SHADOWRUN: RETURNS
  • 26 February 2017 20:25:43

    The Sunday Discussion - Terrorfox1234 - our head of community development

    posted by BlindJudge Interviews
    We're back again for a slightly different Sunday discussion today, so far we have covered a number of different areas within the modding world, today we bring it home and introduce you to one of our own, here in the Nexus Mods office.

    We decided that you *may* want to know a little bit about those of us who work 'behind the scenes' here. So today I bring you Jim, aka Terrorfox1234, our external community guy. 

    Dark0ne introduced Terrorfox1234 to the community back in October and I thought I would have a catch up and find a little bit more about him. Hope you enjoy and if you have anyone else you would like to hear from, then leave a suggestion in the comments below.

    Hey bud, welcome to the Sunday discussion. I’m sure that you are already very familiar with the format but would you mind letting the people out there know a little bit about you, outside of the gaming world?

    Two words: music and nature. Those two things are what consume all of my free time. I’ve been playing music since I was 12 years old, starting with punk rock. Over the years I’ve expanded my musical endeavours to everything ranging from western inspired acoustic folk to a symphony orchestra, to jazz-electro fusion and… I mean pretty much anything I feel on any given night. A few years ago I graduated with a Masters in Music Production and Business, did some time composing for some indie devs, and now I’ve decided to just get back to writing the stuff I want to write, for fun. When I’m not in the studio, I’m outside. My dad majored in environmentalism and worked for the National Audubon Society, a nature preservation non-profit, for 20-ish years. Most of my childhood was spent hiking and camping, and it stuck with me. So somewhere between a tree-hugging hippy, a tech/game obsessed nerd, and a rabid music-junky - that’s where you’ll find me. Though, I’m obsessed with island life. I left my heart in Hawaii. I just want to live somewhere where the oceans and the jungles meet, the coconuts are fresh, and I won’t have to use an app for forest sounds during my morning meditation. I’m fully prepared for what Robin will have to say about the fact that I meditate in the morning.



    You’ve been with us a few months now, how are you finding it?

    Oh jeez. I’m in the hot seat now. It’s honestly a bit surreal still. Being able to do a job that I love doing based around one of my favorite hobbies… that’s a little surreal sometimes, yeah? I still feel like I’m finding my feet sometimes, but every day it gets more comfortable, especially now that the chaos of the holiday season is over. I’ve gotten into a steady rhythm with social media posting and contacting mod authors, which is good because that’s the foundation of what I’m doing. With that foundation in place, I’m excited to see what can be built on top of it in 2017.

    So can you tell us a little bit about your role, such as your responsibilities and what you’ve been up to recently?

    My primary focus is bringing new people to Nexus and expanding the Nexus community as a whole. To that end, a lot of my time is spent facing “outward”. I’m always on the hunt for upcoming games with modding support or contacting mod authors that may not be aware that Nexus has a site for the game they are modding. It’s a lot of messaging/emailing people, and working with them, to find out what we can do to help them and their modding community grow. I love being in direct contact with people and helping them, so it’s right up my alley.

    Aside from that, I manage the Nexus Mods social media accounts, putting out daily tweets/posts about the latest releases, community news, and other fun and interesting stuff. I just wrote up a news article about our social media, what our intentions are with it, why it matters, and so on. You can check that out here. I’d urge people to give that a read as it covers everything from the reasons we have social media, why our members might want to follow, and how it can lead to bigger and better things for Nexus Mods users.

    You’re also a moderator on the SkyrimMods subreddit, how did you get into the position and what does it typically involve?

    I typed this whole answer up and realized that it was turning into a life-story novel. 

    Ok...round two. Keepin’ it short. When I first joined the community I spent an absurd amount of time helping beginners. Once I had a solid grasp on the basics, and a rudimentary understanding of how Bethesda’s engine/mods were structured, and how they interacted, I dedicated almost all of my time helping beginners. I knew, from experience, how beneficial it was to have someone take the time to help when I was starting out. It immensely expedited the learning process.

    About six months after I joined the modding community, the moderators of /r/skyrimmods put a call out for new moderators. Their families and jobs had pulled them away, and they wanted active moderators to take over. I was chosen, along with two others. When we first took over, the sub had become a bit of a “wild west”. Due to the previous moderators’ absence, rules weren’t enforced, and things had fallen into disarray. We came up with a set of rules focused on respect and cooperation. I wrote the Beginner’s Guide, which I still help new users through to this day. I started planning community events like author AMAs, Weekly Discussion threads (usually a “Best Mods For ___” topic), and other events. We filled out the sidebar with useful links and found someone to revamp the CSS. The first couple years involved a lot of time and effort, but it paid off. Between 2010 (when the sub formed) and 2013 (when we took over), the subreddit had grown to 19K subscribers. In our first year, the sub grew from 19K subscribers to 40K subscribers. 19K new users over three years versus 21K new users in 1 year. I’m rather proud of that little statistic, and I think it is a direct result of the effort we put into rebuilding that subreddit. 

    Anyways, lately, it doesn’t involve a whole lot from me. I will discuss things with the team in our mod channels but don’t participate in the moderation or running of the subreddit anymore. Over the years we built up the moderation team with people who we felt understood the way we ran things and were active in /r/skyrimmods. I honestly don’t think they need me anymore...at all...but it holds a special spot in my heart. That little place, despite Reddit’s overall reputation, played a big role in fostering my love for mods and the Nexus community. It’s nice to be able to pop my head in at “home” every now and again to say hi to the team there. 

    How do you manage to balance your day out, you’re a very busy man! 

    That’s something I’ve been giving a lot more thought to recently. As I mentioned, my continued role as a moderator of /r/skyrimmods is more of an “honorary” role than anything. I’ve also been moving away from audio for indie game developers. As fun as that has been over the last 6-ish years, it is a *huge* time drain, and I realized that it was starting to feel less and less like a passion I enjoyed. I still love composing music, but I want it to remain a hobby where I have complete control of what I’m writing. Unless you’re paying me. If I’m getting paid I will compose for your game… I don’t even care if you just want me to scratch chalkboards in front of a microphone.  Also, no, promise-of-payment (read: rev-share model) does not count as payment. 

    So yeah, I’ve been trying to trim off the excess and remember to find time for myself. The lady and I have been talking about travelling, which is something I’ve always wanted to do but never had a job that allowed for it!



    Can you mention any of the names in the industry that you are trying to get in touch with at the moment, or is it all hush?

    At the moment? No. Nothing I can readily speak of. 

    I don’t want to mention anything that might not come true, so it’s probably better to keep a lid on things. 2017 should be a fun year. That being said, if you are building a game that will have mod support, feel free to reach out to me. Likewise, if you know of any upcoming games with modding support, let me know so I can check it out and reach out to the devs!

    I can say that we’ve already done a sort of “test run” on running a social media giveaway. We gave away 20 copies of Witanlore: Dreamtime by Druid Gameworks and I think it went well! So I have some ideas bouncing around but nothing worth talking about yet.

    So gaming history, where and when did you start the gaming journey?

    While I remember playing Burger Time on my grandmother’s Intellivision and going to local arcades, I wouldn’t consider those the start of the journey. They were more akin to toys. The first game that had a real impact on me was Myst. The visuals, the story, the challenging puzzles that made you think. That was when I realized that video games could be something deeper than just a game. I read a lot of books as a kid, and this was the first game I played that felt like it brought a book to life. My first system that I could call mine was a Gameboy. The big clunky gray one. OG. It came with Pokemon Blue which I kicked the crap out of. I caught them all. Even MissingNo.  

    Due to that, I’ve always been more drawn to games that have either great puzzles or a compelling story (preferably both). Bastion, Transistor, Ori and the Blind Forest, Obduction, The Witness. Those have been the most recent games I’ve played. Minecraft is the exception as it has neither puzzles nor a compelling story. It’s a great way to relax, though. Throw it on creative mode and just build away. My best friend and I have been building a medieval kingdom for about four years now, on and off.



    Have you got any fond memories of games from yesteryear?

    Well, as I said, Myst. Cyan broke the mould of what a video game was at that time and created a masterpiece. I highly recommend picking up RealMyst: Masterpiece Edition on Steam if you get a chance. It’s the same game with updated graphics and mechanics. 
    Other than that... let’s see. The Dig from LucasArts was an early staple. There are the obvious ones like the first time playing Half-Life or Bioshock. The game I have the most hours on record for though is easily Fallout 3. That was at a time in my life where financial responsibility wasn’t a thing yet and free time came in spades. 

    What would you say is your go-to game?

    When I’m sick, Minecraft or Stardew Valley. They are both super relaxing. I can’t do stressful or depressing when I’m ill. If I’m just trying to kill a little time, Rocket League. It’s perfect for that. 
    I’ve also just picked up Elder Scrolls Online, which I’m totally hooked into at the moment. So that’s taking up pretty much all my gaming time, but I haven’t been with it long enough to call it a “go to”. 

    Though, with what little free time I do spend on games these last couple years, I’ve been just trying to work through my backlog of Steam games. So my go-to is whatever I’m slowly plucking away at in between MC/SDV/ESO sessions. Last month it was Ori and the Blind Forest. I think finishing Firewatch is next. (For a frame of reference on how much time I spend playing games lately, it took me about two months to beat Ori. That is not a long game.)

    What about a genre of game? Is there anything that you enjoy or anything you don’t get on with?

    Puzzle games and story-driven games are my bread and butter. Stories like The Last of Us, Uncharted, or Bioshock/Bioshock Infinite are just fantastic and as good as any book or movie, if not better. Puzzle games because I like to keep my mind sharp. I also enjoy a good platformer. I think I’ve name-dropped Ori twice in this interview already. A Killer example of a well-made platformer. Lots of interesting abilities and environmental challenges that require strategic thinking. 

    Multiplayer FPS games bore me. I used to play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 religiously. That was after a brief stint on CoD: MW2. By the time BF3 came out, I was totally burned out on the genre. Still can’t get into it. I’ve never been able to get into MMO’s. I simply don’t have the time to dedicate to the deeper game of MMO’s. ESO is the first MMO I’ve stuck with, and that’s because I don’t have to play it like an MMO. Stories and puzzles and platformers let me move along at my turtle pace.
     
    Do you have some beast of a machine or are you running a more modest rig?

    It’s a beast. Here’s all the stuff people will care about:

    PCPartPicker part list

    • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
    • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Nepton 140XL 122.5 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
    • Motherboard: Asus Maximus VI Hero ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
    • Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
    • Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
    • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
    • Storage: Seagate Constellation ES.3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    • Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Superclocked ACX 2.0 Video Card
    • Case: Cooler Master Storm Stryker (White) ATX Full Tower Case
    • Monitor: QNIX QX2710 Matte 27.0" 2560x1440 60Hz Monitor

    You’re very much into your music, can you let us know about what you do and where people can take a listen?



    I am the lead singer in Cool Ya Jets: https://coolyajets.bandcamp.com/releases
    I compose various types of music as Avalux Audio: https://soundcloud.com/avaluxaudio 
    Honestly, I need to update that SoundCloud profile as well because I’ve written a lot of stuff over the last couple years that isn’t on there. I just need to find time to do it! The stuff I write under the Avalux name ranges from symphony orchestra to chippy synth-pop and anywhere in between. I can compose in pretty much any style, but I will never write a country song.



    What type of music do you enjoy listening too?

    Oh man. Don’t ask me that. I listen to everything except generic American country and most mainstream pop and hip-hop/rap. Outside of that... pretty much anything you can throw at me. Lately, I’ve rotated between Cursive, Zee Avi, Hyper Potions, Beach Slang, and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Those should give you an indication on how wildly my listening choices vary from day to day.

    You’ve just done the soundtrack (and sound effects) alongside Auja for Breaking Wheel, how did that little collaboration come about?

    Well, at the time I was looking for new projects to join and caught the wind that a handful of modders from Nexus had teamed up to make a game. I messaged asking if they needed audio and they said yes. Most of the collaboration between Auja and I was on sound effects. In regards to the soundtrack it was actually a bit different than what I'm used to. Usually when composing for a game you look at specific levels/areas/events and compose music specifically for that. The roots of this game though grew in the modding community and it has that spirit of collaboration to it. To that end, instead of writing specific songs for each level, we ended up pulling from my library of unclaimed music, along with Auja's and SkinnyTech's. The result is a huge variety of music across a ton of different styles. The players will have the choice to skip tracks in-game and the OST is also being sold seperately. It's got everything from adrenaline fueled EDM music to soaring symphonies and a lot in between. There's certainly something for everyone in this soundtrack!

    What would you say is the ultimate gaming soundtrack? IF you say Skyrim, you also need to say another as everyone knows Skyrim music is epic!

    Jeremy Soule is indeed a mastermind. The ultimate gaming soundtrack, though? That’s tough. Transistor’s OST was brilliantly implemented into the game. Ori and the Blind Forest (there it is again!), Stardew Valley, the Half-Life series, FEZ, and nearly all the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games are the ones that stand out most to me. The Uncharted soundtrack is pretty spot on as well. They are all perfect for the games they are designed for. Honourable mention would be the Halo OST, but I never really got into Halo, so I can’t say I’ve heard all of it. The opening music for the first game was epic though.

    If you had to choose one or the other, would you never game again or never play music?


    I would never game again. If I even go a few days without playing music, I start to notice the effect. I start getting antsy. Music has been a part of my life since I can remember. I love video games and am certainly passionate about, and fascinated with, the industry. At the end of the day, though, if everything else were to fall away, I’d still have the ability to create music.

    Have you ever created your own mod?

    I have, though nothing impressive. Small GMST changes mostly. A lot of it I’ve kept to myself as it’s stuff that people have already released and done better. I mostly just mess around so I can figure stuff out on my own.

    Where do you see the future going regarding modding?

    Man, I’m getting all the tough questions, huh? Sheesh. It’s hard to say. I think right now we’re seeing a lot of developers start to realize the benefits mods can have the longevity of a game’s life. This means we’re seeing more developers promote mods as a selling point, and looking at supporting their modding communities in a more official fashion. Last week Long War 2 was released for XCOM2, which was officially sanctioned by Take-Two and Firaxis. So that’s great to see. I’d love it if all games were as openly modifiable as Bethesda games are. Imagine what people would do with The Witcher series, for example, if they could add new quests, creatures, lands, and all the other glorious things that modding has the potential to add!



    Thanks loads for talking to me today, is there anything else you would like to say to our community?

    It’s been a fantastic four years of growing with this community so far and it just keeps getting better. You guys are something special. Sometimes a bit unruly or downright chaotic, but as communities go, we have the best one. I don’t think I would have stuck around this long if I didn’t believe that.

    Anyways, feel free to message me with suggestions for mods to spotlight on social media, or any other big news you might have. Heck, feel free to message me just to say hi. I might say hi back if I have time! Also, if you’re looking for another way to support us, come hang out with me on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for doing these, Paul. See you back in the “office”. :P

    Cheers bud, see you there.

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