. The eight attribute categories from the previous Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, have been cut out. Now you only have to worry about your Magicka to cast spells, Health for your hit points, and Stamina, which serves as a limiting factor when pulling off axe slashes and mace bashes in combat.
Gamespot goes into greater detail about the quest and magical combat.QUOTEAt this point, our character decided to forgo melee weapons altogether and rely solely on his magical abilities. In one hand, he equipped the circle of protection, which warded off the undead foes; in the other, he equipped chain lighting, which blasted foes to pieces. Between how they looked and operated, the magical abilities in Skyrim reminded us of the plasmids in the BioShock series. One of the ways our character could learn new spells was by collecting magical tomes, one of which just happened to be lying nearby. Once the Draugr were defeated, our character studied the tome and mastered the fireball spell, which he then paired up with a one-handed axe.
Gamespot also declared the graphics to be stunning and cutting edge, although they also used the same terminology for Oblivion and Morrowind at the time they were released.
Rock Paper Shotgun gives their preview as 20 bullet points.QUOTE14. Modding is fully supported, in the form of the Creation Kit. Were really big into the mods on the PC. Hopefully day and date with the game, but there might be some slack there. Bethesda have also been influenced by a few mods for earlier games for instance, bows have been tweaked as a result of finding an Oblivion balance mod that did em better.
Kudos to whoever made that mod.
The Escapist are impressed by the graphics.QUOTEI took thirteen pages of notes during last week's two hour Skyim demo, but the two words I scribbled near the bottom of the first page probably sum it up better than anything else I wrote: holy s***. Yes, I wrote that in my notes. Bethesda's newest Elder Scrolls game is just that impressive. While that observation was originally prompted just by the game's breathtaking visuals,
Eurogamer uh...QUOTEI strongly believe that if you have ever played a western RPG for longer than 10 hours and do not find that concept sexually exciting, you should close your web browser and rethink your life.
Eurogamer's preview also contains some new information.QUOTEWe do at least find out that you can buy property, and Howard hints that some dragons may not be your enemies.
You can find links to other game previews in this Bethesda blog post.[/quote]
A news article started at Edge that has now made the rounds across the internet has brought to light Bethesda's wish to see mods for Skyrim made available for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game.
Naturally, Todd Howard's words have been taken out of context and stretched beyond recognition on many forums, but here's the jist of it:QUOTEIt [modding] works on all the consoles. As far as the 360 and PS3, right now there’s not an avenue for us to make that available, but we’d very much like to find a way. We have talked to Microsoft and Sony, and so there's a chance it might happen one day, [but] I don't see it happening for release.
We'd like to see it happen, because it works, it's how we made the game. I think it's something really cool about what we do, but 90 per cent of our audience is on the consoles, so 90 per cent of our audience can't even see this thing. So if we can solve that we'd like to.
Before you get all excited please take note that there are a lot of "if's" and "buts" in what Todd is saying. Essentially what Todd is saying is that yes, they would like console gamers to be able to mod their copies of Skyrim much like PC gamers can, but the actual mechanism or medium to get mods downloaded and installed on to the consoles is not there right now, and that medium is squarely in the hands of Microsoft and Sony. You could almost read it as a "We'd love it, but it's not our fault if we can't do it".
The possibility to install PC mods on the console version of the games is definitely a good thing and people should be quick to avoid the stigma placed on console gamers due to the Call of Duty console kiddy stereotype you might have come across in your gaming travels. There's plenty of them on the PC platform too and we've born witness to most during our time here. Opening up modding to the console crowds increases modding exposure, including the number of people downloading or making downloads, potentially 10-fold if Todd's Oblivion sales figures are to be believed (only 10% of Oblivion players on the PC). That can only be good for the modding community.
G4TV has rewritten the rules of what constitutes a gameplay preview. Traditionally gameplay previews contained video footage the game illustrating how features would actually work in game. G4TV has altered this to mean an interview with Todd Howard where he discusses some details of Skyrim spliced with footage from the official trailer.
Todd Howard and Adam Sessler discuss the background and storyline of skyrim, changes to the statistics and attributes system, and dragons.
Please note that despite the name there is neither gameplaying or previewing in the video.
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