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  • 08 February 2017

    Staff Picks - 8th February 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    This week, we have all gone back to playing two of the classic Bethesda games, Fallout 4 and Skyrim. SirSalami wants to be able to choose for himself what spells (if any) that he starts his playthrough of Skyrim with, TerrorFox1234 is doing a little bit of spring cleaning around his settlement and has challenged everyone to a 'Power Armor Display Off *', and I have been busy trying to make Diamond City that little bit more attractive and inviting.

    We have two guest picks this week that have both chosen follower mods. They are both cracking companions and if you enjoy company within your game, I strongly advise you check these two out.

    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.

    *Terrorfox1234 hasn't challenged anyone to a 'Display Off', but I really think this should happen...

    SirSalami

    Mod: TrueStart
    Game: Skyrim Special Edition
    Author: Sohothin

    While slinging spells around can certainly be satisfying, I've always found it odd that starting a truly non-magical character is not possible in vanilla Skyrim. No matter your choices, your character will always begin the game with at least 2 spells, healing and flames. Why healing? Why flames? Only the Nine know.

    Though it may seem limiting at first glance, this mod aims to give you more choices regarding magic when starting a new character. With it, your character will initially begin the game without starting spells or skills in any school of magic (though they will retain their racial powers and effects). Conveniently however, the author has provided all the beginner level spell tomes both at Helgen as well as the abandoned prison, for 'Alternate Start' users. So this effectively allows you to choose which school of magic your character will start with, if any.

    What's even better is that these features are modular, allowing you to pick and choose which portions of the mod you'd like to implement, with ease. I'm always in favor of more choices and this mod delivers in spades. Thanks Sohothin!


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Movable Power Armor
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: Kentington

    A convenient and effective mod that I’m a bit surprised wasn’t in the base game. This mod simply allows you to pick up and move Power Armor, just like any other piece of your settlement. I know, I know, perhaps it seems “immersion breaking” to be able to simply lift power armor, but then so is being able to summon whole buildings from thin air and move them about at a whim.

    I saw this mod early on in my Fallout 4 playthrough but didn’t give it much thought. At most, it seemed like a novel idea but nothing game-changing. That was when I was still under the assumption that Power Armor was going to be as rare and precious as it was in previous Fallout iterations. A couple of hundred hours and a heaping pile of Power Armor suits later and there I was, downloading this mod. As if I was going to move each PA one by one by getting into them, walking them to where I wanted, hoping I lined up my stance correctly, getting out, nope not right, get back in, etc.

    No way. I want to play Fallout 4, not Fallout: Power Armor Management Sim.

    Now I can just select one of my Power Armors and move them about as I please. I’ve seen all your fancy P.A. showrooms. I suppose it’s time I build mine!


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Diamond City Expansion
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: statsmakten

    I've always found Diamond City a little underwhelming, lacking somewhat in character and certainly not the bustling metropolis that I pictured for the centre of the Commonwealth. It just seemed so devoid of personality. So this week, I have been looking around at the various mods you can get to spruce up or change Diamond City.

    There are a lot of mods out there that can do just that, adding additional rooms, areas and features into the stadium, but the one that caught my eye was 'Diamond City Expansion' by statsmakten. This mod is fantastic and is only looking to get better, with a clear vision as to where it will eventually be expanded.

    Diamond City Expansion is one of statsmakten's first mods, and the effort and finish is exceptional. Interiors are well thought out and nicely cluttered with plenty of areas in which you can go to admire the work that has been put into the mod. A few people have reported a couple of culling issues, but I have not come across any as of yet.

    With some grand plans for extensions to this mod, I am truly excited to see what comes next. Keep an eye out for statsmakten, I think there are some great things to come.


    (Guest submission)Jonril63

    Mod: Rigmor of Bruma
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: Rigmor

    Jonril says:
    Rigmor of Bruma adds a follower named Rigmor who has an extensive backstory and provides an eighteen part questline that meshes seamlessly with Skyrim's lore. The entire mod is voice acted by several talented people who invoke a full range of emotions from the player during the course of the adventure.

    I love this mod for the high quality craftsmanship put into it from the mod author, the superb voice acting from the voice actors along with the depth of Rigmor's backstory and the fit into Tameriel's lore


    (Guest submission)mordivier2

    Mod: Inigo
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: Smartbluecat

    mordivier2 says:
    The most AWESOME follower mod ever and very complex with so much dialogue it's amazing. Inigo feels like a real person and has commentary for every quest you do. He also has personality and changes based on your player choices and comments about your own individual traits/attributes.

    I simply can't play Skyrim without him. Still waiting for his last update so we can complete his personal quest, but he feels like a friend that you go adventuring with. Smartbluecat is also very responsive to his fans and has been super supportive.


    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!
  • 05 February 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - The Skyblivion Team - Recreating Oblivion in the Skyrim Engine

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    It's truly a love affair when a team sets out to recreate one game, in its entirety, in another game engine. That's most certainly the case for a number of 'The Elder Scrolls Renewal' teams who are recreating Morrowind in the Skyrim engine under the name 'Skywind', and Oblivion in the Skyrim engine under the name 'Skyblivion'.

    These teams want to make sure that newer players get to experience these classic Elder Scrolls games in all their glory with more up to date textures and mechanics. Whilst Skywind is still the bigger project, Skyblivion is fast picking up steam and the team is both hard at work recreating the world of Cyrodiil in the newer engine, and actively recruiting mod authors, coders and texture artists to help complete the project.

    We got to chat to a number of the team to find out how things are progressing, what they are up to and what we can expect from the final release.

    Hey guys, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to have a chat with us. Would you mind introducing yourselves and letting us know what your role is on the project?

    - Rebelzize: Hello Nexus Mods, my name is Kyle or Rebelzize and I manage the PR and recruitment for the project. Furthermore, I manage and help organize the landscaping department, concept department and interior design team.

    - Gorgulla: Hello, My name is Adam or Gorgulla, I’m the lead texture artist for this project and the web developer behind skyblivion.com. I handle the texture department where we are working on enhancing the textures in Skyblivion.

    - Greavesy: Hello, my name is Connor or Greavesy. I mainly focus on the development of the UI, although I help with the other departments now and again. I began with porting clothing and fixing other models for Skyblivion and then went onto the UI after a while as most clothes are now ported.

    - Monocleus: Hello, my name is Alex, I’m lead tech developer for Skyblivion, I started to poke at this project around 2012 and have built most of the tools which we are using right now for building Skyblivion.

    - Aerisarn: Hello, my name is Edoardo, I’m lead Creature developer for Skyblivion, but I actually came from the Skywind project and developed the skills and tools required for this project while I was there.



    So I guess the first question should be, why have you chosen to port Oblivion into the Skyrim engine?

    - Rebelzize: Well the original port was created by our lead developer Zilav a few years back, after the port was perfected and made more stable people slowly started to join the project and tried to help out where they could. I was one of these people in late 2013 and have been with the project since. For me personally, the main reason behind working on the project was for my eternal love of Oblivion. 

    Being able to bring my favorite Elder Scrolls game to a new generation and reintroduce it to older fans like myself is something I am happy to invest a lot of time into. And come on, who doesn't want to run around in an updated Cyrodiil.

    - Gorgulla: There are different reasons behind this, one of them is that the Skyrim engine is more modern than the Oblivion engine, and in 2016 Bethesda released Skyrim Special Edition which improves the engine even further. This makes it possible for us to make a more beautiful game that can handle more resources efficiently. This includes dense landscapes, better lighting, models, and textures.
    Second reason is that many might ignore Oblivion for the reason that it’s getting quite old compared to recent games and Skyrim. This may give many users the chance to try the game.

    - Greavesy: I chose to join this project due to my love with Oblivion. Skyrim was a good game, but Oblivion was the first game I played in the Elder Scrolls franchise and seeing Oblivion back in 2015 on the updated engine was amazing to see so I had to volunteer and put my modding knowledge to good use.

    - Monocleus: When my colleague Zilav started to play with Oblivion as an experiment, I thought it was a really cool idea to try to make it work as I really loved the Oblivion world and felt it could be a really enjoyable experience to play it on a much better engine, besides, I thought of it as an opportunity to challenge my tech skills and learn new things.

    - Aerisarn: I was never actually able to enjoy Oblivion (even if I bought it on day one) due to continued crashes/CTD when I tried to play it. When I heard about Skyblivion project, I thought that it was a perfect testbed for the workflow that I was using to create new creatures for the Skywind project.



    Are you all known under a development studio or are you all just creating this project under the TESRenewal project banner?

    - Rebelzize: We are proudly flying under the TESRenewal banner.

    Do you have an expected release date as yet? Or some idea as to when a publicly playable version will be released?

    - Rebelzize: We refrain from giving out any release dates to avoid disappointing people in the future when we can’t make the deadline we promised. I can tell you that the mod has only been in active development for a little under 2 years and that for the first time we are really starting to see a lot of pieces coming together.

    Would you mind giving us a quick breakdown as to how the project started? Was it quite a low key affair to begin with that has slowly garnered momentum?

    - Rebelzize: It started as a cool idea by our lead developer Zilav who decided to port Oblivion to Skyrim late 2012. At the time it was very buggy and missing big chunks of content but impressive enough to catch the eye of a handful of people in the Elder Scrolls community. Soon after Monocleus joined the project and started creating more tools that allowed us to more accurately rebuild the world of Cyrodiil in its new shiny engine. This process would take another 2 years before we had a stable base game we could really work with.

    2015 is where the mod first started picking up a little speed and after the release of 2 more teaser trailers in 2016 we finally had a decent developer team backing the project. Currently, we are making more progress every day and with multiple departments working at the same time, we can now see the end of what has been a long and bumpy ride.

    You’re having to create every asset afresh, how do you keep track of everything that is being worked on, what has been completed and what you have left to do?

    - Rebelzize: Well unlike Skywind we aren’t recreating EVERY single asset, there are two reasons for this. 1. We don’t have the amount of 3D artists that Skywind has (by far) and 2. Unlike Morrowind, some of Oblivions assets hold up fairly well, and every asset that we re-use (after slightly improving it) saves us a lot of time.



    Flora has technically been completed but we are still adding onto and enhancing our current flora assets because we aren’t 100% happy with the quality and diversity yet. Other than that we have partially finished some of the weapon sets, certain pieces of architecture (castle walls), tools, clothing and miscellaneous assets like beds and potions. With the few 3D artists we currently have, I think that we have, here and there, finished almost one of every type of asset that you can come across in the mod.  



    - Gorgulla: At the moment there aren't many texture artists active in this project. The current structure we have isn't optimal, but I’m going to improve the file management service further on our server where it will be easier for our devs to find, change and upload assets.

    - Monocleus: What is important to understand here is that this project didn't get much love up until recent times, and as such, most of the work around it was mostly playing with what we had already. Basically, the idea is that we try to set stuff to run in-game, and then we replace things which we already started due to more and more talented people joining our ranks.

    How many people do you have working on the project at the moment?

    - Rebelzize: At the moment we have 20 active developers (myself included) and 2 concept artists.

    What are some of the challenges when it comes to organising such a large community project and how have you managed to overcome them so far?

    - Rebelzize: Since I have the most experience with this I could write a book about all the issues and difficulties community driven projects like these face, but for the sake of the article I will keep it short and sweet.

    The biggest issues for a project of this scope is the fact that you are working with people from all over the world, this means I have to deal with multiple time zones. During the weekend, for instance, I tend to sleep in, so I stay up late to discuss landscaping with a mostly American landscaping team. The timezones are nuanced but not the biggest issue for a project this scale. The biggest issue is the fact that we work on this project in our (sometimes) limited free time, we all have lives, a job, a family, education and this often leads to the temporary or permanent disappearance of project members. Because we don't have everyone's home cell/personal address there isn’t much we can do about this besides messaging them on various forums and social media in the hope they reply. Most of the time this doesn’t happen and we lose days, weeks and sometimes months of work. 



    How do you all communicate and keep abreast of everything that is going on?

    - Rebelzize: In the past, we used our forums to communicate but since the launch of Discord we have moved our interactions there, so far it has resulted in the project picking up a lot of speed because of the simple fact that we are now able to communicate much easier and even voice chat if needed.

    What would you all say is the hardest part of your roles within the project?

    - Rebelzize: Hardest part for me is keeping my department's organized and deciding/discussing what artistic visions fits the different regions of Cyrodiil, but since I'm weird and I enjoy doing that I'm going to say rejecting people's applications to help out with the project. I’m a nice guy so when you have to tell someone they aren’t skilled enough at the moment to help us out I always feel a little bad, especially when they fight me on the decision.

    - Gorgulla: The hardest would be the difference in techniques and styles that we have, We do have good communication and we give each other tips and tricks on how to do something better and more efficiently. In the end, we just want to have the best quality that we can achieve together.

    - Greavesy: When I started to learn the UI and how it was made for Skyrim it was difficult and now after a few months it’s gradually gotten easier with the knowledge I’ve gained. Another difficulty we have to face is that our artists in this department have different styles, so we have to find a design we all like and can all work with.

    - Monocleus: There are two main things we’re struggling with in terms of the tech department. First, actually tidying tools we’re using and making sure they click with each other so that actually working with them isn’t too painful. This partly connects to number two - most of the tech things in this project were done by 2-3 people, and now that we have recruited more talented engineers to help us out we need to make sure that everyone can work on the tech challenges we have and feel comfortable doing so. That involves knowledge sharing, tools setup, workflow organization, etc.

    - Aerisarn: Mainly the diversity of the tools to be used. In about a year of developing, I had to use more than 10 tools in about 5 different coding languages and face issues not only with community-developed tools that were malfunctioning due to poor community development but also bugs and inconsistencies in commercial products. Of course, that goes along with the difficulty in recruitment and training of new volunteers



    Character progression is handled differently in Oblivion, possibly preventing a direct translation of that mechanic into Skyrim. What can we expect?

    - Rebelzize: Well our aim is to not only recreate the world of Tamriel but also the true Oblivion experience, in order to achieve this we plan on bringing back as many mechanics we know and love from Oblivion. Most of these are still in a very experimental phase and others nothing more than a thought at this point. For instance one of my favorite features of Oblivion was the ability to quick cast spells, this was perfect for me since my favorite playstyle since Morrowind was that of a spell sword (who preferably wields a shield too). We don't have anything implemented to bring this mechanic back but one of our tech wizards has assured me that he already has a good idea on how to re-implement this mechanic in Skyrim.

    At the end of the day we will try our best to bring back as many mechanics and features from Oblivion as we can but whether or not they will make it into the final mod depends on how well we can implement them (nobody likes a broken mess).

    Oblivion is well known to have a lot of characters, but only 13 voice actors, leading to some amusing conversations where an NPC’s voice will change half way through. Is this something you are fixing within Skyblivion?

    - Rebelzize: As much as we would love to re-record every line of dialogue by talented voice actors at this point in time that doesn't seem like something we are able to do. For the time being, we can manually fix broken voice acting lines where possible.

    Jeremy Soule’s original Oblivion soundtrack is one of the best OST’s of all time, what are you doing for the music in Skyblivion?

    - Rebelzize: We are using Mr Soule’s original soundtrack, and on top of that are adding new pieces inspired by his work. At the moment we don't have anything that's in a finalized state yet but with the likes of Fredrik Jonnason I believe we are in good hands.

    If you want to take a listen to his work, please take a look at Skywinds Soundtrack Example: https://soundcloud.com/fredrik-jonasson/wayfarer

    You’re currently porting it to the original Skyrim, do you have plans on also releasing for the Special Edition version?

    - Rebelzize: There are certainly plans and if everything goes as smoothly as we hope upon release, Skyblivion should be supported for both versions of the game.

    - Aerisarn: We don’t have tight plans, but we’re looking into it. Bethesda had to do some changes and we couldn’t resist looking at them, so I think the core team will attempt a port in the future. Right now we’re focused on plain old Skyrim development

    Have you had any copyright issues? For example, creating all of the Oblivion books?

    - Gorgulla: We avoid using any type of samples online as we are very strict about no assets being used from anywhere other what’s made in our team. Texture wise we make different patterns for our team to use and recreate. As for books, they are ported from Oblivion and remade with enhanced paper textures and covers such as a leather texture for example.

    How about the text that goes into each book? Are you recreating that from the original books within Oblivion?

    - Gorgulla: All the books that exist in Oblivion will also exist in Skyblivion with all of its content. The text itself is ported from the old oblivion.esm into the new ESM that exists in Skyblivion, therefore making sure that every single line is included.

    Has there been any contact with Bethesda at all?

    - Rebelzize: Some time ago Matt Grandstaff (Bethesda Global Community Lead) joined our forums, he told us that as long as we are using assets from their game, we aren't allowed to post anything regarding our projects in their official forums. He also mentioned that if we plan on replacing existing meshes and are currently using non-replaced meshes as placeholders it would leave more room for us to discuss the legality of the project.

    Essentially we are allowed to work and distribute the mod but as long as the above is still an issue we can't be endorsed by Bethesda. Now to show some goodwill on our side, the installer included with Skyblivion will check if you have a legitimate copy of Oblivion installed on your PC, this is a hard requirement, without it the mod won’t be installed.

    On top of that, our (ambitious) aim is to remake and enhance all the assets that we have currently ported from Oblivion. Hopefully, this will be enough to get the approval we need from Bethesda.



    Is there a lot of crossover between renewal teams? Is there any sense of competition?

    - Rebelzize: We have a few people who work on both projects like Mangaclub, aerisarn and myself. As TESRenewal’s smallest project, we get made fun of a little from time to time, this is usually directed at me since I also do the PR for Skywind and I like to boast and talk about Skyblivion a lot in our Skywind chat room. All in good fun though.

    - Monocleus: I wouldn’t say we do compete against each other, as we’re in different situations and besides, we have respect for each other team’s work. Also, some of us sometimes help with some tasks for Skywind, too.

    - Aerisarn: A bit of crossover, and, in my opinion, no competition at all; I’d say collaboration, mainly in the tech to be used and in developing skills for the tasks to be done by both the teams.

    How many hours do you think have gone into the project so far?

    - Rebelzize: I’ve been with TESRenewal (at the time Morroblivion) since early 2013 but in all honesty I don’t want to know.

    I go through my email and YouTube videos every single day to answer questions about the project which usually takes me about an hour. On top of that I spend at least 2 hours discussing ideas and visions of the project with other members, this alone costs about 3+ hours every day. In the end its all for a good cause and there is no better feeling in the world then seeing the time I have put into the project pay off.

    - Gorgulla: It’s hard to say how many hours. Some days I can spend more than 5 hours a day while still having a job working for 8 hours. Personally I don't mind the time, I enjoy being part of the project and I like seeing results.

    - Greavesy: Like Gorgulla said, it’s hard to say how many hours in total but on Steam i’ve clocked 96 hours using the Creation Kit and 200 hours testing what I have currently created. I guess that gives you an idea on how long i’ve spent.

    - Monocleus: From my side, I recently had counted to five months assuming full time job, so around 800-900 hours.

    - Aerisarn: I’m afraid to count them, actually, but my work is focused on tools and tech so these hours are split between all the Tesrenewal projects.

    We have a huge community of mod authors within Nexus Mods, is there anything that we can do to contribute to the project?

    - Rebelzize: YES! Most of our recruits come from Nexus Mods, like ClefJ, AceeQ, Mangaclub and many others. Hopefully a few more mod creators will be interested enough to volunteer to help out with the project after reading this article.

    So you’re looking for some more people to help you with the project, please give us a few more details and let us know a bit more about what’s required. I’m sure there will be some people within the community that would love to help.

    - Rebelzize: We are currently still looking for landscapers, interior/lighting artists, texture artists, CK experts who could help with mechanics like spellcrafting, and 3D artists who can work on misc objects, armors, weapons, environmental assets or architecture.

    If you fit this general Description or think you can help in any other way please fill out this volunteer form: https://discord.gg/ZYmpMkt

    We will get back to you through Discord as soon as possible (might take up to a week depending on the amount of new volunteers)

    - Gorgulla: We are looking for texture artists that can help with:

    • Creatures such as the skeletons and ogres. 
    • Clutter such as furniture.
    • Flora such as grass and trees.
    • Clothing, clouds and water.

    - Monocleus: We’re also looking for talented engineers who can help with our tools. Language wise, we’re writing C++, Python and PHP here. We especially need people who have background in data parsing, compilers and advanced reverse engineering.

    - Aerisarn: Some Animators to refine Oblivion creatures would be nice. While Oblivion could live with about 6-8 animations per creature walking cycle, Skyrim has a median of about 10-12, greatly improving the feeling of smoothness.

    Well, thank you all very much for your time. It’s most appreciated, especially considering how busy you all are! Before we go, is there anything that you would like to say to the community over here at Nexus Mods?

    - Gorgulla: Thank you all for reading this. We appreciate all input we can get and make sure to join us on our public discord to chat with us. I would also like to thank Nexus Mods for their fantastic community and staff.

    - Rebelzize: I would like to personally thank everyone at Nexus Mods for giving modders and mod users a platform to share and use other people's creations.

    On top of that I would like to give a little shoutout to some of my favorite mod makers: Gopher, Vurt, hothtrooper44, Arthmoor, Sheson, Chesko, Brumbek, jjc71, anamorfus, isoku, Shurah, ModernStoryteller, AlexanderJVelicky, essenthy, Elianora, KINGPIX, Vorians, QuarnAndKivan, DarN, nuska. On the off chance that any of you end up reading this I want to say thank you for enriching our gameplay environments for the better. This last part goes to all mod makers as you are the reason games like Skyrim, Oblivion and Morrowind are still alive and kicking after so many years.

    - Monocleus: I’d like to thank everyone involved in the modding community - modders and players alike - who truly bring life to the TES world and hope it will stay like this for as long as possible. You guys rock!

  • 01 February 2017

    Staff Picks - 01 Feb 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    This week we have again taken a peek at the mods that are out there and (hopefully) come up with some real crackers for you to check out. TerrorFox1234 has found a great mod collection that is all wrapped up into one nicely bundled 'utility' mod, SirSalami has found some new ways to spend his time in New Vegas, and I have found a mod that was produced following the AMA session I had with Elianora.

    We've had an anonymous submission that I checked out and really liked, their selection is a total redesign of Sanctuary from Fallout 4 that adds many new buildings, fixes the bridge and also changes the road layout - be sure to check it out.

    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: Take Your Time
    Game: Fallout New Vegas
    Author: ClockworkManatee

    Bartering, crafting, hacking, lockpicking, reading, repairing, and weapon modding: these are specialized skills that should take time to properly perform. That's why I always roll my eyes a little when my character can seemingly repair a rifle in literally, no time at all. This mod seeks to rectify that.

    Elegantly fading to black when you initiate an appropriate action, the mod will then calculate how much 'time' will be spent on the task based on your character's expertise before returning control to you. Though this happens very quickly for the player, the time that passes will affect your character and the world accordingly, making performing these tasks a meaningful commitment rather than a simple chore.

    Fully configurable via MCM, this mod is an excellent addition for immersion seekers and survivalists alike.


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Utopium's Utility Pack
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: Utopium

    Utopium has slowly been taking over a small section of my plugin list. He creates simple yet effective mods that are hard to live without once you get used to them. I was more than pleased to learn that he has packed up most of his little knick-knacks into one plugin.

    Since this is merge of multiple mods, I’ll just give a quick description of each. Be sure to check out each individual mod’s page to get more details!

    Utopium’s Utility Pack includes:

    • Better Free Camera - This is a MCM allowing for fine control of free camera settings, HUD settings, FOV settings, and Time Multiplier settings.
    • Camera Scripter - This is an API and MCM for creating custom camera automations. I haven’t actually made use of this, but it seems like a great way to make a trailer for an upcoming mod.
    • Don’t Push Me While I'm Talking - This mod is a simple SKSE plugin that toggles clipping mode for your character when locked into dialogue with NPCs. This prevents other NPCs from pushing you around.
    • Get Over Here - Another MCM. This one allows you to set hotkeys for moving NPCs around. Great for getting rogue townsfolk unstuck or moving your companion back to your side.
    • Horsing Around - This mod allows you to zoom in on your character a bit closer while riding on horseback. It also disables the forced perspective change when drawing and sheathing your weapon.
    • Let Me Pass - This mod allows you to move NPCs out of the way without the need to equip a spell or item. Simply push against the NPC for a few seconds and they will teleport out of the way.
    • Notification Log - This mod logs all of the notifications that pop up so you don’t have to worry about accidentally missing something. The log is accessed via the MCM.
    • Put On Some Clothes - This is a quick fix for those occasional conflicts that wind up with an NPC walking about naked. Some settings are configurable via an MCM.
    • Quick Deposit - This one allows you to set a hotkey that, when pressed while looking at a container, brings up a selection menu with various options for depositing specific types of items. This on is high configurable via an MCM.

    I will also mention Continue Game No Crash which not everyone may want. You can read up on this one and decide for yourself as there’s no way to quickly give an explanation. That being said, there are two versions of Utopium’s Utility Pack available for download; one with CGNC included and one without.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: No More Radio Station Notifications - NMRSN
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: KernelsEgg

    Some of you may have heard the AMA (Ask Me Anything) that we held recently with Elianora. It was a great evening full of insight, great questions and interaction within the community. There were many questions asked about modding, but one that jumped out at our member 'KernalsEgg' was "What mod would you most like to see created for Fallout 4?"

    Eli mentioned that the one thing that frustrates her in Fallout 4, more than anything else, is the constant pop-ups that occur when you come into (and leave) the range of one of the many radio stations. Well, this mod does exactly what it says in the title and removes the intrusive text for your UI.

    Did it get Eli's seal of approval?

    "MY f***ing ETERNAL GRATITUDE FOR YOU DEAR SIR/MADAM." - Elianora

    I guess that's a yes.


    (Guest submission)Anonymous

    Mod: Sanctuary Lives Again
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: greekrage

    Sanctuary Lives Again is a ground-up overhaul of, well, Sanctuary. SLA contains many new buildings such as a police station, bank, church, cemetery, schoolhouse, hotel and many more. The road has been re-routed so instead of ending in a cul-de-sac it now circles around back to the newly designed bridge. Several buildings are designated for a specific profession, such as medical, food, weapons, etc.

    The level of detail is simply excellent. From the fish stands to the interior detail of each building, is well thought-out though there is more than ample room for anyone to let their creative juices flow to add or modify according to their taste. I personally like the fact the mod author has left several spaces empty to do with as I please. The balance between residential and commercial areas is excellent. Neither are overbearing over the other. This mod gives me a warm feeling as if I am truly coming home after 200 years in cold storage.

    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!
  • 30 January 2017

    Nexus Mods On Social Media

    Greetings everyone,

    I’m Jim, and I was recently hired by Nexus Mods to head up community development and public relations. I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the community development side of things, what that actually means, and how you can help us. Specifically, I will be focusing on our social media platforms and how they play into community development.

    What is community development?
    I suppose, before diving in, it would make sense to explain what that role actually means. In short, it means bringing more authors and their mods to Nexus Mods, attracting more users, chatting with game developers about using Nexus Mods as a primary hosting platform for their modding community, and anything else that will help the site grow. Part of this is handled through direct contact with these people via emails and forum messages. The other part of it happens through social media and events.

    How does Nexus Mods use social media?
    When I’m not in direct contact with authors and developers I’m on Facebook and Twitter, putting out a steady stream of what’s new on Nexus Mods. Right now that comes in the form of the latest mod releases, site features, and any other news relevant to the community. Over time I plan on expanding this to include some other routine site updates. Updates such as a monthly round up of new games that have been added to Nexus Mods and File of the Month winner announcements. We've also been discussing running the occasional big event, such as game key giveaways or contests.

    If you’d like a steady source of what’s new on Nexus Mods, then following our social media platforms is the best way to get it. The site news is reserved for site features (such as Staff Picks or Sunday Discussion interviews) and major site news (such as the redesign announcement or our 2016 Year In Review article). It wouldn’t make sense to clog up the site news with multiple small articles throughout the day as the major site news and site features would get buried. So we are using social media for all that interesting stuff that doesn’t warrant a full news article on the site.

    Why does social media matter?
    Well, I’ve explained why it might matter to you (if you are someone who is interested in keeping up with the day to day Nexus Mods happenings). Why does social media matter to us at Nexus Mods though? Well for starters it’s another avenue for us to directly interact with our members. Whether it be helping an author by promoting their mod or pointing a user in the right direction, I’m always around; looking for new content to put out and responding to user questions and feedback.

    Beyond that, social media carries a broader value, that may not be as obvious. That value comes in the form of leverage. Having a massive social media following can be used as a bargaining chip when talking with game developers and other companies about doing cross-promotion events, or when talking to a developer about why Nexus Mods would be a good choice for their modding community.

    When I approach a game developer about a cross-promotion event, in which we use social media to give away game keys, and they see a site with 12 million members and a massive social media following, they are far more likely to want to participate than they would be if they just saw a site with 12 million members and no social media presence.

    The reasoning behind this is that social media has a much broader reach, which leads to a greater ability to generate buzz and bring people in. Game developers and software/hardware companies are going to be more willing to collaborate if they can reach a broader audience and attract more people. For the same reasons, we could use our social media accounts to persuade companies to provide prizes for contests.

    These are things we simply can’t do through the site alone.

    What’s your point, Jim?
    This part should be clear by now. If you want to be updated regularly on the latest from Nexus Mods, social media is the place for it. If you think contests and giveaways sound cool, come show your support so we can make those happen. Most importantly, if you want to support us as we nurture the continued growth and development of this community, helping us expand our social media following is a great way to do that.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope to see you over there!

  • 30 January 2017

    Witanlore: Dreamtime Giveaway



    We’ve been discussing running a social media giveaway, and what better way to start than with a game developed by some of Nexus Mods’ own community members?

    The game “Witanlore: Dreamtime”, by Druid Gameworks just entered Early Access on Steam. To help them celebrate this milestone, they’ve given us 20 copies of the game to give away!  

    Even if you aren’t familiar with Druid Gameworks, you may be familiar with some of their team members, such as Darkryder, Zaldir, or Arthmoor. You can read more about their studio, and the development of "Witanlore: Dreamtime", in our Sunday Discussion interview with them from back in November.

    All you need to do for a chance to win, is the following:

    1. Go to our Twitter and/or Facebook pages.
    2. Give us a follow/like. 
    3. Retweet and/or share our posts about the giveaway over the next week.

    Next Monday we will announce the 20 winners!

    Good luck to everyone!
  • 29 January 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - TheModernStoryteller - creator of "The Forgotten City"

    It seems as though games are never taken as seriously as other media forms such as movies, television series, music or even books. To many people we simply play a game, a game created without any thought towards a story, the lore or even the characters. We, as gamers, know that not to be true. 

    However, last year something incredible happened and a mod called "The Forgotten City" won the national Writers Guild award for its script. Proving, at last, that what we create is something that can hold its own against other mainstream media.

    Today I'm pleased to give you the Sunday discussion with the author and creator of "The Forgotten City", please give a warm Nexus Mods welcome to Nick Pearce.

    Hi TheModernStoryteller, thank you for talking to me today. To begin with please may you let us know a little bit about you?

    My name’s Nick Pearce, and I live in Melbourne, Australia. Up until recently, I was working as a legal and strategy advisor for a multi-billion dollar tech company, and modding in my spare time. I released my first mod, The Forgotten City, in late 2015, and it changed my life. I discovered my passion for game development, and the reception was beyond anything I ever imagined: it’s been downloaded over 900,000 times, repeatedly covered by the likes of PC Gamer, Kotaku, GamesRadar, IGN, and won a bunch of awards including an Australian Writers’ Guild Award.

    As a result, I decided to take a break from my legal career, and right now I’m making a beautiful, gripping and intelligent story-driven game with Unreal Engine 4, which should appeal to anyone who enjoyed The Forgotten City. I’m hoping to announce it in the first half of 2017, so if you’d like news and updates, please connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube or subscribe to my mailing list.

    It’s great to see mod authors and creators going the route of their own games, are there any out there that have inspired you to go down this route?

    Thanks! Making the leap from modder to game developer was a huge decision, and I considered a lot of factors, including the precedent set by the developers of Dear Esther and The Stanley Parable, who blazed the trail. I’m going down a slightly different path, in that I’m not re-creating The Forgotten City; I think that might have been disappointing for those who’ve already played it. My new game is a leap forward; it’s grander in scope and much prettier, and free from the constraints of third-party IP. But I’m incorporating all the lessons I learnt from making The Forgotten City, and watching hundreds of people play it via Youtube!



    You mentioned that you are going to use the Unreal Engine 4, do you have any previous experience with this engine or are you going to be learning from scratch?

    I’ve been quietly teaching myself Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) for about a year now. My modding experience really helped; I taught myself the Creation Kit pretty quickly (The Forgotten City was my first attempt at a mod) and that experience equipped me with an understanding of how game engines work generally, and confidence that I could easily skill up in a new engine. I also have some very talented local UE4 developers on my team.

    Going back a bit, do you mind me asking at what age you began gaming and what system it was on?

    I played my first PC game - Snake - at about 6. I was hooked.

    Did you have a favourite game back then? What game stirs up some of your best memories?

    The first game I bought was The Secret of Monkey Island (1990). I’ve since replayed the Special Edition and after 27 years or so, and it’s a masterpiece, albeit a flawed one. It’s a delightfully funny, wacky adventure full of memorable characters and puzzles.

    How about any of the other Tim Schafer point 'n' click adventures such as ‘Day of the Tentacle’ or ‘Full Throttle’, did you get to play them as well?

    I loved Full Throttle too, particularly Ben’s (the protagonist’s) unique take on problem-solving; coming across a locked door and being able to just kick it down was very satisfying!

    Apart from gaming, do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy?

    Spending time with my wife, playing with my dog, collecting liquor, writing.

    Your mod ‘The Forgotten City’ has over 125,000 unique downloads and has seen critical acclaim, winning the Australian Writers Guild award for its script (the first for a game) - did you ever dream it was going to be as big, or well received as it was?

    I had very modest expectations. My target was 283 downloads; I figured I’d put 1700 hours into it, so if 283 people played it for 6 hours each, that would be a work to entertainment ratio of 1:1, and I could call that a win. Since then it’s had over 900,000 downloads altogether, counting the Nexus (both original and Special Edition versions), Steam Workshop, Bethesda.net and ModDB. It’s hard to comprehend numbers like that.



    283 downloads was your target, well safe to say you smashed that figure. How long did it take you to write?

    The entire project took over 1700 hours, over a period of 3 years.

    Wow, that is some huge undertaking, would you mind giving our community a breakdown of the process from initial idea through to first release?

    I was inspired by Vault 13 in Fallout: New Vegas (among other things), a ruined vault in which the player slowly uncovers the haunting story of the people who lived there and some dark truths about human nature. The story left me with chills. It inspired me to tell my own story about the human condition.

    I started with a one-page design document, then built the setting: an underground Dwarven city in a state of ruin. Then I thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go back in time?”. So next I built the time travel gameplay mechanic, and re-created the city in alternative timelines, decorating it with lighting, flora, and characters.

    Over the next 3 years I worked on it whenever I had spare time, learning as I went, and my design document grew to 100 pages.

    When it was almost done, I put out a teaser trailer I hacked together, which got picked up by Kotaku and PC Gamer, and prompted the brilliant orchestral composer Trent Moriarty to contact me out of the blue, offering to compose an original score. Easiest decision I ever made.

    The crunch before release was brutal - I worked extremely long hours for about 3 months - and I released it on 3 October 2015.

    How many voice actors did you involve in sound recording?

    I had help from 18 wonderful voice actors (chosen from over 100 auditions). They’re all really talented and lovely people, and I keep in touch with them via a Facebook group. I strongly encourage anyone making a big, high-quality mod to get in contact with them via contact details on the Nexus mod page, or here.

    Your username now seems incredibly apt, have you always been interested in storytelling?

    Thanks, and yes I’ve been into writing for a while. I’m half way through a novel, which I know is a bit of a cliche, but my excuse is that I’ve been busy with game projects! Also, several years ago I founded a writer’s group, where a bunch of local novelists would get together regularly and workshop their writing, and facilitated it for about 7 years.



    Sounds like you have your hands busy, are you able to tell us anything about the novel or is it under wraps at the moment?

    I’m not talking about my novel just yet... :-)

    Speaking of novels and literature, do you have any favourite genres or authors?

    I really enjoy science fiction (eg. Philip K. Dick) and fantasy (eg. George R Martin), as well as dark and heady classic lit (eg. Fyodor Dostoyevsky). My own style is heavily influenced by those genres: I like to use fantastical “what if” premises to explore serious and dark questions about human nature.

    Do you currently write for anyone?

    I sure do! I’m currently employed as a writer by the Australian Government to write a new RPG for young adults. I’m also working on my own game project.

    Going back to ‘The Forgotten City’, seeing as how popular it is, do you have any plans for either future expansions or a different mod entirely?

    Making mods is an incredibly time-consuming pursuit, and time has a monetary value. Making The Forgotten City took me over 1,700 hours, which is worth over $100,000 of my time - not to mention the contributions of the 18 skilled voice actors and the talented composer who were involved. That’s an awful lot of time/money to give away for free (again), particularly when there’s a potentially lucrative market for comparable games. If “paid mods” had worked out differently, I might have been able to make a living by developing high-quality DLC-style mods like The Forgotten City. But things didn’t work out that way, and with no hard feelings, I need to move on - that’s one of the many reasons why I’m making a new game with Unreal Engine 4.

    Do you get a lot of feedback from the community? The positive must be great, but how do you deal with the negative?

    Yes, the positive feedback is great, and there are a lot of appreciative, thoughtful people on the Nexus. Aside from those people, I’ve found the reaction to be pretty amusing. To illustrate, I’ll use a simple analogy: Imagine modding is like driving around in an ice cream van in the summer, handing out free ice creams to people. In my experience:
    • 0.001% of people toss you a few bucks for your trouble
    • 4% of people thank you for the ice cream
    • 95% of people take the ice cream without a word
    • 0.999% of people take the ice cream, drop it on the ground, blame you, then spray-paint “kiddie fiddler” on the side of your van.

    I deal with the negative (non-constructive) posts by simply deleting them without responding. It’s the only sensible thing to do. As the venerable George Carlin once said “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”



    Did you get outside help from other mod authors for ‘The Forgotten City’?

    Nope. It was a solo project.

    So you create every aspect of the mod yourself, you must have had to learn an awful lot of new skills. Where did you find was the best place to get help or look for answers to questions that arose?

    Yes, I had to teach myself how to design levels, write scripts, re-texture models, troubleshoot, create NPCs and assign behaviour, write non-linear dialogue, cast and direct voice actors, master audio, and record and edit trailers, among other things. When I started, I had none of those skills, and just resolved to pick them up along the way. I got stuck plenty of times, and sometimes googling my question led me to a helpful forum, but mostly I just had to work it out for myself through trial and error and countless hours of determined troubleshooting.

    Are there any mod authors to whom you look up to and respect?

    I found the work of Someguy2000, particularly New Vegas Bounties for Fallout: New Vegas, to be very inspiring. It was a revelation to me that mods could be on par with an original game.

    If you could give any advice to aspiring mod authors what would it be?

    The best thing about modding is that you’re able to take creative risks that commercial game developers simply cannot. Make whatever you want - not what you think a mass audience will like. I took an action RPG about killing dragons and zombies and modded it into a thoughtful murder mystery with virtually no combat. In other words, I made the game I wanted to play, and it turns out a lot of people wanted to play that too.

    Thank you very much for talking to me today, we wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
  • 25 January 2017

    Staff Picks - 25 Jan 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    We have some fun ones for you this week, taking into account the comments that we received last week we've dug deep and struck some real gems. SirSalami has come across some toy soldiers, TerrorFox1234 is trying his best to blend in, and I've been smashing in doors and having a real blast.

    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

    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: ColloseusX's Toy Soldiers
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: ColloseusX

    Here's a silly one. This mod adds a set of unique tools to be found outside of Sanctuary that will allow you to spawn miniature minions, simply with the pull of a trigger. Tiny soldiers, synths, aliens, super-mutants, and even deathclaws will all arrive at 1/10th their normal size. These adorable little guys are no less aggressive than their larger counterparts, leading to some pint-sized yet epic battles that are a joy to watch unfold. So grab a bottle of Nuka-cola, spawn a few (or a few dozen) of these little guys, sit back, and watch the fireworks!

    I certainly had a good time with this one. As the name suggests, you really do get a feeling like you're playing with toy soldiers that have sprung to life. Just be sure to back-up your save first as these types of shenanigans could possibly affect the stability of your game.


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Camo Index UI Display
    Game: Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain
    Author: CantStoptheBipBop

    I’ve been a long-time fan of the Metal Gear series (we’re pretending that Metal Gear Rising never happened). My favorite game in the series, by far, is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Along with the beautiful level design and interesting characters, it has some of the best stealth gameplay and mechanics ever. One major improvement that MGS3 brought to the table was the Camo Index, which allowed you to monitor your camo rating in real-time. This was based on your position (standing/kneeling/prone), which suit you were wearing (compared to the environment), line-of-sight, and other factors. Combined with the ability to switch your suit at any time, this made for incredible stealth play as you adapted to your environment.

    Of course MGS4 brought about the OctoCamo, which acted more like a chameleon’s skin. Press up against a wall, tap a button, and watch the suit change to match the pattern. While this was really effing cool, for some reason it wasn’t as memorable to me. Perhaps because it didn’t require much thinking, whereas in MGS3 you were constantly watching your camo index and considering which suit would work best for certain situations.

    In MGS:TPP the OctoCamo was done away with, and the Camo Index returned. It works pretty much identically to MGS3 with two drawbacks. You can’t switch camo instantly (you need to call in an airdrop and wait for it) and the Camo Index is buried in your iDroid, meaning you need to pause the game and navigate through menus to see what your rating is. This mod fixes the latter. While you still may need to deal with the annoyance of waiting for your new suit to drop in, at least you can keep an eye on your Camo Index as you move through a mission (which is still calculated based on your positioning, lighting, sound, line-of-sight, etc).


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Splinterz - Breakable Wooden Doors
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: UlithiumDragon

    "Those pesky-half rotten wooden doors are no longer made out of adamantium and can now be shattered like the soggy toilet paper that they should behave like!" - UlithiumDragon

    It's so true... there is something to be said when you walk up to a door that has seen a nuclear fallout, 200 years of weathering, storms and multiple mutant/ghoul attacks and it is still totally impervious to any of your weapons. Yes you can take on deathclaws, behemoths and an army of ghouls; but a simple door has you beaten.

    Well, thanks to UlithiumDragon that is no longer the case. Now you can take out all your frustration on those pesky wooden barriers, entering properties like something out of an 80's Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.


    (Guest submission)Everlive

    Mod: Loot and Degradation
    Game: Skyrim
    Author: isoku

    Loot and Degradation brings back Oblivion's item durability and repair hammers while also utilizing Skyrim's crafting and tempering systems.
    Weapons, shields and armour will now lose durability with use and eventually break. It is very customizable and allows you to decide if items really do break and disappear, if you get scraps from them, if items have to be under "fine" temperment before breaking, if NPCs and followers also have breakable item, and more. The mod also modifies the loot system to add in items that could already have a level of temperment to them.

    I like this mod because it adds not only a new level of immersion, but also a real reason to have a back up weapon, armour and clothing underneath your armour. A new level of management so even the best of items have a weak point if you don't manage it.



    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!
  • 22 January 2017

    The Sunday Discussion - Gambit77 - Author of the Armorsmith and Weaponsmith Extended mods

    Hi everyone, welcome to another 'Sunday Discussion'. Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure to talk to a number of people from all over the modding community and the reception has been great.

    Today I bring you Gambit77, author of the hugely popular 'Weaponsmith Extended' and 'Armorsmith Extended'. He talks to us about his favourite 'things', his friends down the street, his history of gaming and what he has lined up in the future. Gambit77 is just a really fun person to chat to...  enjoy!

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for the time you are giving up to speak to me, it’s most appreciated, would you mind letting us know a little bit about you?

    I like Twizzlers, I like the Alligator Bob, and my favorite drama movie is Bloodsucking Freaks, just like your mama. I’ve got Kudos for the first person to get that reference. I am a monk/artist/activist/DJ/music producer/audio engineer/network engineer/gamer/hip-hop hippie.
    My top eleven list of MCs in no particular order is Mos Def, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, Mr.Lif, Immortal Technique, Posdnuos, Gift of Gab, Guru, J-Live, Brother Ali and Homeboy Sandman.
    My two favorite bands to see play live are Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Sound Tribe Sector 9.
    My favorite movie is Bladerunner.
    My favorite series of novels is Robert Jordan’s Wheel Of Time.
    My favorite cuisine is Thai.
    My favorite superheroes are the X-Men.
    Comedy is what keeps me sane in this crazy world, and my favorite comedians are Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, and Bill Hicks.



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

    The first game I ever played was Donkey Kong on arcade. Lance (a kid on the next street over) had it in his garage, next door to him Seth and Lee had a Colecovision. Eddie (down my street) had a Commodore 64. The first gaming system that I owned was an Atari 7800. After that I had a Nintendo (favorite games were Baseball Stars and Final Fantasy), Sega Genesis, Playstation, Playstation 2 (favorite games were Tekken 4 and Twisted Metal 2), Xbox 360 (favorite games were Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Skyrim), and now I’m a PC gamer. So I was in the position to get to see the history of video gaming from the very start, which I can say along with the other amazing technological advances of this day and age have been what I find most interesting this lifetime.


    Your gaming history is pretty vast and varied then. So, 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?

    My hands down favorites have been the ‘Fallout’ series since Fallout 3. Just on a game design level, I consider them to be the gold standards for their time. My favorite aspects are the open world, “doowhatyoulike” concept and the engrossing stories. I also think on a psychological level that they’re really important. For so long now humanity has been living on the verge of destroying itself, that I think humanity, on the whole, has become desensitized to the fact that everything could be destroyed in a matter of minutes. I think the theme of the Fallout games is a timely reminder of what the stakes are in the game of life, and I hope that reminder influences enough people to act in ways that continue to prevent our demise at our own hands.


    What first attracted you to begin modding? Did you have any previous experience?

    Well, I tried on my last computer to mod TES Oblivion, after playing it on Xbox360. I came across a site like STEP, and I followed it and tried jumping in full steam, but it didn’t turn out too well. Either from jumping in too far, too fast, or my computer just not being up to the task. It just didn’t turn out well, tons of crashing and what not, so I only got a brief glimpse of the greatness that is modding.

    After playing Skyrim on Xbox 360, I came across the Nexus. Later that winter I built my first gaming PC, and after that checking the Nexus became pretty much a daily ritual to me. I made a handful of mods for Skyrim, but they were pretty much just vanilla companion tweaks and compatibility patches, nothing fancy.

    My transition from mod user started out how I assume it did for most people. I got started down that path by using xEdit to merge mod plugins so that I could use more mods. The more complicated the plugins I merged, the more I learned about how the various types of records interacted to make the game. After modding Skyrim, I moved on to modding New Vegas.

    That is where I started to make mods, and it’s when I got started making textures and altering meshes with Blender. I got pretty comfortable using GIMP, not so much with Blender. I’m still pretty noobish with mesh work. For years I would switch back and forth from New Vegas to Skyrim, although I did mod ‘State Of Decay’ for a little bit.


    To further your modding skills you must have to learn a lot of new things, what would you say is the best resource to do this?

    Honestly, I’ve learned mostly by doing. My skill set has just expanded by doing increasingly more and more complicated tasks. I haven’t sought out tutorials on technique, although I know they’re out there. Sometimes, when it’s just an answer to a question I have, I usually get it from forum posts that I have found through Google.



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

    Yes, the Nexus modding community is the best. They’ve never failed to help me get past something I’ve been stuck on. Like I said prior, I’m still pretty noobish when it comes to meshes, so Ousnius has been the person that I turn to most often when I get stuck on something. From trouble with weight painting to fixing meshes with errors, he’s been super helpful.

    Elianora helped me get up to speed when I had to start using Photoshop to make normal and specular maps in the new file compression type. FadingSignal has been helpful with information on processing sound files.


    As a Mod Author do you check out other Mod Authors to either compare or learn from?

    Absolutely. First and foremost I’m a mod user. Right now I have 485 active mods. Most of my modding knowledge has been gained by reverse engineering the Fallout esms and other peoples’ mods. By knowing what they did it’s great to look into their plugin to see how they accomplished it.


    Are there any Mod Authors that you look up to or who inspire you?

    A ton, I’m sure I’ll forget to mention some of them there is so many. I think the people that I look up to the most are the ones that do things that I don’t know how to do. So especially the coders impress me a lot.
    The people that make the tools like ElminsterAU, Hlp, Zilav and Sharlikran for their work on FO4Edit, and Ousnius for his work on Bodyslide and Outfit Studio. That group of people’s work I feel is the most important contribution in our community. Other coders whose mods impress me a lot are Expired6978, Chesko, Talkie Toaster, Fore, Registrator2000, Wenderer, Engager, TheLich, FlipDeezy, and HydrogensaysHDT.

    The 3D modelers that make new stuff from scratch impress me a lot. People like Dragbody, DogtoothCG, Tumbajamba, L0rdOfWar, GrinnginUrchen, Lagrie, Yogensia, Billyro, Jordan1q2, MrRadiactive, MAIBATSU, m150, MikeMoore, Niero, Nivea, TrickyVein, TrophyHunter, InsanitySorrow, Isilmerial, Ghosu, FavoredSoul, ImsumDave, YYK Moral cat, Newermind43, AmethystDeceiver, Caliente, Dimon99 and ZeroFrost.

    Some of the texture artists that I look up to the most are Millenia, Deserter X, Hein84, Ellise, Jester, MadMax713, Printerkop, Ramccoid, SparrowPrince, Vasstek, Vurt, Cabal120, HelloSanta, Xenius, Maevan2, Navetsea, Zonzai, ZZjay, Dreamburrow, Gamwich, and Geonox.

    There are the mashup modders that piece together great stuff like Hothtrooper44, Elianora (whom I also consider the best world designer out there), Moore, Brokefoot, Aarwyn, Skibadaa, Henkspemadres, and Calyps.

    I also look up to FadingSignal; I don’t know how to generalize his place since he does a bit of everything. Usually, his work is needed to fill a void (sometimes one that you didn’t know existed until you start to imagine playing without it), and it’s always creative and well executed.

    And last, but not least, I have a lot of respect for RoyBatterian. I see myself as following in his footsteps making 'plugin' work my specialty.


    Do you work in a team of modders? If so, how do you divide the work and how do you communicate with one another?

    I work with a few teams of modders.

    My first wingman was Valdacil. Once he explained how he wanted to handle the dynamic naming of armor and weapons I was sold on the idea. Once Neanka joined that squad with DEF UI it put all the pieces together for what ended up being a team effort at overhauling the inventory UI experience. Now with Omega9380 making new icons for DEF UI, it’s completed the polishing of the UI experience. For that the work was split up with Neanka doing the UI Flash work, Valdacil handling the dynamic naming rules and item sorting, myself putting all the needed keywords on everything, and Omega adding more texture work on top of Neanka’s work.

    My second wingman is DOOMBASED (Doom). I’ve worked on a couple of projects with Doom, Weaponsmith Extended and Cannabis Commonwealth. For the first version of Weaponsmith, which was a merged plugin for weapons, with a few features like the keyword cap workaround, crafting, and leveled list integration added, he mostly helped me with testing. But for the new version of Weaponsmith, which adds a lot more features, he also helped me with the plugin work. The way we did that was, he would work on a certain task, putting his work into a separate plugin, then I would merge his work into the main plugin. That way we could both keep working simultaneously without waiting on the other person.

    Doom helped me with several tasks like getting all the weapons up to a certain level of polish when the original author's cut corners. We made OBTE entries and modcols for weapons that didn’t have them so that we could do more sophisticated leveled list setups, helping with the ammo balancing, and probably some other stuff that I’m forgetting.

    I work closely with BrowncoatGarrus as there is a lot of interplay between WSE and his New Calibers mod. BrowncoatGarrus’s framework and it’s integration in WSE, the way all the caliber rechamber mods increase the variety of the firearms, is one of my favorite WSE features. I feel like it gives users the same kind of freedom to use whichever guns they like, similar to AE with outfits, in a realistic way that scales well. I also have to mention Battousai124 and ShawnPhillips contributions, as they were both great beta testers and put a lot of effort into helping people out in the comments. Also, Battousai124 does the unenviable job of handling all the outreach and paperwork involved in being able to bundle modders assets to make the install easier for users. It’s a drag spending time on a task that doesn’t have that reward factor of seeing that time materialize as something in the game, so I hope people appreciate Battousai124 spending his time just to save them a little time.

    Henkspamadres’s ‘See Through Scope’ framework is one of those mods that just should have been in vanilla. In a world where everyone has played a 1st person shooter that has ACOG scopes, you just can’t leave this out of your game. Henkspamadre does a lot of work adding STS support for mod weapons, so integrating his work for those weapons by default in WSE was a no brainer.

    Talkie Toaster’s ‘Loads’ framework should also have been in vanilla. We had part of it in FNV, and the way he handled explosive and incendiary rounds compared to the vanilla legendary effect versions I feel is a nice improvement. I prefer the idea of a finite specialty ammo over the magical gun route. It was a lot of work to add Loads support for all the added ammunitions from New Calibers and the mod weapons, but I’m glad I did because it’s a great framework and it’s nice to see it fully integrated with everything else.

    On Cannabis Commonwealth, which is a port of MadNuttah’s Cannabis Skyrim, once I found out that Doom was also interested in bringing it to Fallout 4, we discovered that between the two of us we had the skillset to bring most of it over. So for that project, Doom did all the work porting meshes and converting textures to FO4 format, and I did all the plugin work. Later FlipDeezy and Slevin4Mods joined the team. Slevin had made a mod adding visual effects to alcohol and chems, so I had tossed some ideas for visual effects for Cannabis Commonwealth, and he just nailed exactly what I envisioned. FlipDeezy had made a mod for smoking cigs and cigars with animations, so when he joined the CC team, he added the joint and blunt smoking animations.



    I also work with BigAndFlabby maintaining and updating DrDanzel’s ‘Crafting Workbenches.' I started working with DrDanzel when I moved the Armorsmith bench into AWKCR so we could both use it for our recipes which unified the vanilla outfit and mod outfit crafting, which at the time also allowed us to use shared crafting menu keywords to help with the former Keyword Cap issue.

    As far as communication methods we mostly use Nexus’ PM system, although I do also use Steam for communicating with some of my modder friends as well.


    When I began playing Fallout 4 I got extremely frustrated that I couldn’t put armor on top of some of my overalls, Armorsmith Extended has solved this issue, so huge thanks. With over 744,000 unique downloads did you expect it to be so successful?

    It took off too fast for me to ever form any expectations.


    What combination of armour and outfit do you normally rock in the game?

    I usually rock combat armor. The visual customization options in Endormoons’s Craftable Custom Combat Armor are cool, and there are some nice paint jobs in that. My favorite color scheme is the black with chrome paint job with the carbon fiber textures, and I love the Punisher decal for the chest. When I played a male character my favorite outfits were Unoctium and DogtoothCG’s Veteran Ranger Armor, Eferas’ Badass Vault Dweller outfit that I used one of Nitonizer’s vault suit retextures with, and L0rdOfWar’s Rebel Outfit and Scavenged NCR Armors. Now playing a female character, my favorite outfits are Jordan1q2’s Shirt and Jeans, DeserterX’s Commonwealth Shorts, Babzero’s Gurl outfit, and a bunch of Elianora’s outfits, with my current outfit being her Corset and Shorts outfit from Apocalypse Attire.


    Did you create the mod without the aid of GECK/CK?

    Yes, I made all my mods for FO4 using FO4Edit, Outfit Studio, and NifSkope. I have used GECK/CK for doing some work on FNV and Skyrim mods, but I mostly use xEdit as I have more experience with it so I can do tasks faster using it. I prefer the way XEdit isolates records by a plugin instead of the way that all the entries are compiled together in the CK. I think that makes it easier to learn from what you’re looking at. While xEdit has limitations in regards to scripting, nav meshing, and world edits, those aren’t things I usually deal with, so I never felt handicapped using xEdit. I think using xEdit is better for learning how records interconnect, while the CK is probably better for people that already know how everything works and already know going into a project exactly what changes they need to make.


    Did you expect the mod to become as popular as it did?

    It seems the most popular mods are the ones that have to add in features and content which should have been in vanilla to begin with. So, looking at it from that perspective I’m not surprised that ‘Armorsmith Extended’ and ‘Armor and Weapon Keywords Community Resource’ became as popular as they have. I think a lot of it has to do with not only the features that they add but the way they unify everything to a standard level of polish and integration.

    Honestly, my most popular mods aren’t even what I consider to be my best work.

    I think that the new version of Weaponsmith Extended is the best work I’ve done. I think the reason that hasn’t taken off is because of how complicated the install process is, with it having multiple dependencies on other mods as well as a list of mods that have to be installed for their assets. I know there is a segment of the modder community that finds making their mod dependant on someone else’s mod to be anathema, but I think that’s a ridiculous opinion because all the limitations that can be overcome by doing so.



    What was the hardest part in the creation of Armorsmith Extended?

    Probably the hardest part is the part that I haven’t done yet. Bethesda added the ability in FO4 to add bone weight adjustments to armor add-on entries to adjust the appearance of armor meshes worn over the outfits. This allows you set it up so that armor pieces won’t clip with the outfit under them. I had been waiting on the CK, with the hope that the CK would allow me to change those bone weight adjustment entries while seeing the effects of those changes in real time in the render window. Unfortunately, the CK doesn’t even allow you to view those bone weight adjustment entries. So to make these changes it requires doing the setting in FO4Edit and then loading up the game to see how the changes turned out. So to add these changes to all the outfits would be a massive undertaking of trial and error that would take forever. For that reason, I haven’t worked on them, because it feels like an inefficient use of time.

    I’ve also had trouble doing weight painting for meshes that I want to stay rigid, such as weapon wearables. That’s a skill that I still haven’t quite got nailed down yet.


    Any plans for future mods in the pipeline?

    A few. I have a graffiti mod that, for now, I have just replaced textures and meshes from a different graffiti mod, so I need to do the plugin work for that to make them standalone. I’m going to continuing adding more mod weapons to Weaponsmith. I find it’s easier to add them in big batches, and I try to wait for new weapon mods to finish development because it can be a pain to integrate updates. Also, I plan on making an Armorsmith Extended 2, that is similar to WSE in that it merges lots of outfits into a single plugin and includes leveled list integration for the outfits. That shouldn’t take too long since most of the groundwork is already complete in all the AE versions of outfits plugins, so that will mainly just be doing the leveled lists.


    Do you keep track of recently released mods? Do you ever look at them and think they would be a good fit towards your mods?

    Yes, I check the Nexus daily to look at all the new mods. If I see an outfit I like and want to use, I make an AE version of that mod’s plugin. If I see a weapon I like I download it so it can eventually be integrated into Weaponsmith. My plugin count is high enough that I can’t just install new weapons solo, so integrating them into WSE is a necessity just for me to use them.



    Are you able to complete everything yourself or do you ever have to pass things off to other people?

    I probably could take the time to learn how to do everything I come across, but a lot of times it’s just far more efficient, time-wise, to pass off tasks to other people. When working with a team, it just makes sense for people to work on the parts that are already in their skillset. And when getting help, sometimes it’s easier for someone else to do a task for you than for them to take the time to teach you how to do it yourself.


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

    It depends. Bug reports, I embrace wholeheartedly. Even with a team of beta testers, the scope of my mods means that it’s inevitable that a bug or two will sneak through and go unnoticed until a public release gets way more eyes on it.

    Some criticism I’ve gotten on Armorsmith that pisses me off is when people complain that it has too much stuff in it. To me when people complain that it adds apparel items, which if they don’t want to use them they never have to craft them, that pisses me off. What’s the point of complaining about features that are completely optional that you have to opt in to use in the first place?

    Or with Weaponsmith, people complaining about having to download other weapon mods for their assets. That pisses me off because I think they’re just lazy, entitled, whiners. I downloaded and installed all those weapon mods, what’s the big deal? Sure it’s great that some modders allow me to bundle their assets to make the install easier for users, but I don’t consider it a make or break issue. If someone else had made WSE, having to download all the included weapons individually wouldn’t have prevented me from using it. Also on WSE, I get complaints about all the framework dependencies and the scope of the ammo expansion. They want me to make a version that doesn’t integrate Loads and New Calibers. It doesn’t piss me off because it’s a valid opinion on game design, but it’s not one that I share, so it does annoy me because of the amount of effort that went into integrating those two mods. And ultimately people need to remember that I’m making these mods for me, so I make them to my specifications. Asking for me to cater them to you can range from maybe a good idea to pissing me off because you’re asking me to remove work that I spent a bunch of time on. I try not to make assumptions, but I have to assume that asking a modder to undo their work will usually piss them off.


    Do you worry about mod compatibility when you develop?

    Yes and no. I don’t let what other people have done effect how I go about creating what I’m trying to do. But at the same time if what I’ve done effects another mod, if it’s something I use then I usually make a patch to integrate them. I don’t make patches for mods I don’t use. Also, like with AWKCR and the Slot Usage Standard I’ve tried to create shared resources that everybody can use which helps everybody makes their mods more compatible with everyone else's.



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

    Open some plugins up in FO4Edit. Take a look at how the records interconnect. A lot of things in the game are accomplished through cascading chains of records, so try to learn how the different record types interact with each other. Once you’ve figured out that then you can start adding new items into the game. Also, a lot can be learned by merging plugins. That’s how I got started, and it helped to learn by figuring out how to resolve conflicts between the source plugins.


    Many thanks for taking the time out to chat with us today.[
  • 18 January 2017

    Staff Picks - 18 Jan 2017

    posted by BlindJudge Feature
    We're back again with some more staff picks, this week SirSalami dives headfirst into the world of Stardew Valley with a mod to make this awesome little adventure game 'hard'; TerrorFox1234 tries his hand at the mod S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Chernobyl after my recommendation last week; and I get one of my favourite gameplay mechanics into one of my favourite games!

    Our guest contributor this week is ZZZ02, their selection is a total overhaul mod for Oblivion, so be sure to check that out.

    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: Hard Mode
    Game: Stardew Valley
    Author: RamenYum

    Call me a masochist if you will, but sometimes I feel that a little extra difficulty can really add to an experience. I think most of the Dark Souls fanbase can relate, but what about Stardew valley players? If you're like me and would enjoy a little extra spice in your farming life then maybe this one's for you.

    This mod rebalances combat as well as the time and effort it takes to accomplish various tasks around the valley. While some of the changes may seem tedious at first glance, you'll be rewarded with a greater sense of accomplishment which may create a more meaningful gameplay experience.

    Especially to those of you already familiar with the ins-and-outs of farm life, this mod may make your next visit to the valley that much more rewarding. Thanks RamenYum!


    TerrorFox1234

    Mod: Outfit Addon
    Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Chernobyl
    Author: VodkaChicken

    For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Call of Chernobyl (CoC) is a massive overhaul for the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. It is essentially an entirely new game. On that note, if you are a fan of brutal post-apocalyptic survival games, you really should give CoC a try.

    With the recent addition of CoC to Nexus Mods, I decided to give it a go. I'm still learning the ropes of the game but, as is the case with all of us, I simply couldn't play it without some mods installed! I focused mainly on aesthetic mods and mods that simply added new items to the game, as I didn't want to alter any mechanics and gameplay elements before really spending some time with the game.

    The first mod I grabbed was Outfit Addon by VodkaChicken. Outfit Addon is pretty straightforward. It adds 26 new outfits with custom upgrade trees. It's one of those mods that fits in with the base game so seamlessly, you just sort of forget that it's a mod. Everything is balanced well with the rest of the outfits in the game and aesthetically it fits right in. Variety is the spice of life, and this mod does well to add some variety to the dreary post-apocalyptic world of CoC.


    BlindJudge

    Mod: Take Cover
    Game: Fallout 4
    Author: registrator2000

    I've always been a big fan of cover systems. One of my fondest arcade memories is playing Time Crisis with a friend, taking it in turns to pop out from behind the wall or crate and fire off several rounds while the other one took a breather and reloaded. The ability to choosing as to when you got shot at, rather than running headlong into battle like someone out of 'Commando', was invigorating and made you feel a little like you were in control. 

    More and more modern games begun to utilise the mechanic, and from the early 2000's there were some notable releases such as Kill.Switch and Gears of War that implemented it incredibly well, with additions such as blind firing and cover vault systems. It's now a regular feature of many games and one that adds realism and excitement to tense shootouts.

    But it seems Bethesda didn't get the memo and Fallout 4 saw you having to break cover and stand full frontal to an enemy to get your shots off. Well, registrator2000 has come to our rescue with the release of 'Take Cover'. This mod gives your character the ability to take refuge behind an object or wall, popping out to take shots at those pesky Raiders only when you're ready to engage.

    I tried the mod using both options and have to say that I prefer the hotkey method that registrator2000 details on his mod page, binding shift+aim to be cover using one of his other mods FO4Hotkeys. 

    Now you have a little advantage over those in the wasteland, enjoy.


    (Guest submission)ZZZ02

    Mod: Maskar's Oblivion Overhaul
    Game: Oblivion
    Author: Maskar

    There are many well-known overhauls for Oblivion but they often have compatibility issues or may just be the same Oblivion with a bit more stuff bolted on. Now imagine a mod with many of these overhaul mods features but done in a clean and compatible way.

    MOO is that and so much more in addition to things you find in most overhauls it adds so much more 'stuff'. It dynamically alters AI; adds stuff to leveled lists; throws in unpredictable encounters and so on. The feature list is so long that there is a whole PDF to download just to explain them all.

    The best part about it is EVERYTHING IS CONFIGURABLE THROUGH INI FILES. The mod can even detect mods with conflicting features and disable them automatically. You can even use another overhaul mod together with MOO. This mod is one mod that you can trust to enhance your Oblivion experience.

    It is an essential mod in my load order, it is very compatible with almost everything and it is the way Oblivion should have been from the beginning.


    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!
  • 16 January 2017

    AMA with Elianora - Audio



    Thank you to everyone who joined in last night's AMA (Ask Me Anything) with our guest Elianora. It was a resounding success and I'm very grateful for the time that she and the community put aside to make it what it was. The questions received were great and I know Eli had a lot of fun answering them all. 

    If you fancy taking a listen to the event, then please head on over to SoundCloud where we have uploaded the audio.