Balanced NPC's Removed Nightingale Bow Made Pullchains more Obvious Gave praying to Malacath a use.
It began one sleepless night before a statistics exam. I had been working on (at that stage) a player home mod originally situated near Whitewatch Tower, that I made more for personal use than for anything else, and I was up thinking about different ways to make it more enjoyable. These ideas laid the groundwork for what would eventually become the island of Wyrmstooth. On the down side I bombed that statistics exam.
There’s nothing more daunting than being faced with a blank canvas and in Skyrim a blank world as far as the eye can see is the mother of blank canvases. At its onset I was faced with two options: generate a terrain in WorldMachine and import it into Skyrim via TESAnnwyn or manually sculpt it from scratch in the Creation Kit. Originally I liked the idea of having something to start with and have had experience in the past using WorldMachine and Vue to render realistically eroded landscapes.
Creating a natural-looking terrain isn’t very hard to pull off in WorldMachine; their node based system is both powerful and easy to use. The problem however is that it gave me too much to work with. Way too much. Almost equally as daunting as a blank canvas, the size and complexity of the landscape made me reconsider the amount of time I had available to dedicate to this project, after all it wasn’t going to be a render from afar but rather a landscape the player would be immersing themselves in and I wanted to have the landscape completed in a matter of months, not years.
Secondly, the island I had in mind was situated far to the north of Skyrim in the Sea Of Ghosts. Based on Elder Scrolls lore, the environment needed a flair of savagery. To me this could be expressed as tall jagged peaks and narrow mountain passes; a land uninviting. But these landscape features are pulled off using static mountain pieces, not the geometry of the landscape itself.
Originally I only planned for Wyrmstooth to be about as large as the Japhet’s Folly sidequest. I started with a quick test to gauge how long it would take me to flesh out a landscape by hand. The first iteration of Wyrmstooth simply consisted of a mining settlement, the docks, a mountain, and a road leading up to a Nordic barrow (today this is where a tree now falls above the road). It didn’t take long to navmesh and the island was small enough to negate the need to build LOD. All in all it only took about a week at most.
The next step was the barrow interior where I learned the importance of spreading a dungeon across multiple cells to avoid the hardcoded object limit (and associated crashes!). If I pretended Wyrmstooth was part of the official Elder Scrolls canon then I wanted Wyrmstooth Barrow to be the biggest dungeon in Tamriel. Simply creating an expansive 3-level Nordic barrow wasn’t enough – knowing all the puzzles and traps in advance I could blast through that place in under 30 minutes. I needed something more, something that would keep players down there for at least an hour or more without the tedium of endless Nordic hallways.
Dimfrost was the second worldspace added to the mod; an expansive underground cavern similar to Blackreach and almost as large. The idea was to take the player on a journey through different environments in a manner similar to the original Dungeon Siege game but in an open-world. Making this portion of the dungeon nearly made me quit working on the mod. Landscape editing and cluttering alone took at least 3 weeks of solid work and navmeshing took 3 weeks more. If anything I’d liken it to tediously grinding for levels in an oldschool rpg but for weeks and weeks on end. The payoff however was worth it.
However I was faced with a bit of a dilemma; the cavern beneath the island was far larger than the island above it! Having levelled up my world building skill at least 10 points or more I set out to expand the island above, sculpting new terrain by hand. I added a large crater to the island which would become the central feature. I used the mountains around the crater to separate the island into different ‘zones’ almost like spokes in a bicycle wheel which I could use to mentally partition the work required so it didn’t feel like one massive insurmountable task like Dimfrost. I started with the biggest mountain pieces first then added smaller and smaller details from there. Once I had my island I needed a story.
I felt the dragons in Skyrim were underutilized. Lore depicted them as beings possessing cunning and intelligence however gameplay depicted them as bears with wings and an epic soundtrack. So what I needed was a dragon with a plan: Vulthurkrah. Rather than spend his time flying around aimlessly, Vulthurkrah’s plan involved tempting adventurers to Wyrmstooth Barrow where they would subsequently fall to its many hazards and become part of an army of undead. Queue the Dragonborn. It’s simple, straightforward, and fits the main quest arc.
Wyrmstooth first and foremost had to appeal to myself as a player. Being a compulsive dungeon crawler I wanted to play something that I would find exciting having already invested hundreds of hours traversing the lands of ye olde Tamriel. I also wanted something that would rekindle the experience of an epic dungeon crawl from an oldschool rpg with a climatic finale.
The first release version of Wyrmstooth was uploaded on October 19th 2012 and development continues to this day with each new release further fleshing out and refining the adventure.
Highest Rated (19 agree) 10/10
Skyrim is what Elder Scrolls is supposed to be. Gone is the flowery sunshine of Cyrodiil, and instead we get cold, barren Skyrim with snowstorms and people and environments that could really fit into the Middle Ages or a natural Fantasy World. As a person who's been modding ES since Morrowind and playing since DAggerfall in 1996, I can only see this game as a natural and excellent heir to the series. Take it from me - Skyrim is Greatness!
Nov 11 2011, 12:22pm by Antiscamp
Lowest Rated (11 agree) 5/10
Some may claim I'm trolling, but I'm not. I seriously didn't find much entertainment value in Skyrim, and I'm glad that I was playing it on loan rather than having actually bought it. It's Oblivion with a new coat of paint and some better conversation bits. It still doesn't have much of a main story, and the sword play is still questionable at best (Kotaku's one writer said the same thing a few weeks ago). I could go on -- but I think this'll probably get voted down anyway so what's the point? Also…
Dec 8 2011, 12:57am by TheUnabridgedGamer
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