Today we’re chatting with Mr_Siika (aka Martin). A 25-year-old from Munich, Martin is a busy guy. He spends his days studying math AND working as a software developer. He doesn’t spend all his time in front of computers though. When he can get away, he enjoys swimming and hiking during the summer. He also enjoys skiing when there’s snow.
Check out the interview after the break.
How long after you first starting playing Oblivion did you become involved in modding? What compelled you to do so?
I think I downloaded Blender right after I finished the main quest. I saw so many amazing things in Oblivion, things that impressed me. The Pale Pass quest was one of first and I loved it. The secret passage, the ruins of a fortress (even though I later realized that every ruin looked like this one), the underground halls and the epic storyline behind that quest. So maybe that’s the very thing that triggered a desire to create more ‘epic’ places. And I soon realized that such places require special meshes that could not be found in the CS. So I started my Dwarven City mod project (I think it was March 2006). I never really got far with it, but I learned how to create static meshes, how to texture them and how to add collision to them. I even created my first creature back then. It took quite some time, but I learned a lot.
What would you say your modding strengths and weaknesses are?
I can do some basic scripting and I understand the code when I read it, but that’s about it. I’ve never made a quest with the CS in my entire life. And animation still is a mystery to me. I am a modeler and I can texure a bit.
Overall, how much of an understanding do you feel you have of the Oblivion CS?
I’m definitely not an expert with it. I use the CS to look at my creations. I know enough to get creatures, mounts, activators and statics into the game. I made my first contact with the CS with Morrowind. But I gave up soon because I did not see the potential. I don’t understand why I didn’t get into modding then, but perhaps it’s better that way. With Morrowind, you are much more limited when it comes to the level of detail for meshes. It probably would have been too frustrating for me. We’ll never know, I guess.
Do you feel like you learn more about modding by trying things out yourself, or by talking with other members of the community?
The latter. I remember CuteUnit’s round table threads were a great help for me. I would probably not be where I am now without CuteUnit, throttlekitty, and others who helped me a lot in the “early days.” Even today there are many things I simply could not have done without help from the community. That’s the reason why I want to give something back as well. Many modders out there have nice ideas but they lack the right meshes to turn those ideas into a good-looking mod. I’m always happy when somebody tells me that one of my resources was helpful to them.
Of all the projects you’ve worked on, what would you say you’re most proud of?
Always my latest project :). No seriously, it’s hard to tell, because I’m very proud of all my things. But the Dwemer Skyship will propably be my most important and most “different” mod. We’ll see.
Outside of the Elder Scrolls lore, what inspirations can folks expect to see in your work?
My most important sources of inspiration are: medieval Europe, Lord of the Rings (the films), and perhaps some Steampunk elements.
Griffon Fortress is a massive castle. How long did you and Centurion work on that project?
Difficult to say, but judging from my inbox, we needed about four to five months to finish it. I really enjoyed working with Centurion, he’s propably the best castle builder out there.
I created the first mesh for the castle six months before the release. Sounds like a long time, but I almost never work on one project alone. The fortress is still not complete, and I hope that I’ll manage to get a nice quest done for the next release.
You’ve worked on the NPC with Jobs mods. What has your role been on that project?
I got into contact with Sarkandar (head of the NPC with Jobs mod team) because he was searching for people who could create creatures for another project of his, Farmers Unite! So I made the chicken family and after Farmers Unite! was sort of merged with NWJ, I became a member of the NWJ-team as well. My job there was to create meshes for a farming town named Lutur and to build that town with the CS.
Later on I created meshes for other towns as well, and earlier this year I created an entire tileset for a new town that looks a bit like medieval lower-class Venice.
Oblivion is over two-years-old now. Do you feel like your time spent modding has increased or decreased?
Definitely increased. There’s hardly a week without new ideas, from time to time even requests come in and my old and new projects need attention as well. The thing is that I really like 3D modeling, especially now that I’ve reached a point where I can create almost everything I have in mind. That’s what it’s all about. It’s like painting — just in 3D. That’s what fascinates me and keeps me busy. I tried to explain it several times to my girlfriend, but she still does not see modding as a form of art — but I’ll keep trying.
Are you modding any other games at the moment?
Not at the moment, but I made some models for Strands of Destiny, a mod for the game The Witcher. You see I stick to the genre.
If you worked at Bethesda and could pitch your brilliant idea, what would it be?
How about a game idea? An Elder Scrolls game that takes place at the end of the first and the beginning of the second era — with some time traveling to a time where the Dwemer still exist. That would be cool.