Skyrim Modding Interview — Mike Hancho

We would like to welcome to the Bethesda Blog Mike Hancho — commonly known by the forum community as Balok, creator of Helgen Reborn for Skyrim. When he’s not too busy rebuilding Helgen, Mike is an Operations Manager for a construction company in Clemmons, NC.

Recently we caught up with him to discuss Skyrim modding…

How did you get involved with modding?

It all started with a radio! I loved the “Built for the Future” mod for Fallout 3 and wanted a radio near all the lockers I used to store my gear. Getting started, I was completely overwhelmed and not a little bit lost, so I went through the basic tutorials and figured it out from there. Since Fallout 3 was my first Bethesda game it eventually led me to the official Bethesda forums where I learned about Oblivion. I bought it and spent the next year playing it.

I made a couple of unreleased mods that I used for my personal enjoyment and then Fallout: New Vegas came out. After playing it for a while, I decided to write and build my New Bison Steve Hotel and Afterschool Special mods. Then I joined the Boulder Dome team and built all the interiors for Inner Boulder including the Haunted Toy Store as well as Harcort Positronics and the Android Manufacturing levels. That led to Skyrim and here we are!

When I think of Helgen Reborn, the first thing that comes to mind is Oblivion’s popular mod, Kvatch Rebuilt. Do you view this mod as a spiritual successor?

In all honesty, no, not really. Although I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the name alone drew some attention to my project because of the popularity of Kvatch Rebuilt. In the beginning Helgen Rebuilt was a sort of working title, but I discovered someone had already uploaded a mod by that name. However, by this time I was well into development and into my closed beta test, and several of my testers liked my suggestion of using Helgen Reborn as they felt it was truly Reborn when it was finished, so I stuck with that. If anything, I see Helgen Reborn as the successor of my New Bison Steve Hotel and Afterschool Special mods for Fallout: New Vegas. I learned enough techniques building those mods that I felt confident enough to try something a little more ambitious. And since I like taking things you guys leave destroyed and turning them into places that are once again useable, Helgen was the obvious choice for my next project.

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Draugrs invade Dragoncon & PAX

Normally you expect to find Draugrs lurking in dungeons and tombs of Skyrim. This weekend a pair made their way across the country.

Skyrim fans Bill & Brittany Doran made their annual trip to Atlanta’s Dragoncon dressed as a pair of Draugr Deathlords. Taking advantage of the long weekend. we were fortunate to also see them on the final day of PAX Prime in Seattle. They posed for [many] pics, checked out The Elder Scrolls Online, and were nice enough to talk to everyone about their costumes.

Be sure to check out Bill’s blog, Punished Props, for an extensive look at the countless hours spent creating the Draugrs’ weapons, armor, and body suits. And as a bonus, see the costumes in action in the video below.

Around the web

Taking a break from QuakeCon prep, here’s some of our favorite recent stories from around the web, including fan videos and amazing mods.

Last week at PAX Australia, Wade K. Savage debuted his Fallout: New Vegas tribute — Fallout: Lanius. The teaser is already up, and a recent tweet from Mr. Savage indicates we’ll be seeing the full film online very soon… we can’t wait.

Elsewhere, the newest Fallout: Nuka Break fan film from Wayside Creations has made it’s way online. Watch the 25-minute Fallout: Nuka Break – Red Star on the MachinimaPrime YouTube channel.

Looking for a video with more Skyrim flavor? Kotaku recently posted about TheDangerousBrew’s new fan flick, Journey’s End.

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It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s Tyrannicon!

I still haven’t had a chance to see Man of Steel (starring Skyrim superfan Henry Cavill), but I now have the ultimate primer to get ready.

From Tyrannicon, the animators of popular videos like Skyrim: 300 comes Skyrim at the Movies: Superman. The fan film created for Nerdist features memorable moments from the original four Superman films — yes, even Superman IV’s Nuclear Man belting out, “Destroy Superman!”.

Watch in the embed up, up and at the top of this post.

Prepare for the morning

The best part of waking up… is Vault Boy in your cup!

A couple weeks back I caught this Kotaku post showcasing 3D Latte Art from Kazuki Yamamoto. Thoroughly impressed, I jokingly tweeted from @Fallout that we’d love to see a Vault Boy version.

Word must have gotten around as we’ve spotted a foam version of Vault Boy this week on Reddit, Twitter, and other social media sites.

Thanks Kazuki!

Skyrim Modding Interview – Soolie

It’s been a loooong time since we did our last modding interview on Bethesda Blog, but I thought it was something that would be fun to bring back.

This week we’ve Scott Chaunce (aka Soolie). A college student hailing from Tasmania, Scott’s gotten some attention for his popular Tropical Skyrim mod…

What compelled you to create this project? Do you live in a cold weather area and needed a vacation?

I guess I never really ‘decided’ to create this project, it sort of just happened.  Before I started work on it, I had always wanted to play through a tropical/desert climate in an Elder Scrolls game.  Because I enjoy creating new environments and landscapes, I decided I might have a go at creating a few small tropical islands and deserts just for fun. However, I started to get a little excited about it, and I wanted to see results before I had even started.  So, to satisfy the little part of me that just wanted to know what it would look like. I quickly made up a few desert textures and applied them to the tundra area. I then launched the game, turned the grass off and what I saw surprised me.

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