Lordbound Spotlight: Behind the Dungeons with RoKMod
We're starting the month of November with a new content format: The Lordbound Spotlight! This is where we highlight certain parts of Lordbound we've always wanted to talk about from the perspectives of various team members.
This time, we'll be handing the keyboard to our head dungeon guru RoKMod, our scapegoat in case anything dungeon-related is bad or broken.
RokMod, who are you and what are you doing on my modding team?
Hello there, I am the one known in the dungeons as RoKMod, the team’s Senior Level Designer & Dungeon Lead. I started work on the project two years ago as a level designer creating dungeons and eventually became the lead for all interiors once we started bringing in new developers to help out.
Currently, my job is to make sure all 160+ interiors going into the build look polished, as we’ve recently reached content complete (meaning all the interiors are now fully designed) and we’re trying get them finished up!
What made you want to work on Lordbound?
I wanted to work on Lordbound for three main reasons. One, I wanted to join a project that was using the Creation Kit. I had experience with the C.K. for a previous discontinued mod called “Remnant of Kings” (RoK for short) which introduced me to the engine and made me fall in love with its mechanics and assets.
The second reason I wanted to join Lordbound was because I knew the team could be trusted to act professionally since it’s filled with developers who are currently working in the video game industry. For a project this large, organization is everything, so it’s good to see that we have professional developers on the team with experience and the tools to keep everything running smoothly.
The final reason I wanted to join was because I loved the mod’s aesthetic. War between factions, a dark and depressing valley, and of course Orcs! All these things and more were what drew me into Lordbound and inspired me to join the team.
How much dungeon-delving will we be doing in Lordbound?
In total, Lordbound will have over 50 dungeons by release. We may potentially add smaller dungeons near the end of development if we feel an exterior area needs it. Some of the dungeons will also have Main and Side Quests associated with them, although for about 95% of them you won’t need the quest active to go exploring!
What type of dungeons should players expect from this mod?
Lordbound has good amount of variety in its dungeons. We use the Dwemer, Nordic, Cave, and Imperial assets, but with an updated visual style that contains much more detailed clutter, unique kits, retextures, new assets, and brand-new lighting templates; familiar themes with a new coat of paint! In terms of quality, we’re aiming for the dungeons to at least be up to Skyrim standards, but I’d say many of our levels usually exceed that threshold in terms of fun, detail and clutter.
We also have our own assets and unique dungeons using modular kits produced by our own 3D artists, along with some new pieces through collaboration with fellow modders. For newer dungeon aesthetics, one popular kit that I use very often is our custom Breton-style kit, as the lands of Druadach are filled with Breton architecture.
As the Dungeon Lead, you must like dungeons a lot. What are the things you look for when playing one?
When I play a dungeon I have six big things I look for:
- Is the loot balanced?
- Is the dungeon’s story being well-received?
- For combat encounters, were enemies placed in good spots and were the fights fair?
- Did the dungeon look good (clutter, lighting, etc.)?
- Is the dungeon optimized?
- And lastly and most importantly, was the dungeon fun?
I can’t speak too much for Skyrim, but for Lordbound we’re trying as hard as possible to ensure that all our dungeon interiors are checked off on each of the elements listed above. It’s a tough task to pull off, but we’re giving it our best shot. Hopefully, it’ll make the dungeons feel less like a crawl and more like a fun, interesting adventure.
Do you have a favorite Skyrim dungeon? Any dungeon is fine. It can even be a Nordic ruin.
For sure! There’s one level in particular that comes to mind (unfortunately not a Nordic ruin) called Wolfskull Cave. The dungeon first has you run through a cave with Imperial structures and undead enemies.
The best part of the level is the second interior known as Wolfskull Ruins; it has this awesome reveal with the player walking onto a balcony overlooking the ruins below. Off in the distance the ruins have a magical blue aura being produced from the top of the structure. On top of that, the player has multiple ways he/she can climb the fort. You can sneak around undead guards, use Whirlwind Sprint to skip most of the level, or just run headlong up it; a true orcs method!
The level hits all the points I mentioned in the previous question and even exceeds on most of them. It’s an awesome level and I love playing through it every time.
Considering your interest in level design, can you name one level from any video game that you'd recommend others to study?
I have a ton of levels I’d love to recommend, but since I’m forced to only choose one then I’m going to have to go with Bloodborne’s, “Nightmare Frontier”. I seriously can’t give any higher recommendations to give this a look over. The interwoven pathways connected through elevators and poison swamps plus its use of “denial and reward” tactics with the lighting placement, visuals, and enemies, is what makes this area amazing to study.
It has an awesome combination of varying pallets which help guide the player through what could have been a very tough and irritating level. It’s really well done and I can’t recommend enough, check it out!
And lastly, what would you want players to know about Lordbound?
When a member of this team is working on Lordbound, the amount of effort they put into this mod is always a reassurance that we’re truly making something special. I realize that for some of you reading this you might be worried Lordbound may be one of those large mods that never releases. I am here to say that Lordbound WILL be released, it’s just a matter of when.
We love modding and the Elder Scrolls universe, but the Lordbound devs are also individuals developing on their own free time while also going to university, working a daytime job, caring for their families, etc., which makes it tough to always 100% stay committed to the project. The amazing thing is that even with the hardships of life, the team always seems to persevere and create something truly remarkable. Every week all the members get together for a Scrum meeting to discuss what we’ve been working on, and each week the realization that this mod is getting closer and closer to completion always fills me up with excitement. Our team is currently around 20 people, and I find it amazing to see what we’ve been able to achieve and continue to build upon.
With all that being said, if you weren’t a follower of the project before, I’d ask you to start now! The things we’ve shown in the trailers and screenshots are only a very small fraction of the Lordbound experience. We still have a whole bunch to reveal and a lot more details yet for you to discover. Keep following the project, keep sending us your feedback (We love reading all the comments!) and thank you for sticking with us as we get ever-closer to finishing up this gigantic mod!
Before I crawl back in my dungeon hole, I want to give a special shout out to the other dungeon team members, past and present, for being total badasses!