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Mod interview with SLuckyD

Posted by Xenius01 Jan 23, 2012 at 21:23 UTC
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This time we are taking a look at Overlook Tower, a mod created by SLuckyD.

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Overlook Tower

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Similar to the last mod highlight we are looking at yet another player home. But this is not just any home! In fact, this mod will grant you access to a huge tower on top of a mountain.

If you enjoy hoarding as much loot as possible, this tower is for you. It offers plenty of storage space; each item category gets its own chest. Also there are crafting facilities available, such as an alchemy lab, a forge and more. This tower has everything you will need in one place. But that’s not everything: if you take the stairs to the top of the tower you will also get a great view of the landscape surrounding the tower.

Due to the lack of the Creation Kit making this mod was quite a challenging process for the creator. At the moment you will get free access to the tower, this might change in the future.

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<span style="font-size: small;">Skyrim - Mod Highlight - Overlook Tower </span>

<span style="font-size: small;">Video by nickoli002</span>

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Find out more about the creation process of this mod below. 

What was your inspiration for creating this mod?

I wanted to release a simple player home, winding up to the summit of some mountain having a scenic view. I literally FLEW (tcl) around all of Skyrim, reconnoitering ALL the prime locations. It isn't my style to just alter a Vanilla home; so I assembled a 'new' one using the Winterhold College kitset. Basically it was something to keep me busy before beginning work on my BIG projects. Oftentimes I find that making mods and creating new content is hella more fun than playing the actual game! (no offense, Ma Beth.. <wink>)

How much time have you spent working on it?

The mod itself, a few hours... maybe 5 or 6, tops. It was figuring out HOW to do it all, without the 'new' CK software... that took a WHILE; but I did most of the R&D during the making of my earlier 'proof of concept' mods.

Did you come across any problems while making your mod?

The only thing that gave me trouble, and I STILL haven't gotten to work, is the ability to have companions enter the home with Player. The 'old' navMeshes apparently aren't compatible with Skyrim; this is the "pathing" which NPCs, monsters, and companions use to 'find their way.' Without working navMeshes, they 'don't know how' to enter or to move around obstacles, even if they WERE inside the Tower. I plan to fix this as soon as Ma Beth releases the newCK.

I'm also unable to add scripting to a mod, which is in a relatively new format - compiled in a way which neither I, nor anyone else seems to be able to create something meaningful with. This precludes any 'true' quests, dialog, or other aspects which I believe are incremental to the elevation of a plain mod to something GOOD.

Has it been difficult for you to mod without the Creation Kit?

In the beginning, it took some time to see what 'old' data is compatible with Skyrim; and to develop the procedures to get that data into a working, playable form. I wouldn't say it's been "difficult" though... it's been great practice and familiarization for when that new software finally IS released!

What tools did you use to make this mod possible?

  • Fallout 3's GECK v1.5 - to create and arrange the interiors, and make new/custom items
  • TESvSnip - editing the mod's raw data, and to copy/paste some Vanilla stuff which GECK can't do
  • FO3Edit - for placing/arranging objects in SkyNilla's worldSpace ('Vanilla Skyrim' is just the plain game, WITHOUT any modifications)
  • 3DSMax 2010x64 - to convert Skyrim's NIFs to Fallout 3's format, enabling me to literally SEE the objects I place and arrange in GECK (as opposed to the intolerable !red! exclamation-point-triangles)
  • NifSkope - to tweak and modify those NIFs converted by 3DSMax

What did you like most about the development process of your mod?

The 'thrill of the chase,' as in the R&D, trial & error, and ultimate discovery of the methods to get all this stuff working and cohesive. There have been PLENTY of "Eureka!" moments the past two months! (I had NO idea we'd be able to pull this much off!) Second to that would be the actual arranging and placement of everything, as well as seeing my 'vision' working in-game and, ideally, enjoyed by others.

Are you planning to expand your mod when the Creation Kit is available?

ABSOLUTELY! There's a list a mile long of things I intend to add, change, or fix... then another list FIVE miles long of user requests I have no intention of doing myself. I'm MORE than willing to sanction others to make 'addons' or alternate versions of these things; though it seems few are willing to give 'true' modding a go 'preCK.' I foresee that after the new software is released, many may forget about or lose interest in this mod... in favor of making their own; somewhere else, and the way THEY want it from the get-go (NO hard feelings y'all!).

Could you tell us about any other mods you currently have in progress or planned for the future?

I'm currently working on my 'Gokstad Sailable Ship & Portable Player Home' mod; which itself is a standalone prequel to my future masterpiece - 'Stone Unhenged.' The former's title says quite a bit, and I've posted some details in the download section for that mod (which has a very basic, but working BETA version available).

Stone Unhenged is a HUGE project I've developed, which could EASILY evolve into another whole TES installment. It takes Player to the Lost Continent of Yokuda (aboard the Gokstad), a NEW worldSpace as large as Skyrim itself! Quests, lore, voice-acting, cities & NPCs, and even a 1:1 scale model of the REAL Stonehenge monument - which Player will be able to REBUILD and harness its power! There's simply TOO much to go into here. Much of this I've already done in/for Oblivion (though never released it, in anticipation of Skyrim). I only hope that I'll continue to have enough free time, energy, and resources to complete these projects and release them for Skyrim!

Do you have any advice for others who would like to start modding?

DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Start small and basic; THEN expand and complicate! Before asking questions, go to the MANY websites already dedicated to modding and asset creation; specifically the ones relating to Oblivion and Fallout 3 (and the different programs needed to do it with). Eventually there'll be Skyrim sites for this as well, but too much is still unknown and the 'old' ways will still carry a LOT of weight! Search for tutorials on specific methods, read forums and wikis for overcoming problems or 'sticky' situations, and make sure you follow directions! Trial & error, practice, and even the help files of software are invaluable.

I learned ALL I know about modding this way, the information is already out there SOMEWHERE... you just have to know what you need to be looking for and where to find it! Failing ALL that, THEN ask questions - many people would appreciate not having to type a single answer for something a thousand times. I LOVE to help others, but I've spent more time commenting, responding, documenting, and posting information than I've spent on actually developing and making the mods I've released! Of course I mean no offense to those I've personally helped... this is just general advice to anyone who is 'new' to the community! (or the few who want others to do everything FOR them.. heheheh)

Thanks to SLuckyD for creating this mod and for participating in the interview.

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Mod interview with CaoMengde777

Posted by Xenius01 Jan 31, 2012 at 19:39 UTC
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Today we are highlighting two mods created by CaoMengde777: Automatons and Shurikens, Dwemer Schematics and Quest for Goldbrand. Both of these mods bring back items that were present in Morrowind and Oblivion.

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The first mod will add Dwemer Schematics to Skyrim, hidden in the Dwemer ruins scattered across the land. Besides adding these schematics they have also been made useful, unlike the ones found in Morrowind which served no purpose.
By using these schematics you can build various summonable Dwemer Automatons. They can be used to craft throwing stars as well, either enchanted or not.

The second mod adds Goldbrand, an ancient golden katana to the game and a quest to obtain it. You'll have to follow a trail of books and use a treasure map to complete this quest.
Once you own the sword you will be able to upgrade it into Eltonbrand, a more powerful version of the weapon.

Check these mods out if you were a fan of Skyrim's predecessors!

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Find out more about the creation process of these mods below.

What inspired you to make these mods?
When I was like... hmm 14 or 15 when Morrowind came out, I used to mod that game more than I ever really played it haha, I never really made any really great mods, usually just silly things for me and my friends to mess around with, like boots that increase your speed 9999 or something like that, I did make a few areas for the Tamriel Rebuilt project, I got alot of experience modding games from Morrowind, and I tend to mess around making mods for most of the games I play, although I rarely release them to the public which is a shame....

How much time went into creating them?
Oh I am not sure, many many many hours, usually most the time is spent dawdling, just looking through the files and stuff trying to come up with some awesome ideas, or I tend to do a bit of the work, and then sit back and think about whats next... a lot of time wasting haha, sorta just making it up as I go along, If I had a proper plan of attack I'd make them much quicker.

Did you encounter any problems while working on your mods?
Many, many... too many to list, usually its because with somethings I make I screw up and misword a file path, or I forget something... but I go back and make sure it works.

Has it been difficult for you to mod without having the Creation Kit?
VERY, but after reading around websites I got a hang of it, I’m an electronics technician major, so I have some knowledge about hex code so I found it easy to mod the hex numbers. funny, I was adding objects into the game world by getting the object, then making a random change to the code, then load up the game..... and try another random number, (guess and checking)... recently I found out what these other modders that made the house mods were doing... jeez if I knew that method.... .... I’d have many more mods...

What tools did you use to make these mods possible?
Originally only Fallout Mod Manager's TESSnip, & NifSkope, also GIMP but for the newer mod, SkyEdit, Skyrim NPC Editor and Tamriel Rebuilt's name generator.

What did you like most about the development process of your mods?
What I like about modding, is it feels like I am inventing new things. and it's like artwork, but unlike a painting or drawing, it's an artwork you can interact with, and actually USE, so it feels like a really cool accomplishment. & I was looking in game to find a really epic location for the Goldbrand treasure... and I looked and looked all over, but then, I saw a shiny spot in the distance, and I was like whoooa!! thats soo cool thats what I needed to find :D :D

Are you planning to bring more features of previous Elder Scrolls games to Skyrim?
Well, I've added Goldbrand (morrowind and oblivion), and shurikens were something Morrowind had. I have retextured the caves and forts to look ashen, or daedric... I want to make an Oblivion Realm, the Hell level that Oblivion had, It will look different, have a different art style to it, but it will be pretty sweet... if I make it.... its alot of work... I was hoping to have the constuction kit for this contest, but I do have alot of the needed things already half made, I think I will take a short break from modding Skyrim, and then come back and complete the ideas I had (they are pretty epic, I have like 6 pages of a notebook FILLED with writings lol, new ideas too, like some sorcerers got stuck in Oblivion, one in particular is super powerful and has daedric metal dwemer robots, hopefully with machine guns and rocket launchers, which I already made a rocket launcher now as I write this :D) (im releasing a collection of new spells/ throwing items soon and the dwemer rocket launcher) and many more new ideas...

Do you have any advice for others who would like to start modding?
There is ALOT of information available, I have most of my experience just by modding other games, and I’ve modded ALOT of games hehe... but, It is actually very easy to learn, once you get into it, it is very easy... modding without the creation kit is really something you would have needed to know about how to mod oblivion first... but when the creation kit is out, it should be a breeze. The first part of anything is an Idea

Thanks to CaoMengde777 for creating these mods and for participating in the interview.

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More Creation Kit tutorials

Posted by Xenius01 Feb 21, 2012 at 20:51 UTC
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Bethesda made a few more tutorial videos for Skyrim's Creation Kit. These last two videos explain how to add lighting to a dungeon and how to connect this dungeon to the outside world. The series has now come to an end, if you would like to start modding Skyrim, these tutorials are a good place to start!

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The complete YouTube playlist, containing 10 episodes, can be found here.

Once you have successfully created a mod you can use our packager to pack it up and then upload it to SkyrimForge to make it available for everyone.

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Mod interview with Recon3Y3z - Dragon Belly Home

Posted by Xenius01 Mar 16, 2012 at 18:15 UTC
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In today's mod highlight we will be featuring "Dragon Belly Home" a mod created by Recon3Y3z, who also kindly agreed to participate in our interview.

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If you're looking for a new player home outside of town, look no further! This mod will add a new home located under the Dragon Bridge. Special attention has been paid to make sure it fits seamlessly in the environment and does not look out of place.

In order to gain access to your new home you'll have to finish a quest first. What also makes this player home mod special is that it includes a new NPC complete with voiced dialog. The home itself offers crafting facilities including an enchanter, alchemy lab and more. Containers for storing your loot are available as well. There is also a garden outside where you can gather ingredients.

Find out more about the creation process of this mod in the interview below.

What inspired you to create this mod?
I love settlement style player homes and the location under Dragon Bridge is perfect. Right on the river, next to the road, and close to town but it still retains that seclusive feeling. Plus, I really wanted a settlement house that felt more like a vanilla house and not standout so harshly by contrast. Ensuring the mod is lore friendly and that things like plants and architecture respect their proper regions completes the experience for me.

How much time went into creating it?
At the time of releasing the current version of Dragon Belly (0.0.9), my Creation Kit usage was at exactly 100 hours. However, that time also included learning Papyrus scripting, navmeshing, and other Creation Kit features. Also, several hours were spent recording and editing audio tracks with Audacity.

Did you come across any problems while working on your mod?
The navmesh bug was going to be a showstopper. If Bethesda had not verified that the issue was going to be addressed, there would be no Dragon Belly. Another problem I had was the NPC facial data exporting issue, which required me to find a work-around to keep the mod Steam Workshop friendly and not have nasty facial texture issues.

How was your experience working with the Creation Kit?
Challenging and fun. I have nothing bad to say about the Creation Kit, it provides the tools needed to add complex custom content to the greatest single player rpg, imho. I'm so thankful that an experience like Skyrim and the Creation Kit exists at all. I’ll be modding till I take an arrow in the knee.

What did you like most about the development process of your mod?
I really enjoyed Papyrus scripting and found the Creation Kit to be an interesting way of developing object-oriented code. The landscaping work was also fun for me to envision natural scenes and apply them. But by far, the best part is all the positive comments and feedback I’ve received. To all my downloaders... hugz!

Could you tell us about any other mods you currently have in progress or planned for the future?
Currently, I'm expanding Dragon Belly to include an optional spelunking mission and offering purchasable home upgrades from an NPC in Dragon Bridge. After which I will start working on a minor faction mod or a unique shop mod I have planned.

Do you have any advice for others who would like to start modding?
Keep good backups, and manage file changes with version control (like mercurial). Test every change you make. Don’t be afraid to just dive in, all the answers are awaiting your questions. Personally, I pretty much relied solely on the Creation Kit wiki. I feel Bethesda is going the distance to provide the support resources needed to keep Skyrim modding alive and well for many years. Here’s hoping.

Thanks to Recon3Y3z for creating this mod and for participating in the interview.

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Mod Interview With ArcaneSmith - Lorecraft

Posted by Xenius01 Mar 28, 2012 at 20:46 UTC
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This time we are taking a look at "Lorecraft - Learn and manage smithing recipes", a mod created by ArcaneSmith, who also kindly agreed to participate in our interview.

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The mod significantly changes the smithing system: it adds new craftable weapons and armor, books to learn how to craft them and also makes it possible to clean up crafting lists.

Books can be bought from a smith, but will also be dropped regularly, so you can loot them as well if you don't like buying them. When you open a book for the first time it will teach you how to craft a certain item. After that you can also activate the book to remove or add this item to your crafting list, this way you can easily manage your crafting list.

The latest version of Lorecraft consists of a modular setup. For users of the mod this means they can choose from many available add-ons and only use the ones they like. This setup has also been introduced with other mod authors in mind: using the base of Lorecraft they can easily make their own mods compatible with the new crafting system.

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A new smithing perk tree is also available as optional feature. It adds missing materials to both existing perks and new perks. In addition it will give you more freedom after reaching the Advanced perk. For instance, this makes it possible to choose only the Dragon perk without requiring any of the other perks.

If you would like smithing to be more challenging, give this mod a try! Find out more about the creation process of this mod in the interview below.

What inspired you to create this mod?
Since day 1 with Skyrim I always wanted to make some image-based books with their new book interface and, at the same time, I was very disappointed with the crafting system and the crafting lists. I also wanted to add more craftables, make them learnable and not have them handed over to me by the game. As the firsts crafting mods came out I realized cluttered crafting lists would be a problem, so this is when Lorecraft came about, adding all the basic stuff and making it possible for other modders to release/ convert their stuff as lootable, learnable books, and not shove them directly into people's crafting lists.

How much time went into creating it?
About a whole month and I'm still developing it.

Did you come across any problems while working on your mod?
Stupid overlapping leveled lists, mostly. Fixed now with a new dynamic looting system, as my mod just went modular.

How was your experience working with the Creation Kit?
A breeze. Not so much with scripting. It's my first mod but I learned everything really quickly.

What did you like most about the development process of your mod?
Drawing book pages and developing the dynamic looting system.

Could you tell us about any other mods you currently have in progress or planned for the future?
I'm experimenting with random spawns, special and specific rare spawns and dynamic events for a possible next mod. Lorecraft is still under development and I'll keep releasing gear packs for it when I can(but everyone else can do it as well).

Do you have any advice for others who would like to start modding?
It's easier than you think. Read the tutorials and creationkit.com is your best friend. Bethesda's video tutorial are also pretty good. Don't skip the "easy" stuff, there's always something to learn that will save time in the future. Oh, and whatever happens, DON'T make little pony, porn or anime mods or God (or at least I) will hate you. XD

 Thanks to ArcaneSmith for creating this mod and for participating in the interview.

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