A massive story expansion for Skyrim with 60+ hours of original content. Visit the valley of Druadach and embark on an epic quest to bring peace to this war-torn region. The mod adds a new region, three faction questlines, non-linear quests, dungeons, new weapons/armor and more. Your actions will determine the fate of Druadach Valley. For better... or for much worse.

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As the first update of 2021, we figure we do things differently. Today the team lead takes some time to explain what's going on within the team to give you a better picture of where we are in development, and how things are going. Take it away Neshkor!


Hulloes and happy new year!

I'm Neshkor, the team lead since development started over six years ago. I've been on the team for the full run and have since also managed to join the games industry, which adds a little more work to my day-to-day. I do my best to get the mod done as fast as we can, while also occasionally being irresponsible and allowing the crew to go ahead and add that one feature there that'll only take a day or two but you players will love it!

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What about progress?

The main quests, world, creatures, spells, weapons, sounds and dungeons exist, this was the first 90% of the work. As it goes in Gamedev, completing the project is the other 90% of the work. Making a game functional does not make it fun, and as we are a volunteer team, crunch is off the table. In its current state, Lordbound can be played from start to finish(es), but it would be a buggy experience with obviously missing content here and there…

Why is it taking so long?

Our active development team is typically around 20 people in size, with people rotating in and out continuously. During recruitment we mostly recruit experienced modders & developers, as we learned in the past that taking on new modders and training them up would often result in lower productivity as the mentors had to focus on training over creation. To add to that, we occasionally lose some great people as they find a job, or simply decide they have done their part.

We've always put a lot of time and care into reviewing our content. I do my best to verify as much game data as I can before it goes into the project; this ensures another level of quality control. If content does not meet our standards, we recall developers to improve their work. Nothing creeps into the build undetected. As the recent controversies surrounding Fallout: The Frontier have demonstrated, modding projects of this scale absolutely require a high level of supervision to ensure quality. Accountability is important, and we want to make sure nothing gets in the way of a great experience.

On top of that, Lordbound is not a 30 hour mod. It's easily twice the length and probably a lot more if you want to find every last bit of content. And we're making sure that it'll look and feel great even in an unmodded version of Skyrim.

"WAIT TWO TIMES 30… LORDBOUND 60 HOURS CONFIRMED?"

Easily 😊 Provided you take the time to explore everything we have to offer!

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What remains to be done?

World Team is currently revisiting our oldest work from the first year of development. Part of this includes redesigning our cities. They are too intensive to run without a load-door, and we also want the places you will visit most often to look the best. We are also completing the five territories that make up the map, and now focus on one at a time so that we can begin finalisation. Each territory has its setpieces completed, but plenty of roads, meadows and forests between them are now given some love.

Once we complete the geometry work and base encounters, we move to finalisation. This process includes an estimated 600+ hours of navmeshing, placing random world encounters, static world encounters, improving existing spawns, and making sure the world is blanketed with ore to mine, flowers to pick, and butterflies to catch.

Quest Team is polishing what quests it can, but is dependent on the city redesigns to fully complete their work, as most quests unsurprisingly spend much time in them. Orcish main quest polish is currently on hold, pending the redesign of the Great City of Garshakur. As this is going on, Quest Team is able to work on more side quests, while also investigating what it takes to create a Living World.

Living World will be a combination of people from Quest and World teams. They'll bring the world to life and spice it up by implementing additional dialogue, misc. quests, vendors, and roaming adventurers who're looking to pick a fight. When the World is in its finalising stages we can get these underway properly. These finishing touches are relatively quick and easy, but range into the hundreds. It's these interactions which make the world feel truly complete and immersive, with people responding to you, your actions, and the ongoing conflict.

Audio, Art, Dungeon, Music and System teams are also working on some hefty features, but we'll cast a spotlight on them in a future update.

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How can we check on progress?

The Lordbound Discord server houses the team so that you can occasionally tap the glass. But for an active feed, there's our #Progress_Updates channel. Anytime an update is made internally I make a post so that you can be in the know. The messages added to each update are a little cryptic as we want to avoid spoiling the adventure, but it gives you some idea at least ;)

But can we get a video at least?

As we don't have a video editor, we're unable to make any at the moment 😦 Anyone interested would become a fully-fledged member of the team, with access to our internal build! Exciting!

That's all I have for now,
- Neshkor

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Speaking of cities, we previously covered Garshakur, the Orcish capital, in one of our updates as well as our upgrades to Skyrim's weather system. Much like in one of our previous articles, our next article will go over how the other departments are doing, our plans for the future, how many bugs have been squished and include a teaser of one of the many locations that you'll get to visit in Lordbound.

For more information, please contact Neshkor#6497and check the Lordbound Discord for further (live) updates!

In the meantime, enjoy a toast to all of the good fortunes for the coming year. May your splinters be few and painless!

Until next time,

- Ravnie

Hail, adventurers!

Sorry for the radio silence! We’ve been without some parts of the team as they worked on recent videogame releases, while others were out to recover from sickness. The work on Lordbound never stopped however, and we’re excited to share new updates with you!

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More on our weather system and debugging below, but we’ll start with the obvious: how the team has been dealing with the pandemic.

On the whole the pandemic has allowed the team to grow closer together, with less time spent outdoors and more closer to our computers. Unfortunately, as some may had hoped, isolation did not increase our overall productivity. While the first month was promising, soon after we returned to a normal rate. Some crew, in need of something new, changed specialties which led to the Open World at large getting more attention. The team is doing well, all things considered, and development continues.

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Meshes and textures make up the world, but to make an environment shine upgrades to the weather system are necessary. This finishing touch is delivered by Elena, a single designer who’s been working on this feature since December last year. She has the task of making the world look decidedly like Skyrim, but without its washed out colour palette, across seven subregions; each with a distinct look and feel. Some are as cold and snowy as Skyrim, a few feel like a warm summer’s day, and others blend the two, with the sun shining down while snow dwindles down from the nearby mountain peak.

Elena achieves all of this by duplicating existing Skyrim weathers and figuring out how to make them work in favour of the existing ones. Clouds are the biggest pain to get right, followed by making nighttime a good blend of colour saturation and darkness. Once one type of weather matches the feel, she makes variants to fit: No one area is perpetually sunny, rainy, or foggy (save for maybe that one place in our valley).

Every few months, a handpicked part of the crew is called to sit down together and walk through the valley for hours to critique the new updates to the weather. So long as Druadach’s wizards haven’t done anything funny, the valley will always feel appropriate to your leg of the journey...

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More good news awaits, as we’d like to bring your attention to a debugging phase.

Our QA team has been working hard to find all the problems in our finished content, with over 598 total bugs logged. To bring the bug count down and prevent a tiring slog at the end of development, we’ve started an early debugging period where half the crew is reassigned to focus only on debugging. We intend to reveal the number of bugs fixed and verified on our next update.

We are also open for recruitment!

We are specifically looking for:

  • QA Testers
  • Audio Engineers
  • Video Editors
  • Visual Artists
  • World Designers
  • Living World Designers (City interactions)

For more information check the Lordbound Discord and contact Neshkor#6497

Until next time,

-Ravnie

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Good tidings!

In our previous update, we mentioned that Garshakur, the Orcish capital, is undergoing redesign. It was the very first location that was done when Lordbound kicked off. While unique and beloved, the years have not been kind to it. To meet higher standards both in quality and lore friendliness, Garshakur is getting a proper retrofit. Its partially-underground style will be maintained, its Imperial architecture swapped out to look more Orcish, and the layout redone from the ground up. Not everything has been easy as there are old quest constraints to adhere to and designers needing to split their attention.

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Bye-bye, old Garshakur. You will be missed!


Originally, Garshakur was designed to replace Mor Khazgur (an Orc Stronghold located in Haafingar) back when Lordbound was just a city-overhaul mod. The decision was made to make the mod into a DLC-sized addon, the city was to be its capital and renamed to Garshakur. The original ecotype was based on the environment found in the Reach, and Garshakur’s plains maintain those elements to this day. Garshakur at the time was designed to fit in the shape of the mountains at Mor Khazgur, but those will now undergo reshaping in the redesign process. Similarly to Riften, Garshakur will become an instanced interior accessible by a load door. This means we can do more inside the city and its direct vicinity, but it also means we will have to cut access to the city walls.

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After our shift to the Druadach Valley, the story of Garshakur began to take shape;

Found in the northwestern part of the valley, the ruins of an old fortress were overtaken by Orcs. Westedge provided them with shelter and basic amenities to build their future from. In present time, Garshakur is thirty years old and overflowing with migrant Orcs. Despite some having begun to act more like City-Orcs, old traditions are still adhered to and only by following the tribal ways is one able to earn respect.

The orcs have cleared many of the city's unwanted areas and repurposed the space for new expansion. The signs of the previous garrisons have been wiped out, making way for what the Orcs' makings. Much like any major city, the player can expect to find all the essentials within the walls - though some may need to be earned.

The city of Garshakur is divided into different tiers. Once the player has obtained respect, they will have access to the higher tiers of the city. In the old city, each tier was distinct from another and made navigation and bartering easier. We're looking to keep that in the new version, and possibly more.

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The team has maintained one ground rule, however. While outwardly brutish, the Orcs need homes. Past their brutal defensive works, you find places where they live happily in relative peace and comfort. Garshakur and its denizens recognise Orcish players as kin, and are more welcoming to them than they would be to other races. Albeit once the player has aligned themselves with other factions and been declared as Garshakur’s enemy, the gates may never open to them again.

Overall, Garshakur is an outlandish city not made to adhere to human or elven styles. It is a rough and tumble place, but still filled with dignity, homeliness and respect. Only the worthy may enter.

Will you prove yourself?

Until next time,

- Ravnie

P.S.

Here's a work-in-progress render of an exciting new armor set we've been working on, reserved for Garshakur's elite!

Amazing Orc Armor

Salutations!

It has been some time since we last greeted you here. Even if the radio silence may be disheartening, we assure you that we’ve been hard at work to expand Lordbound, but occasionally have had to take time to live life and maybe do our jobs. We have several tidbits and exciting news to share from this year’s development progress. So let’s dive right into it!

Overall, 2019 was an astounding year, and anyone who has kept track of our Progress Updates on our Discord server can tell you as much. Last year alone 88 new builds were added, leading to an average of a single build being released every four days. Despite the quantity of finished builds and areas, the anticipated release for 2019 saw a pushback. A good part of the team got jobs, leading to less time invested into completing Lordbound. But we have also gained some wonderful team members in the process, and improved our methods. January alone saw 21 new builds, an increase of x2.5 productivity.

Shrine of Talos

2019’s hard work has culminated to the point where more teams are now in polishing stages. All intended content is present and is shaping up, and one of the main quests is being thoroughly polished. Even the first locations that were created for Lordbound are being given some extra love and attention, as they are hopelessly outdated.

With all base content having been included, Voice Acting has begun, and the first voicelines have gone through the pipeline and are now in-engine. Considering that we’re in the final phases of development, we hope to keep you more up to date from now on! While we aim for one update every two months, you can always track progress on our Discord with live build information.

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In a way, we’ve gone a full circle and returned to where it all began; namely Garshakur, the Orcish Capital, which was the first thing created for Lordbound and kickstarted the project. Time has not been good to it and it started showing its age. Where Garshakur once left the team and playtesters with a sense of wonder, it now lacks awe.

Are there plans to cut it? Far be it from that. We’re actually rebuilding it from scratch! With previous lessons learned, Garshakur will maintain its partially-underground style while we change its layout. The Orcish Capital will receive new grand interiors to match its Chieftain and his glory. We may go more in depth on this topic in a future update and possibly discuss other locations as well.

Garshakur Throne Room

Unfortunately, finishing a game includes going through the least fun part of making any game: cutting content. We’re now hard at work at categorising what will and what will not be expected to make it into the final cut, so that we can focus our efforts. This means that some quests, locations and dungeons will be given the axe. While it is sad to see some content go, some unexpected surprises are guaranteed to make it through in their stead. If we do our jobs right, you won’t even notice what was culled in the first place.

Will this make Lordbound shorter than the thirty hours promised? Not at all. On the contrary, we may have severely underestimated the amount of content that we have. We want to offer reasons for players to keep returning to the Druadach Valley, and do so in the form of various collectables, craftables, custom armours and spells. Quests and exploration also plays a role in this, with both old and new secrets awaiting discovery.

Bthar Zel Interior

Now all this content requires thorough testing, and early Lordbound alpha playtests began in October 2019! We’re now getting ready to transition to beta testing. We now have a full complement of testers ready to find our every bug and offer feedback on what might not be just right for you.

Additional developer positions are open as well, and are as follows:

  • Video Editors, to take the bulk of content we have and make new trailers with! Use our resources, lore and technical support to make awesome vids.
  • Lighting/VFX Artists, to help in creating spell effects, weather, lighting and colour balancing in our environments.
  • Content Designers, to create the last few sidequests and open world encounters.
  • Community Managers, to help get the word out so us devs can focus on getting the project done.

All interested parties should join the Lordbound Discord and contact Neshkor#6497

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We hope you stay tuned! More goodies are just around the corner ;)

Wishing you the best,

- Ravnie

Welcome to the Players Choice: Best Upcoming Mods of 2018 Results! The following mods have been selected by ModDB readers from the Top 100 nominees to determine which mods they are most anticipating for future release.

Honourable Mentions

Before we present the winners, the following mods polled strongly and deserve our attention for either narrowly missing out, or they have previously placed in a best upcoming countdown and are ineligible to place again. These mods have significantly impressed us over 2018, and we are eagerly anticipating their future developments.


A redux of the cancelled mod from August 2016. Utilising content from developer repositories and some originally created parts, Half Life 2: Raising the Bar Redux will aim to recreate part of the vision the original developers had for the game, as well as developing our own. RTB:R centres around a thematic melding of the HL2 Alpha, Beta, and Retail concepts, as well as our own ideas, to create a unique and complete experience.



A C&C Generals remake, built on Red Alert 3 engine, featuring great performance, no lag, no desync, new maps, new units and more cool stuff! Total Red Alert 3 conversion. Port of C&C Generals Game as close as possible. Powerful SAGE 2.0 Engine and RNA Renderer. Powerful networking engine, no more random desync errors for no reason. Remakes of C&C Generals Maps. Beautiful Post Processing effects ( HDR, CC, etc. ). Stunning Particle Effects. DynLight emmiters for better effects expression. Enhanced RNA Renderer. Smart adaptive AI, which react and adapt to all your moves.



A massive story expansion for Skyrim with 30+ hours of original content. Visit the valley of Druadach and embark on an epic quest to bring peace to this war-torn region. The mod adds a new region, three faction questlines, non-linear quests, dungeons, new weapons/armor and more. Your actions will determine the fate of Druadach Valley. For better... or for much worse.



Half-Life 2 Classic is a Half-Life 1 mod that aims to recreate the entirety of Half-Life 2. Why? Mainly, just for fun, but also because a lot of people like how the goldsrc engine feels, or enjoy the gameplay or Half-Life more than Half-Life 2. It's also a way to see what Half-Life 2 could have looked like in the limits of Goldsrc, if valve never developed the Source engine.



Dead Air is a full-scale S.T.A.L.K.E.R. modification based on Call of Chernobyl. It changes all aspects of the game, from graphics, audio, and special effects to various gameplay and AI features. The modification evolves from the ideas started in Call of Misery, a previous project from the mod’s author. Major inspirations for Dead Air have been projects such as NLC, MISERY, Autumn Aurora, and OGSE. Dead Air prioritizes the development of the game platform’s potential, gameplay complexity, and attention to detail, along with addressing both the quality and quantity of all content.


Congratulations to every winner in the Player's Choice: Best Upcoming Mods of 2018! Congratulations too to every mod who was nominated and participated in voting. With the Best Upcoming Mods announced, the final Mod of the Year results will go live on December 28.

Continue Reading: Players Choice | Editors Choice