For this edition of Inside the Vault, meet artist, Josh Jones. He is the Lead Character Artist on Fallout 3. Josh is also our resident motion capture specialist — he also spends much of his time fine tuning our animation system.
What’s your job at Bethesda?
Lead Character Artist. I split my time between meetings and animation work. I also work a great deal with character rigging and other technical aspects of character art production.
So Monday morning when I got to the office, I immediately went into the blog’s mailbox to see who would become the winner of our contest. When I left on Friday, we had a couple guys with game times around 600 hours, but it turned out our winner would best these impressive efforts. There were also a few folks sending in multiple screen shots showing total game time across different players, but as the rules noted, this contest was for one game save.
Without further ado, I’d like to congratulate KrisztiÃ¡n KovÃ¡cs of Hungary as becoming the “Oblivion Iron Man.” With a gameplay time of 700:48:55, he was the official winner by nearly 50 hours. If you think about that, that’s like playing for the entire month of February — even if it’s leap year! To quote Pete on the accomplishment, “Da-yum!”
Before jumping into the interview, remember you can always shoot us an e-mail if you have a mod project that you think the world should know more about.
What makes the newest iteration of your Monster Mod stand out from your earlier mods?
MMM 3.1 includes a new Wounding and Wounding Effects system. The former allows NPCs and creatures to get weaker the more wounded they become, while the latter displays this visually through blood textures, bleeding, and staggering effects that appear the more wounded an enemy becomes. It’s a lot of fun to play with as it adds a new dynamic to combat.
Late last week, I exchanged a few PMs with one of our active Elder Scrolls modders, princess_stomper, and she let me know that she was working on a video showing a “dance off” featuring our games, Morrowind and Oblivion, as well as some fancy moves from NCsoft’s MMO, Guild Wars.Well, I got to the office this AM and sure enough, Stomper had already sent me the video, and it’s definitely a winner. Featuring mods from more than dozen community members, the videos’ choreography goes great with the selected tune — Gwen Stefani’s “Wind It Up.”
In other Elder Scrolls modding news, thought I’d point Princess Stomper’s Silorn Manor mod, which caught my eye. Soon to be the envy of Robin Leach, this mod adds a marvelous six-bedroom estate featuring, a private lounge, a training facility, top quality wines, and even a oven to let you live out your Easy Bake dreams. Champagne wishes!
Of course, if you’re living in luxury, you’re likely deserving of a fantastic vacation. May I suggest Unique Landscapes’ latest project, Beaches of Cyrodiil. This mod, found over at the Oblivion Files, “is the first in a series of UL mods designed to be a total conversion of the beaches of beloved Cyrodiil.”
This has nothing to do with the MTV Show (you won’t find a Cuhutta here), but it’s fun nonetheless. Posted by VBFilms, these guys do a really good job spoofing gameplay from Oblivion, but obviously, they’re using real people.
My favorite parts are when they dub in voices from the game.They also nail the chair sitting animation.
So far this week, I’ve seen several cool mod additions over at Planet Elder Scrolls. Here’s are a few of my favorites for the week…
The Nazarian Library: Repeal19 has created a mod that builds a library just south of Arcane University. So what makes this library so special? Well, it actually houses EVERY book that can be found within the original quest of Oblivion. So if you’re spending too much time playing the game in the coming weeks when school starts back up, you can at least tell your parents that you’re studying at the library .
Chargen Diseases: When generating your character, Marbred’s disease mod allows you to make your character suffer from Werewolf disease, Vampire clan disease, or simply no disease at all. Perfect for folks who can’t get enough of Teen Wolf.
Mostly-Mini Todd Howard: Last but not least, and destined to be a favorite around our office, this new Morrowind mod from Fliggerty & Friends adds a “Mini Me” Todd Howard to the game. I’m sure Todd is honored to have his likeness in the game. Now can we just get a new weapon called the “Gstaff” (I’m imagining some sort of staff that has a “G” at the top of it).
Here’s a message from an old co-worker of ours living in Japan, Jason Ruddy:
This is Jason, the guy who did SFX for Morrowind and brought in the doughnuts way back in the day. Well, I went out for lunch with a friend today and met him at Bic Camera (think Best Buy x 100) in Kawasaki – in Southern Tokyo. As we walked through the game section I noticed an Oblivion cap display they had in place. The video constantly looped the JP Oblivion trailer (which was actually pretty loud) and managed to get quite a few people to stop and check it out.
Ironically, the games on display in front of the TV didn’t include Oblivion! The left side was recent best-selling action games, while the right side had lots of Trusty Bell and Blue Dragon. I took the liberty of removing the copies of Blue Dragon and pulling the floor copies of Oblivion right up in front. Seeing as how that is the only Xbox360 display (which makes up about 50% of Microsoft’s gaming presence in the store), I’d say you’re getting some good exposure.
Anyway, I just thought you guys would like to see your game out in the wild in Japan. I’ve seen a few other TESIV:O displays from time to time, but this is the first one I’ve run across looping a trailer. Unfortunately I could not get the top of the display because the shopkeepers were eyeballing me and I had to keep the ketai camera low. (Pictures in-store = clerks no likey.)
And yes, both the aisles to the left and right of the teeny tiny 360 section are dedicated to the DS – plus a couple more. ^___^
For those Texas Longhorn fans, I think I’ve found a mod you’ll want to use. Planet Elder Scrolls member Phaedra has created a mod that allows you to add horns to your character. Looks like you’re able to choose between short, medium and long horns.
With this mod out, I’m waiting to see fan videos parodying the PS2 cult hit, Ico.
The modding community is an important part of The Elder Scrolls, especially for Morrowind and Oblivion. I am in awe of modders who are able to build amazing things on their own. Some of the talent out there is just phenomenal, and the members of the team who we’ve hired from the fan community continually exceed our expectations.
One of our designers emailed around this incredible video of the Akatosh Mount mod that lets you summon a dragon that falls from the sky. And, as if that wasn’t cool enough, it lets you get on the dragon and fly around. Very impressive. The creator of this amazing mod – Saiden Storm (AKA Kevin Tolbert) – agreed to answer some questions for us so we could find out a bit more about the mod and the modder. The way he created this mod illustrates how strong and collaborative the Elder Scrolls modding community is. You can see videos of all his mods on YouTube.
UPDATE: Updated post with a picture of Saiden. Cheers!