Modding is Life

I started playing Oblivion again.

Some years ago, I made a mod called Lindum Village which had an alternative game start function which meant you could bypass the usual dungeon/Emperor killing start of Oblivion and start the game in a little town called Lindum instead.

The mod has really started living its own life since I’ve been gone from the Oblivion scene in a year or two! First, a modder named Highlord90 had a tremendous interest in it, and did some really awesome changes to it. I decided to give him the rights to the mod’s page and, in practice, hand the mod over to him. I wouldn’t play the mod without his changes and work. He’s done an amazing job. Then, just as I reinstalled Oblivion, I noticed another modder, Fienyx, had created a submod of the village called Lindum – Altered featuring his own personal changes to the project too!

This is why we mod. We create stuff together. What I create leads to something else in someone else’s mind, and all of a sudden we have a project that’s expanding and living its own life. I like it!

Every time I play these Bethesda games, I get an itch to get back into modding and start doing something again. I might, we’ll see. At least, I’m not giving up on this blog, so rest assured that anything I do in the future, will be published here. So keep following, although the uploads have been a bit sporadic these days.

Tea! Earl Grey! Hot!

2015-03-06_00004With clear references to Captain Jean-Luc Picard, we now sport a hot cup of tea on the governor’s table. thanks again go to Tamira, for her conversion of the original Oblivion resources as Static Dishes and Food Resource for Skyrim. I had loads of fun with these resources back in Oblivion, and will be using them extensively for upper class Cyrodiilic environments Azura’s Watch as well.

The Newland Farm

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I had this large area outside of town, unused and just grassland. It was screaming for a farm, so I created the Newland Farm. Also, so I could decorate another one of those sexy Oblivion/Cyrodiil cottages again, because those meshes bring me right back to when I was modding Oblivion. I’m so glad to have them in Azura’s Watch as well. Lovely farm, innit?

Dibella’s Watch

Dibella’s Watch for Oblivion (2011) was the precursor to Azura’s Watch. Even the names of the places are similar. Dibella’s Watch was my biggest modding project ever. Azura’s Watch eclipses it. Here are some screenies I took of DW today while playing Oblivion. It still amazes me how much I did on it. It was a lot of fun.

Back in Cyrodiil

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When I’m done with Azura’s Watch, I’ll sure make something for old Oblivion again. It’s always a pleasure to be back in there again. Brings back so many good memories.

Progress on Azura’s Watch has been kinda slow lately. That’s how it goes though; my modding goes in periods. Sometimes I’m very active, working 24 hours per day (literally), and sometimes I’m not. It’s only natural. I’ve been adding a few caves and stuff to it lately though, so there’s some progress. Not to worry; I’ll be back doing 24 hour shifts soon enough.

I saw a Mudcrab the other day

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Everyone wants an Argonian Maid

Say what you will about the mostly stupid little random conversations between NPC’s in Oblivion. You know, “I saw a mudcrab the other day” answered by “I avoid those creatures whenever I can“. NPC’s were actually talking like they knew each other in Oblivion and it was influenced by how much they liked each other, race, faction and things like that. It was awesome. When you came through the forest in my Oblivion mod Dibella’s Watch, you could hear the villagers talking in a distance. They were talking about world events and topics changed as the player progressed in the storyline. Mostly they talked about Mudcrabs. Those little conversations added A LOT of life though.

Not so in Skyrim. They’re silent. I can pack a room full of NPC’s and they still don’t even give the slightest impression of being alive or even being normal people. Bartenders will repeat “Huh?” in eternity if I stand close to them. That’s as far as conversation goes. NPC’s only stare angrily at each other or blindly into nothingness and then robotically follow their AI packages (ie walk into tables, push cups off, warp around or stand on chairs). The sentences the vanilla NPC’s constantly repeat are no better than Oblivion’s system. We all know Solitude: “Getting old is not so bad. Daughter keeps me fed blah blah” and “You should see me when you get bored, stranger.” What kind of people repeat stupidity like that to passers-by all the time? Even the bloody Mudcrab topic is better! I’d need an army of voice actors to even try and make an impression of my town being alive.

Bethesda cut them out, but they should have built upon them, the conversations. We all laughed at them in Oblivion, but Skyrim’s silence is a whole lot worse.

A Weekend of Good Stuff

I’ve had a pretty busy weekend overall, but I’ve also managed to do some good modding. I created the Citadel I detailed in the previous post and it’s complete with an interior too although undecorated. I’ve done lots of NavMesh. I created some dummy views to paste behind transparent windows in the interiors that give the impression of actually looking out into the forest outside. They’re rather cool. I’ve finished the official “History of Azura’s Watch” and pasted it as an in-game book.

I’ve also created the first NPC’s. That’s a really big step. Here’s a picture of them, if you can see them in the gloom of their house. Yes, it’s the three alcoholics of the Alcoholics Guild. I can’t believe I’ve had these three gentlemen for almost ten years. It began as a small mod for Morrowind in 2005 where these three guys inhabited a house in Seyda Neen. I then had them in Oblivion in Dibella’s Watch in 2011. And now they’re here again, for Skyrim, in 2014. Cheers!

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That was a bad picture. Here are some more of what I’ve done this weekend. I’ve also done a lot of detailing; like pasting plants and rocks and the sort…