Around the Web — Monsoon Edition

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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!

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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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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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Around the Web: More Lists

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You probably figured out already that we’re not doing a lot of talking at GDC this week — it’s been pretty busy around here with everyone cracking on Fallout 3. Still, if you need a break from all the GDC news, here are a few newsworthy mentions I thought I’d share.

I noticed Destructoid has shared the results of their “which one game has eaten up more hours of your life than any other game ever has” debate, and both Morrowind (#6) and Oblivion (#2) made the top ten. Even combining votes, these games would still end up trailing World of WarCRACK craft. No surprise there.

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Pop Quiz, hotshot!

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Now that you know a little more about The Imperial Library, it’s pop quiz time. Over on the site GoToQuiz, I found a new 20 question quiz for Oblivion. The questions are actually pretty good, and I only managed a 60% — I suppose I should have grabbed the strategy guide from my shelf before taking the quiz.

Anyhow, check out the quiz here, and feel free to post your score.

History Lesson: Getting to know The Imperial Librarians

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A couple weeks back, within a suggestions thread we have for mod interviews, it was suggested that we should also have an interview that focuses on the fans that deal with the loremasters that deal with the Elder Scrolls. I thought it was a good idea, so I contacted Xanathar over at The Imperial Library. He agreed to the interview and got some other guys from TIP to chime in. Here’s how it went…

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