Skyrim Team Diary #6: Hearthfire


Visit ElderScrolls.com to read the latest Skyrim developer focusing on Hearthfire’s development. Here’s an excerpt:

With Skyrim’s latest game add-on, players can build their own home from the ground up. Beginning with a small, one room cabin in The Pale, Falkreath, or Hjaalmarch, players can eventually construct a fully  functioning home with more features than you could possibly expect.

In many ways, this house-building process is analogous to the evolution of Hearthfire’s development.

Like Dawnguard, Hearthfire’s inception came out of Bethesda Game Studios’ first-ever “Game Jam”, a weeklong exercise where members of the team shared in-game ideas for expanding Skyrim.

Read the full diary here.

First Look: Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop (Updated)

Update:

The Creation Kit is on track for release on Tuesday!

The Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop (mods.elderscrolls.com) are nearly here! To get PC players ready for its release, watch our preview video and check out a new diary from Production Director Ashley Cheng.

Here’s Ash…

With each game we release — Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and now Skyrim — modders continue to use our worlds as a canvas to build the most incredibly creative and fun mods in gaming. The fact that Morrowind’s modding community is still going strong 10 years after its release is a testament to how essential our community is to the success of our games.

We’re big believers that if we go the extra mile and make our games as moddable as possible, the game will only be better for it. So the gameplay of “do whatever you want” extends to “make the game do whatever you want.” As we were building Skyrim and its tools, we made it a goal to try and keep the transition from our previous titles to Skyrim as smooth as possible for modders. More importantly, we want to make it easier for more people to enjoy mods. So we teamed up with Valve and created the Skyrim Workshop. We couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s turning out. Mods are a big part of what makes our games special, so we urge everyone to try it out. We’re going to keep looking for ways to get mods to more people, and hopefully one day to our console audience.

With Skyrim Workshop, you can browse and search for the latest or highest rated mods, subscribe to any that interest you, rate your favorites and post feedback. Once you’ve subscribed to some mods, start the Skyrim launcher and you’ll see your subscribed mods automatically download. The launcher will even check if a mod has been updated and grab the latest version.

If you want to try making mods (and we think everybody should), the Creation Kit will be a free download via Steam under Tools. The Creation Kit has lots of new features, including the ability to build archives. Plus you’ll want to check out the Creation Kit Wiki, our online documentation and help file, for more details.

Of course, you’ll still be able to use popular fan-hosted mod sites like Skyrim Nexus to find great mods to play. We did not change any functionality to exclude the way mods worked previously. We even added a few features to help out — for instance, custom INI files can now be packaged into mods so you don’t need to backup your INI files anymore.

And we’re not done. Neither is Valve. Give us your feedback on the Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop in our forums. We both have updates in the works, so give us your thoughts.

Big thanks to programmers Ken Cockerham, Mike Lipari, and Shannon Bailey for getting the Skyrim Workshop up and running with Skyrim. And special kudos to Joel Burgess (who originally brought up the idea of using Steam Workshop) for shepherding this process along the way.

We’d also like to give big shout outs to Valve. We are all big Valve fan boys. Thanks to David Sawyer, Josh Weier, Pieter Wycoff, Kurtis Chinn, Tom Bui, Alden Kroll and Jason Holtman.

Finally, we’d like to thank all the modders who volunteered to beta test the Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop. Your feedback has been invaluable.

We can’t wait to see your work!

RAGE Behind the Scenes: The Wasteland


This morning we’ve released part four (of six) in our behind-the-scenes look at RAGE. In this latest video, titled The Wasteland, the team at id discuss creating the world of RAGE, its variety of intense missions as well as co-op and multiplayer combat rally racing.

If you missed any of the other video, head to our YouTube channel to watch these

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Hunted Dev Diary – Know Your Enemy

Celebrating Hunted’s release date (June 1st in North America, June 3rd in Europe), we’ve got a new developer diary from design director Chris Keenan. In the diary, Chris shares details on Hunted’s main enemy type — the Wargar. These persistently nasty bad guys will attack you in a number of ways throughout your adventure. In this diary details their strategies and provides pointers on how to thwart them.

Take it away, Chris…

Every action game has a core enemy that the player fights consistently throughout the adventure. Some games have infantry soldiers, while others present drones that will feverishly attempt to prevent the player’s forward progress. In Hunted : The Demon’s Forge, the Wargar fill that role. Wargar BattleKnowing that the player will be fighting different packs of Wargar for much of their play experience, we made sure that the enemy behaviors prompted the players to change their play style depending on the type of Wargar that made an appearance. With Caddoc being a melee-focused player and E’lara’s proficiency in ranged weapons, we knew we had a challenge to create enemy AI that provided interesting situations for both of these player characters. For this reason, we broke the Wargar tribes down into multiple classes with drastically different behaviors. The main classes are melee Wargar (Soldiers, Warriors, Guardians and Zealots), ranged Wargar (Archers, Scorchers and Blastcasters) and Casters (Infected). Notice how these classes mirror the player’s abilities to offer challenges to different play styles.

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Brink Dev Diary #5 – Chris Sweetman on Audio Design

After a couple months on hiatus, our developer diaries for Brink return. This week Splash Damage’s audio director, Chris Sweetman, discusses his methodology for Brink’s sound design — covering everything from foley work to getting the perfect gun sound. And oh does Chris love gun sounds. If you’ve ever played the game BLACK (a game he previously worked on), you know you’re in for a treat with Brink.

Chris’ dev diary is accompanied by an arrangement he calls, “A Choir of Guns.” Watch it above.

Introduction

I’m Chris Sweetman, Audio Director at Splash Damage, and this developer diary is all about Brink’s sound design. What does an Audio Director do all day?  Well, I’m responsible for the quality of everything that is heard in our games, including music, dialogue, and sound design. This can be broken down into various areas, including in-game gameplay, cut scenes, trailers and tons of other stuff.

I work with composers on music and licensing, actors on dialogue, and myself on sound design.  I also have Simon Price – our dedicated Audio Programmer – working with me, without whom none of this would be possible.

Sonic Space

Having played many single player and multiplayer shooters, there was one thing that always concerned me­ – sonic space. In other words, how do you overcome the problem of having too many sounds all playing at the same time?  When you have music, gunfire, dialogue, Foley, explosions, and ambient sounds all going off simultaneously, you’re generally left with aural mush. This was a problem we were determined to solve when beginning work on Brink.

I’d made some progress working on BLACK with the Choir of Guns concept, but it was evident early on that with Brink’s focus on blurring the lines between single and multiplayer, we had to up the ante . We wanted every sound in Brink to be heard perfectly, whether it was a Molotov cocktail exploding, a mini gun winding up, or a heavy body-type player coming round the corner to stomp on your face. These sounds were only going to be heard properly with enough space in the audio mix. If you consider that it’s entirely plausible to have 16 players in the same part of a level, all triggering the same sounds, then the true scope of this challenge becomes clear.

Continue reading the diary on Brink’s official website. Brink is slated for release this Spring.

Introduction

I’m Chris Sweetman, Audio Director at Splash Damage, and this developer diary is all about Brink’s sound design. What does an Audio Director do all day? Well, I’m responsible for the quality of everything that is heard in our games, including music, dialogue, and sound design. This can be broken down into various areas, including in-game gameplay, cut scenes, trailers and tons of other stuff.

I work with composers on music and licensing, actors on dialogue, and myself on sound design. I also have Simon Price – our dedicated Audio Programmer – working with me, without whom none of this would be possible.

Sonic Space

Having played many single player and multiplayer shooters, there was one thing that always concerned me­ – sonic space. In other words, how do you overcome the problem of having too many sounds all playing at the same time? When you have music, gunfire, dialogue, Foley, explosions, and ambient sounds all going off simultaneously, you’re generally left with aural mush. This was a problem we were determined to solve when beginning work on Brink.

Fallout: New Vegas Official Strategy Guide Blog — The Legend of the Star: Required Reading About Collectibles

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Today we release the final New Vegas diary from the official game guide writer David Hodgson. Don’t forget that the guide, available in regular and collector’s edition flavors, are now available.

Here’s David once more…

Soon after you collect your first Sunset Sarsaparilla Star Cap — a strange and rare bottle top with a blue star emblazoned on it — you’ll begin to realize you’re going to need a Companion to weigh down with the hundreds of Collectibles this adventure yields. In this final Strategy Guide Blog, some of the finest rare items are revealed, along with information on the additional content contained in the limited-and-numbered Collector’s Edition.

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Fallout New Vegas Developer Diary #6 – The Characters (updated!)

In the final video diary for Fallout: New Vegas, developers and members of the game’s cast discuss the characters from the game. The final video features actors Ron Perlman, Matthew Perry, Wayne Newton, William Sadler, and Kris Kristofferson.

Watch all six video diaries here on our official YouTube Channel.

Update: We also have a new written diary from project director JE Sawyer.

Fallout: New Vegas Official Strategy Guide Blog — Cleaving Las Vegas: Enemies New and Old

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Tonight we’re pleased to share the fourth Game Guide diary from David Hodgson, author of the War and Peace-sized Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide. If you live in the Portland area, David has informed me he’ll be signing copies of the guide on Monday night at a GameStop at the Clackamas Promenade.

Here’s David (caution: some spoilers below)

Although it is possible to complete your New Vegas experience without personally slaying anyone yourself, much of your time exploring all the backwater settlements, chem-dens, and abandoned ghost towns involve tense interactions with entities that could best be described as “bloody entertaining.” The Mojave Wasteland is filled with a multitude of enemies ranging from the savage to the refined, and by the time you’ve pissed off a major faction or two, you’ll be craving a complete list of every single monstrosity, or faction enemy — along with their Level, Perception, combat skill abilities, favored weapons, and even the likely loot their corpses contain. The guide is an amazing place to find accurate information on those foes you’ll be cleaving, culling, or cutting. But who’s out there in the badlands, waiting to pounce?

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Fallout: New Vegas Video Developer Diary #5

We’re back this week with Fallout: New Vegas Video Diary #5. For this video, the team (plus Wayne Newton!) discuss the iconic Las Vegas Strip, and how Obsidian brought this unique and memorable (okay, maybe you want to forget what happens there) hotspot to the latest Fallout installment.

We’ll have one more video for you next week. And if you’ve missed any of the previous videos, head to our YouTube Channel.

Fallout: New Vegas Video Developer Diary #4

We’re back with the fourth video diary for Fallout: New Vegas. This time around, the developers at Obsidian Entertainment discuss how factions impact your adventures in the Mojave Wasteland. The video includes background details on the game’s three major factions — the New California Republic, Caesar’s Legion, and Mr. House.

If you’ve missed any of the previous diaries, head over to our YouTube Channel to catch up.