Deadlines Looming

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We have not one, but two deadlines looming on Bethblog. As I announced in the forums yesterday, after this afternoon, we won’t be taking questions for the Fan Q&A for Fallout 3. We’ve gotten plenty of entries. I appointed Blinzler from our forums as the man in charge of compiling the final 20 questions for us to answer. Given that he resides in Jamaica, where Hurricane Dean hit, I’m willing to give him and his cohorts a little extra time to deliver the questions to us, and then we’ll probably take around a week to answer them. Anyhow, send your last minute questions to us via the blog.

In other deadline news, our Oblivion Iron Man Contest will conclude when the clock strikes 12 on Sunday. I’m assuming folks have been trying to pad their game times, because we haven’t gotten that many submissions over the past few days. Just remember, the winner is determined by the single game save with the most gameplay time recorded.

Inside the Vault: Megan Sawyer

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Today’s Inside the Vault is with Megan Sawyer. She spends much of her time on creating the “living” spaces of the world – cities, towns, and landscapes. If our team were to have super powers, one of them would be the ability to create large, beautiful environments for exploration. Megan helps make that happen. For those who might recognize Megan, she had a feature in the documentary included with the Collector’s Edition of Oblivion.
What’s your job at Bethesda?

I’m an environment artist. I work on everything from houses tolandscape textures. In Oblivion, I made the houses of Cheydinhal, sculpted the landscape around the whole city, created the bridges and cattails, and made the Dark Brotherhood entry door. I also created the landscape textures and overall feel of the Blackwood swamp region. Currently on Fallout I’ve worked on a few buildings, an area for the main quest, a lot of clutter, and am now working on landscape.

At night I fight crime!

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Hall of Famers and Elegant Mods

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This week, Planet Elder Scrolls has announced its latest mods that have become “Hall of Fame” members. Leading the pack is Saiden Storm’s Akatosh Mount mod that we discussed earlier this month. A round of applause should also go to Neoptolemus’ Morrwind Comes Alive mod, Jerros and LHammonds’ Lost Paladins of the Divine mod, and last but not least, AlienSlof’s Oblivion Goth Shop II mod.

Congrats to you guys for all your hard work!

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.”

The Real World: Oblivion


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.

If you like it, they’ve done a few Morrowind videos, including this one.

Happy Birthday, Howard Phillips Lovecraft!

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Today marks Lovecraft’s 117th birthday! So who exactly is this guy? Well, he’s the writer of “The Call of Cthulhu,” as well as the “Cthulhu Mythos” — books that inspired our 2005 release, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

With a knack for doing pretty creepy stuff, Lovecraft has been considered an inspiration in the horror genre across comics, books, films, and videogames. According to Wikipedia, the concept of the now infamous Arkham Asylum (of Batman fame) originally came from Lovecraft’s ideas. The king of modern-age horror stories, Stephen King, cites Lovecraft as a major influence to his writings. On the GameCube, Nintendo fans might recall that the cult-hit, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, has his influence written all over it (with a good chunk of the game taking place in his hometown of Providence, RI).

Even Oblivion takes a page from Lovecraft’s work. The “Shadow Over Hackdirt” side quest in the game serves as an homage to his short story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”

If you have a chance, you should read up on the guy…some pretty fascinating stuff. If you like what you see, feel free to check out our game too.

Inside the Vault: Brendan Anthony

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Today’s Inside the Vault is with programmer, Brendan Anthony. He’s not responsible for any specific area or systems, per se – its more like we give him a list of cool stuff we want in the game and he makes it happen.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

The standard job description is “I make things blow up.” I’m a programmer and I work with physics, magic, special effects, and lots of general gameplay code. I’m very lucky in that I’ve been able to implement some pretty sweet features over the years — some days, if you were to hang around outside my cube, you would just hear bursts of laughter erupting over and over as I “test” explosions or crazy physics effects.

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New Community Content for The Elder Scrolls

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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).

Get Your Questions Ready!

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So we’ve let the journalists do the talking through their articles, but now we’d like to field some of your questions. That’s right, Todd and Co. are going to be willing to talk about more than Batman and their favorite color. If you’ve got something you’re dying to know about Fallout 3, take your suggestion to the forums here. If you want to send them directly to us via the blog, that’s fine too.

In addition to pulling together a list of questions that covers all the things people want to know about, we’ll keep an eye on other questions that get sent to us and pull in a developer every now and then to answer a few questions. You never know when a dev may stop by to answer a question or two from the mailbag, so send in your questions about Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Star Trek Conquest, or whatever it is you want to know and we’ll get to work.

Interview with ‘Undernethe’ Modding Team

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A little more than a week ago, I was reading about Undernethe Prequel mod project in the works for Oblivion over at FileFront’s Oblivion Files site. The mod will open up a new underground quest featuring new NPCs, music, creatures, weapons and more.

The folks working on the project are currently seeking help from others, but in the meantime, I thought I’d check in to find out more about the project. I asked some questions for some of the guys working on the mod to find out more.

First, some introductions. Fire Legion is the project lead of the Undernethe mod, and works with all aspects of the mod, as well as promotion and team management. Mr.E is the loremaster, and leads the writing and quest departments. Sheogorath is the lead scripter and worldbuilder, and also works heavily in modelling and texturing.

For those unfamiliar with your mod, tell us what folks can expect with Undernethe?

Mr.E: The Undernethe is all about adding a grand scale to the land below Cyrodiil. We plan for there to be be caverns so large and intricate that you can’t help but get lost (and scared), civilizations with lore and quests so involved that you’d swear they were a part of The Elder Scrolls mythology, and items and creatures that will make dungeon delving as fun as possible.

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Are you the Oblivion Iron Man?

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Ash and I got to wondering after reading Oblivion fan Victor Hedenberg’s comment about playing Oblivion for 250 hours. We asked, “I wonder who has put the most time into playing Oblivion?”

I’d venture to say that someone’s gotten close to playing the game* for more than 1000 hours somewhere. Since I’m so curious about it, I think it’s time to run our blog’s first ever contest!! Let’s call it “The Oblivion Iron Man Contest.” The rules are as follows:

  • The contest is open to players of the PC, 360, and PS3 versions of the game.
  • Send unaltered photos showing your gameplay time (from the save menu) to bethblog@bethsoft.com. The winner selected by us will be required to send us his/her actual game save for verification purposes via e-mail, memory card, or memory stick. If for any reason we are unable to confirm the gameplay time, we’ll pick the next person in line. Winners who send a memory stick or memory card will receive the card back via mail.
  • Please send a photo of yourself that we can post for the blog announcement of the winner.
  • All e-mails must be received by midnight (U.S. EST), Sunday, August 26th (so start playing your game non-stop NOW!) The winner will be announced once we have confirmed the winning game save.
  • Any foul play detected will result in automatic disqualification.
  • All participants must be 18 or older to enter and verification may be required before the winner is announced. Any material sent shall be deemed non-proprietary.

So what does the Oblivion Iron Man win?

Well, Pete emailed from vacation and told me to send one of my trusty droids into his office to pull a signed copy of the game from his office…and not just any signed copy. This PC copy of Oblivion is signed by renowned actors, Terrence Stamp (Mankar Camoran) and Sean Bean (Martin Septim)!

*I’m sure some of the modders out there have probably spent at least that much time doing mods for the game, but we’re only accounting for gameplay time. That said, modders are welcome to enter.