Skyrim Modding Interview — Mike Hancho

We would like to welcome to the Bethesda Blog Mike Hancho — commonly known by the forum community as Balok, creator of Helgen Reborn for Skyrim. When he’s not too busy rebuilding Helgen, Mike is an Operations Manager for a construction company in Clemmons, NC.

Recently we caught up with him to discuss Skyrim modding…

How did you get involved with modding?

It all started with a radio! I loved the “Built for the Future” mod for Fallout 3 and wanted a radio near all the lockers I used to store my gear. Getting started, I was completely overwhelmed and not a little bit lost, so I went through the basic tutorials and figured it out from there. Since Fallout 3 was my first Bethesda game it eventually led me to the official Bethesda forums where I learned about Oblivion. I bought it and spent the next year playing it.

I made a couple of unreleased mods that I used for my personal enjoyment and then Fallout: New Vegas came out. After playing it for a while, I decided to write and build my New Bison Steve Hotel and Afterschool Special mods. Then I joined the Boulder Dome team and built all the interiors for Inner Boulder including the Haunted Toy Store as well as Harcort Positronics and the Android Manufacturing levels. That led to Skyrim and here we are!

When I think of Helgen Reborn, the first thing that comes to mind is Oblivion’s popular mod, Kvatch Rebuilt. Do you view this mod as a spiritual successor?

In all honesty, no, not really. Although I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the name alone drew some attention to my project because of the popularity of Kvatch Rebuilt. In the beginning Helgen Rebuilt was a sort of working title, but I discovered someone had already uploaded a mod by that name. However, by this time I was well into development and into my closed beta test, and several of my testers liked my suggestion of using Helgen Reborn as they felt it was truly Reborn when it was finished, so I stuck with that. If anything, I see Helgen Reborn as the successor of my New Bison Steve Hotel and Afterschool Special mods for Fallout: New Vegas. I learned enough techniques building those mods that I felt confident enough to try something a little more ambitious. And since I like taking things you guys leave destroyed and turning them into places that are once again useable, Helgen was the obvious choice for my next project.

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Draugrs invade Dragoncon & PAX

Normally you expect to find Draugrs lurking in dungeons and tombs of Skyrim. This weekend a pair made their way across the country.

Skyrim fans Bill & Brittany Doran made their annual trip to Atlanta’s Dragoncon dressed as a pair of Draugr Deathlords. Taking advantage of the long weekend. we were fortunate to also see them on the final day of PAX Prime in Seattle. They posed for [many] pics, checked out The Elder Scrolls Online, and were nice enough to talk to everyone about their costumes.

Be sure to check out Bill’s blog, Punished Props, for an extensive look at the countless hours spent creating the Draugrs’ weapons, armor, and body suits. And as a bonus, see the costumes in action in the video below.

Greatness up for grabs

Remember the Greatness Awaits PlayStation commercial we shared? With tons of leftover props from the shoot, PlayStation.com is allowing you to bid on items using your PlayStation Trophy collection as currency.

It’s a great idea and they still have some Skyrim goodies to auction off this month, including:

  • July 26th at 1:00 PM PST — Dragonborn’s Shield
  • July 30th at 1:00 PM PST – Dragonborn’s Sword
  • July 31st at 1:00 PM PST — Dragonborn’s Stalhrim Mace

For more, visit bidforgreatness.com

The Great Battles of Valhalla

Valhalla sounds like a location in Skyrim, so it’s no surprise that the six-day wargaming event put on by Blue Table Painting has a few connections with our game. So far, I’ve come up with three…

  • Blue Table Painting is hard at work on a Skryim-themed board. Attendees of this yea’r's event will be able to see the completed board. See early progress in the video embedded above.
  • The event takes place in the mountains of Utah. Kinda looks like Skyrim.
  • Like many of our developers, BGS’ Nate McDyer is a fan of tabletop gaming and will be discussing game development at the event.

I’m sure there’s many more connections — frost trolls, alchemy tables, and possibly an appearance by Eorlund Gray-Mane. For more on Valhalla, visit Blue Table Painting’s YouTube channel, as well as the website for next month’s event.

Steam Trading Cards added to Skyrim

If you don’t already own Skyrim, Steam’s Summer Sale offers major savings on the original release, DLC, and Legendary Edition. And whether you already have the game or are just getting started, the game now supports Steam’s newly-added trading cards.

Started a few months back by Valve, you can now unlock Skyrim-specific trading cards — simply by playing the game. But like collecting baseball cards, it’s not easy to grab every card, and you’ll need to trade with your Steam friends to finish the set. Aside from the Dragonborn pride you’ll feel by finishing the set, collecting sets allows you to  unlock Skyrim-specific badges, emoticons, background images, and more.

To learn more on how Steam Trading Cards work, visit steamcommunity.com/tradingcards.

Around the web: Legendary Smithing edition

We’re back sharing our favorite news from around the web. On the docket for today, we’ve got links and videos to share for Skyrim, Dishonored, Wolfenstein, and The Evil Within.

To begin, many of us at the office enjoyed watching “Man at Arms” Tony Swatton create (by popular demand) a bone-smashing Orcish Battleaxe from Skyrim. It’s clear Tony has made his Smithing skill Legendary many times over, and we hope to see him create more Skyrim weapons in the future.

What else is happening on the internet with our games? Let’s continue…

Dishonored

As announced by Major Nelson, next week Xbox LIVE will be featuring a sale on Dishonored add-ons.  Between July 9th and July 15th, The Knife of Dunwall and Dunwall City Trials will be 50% off — that’s 400 and 200 Microsoft points, respectively.

Game site Leviathyn has a new article focusing on what they want to see in Dishonored’s next DLC, The Brigmore Witches. As we have new details on the game, we’ll let everyone know.

Want to see amazing Dishonored fan art? Visit le-sim’s tumblr to see art of Emily, the Pendletons, Granny Rags, and more!

After the break, check out new highlights for The Evil Within and Wolfenstein: The New Order.

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