Mod interview with SLuckyD

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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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Date created
Jan 23, 2012