Hall of Famers and Elegant Mods

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This week, Planet Elder Scrolls has announced its latest mods that have become “Hall of Fame” members. Leading the pack is Saiden Storm’s Akatosh Mount mod that we discussed earlier this month. A round of applause should also go to Neoptolemus’ Morrwind Comes Alive mod, Jerros and LHammonds’ Lost Paladins of the Divine mod, and last but not least, AlienSlof’s Oblivion Goth Shop II mod.

Congrats to you guys for all your hard work!

In other Elder Scrolls modding news, thought I’d point Princess Stomper’s Silorn Manor mod, which caught my eye. Soon to be the envy of Robin Leach, this mod adds a marvelous six-bedroom estate featuring, a private lounge, a training facility, top quality wines, and even a oven to let you live out your Easy Bake dreams. Champagne wishes!

Of course, if you’re living in luxury, you’re likely deserving of a fantastic vacation. May I suggest Unique Landscapes’ latest project, Beaches of Cyrodiil. This mod, found over at the Oblivion Files, “is the first in a series of UL mods designed to be a total conversion of the beaches of beloved Cyrodiil.”

Legacy Mission Editor Updated

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Two weeks ago, a small team from the office released scripting tools that allows modders to create their own missions for the game. After releasing the tools, I had Shannon Bailey, the project lead, sit in on a Teamspeak meeting with Legacy modders.

During the meeting, some requests and suggestions were made that Shannon thought could be added. Today, we’ve uploaded amended scripting tools for the Mission Editor as Shannon explains below:

“After talking to members of the mod community, the need for a couple of small additions became apparent. Included in the newest version of the archive is the source of the four non-campaign missions that ship with Legacy — Vanguard, Escort, Raider, and CoopWave — as well as the ability to edit their script and rule files from the front-end. Also, when creating a new mission you are no longer limited to using STL12 as your template; any existing mission (including those four, which make excellent templates) can be cloned and modified.”

Special thanks to the team for such a quick turnaround on the amended changes. To download the new Legacy Mission Editor, visit here. For those just getting started with the tools, we’ve created a Wiki to help out. You might also want to check out the following screencasts created by Chris “ChessMess” Koerner, who worked on the game. They can be found here and here.

Conquest Question of the Week: Part Deux

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Another week, another answer regarding gameplay in Star Trek: Conquest. Today’s question comes from DarkDragon from our Star Trek forums. He asks:

Q: “In the arcade battles will the battles be fought in full 3D (like Bridge Commander)? Or will it be more like Encounters/Tactical Assault and 2d?”

Here’s a nice lengthy answer from Frank:

A: Arcade Battles in Conquest are fought from a top down 2D view like Encounters and Tactical Assault. There are two main reasons. First, it allows for a greater situational awareness, meaning you can see more of the battlefield. Second it allows for the 360 degree aiming and firing of your weapons which is a key part of our control scheme. This mode is intended for the player who wants direct control over his ships, aiming and weapons.

There are also two other combat modes: Quick Battle and Instant. Quick Battle is like a mini RTS battle where you simply issue orders to your fleet. This mode is for the armchair admiral who wants to personally direct the battle, but is not interested in the action oriented Arcade Battle system.

Instant simply gives you immediate results. It’s for situations where you heavily outnumber your enemy and don’t care about directing the battle, like bringing a fleet of seven dreadnaughts to bear on a single wounded scout.

In practice we find that most players use a mixture of the three modes. “

Please continue to submit your ideas for the question of the week. See ya next week!

 

The Real World: Oblivion


This has nothing to do with the MTV Show (you won’t find a Cuhutta here), but it’s fun nonetheless. Posted by VBFilms, these guys do a really good job spoofing gameplay from Oblivion, but obviously, they’re using real people.

My favorite parts are when they dub in voices from the game.They also nail the chair sitting animation.

If you like it, they’ve done a few Morrowind videos, including this one.

Happy Birthday, Howard Phillips Lovecraft!

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Today marks Lovecraft’s 117th birthday! So who exactly is this guy? Well, he’s the writer of “The Call of Cthulhu,” as well as the “Cthulhu Mythos” — books that inspired our 2005 release, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

With a knack for doing pretty creepy stuff, Lovecraft has been considered an inspiration in the horror genre across comics, books, films, and videogames. According to Wikipedia, the concept of the now infamous Arkham Asylum (of Batman fame) originally came from Lovecraft’s ideas. The king of modern-age horror stories, Stephen King, cites Lovecraft as a major influence to his writings. On the GameCube, Nintendo fans might recall that the cult-hit, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, has his influence written all over it (with a good chunk of the game taking place in his hometown of Providence, RI).

Even Oblivion takes a page from Lovecraft’s work. The “Shadow Over Hackdirt” side quest in the game serves as an homage to his short story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”

If you have a chance, you should read up on the guy…some pretty fascinating stuff. If you like what you see, feel free to check out our game too.

What we’re playing this weekend

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A quick email survey elicited the following answers. Okay, I admit it, I really wanted to find out who managed to score an early copy of Bioshock. Because if you got it, you’re playing it this weekend (unless you are Craig “The Claff” Lafferty. See, if you’re Claff and you got an early copy of Bioshock by running out to Toys R Us at lunchtime, the first game you play on your Xbox 360 is, of course, Hexic 2.)

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Fallout Geek Previews Fallout 3

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Knowing Will Porter as I do, I don’t think he’ll take offense to being labelled as a Fallout Geek. More like praise, or some sort of a badge of honor. I mean, the picture says plenty.

He’s made it well known how much he loves the Fallout series, so I was curious to read his take on what we showed in the demo. I got to chat with him briefly at E3 after the demo and he seemed to like it, but he’s now posted his lengthy preview over at CVG to give his more complete thoughts. It’s worth a read for what he thought, what he liked, as well as his cavaets.

Plus, the first two paragraphs are hilarious. And yes, Chevy Chase is a real place Will, we promise. He posts fairly regularly over at PC Zone’s blog as well if you enjoy reading his stuff.

Next week I’ll be returning to Leipzig for the games convention, this time to show off Fallout 3 over on that side of the pond. So I’m sure more previews are going to be coming out of that. Should be an interesting show.

Inside the Vault: Brendan Anthony

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Today’s Inside the Vault is with programmer, Brendan Anthony. He’s not responsible for any specific area or systems, per se – its more like we give him a list of cool stuff we want in the game and he makes it happen.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

The standard job description is “I make things blow up.” I’m a programmer and I work with physics, magic, special effects, and lots of general gameplay code. I’m very lucky in that I’ve been able to implement some pretty sweet features over the years — some days, if you were to hang around outside my cube, you would just hear bursts of laughter erupting over and over as I “test” explosions or crazy physics effects.

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New Community Content for The Elder Scrolls

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So far this week, I’ve seen several cool mod additions over at Planet Elder Scrolls. Here’s are a few of my favorites for the week…

The Nazarian Library: Repeal19 has created a mod that builds a library just south of Arcane University. So what makes this library so special? Well, it actually houses EVERY book that can be found within the original quest of Oblivion. So if you’re spending too much time playing the game in the coming weeks when school starts back up, you can at least tell your parents that you’re studying at the library :) .

Chargen Diseases: When generating your character, Marbred’s disease mod allows you to make your character suffer from Werewolf disease, Vampire clan disease, or simply no disease at all. Perfect for folks who can’t get enough of Teen Wolf.

Mostly-Mini Todd Howard: Last but not least, and destined to be a favorite around our office, this new Morrowind mod from Fliggerty & Friends adds a “Mini Me” Todd Howard to the game. I’m sure Todd is honored to have his likeness in the game. Now can we just get a new weapon called the “Gstaff” (I’m imagining some sort of staff that has a “G” at the top of it).

Firor Chats with ActionTrip, Ten Ton Hammer

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Two weeks ago, we introduced you to Matt Firor, who is heading up our new MMO division, ZeniMax Online. Since we had a lot of folks ping us interested in what he was up to, we thought we’d keep you up to date on what he’s doing. He’s gone out and done interviews with FiringSquad and Ten Ton Hammer.

Here’s a sample from the Ten Ton Hammer interview:

Ten Ton Hammer: MMOGs continue to rise in the gaming landscape, how do you see the industry changing over the next few years? Where does ZeniMax fit into that change?

Matt: Instead of trying to “game” the market by figuring where everything will be in a few years and develop a product that will fit in an unused niche, we’re just going to try to make the best MMOG possible.

And from Firing Squad:

FiringSquad: How did ZeniMax approach you when they said they wanted to launch a new MMO game studio?

Matt Firor: They told me that they wanted to give me all the resources I needed to make a great MMO. After meeting with the company’s management, I felt very strongly that this is the “once in a lifetime” opportunity that one shouldn’t pass up.

Edit: Shacknews has added an interview with Matt as well.  http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=518