What we’re playing this weekend: Devs eating up the Orange Box

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I thought our guys at the office had it bad for Bioshock when it came out, but I think the frenzy over the Orange Box might have eclipsed it. It’s not too surprising, it’s got Half-Life 2 and the episodic content, Team Fortress 2 for frenzied multiplayer, and that’s without mentioning the ingenious madness of Portal.

Still, there’s plenty of other games being played. Folks are digging pointing and tapping action of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglas, and playing recent favorites like Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Halo 3 and Bioshock.

Here’s the rundown:

Joel “Dixie” Burgess, LD: Wrapping up Halo 3 campaign, TF2, Portal, Portal (flash!), Brain Age 2, Fallout 3

Phil ”Finger Puppets” Nelson, Aspiring Superhero Sidekick: Orange Box

Jonah Lobe, Character Artist: Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2: Episode 2, Red Orchestra

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New Mods for the The Elder Scrolls

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Here’s an update on some mods I saw this week on other sites that caught my eye.

At the Oblivion Files, their highlighted file of the week, “The Lost Spires” by Leo Gura, is a massive addition that advertises 15+ hours of new gameplay. The mod adds an Archeology Guild that you must join to explore “new, exotic locales to unravel a plot of sinister deceit, betrayal, and doom.” Download it here.

At Planet Elder Scrolls, Lingwei has added an interesting mod that expand’s on Oblivion’s The Siren’s Deception quest line again. By downloading the mod, your are granted new options of how to complete the quest without having to kill them. If it sounds like an interesting idea to you, Lingwei is open to folks expanding on the mod. Sounds like someone else is playing the role of a siren and drawing in others. :)

For Morrowind, Darknut has released a new texture replacement mod, Darknut’s Creature Textures Morrowind (see above for an example of the improvement). If you download this, just keep in mind that they replace the existing textures in the game. For more information on the mod, head over here.

Creating Screenshots

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Within our forums and elsewhere, I’ve seen where fans have posted some pretty amazing screenshots from Oblivion, including some of their modwork. I’ve found some pretty amazing ones (like the one above from FileFront’s forums).

If you haven’t learned how to create screen grabs, it’s actually pretty easy, but I still see it asked an awful lot. Below are some directions on how to capture your favorite moments from the game, which you can also find here.

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Inside the Vault: Clara Struthers

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Today’s Inside the Vault features artist, Clara Struthers. She is married to Inside the Vault veteran, Grant Struthers. Clara is a world artist, who creates cities and other large game spaces. Currently, she’s hard at work building some amazing areas in Fallout 3. Clara created Anvil, my personal favorite city in Oblivion (where my characters liked to vacation when they needed a break from looking AWE–wait for it

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Fighter’s Stronghold DLC (for FREE!), Shivering Isles for PS3, and other Elder Scrolls happenings

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First, I wanted to let you know that we are finally releasing the last piece of downloadable content we created for Oblivion. We had mentioned it a long, long time ago but we hadn’t released it, until now. Starting Monday, October 15 it will be available to download via Xbox Live (for Xbox 360) and elderscrolls.com (for PC). And, for one week, it will be free to anybody who wants to download it and play it. So mark it on your calendars and don’t forget.

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Pete talks Fallout 3 with PlayStation Universe

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Justin at PlayStation Universe just let us know that he posted his interview with Pete on their site. Among other things, Pete answers Fallout 3 questions relating to VATS, how the game stands apart from Oblivion, and course, there’s some PS3-specific questions too (it is a PlayStation news site afterall).

Here’s a sample of what he had to say:

Q: How does the melee system in Fallout 3 exactly work? How will the VATS system focus its efforts with the melee system?

A: The goal is to balance the game so that you never have to fire a gun if that’s not the kind of character you are role-playing. So you can use different types of melee weapons in close range and use VATS to target body parts just like you can with a gun. How “exactly” it works is one of many things we are working on at the moment and it continues to get changed and refined until we feel like we have it “just right.”

To read the rest of Justin’s interview with Pete, just click here.

Top Xbox Live Downloads: September 2007

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If you’ve logged onto Xbox Live in the past month, you may have noticed Oblivion downloadable content appearing as featured downloads, notably The Vile Lair. Not surprisingly, it ended being the most downloaded Oblivion DLC for September.

Top Five Oblivion Xbox Live downloads for Sept. 2007*
1. The Vile Lair
2. Shivering Isles
3. Spell Tomes
4. Mehrunes’ Razor
5. Knights of the Nine

*ranked by number of times downloaded

Morrowind Modding Legend: Fliggerty

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When I initially asked for suggestions for future mod interviews within our forums, it was brought to my attention that I should open up a similar thread within the Morrowind boards. Within a a few days, it became clear to me that we should probably do an interview with Fliggerty (real name Cody Erekson) for all of his contributions to the community — including the hilarious “Mostly-Mini Todd Howard” mod (which Todd actually found quite amusing).

A resident of Logan, Utah, Fliggerty works for a phone company. As he put it, his job is to “tell people that they do, in fact, have to pay their phone bill even though they don’t remember placing that long distance call.” If you don’t see him coming up with new content for Morrowind this month, you can probably attribute that to the fact that he’s a self-professed “Halloween Nut.” Last year, he actually ran a haunted forest. If you want to see more of his mods, you can always check out his site Fliggerty’s Morrowind Mods.

Anyhow…on to the interview.

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Strong Debut for PS3 Oblivion in Japan

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Maybe it was all the Pocky I ate over the weekend courtesy of Pete, but I was anxious to see the PlayStation 3 release of Oblivion did in Japan. Turns out folks really took to it. In its first week of sales, the game came out atop the weekly Top 5 sales list, including Minna no Golf 5, which I’ve been considering importing for a couple of weeks now.

The 360 release of the game continues to fair well in Japan as well, with only Halo 3 ahead of it (in regular and collector’s edition flavors). Looks like folks over in Japan might be opening up to Western-developed games.