Disclaimer: I would like to point out to begin with, that The Elder Scrolls Online is being developed by Zenimax Online Studios, and Bethesda Game Studios will continue to develop the Fallout and ES series regardless of ESO. This is also covered in the video, but since not everyone is even going to watch it, there you go.
There have been a few misconceptions regarding some features and just how The Elder Scrolls Online will work. Misconceptions happens with every game, but Tamriel Foundry (ESO fan-/info site) have released a video where they try to explain some things that have been misconceived about the game. They do a very good job at this, so it is definitely worth watching. They do not talk about every misconception about the game in the video, but the most prominent ones are covered. They have also said that this is one of many videos coming from them, so there may be a similar video being released down the line.
NMM version 0.34.0
Last week we slipped out version 0.34.0 of the Nexus Mod Manager on the sly. I was busy prepping for a long weekend trip away to Amsterdam for the girl’s birthday so wasn’t able to announce the news at the time, so consider this a belated announcement of the new features in 0.34.0.
This latest NMM version introduces endorsements to the program which now lets you endorse all the mods you’ve downloaded from NMM itself. We didn’t like the idea of mod authors potentially missing out on endorsements because people were using NMM more than the sites. I’m not entirely sure that was actually happening but I think promoting and making the ability to endorse the files you download easier is a good idea none-the-less. NMM should sync up with your endorsement state on the sites, and the sites should sync with NMM, so if you endorse files on NMM then your download history will show you’ve endorsed the file on the site. Similarly if you endorse a file on the site the next time you check your mod versions your endorsements should also be reflected properly within NMM.
With endorsements out of the way we’re now working on a proper categorisation system within NMM. We were half-way there before the download system changes and the work on the endorsements so now it’s just a matter of finishing it off.
Premium members receive several upgrades and features above and beyond normal members on the site. Past no ads, faster download speeds and access to premium-only download servers, one of those features is the ability to be notified about updates to the site, updates to your tracked files and notifications when someone has commented on your mods, much like Facebook updates you when someone has posted on your wall or mentioned you in their own posts. It’s probably one of the main reasons why when I post some news on the site you’ll notice there’s a large percentage of Premium Members commenting to begin with; it’s because they get notified about the news straight away.
We make features like the notifications and the complete download history Premium Member only features not because we want to milk money out of you but because we know we can support a couple of thousand people using the features but we can’t support 5 million people using them. Opening up the complete download history to every single member, for example, would likely just bring our database servers down. You can have a complete download history, but the site would be down most of the time. Naturally that wouldn’t be worth it, so we open it up to Premium Members because it’s a much more limited and ergo manageable number of users. Now, with the updates we’ve recently made to the sites and its recent stable performance we think we’re in a position where we can open up the notification system to everyone, rather than just Premium Members.
The irony is, of course, that without the support we receive from Premium Members I wouldn’t be able to afford the improved hardware and programmers who have managed to make this possible. So once again, thanks to those people who not only help to keep the site running, but also make the site better by supporting us and becoming a Premium Member.
Notifications should now be rolled out on every Nexus site, visible on the userbar, and we’ll be monitoring the server performance over the coming days to ensure it’s not going to negatively impact the server performance. If you have any new notifications the little world icon will go from greyscale to coloured, and the number next to it will be greater than 0 and red. In fact, me posting this news should ensure you all have at least one notification waiting for you. So far we’ve opened up notifications for:
- New comments on your files
- New uploads to files you’re tracking
- New comments on files you’re tracking
- New files uploaded by your friends
- New news updates on the sites
In keeping with how I like to do things you can pick and choose what notifications you receive via your preferences, or choose to turn them off completely if you’re nonplussed about the whole idea. By default a lot of the notification preferences are turned off, so if you like the sound of those notifications you ought to head over to your preferences to turn them on!
And a note to avoid confusion: unlike Facebook where you can be sat on the same page without reloading and receive notification updates, on the Nexus you’ll need to reload the page or browse the site in order to get notifications. You won’t get notifications while idling on the same page. Similarly the notifications are not global across the Nexus sites. You will not receive notifications of new comments for your files on Fallout 3 Nexus if you're browsing Skyrim Nexus, for example. The logistics of the code and the load this would have placed on the servers would have been too great right now. Maybe something for the future, though!
Dragonborn is available on the Xbox 360 now and some reviews have come in. Keep in mind that these reviews are for the Xbox version so some of what they have to say technically might not apply when the PC version is released.
Forbes has some initial thoughts about what it is like to go back to Solstheim for those who have been there in Morrowind.QUOTEShortly after booting up Dragonborn, the new DLC for Skyrim, I cautiously took a longboat out to Solstheim the (sort of) new island for the game. As soon as I pulled up, there was a familiar, if bizarre, white structure off in the distance. I recognized it immediately – a House Redoran building from the old days of Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. Off in the distance there was a giant mushroom serving as a mage’s tower. It’s nice to be back.
Skyrim missed the mark on its previous DLC, Dawnguard. Instead of a whole new world to explore, we got a series of linear quests, a few new items and a scant number of new enemies. That’s not the case here. Dragonborn gives us more of what we fell in love with in Skyrim in first place – caves and crags to explore, fancy items and monsters to kill them with. The landscape is mostly what we remember from Skyrim – frozen wastes and barrows, anybody? But everything else feels new, and it’s a welcome change. It took a little while, but it looks like we finally have a proper expansion pack for one of the best games of 2011.
Kotaku thinks it is pretty good, and much better than Dawnguard. But notes that the problems of Skyrim are also present in Dragonborn.QUOTEMore importantly, Dragonborn re-evokes that feeling of excitement, that rush of untapped whimsy that massive open-world games like Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas are so good at offering. A new map brings with it new places. New dungeons. New quests to discover and rewards to unearth. It's an explorer's wet dream.
Sadly, with a game like Skyrim—and consequently, with its Dragonborn DLC—the potential is often more exciting than the results. Unlock a particularly tough door, for example, and your only reward might be a couple wheels of cheese and a chest with some worthless armor. You might find that an enticing-looking fortress holds nothing but a bunch of generic bandits. Quests might end abruptly and unceremoniously.
The main quest's conclusion is similarly underwhelming, but in that as in all of Dragonborn, what matters is the journey, not the reward. It's the little moments of joy when you find a new location, or when you're exploring a corner of the map that nobody else would even bother exploring, only to find a hidden treasure or easter egg that you know the designers threw in just for you.
Eurogamer thinks it is expansive, and provide some details about the things that people can look forward to doing when it is available for PC (or when they buy the Game of the Year Edition and get all the game add-ons in one go).QUOTEThere's a secondary quest line, almost as large and important as the primary one, that finds you investigating a plot against the Dark Elf family that rules the island. There are mines full of Draugr Deathlords and hidden “black books” that lead to yet more Apocrypha realms to explore, each one a navigational puzzle in itself. There's a treasure map and several archaeological expeditions to tag along with. If you're a werewolf, there's something just for you up in the mountains. Thieves Guild membership pays off in another quest. Even something as esoteric as knowing about The Lusty Argonian Maid can lead to fresh content, if you rummage in the right place.
There are new creatures to fight, such as the eerie floating Netch which resemble Mass Effect's Hanar, lumbering Bristleback boars and the fearsome Ash Spawn, who attack en masse with heavy melee attacks and fire magic. There are new crafting materials - Heart Stone and Stalhrim, a tempered ice that can be used to make armour and weapons. There are even new plants and ingredients to add to your recipes.
Any game that demands hundreds of hours from the player must build a long-term relationship, and relationships must remain fresh if they're to endure. With discoveries around every corner, Dragonborn just gave Skyrim fans the perfect excuse to lose themselves in the wild for another winter.
Spears are in, but if you pick them up then they turn into big arrows >:.
Just over a week ago I wrote a blog post regarding the current prevalence of Kickstarter funding for video games and how they’re helping to promote the fostering of modding communities. I wanted to get my thoughts out on the matter in preparation for the announcement of three separate sites we have lined up to release that are currently in development, rather than finished, which marks a shift in how we’ve done things. Up until now, we’ve only released a Nexus site for games that are finished and publicly available, but with the aforementioned rise in crowd funding I wanted to adapt to the changes in the industry and throw my backing and ability to raise awareness behind those games and developers/publishers who have come to me, excited to work with the Nexus community to make their games as modable as possible. Frankly, if people want to work with us, and utilize the many, many talents of this community then I’ll be excited to do whatever I can to ensure their work is a success.
It’s with great pleasure that I announce the launch of War for the Overworld Nexus. Straight from the developer’s mouths, “In War for the Overworld you have the power to create vast dungeons filled with hordes of evil minions who share a common goal: to crush the bones of the goodly heroes that dare to enter your unhallowed halls. You will command mighty armies, create vicious traps and cast dastardly spells to overcome the pitifully gallant armies that defend foolish principles such as "honour" and "righteousness" — it's going to be more fun than taking candy from a baby...
We've fused together the best components from the RTS and god game genres to create War for the Overworld; here you will find familiar elements from Dungeon Keeper, Overlord, StarCraft and Evil Genius. Your domain lies beneath the surface of this realm, and it is here that you will begin to build your sinful empire. The forces of good in this land will do everything in their power to stop you.”
Basically if you liked Dungeon Keeper, you’re going to like this.
War for the Overworld is currently 4 days in to its Kickstarter campaign where the developers are asking for £150,000 to help them realize the game’s full potential, and you can nab the game, due for a beta release in March, for a steal at £10 (around $16) and in-turn, help them out. In my blog post I expressed dismay at how Kickstarter was being exploited by “big names” in the industry looking to fund their ideas without them having put much work in to it at all. War for the Overworld is not one of those games. They’ve got a great introductory video, narrated by Richard Riding’s himself (from the original Dungeon Keeper games) that will show you exactly what the game is all about and you’ll see that it’s in a very well polished state already.
Because War for the Overworld isn’t due out for a little while yet we’ve created a stripped down version of the Nexus sites that simply contains the news, image share and forum aspects of a Nexus site. Obviously there’s no point having a file database if the game isn’t out yet, and we don’t want to confuse you with an empty database. We’ll be using this stripped-down version for all Nexus sites launched for unreleased games, and we hope to keep it updated with new images and news updates straight from the developers themselves, who will be given news writing privileges here to keep us all updated on their progress. Once the game is released, we’ll open up the file database and everything else.
This site launch is even more exciting, however, because many of the developers of the game are Nexus mod authors themselves, with names that you’re quite likely to recognize. With so much design influence coming from prominent modders of the Nexus community it’s extremely clear that not only do Subterranean Games, the developers, want to make the game modable, but they want to make it as modder-friendly as possible using their experience while modding Fallout 3, New Vegas, Skyrim and other games to ensure that their game, and their modding tool, “Dungeoneer”, is both accessible to newcomers and extremely deep for veterans.
It’s going to be extremely interesting to see Dungeoneer in action. While other developers will release tools for their game without truly understanding their modding community, as they aren’t modders themselves (obviously there’s a big difference between a mod author and a game developer), Dungeoneer is, in essence, a modding tool by modders-turned-game-developers, for modders.
Because of the amazing situation we find ourselves in, with prominent Nexus mod authors working on a full-fledged game, Subterranean Games have made a YouTube video to introduce some of the modders working on War for the Overworld and explain the Dungeoneer tool, and I’ve also conducted a rather long interview with them for your reading pleasure. Interviewing the developers is something I plan to do with each new site we launch in this manner, and I’m trying to ask pertinent questions related to modding within the game, and modding within the industry at large because frankly, if you want an interview with the developer about the game itself then you’ll be sure to find lots of that already, but how many publications ask questions specific to modding? Not many.
Lets begin by asking who you are, what modding experience you have (if any) and what area of expertise you bring to War for the Overworld.
- Alendor - My name is Patrick DiLillo, and I’m the lead animator for WFTO. I have been modding and animating since the Half-Life 1 days, most heavily working with Quake 3.
- AnOneTwo - Hi, I'm Andrey Bushkov (aka AnOneTwo), I’m 23 years old and I live in Moscow. 2 Years ago I made my first mod for Fallout 3 and it was actually my first Photoshop experience. The reason why I started modding is a guy Baelkin, who made a very cool mesh of Kerberos armor but never finished textures for it. Many folks liked my work so I decided to continue modding and learn 3D as well. After that I released some mods for Fallout New Vegas. Airforce T-57 power armor was my very first model that I made from scratch and then I worked on Murdelizer, Thor and Vault-Tec power armor. While modding, I met many good and talented artists like Weijiesen and CaBal120 and I’m really glad we’re still in touch and working together. All my mods didn't have "pro" quality but I've put a piece of my soul into each. So they got popular on Nexus and I was invited to join the "RiSE" team. Since then I didn't actually have time to mod. I’ve been working with the “Rise” team for more than a year and I’ve vastly improved my 3D skills and brought it to the "War for the Overworld" project.
- Crawlius - G'day! I go by Crawlius, and I've been involved with various kinds of modding for over a decade now. I started out in map making with games like Tiberian Sun and Unreal Tournament but, since about 2001, I've been burying myself in sound design and, more recently, music and voice acting. My last modding project was CRL9000 for Fallout: New Vegas, something I've promised to finish one day... Along with Dan Atkins, I make up half of the sound design department.
- Simburgur – Hey I am Josh Bishop, lead designer and PR manager for Subterranean Games and War for the Overworld.
- Vaernus – Howdy. My name is William Phelps and I am the lead programmer for War for the Overworld. You might remember me briefly as spearheading the nVamp project for Fallout: New Vegas but I am not nearly as well known as the modding greats in this interview. They are the real geniuses here.
- Weijiesen - An interview? How exciting! Many of you around this Nex'iverse know me as Weijiesen, creator of EVE (Energy Visuals Enhanced), and uh, EVE (Essential Visual Enhancement), and a handful of others. I'm Jack and I hail from Hong Kong. If you are familiar with my mods -or read the previous sentence- you can probably guess I'll be running the 'FX' portion of WFTO. From magic spells to bonfires, from weather to gore, and everything in between, your eyeballs will feel as though they just got a backrub from an orgasm. Chesko - Hi, I'm Chesko! I am the author of Wearable Lanterns, and Frostfall: Hypothermia, Camping, Survival for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I am coming on board as a developer for WFTO!
Is this your first attempt at game development or do you have prior experience? What has been the biggest change or culture shock moving from a modding environment to a game development environment?
- Alendor - I have prior experience in game development, beginning with work on the 360/PS3 game, Darkest of Days. I have been doing freelance and contract professional work ever since, as well as modding work primarily for Fallout 3. So, fortunately I was able to transition rather well to working on WFTO along with bringing experience and knowledge to the team.
- AnOneTwo - The biggest shock for me were time limits in game development. In modding, environment artists work to please themselves, doing what they love and when they have time. In game development (especially indie) you need to work fast and assets quality should always be at high standards.
- Crawlius - This is the first time I've been involved with full game development, and the biggest change has been integrating with such a large group of developers. This team is packed with talented and creative people, and working in this sort of environment is more motivating than I could've imagined. The stakes are higher, your responsibility is greater, and you get to see everyone's efforts congeal into an actual game.
- Weijiesen - I've not directly had a hand in game development, but after spending a year and a half with RiSE and the better half of 2012 with Subterranean Games it certainly *feels* like it! Gotta start somewhere. I think for many modders the biggest adjustment to make between "modding" to "game development" environments would be working as a team, due to the fact modders usually fly solo. During my time on Nexus I've delved into a lot of 'team' modding projects CNR, ADAM, AWOW, Gnome Wrangler, etc. <-- that last one isn't a mod acronym, so I'd have to say the hurdle for me was deadlines. Modders usually work on their own time, when they please, but in the game dev environment hitting the deadline is key!
- Chesko - This is my first attempt. I would say the biggest difference is working in a collaborative, pre-existing codebase. Thankfully, our tools have made this entire process relatively easy.
I know you're all really keen to make War for the Overworld as modder friendly as possible. Can you explain why modding is so important to you?
- Alendor - Modding I find to be vastly important to a game, especially when you don’t have the environment to spend millions on development and post release support. Modding both allows users to add content and extend the life of the title, along with allowing people to customize the game play to their liking. However, the most important advantage of modding is it helps grow and cultivate new generations of game developers, who in the future can help create new IPs and advance the industry as a whole.
- AnOneTwo - Modding is a key for gamers to make their favorite games better and bigger. Also it helps people to reveal their talents, and do real art, not only a game.
- Crawlius - Modding is a way for curious people to grapple with game design. It's a way to explore the art, code and sound that comprise these experiences, and infuse games with the fruits of your own creativity. Modding is the place where risks can be taken, and experiments run, without worrying about profit margins, ratings or approachability. It's often the first leap towards a career in the industry, or the basis of a new genre. Many of the games being made today wouldn't exist as they are without the things modders have done, and it's our responsibility to leave that avenue of experimentation open.
- Simburgur – The ability of games like Half-Life and Warcraft 3 to have modding capabilities have led to games such Counter Strike, Team Fortress Classic, and League of Legends. To us, modding is equivalent to game design and if the tools support it, and we work with the community, mod authors can do anything.
- Vaernus – Dungeoneer, the toolkit we are building, is not only something that will be available for mods, but also the same toolkit we are directly using for development of WFTO. As such, it needs to be powerful, but intuitive for anyone to just load it up and be able to mod. We feel that is a primary focus in making these tools as user friendly as possible. At the same time, modding keeps a game alive. It offers new ideas from brilliant minds around the world that may otherwise be overlooked by our team. We want to cultivate that, including work directly with the community to let creativity run wild.
- Weijiesen - Indeed WFTO will be modder-friendly to the point you could consider it a "by us, for us" kind of thing, in that the community can and will (and has) effected the game itself. For years I've read comments about how “so-and-so company ignores us after slapping shoddy tools in our hands'' but those days are over. If you think a feature should be implemented in our wonderfully versatile "Dungeoneer" toolkit, then by all means suggest it, and you'll likely find it built in soon enough! We are not just 'considering' the mod community, we are using Nexus to bridge the gap and create a direct link.
- Chesko - Several reasons. First, it gives games a much longer lifespan than they ordinarily would have by ensuring that the game has new content available as long as folks are still interested in the game, which keeps things fresh. Secondly, I think it's very important for our fans to have a way to creatively express themselves within our game. I think too many game companies attempt to lock down the entire player experience, and in doing so, they lose out on the wonderful set of talent present here on the Nexus and other modding communities. If our biggest fans want to make our game even better, why not give them all of the tools they need to generate great content? Everyone wins.
What are you hoping to do, or release, to make modding more open and friendly to the average person? Are you planning to release modding tools with the game? When can we expect to see them? What will they allow modders to do? How open will modding be? Are we just talking new maps or are we talking full-blown overhauls?
- Alendor - From an animation standpoint, this particular field of development is typically very under-supported, even for games that tout modding tools as a feature. In my experience there are rarely tools released to help in the creation and implementation of animations into a game. The most recent example is Fallout 3 and their GECK tools. Fallout 3, as many Nexus fans know, is a very mod friendly game, supporting a lot of tools. However, there were virtually no tools to support the creation and implementation of animations. When I was making the Fallout 3 Re-Animated mod, I had to pretty much reverse engineer and create the process to get new animations into the game from scratch. This process led me to using 2-3 different programs (including an exporter tool made for Civilization 3, which only worked on a 3 year old copy of 3D Max), writing .bat files, manually type in blending stats and info, and pretty much cobbling together the animations with a very non-user friendly process. With WFTO and our Dungeoneer toolset, we are going to include the same tools that we will be using to implement animations directly from the development side. Including easy access to export tools, easy straightforward linking of animations, and user friendly tools for blending control.
- AnOneTwo - Speaking of my area of work, 3d and 2d is pretty friendly to modders. FBX files can export and import almost any 3d app. And TGA format is generic for 2d apps too so there should be no roadblocks. And I suppose there should be modding will be very open.
- Vaernus – Dungeoneer is made to be as simple as possible. Rather than requiring different tools, or even requiring the community to build fan tools just to accomplish whatever creative goals everyone has, Dungeoneer handles everything. Whether adding/changing data (creatures, maps, traps, etc.), or assets (meshes, textures, animations, etc.), everything is typically a one button process. Find the source file and load it. That’s it, it’s ready to be used in the game. From there, anything is possible. From building new maps and adding creature packs to completely overhauling the meshes and textures and everything in between. In the future we also plan on allowing direct changes to core functionality to push the game in completely new directions. Want to turn WFTO into a dungeon-themed FPS or a puzzle-based adventure game? Go right ahead.
- Weijiesen - Having seen the 'Dungeoneer' toolkit and its previous versions in action, I can say with confidence to all you modders out there -and people who'd like to try their hand at it- that when you try our toolkit you'll feel as though you went from using a rotary phone to using an iPhone.
- Chesko - In terms of making it easy to use, I think this has everything to do with taking a hard look at the overall toolchain: how many steps does it take to get from an idea, to a finished mod? This is an area I care a lot about: the entire flow from start to finish, making sure that the whole process is smooth. Our set of modding tools is called Dungeoneer, and it's shaping up to be a great set of tools to give modders everything they need to build new maps, import new textures and meshes, create new creatures... the list goes on. We are trying to open the doors as wide as we can with Dungeoneer. With options for creating new factions, dialogue, and so on, it would be reasonable to say that entire new campaigns could be created with Dungeoneer. And with Dungeoneer's script editor... it will be exciting to see what people create with the tools we provide :)
Why did you want to work with the Nexus modding community as opposed to other modding distribution platforms, or making your own distribution platform?
- AnOneTwo - Nexus was my "home" for a while, has MANY registered members, and many talented people. So it would be very cool to have WFTO on Nexus.
- Vaernus – Nexus has established itself as the premier marketplace for the best mods across many high quality games. Having one central area makes it easier for the end user to find mods, and the platform is very intuitive. We would rather continue to support this process than to compete with another system or generate our own. To us, this just splits the mod community and confuses the gamers looking for an easy process to find great content for their game experience.
- Weijiesen - There are a lot of good reasons we chose the Nexus community, but for a handful of us on the team, Nexus is how we met up and got to know each other. Crawlius helped me with some sound FX over the years with my mods, and AnOneTwo and I collaborated on mods (Murdelizer, Thor) long before we were on board with WFTO. Nexus is more than just a collection of user-names!
- Chesko - I think a big reason is that the Nexus has attracted the most amazing and talented set of modders found anywhere, many of whom are happy to share their time and knowledge with others, which I am personally grateful for in my own modding work. Another major reason is that, for the player, the Nexus makes the entire experience very easy; the Nexus Mod Manager makes installing and using mods a quick and simple affair. We intend to fully support the Nexus Mod Manager for installing and managing mods for WFTO.
What do you think about DLC? Do you have any plans, or niggling ideas in your heads in regards to expansions or DLC?
- Simburgur - As long as we are able to fund ourselves from people backing on Kickstarter and buying the game, we will always be releasing content for free. Beyond that, we will never release DLC that splits the player base. There have been many complications in terms of expansions making mod creation a difficult prospect as the author needs to support multiple combinations of game installations. With one clear path that everyone has, we guarantee that mods will always work if the user has the latest patch.
Is there anything you'd like to say to the Nexus community?
- Alendor - I would like to thank the Nexus community for the support they gave all the members of this team when they were working on their mods for various games like Fallout 3 Oblivion etc. Without that support we as a team may never have gotten together and this project may not have been possible. Hopefully with your help we can make WFTO a great success and our development studio can go on making more titles and help bring modding more into the mainstream instead of just a niche hobby.
- AnOneTwo - I'd like to say that I'm sorry to Fallout community for "magnum rifle" never being released. It was impossible for me and few other modders to make animation work, so yeah folks... I'm sorry.
- Crawlius - Whether it's Wolfenstein 3D or Skyrim, keep trying to make games better. The industry is always in need of an injection of talent and good ideas.
- Vaernus – With our push into Kickstarter for funding the project, and Dungeoneer as our tool to produce it, we are giving the community full control over not only what we produce with War for the Overworld, but how we are producing it. We invite the Nexus community to work with us at these early stages of Dungeoneer to build it into a powerful toolkit. If something is missing, we will develop it. We also see this as a great way for the community to see their ideas ending up into the final game.
- Weijiesen - A few final notes I'd like to say to everyone. Never be afraid to follow tutorials. There are documents and videos out there that can help you go from n00b to pro! Never ignore your clock. Be aware of the time and that thing...uh.. real-life! Modding is a hobby not a priority. Lastly, don't be afraid to try working on a team, it may just lead to greater things!
- Chesko - Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting my personal modding efforts, and THANK YOU for your interest in War for the Overworld! Everyone at Subterranean Games is working hard to make sure that WFTO far exceeds your expectations. If you have questions about the game, we're an easy bunch to get in touch with; drop by our forums sometime!
So there you have it guys. Hopefully you can share in my excitement for how cool all of this sounds; not just because a Dungeon Keeper inspired game is in the works, and looking great, but also because it’s being made by a lot of home-brew talent from the Nexus sites themselves. Awesome.
Don’t forget to check out all the information on War for the Overworld’s Kickstarter page and if you like what you see, help them out and pledge your support with some of your hard-earned cash.
Today, Bethesda announced that the next DLC for Skyrim; Dragonborn will be coming to PC early 2013. The Playstation 3 version will be released in the same time, though any exact date is not yet announced. Though it is likely it will be released in January.
As for the Xbox 360 version, it is coming out tomorrow, so the 360 players can enjoy the game a while before the rest of us get our hands on it.QUOTEWe’re less than 24 hours away from unleashing Skyrim’s next add-on
Dragonborn on Xbox LIVE. It’s one of our most ambitious add-ons
ever and we’re excited for everyone to play it.
We’re also happy to announce Dragonborn will be available on PS3 and
PC early next year.
The support from Skyrim fans over the last year has been amazing, and
it’s driven us to support Skyrim more than any game we’ve ever
released – including free content updates, modding tools like the
Creation Kit  and the Skyrim Workshop , and our add-ons,
Dawnguard and Hearthfire.
And we're still not done – we look forward to sharing more Skyrim
news next year!
The epilogue to the 2012 Anniversary Edition of Skyrim Mod Sanctuary.
Thumbnail image for this video is courtesy of OrmrSnaethorsen.
Better Dialogue Controls
The fifth part of my look back at the first year of mods for Skyrim.
Thumbnail image for this video is 'Snow White and The Huntsman-ish' courtesy of graphiccore.
More Hotkeys Please SKSE BETA
Vampire Lords can Loot and Activate and Open the Map - With Werewolf Now
Better Vampires by Brehanin 5_4
Bat Travel Vampire Power for Dawnguard DLC
Vampire Predator Vision
Belua Sanguinare Revisited - Dynamic Vampires
Open and Lock Spells
Siege CrossBow Collection
One Handed Crossbow- Beta
Portal - Dynamically Placed Teleportation
Dwarven Dwemer Power Armor
Space Wiking Dwemer Exoskeleton
skyBirds - Airborne Perching Birds
Birds of Skyrim
Birds and Flocks
Brawl Bugs Patch - Plugins - Modder Resource
Skill Interface Retexture
aMidianBorn Leather Armor
aMidianBorn iron and banded armors
aMidianBorn steel armor
aMidianBorn steel plate armor
aMidianBorn Dwarven Armor
aMidianBorn Elven Armor
aMidianBorn Book of Silence
Dwemer Skyship fully flyable
Airship - Dev Aveza
Blaze Of Eventide
Nordic Ranger Outfit
Ritual Armor of Boethiah
Halls of Dovahndor
Hunters Cabin of Riverwood
If you keep up with gaming news at all you’re more than likely to have seen quite a lot of buzz over the past year in regards to Kickstarter and other crowd-funded projects.
These sites are platforms for people from all walks of life that allow creative people to come to us, ordinary people, and treat us like mini-investors. They pitch their ideas, (hopefully) showcase some of their work and talk about their current and past experience, explain what they aim to do and ask for you to “pledge” money in order to see the pitched product become a reality. You might be asking what the point is, and why this is relevant to modding sites. I’ll try and explain.
Over the past few years we’ve seen a lot of the publishers involved in publishing triple A titles (EA, Ubisoft, Activision and so on) becoming extremely closed in regards to the PC platform. Because of the prominence of the console market over the PC market in terms of game sales, and perhaps the ease of PC game piracy over console game piracy, a lot of publishers have stopped paying attention to the PC market and concentrated either completely on the console market (Halo, Gears of War, Killzone, etc.) or developed for the console first and then done some pretty terrible and obvious ports over to the PC platform later. Publisher or developer supported modding was starting to become something of a rarity reserved for those “gems” within the gaming community like Bethesda and Valve. It’s not that it was dying so much as most developers and publishers were phasing the idea of providing for a modding community out completely (hello EA/Bioware).
From my point of view, I think the PC gaming community was starting to feel a little forgotten about and the general consensus for a while has been that we think publishers like EA are run by corporate bigwigs who have absolutely no understanding of what a modding community is and the value of fostering, nurturing and promoting your modding community to the world. The inherent issue being you can easily put on to an accountant’s spreadsheet the cost of providing for your modding community with tools, support and knowledge bases in terms of how many man-hours the endeavour has taken up, but you can’t put on to an accountant’s spreadsheet the actual monetary worth of your modding community in terms of sales obtained from your modding community, the ongoing press received from the work your modding community produces (I’m still seeing plenty of articles about Skyrim on PC news websites even now, and it’s always to do with mods) and the goodwill produced for both the developer and publisher who are actively supporting their modding community. I do wonder how many people have bought Skyrim for the PC either because Bethesda came out early and said they’d be releasing modding tools, or because they’ve seen what awesome things people have been doing to their game either here at the Nexus, on the Workshop or out in the media. I bet it’s a lot, but there’s no way we can find a realistic figure. And herein lies the issue; when companies are run by accountants and investors who need to produce higher profits year-on-year they’re more concerned with dinging out as many games as possible than they are about their community or quality of service. If you tell these investors and accountants you can make your games modder friendly and release modding tools for your game, but it’s going to cost you X thousand dollars to do and delay the release of the game by one or two months is it likely they’re going to want to do this?
So how does this relate to crowd-funded games through Kickstarter and other pledge platforms? By crowdfunding their game, Indie developers who use Kickstarter are able to cut out the middleman, the publisher. This means that they become far more answerable to you, the gamer, and a lot less answerable to “the man”. In an effort to win your support and get you to pledge they’re going to do everything they can to make YOU happy, rather than doing everything they can to make their big-wig investors and corporate publishers happy. They don’t need to be told by the accountants and investors that they can’t make their games modder friendly because it’ll take too much time or too much money. Instead, they’re aware that you, the gamer, wants the game to be moddable and it’s possible that in doing this, more people are likely to pledge to support the game. And that’s what they want; enough money to make the game they’ve dreamed about doing.
This ability to cut out the middleman bigwig investors and publishers is causing a mini-revolution within the PC gaming community. Originally if you were a developer looking to make a game you would have had to have gone to big investors or publishing houses where they dictate the terms of the deal and what can and cannot be done. For example; you may not know this but Obsidian received absolutely no royalties on Fallout: New Vegas, such was their deal with Bethesda. It was a straight cash transaction. So the fact New Vegas continues to sell well is irrelevant; Obsidian don’t see a piece of any money you pay for New Vegas now, only the original straight transaction Bethesda paid Obsidian. And that’s not uncommon at all, because when you’re a developer with no money but a great idea, the company investing the money not only controls what happens to that idea, but they also own the idea too, irrespective of the work you’ve put into it. That’s the business world, and that’s how it’s been for a very long time. But that doesn’t mean that can’t change.
Kickstarter et al aren’t just opening up the possibilities for modding, but also for the games themselves. When was the last time you saw a big space combat or space sim game get released? I can’t really think of one since Freelancer was released over 9 years ago in 2003. That’s ridiculous. Space sims are awesome. Why haven’t any more been made? The reason is the bigwig investors and publishers don’t think there’s a big enough market for them. Funny, then, that huge space sim project Star Citizen just finished their crowdfunding process where they raised $6.7million from players like you or me. Clearly these bigwigs don’t really have a clue about what gamers really want at all. I highly doubt most are gamers at all.
Now crowd-funded games aren’t without their pitfalls. Just like games that investors and publishers invest in, crowd-funded games are still susceptible to failing at any time. Perhaps the developers didn’t budget properly or thought they could make the game with $100,000 but they actually needed twice that. Perhaps something catastrophic happened at the workplace or they find out what they said they could do wasn’t possible at all. Like any investment there are risks, and if you’re going to use your own hard-earned money to invest in these projects you do need to remind yourself that it’s an investment, not a pre-order. There haven’t been any major failures yet, as far as I know, but when there is one (and there will be one!) I think there’s a potential for the house of cards to come falling down on the crowdfunding new dawn.
Similarly I’ve been less than impressed with some crowd funding projects that have been announced recently that have been extremely half assed. It makes a mockery of the process and takes for granted the fact that many people want this to work. If you go to some angel investors and pitch your idea to them they’re going to want to see that you’ve committed your own time and resources into working on the idea yourself. Perhaps with a prototype, or at least with some early work on the engine and the mechanics of the game. It annoys me, alot, that I’ve seen Kickstarter projects (some of which have big industry names behind them) who have come to pledgers with an idea and absolutely no work done. “Hi, I’ve got a great idea for a game and you’ll know me from this game, so please pledge to me so I can make it”. No no no no no no no. If you want my money you’ve got to show me you’re going to work for it. I don’t care if you made some of the best games of the 80s or 90s, if you want people to pledge you go to every effort to show people you’ve worked on this project, you’ve stayed up days without sleep and your Kickstarter page shows that you’re putting every effort into making this game work. After I donated to Star Citizen I practically got spammed by them; they’d email every day with project updates, even after they were fully funded, explaining what would be happening, what the money would be used for, showing off new concept art, in-game videos, interviews with the developers and everything in between. That’s classy. “I’m some guy you might have heard of from this popular series of games, here’s a picture I drew in 5 minutes, please pledge to me”. How about no. Don’t take the piss, and don’t get suckered into these projects unless you’re a huge fan boy.
With that little rant out of the way, I do want to quickly promote two great projects that are currently in the late stages of their crowdfunding that I think are worth your time. Both have had some great work done on them already, so you know they’re serious, and both developers have come out in support of modding for their games:
Maia is a game by an indie developer and can most easily be described as Dungeon Keeper mixed with Theme Hospital on an alien planet. Popular YouTuber TotalBiscuit has even covered it in one of his videos because he wanted to ensure it got funded, so if you’re interested in finding out more, and why to pledge, then take a look at his video. Maia has actually just reached its funding goal, but more money will mean a better game, and it will mean you’ll probably get the game for cheaper than if you wait for release.
Secondly, Sui Generis is an extremely ambitious project that it claims is “Grand Theft Auto meets Morrowind in an original open world RPG.” The developers have made their own engine from the ground up and they’re currently struggling with reaching their funding target with 5 days to go. The video for the project won me over, and the engine seems to be extremely deep.
Both the developers of these projects have come out in support of a modding community for the games, and I think it’s important, as a modding community, to support them back in whatever way I can. This blog piece is one of those ways.
We are going to be announcing support and rolling out Nexus sites for three video games that have either been funded already on Kickstarter or are about to be funded on Kickstarter. One of them you know is Project Eternity, being developed by Obsidian, which is awesome. While the games aren’t going to be out for months, or even years, I’d like to pledge my support not only financially (that’s personal finance, not Nexus finances by the way!), but by giving them the backing of this community and offering whatever services I can to ensure they make their games as modder friendly as possible. And what’s even cooler is that these guys want that. They want to make use of this community’s various talents, sometimes to help in making their games, and other times to provide consultation on how to make their games as modder friendly as possible. And that’s really, really cool. I’m actively seeking to work with, partner with or just plain help any developers, Kickstarter/crowd-funded or not, who are willing to come to this community and ask for our advice on how they can make their games more modder friendly.
And that’s why I’m all in favour of the current crowdfunding phenomenon; because stuff like this would never happen when the bigwigs are in charge except in very rare occurrences. The crowd funding approach brings developers closer to the players, rather than alienating them by snuggling them up to the demands of the publishers. My thinking is the closer developers are to the needs and wants of the players then the more we’ll be listened to. And that’s good for us, the players.
As I'm completely blind to Steam at the moment while playing Planetside 2 I was unaware Steam were going through their Autumn sale. Now, as far as I can tell Steam have a sale on every day of every year (not that that's a particularly bad thing) and they remind me a lot of those stores that have "closing down sales" only to still be around a year later, so I become a bit blind to the sales on offer. Anyway; Nexus user SeraphTC kindly let me know of the sale was going on and, quite awesomely, you can pick up pretty much every game that we support in this current sale at great discounts. Here are the prices at time of writing:
X-Com: Enemy Unknown £20.09 (-33%)
Mount & Blade £4.99 (-50%)
Mount & Blade Collection (all the games) £14.99 (-50%)
Dark Souls £20.09 (-33%)
Fallen Enchantress £16.74 (-33%)
Legend of Grimrock £5.99 (-50%)
Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition £9.99 (-50%)
The Witcher: Enhanced Edition £1.74 (-75%)
The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition £7.99 (-60%)
Fallout Collection (1&2&Tactics) £5.43 (-66%)
Fallout 3: Game of the Year £8.99 (-40%)
Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition £17.99 (-40%)
Skyrim £23.44 (-33%)
Dawnguard £9.37 (-33%)
Hearthfire £2.33 (-33%)
Oblivion: Game of the Year £8.99 (-40%)
GoTY Deluxe £11.99 (-40%)
Morrowind: Game of the Year £7.79 (-40%)
The Witcher 1 and 2 together for under a tenner? The entire Mount & Blade collection for £14.99? New Nexus entries Fallen Enchantress, Dark Souls, Legend of Grimrock and XCOM all discounted by 33% or more? If you haven't got the games yet and you were teetering on the edge then now's your chance. You have until the 27th of November, or next Tuesday, to get in on these deals.
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