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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

51 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
      purephantom
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      you guys should do some cross asset trading with the tamriel rebuilt guys
    4. Saggaris
      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
  2. Clpence
    Clpence
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    It seems like a lifetime ago when I first heard of this.
    Pleased to see it's at least still someone's dream.
  3. ThelRiSycuseeYT
    ThelRiSycuseeYT
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    i cant wait for this tbh im really excited !
  4. AdrianoBarbosa
    AdrianoBarbosa
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    This is amazing. One question: What will come out first? This or TES VI?
  5. GodspeedX
    GodspeedX
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    amazing work! :) 
  6. hnnnnnnnnnnn
    hnnnnnnnnnnn
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    Blessing of Julianos upon ye
  7. DreadMasterBrontes
    DreadMasterBrontes
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    Hello Rebelzize, I have a question: what made you think about this project
  8. PapaHola
    PapaHola
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    Bravo, looking forward to it.
  9. agentzany123
    agentzany123
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    Can't wait to play this! well done guys!
  10. wearenumberthree
    wearenumberthree
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    pog
  11. yumuss1999
    yumuss1999
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    Finally, guards gonna yell us for no reason except saying friendly things
    1. MAK10Z
      MAK10Z
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      Stop!  You violated the law!