Mod interview: Neither shaken nor stirred

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Our Elder Scrolls mod interview series resumes this week as we chat with Bond, not James Bond. Retired and living in the “Show Me State” of Missouri, he mods Oblivion in his spare time.

How did you come up with your nickname? Does it have to do with your martinis being shaken or stirred?
There I was with a blank to fill and my fingers hit those keys. This Bond can’t tell the difference between shaken and stirred. I prefer it crisp as an icicle at the North Pole.

How’d you get started with modding games?
I’ve been playing computer games since they were text based. I have always “hacked” into the game mechanics to suit myself using hex editors and other means. Morrowind and Oblivion with their excellent Construction Sets made that process easy and enjoyable.

Most of the mods I’ve seen of yours are for Oblivion. Do you mod Morrowind as well?
I came quite late to Morrowind and there were lots of mods and resources already available. I found a mod site when I looked for information on updating Morrowind. I didn’t know what a mod was, so I didn’t download any at the time. I completed Morrowind and loaded Bloodmoon. I needed a house so I found Belladonna Ranch. It worked perfectly so I became an avid downloader. After exploring Korana’s “Solstheim Castle”, I became a modder, but only for myself because mine didn’t actually add much to the game that was not available from someone else. I also used resources like crazy, which greatly inflated the mod size. I attribute my inspiration to mod to Korana and that fantastic castle.

Since many of your mods deal with housing and architecture, have you considered a professional career in that field?
If someone should offer me big bucks, you can bet I would consider chucking retirement.

Your Star Ship Orion mod won the “Hovering Homes” contest over at ORE? What was your inspiration for it?
It is a simple parody of Star Trek, though I did take some pains in making the characters resemble the series characters. Captain Riccard, I believe, does resemble Captain Picard. The ship has a diverse complement of 70 busy npc’s to bring it to life and the mix of races in harmonious interaction mirrors the original author’s intent.

Since it has a bit of a “sci-fi” edge to it, let me ask, what’s your take on making mods that break out of the Elder Scrolls lore?
With Oblivion, the Construction Set, and a few free or inexpensive utilities one can create graphic worlds and populate them in a few days. For sheer creativity that combination is superior to having expensive tools such as 3ds Max and Photoshop both put together.

That said, I make it a rule to change nothing in the gameplay. I simply use the game as a canvas on which to paint fantasies. My houses, other than glitz, offer nothing different from most other modded homes. I even avoid using scripts, unless they are necessary to the mod’s function, even though I can use scripts. My portable tent uses Treleth’s script, but it was necessary.

If Bethesda was to take open world games to another genre (other than fantasy and post-apocalyptic) where would you like to see it go?
I have immensely enjoyed this series and would like to see at least one more game in this genre. I hope you are all working on that right now. I anticipate the need for something new to mod in the not distant future.

What kind of games do you play when you’re not modding?
I tend to play one game at a time and that right now is Oblivion. By changing one’s starting character it is endlessly playable. I have a variety of characters in various stages of development. One has completed both Oblivion and Shivering Isles. I’ve left him to cool his heels at the Passwall Adventurer’s Club. He may be planning a coup on Ocato.

What would be your one game to play (not mod) if you were on a desert island?
I’m assuming I would be marooned and alone. It would have to be Oblivion. It is easy to identify with one’s PC and become acquainted with other characters. It would provide a bit of companionship.

From the Elder Scrolls community, which mods have impressed you the most in the past year?
The Elder Scrolls community is blessed with many excellent modders. I am particularly impressed by those selfless modders who create and make their resources freely available to the community. There is now a long list of such individuals; they have expanded the possibilities enormously, and continue to produce ever more diverse and sophisticated resources. I couldn’t mod without them.

Any new projects that you’d like to promote here on the blog?
I’m currently working on a modern exterior home and there is a thread available with screens to follow the project at ORE. Registration required, but it’s a very friendly forum and everyone is welcome.

Here is a look at the kitchen. The house features two floors above ground with full vision of the outside world, and a floor below ground. The kitchen has fully functional modern cabinets, appliances and lighting. A modern bathroom with an aquarium that takes an entire wall, an elegant drawing room, a grand dining room and the largest swimming pool in the game. It has lots of new furniture, art, and other features. It is a very upscale house.

If you had no limitations, what kind of mod would you make?
I would make a new end game for Oblivion. Something I had hoped Bethsoft might do for us. As it is the game ends with a vacant throne and no heir, so there is bound to be a war among the nobles and perhaps the princes from surrounding provinces. It is an idea rich with possibilities. It would be filled with intrigues, diplomacy, and alliance building as various factions jockey for supremacy. The Champion of Cyrodiil should be pivotal and either support themselves in contending for the throne or throw in on the side of someone they wish to support for the position.

Ocato, who considers himself de facto ruler would use the legion and any noble houses to support his bid. I would probably attempt to garner support for Savlian Mattius for Emperor. That’s an add-on I would gladly buy, because I do have limitations, and my meager skills would never produce that mod.

Reader Comments

  1. Love the interview and love all your mods, Bond. You are an absolutely great modder, your mods have certainly set a new standard in Oblivion house modding. :)

  2. …and on top of that I can’t remember when I’ve met a nicer more pleasant person. Thanks for being so much more than a good modder, Bond. I would call you a role model but that term seems to offend these days so how about… an inspiration. Thanks for submitting to scrutiny and allowing the community to get to know another great member.