This week we have a new modding interview with BGS forum member Sami Pesola of Canterbury, UK — otherwise known as CptJoker in the forums.
If you’re wondering about the pic above, it’s from his Enhanced Night Sky mod.
How long have you been a member of the forums?
For a couple of years, posting on and off and “lurking” as they say. I started out in the Oblivion Mod forum, looking for new mods to try and posting up my own. Since then I have stayed for the great community I found!
Do you remember what the first project you worked on was?
Real Lava, my attempt to improve on the depth of the lava I encountered while playing Oblivion. For all of its fine features, personally, I have to say that seeing the lava in Oblivion was quite underwhelming – to the point that it spurred me, right then and there, to quit the game and fire up the Construction Set for the first time. I just had to attempt a “fix” before I could carry on– my immersion depended on it! So like all mods I made it initially for myself, and later thought I might as well upload what I’d created in case others felt the same way.
For members that are just getting into modding, what would be your #1 tip for getting started?
Just go for it! There are loads of tutorials for modding Morrowind and Oblivion that are applicable to Fallout 3, and it’s a great way to get started into modding in general. The GECK comes with some intimidating options, but if you work through a good tutorial you can get the hang of it in no time at all. It’s certainly one of the most robust platforms to do in-depth modding that I’ve seen for any game, and considerably simpler than traditional methods of modding.
You’ve moved from modding Oblivion to Fallout 3. How’s that going so far?
It’s quite similar, which is just what I expected. All the things I learned in modding for Oblivion transferred almost directly to Fallout, and it made getting started a lot faster. I was impressed by the number of mods being released even before the GECK came out. Bethesda has a wonderful community behind its games, and it’s this great two-way relationship which makes Bethesda games so unique.
So which series is more your cup of tea — Fallout or The Elder Scrolls?
That’s a tough question… I’ve been a fan of the Fallout series longer than TES — when I first played Morrowind it was a revelation. In fact, I was overjoyed when I heard Bethesda would be making the next Fallout, having given up hope that I would ever see a real sequel to Fallout 2. It was like getting the best of both worlds! If I really had to pick though, I’ve probably enjoyed more about the Elder Scrolls games, even though I only started with Morrowind. But in truth I enjoy both for their distinct features.
Between Oblivion and Fallout 3, what are your three favorite projects you’ve worked on?
Real Lava, the minor texture mods I did for Fallout 3 (particularly the Enhanced Night Sky mod) and adding the grumbling sound effects to Real Hunger. The last is unique because it highlights what I see as one of the defining strengths of the Bethesda modding community — the willingness to share and be a part of improving the game in any degree possible. Real Hunger was created long before I even began modding, and by the time I started using it the mod had already gone through several revisions and authors. It had lain abandoned for some time — updated now and again by an intrepid immersionist (like myself) whenever a new food source was modded into the game — until I had the sudden flash (inspired by posts in Delte’s Immersion Thread) to add stomach grumbling sound effects to the text-based prompts. The response to this addition was so positive that it carries on in current revisions as the mod continues its journey from modder to modder. A small contribution, but I feel a worthwhile one.
Any other projects you’re currently working on?
I’ve been quietly writing material for some Fallout 3 quest mods that I want to get rolling. I feel like there are a lot of interesting storylines that could be expanded upon, and I’m hoping to fill in a few of the empty corners.
What other games are you currently playing/modding?
I’ve been playing a lot of GTAIV and Empire: Total War. I also play Armed Assault quite a bit, as part of a huge war-sim tournament called IC-ArmA (we fight a full combined-arms battle every Saturday.) You could say I have a passion for games that emphasize realism and immersion.
Favorite games of all-time?
Another tough question! I’m not even sure if I could give a definitive answer, but if pressed I would have to say the Civilization series. No other game has so brilliantly combined my interests in strategy and history with infinite replay value. I’ve probably spent more time with this series than any other. A close second would have to be Morrowind and Oblivion. Both have offered an unparalleled world of sword-swinging excitement that few have matched, and mods have only made them better! I would be remiss, however, not to mention other greats such as the Total War series, the Half-Life series, and those amazing LucasArts adventure games of yore.
Have you thought about a career in game development?
Oh yes, it’s very much in my plans — I just haven’t found the right opportunity yet!