Around the Web: Podcasts and Opinions

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Here’s a few interesting reads I thought I’d share that I’ve come across in the past few days.

The latest 1Up Yours podcast brings up Fallout 3, as well as practically every Elder Scrolls game ever made during their community segment of the show. During the segment, which starts about 53 minutes into the show, the 1Up crew uses these games as examples in a few of their debates. Fallout 3 and Oblivion are brought up several times in a discussion about the “no name characters” and the choices your characters make in games. Later on in the segment, they also bring up the Elder Scrolls and Fallout in a discussion of how Japanese RPGs compare with western-developed RPGs like Oblivion. To download the podcast, head over to 1Up’s podcast site.

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February Hall of Famers at Planet Elder Scrolls

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Last week Planet Elder Scrolls honored its latest group of Hall of Fame mods. Per usual, for a mod to make their HOF, it must be available for three months, receive at least 25 votes with a score of 8 or better, and it must be downloaded at least 5000 times. This month, one Morrowind mod and three Oblivion mods met the criteria.

From Morrowind:

  • Widow Maker crossbow by Phijama: Adds a new crossbow, two crossbow pistols and a new bow to the game. According ot Phijama, the crossbows have “regenerating bolts added via scripted amulets in the shape of the bolts and the bow regenerates its own arrows.” Sounds cool.

From Oblivion:

Congrats to the new inductees. See you again for the March HOF entries.

Mod Interview: Dev_Akm

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This week we’re talking with Dev_Akm, whose modding days started with PnP projects like Dungeons and Dragons and GURPS more than 20 years ago. Now a systems developer and analyst in Austin, he spends a fair amount of his free time modding Morrowind and Oblivion (though he also is a fan of hiking, camping and listening to punk rock). Of course, that free time is in jeopardy. In addition to raising one daughter, he’s got another on the way.

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And the answer is: Morrowind!

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Lots of folks got it. It was an easy one. Thanks to everyone who posted a guess for Name That Sound!

The answer is The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The sample is from Morrowind’s gorgeous soundtrack by Jeremy Soule. It is my personal favorite track from the game – mx_explore_7 – and I, too, have the soundtrack for Morrowind (and Oblivion) on my Iphone.

I promise to make the next one tougher.

Here is the entire track for your listening enjoyment:

Guinness reveals Elder Scrolls records

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Not too long ago, I found out that Guinness – those guys that determine the world’s tallest person, longest fingernails, and the most t-shirts ever worn at one time, were coming out with a new book that shares videogame records. While it’s not the first time Guinness has recorded videogame records, it’s their first book devoted completely to games. To help create the book, Guinness worked with Twin Galaxies, who have been recording pinball and videogame records for years.

The book, Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition, just recently went on sale (I got my copy in the mail two days ago), and it even features two pages on the Elder Scrolls series. I won’t spoil the whole book (soon to be a staple in my bathroom library), but here’s a few tidbits I thought I’d share:

  • Daggerfall has the largest land-based game area at 63,125 square miles.
  • Daggerfall is also listed as having the most NPCs (non-player characters) in any RPG with 750,000.
  • The fastest play-through of Morrowind was done by Vladimir “Knu” Semenov at 7 minutes, 30 seconds. Kudos to Freddo for pointing this out a month ago.

Who knows, maybe there’s a record out there waiting for you to break it. My new goal is to beat Brian Sulpher’s record for highest margin of victory over an AI opponent in a basketball videogame. In Tecmo Super NBA Basketball for SNES, he beat the computer by 331 points. If the Pistons could score 186 points in a real-life NBA game, maybe I can pull off my own magic with their virtual counterpart.

Featured Mods at the Oblivion Files

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Visiting the Oblivion Files, I noticed they’ve updated the “featured mods” on their main page.

In the “featured armour” department, AlexScorpion’s Adamantium Battlesuit is pretty sweet. After reading about it, it took me several mintues to figure out what famous character used armor like this. I asked my friend at Bungie if it had anything to do with Halo…no dice. Then looking at the armor pics, I started thinking maybe it was the body suit Raiden used in Metal Gear Solid 2. Wrong again. Finally, I came across a Wikipedia link that revealed Wolverine’s skeletal makeup and claws were adamantium. I knew I knew it from somewhere. :)

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Oblivion theme performed live

Thought I’d share a cool video that was pointed out to me. As you can see (and hear), it’s a live performance of Oblivion’s theme music. The footage comes from a fan that attended Play! A Video Game Symphony in Stockholm last summer.

For those that are unfamiliar with Play! — it’s a touring symphony (with choir) that performs music from popular games like Super Mario Bros., Castlevania, and Halo. In addition to Oblivion, the program also includes music from Morrowind. Play! is conducted and directed by Grammy-award winner Arnie Roth. In his career, Roth has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted concerts dedicated to music from the Final Fantasy series, and even worked with 80s yacht rocker Peter Cetera. Talk about eclectic!

Two years ago, Play! was in the DC area and I regretted missing it. Here’s hoping that there’s another tour on the horizon.

Mod Interview: Arandor and Lord Dagon talk “Nehrim”

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This week’s Elder Scrolls mod interview comes from two members of the Nehrim project — a total conversion mod using The Elder Scrolls CS. As a total conversion, its story takes place in a world unrelated to anything in the Elder Scrolls universe, so players can enjoy a new fan-made game from their Oblivion disc. It’s still up in the air as to when the project will be complete, but SureAI’s Arandor and Lord Dagon stopped by to give us an update …

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Mod Interview: Trollf

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This week’s Elder Scrolls mod interview is with Trollf — a humble modder whose projects I discovered a couple of weeks ago. Trollf lives on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and thinks he’s around 32 years old, but he’s not sure since he doesn’t remember being born. While Morrowind and Oblivion might not be his favorite games, he’s definitely a fan of modding them.

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Around the Web: Flotsam and Jetsam

As if Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade weren’t everywhere already (if you’ve been under a rock, they even have their own game coming out), modder HidekiShashu put on YouTube a video that shows how he’s brought their likeness into Morrowind. This first video shows Gabe interacting with Tycho. There’s also another short video with Gabe showing off his cardboard tube weapon.

What’s next? Maybe someone can make an Oblivion level with Zero Punctuation-esque animation.

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