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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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.
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…
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.
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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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.
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.
Today’s Q&A is with Bruce Nesmith, our Director of Design. I first met Bruce over a decade ago working here at Bethesda (pre-Zenimax). I remember Bruce and Todd Howard shared an office together back then. Bruce did a lot of system design and also worked on the Thieves Guild in Oblivion.
What’s your job at Bethesda?
I am the Director of Design, and a Senior Game Designer. It sounds cooler than it is.
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So a while back Joel did an interview about modding Oblivion and answered a host of questions from Oblivion Mod site Silver Rose Studios.
They’ve sent over a host of additional questions for Joel and they posted the entire interview today. Here’s a snippit:
1. What exactly are your duties? Do they include more than just object placement and interior design?
Level design is a little different at every company. Ultimately, we’re responsible for the player’s moment-to-moment experience, particularly in combat spaces, so we handle the layout, scripting, and population of an area. Artists get involved polishing some of our clutter placement and lighting, and quest designers handle scripting where it’s relevant to their work. We also do some writing; things like notes left by previous residents, usually where they include some hint at the backstory or gameplay of a space.
Their server is undergoing maintenance and the site can be hard to load right now, so head over to the Silver Rose forums to read the full interview.
If you haven’t been looking around, there’s some interesting coverage for Fallout 3 this week…
Apparently there will be an interview with Emil on GameTap this weekend (I’ll update the blog when it surfaces). This morning, ActionTrip posted an interview with Lead Producer, Gavin Carter. Here’s a quick look at it:
ActionTrip: As we understand, the team is also keeping itself busy with balancing combat in the game. If you can, please tell us about the advantages of V.A.T.S. Do you think hardcore RPG fans will enjoy the cinematic aspect of it?
Gavin: A big advantage is that during VATS mode, time is paused and you’re given a wealth of information about your situation. Every targetable enemy and object is highlighted and you can pan around and get a sense for where things are coming from. For each individual target, you can see their overall health, and the condition and the likelihood of landing a shot for each body part. This is the part that I feel separates VATS from standard “real-time with pause” systems in that it gives you information to base a tactical choice on. You may find that you have a high chance to hit a mutant’s torso, but then you notice that landing one more risky shot to the arm will cripple him, severely reducing his ability to aim. Recently I’ve been replaying Oblivion and find myself hammering the VATS button unconsciously whenever I get jumped by an enemy.
Elsewhere this week, Eurogamer has followed up their E3 preview with an interview with Pete from last week’s GC in Leipzig:
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