I have registered this mod on moddb just yesterday, but this project is alive for quite some time already. That being said, I decided to post the informations and my answers to various questions that I provided on other sites. Everything you see below is from my recent "update" in the nexusmods.com forum section. I hope you like it! :D
Let's start by answering the most important question: Why is this thing not released yet?
Well, it's my first mod. This means I am still learning and improving my skills. So many times I did something, thinking it's good or ok at least, just to realize it's a piece of crap after a month or two. Let's take scripts for example. I used to spend whole days working on one script and thinking "It works so so, but it won't be any better" just to look at it after some time and be like "holy sh*t, I can make this script so much better! It will be half as long, work two times smoother, and it will take me max one day to write and test!". Things like this happen all the time, and not just with scripts. Not to mention the fact that many times when I am "redoing" things I tend to add new features to them like visual effects and that kind of stuff. And yea, it usually turns out to be a little more than "one day to write and test"...
There are also times when I'm working on something super cool for like few days or even a week, and then it turns out that I lack skill to finish it/achieve target quality. Or I'm constrained by CK. Or this part of engine is bugged. Or simply the outcome is not as fun as I thought it will be and all that work is for nothing... Well, except that I learned few things while doing it, and that I can try to recycle/repurpose assets I created.
This is also why it's so hard to predict how much work is still needed to finish the project. That being said, the release date still remains: "It's done when it's done".Also, I think I forgot to mention it earlier and this is quite important actually, but you will need both DLC's to run this mod (dragonborn + dawnguard).
Ok, now let's move to those more interesting thing!
Not long ago my friends tested my mod. They found some bugs, or rather a lot of bugs, but I knew about 90% of them. I already fixed quite a bunch of them, but some are still waiting in queue. What's more important, they gave me a lot of feedback on the puzzles and what is cool or not. I made some adjustments and I can already tell it was a good call. They also confirmed my worries. From now on, when you start my mod, a message like this will appear:
Why it's there? Well, all my friends who tested my mod have played Skyrim before. I knew it without even asking. They all have the "bad habits of Skyrim player". They don't read or listen to NPC's and expect all informations being handed over to them on a silver plate. I was expecting it, because I am also guilty of this habit. I love RPGs and I usually read notes and pay attention to what characters are saying, and I know my friends are too. Just not in Skyrim. Can you finish the mod without doing it? Sure! But you will miss A LOT!
Now some answers to @fortesqueundead, but I suggest you should read it too!
Q #0: "I already downloaded the shield mod and it looks nice (though it may need a little more depth as the skull is engraved into the shield.)"
A: The skull on the shield is flat, because it is meant to be painted and not engraved. This is, hmmm... a game plot thing. Or rather a foundations for a plot thing. I'm planing to do only first 4 levels, so this won't be explained... but if I ever decide to do more, this would be a part of a subplot reveled in later levels.
Q #1: "Will Dan's arsenal be recreated as well? He has quite a lot of kit for his wizard-slaying quest. I'm talking Magic Sword, Stanyer's Hammer, the Crossbow etc."
A: Right now I am planning to do only a small part of his kit.-Short Sword and Copper Shield - As seen in trailer, the copper shield and short sword are already done.
-Arm - already done. Can be used as melee weapon. Can't be thrown :(
-Club - already fully modeled, textured and scripted, although it works differently than in original.
-Crossbow - right now uses Dwemer Crossbow model and texture. Will be retextured to look more "wood and steel-like". It's automatic (but a little clunky) thanks to J3X Automatic Crossbow Script. I tried to improve this script a little, but to no success. I will try again in the future.Broad Sword - not ready yet.
Those weapons are planned for release. Rest will be added in eventual updates. At least that's how it's planed right now.
Before you ask question about Silver Shield, look at question 4 and my answer.
Q #2: "Are you planning on having any voice-acting for the gargoyles or are they just going to be static props?"
A: All gargoyles and NPC's are planned to be fully voiced over. I might actually start recruiting actors in the near future.
Q #3: "Will Dan retain some of his quirkier combat abilities? (The spinning slash for example, I've seen it used in Shadow Warrior and I think it could be done here with the right animation know-how)"
A: No, sorry :( We can't add new (combat) animations without taking something in exchange. This is known downside of Skyrim modding. Many modders tried to overcome it, but everyone failed so far. We simply have no tools for this kind of stuff. Ofc, not everything is lost! There are some promising mods like Spear and Javelin, but they are not released yet.
Q #4: "As a modder, how much difficulty/time is put into crafting new materials for this mod? Such as weapons and even Dan himself."
A: As I said before, when I started this project I had little to none practical knowledge about making mods or 3d modeling, or texturing, or... basically anything else. Sir Dan model was actually the first 3D model with more than 10 polygon I ever created! How much time it took me? Hmmm, about 3 months. Why so long? Well, as I said, I knew almost nothing about modeling. Also, I was attending university at the time, so I didn't have too much spare time. I have spend whole first month on learning and watching tutorials. I highly recommend site DigitalTutors.com and their series of "Quick-start to 3dsMax" and "Modeling for Games" (or something like that). You need to pay the subscription, but believe me, it's worth it! If you can't afford it, then I suggest at least registering on their website to have access to some free tutorials. Next month I basically spent modeling and texturing... then fixing the model and texturing it again. Then doing it again. And again. Third month I have spent on learning how to skin 3d models and how to import it all to Creation Kit.
Of course that was some time ago. Now, if the thing i'm modeling isn't something really super important, then I'm using "one day rule". This means I have one day to do something, lets say a sword model and texture. At the end of the day, if something is not 100% done, the result is not high enough quality or simply does not hold promise to be something good, it is discarded. If it is important to the mod, then I "queue" it to try again in a month or two. If it somehow gets "OK" and is implemented into the mod, then I ban myself from trying to improve it for about a month or two. The main goal of this rule is to prevent myself from doing poor quality stuff, and then spending infinite number of days trying to improve it to meet satisfying quality.
This is actually the case of Silver Shield. I did it in one day, then tried to improve it another day, but it simply does not look good enough. On one side, it's not a part of the mod (silver shield appears for the first time in the 5 level), but I know this is THE SHIELD, the one that everyone loves and the one that is on the game box cover. So yea, I will probably try to do it again from scratch after some time.
I think this concludes this update. If you have questions, ask them here, or via PM/email! :)