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.
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.
We’ve released the beta for the STL Mission Editor for Star Trek Legacy, along with the source code. We also plan to launcha STL Wiki page to give modders online documentation that can be expanded on easily. Our experience with the Elder Scrolls modding community tells us that fans love making their own stuff. Legacy has a small but vocal modding community and I hope this helps it grow even more.
A few caveats – the source code is only for the Editor and NOT the game. The toolset is a beta and not officially supported by Bethesda Softworks. We’re hoping there are programmers in the community who can take over maintenance of the Editor and source.
Special thanks to Ryan Lea, Jason Hammett, and Shannon Bailey (pictured above). This effort was entirely on a volunteer basis done in their own free time because they wanted to help and get this tool released. So kudos to those guys for stepping up and helping out. Following is a post mortem that Shannon wrote up. Good read if you plan on modding Legacy, or if you are interested in development, in general.
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 timeto 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Last week I was able to chat with Frank Arnot, lead designer for Star Trek Conquest. The following Q&A should help you learn a bit more about the game and what it’s all about.
How would you best describe Conquest?
Conquest is a game of galactic domination that mixes turn-based strategy game with arcade elements.
What’s back story for the game?
Because of the nature of the game we have a very straight-forward back story:
It is a time of unrest, all the major races are at war. Age-old alliances are forgotten, diplomacy is dead. Powerful fleets prowl the galaxy establishing outposts and vanquishing indigenous and enemy fleets alike in the pursuit of the ultimate prize – the capture of all home worlds and galactic domination.
About a month ago, Pete made a post revealing how Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith’s blog, Digital Urban, featured a two-part tutorial on how to create 3D models using 3D Max and then import these models into Oblivion. In the most recent online issue of The Escapist, writer Allen Varney discusses how architects have been using game engines for experimentation with architecture, in an article titled “London in Oblivion.”
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. ^___^
Today we talk with Grant Struthers, the artist responsible for my favorite location in Oblivion – Cloud Ruler Temple. And, of course, these days, he is hard at work on Fallout 3. If I could pick any cubicle to visit on the team, I would pick Grant’s. He always has the most crazy looking stuff on his monitors — his test areas are always fun to look at. (Grant and his wife, Clara – who also works here – just adopted a new kitten who had been abandoned at Craig “Claff” Lafferty’s – a producer here – doorstep. Leaving a kitten at someone’s doorstep and running away – who does that? Anyhoo…)
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.
Here are the current top 10 played Xbox 360 games from the week of 7/30. The additional release dates in italics were added by me; bolded dates from 2006 also my emphasis.
Xbox 360 Top Live Titles
1 Gears of War – 11/07/2006
2 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas – 11/21/2006
3 Guitar Hero II – 4/3/2007
4 Forza Motorsport 2 – 5/24/2007
5 Call Of Duty 3 – 11/07/2006
6 Bomberman LIVE – 07/18/2007 7 Oblivion – 03/20/2006
8 NCAA 08 – 07/17/2007
9 GRAW 2 – 03/06/2007
10 Saints Row – 8/29/2006
Oblivion is the only game on the list that has been out longer than a year and is a single player only game. That just blows my mind. To this day, tens of thousands of people play Oblivion. And these are just the ones who are logged onto Xbox Live while they play. We could conservatively add an extra 30-50% to include everyone who is not logged onto Live.