At the end of last month, in a modding update post, I mentioned the popularity of the Midas Magic Spells of Aurum mod from Xilver. Recently, I had a chance to send over some questions for Xilver (whose real name is Brian Rivers) about the mod. Rivers, whose been writing and modding videogames for the last 17 years is a 33-year-old living in Winston-Salem, NC (home of Pete’s alma mater, Wake Forest) and works as an IT manager for a Fortune 500 company in the area. Among the other games he’s modded are Doom, Unreal Tournament & UT2004.
For those that haven’t tried Midas Magic Spells of Aurum, can you briefly explain the mod?
Midas Magic is a completely new set of spells and effects for Oblivion. It’s designed to add depth to the mage experience, with over 100 diverse spells from earth, water, holy, and force spells to tornados, meteors, hail storms, death rays, and freeze rays just to name a few. The mod boasts a host of summonable creatures; slimes, beholders, balrogs, battle cats, and a flying carpet. Midas Magic has a unique alchemical process for learning the spells which requires gold and other various items from the game. This makes learning each spell a bit of a quest. I’ve put quite a bit of energy into the look of the spells as well as in balancing them with gameplay.
So as some of you may know, I’m a huge Michigan Wolverines fan. I grew up cheering for them, went to school there, and have suffered as Lloyd Carr would say, “tremendously” following the upset loss to Appalachian State as well as last week’s blowout loss against Oregon.
Cheering for another crummy team this year, Todd Howard is a Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan. The Irish have been outscored 64-13 in losses against Georgia Tech and Penn State. Even worse, the Irish’s offense hasn’t found the end zone yet.
Given that our teams, who are #1 and #2 in all-time win percentage square off tomorrow (for the first time both with 0-2 records), we decided to have a grudge match of NCAA ’08…in our theater, on our 121″ x 215″ HD-formatted theater screen (see below for more pics and details).
Now I’ve been playing this game since NCAA ’96 on the PS1, but apparently Todd takes it a little more seriously. The game started off with a few people watching, and for almost two quarters my defense came to play. But around halftime, Todd began to dominate, and eventually won the game 28-0.
Todd was pretty excited because he said I’d have to sing the ND fight song at our next team meeting, but I reminded him that the bet is actually for the real game tomorrow. So I might get to see him sing Hail to the Victors…but I’m not holding my breath.
Check below for some more details about our theater.
TGIF…another week goes by, and our developers can get back to doing what they love best…playing games. It’s funny when I send out an e-mail to these guys because 5 minutes after I hit send, I can look in my inbox and see that 50 people have already submitted something.
Jay Woodward, AI Programmer: the UNN Nightwalker campaign for System Shock 2, Carcassonne, Fallout, some eurogames with friends (probably two of Notre Dame, Amun Re, Princes of Florence, or Puerto Rico).
Cory Edwards, World Artist: Beat Metroid Prime 3, now playing Bioshock.
Jeff Browne, Level Designer: Red Orchestra, FO3, maybe Bioshock, but most of the weekend will be spent fishing and getting outdoors.
Pete Hines, VP of PR and Marketing: NCAA Football 2008 (Go Wake!) and Bioshock
As many of you know, we announced a community Q&A for Fallout 3 a couple of weeks ago. Since Blinzler was so eager to see a community Q&A, I put him in charge of compiling questions that YOU wanted to know about. Not an easy task, considering he (with the help of some folks he selected) had to filter through pages of suggestions in the forums, as well as look at stuff I forwarded from our inbox, and of course, this blog. Did I mention he did all of this while living through a hurricane? Big props to Blinzler!
So head on over to our Fallout forums and take a look at the answers that Todd came up with. Here’s a sample:
14. You have talked a lot about choices and consequences in the quest design. Are you aiming for immediate feedback, or long term (and possibly unforeseeable) consequences? In addition to moral choices, will different characters be able to tackle tasks using their different skill sets? [GhanBuriG]
It’s a bit of both, overall I think the player needs something immediate, or they don’t know if they actually accomplished anything, or felt what they just did had any meaning whatsoever. The longer term stuff is great to surprise the player with, whether it’s positive or negative, but if it’s a surprise, you need to be careful, because that can be frustrating, so you give the player another route, or simply treat the consequence as a flavor thing, and not a game-changing thing.
In regards to using different skills, most definitely, yes. We’re really pushing on that, and I think that’s the crux of the game – what skills you use, so each quest or goal of the player’s can be accomplished in different ways using different skills. Even in dialogue we’re using a lot of different skills, depending on who you’re talking to So if you’re talking to a scientist, your Science skill may give you an extra dialogue option.
For our final edition of Conquest Question of the Week, Frank has offered up answers to two questions, and I’ve thrown up a new screenshot above from the Wii version of the game . Up first is a question we received in the Bethesda Blog mailbox from “Tom” who asks:
Q: Is the SKIRMISH mode in Star Trek Conquest in regards to the look and play, closer to Tactical Assault? Or ST Encounters?
A:Skirmish Mode in Star Trek Conquest does what it’s supposed to do, which is to allow you to create any battle with any of the pieces from the game. It’s especially useful to try out new tactics or learn how to play as or against a certain race. And because you can play for 5 minutes or 5 hours, it’s perfect if you want your Star Trek battle fix, but don’t have time for the full campaign mode. Options are numerous and include: Choose between Sim or full Arcade battle mode, opposing races, opposing Admirals, Admirals ranks and experience, exact fleet construction for both sides, which race you will control, whether you are attacking or defending, which map you wish to fight on and what structures, if any, are on that map such as starbases and turrets. It’s a blast to try out “what if” scenarios that you would never do in the real game. For example invading
Romulus with just the Defiant against seven Romulan D’deridex Warbirds backed by a fully armed Romulan Starbase.
Our second question, comes from Anra from within our forums, asking:
Q: Will we be able to play as characters from the series at all? Will characters from the series show up?
A: Yes, each of the admirals in the game for all the races is a known character in the universe.
While “Question of the Week” is wrapping up, we’ll continue to share news about the game before its release.
Following the blockbuster success of Lego Star Wars, we’ve decided to combine the timeless fun of Legos with the Fallout universe.
Okay, not really. But while reading our forums, I found an interesting thread started by DewiMorgan that links to some really cool post-apocalyptic LEGO buiding on the site Brickshelf. Created by the user Legohaulic, you can plenty of effort went into building this disaster area.
To view more examples of Legohaulic’s stuff, check here and also here.
On YouTube today, I noticed that a there’s several videos that help instruct folks with playing the music from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I found the above video by user fabiandevries particularly impressive, because of his skills of taping with one hand and filming with the other.
Looks like I’ll have another song to play when I come across a piano. You should see my rendition of the Jurassic Park theme…it’s glorious.
YouGamers has an article up about cross-platform gaming and the process of bringing a game to more than one platform, porting…the whole bit.
They talk about a number of games and what did, or didn’t work well, as far as taking them from one platform to another. They talk quite a bit about Oblivion as it’s related to the PC vs. Xbox 360 vs. PS3 versions. Here’s a snippit:
The reason we include Oblivion in this article is the fact that it was ported and released one year after initial launch – for the PlayStation 3. With a cross-platform framework already in place, the porting should have been easy – let’s find what the result is like, look at the differences and value proposition between the different versions, and see where this might lead cross-platform development.
There are some points made in the argument that I don’t necessarily agree with, but thought I’d pass it along just the same. Head over to YouGamers to read the full piece.
In post-apocalyptic news, Emil dropped me a note that over on Dark Horizons there’s a post referencing an Entertainment Weekly story that Viggo Mortensen is in talks about playing the role of the father in a movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” a book that has been very popular around the office. I borrowed a copy from Josh Jones and finally got around to reading it during my trip to Leipzig.
Anyway, Viggo would be fracking awesome. He’s perfect. Hope they get him, and can’t wait to see who they get for his kid. Not familiar with the work of the guys they have doing the adaptation (Joe Penhall) or directing (John Hillcoat), but I’d love to see this movie happen. As bleak a picture as has ever been painted of a post-nuclear world.
If you haven’t read it already, you need to. It’s that good.
Today’s Q&A is with programmer, Mike Lipari. How important is Mike? Whenever we have a day that Mike has to leave early, we all get nervous that something will go horribly wrong while he is away. Nothing we ship leaves this building without going through Mike’s hands.