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Skyrim Creation Kit preview

Posted by Xenius01 Feb 01, 2012 at 20:54 UTC
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Bethesda has released a video showing the Creation Kit in action. Check it out for a first look at Skyrim's modding tools!

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Read the diary from Production Director Ashley Cheng below for more information regarding the Creation Kit and the Steam Workshop.

Here’s Ash…

With each game we release — Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and now Skyrim — modders continue to use our worlds as a canvas to build the most incredibly creative and fun mods in gaming. The fact that Morrowind’s modding community is still going strong 10 years after its release is a testament to how essential our community is to the success of our games.

We’re big believers that if we go the extra mile and make our games as moddable as possible, the game will only be better for it. So the gameplay of “do whatever you want” extends to “make the game do whatever you want.” As we were building Skyrim and its tools, we made it a goal to try and keep the transition from our previous titles to Skyrim as smooth as possible for modders. More importantly, we want to make it easier for more people to enjoy mods. So we teamed up with Valve and created the Skyrim Workshop. We couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s turning out. Mods are a big part of what makes our games special, so we urge everyone to try it out. We’re going to keep looking for ways to get mods to more people, and hopefully one day to our console audience.

With Skyrim Workshop, you can browse and search for the latest or highest rated mods, subscribe to any that interest you, rate your favorites and post feedback. Once you’ve subscribed to some mods, start the Skyrim launcher and you’ll see your subscribed mods automatically download. The launcher will even check if a mod has been updated and grab the latest version.

If you want to try making mods (and we think everybody should), the Creation Kit will be a free download via Steam under Tools. The Creation Kit has lots of new features, including the ability to build archives. Plus you’ll want to check out the Creation Kit Wiki, our online documentation and help file, for more details.

Of course, you’ll still be able to use popular fan-hosted mod sites like Skyrim Nexus to find great mods to play. We did not change any functionality to exclude the way mods worked previously. We even added a few features to help out — for instance, custom INI files can now be packaged into mods so you don’t need to backup your INI files anymore.

And we’re not done. Neither is Valve. Give us your feedback on the Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop in our forums. We both have updates in the works, so give us your thoughts.

Big thanks to programmers Ken Cockerham, Mike Lipari, and Shannon Bailey for getting the Skyrim Workshop up and running with Skyrim. And special kudos to Joel Burgess (who originally brought up the idea of using Steam Workshop) for shepherding this process along the way.

We’d also like to give big shout outs to Valve. We are all big Valve fan boys. Thanks to David Sawyer, Josh Weier, Pieter Wycoff, Kurtis Chinn, Tom Bui, Alden Kroll and Jason Holtman.

Finally, we’d like to thank all the modders who volunteered to beta test the Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop. Your feedback has been invaluable.

We can’t wait to see your work!

Original article on Bethesda's official blog

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Curse Skyrim Challenge ends today!

Posted by Xenius01 Jan 31, 2012 at 22:33 UTC
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The Skyrim 15k challenge is ending today. Newly submitted mods will no longer be eligible for participating in the contest. So far over 170 mods have been uploaded to Skyrim Forge and the amount is increasing every day. <span style="font-weight: normal;">Thanks to all of you for sharing your hard work and creativity with us!</span>

The winner of the grand prize will be announced around the 3rd of February.

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Our Skyrim Wiki can be found here.

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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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Video highlight: Dovahkiin Hideout

Posted by Xenius01 Jan 24, 2012 at 20:52 UTC

For today's mod highlight we are featuring Shawkab's latest creation: the Dovahkiin Hideout.

This mod adds an enormous basement to all of Skyrim's player homes. The hideout is shared by all homes, it basically connects them, making it an interesting alternative to the existing ways of travelling. It includes plenty of storage room, a library, crafting facilities and more.

Nickoli002 has created a video demonstrating the mod, check it out below to see the mod in action!

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Skyrim - Mod Highlight - Dovahkiin Hideout

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You can find our interview with Shawkab here.

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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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