Elder Scrolls Modding Interview: Nicoroshi

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Welcome back to another edition of “Getting to Know Your Favorite Elder Scrolls Modder (that GTKYFESM for short). This week we’ve got an interview with Nicoroshi that I conducted about a month ago. Nicoroshi loves building and creating — whether it’s at his job as a metal worker, doing woodwork and welding, or working on mods for The Elder Scrolls.

About a year ago, you did an interview with Planet Elder Scrolls. Since then, how have you changed as a modder?
Honestly I have slowed down a bit in my rate of creation. Now I tend to focus more on details. Rather than be overly excited about sharing what I created, and releasing the mod before it was done to my satisfaction. I use it myself, and send it to friends for a couple of weeks. This patience I have learned gives me more time to try different textures, modify parts of a mesh that may have bothered me, or consult friends for opinions from their playtesting of the mod. Having to release updates on four different sites (when things were done the old way) took up a bunch of my scarce free time. Waiting a bit while using it, and asking friends to play test for me has saved me from that. This method has allowed me to release a better more complete mod in version 1.0.

I have also learned more modding skills since that interview. My UVMapping, and texture creation have greatly increased allowing for more detailed items in game. I have also improved in deciding where a good bump map could replace extra vertices in the mesh. A prime example is Wyrmfang. 80% of the details on the crosspiece were done through the texture, and bump mapping  allows me to keep the final poly count of the model to 4143. My scripting ability has also increased. Through the help of Hobbs, Visman, and Katalysis, I can now write working scripts for my own mods. This was something that was beyond me not too long ago. It allowed me to bring auto-equipping arrows to Nicos Kynareth Archery, and dual crossed blades on your back when un-equipped for Nicos Scimitars. My thanks go to them for sharing their knowledge, and helping me to make better mods.

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What projects are you currently working on?
My current project is a sword with quest to obtain it. Once again I am expanding on what I know by creating something unlike anything I have seen released thus far. I don’t want to give too much away about it, but I can tell you that I was inspired by the Tribunal quest to rebuild Trueflame, and by the Holy Cuteblade. Perhaps I have already said too much…oops.

Recently, my daughter expressed interest in doing some voice acting after being a constant companion during the creation of Arrows of the Ayleid King, in which both my wife and I did voice acting. My daughter is full of wonderful ideas, and one of my major inspirations when I mod — along with the fact that she’s really good at voice acting. Because of her interest, I’m casting her as the quest giver. There is still much work to do, although the concepts are almost complete. It should be fun to create another mod with her not only by my side, but helping with the content too. Modding in my house has become a family affair with all members offering suggestions and opinions on the things I am creating.

Outside of your own work, what projects are you looking forward to?
I have to admit that I am not as active in the community or on the forums as I once was due to real life leeching my free time lately — so I may not be aware of some projects in the works.

I have talked with Divine Avenger recently about the Predator mod which interests me. I very much liked the Predator mod for Morrowind, and am looking forward to seeing it converted for use in Oblivion by that team of talented people. I am also looking forward to seeing some of the people I have helped (or spurred on) release mods. It’s gratifying to spread the addiction that is Oblivion modding. :)

A lot of your projects relate to weapons. What’s your favorite one you’ve done?
A favorite would be hard to choose as I still have every mod I ever created as part of my personal game, and use most all of them from time to time. If I had to choose I would say Nico’s Scimitars. The swords I created are based on the ebony scimitars from Tribunal (my favorite weapon from that game), and they came out exceptionally well — thanks to input from my friends (scripting cleaned up by Katalysis, and dual crossed blades on the back idea by Ogramirad). I love the dual back sheathing of the blades on my current character. Their shape, color, and implementation fit her persona perfectly, and they are her main close combat weapons.

I’m scared to ask, but do you have any weapons like these at your house?
I do own one sword, although it’s not as nice as some of the models I have created. It’s a leather wrapped hand-made Katana I bought long ago. Now I’m more into collecting pocket knives and tools rather than swords or axes.

Any recent books/movies/games that have inspired some of the weapons you’re working on?
Although I love reading, catching the occasional movie, and gaming, I tend to work on one project at a time, and have tried recently to create unique things rather than copies of existing items.

Basic concepts for items tend to come from something I have seen. An example being the Elven bows from The Lord of the Rings movies. The last two bows I created — Nicos Tabaxi Bows and Nicos Kynareth Archery — evolved as they were being created. I started with a basic idea for the shape and size of the bow. I then modeled it, and started modifying the model until I was happy with the shape, and lines of it. They almost take on a life of their own during creation when I am not trying to duplicate something I have seen elsewhere. Both of those bows turned out far different than my original vision for them, though I think they both have the lines and feel I was going for when I started. They are truly from the mind of Nico.

Does your interest with the Elder Scrolls center more around the fantasy setting or the type of game it is?
Both. I played D&Ds when I was much younger, and have always loved the fantasy worlds of books, games, and movies. What really drew me into The Elder Scrolls series was the gameplay. Here was a game that had swords, bows, trolls, goblins, and all of the other things I loved in a fantasy world but was non-linear. I don’t have to finish one quest before I am allowed to do something else. I can go anywhere I want anytime I want to, and play the game however I choose. It doesn’t matter if I complete the main quest….Ever! I think I’ve  died and gone to gaming heaven. Now to top that Bethesda releases a Construction Set for it that allows me to create my own content. Somebody please pinch me…I must be dreaming! Then there is a whole modding community that all make mods, and upload them world wide for everyone to enjoy adding to their own game for free! I have found gaming Utopia. I have many other games installed on my computer, but I still come back to Oblivion and Morrowind more than any other for these reasons.

Do you think you’ll play Fallout 3?
No. It’s not really the kind of game that I would play. Post nuclear holocaust setting is not something that interests me.

What would you say your modding strengths and weaknesses are?
My modding strengths would include modeling, texturing, NifSkope usage, and basic CS usage. Things I still need work on would include scripting, quest creation, rigging, and advanced CS usage (although I have a basic knowledge of all these as well).

If you ever think of an idea that’s out of your comfort zone, do you pitch the idea to other modders?
I certainly would. In fact, I have an idea that I would like to pitch to Bethesda for their next Elder Scrolls game. The reason I choose to pitch to you rather than the talented modders is I believe this would require more than modders for Oblivion could accomplish on the scale I envision it to be.

I loved the “Through a Nightmare Darkly” quest in Oblivion, and the craziness of Shivering Isles. I always thought that sleeping in Oblivion was kind of a waste just watching the counter run down. Having no reason to sleep broke the role play aspect of the game for me. I love mods like Real Hunger and Real Thirst because of what they added in that respect. I see a opportunity to give the player a reason to sleep in the game. First make sleeping mandatory along with eating and drinking. Have the player enter a dreamworld whenever he/she sleeps. Leveling would occur in the dreamworld separate from the waking world as well as what items would be in their inventory. There could be similar places, and NPCs from game world as in the waking world (using the same models) but different quests, and different governing attributes as well.

An example would be the ability to somewhat control the outcome of the dreams as levels increase or the ability to fly or float at higher levels. I think it would make for a unique experience having basically two games going at once, and spending time between both. One could decide how much or little they wished to sleep (min 2 hours/ max 16 hours per night) depending on which game play the player liked better.

Creatures (and their AI) could differ as well between dreaming, and waking. Keep the need for a bed to sleep. The player would be swept away to a dream sequence upon sleeping but when the time of sleeping was over they would be spirited back to the place they fell asleep for return to the waking world. I see infinite possibilities of what to include in the dreamworld of this game, and it could even be based on the player’s infamy, fame or recent experiences (quest stages) from the waking world. Short dreamworld quests/ encounters based on the player’s own in (waking) game experiences creating a game within a game to create a completely unique gaming experience for the role player.

Interesting eh?

What other games are you playing these days?
I play COD4, and RB6 Vegas 2 with my clan at Firingsquad — although online multiplayer games are not my favorite. I play them mainly to have some fun with my friends. I still fire up Morrowind from time to time as well as the KOTOR games. Single-player RPGs are definitely more my speed.

Have you thought about a career in game development?
Yes, You’re talking about my dream job. Being a builder by nature, and creating mods for fun it would tickle me to no end to be making a living out of doing what I love.

Having done Sheet Metal for the past 21 years,  it’s kind of hard on the body. Although I am good at it, and run the jobs I work on, I wouldn’t mind a change in occupation to something that allows me to continue building, creating, and solving problems without the physical labor part of the equation.

Anything else interesting I’d like to share?
I am a builder by nature. I disassemble, repair and/or redesign, and re-assemble just about anything. I also enjoy woodworking, welding, and I play guitar. I am married to a wonderful woman, whom I have been with for the last 20 years, and we have two amazing children.

Reader Comments

  1. Hi Nico!

    Great interview. The dream sequence reminds me of a movie I saw about a girl in WWII I think. I believe it was made in Russia. I cannot remember the name but it was interesting how it was made.

    LHammonds

  2. Congrats on a great interview and on your “Creations”, Nico. It’s one of Oblivion’s best mods. And, again, congrats for getting your familly together on modding. I think that’s one of the dreams most of us gamers aspire to.

  3. The dream sequence reminds me a bit of how Soul Reaver was done (the original, not the sequels). The difference being, in Soul Reaver, you switched back and forth to achieve the same goal. Including what you propose to an ES game… would either double its size (compared to say, Oblivion or Morrowind), or make the playable world smaller.

    Having said that, if the dream world wasn’t something that occurred every night but somewhat randomly, and introduce it as an expansion, that would make it much more feasible, I’d think. Personally, I’d enjoy it – especially if there were incredibly interesting areas similar to the idea behind the pocket dimension house ‘The Nether’.

  4. I actually had a couple of different ideas on implementation. One would (as you point out) almost (as some of the same models, and textures could be used in both the dream, and waking worlds) double the game size.Although with advances in computer tech I only see that as more time spent in creation before release. The second would be dreams based on events happening in the waking world based on fame, infamy, or quest stages. ‘Dream sequences’ that could be played through much like the “through a nightmare darkly” quest. Something with a definite beginning and end but based on the players actions while there, and linked to the waking world happenings.
    I’m not sure about you but I have dreams based on my waking life all the time. ;)

  5. Maybe a good motion blur effect for the dreams would be in order (maybe with changing blur colors)? At least I think it would fit in well, considering that dreams are never quite solid, but more liquid and fickle.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting interview and keep up the good work!

  6. Awesome interview! It’s good to see some original minds in the ES modding community nowadays. Your modding quality is always something I find inspirational, which I thank you for it. Keep up the good work and good luck with your career! One last thing, what brand mind control did you use on your family to make them not only interested, but interactive with your modding? :P Great work!

    ~EWest

  7. @Nico

    I think the idea is an interesting one with a lot of potential. On a similar note, I tend to like history. Same world – two times periods (i.e. 3rd or 4th Era and the 1st or 2nd Era). For example, the Umbacano Questline to get the statues. Suppose you find a statue but it’s smashed (natural disaster or cave in at a ruin or what have you). Go back to when the Ayleid city wasn’t a ruin and get the statue from that time period, instead – say, just before the city was to fall due to attacking forces. (Something similar could be modded now with all the new models and textures the community have created.) Actions you take in the past though, could have repercussions to events in your own timeline. LOL. Just an idea and not one I would ever expect to be implemented. Your idea is more feasible.

  8. I love the motion blur idea although if it happened every time you slept (and sleeping was a requirement) some may be bothered by it’s blurred image. I envisioned something along those lines but without the blur. Sometimes when I dream people’s clothes change when I look away then back at them. Sometimes even who they are changes. This is the craziness I was mentioning in the interview. Dreams sort of make sense while not making any sense at all hence the infinite possibilities of the dream idea.
    Love the time travel idea also although having your past actions affect your present reality (from a game development point of view) would be rather tough to accomplish seamlessly.
    Seems I have inspired some really great trains of thought with that idea. It would be great to see some of them implemented in the next ES game. An RPG like no other before, and one I would certainly pre-order. :)

  9. A wonderful read, you are as articulate as you are talented.

    I have known you for quite some time my friend, I have watched your skills improve with each release and project you have shared. Never loose your desire for perfection and remember what matters most: Family. Now turn off the computer, grab the misses and the kids and go have some ice cream.

    Love you like a brother.

    Micky aka Buddah

  10. Oh I didn’t mean anything significant… little things. For example, if you open a secret passage in the past, when you return to your own time, the wall that held that door may have collapsed over time preventing you from leaving the ruin. To prevent the collapse, you’d have to travel back and shut that secret door so that it can sustain the stability of the wall for when you return. That kind of thing is what I meant. To change full scale events in your own timeline would be chaos to try and code.