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  • 10 March 2017

    Butcher Giveaway!

    Greetings everyone,

    I come bearing gifts! Some of you may remember the Witanlore: Dreamtime Giveaway we ran back at the end of January. Well I’m back at it again with keys for the game Butcher, by Transhuman Design!



    THD is a great group of developers and have been kind enough to grant us 10 keys to hand out. As the developers themselves describe the game:

    QUOTE
    BUTCHER is a fast-paced 2D shooter and a blood-soaked love letter to the cult classics of the genre. If kicking corpses into a lava pit and adorning walls with blood is your idea of a good time, BUTCHER is THE game for you.
    You can check out Butcher on the official website.
    We've also just put up a Nexus Site for Butcher.
    (Our very own SirSalami has kicked things off over there with a punishing level called Exile!)

    To enter for a chance to win you must do the following:

    Twitter
    1. Follow Transhuman Design on Twitter
    2. Follow Nexus Mods on Twitter
    3. Retweet any of our Butcher Giveaway tweets with the hashtags #NXMGiveaway and #Butcher2D
    (You must do all of these to be entered for a chance to win!)

    Facebook
    1. Go to our pinned Butcher Giveaway FB Post
    2. Like that post and leave a comment as to why you should win.
    3. Share the post using the hashtags #NXMGiveawayand #Butcher2D
    (You must do all of these to be entered for a chance to win!)

    The giveaway starts today and runs through Sunday night (11:59PM on March 12th).
    On Monday we will pick 5 winners from Facebook and 5 winners from Twitter.
    You do NOT have to enter on both Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win.
    Only doing one or the other is fine, as long as you meet all the listed requirements for the social media platform of your choice.

    Good luck to everyone and happy modding!
  • 07 March 2017

    UX/UI Designer needed for NMM v2.0

    posted by BlindJudge Site News
    Last month, we put a news post onto the site giving everyone an update as to the current state of Nexus Mod Manager version 2 and at the bottom of this news post we advertised a contract position for a UX/UI Designer. Despite receiving a number of applications, we have yet to find the individual who we believe can help us to create an intuitive, yet powerful piece of software. We are looking first and foremost at recruiting a member of our community who has the skills and abilities listed below to steer the interface design over the next few months.

    This position will entail approximately 10-15 hours of work a week on a freelance paid contract basis (to be negotiated), you will be working closely with the Nexus Mod Manager v2 development team via our team Slack.

    Details on how to apply are below.

    UX/UI Designer

    This particular role will require the applicant to have an understanding of design principles, user personas and of course, the various current mod tools that are available to users.

    Responsibilities:
    • - Work with our team to create the UI for our new 'Mod Manager' from wireframe to implementation.
    • - Provide visuals such as concepts and journey flows.
    • - Provide advice and ideas to enhance the User Experience.
    • - Provide own ideas while also adhering to team requirements.
    • - Produce HTML and CSS for primary interface and additional themes.

    Requirements:
    • - A team player with a sense of humour
    • - Previous professional experience within a UI/UX position.
    • - A thorough understanding of how a user interface is essential to a smooth user experience.
    • - Excellent knowledge of HTML, CSS and Javascript - including experience with either SASS or LESS.
    • - Be an expert of known design packages such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch and prototyping tools such as Balsamiq, Marvel or Invisionapp.
    • - Excellent organisational skills.
    • - Strong communication skills both verbally and written (English).

    Preferred:
    • - Experience with React
    • - Experience with Bootstrap
    • - Lives in Europe, east coast US or similar time zone.

    To Apply:
    In order to apply, please send an email to [email protected] detailing why you would be suitable for the role, attached to this email we would also like:
    • - Your up to date CV / Resume 
    • - A quick (no more than a couple of hours) wireframe, sketch or mockup example of your vision for the 'Mod Page' in the mod manager. The "Mod page" is the page that displays all the mods the user currently has installed or downloaded (the mods tab in NMM). 
  • 05 March 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - CDante

    This week I am pleased to bring you a modder that I have been following over the past few months, CDante, the author of the incredible 'Push Away Companions', a mod that our own Dark0ne liked so much he added as his Staff Pick. This week we find out what got him started in modding, what he is working on at the moment and what we can expect in the future.



    Hi CDante, and welcome to the Sunday discussion. Firstly would you mind letting us know a little bit about you?

    Hello Paul, and thank you for this amazing opportunity. My real name is Daniel, I’m a 35-year-old web developer from Budapest, Hungary. I have a masters in electrical engineering but I majored in applied informatics and computer architectures. I've been working in IT for the last 12 years, mostly in online media and bank informatics. Besides the obvious love for video games, I also spent more than a decade collecting, playing and popularizing tabletop miniature games such as Warhammer 40k. Some of my other hobbies include playing the bass, playing basketball and the occasional games of airsoft.

    What first got you into gaming and what console/computer did you start with?

    My grandfather is an electrical engineer like myself and he managed to get a Commodore 64 in the early ‘80s. He was the one who taught me how to list, load, run games on the C64 and even made me a floppy disk with my favorite games on it. I was 4.

    I’ve been a gamer ever since.

    In the early '90s, I fell in love with the Amiga so much that my first PC only came in the Pentium 1 era. I have always had my own gaming PC ever since, and the first one was the only one I haven't built myself. Besides the PC, I also had a SEGA Master System in the '90s and now I own an XBox 360 as well just for party games like Rock Band and such.

    Did you have any favourite games while you were growing up?


    Oh so many. I most fondly remember classic point & click adventures from LucasArts like Day of the Tentacle, the Monkey Island series, Full Throttle and similar games from Revolution Software like Beneath a Steel Sky or the Broken Sword series. But I also remember playing months on end of strategy games like the original X-Com and Terror from the Deep, the good old Settlers games, Dungeon Keeper 1 & 2, the Heroes of Might and Magic series and the first Red Alert game and RPGs like the Baldur's Gate and the Icewind Dale series and of course Fallout 1 & 2.

    I could go on but if I look back, growing up as an only child I guess my favorite games were always the ones that granted a long single player experience with a great story and lovable, interesting characters. Not unlike reading a great book. So guess that's why my favorites were always adventure games and RPGs.

    In terms of modding, you have hit the limelight recently with a series of releases for Fallout 4 that have grabbed the attention of not only our ‘Dark0ne’ but also PCGamer. What made you decide to mod Fallout 4 and did you have any previous experience?

    I'm so glad you didn't mention the Kotaku article haha.

    I never had any modding experience before Fallout 4 although I always played previous Bethesda games, and was constantly altering and fixing things via console commands. So it kinda started with playing Fallout 4 for 300 hours in the first 30 days after its release... I know. Guess I can't say I hate Fallout 4 haha. Then I started to test out mods and wanted a full MultiCam camo outfit for my character because that was our pattern of choice in our airsoft team. While there were a lot of camo retextures for outfits even back then, that wasn't enough, I wanted to add our team badge to the shoulder and the beret as well, so I quickly figured out how to edit texture files. That feeling right there, when I actually did something that changed the game, and the result was exactly the way I wanted it, that feeling I won't ever forget.



    So I didn't stop there - one thing led to another and in February 2016 I released my first mod ever that added more than 200 standalone camo retextures for 7 different vanilla items. That was ‘All Camo Uniforms.’

    When I started to receive more and more positive feedback about something I made for the game, and hundreds of users were downloading and enjoying my very first mod, I knew I found the best hobby ever.

    Well, you’ve mentioned it now - so I’m going to ask! What about the Kotaku article?

    There’s a technical issue in Fallout 4 with inactive radio stations. Let’s take Diamond City Radio for example. If the player turns off the Pip-Boy radio or is listening to another station, and there are no other radio receivers playing DCR nearby, the radio station will continue and finish playing the track the player was last listening to, then it will just stop playing tracks in the background, and starts rapidly skipping from one track to the next as if the songs were 0 seconds long. When the player tunes back into Diamond City, it will start playing the next song it reached during its inactive state.
    While this is not a very noticeable problem with vanilla radios as they all play songs randomly anyway, it is a huge problem with radio mods like Old World Radio where most stations have a specific order of tracks. Which is especially important when it comes to episodic radio dramas.

    So last summer I came up with the idea of spawning a completely muted and invisible actor near the player for 3 seconds that acts like a settlement radio, preventing the inactive station from rapidly skipping tracks when a song would end.

    While the idea worked in theory, I made a big mistake thinking it would be a good idea to use the smallest actor in the vanilla game as a blank radio receiver: a cat. People started reporting issues with sneaking, or sometimes hearing dying, screaming, drowning cats in the background while playing the game. Then I was pointed to the right direction by fellow mod authors that the best way to use this technique is not with a cat but with a simple X marker. The bug was fixed within one or two days.
    Now half a year later enters Kotaku exposing my mistake thanks to a Twitter post and making an article about it. Frankly, it wasn’t spiteful, the main message of the article was that modders sometimes come up with the weirdest solutions to make something work. Just like the game’s developers themselves.

    The Kotaku Article

    "Push Away Companions" was a stroke of genius and not only very funny but genuinely useful to have in the collection. What made you decide to make this mod and how long did it take you?

    I remember the exact moment. I was watching a Nuka-World gameplay by Gopher and he got stuck multiple times in a maze because Codsworth was constantly in his way. I remembered Papyrus having a function called PushActorAway and that was it. It was one of my quickest mods to make. Even with adding player dialogue and making a video for the mod it took me around a week. I quickly showed it to Gopher and I was so happy he even covered it in a Mod Vault video. He really seemed to enjoy the mod a lot. These are the moments that motivate me the most.

    It’s these moments when you wonder why it wasn’t thought of by the developers themselves, easy to implement and infinitely useful. Do you have any pet hates in the game? Things that really grind your gears?

    Basically, I’m a completionist. Especially when it comes to huge open-world games. So because of that, what really bothers me the most when I can’t finish a quest, recruit a unique settler, loot a certain legendary item or reach maximum level in a skill just because of the many minor bugs throughout the game. Thank god there are console commands! And of course starting to mod the game helped too.

    Do you have any ideas for future releases? Can you give us a sneak peek into what you have in store?


    By the time this interview goes out Transfer Settlements should be released finally. I’ve been working on that mod for 2 months now and it’s by far my most anticipated mod to date. It gives you the possibility to export settlement data into external files, and import them back to any savegames of any characters, or publish these blueprint data files on Nexus pretty much the same way as LooksMenu or BodySlide presets. I will also release a Win32 tool that will allow you to convert exported blueprints to standalone mods that do not require Transfer Settlements or F4SE. These generated plugins will have the single feature of only importing that blueprint, adding the settlement to your game. That way these generated mods can be uploaded as XB1 mods to Bethesda.net as well.

    Another long-awaited project of mine is the real-time hair and beard growing mod. It doesn’t require much explanation, it will work pretty much like the beard growing mechanism in The Witcher 3 except it will add hair growing as well for both male and female characters. I’m planning to finish up that mod after Transfer Settlements.



    Those who follow me on social media might have noticed that I was also working together with the ShoddyCast for months on an interactive Storyteller radio and lore database. This is a huge and very exciting project, and the basic idea is to create a radio station with all 75 Storyteller episodes, around 100 lore-friendly commercials as well as lore-friendly cooking recipes and archive historical footage that teaches the player about different parts of the Boston area. The radio will always dynamically react to player actions: enemies encountered, looted items, active quests, locations, NPCs, etc - always trying to play relevant ST episodes, commercials or educational stuff. Some of the radio content will be locked by default to not give away spoilers and can be unlocked by progressing through the game, thus building a lore database in a holotape form as a result where the player can initiate the playback of any unlocked content from the radio. The ShoddyCast’s Psycho episodes will also be included as Easter Eggs that can be unlocked by finding various items throughout the Commonwealth. 



    Another radio-related project is the Pip-Man 3000, a complete Pip-Boy radio overhaul that features volume controls and the possibility to play any songs or even schedule or discard multiple tracks in a radio. This should be compatible with all vanilla radios as well as the most popular radio mods on Nexus.

    I also had plans such as a working Mad Max 2-style gyrocopter as a vehicle mod, an immersion mod that adds scars and bruises to the player’s face dynamically during combat, and a weapon mod that adds a Batman-style grappling hook.

    A lot of your mods are based on companions and followers, is this particular type of mod something that takes your interest?

    Actually the largest portion of my mods are radios which is easy to miss if you check my profile on Nexus since none of those are uploaded by me haha. I made Kooky Radio with Skinnytecboy, GTKYMA Radio with Darren (DDProductions83) and I became tech lead in Brandoman's Old World Radio - Boston project when it had around 10 radio stations. Now we have 30. I also helped Casey with the first iteration of WRVR.

    But yeah, I’m certainly not denying I love companions, one of the few things I believe Fallout 4 did better than earlier Bethesda titles are followers, their backstories, and the affinity system. One of the reasons I got so addicted to Fallout 4 is that I wanted to reach maximum affinity with all of them. Constantly checking their current affinity in console made me realize I need this fixed, so I learned how to decompile, modify and recompile Papyrus scripts and Visible Companion Affinity was born. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how quickly my second mod became a hot file.
    Then 8 months later I made a mod to shove them to the clouds haha.

    Have you created all your mods yourself or do you have to call on fellow mod authors or friends to help you out?

    Lately, as I was struggling with the implementation of my very first F4SE plugin I got huge amounts of help from Expired6978 and registrator2000. I’m also very lucky that last year I was accepted in a small group chat of some of the most talented and helpful mod authors. I want to mention ousnius, jonwd7 and Skinnytecboy, they helped me with a lot of issues since I had the pleasure to get to know them.

    I’m always open for collaborations with other mod authors, the radio mods I mentioned are good examples, but I have plenty of projects to finish on my own as well.

    What software suites do you use to create your mods?

    I almost never use the Creation Kit for the kind of mods I make. I don’t really need to change celldata, put objects in the game world with the editor or create complicated dialogue trees. I completely understand why the CK is important, I just don’t need it for my mods. I’m much more comfortable using xEdit to create plugins, not to mention how important xEdit’s scripting possibilities are for me. There were many times I had to edit hundreds if not thousands of game records and I simply can’t imagine doing that without xEdit scripts.

    For Papyrus scripting I’m using Notepad++ with Papyrus script extensions. I usually compile my codes with Caprica or sometimes with the Creation Kit’s command line compiler. Occasionally I use Python scripts with Notepad++ on my Papyrus scripts if more complicated text replacements are needed.
    I use NifSkope and Outfit Studio if I need to alter meshes, 3ds Max if I need to create new things, Photoshop for texture work, Adobe Flash for creating new sprite animations like new HUD elements and a lot of Visual Studio 2012 lately for C++ and F4SE stuff.



    Have you ever modded for Skyrim or Skyrim SE as all your mods on Nexus Mods are based around Fallout 4?

    No, I haven’t. When SSE came out last year I felt like this is my chance to finally mod Skyrim as well. But, by that time I had so many ongoing FO4 projects, I still haven’t got to modding Skyrim. Lately, I’m more hyped to try modding The Witcher 3, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up modding Skyrim.

    Actually, I got multiple requests to port over my Push Away mod. Even though Skyrim obviously has Fus Ro Dah it seems people still want this “harmless” way of shoving NPCs on Skyrim as well. I also believe there’s no reason for the real-time hair growing to be a FO4 exclusive either.

    Do you have any mod authors who inspire you? Have you seen any mods recently where you have said “I wish I had thought of that?”

    Pretty much everything by fadingsignal. I’m not at all envious I just think he has amazing mod ideas.

    But in the very beginning, I was most inspired by Darren (DDProductions83) which is funny cause I believe we have absolute opposite personalities. But his mods were great, very unique and much needed, always showed a high level of skills, and his idea of creating the “Get To Know Your Mod Author (GTKYMA)” podcast series was spot-on. I remember always listening to the latest episodes while modding and wishing that maybe someday I will be one of those mod authors who he would consider having an interview with. (So you can imagine how I feel about this interview right now as well.) So “I got to know my mod authors” through Darren’s podcast and I became a big admirer of the amazing quality and presentation of Elianora’s and fadingsignal’s mods.

    Later, while still having time to actually play the game, some of registrator2000’s mods became essential to my game such as the Outfit Switcher. His mods are always so innovative and inspiring, not to mention he always uploads his source codes so others can learn by studying them.

    Much like reg2k’s mods, everything Expired6978 does are also game changers. He is an extremely talented and very smart mod author also working on F4SE, so I’m always looking forward to the innovative mods he comes up with.

    Last but not least I’m also a huge fan of Skinnytecboy’s hilarious companion mods.

    Talking of FadingSignal, I’m having a chat with him at the moment - is there anything you would like to ask him?

    Actually, he was the one who invited me to that group chat I mentioned. We last spoke yesterday. He helped me with explosions, I helped him with radios.

    Your mods have always been well received, but have you had to deal with any negative criticism?

    Not really, no. The rudest comments always come from people offended by some radio content. Like jokes about a president named ‘Drumpt’ in West Vault Radio. Or the term ‘gopnik’ in Gopnik Radio’s title being a social slur in Russian. I don’t really get these types of offensive comments. I mean people can be offended by almost anything, I get that part, but they’re always welcome to not use a mod in a video game.



    Is there any feature you would like to see implemented on Nexus Mods that you feel would benefit our community?

    I can think of two things right now.

    The first one actually came from Gopher if I remember correctly. There was this huge thread not long ago about YouTube reviews and mod authors who don’t like their mods being reviewed by others who make money off of their work. And the idea was to add a feature that allows you to flag your mod pages whether you like your mods being reviewed or not. Me personally, I don’t mind YouTube reviews at all. I think of it as a symbiosis between mod authors and YouTube reviewers. Modders get more exposure in exchange for the free content they provide for video content creators.

    But I can understand the viewpoint of others who don’t think of this the same way and with a feature like this, they could notify YouTubers that they don’t want their mods being used in this fashion. And as a result, YouTubers could do their mod searches with a filter and only review mods made by authors who are happy with this concept.

    Another cool feature, in my opinion, would be an early access type of user right to certain mod pages. Mod authors would be able to grant access to certain users before releasing their mods thus inviting whoever they want to test their mods in earlier stages before releasing it to the public. This way testers would be able to see the mod page with all the essential instructions and use the Bugs section or the comments to help mod authors fixing issues before the initial release.

    If you could only install 10 mods to your Fallout 4 installation what would they be?


    If you could offer any advice to up and coming mod authors what would they be?

    Have a LOT of patience. Prepare for a huge amount of trial and fails. 90% of the time you spend on modding is about that. That’s why it’s very time-consuming. And that’s why it requires an extreme amount of dedication.

    Know the game, play the game for at least 100 hours before trying to mod something. Don’t start modding without having a good idea about what you want to mod. After playing the game for awhile, you will know exactly what you want to change, fix or add to the game, and if you feel you have enough dedication, you are ready to find out how to do it.

    Try learning as much as you can on your own. Only ask others if you feel you tried everything and still don’t make progress. There are a good amount of great tutorials out there by modders like Eli, fading, also Kris Takahashi started his Mod SCKool series recently. Everything you need in order to start modding is out there, all you need is the ability to find things on the internet. At least for the basics.
    Mod authors are much more helpful if they see you did your homework, found out everything you could on your own and only need someone to point you in the right direction. You should never expect a mod author to spoon-feed you with information that a google search can give you in the form of a video tutorial.

    Once you’ve learned the basics I believe there are three main pillars for a mod to be successful, and they are equally important in my opinion: a good idea, the quality of implementation and the quality of presentation.

    If you did a great job implementing your mod and your mod page looks awesome but the mod has been done by dozens before you no one will care.

    If you have a great idea and great presentation, a lot will download your mod but if it’s not tested thoroughly, people will be disappointed and you will spend the next couple of weeks fixing bugs.
    And if your mod is a solid, original idea, and your implementation is spotless but your mod description consists of three sentences, no one will notice your work.

    So to sum up: patience, dedication, patience, learning as much as you can on your own, patience, good ideas, patience, quality of implementation and presentation. And did I mention patience?

    Thank you ever so much for talking to me, I wish you all the best in your future mods.


    Thank you, Paul! I really appreciate this opportunity and looking forward to the next interviews in this awesome series.
  • 03 March 2017

    6th March Maintenance

    posted by MrMason Site News
    On Monday the 6th of March 2017 Nexus Mods will be down from 08:00 GMT so that we can perform some essential database maintenance. We expect this maintenance to take around 4 hours, but due to the nature of the work there is scope for this to be shorter or longer.

    The website and the forum will be down during this time.

    We’re performing this at the quietest time that we possibly can so that it has as minimal impact as possible.

    Thanks for your understanding,

    MrMason
  • 01 March 2017

    Staff Picks - 01 Mar 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    A slightly smaller Staff Picks this week as we go without a guest submission. We have had plenty sent in, but they have only contained a very brief description (usually a sentence or two) about why the the user actually enjoy the mod and what it does. I will post these up in the next few weeks, though probably in a large group. If you are submitting a mod for this feature, please try and include some details as to what makes it special to you and what the mod actually does - a bit like we have below.

    For us, SirSalami has this week been back in the world of 'The Witcher 3' trying out a combat focused mod, Terrorfox1234 has been chatting to crabs and I have lost my sense of immersion for a more in your face health bar system.

    We love to hear your selections, so if you have a mod you would like to submit to the community (not your own), please check out this new and handy form. Please fill it out completely and ensure that you add some details about the mod and why you have chosen it (similar to how we have below). Just remember that other mods on the site may do roughly the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled and understand that these are just our personal picks. That said, hopefully, you'll find something you may not have seen before. Who knows, maybe we'll even learn a little about each other along the way.


    SirSalami

    Mod: Disable SoftLock Targeting v1.22
    Game: Witcher 3
    Author: Sunkid

    Though I personally like The Witcher 3's combat a lot, as they say, "there's always room for improvement". This is especially true for us modders. This one aims to give players more precise control over Geralt's acrobatic sword attacks, as well as sign/spell usage.

    By default, when initializing an attack close to an enemy, the game will automatically make Geralt advance with a predetermined animation. Even without using the game's lock-on system, Geralt tends to focus on only one particular enemy at a time. By installing this mod and disabling this "SoftLock" however, your character will no longer automatically advance toward a fixed target when attacking. Instead, depending specifically on your movement input, Geralt will initiate specific attacks in the precise direction of your choosing.

    This can lead to both embarrassing whiffs, as well as satisfying combos and multi-hits, depending on skill. The difference is akin to comparing the fluid and accessible combat featured in the Batman Arkham series and the precise and demanding combat of Dark Souls, with vanilla being the former and this mod providing the latter. This video from the original author explains these changes quite well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ1959hkgMQ.

    So not only does this mod enhance your control over the character but it can also force you to be more deliberate with your actions, which I feel ultimately leads to a more rewarding combat experience. Originally created by FoxHoundSWE, the latest release from Sunkid supports v1.22 and v1.31 of the Witcher 3. Great work!

    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: The Mudcrab Merchant
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: MihailMods

    Mihail has been churning out some high-quality beasts and creatures lately ranging from massive dwarven automatons to normal-sized sewer rats. This latest effort though is something else entirely.

    Seriously. Look at that cute little guy. He talks. He sells things. He buys things. He carries those things on his back. Those of you that played Morrowind may remember the original mudcrab merchant. Bringing this little crustacean into Skyrim may entice feelings of nostalgia and brand-new excitement. Dressed up mudcrabs have that effect.

    I’m not sure what else there is to say. It’s a mudcrab merchant, and that is a wonderful thing.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Nameplates - Floating Healthbars
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: expired6978

    There is many an occasion when I would like to be totally immersed within my game, the HUD off and it being just me and the world around me, other times I quite like the sense of knowing what exactly is going on despite the fact it means my screen is covered with icons, maps, suggestions and whatever else the developer has thrown in for good measure.

    So after coming direct from a few evenings of playing Guild Wars 2 (Yes, I'm still going), I decided to try out this mod and have actually come to love the fact I can see exactly what is going on at any particular point. The enemies are now very easy to distinguish but also easy to see who to target first. My companion's health is also visible, which is nice as it allows me to see how much of a battering MacCready is taking for me.

    As with any good mod, it is highly configurable, from the colour of the various bars, to whether you would like it enabled or disabled for a particular type of NPC and even the scale. If you don't mind your immersion in the game being a little less than usual, then I would recommend giving it a whirl. It really is quite helpful.


    Every week, we feature a few mods that have caught our staff's attention, as well as some that were submitted by you, the Nexus Mods community. If there is a mod you'd like to see on this list, then please check out this quick and handy form.

    If you haven't already, feel free to follow us on our social media channels where we'll keep you up to date with the latest site news, articles and much more.



    Thanks, and have fun modding!
  • 26 February 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - Terrorfox1234 - our head of community development

    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.
  • 22 February 2017

    Staff Picks - 22 Feb 17

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    This week in the Staff Picks, SirSalami and Terrorfox1234 gain a psychic link and both choose a camera configuration mod that allows easier switching and modification of camera angle, I choose a mod that will allow me to spend far too much of my time looking at my Pip-Boy and our guest submission by gonzalo99 sees him warping around Cyrodiil.

    We love to hear your selections, so if you have a mod you would like to submit to the community (not your own), please check out this new and handy form. Please fill out the form completely and ensure that you add some details about the mod and why you have chosen it (similar to how we have below). Just remember that other mods on the site may do roughly the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled and understand that these are just our personal picks. That said, hopefully, you'll find something you may not have seen before. Who knows, maybe we'll even learn a little about each other along the way.


    SirSalami

    Mod: In-game Third Person Camera Config
    Mod: State-based Automatic Camera Switching
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: MrSaitama

    Today, I've got two complimentary mods that can work together to create a much more convenient and customized experience in regards to Fallout 4's camera system.

    By default, customizing the third-person camera settings can be a bit of a pain. Editing config files and reloading the game is quite clumsy, especially when trying to fine tune the perfect positions for your playstyle. Luckily though, with In-game Third Person Camera Config, a handy holotape is added to your inventory that will allow you to change your in-game camera settings virtually instantly. Personally, I prefer a somewhat traditional over-the-shoulder camera when a gun is drawn, easing to a centered camera when exploring or using a melee weapon.

    MrSaitama's other mod I've been using is State-based Automatic Camera Switching. It provides options that will automatically switch camera styles (first to third person and vice versa) based on your characters actions, like sprinting or drawing a weapon. It's a god-send for us gamepad enthusiasts, but I imagine many might find this mod useful regardless of control style. These settings are all configured using the included holotape, utilizing the settings you chose with the previously mentioned mod if you decide to use it. I choose to switch to first-person when any weapons are drawn while defaulting to third when they're holstered.

    Both are great 'quality of life' mods that will likely remain in my load-order for the foreseeable future. Thanks MrSaitama!


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Immersive First Person Mode
    Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition
    Author: Wavebend

    Wavebend has been on a roll lately with Dragon Age: Inquisition, working on things like adding sprinting to single player, an infinite zoom mod that provides for some gorgeous views, and this mod.

    Immersive First Person Mode allows you to play Dragon Age: Inquisition from the first person perspective, as the title suggests. While it’s still got some bugs to work out, it already looks phenomenal. I especially like to use it when back at home base just mulling around and talking with people. I know the word “immersion” is overused but this is one of those mods that really does help me become more immersed in the game.

    Plans for the mod include making the body mesh visible while in first-person and adding a toggle hotkey. I’ll definitely be tracking Wavebend’s mods going forward as I can’t wait to see them polished up.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Rename Anything
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: registrator2000

    I have a 'thing' about organisation. Every single one of my files on my PC has to be in the right folder with the right name; T-shirts have to be on the same style hanger in colour ascending order! OCD? Maybe... but the point I'm trying to make is that I like control. I like to be able to have everything just so. So when I saw that registrator2000 had created a mod to rename your items within FO4, I buckled at the knees.

    Thanks to this mod I can now have items listed correctly, or add statistical data to the Power Armour that I own; or embolden my favourite weapons - the choice has now been given back to me, and I love it. The way I have used it is to create sets of armour or clothing that I like to use together, create weapon sets for distance and close range, energy and ballistic. It's such a simple solution and something I think that should have been in the vanilla game.


    (Guest submission)gonzalo99

    Mod: The Ayleid Steps
    Game: Oblivion
    Author: Ervvin

    This mod adds a whole teleportation network to the game. There are hundreds of "steps" (small platforms around the world and ayleid ruins) that teleport you using welkynd crystals. The mod also adds a really good questline (involving the activation of the network AND the consequences of it) and +30 dungeons that are all worth exploring, including an amazing 30 degree tilted one.

    Besides the great questline, it also makes the whole moving around really different, especially once you start to realize how the system works. It also adds the whole exploration aspect of finding all the included dungeons, since some are only accessible via a specific step.

    Every week, we feature a few mods that have caught our staff's attention, as well as some that were submitted by you, the Nexus Mods community. If there is a mod you'd like to see on this list, then please check out this quick and handy form.

    If you haven't already, feel free to follow us on our social media channels where we'll keep you up to date with the latest site news, articles and much more.



    Thanks, and have fun modding!
  • 19 February 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - GamerPoets - YouTuber and creator of awesome tutorials

    There are a lot of people out there who would love to become a YouTube personality, the thought of creating videos on a subject you love for a living is incredibly appealing. But with the satisfaction of releasing a well-received video comes the incredible amount of work, time, dedication and money that goes into it.

    This week we chat to GamerPoets, a YouTuber who began producing videos as an outlet for an event that rocked his world.



    Hey GamerPoets, many thanks for talking to me today. I guess the first thing we should find out is a little bit about you?

    Well Paul, I’m 6’2, 33 years old, have dirty blonde hair and green eyes that change colour and I like long walks on the shores of Dawnstar. I’m a gamer, a poet, a person who has experienced a lot from all ends of life and I have decided that the modding community is the best of all of it.

    Have you always grown up with consoles and computers? What got you into gaming?

    Consoles yes. Computers… not even close. One of my earliest memories was beating ‘Super Mario Brothers’ and seeing my sister annoyed that her little brother did it before she did. I was 2 or 3 years old. I use to tell my family, “Look! I’m in a different world!” (my uncle reminds me of this frequently). Apparently, I still am (in a different world).

    My first computer came when I was a sophomore in highschool. I used it to bootleg CD’s and create my own music with it (kids, don’t try that at home, no one wants CD’s anymore I mean, it’s wrong to do). My parents thought it was for school, ha ha!

    The first time that I used a PC for gaming was a year before GamerPoets was created. I was tired of my PS3 Skyrim save file becoming bloated over and over again, stealing/pickpocketing every item between Riverwood and Whiterun was forcing me to start a new game due it not loading. I searched for an answer to my problem. I found Nexus Mods. Saw some water mods by SparrowPrince (OpticShooter) and Laast (I think!) and decided it was time to switch to PC.

    So apart from gaming what are some of your other hobbies?

    Wait… I’m allowed to do things beyond gaming? I’m actually just getting back into the sunlight regularly for the first time since starting the channel. I’ve gained 45 pounds since I became a YouTuber due to more and more GamerPoets work and less and less activity beyond it. Folks, get yourselves outside from time to time. I spend a few days doing cardio in the gym to get my health back on track (not always easy having agoraphobic tendencies). I love to cook. I love gardening. Hiking used to be a favourite of mine, but I’ll have to get back into that this Spring. Good books (actual paper in my hands). Though most of my non-GamerPoets time is spent with my girlfriend, dogs and family.

    Where did the name GamerPoets originate?

    I actually had no intentions of making gaming the main staple of GamerPoets. I was doing a lot of open mic poetry at local places as well as recording a few local artists for fun (vocalists, singers/rappers). The name was going to represent my initial intention of having a personal outlet for poetry with the occasional gameplay video. PoetGamer didn’t have quite as nice a ring to it as GamerPoets does. Not only did I not intend to have a full on gaming channel I also didn’t intend for much to come of it… well…

    GamerPoets would suggest more than one person, do you have a team of people?

    I’m always looking to the future. I initially thought that I would get other poets to create content with me but the gaming side of things unexpectedly took off and became consuming. As far as content goes I create everything that you see on the channel. I was being proactive with the name.

    Joe (sjoert) “of GamerPoets” is the mod author of Skyfalls and Skymills. He helped me build my first gaming PC (the previous one was built by a former friend) via a skype chat. He also helped me to learn (and love) a lot about the modding community, to create a home computer network, he taught me a lot about modding in general and is always there to help me with technical issues in between his family time and being a doctor. From time to time he also edits the tutorial scripts that I write for videos as well as give me lore and story feedback. We started talking after I created a second showcase for Skyfalls.

    I’ve had a few others help out over the years. RaccoonImperialist gathered the video footage for what use to be ‘The Assembly Line’ (a short attempt at a mod showcase series). Vohin Gaming helped with some video footage (I may have spelt the name wrong). Sleggo has created some mods and still helps to maintain our facebook page when I’m absent from it (Dustin use to help with FB as well) and there have been a number of people (Alicia, Dre, others) that for short periods of time helped with comment responses on the videos. I like to respond to as many comments as possible. Ven is helping with some template ideas for potential projects and Ed and I sat down a few times over the span of a few weeks refining the tutorial descriptions in recent months.

    This past Fall I tried to branch out to the community to get help with creating some content as spending so much time on a single video takes away from the ability to upload a lot of content, it would be nice to take a break sometimes without feeling as though I’m letting the viewers down. The response was way more than expected. More than 20 people across the globe wanted to help with video creation. Being a crazy person I tried to have all 20+ on board. I set up various Skype chats that spanned nearly 40 hours a week for close to 2 months. Due to taking on more than I could handle, being overly nit-picky about the end product and dealing with day to day anxiety it didn’t work out. I even took a month off from creating content afterwards. I burned myself out. However, they all showed me that GamerPoets is definitely something worth keeping around. I’ll never quit the channel and they confirmed that for me. They also helped me to learn a lot about myself. I will be forever thankful to all of them.

    When did you decide that you were going to set up a YouTube channel?

    It’s a touchy subject that I’ve expanded upon for some but perhaps the full details are a bit too explicit for this chat. The summary of it is that sometime between Christmas 2013 and New Years 2014 I was robbed in my home. Two kids with masks and guns broke through my front door and without being too detailed they robbed me of what was roughly two years worth of savings. I spent the next month or two doing nothing but staring out of my window wondering if they or someone else would come back (I didn’t sleep much). I was a bit traumatized to say the least. GamerPoets was my way of distracting myself from my thoughts and the situation in general. I never intended to be a YouTuber. I just needed an outlet at the time… boy did I get it.

    That is truly awful to hear and I’m sorry that you had to go through that, the only positive I can see is that it has led you to create the channel. What kind of setup have you created in order to pursue this career in YouTube broadcasting?

    It was a long and slow process to put together my setup. If it wasn’t for my friend Joe helping me to find the right parts at their cheapest prices as well as showing me how to set it all up (via email and Skype. He lives in Europe. I’m in the U.S.) I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it.

    Thinking about it now I’ve easily spent over $15,000 on equipment and software. It all started with a single gaming PC that cost about $2,000, which as mentioned, wasn’t even intended to be used for gaming but rather for music. That figure coupled with high internet speeds and general maintenance of things I’m still at least a year or two away from pocketing a single penny from GamerPoets. I know the question wasn’t about money but this stuff can get expensive if you keep trying to upgrade your quality and output. Here is a picture of my current setup:




    Current setup for audio recording

    If anyone reading/listening wants to create content you definitely do NOT need to have as crazy a setup as I do.

    Would you mind letting us know the type of workflow that you follow to create a video and the software that you use?

    Absolutely.

    Depending on the type of video that I’m creating I take different steps. If I’m going to make an RP (Let’s Roleplay) video I spend 2 days on video capture and editing. I then spend 2 days on audio recording and editing. Day 1 is just playing through the quest or segment at hand, making a lot of save points so that I have some references for potential cinematic cut scenes and Day 2 is bringing it all together. Day 1 of audio I take in pieces. I’ll record 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Edit the sound in. Add effects if need be (reverb for caves, so on). Then Day 2 for audio I’ll do some final touchups and add a bit of music where it feels appropriate to me. I also take notes randomly each day of the week if I get an idea for it.

    Regarding tutorials, it can take a while. My first step is to reach out to the mod or application authors and see if they would like me to create one. A lot of folks have gotten to know me so I don’t generally have to provide examples of what I’ve already done but I still do anyway. I have a specific style and I can’t step too far away from it so I make sure that they like it. If I get a response I then ask if they would like a hand in it. Helping me to revise the text structure, add things to it, remove things, so on.

    If I don’t know the topic I have to research it beforehand and practice until I get a good feel for things. I’ll spend a few days writing the entire tutorial out in text (with the help of the author if they would like to help or if they could be reached at all). Some tutorials (such as the current one that I’m working on for BethINI) can take a couple of weeks to work on the text and smooth it out. Even though I trust my resources I still have to test everything out on my own to assure it’s accurate as can be. Then when the text is finished I voice the entire tutorial, edit it into a blank video project so that it sounds good to me (fast enough for those who said my old style was too slow, but slow enough to be able to follow along or to use the pause button without missing important parts). Then I add in a very large template that I’ve created for video navigation. That takes a good three or 4 hours to update and adjust for each project.

    And then into the video.

    After the base video is finished I go back, add effects that enlarge pieces that I feel would help the viewer, add highlights (boxes that draw the eye to topics) everywhere that I can, darken the background if I feel that it will help to focus the eye, and some other things. I do this to help compensate for how quickly I cover specific topics so the viewer doesn’t have to guess at what should be looked at on screen. I also watch the tutorial at least 10 times over throughout the process to assure that things are flowing well as I go.

    After all is nearly said and done I go back a final time, add some text where needed, assure that new changes haven’t been made to the mod or application since I started in case I need to add more info or remove any, and try to add a few fun touches to it.

    As far as software goes I use Adobe: Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition. I occasionally use Bandicam for screen capture but generally, I record PC to PC using an El Gato HD60 . The audio runs through an Allen and Heath soundboard before it enters the PC and I use Event monitor speakers and headphones to edit sound. Recently, with the help of Joe, we’ve set up a mini-network using a NAS as a server in case we need to share files directly with anyone as well as to assure plenty of project storage for when it’s time to update older videos.

    Are you working on YouTube full time now?

    I spend 8 to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week on GamerPoets content in some form or another. That time is spent on learning about mods, software, writing text tutorials to turn into videos, reaching out to and working with mod authors and spending time developing stories for my RP (Roleplay) series. I’m always doing something for GamerPoets (even when I’m not). I’ve been putting this much time in since nearly the beginning.

    My output is less than other YouTubers because I spend a lot of time preparing content to assure that viewers get the best of what I can produce. The entire tutorial creation process generally takes 100 to 200 hours. A ‘Let’s Roleplay’ episode takes about 4 full days to comb over. I’d say it’s full time!

    How can I manage this without making any real income from it? I live on disability. I have Tourettes Syndrome, severe anxiety, pretty bad PTSD and some other fun things that I won’t bother you with, which keep me from being able to excel too much beyond my home. GamerPoets money pays for GamerPoets (Patrons and donations give way more than YouTube income does) and the kindness of some family members who have lent me money that I pay back in monthly instalments are what allows me to continue the channel.

    How have you seen subscribers increase, does it come in bit by bit or a steady stream?

    Whenever I add a big tutorial you see a sudden spike in subscribers. Generally, it’s a slow but steady stream as long as I’m uploading. Though, subscribers don’t necessarily equate to views with the type of content that I create.

    Would you mind walking us through a typical day/week in the life of GamerPoets?

    It’s pretty boring :). Monday to Friday I wake up late morning. Take my dogs out. Eat some breakfast and then I work on content until the lady gets home between 5 and 6. We’ll have dinner. Watch a show/movie/take the dogs for a walk and then when she goes to sleep I spend a few more hours working on content. Saturdays we try to get out and do something but I usually end up working half of the day on stuff again. Sundays I try to spend with family away from the PC (usually doesn't work out). Anytime that I can find to get myself to the gym now I do. Need to be healthy if I’m going to be creating content for another 40 years!


    Example of what a finished tutorial looks like in the project viewer

    This in an example of what a finished tutorial (the one found at the bottom of this interview) looks like in the project viewer. It gives an idea as to how much work I put into each of my tutorials. Each 'line' is a cut that I had to make, each green bar is a bunch of videos/images that have been condensed into a single piece to make them easier to manage as a single object. Audio is at the bottom in green wavs.

    Moving on to the more ‘secretive’ side of YouTube, would you be open to discussing how the monetary side of things work?

    Of course, I’m an open book. I’m glad to divulge information.

    First, if someone is planning on being a YouTuber strictly to make money I would suggest that a part time minimum wage job would be a better route to take. You would work 1/4th the hours, make twice the pay and have none of the overhead (Unless you like to create crap content and use boobs in your thumbnails. You might be ok then).

    To elaborate on things that I’ve already touched upon, an average YouTuber currently makes about $1 per 1,000 views. That can vary depending on how many viewers use ad-blockers, how many ads there are throughout each video, YouTube Red viewers and length of view time. The fluctuation for me, for nearly 3 years now, is about 40 cents per 1,000 views (So 60 cents to $1.40 per 1,000). Then you have to keep in mind how much you need to pay in taxes at the end of the year. I set 30% of the income aside to be safe and let the accountant handle the details. Without dedicated viewers pledging monthly or donating occasionally, there is no way that someone could sustain themselves as a YouTuber unless you one day “make it to the top”.

    Oh, and networks (the people who pretend to give you something in exchange for a percentage of what you generate through YouTube ads) are generally nonsense. Even the “best” ones don’t give you anything that you can’t get on your own. Don’t use them. Suffer the $100 minimum that AdSense enforces before you can withdraw money and do things on your own. Just make sure that you learn to keep track of what you make and pay your taxes.

    How do you deal with negativity on the channel?

    I’m a big guy. I break their knees .  

    I know that many “don’t deal with it” but I do. I block and ban people from being able to comment and from being able to see when GamerPoets uploads a new video. Well over 1,000 users have been blocked since I started. I have a lisp so trolls like to comment on it (very unoriginal, their lack of troll talent is almost disappointing) and the cursing and wishing that creators would die from cancer? I mean wtf? Other than your average troll sometimes you get someone who (“followed your directions to the letter”, “...to the T” “...step by step”...) doesn’t follow instructions properly. Or sometimes they have other mods that conflict with parts of a tutorial or didn’t install the game correctly or something else that has happened prior to the tutorial and they like to dump their stress on you. Thanks for trying to help, right?

    Negativity doesn’t bother me when it’s aimed at me personally. When I was a new creator it did. You get over it if you stick around. It does get annoying when I see others attacking viewers in the comments. People come to the videos to be entertained or educated and they don’t need to be harassed. I try to get rid of as much of the negativity as I can. Most members of the GamerPoets community and the modding community are pretty awesome, helpful and encouraging. Personally being a part of more than 45,000 comments, emails, pm’s and so on (yes, I view the numbers from time to time) I can honestly say that I love “this place”.

    Some will say, “It’s the internet. It’s expected. It’s not real life. Deal with it” ..and other unpleasant variations of those statements on this subject… but no. It is reality. When people are online they are more true to who they really are than when you encounter them in person. Scum gets bleached. I don't bathe in a dirty tub.

    If you had to name your top 10 YouTubers that you look up too, who would they be and why?

    I’m not sure that I have 10. I don’t know that I look up to anyone anymore but I do have some favourites.

    -DirtyWeaselMedia: for always being encouraging to viewers and to me personally. For always testing his information and going above and beyond to try to help folks with his tutorials and just being an all-around good guy. Sadly, I’ve seen his recent video and Cal is no longer going to be working on gaming content. I wish him the best in whatever he does.

    -Gopher: he is the first YouTuber that I ever cared to watch more than a couple minutes of. He’s a classy dude with a good personality and was a major influence as to why I started creating tutorials (and more importantly, the channel) when I did. He covers a certain side of things. I wanted to cover the other. Hopefully, I have helped in doing so.

    -CouchWarriorTV: A great bunch of guys who genuinely care about this community. I’ve been on podcasts with them as well as some personal chats and they really take their time to get across what this community does and what it can mean to people.

    -Slothability: he doesn’t upload much these days but he’s another caring soul. I learned how to properly render YouTube videos because of him. Just look at his name… fun guy.

    -Xuul: a YouTuber who goes above and beyond to create his tutorials and content. I’m learning a lot about modding Oblivion right now because of him.

    -Ze Frank: If you want to be inspired and or feel in touch with life from a down to earth person check him out. HIs content is old but relevant. My thought process is a lot like his and the few vlog like videos that I have on the channel (under “The GamerPoet” playlist... cough) are heavily inspired by his style.

    -DarkFox127: If you want some good info on using the Creation Kit he is your man. I may have to stea...cough..borrow some of his info one day.

    -HarryMurrell: is a classical guitarist who not only lets me use his renditions of gaming music in videos but he has also has created some personally for the channel, he sends me unreleased cuts for specific RP scenes and is considered a member of GP. Awesome guy. (content side note: if you hear another YouTuber's music on GamerPoets I’ve personally contacted them to get their permission and I keep it on file to be safe. I avoided a big copyright issue on the channel by having someone’s email saved. With that being said, I try to stick with Harry as often as possible. There are some other good folks that I talk with from time to time regarding music as well.)

    -Other than those mentioned I would say SorcererDave and Veriax are fun for LPs to me, Rycon Roleplays holds down the Roleplay community well, Hodilton and Brodul for showcases. I guess I really could keep thinking of YouTubers that I like for one reason or another but I won’t drag it out any longer = ). There are a lot of good folks in the YouTube world. Many just haven’t been “found” yet by the masses (GP included for the most part =).

    I would like to also say thank you to some mod authors if it’s cool: Zilav, Sheson, Mator the Eternal, MangaClub, Fore, Sjoert the entire STEP wiki community (all of which I’ve worked with at length on one project of mine or another for things they’ve created) as well as Brumbek and SparrowPrince for their support. Anytime that I’ve sent Arthmoor, Alt3rn1ty, Isoku, Chesko and others messages they’ve replied with good advice when my understanding may have been slightly off about particular subjects. Those mentioned and many others who I have worked with on my videos or who I’ve had long response sessions with over the years... If I look up to anyone in this community it’s them. Thank you for just being awesome people. I know that I’m beginning to sound like an academy award winner but their help has been truly appreciated and I just want to make sure that comes across. Many of us wouldn’t be here on Nexus or elsewhere, including me, if it wasn’t for people like them.

    You create tutorial videos (many of which I have sat and watched) and I am in the process of learning modding as we speak, what advice could you give a noob like me who is just starting out?

    TAKE….YOUR….TIME! Do not install 50 mods at once and think that things are going to work out. TEST….TEST…. TEST! … oh… and sorry for how long the videos are lol. Some like to complain about their length (even though I provide on-screen navigation for veteran modders to skip half of the video in case they know a lot about the topic at hand.) but most new mod users who complain about length will never “make it” in modding. You have to be willing to set up the game properly, prepare the game to be modded, and read everything that the mods you install provide. It comes down to patience and persistence. Learning to mod isn’t difficult it’s tedious. You aren’t installing official DLC. You are incorporating hundreds of individuals works into a single game and are trying to make it function and be stable.

    I spent months breaking save files due to not taking my time when I started out and I only really learned to take my time because I had to for the channel. It still took me another two years to really “get it”. And I do get it. Modding can be a pain in the butt… but… it’s worth it in the end (pun intended). For many people modding IS the game. The game itself is just a bonus when you’re done modding and that’s how you have to view it if you want to have 100’s of mods installed at once without issue.

    Enjoy the small victories. Get one or two mods working, get in game, walk around and make sure that you aren’t crashing, make sure that the vegetation isn’t dancing a waltz and that all your priests are fully clothed. Enjoy today’s accomplishments and stop rushing to emulate what you see in YouTube videos on day one (other than mine lol jk). You will get there. Like most things that are worth anything in life it takes time and eventually becomes easier. If you come across a mod that seems too complicated for you it’s OK to skip it. You don’t have to complain about it and or try to bash the author in a comments section to compensate for what you don’t yet grasp. You don’t have to install every mod that others suggest to you. Mod your game how you like. Have fun with it. I rather have 10 working mods than an unstable game with 100. Know your limits and “do you”.

    Oh… and there’s this awesome thing called Nexus. Use it. Ask questions. It helps… so does the STEP wiki. I try to answer as many comments as I can on videos but I end up referring a lot of folks to STEP because when it comes to certain topics they simply know more than I do. If you take your time to reach out to the right people you will learn to enjoy the community itself more than the actual modding. STEP and Nexus... GamerPoets would not exist without them.

    I noticed that you are now also creating written tutorials that are appearing on the site, can you tell us a little bit about them and why you have decided to create these while also doing your YouTube channel?



    I’ve always had to create written versions of each tutorial to assure accuracy and to avoid topic straying, but they have been less like guides and more like scripts for me to read and record. I would previously link to my google docs (in descriptions) for some videos to aid those who learn better from text but I’ve since decided to create full/proper guides in a format that I would personally want to see them in if I were personally looking for help.

    Every tutorial that I create will be able to be found on Nexus now (or rather, as I complete them) as I just feel it’s a more accessible option for viewers than the doc’s were. Almost everything on the channel is based on something from Nexus one way or another so it only made sense.

    What I’ll be doing to continue the interactive side of tutorials in regards to text is utilising the linking system to allow readers to click on section titles and view corresponding pieces of each video if they so choose. This way you can read the text but you can also see exactly what it is related to in video without needing to watch the entire thing. While text could easily take views (and more importantly view length) away from the channel (which means less revenue and even more personal time spent on each topic) I feel that it’s worth it to provide folks with another functional option. I was the first to build video tutorials around the idea of on-screen navigation and I figure it might be cool to try the same thing with text. In the least, it will provide those who already view the channel with more options. I care about those who support GP and the modding community as a whole. Creating content and these guides are something that I enjoy and ultimately that’s why I do anything regarding GamerPoets.

    When I first started modding, and even now, it was hard to find a lot of videos that told me exactly what I wanted and needed to know in a way that was customised to my personal learning needs. So that’s what I try to provide. Personalization for all as best as I’m capable. Coming back to Nexus to put the text guides up will also allow the community to help out, to give me ideas and suggestions and that will only make both the text and the videos that much better. If you look at the guide that I’ve added so far (just a few days ago, and more on the way) I’ve already credited 4 members for their comments. You might get credited even if you don’t want to. Sometimes reading what others think on a subject inspires me to evolve or change something without them even knowing it. Interacting with good people also just makes this a lot more fun. Sitting alone in a room in your house for so many hours each week can make you a little nutty lol. Being overly nit-picky about my end products and the coherence between each project makes working directly with others difficult if not impossible. The community being able to be heard in this manner, regarding what I create, will also help with my craziness = )

    From here on out, every video that I create will have a proper text guide on Nexus to go along with it and they will link to each other. Text will never replace video because if done correctly you can simply do too much with it to aid those watching in a way that you can’t with text. You just have to care enough and have the free time to do it.



    Is there anything else you would like to say to the people at Nexus Mods?

    Give me a job!

    This community is a special place. Yes, there are trolls and those who can be negative, but overall, there are more people willing to help, willing to provide their creations and time for free and who genuinely give a crap in some form or another than anywhere else on the internet. Treat it well. If it ever goes away or turns into the type of junk that you can find everywhere else online we only have ourselves to blame for it.

    Could you give any advice to someone who is looking to create a YouTube channel? What are some of the pitfalls? What are the perks?

    Create a channel because you love the content that you want to, and will be, providing. Don’t start a channel thinking that you are going to be rich and famous. Most likely you won’t be…. and fame can suck. Even when you only have a tiny bit of it.

    Give credit. If you worked with, got a response from or took an idea from someone give them credit. It doesn’t hurt your video and it will only make those whom you have mentioned support you in return. Don’t just leave a cheesy mention in your video description. Say in video, “Thank you to Gamerpoets for such and such…” “Thank you to this mod author because this and that…”. After the video is uploaded leave a comment to them (without harassing them) and make them aware. It’s appreciated and it will only benefit you. I’ve tried to drive viewers to a few places since I’ve started because I appreciated this.

    If people start looking up to you (and whether you know it or not some will) in some form or another you have a silent responsibility to them. If you ignore that responsibility you aren’t worth the content that you create.

    Have fun. Be yourself. Be honest. People will know when you are being fake. Understand and do those things and you won’t owe anyone anything. Don’t get caught up in what others expect of you. Stay true to your own expectations and keep them realistic. It takes a lot of work to create good content and it doesn’t necessarily pay the bills. And while you may not find riches, what I have personally found is a large community of awesome, caring and encouraging people. I’ve wanted to quit more than a few times due to how much work goes into what I do knowing that I probably won’t make a penny of profit until year 5 (if all goes well). I continue this because there are a surprising amount of awesome people from all around the world who appreciate what I do and encourage me to continue. That is where the rewards are. People.

    Learning the software that you utilise and always trying to improve your quality doesn’t hurt either.

    Thank you once again for chatting to me today and I wish you all the best with your future endeavours.

    I appreciate that, thank you for allowing me to ramble off half of a novel. It was fun.

  • 15 February 2017

    Staff Picks - 15 Feb 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    With Valentine's day only yesterday, we have all decided to give you something that we love.

    SirSalami loves a good hug every now and again, I have a love of Cola (which I really need to try and break off at some point), Terrorfox1234 has found a mod to appease his love of music production and JimmyRJump / HeavyEavy just love the additional playtime that Fusion City Rising has given them. Okay, they are tenuous links at best, but you're not here to read this part of the staff picks, so crack on below and see if there is anything that takes your fancy.

    We love to hear your selections, so if you have a mod you would like to submit to the community (not your own), please check out this new and handy form.

    Please fill out the form completely and ensure that you add some details about the mod and why you have chosen it (similar to how we have below). Just remember that other mods on the site may do roughly the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled and understand that these are just our personal picks. That said, hopefully, you'll find something you may not have seen before. Who knows, maybe we'll even learn a little about each other along the way.


    SirSalami

    Mod: Free Hug Mod - A mod for love
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: T3nd0

    Though it might be over, in honor of Valentine's day it seems a good time to bring back an old favorite. After all, there's never a bad time for a hug. Whether it's a platonic pat or romantic embrace, T3nd0's Free Hug Mod has got you covered.

    With this little mod, a new dialogue option will be available allowing you to hug it out with anyone. With each squeeze, your character can receive a bit of a buff, an increase to your relationship status with your partner, and an increase to your speechcraft skill. Why? Because a good hug is worth a thousand words. You might even find that a well-intentioned embrace can defuse an otherwise tense situation. In fact, I've heard that the best way to an angry Forsworn's heart, is an ol' fashioned hug.

    The best part? As the title implies, T3nd0 has ensured that these hugs are indeed 100% free! You can't argue with a deal like that! So get out there and get huggin'. Maybe even give Nazeem some love. He seems like he needs it.


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Workshop Musician
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: GroveMods

    This mod is a sound replacer that adds looping music samples and beats to the powered speaker. Using multiple powered speakers one can use these loops to create their own music in the Commonwealth!

    The mod is pretty simple right now, with only 18 new loops available, however, I think the concept is great. I'd love to see this expanded upon in the future, which is something the author has said they would like to do, pending enough interest in the mod.

    While it may be simple, I still got sucked into playing around with different loops and timing. Using the delayed starters and delayed repeaters you can come up with some pretty creative stuff. I greatly look forward to seeing more loops adds and perhaps, someday, some more control over how those samples are used and mixed.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Working Vending Machines
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: borjoyzee

    I've often wondered, why on earth I feel so compelled to collect all the pre-war money that I find blowing around the wasteland. I check every cash register, look in every drawer, open every possible hiding place and despite knowing that it's totally worthless STILL grab the money.

    So when I saw that borjoyzee had created a working vending machine where I CAN spend all my pre-war money, I just had to download it and give it a whirl. After the mod has been installed you are able to place working vending machines in any of your settlements. Yes, they do cost more than the simple decorative machines but come on, they do keep your nuka-cola nice and cold. As these are working machines they do need a fusion core to make sure they keep running so check you have a few of these spare. The cigarette machine however, is totally fusion core free.

    One of the nice things with the addition of one of these vending machines in your settlement is the boost in happiness, a nice little touch from the mod author. I just need to make sure my addiction to these sugary, carbonated drinks doesn't spill into the Fallout world else my pre-war money is going to dwindle pretty quickly.


    (Guest submission)JimmyRJump & HeavyEavy

    Mod: Fusion City Rising - Quest Mod Plus
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: Recluse and Thggysmurf

    This week, we had two independent submissions from JimmyRJump and HeavyEavy suggesting the same mod, Fusion City Rising by Recluse and Thggysmurf.

    As JimmyRJump describes it:
    Fusion City: an underground community larger than Diamond City with a mall, subway system, fight arena, hotel, university, player home, clinic, barber, laundromat, bath house, bank, grocery store, church, bars, restaurants, art gallery, residential district, shooting range, every type of vendor, and more.

    Provides hours of new content: New quests, new locations, new enemy factions, and new companions. The time to complete the main story line and all side quests will typically range between 10 and 20 hours depending on how much exploration you choose and how many terminals you read.

    HeavyEavy said:
    This mod is DLC level in size and content. Companions are fully voiced and fun to game with. They have some Great banter and chat. One is romance-able and She's pretty funny to have around. The quests are fun and intriguing and there is a ton of backstory and details. Very well thought out and implemented. I give it a 9 out of 10!


    Every week, we feature a few mods that have caught our staff's attention, as well as some that were submitted by you, the Nexus Mods community. If there is a mod you'd like to see on this list, then please check out this quick and handy form.

    If you haven't already, feel free to follow us on our social media channels where we'll keep you up to date with the latest site news, articles and much more.

     


    Thanks, and have fun modding!
  • 12 February 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - SmartBlueCat - Author of 'Inigo'

    Wednesdays 'Staff Picks' featured two exceptional follower/companion mods that were nominated by our users. One of these was Inigo, a Khajit follower with a great sense of humour and of course, Mr D. I got to chat with SmartBlueCat recently and found out some of the inspiration behind Inigo, where he draws his humour from and what we have to look forward to in v3. Enjoy.

    Hey SmartBlueCat, thank you very much for chatting to me today. To begin with can you tell the community a little bit about you please?

    I'm 36, I live in Glasgow Scotland, and I'm a freelance digital artist who also teaches art part time. I enjoy learning and experimenting with almost any artistic medium I can get my hands on. Over the years I've written music and fiction, worked as an illustrator/graphic designer, completed various video projects, and worked in CGI/animation. Modding is my most recent creative endeavour.


    I have to ask, where did the name SmartBlueCat come from?

    It was the first combination of words that came to mind when I created my YouTube account back in 2006. I like things that are smart, cats, and the colour blue. I should probably make up a more interesting origin story.



    Before we get into the modding side of things, would you mind telling us all a little bit about your gaming history?

    I first developed a love of gaming playing on systems belonging to friends. I played a lot of Atari 2600, Spectrum, and Commodore 64 in the late 80s. Waiting 15 minutes for a C64 game to load only to have it fail really helps you value your active game time.

    My first console was the Master System 2, which at the time came with ‘Alex the Kidd in Miracle World’ (curse that second castle level!). From then on I was a Sega guy until I saw a Playstation 1 running Final Fantasy 7, it looked incredible so I saved up and nabbed myself one. Later I moved to PS2, then finally to PC in late 2005. I haven't owned a console since.


    If you had to try and choose a favourite game, or at least the one you have the fondest memories of, what would it be and why?

    That's so tough! Can I cheat and give you a couple?

    Ico was a real revelation for me. It's a beautifully haunting experience. I'll never forget the moment I first took Yorda's hand and felt a tangible sense of responsibility. That was the first time I truly felt emotionally connected to a digital world and a companion. Ico makes you feel small, overwhelmed, and needed in numerous clever ways. To this day it has more heart than 99% of current titles.

    The Witcher 3 has to be high on the list too, somewhat predictably I am sure. It's an improbably good game. I can't remember the last time my actions felt so consequential within such a well written narrative. The character building, the art direction, the story, the mechanics. It's an embarrassment of well crafted riches, and in my opinion, the new high watermark for narrative driven RPGs.


    Thanks a lot for Inigo by Urshi


    Team Ico also released ‘Shadow of the Colossus’, did you get a chance to play that?

    Yes. I loved every awe inspiring moment of that game. It's a wonderful example of Fumito Ueda's design by subtraction. Those beautiful but sparse landscapes enhance the core themes of the story elegantly and without fuss. Very clever stuff. Ico hit me harder though. It feels like a slightly more focused experience overall.


    Considering ‘Ico’ is one of your favourite games, does ‘The Last Guardian’ tempt you to go back to a Playstation 4?

    Reviews are mixed but I'm fairly sure I'd enjoy it. It's not enough to tempt me to get a PS4 though. If I already owned one I'd certainly pick it up, but sadly I can't really justify spending that much money on an eleven hour experience.


    What were your first memories of playing games on the PC? What game did you start with?

    I remember playing the original Prince of Persia and Battle Chess on PC at a friend's house when I was very young. Later when I was in High School someone installed Doom and Day of the Tentacle on the art department's computer so a bunch of us would sneak in there at lunch to play. The first PC game that totally consumed me was Thief: The Dark Project. A friend bought it while we were in college and we took turns tackling it life by life after class. It's still one of my favourite games to this day. When I finally got a PC of my own I bought The Orange Box, Thief: The Metal Age, and Morrowind. I think I ended up missing quite a few work days that year.



    Okay, so I’d like to chat about your mod Inigo - where did the inspiration for Inigo come from?

    That's a tough one to pin down. He's not based on another character or person entirely, but various influences certainly play a part. A lot of his wordplay comes from a personal love of poetry and layered phrases – something I've played about with a great deal in my music. It felt natural to carry over that kind of writing to Inigo's speech.

    The biggest singular influence may actually be the character ‘Wolf’ from the novel ‘The Talisman’. Wolf's sense of smell, like Inigo's, allows him to experience the world from a unique perspective. There's a scene in the book where Wolf says he can smell that the main character finds something amusing. While Inigo and Wolf are very different in many regards, I gifted Inigo with a similarly intuitive sense of smell, expanding on the idea a little. Inigo can smell when you're unwell, when there's trouble, and can determine your inventory with his nose alone.

    Somewhat loose comparisons can also be made with his namesake from the Princess Bride – a deep sense of honour, a need for redemption, his scars, etc, but really Inigo is an amalgam of countless parts and ideas from too many sources to mention, many of them real-life experiences. To a large extent, he's also very similar to me. I love the rain, a good story, and wordplay.


    Just quickly, ‘The Princess Bride’ is one of my all-time greatest feel-good movies! Sounds like you enjoyed it too - if you had to choose, what would be your favourite scene?

    The battle of wits/Iocane powder scene is probably my favourite, closely followed by the To The Pain sequence. That film is pure brilliance from end to end. The book is wonderful too.




    Did you have a specific goal when creating Inigo? Did you have any previous experience?

    I'm a little ashamed to say before starting work on Inigo I'd never used a mod, let alone created one. I grew up without a PC and I didn't have the internet until around 2006 so modding didn't appear on my radar until quite late on.

    I always wanted to learn more about game design though, so when I heard about the Creation Kit I thought I'd try it out with the loose goal of creating a simple follower with a bit more dialogue and consistency than the vanilla options. I had enjoyed my time with the vanilla companions, but I guessed there was a lot more that could be done to flesh out npcs using the systems they used to decide when to speak and what to say. I wanted to add someone who had heart, who would repeat themselves less, and (hopefully) aid the player's immersion through their conduct and custom reactions.

    Inigo's presence as a person has always been more important to me than him successfully filling the role of a follower. Once I had the basics working I began to use the little knowledge I had to make Inigo more 'alive' piece by piece. Consistency and a lack of repetition were major goals from the beginning. Over time Inigo has expanded in scope, but his prime directives remain unaltered – stay consistent, don't repeat too much, aid believability.

    I also really wanted to build a personality that continued to expand under scrutiny, someone who opened up organically to players who showed an interest. This has become somewhat of a double-edged sword with players who use him casually often never really getting to know him despite travelling with him for months. I sometimes hear people who clearly haven't experienced very much of what he has to offer describe him as if he's just an amusing cat who's good in a scrap - judging the mod on this thin veneer instead of what lies beneath. This is fine of course, I never want Inigo to impose himself on the player, but his humour is a fraction of what defines him and if you get to know him his fears, doubts, and regrets soon bubble into view. Fashioning this organic character progression for people who decide to explore the mod more fully soon became another important focus. Over time Inigo's dark past and self-doubt hopefully re-frame his humour as something a little deeper, while also allowing me to believably introduce themes of loss, fear, depression, and regret, which along with various lighter topics hopefully help form a far more rounded personality. I really don't like number based relationship systems and I felt that by using optional branching conversations to gate certain sides of his character instead I could perhaps give the mod more impact while maintaining Inigo's believability. Unfortunately, this means that players who never choose to get to know him only end up seeing a sliver of the real Inigo. I'm alright with that though, it makes him more special for players who take the time to dig deeper.


    more than a follower by Lashdown10

    With Inigo being your first mod, you must have required some help. Which resources did you turn to in your quest to create your mod?

    In the beginning I was completely bewildered by the CK. I did some googling and eventually found the Deck16 guide to creating a custom voiced follower which really helped me grasp the basics. That said, it wasn't long before I ran into issues that were seemingly entirely undocumented. That's to be expected of course. We're all trying to make something slightly unique and we all come up against problems other people haven't encountered as a result. Rolling up my sleeves and jumping in feet first was the only option.

    I made regular back-ups and started experimenting, making huge mistakes more often than not, but also making progress. Later, when I finally realized that Nexus was a thing, I found the forums to be a wonderful place to learn from those with more experience. I still find myself checking the forums, the CK wiki, and various online tutorials from time to time, but for the most part it's trial and error... mainly error in my case. For every feature that ends up in Inigo there are two or three that never quite make it. A lot of people seem to think that adding a new feature is as simple as hitting Ctrl F. The reality is that a huge amount of effort often goes into the seemingly simplest thing and no one is born knowing this stuff. You need to put in the work and make plenty of mistakes along the way to get good results. In my experience no amount of tutorials or hand-holding is a substitute for getting stuck in.

    When I moved from traditional to digital art I learned in much the same way I later tackled modding – I did some research, rolled up my sleeves, and experimented. That was harder in many ways since I didn't have internet at the time. Instead I took to visiting the computing section of local book shops with a notepad and copied down things to try when I got home. I spent a few years making a series of thinly veiled audio/visual tests which were rough but taught me a lot and eventually led to paid work. Learning how to create Inigo has been a very similar experience, the main difference being that all my successful modding tests are housed within a single project. A companion can be a wonderfully accommodating canvas, especially when they introduce new areas, other npcs, and quests. There's always more I can add and learn.


    With Inigo being a fully voiced companion, did you advertise for a voice artist, was it a friend or did you take the part?

    I voice all the male characters in Inigo. He started out as a side project while I was in pre-production for a film. At that time he was just a personal undertaking I didn't think would go anywhere so I never thought about contacting anyone else to do his voice. I had never acted before but I had directed actors and written a great deal so I thought I'd give it a shot. The cadence has changed since his earlier versions, but the core of the performance was always there. I chose to give him a backstory that freed him from certain khajiit characteristics – third person pronouns, etc. This made him more fun to write and, along with the colour of his fur, gave him a degree of narrative latitude that otherwise wouldn't perhaps exist.


    Raging Flames by corpsehatch

    It must've required a lot of planning in order to get Inigo working correctly with everything, how did you ensure that he didn’t get in the way of the player and avoid traps, etc?

    Inigo has the same AI update time as any other npc, but a lot of people seem to think he's better at getting out of the way regardless. This may be down to him vocalising his player avoidance more often and politely. It perhaps gives the impression that he's more aware of your position. I also added the ability to move him out of your way at will with his whistle power. If you whistle when you're nose to nose with him it fires a scene that forces him to run away from your position until he's put 200 units between you. That probably also helps.

    Other than that, he has the ever-present ‘Light Foot’ perk used by most follower authors which prevents him from triggering pressure plates, and all of his hit/hurt lines are conditioned by health percentage- when you're sneaking he won't react to pain until he's been at least moderately wounded. This means that, for the most part, he doesn't signal when he's made a silly blunder behind you in sneaky situations.

    It all adds up, but I think a lot of the things that people positively attributed to Inigo are a side effect of his personality. For instance, I regularly see players commend him on lines I know don't exist, as if he's somehow gained sentience. Come to think of it, that would certainly explain a few things.


    Did you expect Inigo to become as popular as he did?

    Not at all. He's everything a popular follower usually isn't, and he requires an unusual degree of attention from the player if they want to get the most out of him. I never expected that he'd attract the popularity he has. It's been wonderful seeing so many people embrace him over the last few years. I've heard players say that he's a follower for people who don't like followers fairly frequently, so perhaps his differences are his strengths. Whatever the case, it was a complete surprise when he gained a following.


    Seems you are a jack of all trades (master of many), very talented indeed - gifted or hard work?

    I don't think of myself as particularly gifted, but in my experience, more often than not, talent is just a lot of sheer bloody mindedness and a need to push yourself and your work further. Natural ability is a factor, but a minor one. During my time teaching art I've encountered hundreds of children who perhaps have a greater amount of natural talent than their classmates, but no matter how gifted a person is most individuals quickly give up when the going gets tough. It's those who love the process enough to keep pushing themselves that end up maximising on their potential. It usually doesn't take long for hard work to outstrip raw talent. I'm not naturally very good at anything, but I know what I like, I'm my own worst critic, and I love what I do enough to keep picking myself up after each failure. I'm sure most people with a perceived gift would tell you the same. You don't get anything for free. I often wonder if talent is actually just grit and appreciation for the goal you're trying to accomplish. I fail as often as I succeed but I persevere when things aren't fun or going as planned and I try to say “that'll do” as little as possible.


    Do you have anyone that you can turn to if you ever get stuck with a certain aspect of a mod?

    Mostly I fumble through everything alone, but when it became clear I needed to move Inigo off the vanilla framework to give him the character consistency I wanted, I began working with a code specialist to help realize that and other more complex features that I wanted to implement.

    CdCooley has been handling Inigo's more hardcore coding since V2.1 and he's the first person I go to when I'm not sure if what I'm doing is the best way to do it, or if an idea is beyond my current understanding. In a lot of cases I'll run ideas past him for a simple yay or nay - “If I do X this way will I destroy the universe?” His contribution to Inigo is far greater than that though. He really gets what I'm aiming at and has added to Inigo in numerous little ways that greatly expand his believability. For example, ages ago I had thought about how cool it would be if Inigo got annoyed when you left him in a clearable area, complaining about it when you next met. It was one of many ideas that fell by the wayside over time... then months later CdCooley suggested a vastly better version of the same idea without me even mentioning it. After a brief discussion he created the appropriate framework so I could add Inigo's reactions factoring in location type and times left, etc. The guy's a genius, and, more importantly he really understands what I'm trying to accomplish with Inigo from a character standpoint. So, if there's ever a problem he's the person I go to first. I count myself very lucky to have him on my side.

    I also have to mention Eolhin and MonkeyMakesBrain. They both help out other users on the Inigo forums so I can spend more time working on Inigo, but I also run certain ideas past them every now and then. They both do the occasional bit of testing here and there too. They have become invaluable members of the Inigo 'team.'


    Thanks a lot for Inigo by urshi

    Do you ever check out other mod authors work, to either learn or gain influence from?

    Not as much as I probably should. Most of my influences come from areas outside of modding, through circumstance rather than design. I like to keep my data folder as clean as possible while I'm working and I'm almost always working on Inigo, so sadly I haven't had much time to spend with other Skyrim mods.

    That said, I try to grab a few weeks here and there every year to play with mods that pique my interest, but never for very long. I now mod Fallout NV and Oblivion quite a bit though. I keep up to date with Skyrim modding vicariously through YouTube let's plays and reviews for the most part. I can't wait until I finally finish V3 and can mod Skyrim properly!


    Even though you don’t mod your game a great deal, do you have any Mod Authors that you look up to or who inspire you?

    So many. The entire Vilja team for starters. I wasn't going to release Inigo initially - doubting anyone would be interested in such a character focused companion (not being aware of the Nexus, I only had questionable offerings from the Steam Workshop to go on at the time), then I saw Vilja and realized that there could be an audience for someone like Inigo. So the only reason anyone has met Inigo is because Vilja convinced me to release him.

    Emma, Amgepo, Lycanthrops and co have really created something superlative with Vilja. She's a complete trailblazer in terms of what a follower can do. When Emma contacted me about getting our characters chatting with each other I felt incredibly honoured.

    I also deeply appreciate CdCooley's work (not just because he increased the IQ of my cat) – In all his work he has this knack of artfully filling gaps in the game you never realized existed and his code is as clean as a whistle.

    Chesko is a genius. Every time he releases something I always think “Wow, that's clever.” shortly followed by “Why didn't anyone else think of that?”

    Darkfox127 produces content that is consistently imaginative and well executed. Caranthir Tower Reborn is a beautifully intricate yet robust masterpiece.

    Other honourable mentions would have to include the endlessly creative FadingSignal, the fantastically resourceful Elianora, and the astoundingly hard-working Hothtrooper... just to name a few.
     

    You mentioned CdCooley has taken over the hardcore coding of Inigo, do you still get your hands dirty on the code or do you concentrate more on the other aspects of Inigo? Do you have a team of people to assist you?

    CdCooley completely re-wrote Inigo's framework code in V2.1 and has contributed a great deal in that area (and others) since, but apart from that I handle all aspects of the mod and created Inigo alone until V2.

    I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to my creative work. I'm regularly called upon to be a team player when working as a freelance artist, but when it comes to personal projects I'd much rather learn how to do something myself than have to rely on a team who may not share the same vision, or who, more often than not, aren't ready to put in the amount of work I perhaps would. I do the everyday scripting, ai procedures, voice recording, texturing, writing, story, acting, area and quest design.

    Complicated coding remains beyond me though. I've managed to learn the basics and I'm slowly gaining more understanding, but I still find a lot of it prohibitively abstract, so I'm very lucky to have CdCooley to take care of that side of things if the need arises. My lack of ability in this area has however forced me to come up with some unorthodox solutions that, while probably not the smartest way to go about things, are certainly more fun for me than immersing myself in papyrus. For instance I'm often asked how I scripted Inigo's looting and unaggressive combat behaviour, when in fact his combat relies entirely on conditioned procedures, and his looting is essentially just a collection of X markers being enabled and disabled, then checked in dialogue with more conditions. Honestly, when you're as inept at coding as I am, X markers and conditions solve most problems.


    Mr D thinks I am looking good in this armor by Falki

    Speaking again on CdCooley, I noticed he helped you put Mr D on Inigos belt in Skyrim SE. Was it easy converting Inigo over for Skyrim SE? Did you have any hiccups?

    CdCooley first implemented a wearable Mr D for the original version of Skyrim as a part of his wonderful INIGO MCM add-on, using the custom jar and dragonfly textures I had already created along with a variation of Chesko's torchbug lantern meshes (cheers Chesko!). When I was approaching the SE release he suggested we include that part of the add-on in the main file and he re-worked it to function without the MCM. This means that players can see Mr D on Inigo's belt by default no matter what platform they're using. In addition to this I added a number of new dialogue options and scripts that allow people to reset aliases, stop scenes, etc manually should anything go wrong. This way Xbox users, who obviously don't have access to console commands, have a way to fix Inigo if something goes awry.

    The wearable Mr D jar meshes were actually the source of the only real bug on release. While I was updating tangent spaces I missed a couple of the jars during conversion. This led to random black squares after certain fast travels, but that was caught by the community very quickly, verified, then fixed within 24 hours. Other than that the pc SE release was fairly smooth. I spent a great deal of time testing before uploading so there wasn't anything major. The Xbox version had a bigger problem though. I don't own a console so I couldn't test before release. Inigo lost all his lip files because the game couldn't read them on that platform. After some frantic searching and a few quick messages to another author (thanks again, robbobert!) it became clear I had to convert all his dialogue from xwm to fuz. This increased the file size but fixed the issue and everything was working properly within 48 hours. Phew!


    How do you take criticism from users? Do you find it useful or frustrating?

    Both. I embrace valid criticism and always do my best to fix things that clearly aren't working, but I go my own way when it comes to more subjective matters. I can't please everyone so I tend to make choices based on what I personally feel is most important. If I incorporated everyone else's ideas of what Inigo should be he'd quickly dissolve into a far less focused and watered down experience.

    I certainly get my fair share of nut jobs, trolls, and entitlement, and every day I spent far too much time quoting information already provided on the mod page and in the user guide video to players who don't pay attention, but all that comes with the territory. Overall Inigo seems to attract a particularly polite and thoughtful audience, and the little community that has formed around him is consistently supportive and helpful to newcomers.

    Seeing my work misrepresented (often with a heavy dose of faux intellectualism) bothers me far more than dealing with insults to be honest. People occasionally post outright falsehoods about Inigo – stating that he's pure whimsy, script heavy, lore breaking, etc. Of course Inigo isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I find it extremely frustrating when people fabricate reasons that don't exists to bash him. Sometimes these ill-conceived opinions snowball and then become fact for others who haven't ever tried him, which in turn leads to more work on the forums explaining why various silly claims are nonsense. All that said, what I deal with is probably nothing compared to a lot of mod authors, and overall the support Inigo gets from players who actually know him far outweighs the hokum.


    Do you worry about mod compatibility when you develop?

    Yes. From a purely practical standpoint it makes sense to attempt to be aware of what else is out there, how it could affect your work, and vice versa. Since so many people use mods which alter companions and add behaviours contradictory to Inigo's character, preventing their access to Inigo, then providing replacement features that better suit him became a priority early on. I try to support features from other mods whenever I can as long as it's something I can accomplish without personally creating patches (that's a bottomless pit). Inigo will comment on a variety of situations that are not possible in an unmodded game – followers on horseback, players not experiencing the vanilla intro, Inigo being invisible, etc. Hopefully these little touches reinforce his believability within whatever custom version of Skyrim a player chooses to play.


    Visiting the Thieves Guild by EmoryDelano

    Before we wrap up, can you give us a little glimpse into what to expect from Version 3.0 of Inigo?

    V3 more than doubles the current amount of content. It contains a lengthy personal quest for Inigo which takes you to new places, introduces you to a variety of new characters, and has several branching outcomes. I've had most of it figured out since V1 so it's wonderful to finally see it start to take shape. It's a massive undertaking and there's still a very long way to go, but it's the conclusion to Inigo's tale I feel he deserves and I hope that his supporters will be satisfied with the final result... if anyone is still playing Skyrim by the time it's finished. The screenshot below shows one of the new area's you'll be visiting.



    If you could offer any advice to our users who want to get into modding what would it be?

    Start small, back up often, have fun, and get stuck in as soon as possible. When you're new to all this it can be tempting to delay taking practical steps until you feel an idea is fully planned out, but this is often a mistake. You're mod will inevitably change in numerous ways once you gain an understanding of the tools and the best way to see if an idea is really working is to test it in game. The sooner you start making mistakes the sooner your work will improve. With Inigo I started by designing his look with only a vague notion of what his character would be. From there I focused on making him a follower and adding a few basic lines. He grew and became more defined as my knowledge of the Creation Kit expanded. I got to know him and what was possible during endless testing sessions. Only then did I start laying out more solid plans for where I wanted to take the character, but I never let planning delay my work on the mod. I knew from experience that if I waited until I thought Inigo was a hundred percent fully formed in my head before beginning I'd either never start, or I'd waste time changing a lot of it along the way when I came to the practical side of things.


    Thank you for chatting with me today it's been great.

    It was my pleasure. Cheers for inviting me to do this, and a massive thank you to all the Inigo supporters out there. Take care and look after Mr Dragonfly.