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First of three-day mod features, and exciting Curse Skyrim $15k giveaway update!

Posted by wishfire Dec 06, 2011 at 01:42 UTC

Today marks the beginning of a series of mod feature highlights, as well as an important announcement regarding our Curse Skyrim $15,000 giveaway!

Over the course of the next three days, we'll be featuring fantastic mods that not only improve gameplay, but help to immerse you even further in the world of Skyrim. To top it off, we've even got interviews with the authors themselves!

Arrowsmith - Simple Fletching


 

Starting off this week's mod feature is Arrowsmith – Simple Fletching. Mod author Samutz used some serious trial and error to come up with an excellent mod that allows you to create your own arrows at a blacksmithing forge – crafting them in bundles of 50 with the right items – letting your character live off the land.

 

With this mod enabled it feels almost as though fletching shipped with the game, as Samutz took care to make realistic recipes; with some only able to be crafted with proper blacksmithing skill perks or at Whiterun's infamous Skyforge.

 

Read on for some insight on how the mod was created, as well as a tutorial for how to create your own crafting recipes!

How did you create something like this without the toolkit being released?


Samutz<span style="font-weight: normal;">: I used the FallOut Mod Manager's TESsnip tool. With a little bit of tweaking, it can be used with Skyrim's master and plugin files, although with some limitations. After I figured out how to make my own plugin files, a lot of trial and error was needed to figure out what the different things did and how to make them do what I wanted.</span>

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What considerations did you take to keep it balanced to fit the game world?


Samutz<span style="font-weight: normal;">: The first version actually wasn't balanced and mostly a proof of concept release. This was because I was still only a few hours in to the game and hadn't seen the higher level items yet.</span>

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<span style="font-weight: normal;">The second release rebalanced the smithing recipes based on feedback I received from the modding community and based on my experience playing a stealth archer character.</span>

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<span style="font-weight: normal;">Since the second release, weaker arrows require cheaper or easy to find materials, while more powerful arrows require more expensive or rare materials, all while making enough arrows to last you a while so that you're not running back to town to make new arrows often.</span>

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Can you tell us about any mods you have planned for the future?


Samutz<span style="font-weight: normal;">: I don't have any more mods planned. The original idea was for Arrowsmith to be a proof of concept for other modders to expand on. So I released a tutorial on how to make smithing recipes (which you can find here) which other modders have used to make their own mods.</span>

Skyrim $15,000 Challenge Update


<span style="font-weight: normal;">Curse has an exciting second announcement to make about the ongoing Skyrim $15,000 challenge!</span>

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<span style="font-weight: normal;">The Items contest category has been the first category to hit the 35 submission limit! All this means is that we've given out our prize pool for the "Items" subsection of the contest. Any mods that are submitted that would fall under this category will no longer be eligible to earn the prize amounts listed on our Skyrim contest chart.</span>

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<span style="font-weight: normal;">That doesn't mean that you're entirely out of luck, however! </span>If the mod submitted would have been an eligible submission, it will be entered in our $3,000 grand prize giveaway<span style="font-weight: normal;"> so long as it's submitted before our deadline, January 31st.</span>

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<span style="font-weight: normal;">Keep those mods coming! We're excited to have already given out that much cash to authors. Thanks to all of you for sharing your hard work and creativity with us!</span>

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Curse Skyrim Challenge Update and Modder Interviews!

Posted by wishfire Nov 29, 2011 at 23:57 UTC

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We at Curse are proud to announce that our Skyrim modding community based on SkyrimForge.com is growing strong!

We have over 60 mods available for download on our Skyrim mod portal and many more being planned for development once the creation kit is released. We've already given out $5,170 to the creative and hard working authors participating in our Skyrim $15k Modding Challenge! That means there's still almost $7,000 just waiting to be claimed by authors who are up to the task, plus the chance of winning the $3,000 grand prize.

If you're interested in participating, head over to SkyrimForge.com and start uploading. Any mod that is uploaded before January 31st, whether it qualifies as one of the first 35 mods uploaded for that category or not, is eligible to win the grand prize!

Also, keep an eye on SkyrimForge.com for more information on Skyrim Curse client integration! The feature is about to head into closed beta testing and there will be more news soon.


 

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Below we have two interviews from two different perspectives of the mod author community!  

Nickoli002 has already submitted numerous retextures such as his Glass Weapon Set Recolor, and the removal of the Ebony armor smoke effect.  Kenneywings has become known for Lockpick Pro, a mod that allows you to pick locks with ease, and his Bethesda intro skip.  

Both are talented modders who have provided some insight into modding without a toolkit!

<div> <div>Has it been difficult for you to mod without the toolkit?</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>Nickoli002: Only to a certain extent. I have had to put some of my mods on hold since I cannot access the relevant files and have instead decided to do simple retextures/reskins of models in game. This is because it is very easy to access and identify the relevant files based on the item names and it requires relatively little knowledge to recolor/skin them for release.</div> <div>
</div> <div>KenneyWings: Difficult - no. It's a lot of work get everything working since you're basically 'hacking' into the games resource files so you're bound to miss files or classes to work with. I just had the right tools to work with (I'm a Flash game developer/designer) and that helped the process get along without any hitches.</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>Nickolo002, can you explain how you've been creating such high-quality textures? For example, your glass weapon recolors not only have tons of detail, but also fit in the world perfectly.</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>nickoli002: They are simply of the same quality of the originals, the creators did a great job with this game, and it shows in the model quality. Compared to them, I am merely coloring them with crayons! But I do extensive checking in game to make sure all of the model colors fit together, that there is no odd discoloration or errors. I also switch genders (via the “sexchange” command in console) in game to make sure that they work and fit on both male and female characters.</div> <div> <div> <div>
</div> <div>Can you explain how you are finding the individual texture files, and applying your new textures?</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>nickoli002: Well the first step is to identify what model you want. Once that is done I use FOMM (Fallout Mod Manager) to browse the .bsa files located in the Skryim folder. Weapon and Armor models (as well as all textures) are located in the Skyrim – Textures.bsa. So once I identify which .bsa I want to extract files from, I open in it FOMM and browse to find the item I want. This is done by either searching by name or simply browsing the categories on the left.</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>Once I find the relevant texture file I export it to a folder of my choosing. From there I open the .dds files in Photoshop with nvidia's DDS plugin. From there it is easy to modify the .dds file as with any image file. For the most part I am simply masking off each layer of detail that I want in Photoshop then overlaying custom color schemes, applying brightness/contrast, and change hues, etc. as desired.</div> <div> </div> <div>Once I achieve something I find decent I save the file as new .dds file, as well as creating new mipmaps in the process. Then I create the required folder structure within the Skyrim install directory and drop my new model there. Once the game is loaded, my new file is loaded instead of the one within the game and voila, you see the new color/model/etc. Then it is just back and forth between Photoshop and Skyrim to check model consistency, color, errors, etc.</div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div>
</div> <div>And Kenneywings, can you explain how you've been interlacing your mods so seamlessly with the UI? Design-wise, your "Display time on loading screen mod" is integrated so well by design.</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>KenneyWings: Well as I said, I'm a designer myself and over the course of years I've designed numerous of game interfaces so it wasn't a problem for me to take the Skyrim UI style and add onto it.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <div>Can you explain how you are finding things like the algorithms for your mod "Lockpick Pro"?</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>KenneyWings: While browsing the files I found that the data for the mod was in the game. I re-added in into the game and made sure it fit well with the rest of the UI.</div> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>For returning modders, do you believe Archive Invalidation is going to be needed as with past Bethesda games?</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>nickoli002: We will have to see if it is an issue as with past games. I don't know if they have fixed it or not, but since they never did with Oblivion (to my knowledge) I expect it will be needed.</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>Do you have any advice for modders who can't wait for the toolkit, and want to start modding now?</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>nickoli002: Sure. The biggest piece of advice I can come up with is to just get started on something. It's relatively easy, fun, and there are many tutorials on how to do it. If you need help there are many great places to start and it's never to late to learn. Obviously without the toolkit there are limitations but learning how to do modding, recoloring, and creating your own things is a fun trip, and very satisfying.</div> <div> </div> <div>KenneyWings: Unless you've had previous knowledge of Flash you might not want to start with modding the UI. Start with textures, sounds or data/strings. Those are all packed neatly in the game files and can be exchanged and altered without problems.</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>Are you planning on going back and revising any of your mods once the toolkit is released?</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>nickoli002: Oh yes, most if not all of them. I plan to make all of them separate entities and not just reskins (though I will leave the reskin versions of course). This is because some of the items have bad stats but look amazing, and I want people to wear items they like and not sacrifice game playability.</div> <div> </div> <div> <div> <div>KenneyWings: Depends on what the toolkit includes, I don't think it will include data or source files to change the UI but if it does I will go back and revise the mods. Data from Bethesda is always better than data I decompiled.</div> </div> <div> <div> </div> </div> <div> <div>My next project is a complete overhaul of the UI, completely made from scratch and not using any Skyrim files. The UI is going to closely resemble the default UI of Skyrim but it'll be tailored to the PC (not gamepads). You can see a preview here. </div> </div> </div> </div>
<div> <div>Thanks so much to KenneyWings and Nickoli002 for chatting with us! </div> <div> </div> <div>Don't forget to check out the latest Skyrim mods on Curse.com and upload your mod to be entered to win the $3,000 grand prize!</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> </div>
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Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Posted by Sixen Nov 24, 2011 at 21:33 UTC

Happy Thanksgiving to those that celebrate it, enjoy the time with your friends and families, and be safe on Black Friday. Enjoy!

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Curse Client Skyrim Support in Beta - Looking for Testers!

Posted by wishfire Nov 23, 2011 at 01:19 UTC
<center></center> Hey guys!
We're proud to announce that Skyrim and Oblivion will soon be integrated into our Curse Client! What we're looking for is a group of a testers who will be happy to grab this beta client and poke at every feature we have to give us as much detailed feedback as possible to make sure that this is the best product we could put out there! Both Skyrim mods and Oblivion mods are acceptable for this, so feel free to upload any older mods you may have created! We want you to test every aspect possible for the best variety of feedback. Features included in this beta test version will be:
  • Activation and Deactivation
  • Load Order sorting
  • Install and uninstall support
  • One click updates
  • Client-based addon discovery - Want more addons? Just click "Get More Addons" and select the proper game from the dropdown list!
Testing will begin <u>around Wednesday, November 30th</u>. Remember that this is just a first beta test as well; far more features are going to be implemented, especially ones that come from feedback from you guys! PM me, Wishfire, if you are interested!
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Skyrim First Week Modding Highlights

Posted by wishfire Nov 18, 2011 at 02:52 UTC

Want to mod Skyrim and don't really know where to start?  Featured below are four exceptional mods that really enhance Skyrim.  These mods all do something significant that really can make the game far more immersive.  You can find all these mods and more at our Skyrim Mod Portal!

Found in this featured list is a complete revamp of the world map that makes it even more useful.  There's also textures for Elven weapons, male characters, and even a work-in-progress retexture of Whiterun; making all of these elements even more beautiful than they were before that can help you customize your Skyrim experience for the better.  

We've also included links to their personal SkyrimForge.com pages, so you can watch for future updates or leave them comments!

Please remember that we will be doing many community spotlights such as featured mods and interviews among authors, so don't fret if you're not listed! If there's a mod in our community that you think should be featured next go 'round, please bring it to my -- Wishfire's -- attention.


<span style="font-size: medium;">World Map in Full 3D</span>

Mikanoshi has managed to create a mod for the world map that allows you to zoom in so far that you are virtually almost along the ground, able to explore areas in complete and full detail. And we do mean detailed: all NPC houses, landmarks, and everything else in the world is viewable on the map from any angle and distance you can think of.

There's plans to add even more functionality to support viewing the map indoors and in towns once the toolkit arrives.

Sounds too good to be true? Watch a video of the map in action here, where you can see Riverwood in full detail! 


 

Elven Weapon Retex Pack

Weapons in Skyrim, especially Elven, were already quite pretty. However, TrueChaos137 has created six special textures to make all the various Elven weapons even more gorgeous, vibrant, and detailed. To top it all off, he's even taking requests for more colors!

With Gold, Silver, Blue, Red, Light, and Dark retextures to choose from for every weapon type, there's certainly something for everyone in this pack. These crisp, colourful textures bring the Elven weapons to life, and up to speed with the rest of the beauty of Skyrim.  TrueChaos137 plans to expand his modding portfolio for Skyrim when the toolkit is released, with plans for Quests, Dungeons, and even all new weapons!

The above screenshot of one of the greatswords the mod updates with the Dark retexture, far more dynamic and vivid than the original.

 

<span style="font-size: medium;">Chris2012's HQ Texture Pack Whiterun (WIP)</span>

While a work in progress, graphic artist Alin Cristian from Romania -- known on Skyrimforge as Chris2012 -- has already reworked approximately 60 of the most encountered textures in Whiterun, and it's most certainly noticeable.

Redrawing the textures at up to four times the original resolution, this mod makes Whiterun look sharper with even more detail while still keeping the original feel that the city has. The most commonly encountered textures have already been reworked with more (and varied!) normal and specular maps, and the mod will be further updated eventually supporting all of Whiterun's textures.

Below is a shot proving just how much attention to detail this author has. Even more screenshots, as well as comparison shots, can be seen in the screenshot section of his mod. 

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<span style="font-size: medium;">I Wash - New Skin for Skyrim</span>

Aed3 has gone and retextured the male characters of Skyrim, removing whatever aversion to water they may have had.

This mod removes all the dirt, moles, bruises, insects, zits, and ingrown hairs on each and every playable male character in the game, making their skin nice, clean, and smooth. The best part about it is that the textures are high quality, and male characters still completely fit into the game - now ready to adventure all squeaky clean.

Above is a screenshot showing off a Redguard's fresh makeover.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out all the fantastic mods we host at our Skyrim portal!

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