This Week in Mod News


Per usual, I thought I’d share some interesting things I found in the Elder Scrolls modding communities this week. The above video displays Richard deCosta’s “Oblivion Total Music Conversion Mod” at work. From reading his post, it doesn’t sound like he didn’t like the music in Oblivion (at least I hope not), but rather, it inspired him to make some pretty unbelievable tunes for the game. If you like what you hear, check out his music page.

Also worth noting, the guys over at The Elder Scrolls Source have updated their “Top 100 Most Popular Mods” list. Coming in at first place is Midas Magic Spells of Aurm by Xilver. This mod adds “100 new and unique spell types. It adds beam, spray and projectile attacks. Turn bodies to gold, summon your own magic carpet, or dwemer transformer, or protect yourself with a ring of fire.” Sounds like becoming the ultimate superhero.

If you’d like to see one of your mods on our site, shoot us an email and we’ll take a look.

Conquest “Question of the Week” Time Again!

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In a very special “Question of the Week” for Conquest, you’ll see we’re also sharing with you a screenshot of the game board for the turn-based strategy part of the game. As for this week’s question, it comes from KO Gilligan from within our Star Trek forums. He asks:

Q: Is Conquest looking to provide both complex turn based strategy and simplified, straight forward game play?

Here’s what lead designer Frank Arnot has to say:

A: What’s really appealing about Conquest is that it‘s a grand strategy game that you can actually finish in a good week of playing and is fun enough and quick enough that you want to play it again and again. I love traditional 4X strategy games, but I find that I rarely finish my campaigns because they simply drag on for too long. After a couple of weeks of intense play, my enthusiasm wanes and I simply stop playing halfway through.

Conquest focuses on the big decisions and removes much of the minutiae. There’s not a lot of sitting around and waiting or endlessly clicking next turn to get what you want. We want people to play each of the races. We want people to try out new strategies with their favorite races. We get you into the hunt quickly and allow you to worry about important things, like planning your invasion of Cardassia.

Now, With Even More Hiring!

So apparently we’re not only going to do the job fair thingy that I mentioned the other day, but we’re also going to be taking applications and meeting with interested applicants at the upcoming Austin Game Developers Conference.

Once again, they (meaning our recruiter folks) will be talking to anyone interested in the list of positions that we’re currently looking to fill at Bethesda Softworks (list) and our sister company, ZeniMax Online Studios (list). So if you’re in the area or are going to GDC and are looking for employment in any of those areas, do stop by.

I know that Ashley and Matt are both going to Austin, but don’t know if either will be in our meeting room during the show itself. Maybe if you’re lucky you can snag an autograph from one of them. (Usually a Benjamin will coerce Ashley into giving up his, but you didn’t hear that from me.)

Inside the Vault: Josh Jones

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For this edition of Inside the Vault, meet artist, Josh Jones. He is the Lead Character Artist on Fallout 3. Josh is also our resident motion capture specialist — he also spends much of his time fine tuning our animation system.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

Lead Character Artist. I split my time between meetings and animation work. I also work a great deal with character rigging and other technical aspects of character art production.

Continue reading full article ›

Want a Job? Come to the Fair.

Apparently we’re having a job fair next month, or ZeniMax is anyway. At least, that’s what the email I just got says. I thought I’d pass it along for interested parties.

It’s going to be held from 11am – 8pm on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Baltimore Marriott in Hunt Valley. Given the location, the focus is obviously on people interested in joining ZeniMax Online Studios up in Hunt Valley, MD, but they’ll also be accepting applications and reviewing qualified applicants for positions here at Bethesda Softworks/Bethesda Game Studios.

ZOS is currently hiring in the areas of arts, programming, design, content, production, and so on. You can see the full list of positions here. Bethesda is currently hiring for a couple of positions including several programming positions, a character artist, an animator…and you can see that full list of positions here.

Be sure to bring a copy, or copies, of your resume/portfolio/etc. Wear a clean shirt. Good luck!

Ew, gross

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So if you were to wander by the cube of Grant Struthers (one of our artists) you would notice that Grant has a sign up outside his cube that is rather, ah, unique.

You see, Grant gets involved in some pretty different sorts of projects related to art and special effects and so forth. As was covered in his Inside the Vault interview, he was one of the driving forces behind the room that disolves into butterflies for the opening sequence in Shivering Isles. He also worked on the big nuke explosion we’re doing in Fallout 3 that is featured in the demo, etc.

Well current he’s working on Fallout 3 (blood effects, stuff like that) and apparently was getting comments/complaints from devs who were innocently dropping by his desk to chat about this or that and were completely disgusted by whatever happened to be on Grant’s screen (e.g., reference photos of cadavers, body parts, etc.).

So Grant figured he’d come up with a way to warn people about the dangers of looking at whatever he was working on or looking at at that particular moment, and came up with his own system for warning the unsuspecting.

I love this place.

Meet the Iron Man!

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So Monday morning when I got to the office, I immediately went into the blog’s mailbox to see who would become the winner of our contest. When I left on Friday, we had a couple guys with game times around 600 hours, but it turned out our winner would best these impressive efforts. There were also a few folks sending in multiple screen shots showing total game time across different players, but as the rules noted, this contest was for one game save.

Without further ado, I’d like to congratulate Krisztián Kovács of Hungary as becoming the “Oblivion Iron Man.” With a gameplay time of 700:48:55, he was the official winner by nearly 50 hours. If you think about that, that’s like playing for the entire month of February — even if it’s leap year! To quote Pete on the accomplishment, “Da-yum!”

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Emil Talks More About Fallout 3 Dialogue

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Emil dropped me a note to let me know he posted in the forums today to clarify his comments a bit further as to dialogue, and what it does (or doesn’t) influence in terms of gameplay. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

I was specifically answering the question about whether or not dialogue affects the endgame. It doesn’t — not directly. The endgame itself doesn’t change based upon things you may or may not have said in dialogue. The endgame is affected by your actions. So that’s what I meant by, “We went back and forth with the impact of dialogue on the character, and ultimately decided we didn’t want to penalize or reward the player for carrying on a conversation.” And yeah, that was a pretty bad choice of words, because it seems like the things you say in dialogue don’t matter — and nothing could be further from the truth.

Believe me or not, but here’s the reality of dialogue in Fallout 3: it does matter. It matters more than dialogue in one of our games has ever mattered. I feel really comfortable saying that, because one of my responsibilities is editing and directing all the dialogue that gets written, and one of my personal crusades is pushing the NPC interactions to be more meaningful. We approached that level in Oblivion — now I really feel like we’ve truly reached it.

You can find his full post here.

‘Martigen’s Monster Mod’ Interview

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This week I’m pleased to share a Q&A I gave with modder Ashton Mills, better known to some as Martigen. He recently released the utterly massive Martigen’s Monster Mod 3.0, which we’ve already discussed here at Bethblog. Being an active modder, Mills has already released version 3.1 of the mod.

Before jumping into the interview, remember you can always shoot us an e-mail if you have a mod project that you think the world should know more about.

What makes the newest iteration of your Monster Mod stand out from your earlier mods?

MMM 3.1 includes a new Wounding and Wounding Effects system. The former allows NPCs and creatures to get weaker the more wounded they become, while the latter displays this visually through blood textures, bleeding, and staggering effects that appear the more wounded an enemy becomes. It’s a lot of fun to play with as it adds a new dynamic to combat.

Continue reading full article ›

It’s a Dance Off!


Late last week, I exchanged a few PMs with one of our active Elder Scrolls modders, princess_stomper, and she let me know that she was working on a video showing a “dance off” featuring our games, Morrowind and Oblivion, as well as some fancy moves from NCsoft’s MMO, Guild Wars.Well, I got to the office this AM and sure enough, Stomper had already sent me the video, and it’s definitely a winner. Featuring mods from more than dozen community members, the videos’ choreography goes great with the selected tune — Gwen Stefani’s “Wind It Up.”

Derek Zoolander and Hansel AM CRY!!