Thursday, July 11, 2013

EBMv2 - New books added and placed

Here is a part of the covers I made for books from the previous ES games --you may remember some. Each book features a description its content on the backcover, I thought it would be nice and helpful for the player. As you may see I also created templates to both save my time, and give the feeling that books were published by actual editors, such as the Tribunal Temple, the Imperial College, the Order of Arkay or the School of Julianos, to name but a few.

These shots are from the CK save for the last one, obviously ingame. Note that I use doccdr's Book Covers Skyrim mod, as I intend EBM.2 to work along with it. So far it seems the book covers all fit nicely together.

As you can see there are still many holes on the shelves, which shall be filled either by books I still have to bring back or by mine in some cases. The books are sorted by categories in the library (History, Geopolitics, Religious, etc) and by themes in the shelves (War of the First Council, Daedra, epics, horror/love/thieves... stories, etc). I think it is rather convenient this way. I should also be adding bibliographies listing the books and where to find them, and I plan to retexture all the bookshelves to add little signs reading their theme, with a simple color code as well.

I thought I'd add items in the shelves as well but it seems to be more complicated to achieve than I'd thought due to physics: everything collapses beyond logic and it's all a mess. The place should still be cozy, and if I can I'll try to add some nice paintings to decorate the walls.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

EBMv2 - Lore books listing

For better organization I have listed (what I think are) all the titles of TES books I should be adding in EBMv2. This way we can create all the covers more efficiently. I classifed the books in categories so I could divide the whole into some handful of books and progress step by step, with a lot of testing in between to make sure all the books display nicely ingame. Also, some books should share similar templates to look like part of a same collection by a same publisher (ie: Tribunal Temple) so I sort these ones together as well.

The list of books is found here, it can be viewed by anyone but only those willing to lend a hand in creating textures will be able to edit it. If you wish to help, show me a sample of what you can do (illustration, texturing...) and provide me with a valid email so I give you editing rights =)

A tutorial about book creation can be found here as well. Though I don't require that helpers create the books from A to Z, only textures, or illustrations if they feel up to it.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tutorial: Skyrim books creation

I have recently learned how to create book covers for Skyrim books and so I thought I'd make a tutorial about it. And why not compile all I know so far about book creation so people don't have to search through scattered posts?

So here it is. It shall be uploaded to the Nexus as well in due time. Click the pic to view pdf file.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

EBMv2 - a new good start

These last two days I had a bit of time for me and put in practice what I had been planning while I was away from the CK. Hence I've figured out how many shelves I would need to host all the books from the TES games, and quickly built a new, smaller library with a cozy atmosphere. I'll probably work on the lighting some more later on, and the blue flame may not make it to the end... I mean, it was too tempting not to put it in the scene but I'm not sure it's necessary to have it there. I'll also try to make the ceiling look a bit better as well. Not sure how yet.

Now I'm facing the issue that I can't get this damn NVIDIA dds plugin to run and so I can't edit textures. Seeing that this library will host about 700 books it would be better if they weren't all the same or so close. So if a kind soul could give me a little help with this tricky matter I would be delighted.
Note that I can edit the diffuse maps myself if I'm provided files Photoshop can read, and send them back for compression... (it sucks, I know)
I would be very glad to also create a set of retextured quills, inkwells and signs to label the various categories of the library.
I'd like to add quests related to the mod as well but details will come in time. One thing after the other =)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Latest News: Development Update: Beta Testing and Release Plan Update


So, it's been a while since I have updated this page. If you were wondering if Oblivionauts is a dead project, however, then I'm here to say that it is not. I am working by myself now, but I have been making good progress. I think it's high time that I give you guys an update on the project, though, so here goes. This will be a fairly long post, but important.


Currently, the Foundation Release of Oblivionauts is nearly complete. In fact, the only features missing right now are NPC dialog (conversations, vending, etc.), and the starting scene/character-creation. All other features have been implemented, and I have created a sample map without any original content to prove the teleportation system that will be used for map transitions.

It will take me at least another week or two to script the dialog and to co-ordinate with the voice-actors to get the audio files.

Thus, I have a question to pose to you. Would you rather that I release a beta version for you now that lacks NPC dialog, or would you rather wait until I have scripted all of the dialog and worked with voice actors to get the audio files? If I release the beta now, then those of you planning on making maps for Oblivionauts can already start learning how it works and trying your hand at making a map. It would also help me get input on the design and finish with a more polished Foundation Release. If I wait, then the difference is only a few weeks of time, but you will have complete Foundation Release with all of the dialogue and vendors. Which would you prefer?

Release Plan Update

Back in March I posted a Release Plan for Oblivionauts, which you can read here. In it I said that I was planning on doing a Foundation Release (v0.5) and then I would release a large map later for v1.0. Since I am now working by myself, however, the large map will have to be delayed until the possible future when I have more support and time to work on it. The Foundation Release is still coming, and will be everything that modders need to make maps using Oblivionauts.

So, how does this affect the project? Well, while Oblivionauts is a great concept and provides a fantastic platform for modders and modding teams to built maps upon, it is not much appeal to players unless there are actually maps to play. And since I won't be able to release a large map myself (at least not for a while), then that means it is up to the community to create maps. That's not easy when so few people know about the project. I truly believe that the freedom from conflicts and compatibility issues, as well as the freedom for modders to make whatever maps they want without having to worry about integration with vanilla Skyrim or it's world and quests is something that has the potential to boost the Skyrim modding scene incredibly. But it will not be very appealing to the modding community until there is an example of what can be done with the platform that Oblvionauts provides.


Thus, I am thinking about running a contest once the Foundation Release is complete. I would offer some prize (either cash or a piece of computer hardware) paid for by me. Whomever made the best map would receive the prize. I would also contact DarkOne, the founder of the Nexus sites, who has expressed interest in Oblivionauts and let him know of the contest. Hopefully this contest and news of the competition would build interest regarding Oblivionauts within the modding community.

Conclusion and Questions
In conclusion, I have some questions for you guys. I will update the project's description once I receive some feedback from y'all.

Unfortunately, the lack of a large-map upon delivery means that the rich story and class-based character creation may not be viable options. Do you still want me to add classes to the game, or would you rather just use the vanilla system?

What do you guys think? Ultimately it is you who will end up using the final product, so I want to get your input. What do you think about the beta release? Do you have any questions, suggestions, or criticism regarding the whole project?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Oblivionauts Release Plan

Release Plan:

The Oblivionauts v1.0 release is going to be staggered through a separation into two parts: the Foundation Release, and the Citadel Release.

The first part of the v1.0 release is planned for completion in May-April. Hopefully it will be complete in May, but I am setting mid-April as the expected release time because software always takes longer to make than expected. More info on a specific release date will be given when it is available.

Foundation Release:

The Foundation Release (v0.5) will include everything required for modders to create maps for Oblivionauts. It will feature a hub, from which the player can travel to other realms of Oblivion by choosing a map from a list. At the hub you can heal, rest, trade and upgrade your equipment, as well as interact with the characters in that hub. The hub will include some pre-written and voice-acted characters that help you progress your character and travel to other realms. A unique background story is included, but you will not be required to learn about or participate in it to use the features of Oblivionauts. The primary goal of the Foundation Release and its hub is not to tell a story and quest, but rather to provide provide a way for modders to make their own without worrying about conflicts and incompatibilities with vanilla Skyrim or other mods.

Citadel Release:

The Citadel Release (v1.0) will be the release of the first complete Realm for Oblivionauts. It will include a new Worldspace for you to explore and vanquish. I don't want to reveal too many details or plans for the Citadel yet. However, we will post an update when we are ready to reveal our designs for the map.

Current Progress:

Currently, the Foundation Release is about 1/3 - 1/2 complete. Before this ModDB page was created, most of our work was conceptual and primarily included drawing up designs and plans. Since the creation of the ModDB page, the more visual work in the Creation Kit has been the center of focus.

Scheduled family visits have taken place on my weekends during the past two weeks, and my work hours have been irregular, keeping me from modding as much as I would like. However, it appears as if I will be able to get back on track in the following weeks.

How to help:

In previous articles I told you to apply on the forums to join the team. I am going write a news article soon detailing changes for the contribution system soon. The article will show you how you can actively contribute to the project with art, designs, and level-designing through the Creation Kit without committing to the project. The biggest barrier to people interested in helping with a project is the committal which they have to make to the team. I want to avoid that need to commit, so I am working on setting up a system that makes our project open-source. This will make Oblivionauts more accessible to modders who wish to contribute their work and time to Oblivionauts without having to officially become part of the team. Details will come soon, so read the following section on how to stay tuned if you want to be updated.

Stay Tuned!

Watch our ModDB page!

Follow me on Twitter!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Modders Wanted for Oblivionauts!

In order to create Oblivionauts, our team needs help from you and the Skyrim modding community. If you want to join our team, or know of someone you think would be of help to us, then please read below for more information.
  • Level-Designers: Current members of the Oblivionauts team are capable of level-creation but do not have the experience that is needed for this project. To create the Realms, we are in need of level-designers who can create Interiors or Worldspaces. Experience in the creation of either one will help us, but a Worldspace designer will be needed for the Realms. Level-designers will work with the artists and story-designers to create the maps, and integrate their details. Dearthwit Spire and the Citadel's (read the Release Plan section of the mod's description) maps, characters, and stories have already been largely designed, but their locations have not been created.
  • Artists: Concept artists are of great value to a project like this. They allow writers and story designers to put their ideas into a visual format, and help level-designers implement them into the game.
  • Modelers: Like artists, modelers are of great value. New meshes and textures add fresh content to the world that makes it feel unique to the player.
In the future, we may also have positions available for voice-actors, quest-designers, and scripters. We are not quite at the stage where we are ready to recruit those types of moddders yet. When we are, then we will post a news update.

When applying, please provide us with examples of previous work (mods, art, team projects, etc.), your contact information, and some basic information about yourself and your skills.  Level-designers need to have experience with the Creation Kit and example mods to show us.
To apply, please post in our ModDB forums.
If you do not feel like you are qualified or do not have the time to help us directly, then please feel free to suggest modders for us to ask to join our team. If we know of a great modder that we would like to have on our team, then we will invite them. We know that modders have their own projects and ambitions, though, so we will do our best to not pester good modders or interfere with their own plans. 
If we like your work and if you seem like a nice person, then we will send you an invitation to become a member of our wiki. This will allow you to see the hidden development section of our wiki, and to post in the development forum. Because of this, you must make sure to provide us with your e-mail address.
Feel free to apply, ask for more information, or suggest modders. We look forward to working with you and with the community to create Oblivionauts. :-)

New ModDB page for Oblivionauts!

A new ModDB page has been created for Oblivionauts! On it are new details and art for our upcoming Skyrim modding Project. Please feel free to check it out, read about it, visit our links, see our concepts, and let us know what you think!

ModDB page

In addition, we have a wiki that we are using to develop the mod and store information. When the mod is released, it will also act as the main website for Oblivionauts. If you want to learn more about the mod's details, you can visit it at the link below. The hidden Development section contains the majority of our details for now. When pages are finalized, then they will be moved out of the hidden section. Please keep in mind as you view the wiki, that it is everything on there is subject to change, and not everything is visible to non-developers.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Skyrim DLC Coming to PC and PS3 in February!

Bethesda has released a press release on the Bethblog announcing the release of all existing Skyrim DLC in February for PC and PS3.

  • PC: Dragonborn will be released for PC on Tuesday, February 5th.
  • PS3: Dragonborn, Hearthfire, and Dawnguard will be released for PS3 in February. Dragonborn will come first, followed by Hearthfire, then Dawnguard. The 1.8 update will also be released prior to Dragonborn. Specific release dates for PS3 have not been specified, and are still being worked out with Sony. However, they will all be released in February. In order to compensate PS3 players for all of their troubles and their long wait, DLC will be 50% off during their launch week on PSN.
Personally, I am excited to get these DLC on PC to be able to use their assets in my modding projects. If you are a modder, what mods are you looking forward to making with Dragonborn?

To read the official press release, visit the Bethblog's article.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tutorial: Adding Help Files to Skyrim's Main Menu

Object: Add Help files to Skyrim's main menu.

Difficulty: Very Easy

Time Needed: Besides the time needed to write the files, about two minutes.

What You Will Need:

  • The Creation Kit. The Creation Kit is the modding tool for Skyrim, and can be downloaded from Steam.
  • Some previous understanding of the Creation Kit (preferably).
  • The text for the Help file that you want to add.

There are a number of ways to add guides and Help files to your mod. The most common way is to use a book or a Message Box menu system. With the addition of MCM (Mod Configuration Menu) to the SkyUI,  it is now also possible to add them to your mod's MCM. 

This tutorial focuses on adding Help files directly to Skyrim's normal main menu. When you press 'Esc' ingame, you can save, load, read your journal, review your achievements, etc. There are also Help messages for guiding the player in how to use the game. It is possible to add your own messages to this list. To do this, two things need to be done:

1) Create a new message by navigating to Miscellaneous > Messages in the Object Window, right-clicking in the right-hand panel, and clicking 'New'.
  • Write or copy the text that you want to be read in the Help menu.
  • Make sure that the Messagebox checkbox is checked.
  • I suggest that you follow the naming scheme that the other Help Message have: "Help[Topic]Long".
  • Ensure that there are no Menu Buttons or Conditions. Click 'Ok' to create the Message.

2) Navigate to "Miscellaneous > FormList" in the Object Window and find the "HelpManualPC" FormList. Double-click to edit it. Now go back to the Messages category, select your Help Message, and then drag it into the FormList.

3) Save your plugin. Start Skyrim.exe and select your plugin from the Data Files. Begin the game, load a save, and press 'Esc' to test your modification. Navigate to the 'Help' menu, and look for your message. The Help messages are categorized alphabetically by the Message's name.

There you go! Your Help files have now been added to Skyrim's Main Menu.