Mod interview: Kivan and Quarn

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For this week’s mod interview, by request of folks within our forums, I decided to talk with popular Oblivion modders Kivan and Quarn (real names Kevin and David). While they live about as far apart as one could imagine (Quarn’s in Australia, Kivan hails from Canada), they managed to put out some great work, particularly their Unofficial Oblivion Patch, which cleans up and polishes several elements of the game.

I asked the guys about the projects they’ve worked on, how they like to work, and more. Here’s what they had to say:

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Conquest Screens for Wii, PS2

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On Friday we released our latest Bethesda Softworks Newsletter. Along with touching on the Fighter’s Stronghold download and the Fallout 1oth Anniversary Contest, we also revealed some new screens for the PS2 and Wii versions of Star Trek: Conquest.

Today, the new screens are available on our Star Trek site. Three of the screens are from the PS2 release of the game. We’ve also got two new Wii screenshots up, including the one shown above, which offers a glimpse at how you can simulate combat within the game.

In other Conquest news, check out new interviews regarding the game on Armchair General and Star Trek Gamers.

Pete talks Fallout 3 with PlayStation Universe

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Justin at PlayStation Universe just let us know that he posted his interview with Pete on their site. Among other things, Pete answers Fallout 3 questions relating to VATS, how the game stands apart from Oblivion, and course, there’s some PS3-specific questions too (it is a PlayStation news site afterall).

Here’s a sample of what he had to say:

Q: How does the melee system in Fallout 3 exactly work? How will the VATS system focus its efforts with the melee system?

A: The goal is to balance the game so that you never have to fire a gun if that’s not the kind of character you are role-playing. So you can use different types of melee weapons in close range and use VATS to target body parts just like you can with a gun. How “exactly” it works is one of many things we are working on at the moment and it continues to get changed and refined until we feel like we have it “just right.”

To read the rest of Justin’s interview with Pete, just click here.

NPCs with Jobs Mod Interview

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For this week’s mod interview, I decided to ask folks within our Elder Scrolls modding forums who they’d want to see interviewed for the blog. It didn’t take long to get suggestions, and now I’ve got plenty of choices for future posts. Having noticed several requests to learn more about Sarkandar’s popular Oblivion mod, NPCs with Jobs, I figured he’d be a good one to start with.

Sarkandar, whose real name is Wouter Danckaert, lives in Hasselt, Belgium and is an application manager for a hospital lab. This November, he and his wife are expecting their first child, who they plan to name Martin Septim Danckaert (ok, I made that last part up).

How did you get started with this project?

I’m a MA in Computer Science, and did some specialization during my last year in the AI domain, as I was always interested in the matter. NPC with Jobs was already sketched out during my studies, it was codenamed “the mayor” back then. But as I couldn’t develop any graphics, the project never got further than a few c++ classes interacting a bit. Until I discovered modding last year. I didn’t even play the game that long.

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Conquest interview on Gaming Nexus

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Gaming Nexus put up an interview today with Star Trek: Conquest Game Director/Producer Frank Arnot. Here’s a sample of what he had to say:

Q: How will Conquest compare to previous Star Trek strategy games, like Armada, Bridge Commander, and Legacy?

A: Conquest is closest to a hybrid of Legacy and Armada. It’s less combat simulation, like Bridge Commander, and more space action combat with a strategy wrapper.

We’ll keep you updated as new coverage of Conquest comes in.

Gavin talks Fallout 3 with Gameshark

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With most of the big gaming events (TGS, Leipzig, E3) behind us, the trickle of coverage for Fallout 3 has subsided a little bit. That said, this week Gameshark was able to sit down with Lead Producer Gavin Carter to discuss a few items about the game. Here’s a sample of what he had to say:

Gameshark: The SPECIAL character development system from the first two Fallout games is back. How will it be different (if at all)?

Gavin: We’re using the SPECIAL character system and making few changes to it. The stats all play nicely with our gameplay design. For instance, Perception still feeds into seeing enemies and Agility still affects your action points, which are used for VATS mode. Any of the SPECIAL stats (as well as skills) can be polled in dialog and give you access to different options. Some perks also require a minimum score in a SPECIAL stat for you to use them, as well.

Head over to Gameshark to read the rest of the interview

Fallout Community Q&A Arrives

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As many of you know, we announced a community Q&A for Fallout 3 a couple of weeks ago. Since Blinzler was so eager to see a community Q&A, I put him in charge of compiling questions that YOU wanted to know about. Not an easy task, considering he (with the help of some folks he selected) had to filter through pages of suggestions in the forums, as well as look at stuff I forwarded from our inbox, and of course, this blog. Did I mention he did all of this while living through a hurricane? Big props to Blinzler!

So head on over to our Fallout forums and take a look at the answers that Todd came up with. Here’s a sample:

14. You have talked a lot about choices and consequences in the quest design. Are you aiming for immediate feedback, or long term (and possibly unforeseeable) consequences? In addition to moral choices, will different characters be able to tackle tasks using their different skill sets? [GhanBuriG]

It’s a bit of both, overall I think the player needs something immediate, or they don’t know if they actually accomplished anything, or felt what they just did had any meaning whatsoever. The longer term stuff is great to surprise the player with, whether it’s positive or negative, but if it’s a surprise, you need to be careful, because that can be frustrating, so you give the player another route, or simply treat the consequence as a flavor thing, and not a game-changing thing.

In regards to using different skills, most definitely, yes. We’re really pushing on that, and I think that’s the crux of the game – what skills you use, so each quest or goal of the player’s can be accomplished in different ways using different skills. Even in dialogue we’re using a lot of different skills, depending on who you’re talking to So if you’re talking to a scientist, your Science skill may give you an extra dialogue option.

‘Daggerfall Memories’ Interview

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Back in 1996, we released Daggerfall, the second game in The Elder Scrolls series. In just a few months of working here at Bethesda, I’ve come to learn that it is a beloved title for many fans because of its depth and ambitious gameplay.

As a result, I often hear suggestions that the game should be remade. While that’s not something we’re really looking into (we’d rather focus on making new games), last week I had a chance to ask a few questions to Deathless Aphrodite (Daniele Brunengo) about his Oblivion mod, Daggerfall Memories: The Liberation of Cybiades — a mod that adds plenty of new content inspired by Daggerfall. Here’s what the Brunengo, a 36-year-old math and physics teacher from Albenga, Italy had to say:

When did you first get into the Elder Scrolls, and when did you first get involved with modding the games?

I’ve played all Elder Scrolls games except for Arena. Daggerfall got me involved as no other game before it. I’ve been hooked ever since. As far as modding goes, I took my first steps with the Morrowind Construction Set and released a couple of mods, but I didn’t really get into it before Oblivion.

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Continued Leipzig Coverage

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Thought I’d share a few links to some Leipzig coverage of Fallout 3 from the past week.

Spanish gaming site HardGame2.com seems to have enjoyed their screening of the demo at GC. The game walked away with their award for “Best RPG” on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. The game also captured their “Best Xbox” game award, as well as the “2nd Absolute Best Game in the Show” behind Mafia II. If you’re fluent in Spanish, you can also read Roberto Hidalgo Burgos’ preview that’s on their site. We’ve got a bit of it translated below:

“Even if at E3 it was barely shown, at GC we enjoyed an in-game demo of more than an hour, where Bethesda left us completely stunned in the same way they do about a year ago with Oblivion. Fallout 3 unites again in a title a wide and diverse gaming experience, with top-notch graphics, all wrapped with a rich and highly immersive background, promising dozens of gaming hours.”

In other international coverage, Scandinavian game site Game Reactor is hosting an interview up with Emil Pagliarulo in which Emil talks about his favorite elements of Fallout, some of the creatures that will appear in the game, and more.

Finally, back here in the states, GamePro writer Vicious Sid has put up his preview that covers some of the basics about the game:

“Just before the war, many sought refuge is massive underground bunkers called Vaults. Once sealed, the Vaults are sealed permanently — nobody enters, nobody leaves. This is the dark world of Fallout, a cult hit on the PC in the late 90’s and now an upcoming action-RPG from Bethesda Softworks, creator of The Elder Scrolls series.”

Update: Looks like there’s another Spanish preview up on Meristation. Time to head over to Babelfish.

The Imperial Library Interviews Dyus, Haskill

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Always ones to go searching for more info on Elder Scrolls lore, the guys at TIL skipped talking to the devs and went straight to the source (so to speak) in an interview with two of the more memorable characters in Shivering Isles. Here’s an excerpt:

TIL: Each of you, gentlemen, has resided in the Mad God’s realm for a long time. Haskill, as right hand of the Lord himself at New Sheoth; Dyus as keeper of… what is left of the library of Jyggalag. However, has either of you ever been to the Mortal plane? What is your opinion on a world full of personal choice?

Dyus: Personal choice is an illusion. I chose not to delude myself with it. However, I must admit that the quaint mortals of Tamriel have a distressing habit of interfering with the plans and plots of Daedric Princes. And quite successfully, I might add. It has given me a new respect for Lorkhan’s choice.

I have studied Mundus extensively, but have never set foot in it. My lord Jyggalag led me to believe that I would not find the experience…what was the word he used…oh, yes. Healthy.

Haskill: What need do I have to visit Tamriel? I have more than enough irritating mortals to deal with here. Excepting your delightful self, of course.

You can read the full interview here.