This week we’re talking with John Gray, otherwise known in the BGS forums as Spartan VI. John is a 21-year-old from Walnut, CA. For a living, he does item processing and tech support for Western Corporate FCU. I was going to ask John a bunch of questions about credit unions, but figured that wouldn’t be too interesting for you guys — so we’re talking about his mod work instead. Speaking of which, John has been working on mods for a large portion of his life — dating back to when he was modding Doom.
This morning Claff spotted that Oblivion was rated as the second-highest reviewed game of 2007 in Famitsu, a popular Japanese gaming magazine. Oblivion’s cumulative review score of 38 only trailed The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, which had a score of 39. So what are these numbers based on? Well, each game is reviewed by four editors on a 1-10 scale. That means Phantom Hourglass was only one point from perfection on their review scale, with Oblivion being only two points off. Here’s a rundown of their top five:
Thought I’d share this YouTube video for DUNE, an Oblivion mod project started by Stefano Tonello (aka Prometheus). For those wondering, upon reading about the mod in the project’s official forums, it’s made clear that this DUNE is in no way related to Frank Herbert’s Dune universe — it’s a completely new and unique storyline. Here’s a brief introduction to the world of DUNE:
“The DUNE World, known as Dusaar, is a huge desert world where the brutality of people and nature is an everyday part of life. Water has long since ceased to flow on the surface and can only be found in the last sea, some oases, and tiny lakes and streams are the only source of life for the Ancient Forest, a Tropical Jungle surrounded by Canyons and covered from the everpresent winds of the open Desert, protecting this small Last Paradise.
The desert covers the majority of the land, almost 90% of it is surrounded by the Great Wall Cliffs of the east and the Sea of Silt to the west. Some of the mountains are nearly impassable, but ancient canyons throughout them hide the last spots where life can still continue….There are many diverse cultures living in the few safe places on this world.”
From what I’ve seen, it looks mighty impressive. Having shared this video with a few folks at the office, the response has been a resounding “WOW!” For more information on Dune, and to learn how you can work on the project, check out the forums Prometheus put up for the project.
This week’s Elder Scrolls mod interview is with Jimmy Maxwell, or as he’s known in the BGS forums, CorePC. Among other things, Jimmy is known for his help on Martigen’s Monster Mod and FCOM, as well as his Tamriel Travellers Travelling Merchants mod. Hailing from “the middle of Texas” in Abilene, Jimmy is currently works in computers (self-employed), and mods Oblivion when he’s bored.
As we head out for the really, really rainy weekend, I thought I’d share some news coverage from the week.
This afternoon we received some exciting news that Shivering Isles won RPG of the Year over at Gameindustry.com. Pretty cool for a couple reasons. First, in the site’s ten years of doing annual awards, Shivering Isles is the first expansion to win this category. Even better is the fact that the voting came from Gameindustry.com readers. We’re truly honored that our fans came out in large numbers to vote, particularly since it was up against some really great games. Many thanks!
Wanted to make sure everyone was aware of a new community contest over at Xbox.com that involves Oblivion. With the “Best RPGs Play & Win” contest, 360 owners have a chance to win some great prizes, including a trip to this year’s Comic-Con event in San Diego. To enter, all you need to do is download the Best RPGs Gamer Picture from the Xbox Live Marketplace.
So how’s this deal with Oblivion? Well, it’s an RPG on the 360 for starters, but you can increase your odds of winning (up to four more entries) if you happen to download any of the following Oblivion DLC between March 7-11:
Knights of the Nine
The Thieves’ Den
The Wizards’ Tower
The Vile Lair
Horse Armor Pack
Already downloaded these? It appears you can also enter by downloading additional content from Blue Dragon, as well as the new upcoming content for Mass Effect. For more details on the contest, head here.
Last month’s increase in people playing Oblivion (while logged onto Live) stayed with us through February. Also, Fighter’s Stronghold and Vile Lair are now available in Europe. (Similar to other smaller DLC, they are still in English but can be played with the FIGS languages).
Top Five Oblivion Xbox Live downloads for February 2008*
1. The Fighter’s Stronghold
2. The Wizard’s Tower
3. Spell Tomes
4. Vile Lair
5. Thieves Den
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday was the two year anniversary of Oblivion’s “Gone Gold” announcement. Personally, those two years feel more like a decade to me. The team is insanely busy right now, but a few developers did e-mail me some thoughts on the anniversary. I’ve worked on Oblivion longer than most people here, and I continue to be amazed at how successful it was and is and how many people still play it today.