On the Road…again

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So I’m back out on the road for the first of two trips over the next three weeks following up with folks who didn’t get a chance to see Fallout 3 at E3 or Leipzig. We really aren’t doing it for more coverage, but to make sure folks at different sites and publications have had a chance to see it. Often times a given publication may only have one or two folks come by to see the demo during a trade show like E3, which is fine for the purpose of a particular preview or article. However, as you go forward you work with a variety of folks on feature articles, stories, and so forth, and it’s important for them to have seen the game for themselves. So this week I’m in San Fran to see a number of folks.

James Mielke over at 1Up put up a post on his blog talking about seeing the Fallout demo for the first time. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

Being the busy bee that I am, I don’t usually get to play too many games at E3, and that being the case, I definitely didn’t get to see Bethesda‘s stunning Fallout 3 in action. Well, today Bethesda’s VP of PR came through the offices and gave us a very articulate walkthrough of the new game’s features and mechanics. I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of answers, and as someone who has had a hard time getting into Oblivion, I have to say, Fallout 3 really blew me away.

Read the rest of James’ thoughts at his blog at 1Up. In addition, I did a podcast session with the boys at IGN this afternoon that is now available should you have any desire to listen to that sort of thing. You can find it here.

New Diary on Fallout site: Meet the Pip-Boy 3000

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Over at the official Fallout site, we’ve just added the second in our series of Fallout Diaries. In the latest edition, Lead Artist Istvan Pely reveals how we went about creating a new Pip-Boy Interface for Fallout 3. Within the diary, he discusses the early stages, inspirations, and progress made on the latest iteration of this iconic Fallout device.

Below is a sample of Istvan’s Pip-Boy diary.

Technology in the world of Fallout 3 is somewhat paradoxical in that it’s incredibly advanced in some ways, and downright primitive in others. Certain technological advancements that we take for granted in our own history either did not occur, or developed along a very different path. Miniaturization is one example; yes, the fact that a device with the capabilities of the Pip-Boy could be made at all is amazing, but it’s still a rather bulky and heavy lump of hardware. It uses a monochrome cathode ray tube, there are no flat LCD/Plasma/OLED screens. Its housing is cast out of a metal alloy, not plastic. And it’s an ergonomic nightmare. But all these qualities give it character, and this was an important aspect of the design, as the Pip-Boy is almost a character itself.

We’ll have more diaries from folks working on Fallout 3 as we get closer to its release next fall. To read the first diary from Todd, visit here. Also worthy of mention that the Fallout site now has localized versions in French, Italian, German, and Spanish, including today’s diary. You’ll have the option of choosing your language when you visit for the first time, or can change it at any time using the icons at the bottom of the site.

The Sausage Factory: Getting Schooled

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Welcome to The Sausage Factory, a new series on breaking into the games industry. These are, of course, purely my opinion. You may have a different one, but hey, that’s what is great about America, am I right?

Getting Schooled

I often get asked, Hey! You make video games right? You know, I love games. I play them all the time! My parents can’t believe how much I play them. Its my dream to make them someday. Do you hire high school kids as interns? What college should I go to? A regular college/university? A specialty school all about video games?

My answer is always the same: not Duke. I hate Duke. (Haha. I kid, I kid.) Then I tell them to get Mr. Howard his tall sugar free vanilla latte stat.

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Retail Disc for Shivering Isles is OFFICIAL

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Two weeks ago, Pete discussed that that we’ve been working hard to bring Shivering Isles to the PS3 either by way of PSN or a standalone disc. Well today we’ve got some good news. To make the game accessible to everyone, we’ve officially announced that we’re releasing the game as a standalone disc. Just as with the Xbox 360 version, you’ll still be required to already have a full version of Oblivion to play Shivering Isles.

Shivering Isles is scheduled to ship in North America on November 20th for $29.99. To read the press release, click here.

Scruggsywuggsy, a Modding Sensei

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This week’s modder interview is with Paul Connelly, who is better known within the BGS forums as scruggsywuggsy the ferret (perhaps the longest name in the forums). Connelly, who lives on a farm outside of Allentown, PA, is currently working as a college student, though he claims he’s too old to still be there. Since I don’t have a picture, I gather he’s probably an icon for the younger college kids (a la Jeremy Piven in PCU or John Belushi in Animal House…pick whichever generation you prefer). If he’s not, well he should be, because members are our forums are big fans of his mod work and his tendency to lend a helping hand.

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October Hall of Famers

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Well, the end of the month is nearing, so that means a couple things. You can expect Todd to be dressed up for Halloween as Notre Dame’s mascot (truly scary this year), our Fallout Anniversary Contest will be wrapping up in just over a week, and last but not least, Planet Elder Scrolls has inducted its October Hall of Fame entries for mod work on Oblivion.

This month’s honorees are Multitude of Magecraft by Cid88, At Home Alchemy by Syclonix, and Bob’s Armory: Oblivion by Mr. Dave.

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Fighter’s Stronghold Reviews

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If you didn’t have chance to get Fighter’s Stronghold for free last week, the download is now available for sale for PC here for $1.89 and on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 150 points. It’s your decision if it’s worth downloading or not, but I noticed a couple of reviews from fans who downloaded the content last week that you can check out. You can read the reviews at Video Game Generation and BRnR (warning: the reviews have some content spoilers).

Already download Fighter’s Stronghold? Let us know what you think over in our forums…

Deal of the Century!

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Okay, well, maybe that’s an overstatement. Today and today only over on Amazon, PS3 gamers can purchase the original release of Oblivion on PS3 for only $19.99. Might be a nice gift, stocking stuffer, etc. for friends you know that have been hesitant to check out the game. You can let them know they can always pick up Shivering Isles down the road (as we’ve mentioned, we’re working on a way for PS3 owners to purchase this separately).

Purchase the game here.

Is it just me, or is there no way that Sigourney Weaver’s thumb could be that big??

What we’re playing: No Rain edition

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Looking my window, the weather outside looks downright dismal. I was somewhat hoping it would hold up so I could talk about how guys here would have no reason not to lock themselves inside and play games. Turns out though, it’s supposed to be sunny and in the high 70’s, so there goes that idea. I guess it doesn’t matter, since we work at a game studio, playing games over the weekend is a regular, expected thing.

On to this week’s rundown of what we’re playing. I’ll kick it off since I want to emphasize how incredible Everyday Shooter (PS3) turned out.

Matt Grandstaff, Community Manager: Everyday Shooter, Orange Box, Halo 3, Oblivion

Dane “The Main Vein” Olds, Artist: Hellgate: London Beta, TF2, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Metroid Prime 3, Wii VC stuff.

Adam Adamowicz, Concept Artist: Shivering Isles, Adobe Photoshop CS2

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Looking for something new?

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If you’re not sure what to do over the weekend, here’s a few interesting mods for Morrowind and Oblivion that you can check out from Planet Elder Scrolls. To start things up, Rougetet from our forums pinged me about his new resource he worked on for Morrowind modders called the Morrowind Mod Grid Use Map. Reading about it, it looks like a useful tool for recognizing potential conflicts that different fan-made mods for the game can cause. Here’s how he explains it:

The Morrowind Mod Grid Use Map (“MMGUM”) is an ongoing attempt to capture all exterior grids changed by mods that have been released for Morrowind (“MW”). With an estimated 7,500+ mods created for MW, many of them that change the exterior cells in the game environment, conflicts (one mod places things in the same specific “real estate” used by another mod) that utilize the same game locations often occur. This often necessitates modders doing rework on their mod creations to remove these “real estate” conflicts, or, if that does not occur, mod users often make a choice to use one mod or the other (but not both together) in order to prevent awkwardness in game play or the view that is presented to them in the MW game. These conflicts often result in reduced usage or download of a mod if it is thought to have conflicts with other popular mods. This modder’s resource will assist with minimizing those conflicts and consequently stimulate use of their mods.

Switching to Oblivion, Dragonblade has created a Lord of the Rings-inspired mod that creates a Tolkan race (as in Tolkien, for those of you living under rocks). The armor definitely brings me back to Helm’s Deep, but I’m not sure the ladies will find the screenshot above as dreamy as Orlando Bloom. Still, very impressive for a first-time modder.

On the topic of creating character mods, Hatsutoli has delivered a new playable race for Oblivion, the Tieflings, which some of you might recognize from your D&D days. According ot Hatsutoli, the Tieflings are generally despised by others in Tamriel and are known for their destructive nature. With this mod, you’ll have the power to transform into a demon and even go on a quest where you deal with the issues associated with transforming. Kind of reminds me of Teen Wolf :)