Mod interview with Shawkab

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Today we will take a look at Hillside Home Quest, a mod created by Shawkab.

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While we are still waiting for the Creation Kit to get released various mods have been created that were thought to be impossible at this moment, like new quests and player homes. Shawkab’s Hillside Home Quest is one of those creations.

This mod will not only add a new player home to the game, but also a quest that needs to be completed in order to obtain it. So that means you will have to do a little more than paying a sum of gold to get access to your new home! It all starts in Breezehome, the player home situated in Whiterun. Before installing this mod, make sure you have the house fully decorated, or else the quest will not start. The quest itself will be more challenging than most quests in the game; due to the lack of any map markers you will have to do some exploration to complete it.

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


What was your inspiration for creating this mod?
The location was my main inspiration, I found it way before I knew anything about modding and wanted to have a house there.

How much time have you spent developing it?
Way too much... Everything needs to be placed individually, I found a few tricks to make it a little simpler for me but I think we're looking at around 40+ hours for this one so far, most of that was spent after I released the beta because of bugs, etc.

Did you come across any problems while working on your mod?
A lot, The problem right now is I can't create a NAV Mesh (Navigation Mesh,) which allows spouses/companions to move and live in your house, this is something I wanted to keep intact but I slowly realized how impossible it would be to keep in.
Since I released this mod I have had to recreate the entire thing from scratch, placing every piece of celery and every wall individually so that it could be in its own Cell (zone.) I also had issues with bookshelves, weapon racks, and mannequins which were activating oddly during a load... they're now working 100% for my 0.2 update.

Has it been difficult for you to mod without the Creation Kit?
I guess with my complaining so far it would seem so :)
It's hard, but I find it is the best way to learn. Things may be hard now but when they become easy, it will just seem that much easier for those who learned it the hard way after the construction kit is released.

What tools did you use in the development process of your mod?
TESSnip, FNVEdit, and a small amount of GECK to create a new Cell.

Are you planning to make any changes to your mod when the Creation Kit is available?
I still think I can make most of the changes before the CK, but after the CK I plan to add a Navigation Mesh which allows players to have their followers and spouses come in the house with them. I want to eventually code a house pet, or a personal maid, etc.

Could you tell us about any other mods you have planned for the future?
I like doing things that no one else does, pushing what is possible at the moment so I am always learning something. I have a few ideas for some quests, and more houses. When I learn something new I try to make something out of all I have learned.
Right now I'm working on a quest for thieves. It will include a underground passage under a major city, and inside the passage there will be ten chests. To receive the contents of those chests you will need to find the 10 keys that open the chests; these ten keys are hidden throughout the city. The keys can be somewhere as simple as a barrel, but as difficult as a Jarl's bedroom in a locked strongbox, or maybe even in the Jarl's pocket. You might even find notes leading you to some of the harder keys.

Do you have any advice for others who would like to start modding?
If you really love Skyrim, finish it first, then start modding. Modding can tend to taint your perspective of the game.
With that said, just jump in, it’s fun as hell and there are tons of tutorials and resources online right now, specially for texturing and modeling.


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

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Date created
Jan 06, 2012