Kenshi

Project Spotlight: Skyblivion

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Skyblivion is a name that most modders of Skyrim or Oblivion may have heard at one time or another over the last 9 years. It's an incredibly ambitious project which aims to recreate the entirety of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in the newer game engine used by Skyrim. The team have recently released their first "Development Diary" which gives us a taste of what's to come. In this feature, we're chatting with Rebelzize and the team about this exciting venture. 



Rebelzize, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. In your video, you say that Skyblivion has been in development since 2012. There must have been many different contributors over the years, can you give us an idea of the size of the team and how it has shifted over the life of the project?

Thanks for having me! Like any game, the project has gone through several stages of development from preparing the first tools to working out a roadmap and finally to the stage we are currently in which focuses on recreating, implementing and redesigning the major areas of the game. Since its inception, we have had contributions from around 200 people. Unfortunately, a lot of these contributions tend to only last for short periods with few contributors staying with us for longer periods of time. This of course is not a problem and we are happy with any help that we can get to make Skyblivion happen. At the moment our active team consists out of around 30 people, they are divided between 3D artists, interior designers, landscapers, concept artists, coders, quest implementers, asset implementers, navmeshers and a few generalists.


We've previously featured the team from Beyond Skyrim: Cyrodiil who are working on another Skyrim modding project to recreate Cyrodiil (the region featured in Oblivion). Can you describe how the two versions of Cyrodiil are different and if there is any crossover in what you're doing? 

Our friends over at Beyond Skyrim are working in the same province but we have completely different goals. Our goal is to recreate Oblivion’s locations, quests and some of its mechanics, in short, remaking Oblivion as a current-generation title. Since we are remaking Oblivion a large focus of ours is to capture that charm Oblivion had which includes its sometimes wacky and funny quests. Beyond Skyrim is working on the same province but doesn't have you play as the Hero of Kvatch or play through any of the original quests. Most of the crossover will be in assets that the projects share and similar-looking locations and biomes.

 


Oblivion is an iconic game and is very different from Skyrim, so recapturing the feel of the world is no small feat. What do you consider to be the most important elements to make the game world really feel like the Cyrodiil we remember so dearly? 

For starters, the look and feel of the game need to be overhauled. Skyrim's weathers and assets were made with a colder climate in mind. Oblivion on the other hand has a much warmer and more vibrant climate and as such our colour palette needed a complete rework. I think if you will look at screenshots of our weathers we can all agree that we did a pretty good job there if I do say so myself ;).

Secondly, the stories and quests you come across during your playthrough. Oblivion’s writing in my opinion was a lot more interesting than Skyrim’s and had players going on a lot of fun and unexpected adventures. It is our mission to let players re-experience those stories, albeit in a slightly different way. 


Will Skyblivion feature any significant departures from the world seen in the 2006 release? 

Most of our changes are graphical. Our exterior worldspace has been remade from the ground up to feature more diverse biomes and overall be packed with more secrets, treasure, hidden secrets and lots of STUFF. NPC’s, creatures, monsters and all our assets have gotten a facelift to be up to modern game standards which will allow players to immerse themselves into the world and get lost in this fantastic game all over again.


Looking at the clips from the Developer Diary, we can already see the incredible detail in the landscapes, dungeons and interiors. Are you planning to apply the same creative license to the story and quests of Oblivion or perhaps expand on elements you felt were lacking in the original game? 

For Skyblivion its important that we do not change a winning formula. I still play Oblivion to this day and like many others, I don't come back for the graphics but for the story. As such our aim is not to fix that which isn't broken but to focus on what we do want to improve. The world. On that note quest locations, unique Daedric realms and other areas that play a significant role within the story will be overhauled to better fit their purpose and lore.

 


With Cyrodiil being the province at the heart of Tamriel, it shares borders with 6 other regions, including Skyrim. The original game showed these areas as inaccessible, coloured terrain. Do you plan to do anything special with these diverse border regions? 

Certainly. Like all aspects of our project, we try to work in visual storytelling into the game world. All borders to the other provinces for instance now feature border gates. Depending on relations with the other province these border gates will visually look quite different from one another. Some are even abandoned or ransacked which allows you to march into a different province for a little while. Other than you can expect to taste a hint of whatever province is behind the border.


Are there any significant technical challenges you'd had to overcome while building your project or advancements in modding you've made that you are particularly proud of?

As a base for our project’s quests, we converted all of Oblivions quest data which was a massive undertaking. The tools developed for this specific purpose are immensely complex but as of writing this we finally have been able to implement all this data into our game. The next step for us is to manually fix and reimplement sections that don't function as intended but overall this is a massive time saver for us. 


It's exciting to hear that there will be hidden treasures dotted around the world for players to discover. Are these caches planned to include regular loot or will there be some easter egg items which players can track down? 

A mix of both. We obviously don’t want to overdo adding our own easter eggs to the game or you would soon find Pacman references in nearly every kitchen for instance. My tip for when the game launches would be to keep an eye out for any oddities or trails that you might be able to spot. Following these might lead to some nice surprises :)


Are there any elements from TES:5 which you have decided to keep as part of the project? 

Since we use Skyrim as a base for our project many elements will be very familiar to the player. That isn't to say that we don’t work on recreating mechanics such as underwater combat for instance but a lot of features can be classified as negligible and if we want to release this project in a timely fashion we simply can’t spend all our time recreating every little element from Oblivion. 

 


In December 2019, you uploaded 3E Cyrodiilic Steel Armor as a standalone mod to show off some of the work from the team. Are you planning to release any other standalone mods in the lead up to the full project launch? 

We would certainly consider it. The main issue with these Nexus releases is that our team is so small that it is difficult to spend resources on public releases like this since that time would be better spend on the core project. Perhaps this article will yield some talented folks who want to take on some Nexus releases in their free time ;).


We all know that it's impossible to give a release date on a passion project like this, but can you give us a rough idea of how far along the project is? 

I get this question every day on my streams and the best possible answer is this: with a project of this scope we try to focus on an MVP, minimal viable product, which contains all quests, 3D assets, locations and creatures from the base game. In other words, we indeed implement all the quests, recreate all 3D assets needed to provide a stable game, finish the exterior map and remake and implement all Oblivions creatures.

All quests are currently in the build but need manual work by our quest implementers which currently progresses steadily, I'm confident in saying that the gross amount of work is behind us thanks to the conversion and now we can focus on tweaking, adjusting and re-implementing where needed. 3D artists are hard to come by unfortunately and so this area of the game currently can use a boost. Most of the clutter claims have been finished but some clothes, creatures but mostly a lot of architecture claims remain. Without architecture, we can't finish our cities. The exterior map is nearing completion of its first phase, after this, we can focus on adding more minute details and finalizing the map.lastly for creatures we don’t have a lot of work left to do, mostly a few monsters and animals and some creatures that need rigging and implementation.

I hope that gives people an idea.


If there are modders out there who would like to help you realise the dream of Skyblivion, how can they help?

Our core team consists mostly out of modders from around the Skyrim community. Anyone who is experienced in creating 3D assets, implementing 3D assets, rigging creatures, implementing quests, creating interiors, creating exteriors or just has good CK knowledge and wants to work on a big project with a team of hobbyists and game developers are more than welcome to apply on our website.

 


An important question, have you cast a voice actor to play the Adoring Fan yet? 

Don't worry. He sounds just as annoying and unloveable as ever.


Thank you again for chatting with us today. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the Nexus Mods community before we wrap up?

I sincerely want to thank the amazing Skyrim community for all the help and support they have given us since our first announcement. We simply wouldn't be here without them. Additionally a big thanks to Pickysaurus for having us for this interview. I selfishly hope we can grow our team a little thanks to this.



A big thank you to Rebelzize and the Skyblivion team for taking the time to talk to us! If there's an author or mod project you'd like to know more about, send your suggestions to BigBizkit or Pickysaurus

102 comments

  1. Rebelzize
    Rebelzize
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    Sticky
    Thank you so much for having me! For anyone interested I am currently working on some Imperial City interiors: https://www.twitch.tv/kylerebelzize 

    If you want to follow our project's progress we can be found here: 
    Website:https://skyblivion.com/ Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Skyblivion/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TESRSkyblivion Reddit:https://www.reddit.com/r/skyblivion/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tesrskyblivion DISCORD: https://discord.com/invite/skyblivion

    In case you are a talented modder/artist interested in working with us then go here and VOLUNTEER: https://www.skyblivion.com/volunteer/
    1. DONKENFAP
      DONKENFAP
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      Cheers to you and the team for all your hard work.
    2. ImFrantic
      ImFrantic
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      Hey, i just want to ask a small question ^^
      I'm studying Game Design here in Germany and i'm mostly interested in 3D modeling. I may not be as good as all the 3D artists you already got, but i  wanned to know if there is anything small and simple to design that would still take alot of time for you so that you can outsource these things :D
    3. purephantom
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      you guys should do some cross asset trading with the tamriel rebuilt guys
    4. Saggaris
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      To be honest Purephantom I don't understand whay Bethesda don't allow a direct porting of resources between the [Elder scrolls-Elder Scrolls] games with a proviso that the player own both/all games, it would sell a few extra Oblivion/Morrowind games and garner a mighty thankyou to the folks that are essentially keeping the Bethesda games interesting in the absence of a new Elderscrolls title.

      The cross mod sharing of assets could also help speed up development but there would have to be a close agreement from the individual modders responsible for those assets... after all the two teams are separate and some might not wish to share for whatever reason
    5. iane2017
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      (copypaste to to own comment)
    6. Anizael
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      @Saggaris The question may be a good one, but the answer is easy. Have you tried messing with files from Oblivion to port them into Skyrim ? From what I have seen, the model standards are somewhat different. Example for clothing : the number of bones differ, and the references also are slightly different. So, providing the porting from Bethesda would be possible, but would take huge developing time to correct these little changes in files. Which is way too expensive for the low income generated by a few more copies sold. Next question is why not developing with the idea of porting to future games ? This will cause limitations on later developments and bring shackles on the developers to create the best game they can.

      Big thanks and cheers to the team, the work is huge and seems great so far !
    7. Rebelzize
      Rebelzize
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      We are always open to collaborate with others projects :)
    8. paulsturgess
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      THIS HAS BEEN IN THE MAKING FOR WHAT 12 YEARS  THIS MOD WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY IT WILL END UP AS "NO LONGER WORKED ON" AUTHOR IS SPAMMING THE ENTIRE INTERNET YET HASENT SHOWN ANY OF HIS WORK
    9. Saggaris
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      @paulsturgess,12 years eh?... difficult to believe your maths there 11,11,11 that makes it 9years, and incidentally the same amount of time since Bethesda released their last ES game, (that's if these guys started on day one)

      Well Paul,
      I guess that you fit into the 'Half Empty Glass' category, it's a sad and lonely place there where the sun never shines... every silver lining has a cloud round it...yeah?

      A suggestion for you to consider is don't bother yourself with things that may upset you, because the time you spent generating a disrespectful and negative comment is time you'll never get back.

      I personally look forward to a release of the land that allowed me to romp over green and gold pastures without having a potato face, cos hell is cooling rapidly and the Elder Scrolls 6 is just as far away.
    10. Saggaris
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      @Anizael,
      I won't pretend that I understand the workings behind the curtain... tis all magic to me, but the Engine or at least the thing that allows us to use the Construction/Creation kit appears to be the same one just with more bells and whistles... when I open the CK I find Bobby pins Gas trap dummies and a plethora of thing related to other Bethesda titles... that says to me it's pretty much the same one, changed a bit but not stripped of junk!

      The conclusion I draw is that in a similar fashion to the 'Simbin' race sims, where GTR cars and tracks and GT Legends cars and tracks can be ported to GRT2 fairly easily, it doesn't need to be as difficult a task as it seems to have been made by Bethesda.
      Now I'm not saying it's the same but if the assets are from the same family it could be possible to allow porting of the assets and let the modders polish it if they want.
    11. paulsturgess
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      more social media links for a mod that will never come out
    12. paulsturgess
      paulsturgess
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      and it will never happen
    13. BigCassy
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      Instead of talking sh!t about the hard work of others, you could maybe do something usefull for all the oxygen you are wasting.
      Nobody is interested about your opinion here, and like it has allready been said, if you are not interested in this work, why do you even bother checking?
  2. Miridia96
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    What an amazing project! Can't wait to see the result of it! I loved Oblivion so much and am happy to see that others like it, too!
    Let's give that old world a new feeling!
  3. HELLHOUNDIVX
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    This already looks amazing! You guys are doing an outstanding job. I can't wait to see all that hard work come to fruition. 
  4. Elite111
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    Bethesda should hire you people to remake/remaster their games, im not kidding.
  5. 1savvycrazy100
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    This mod may have been started a long time ago, but it has grown, it has gathered people to help work on it, but most importantly, THEY ARE STILL WORKING ON IT. 

    I hope it will be a mod that is friendly to those of us with dinosaur rigs ?
  6. NoxVulpes37
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    In response to post #86828348. #86859263, #86989143, #87107968, #87307833 are all replies on the same post.


    Spoiler:  
    Show

    ...I know you probably mean well (in terms of hoping the game will get released soon)  but this DOES come across rude to be brutally honest. 
     


     
    Rude or not, he's not wrong. There are people who were in elementary school when this mod started development who are now legal adults. I will also fervently hope that Skyblivion breaks the mold of Creation remakes and surprises me, but I'm frankly not seeing nearly a decade of work from a minimum of thirty people, unless it's like Skywind's lolworthy three planners and artists to every modeler, mesher, etc.
     
    I miss when honesty was considered a superior virtue to politeness.
  7. Curratum
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    At this point, we all know this is vaporware of the highest grade. I really wish it wasn't, but the simple fact of the matter is that it is.

    I would love nothing more than to be made to eat my words and see this released in a year or two, then come back here and apologize, but we all know this isn't happening.
    1. Rebelzize
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      I hope we prove you wrong
    2. Curratum
      Curratum
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      I'm sorry if I'm coming through as a cynical ass. I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong, and I'm not saying this in a smug, smart Alec way. I just lost faith in this sort of huge project, not just yours in particular, ages ago. :(
    3. Saggaris
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      Enderal
      Morroblivion
      Positive thoughts and actions are better than negative curses excused by wrapping them in "I want to be proved wrong" statements.
    4. Pherim
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      You can't really compare this project to Morroblivion, since (as far as I know) most assets were simply ported from Morrowind to Oblivion, whereas for Skyblivion, completely new models and textures have to be made for (almost) everything, I believe. So that's obviously a lot more work, which takes much longer (see also Skywind).

      And of course, Enderal is a great example of a large mod project being completed, but they did not have to make everything from scratch, but could use many assets from Skyrim. Again, I'm not saying Skyblivion (or Skywind) will never come out, but I expect it to take some time.
    5. Expe20rianc3rRPG
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      ...I know you probably mean well (in terms of hoping the game will get released soon)  but this DOES come across rude to be brutally honest. 
  8. DeusAngels
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    :D
  9. Nexusmodsforme
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    Vaporware, this project has been ongoing to over a decade. Never gonna happen. 
    1. LordDuckinson
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      Fallout 4 took 7 years and was disappointing. They are attempting to not make a new game, but recreate a game from 2008 on a far superior 2011 engine. This is like taking a crossbow and trying to make it use gunpowder, It may be able to be done but it will take a while to find out.
    2. Pherim
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      Oblivion was released in 2006, not 2008, but the "far superior 2011 engine" (which would have been only three years less old than one from 2008) was basically an updated version of the same engine that allowed the game to run on the same outdated hardware (PS3/XBox One) as Oblivion did, and let it look somewhat decent in comparison, though nowhere near what would have been possible on PCs at the time. This means that the so-called "Creation Engine" was better optimized, of course, and it is clearly superior to Oblivion's version of the Gamebryo engine it was based on - but not that much. Of course, the Special Edition upgrade to 64 bit and DirectX 11 was quite a big deal for modders, but it still could not hide its age in may aspects (LOD and animations being two of the most obvious examples).

      In any case, there are a number of things that work very differently in Skyrim than in Oblivion, the latter having more skills and attributes, different systems for alchemy and enchanting and spell customization, which is completely absent from Skyrim. I imagine it could be quite a challenge to add these things back into Skyblivion, which, according to their FAQ, is their intention. Even if they just wanted to remake the world and quests, and leave the gameplay as it is in Skyrim, since Bethesda doesn't allow porting assets (meshes, textures, etc.) from one of their games to another, they probably have to make almost everything from scratch (as for Skywind, too, besides, the models and textures from 2006 would not look very good in the newer engine, at least not much better than they did in 2006), which of course takes a long, long time. I'm not saying it's never going to be released, but I don't expect it to happen any time soon.

      Well, at least they seem to get more volunteers lately, so that's probably a good sign.
  10. NRG2nd
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    dose this work with openmw?
  11. Dtrax
    Dtrax
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    Keep up the hard work!!! Thanks to you and the team