Aug 31, 2012
When the rumors started circulating about a new DLC called Hearthfire for Skyrim, people started excitedly speculating as to what new powers you'd go on in the expansion. Dawnguard brought vampire abilities to Bethesda's hit RPG so Hearthfire would bring what? Magma-flinging? Dovahkiin sidequests involving arson?
No one was really expecting house-building and adoption.
In a new team diary on the Elder Scrolls site, lead designer Bruce Nesmith, environmental artist Robert Wisnewski and co-lead designer Kurt Kuhlmann all talk about how the add-on was created. It turns out that Mojang's hit sandbox construction game Minecraft served as a key inspiration:
Meanwhile Nesmith, a fan of the popular game Minecraft, wanted players to have more ways to create content in the game. "Being a fan of [Minecraft], I asked, ‘Why can't I build things in our game?'"
Hearthfire started out as a project during the Skyrim Game Jam mentioned by Todd Howard talked about earlier this year. It grew from humble origins of being just a cabin to a multi-room home that can hold a greenhouse with plants for alchemical recipes. As for the adoption of little Dovah-kinder, level designer Steve Cornett says:
"The idea of adoption came to me after the Dark Brotherhood questline was presented. After first seeing the [Innocence Lost] questline, I asked, ‘what happens to the kids? What happens to the orphanage after the quest is completed?'"
Hearthfire provided an opportunity to answer these questions, as the concept of adoption seemed a natural fit with the idea of creating a household.
"Build your own house lets you make a house and adoption lets you make it a home."
Players will get the chance to build their own Dragonborn estates when Hearthfire comes out next week.
Skyrim Team Diary #6: Hearthfire [The Elder Scrolls]
Chris and Tom bid farewell to Owen and discuss his time with the Oculus Rift as well as Hawken, Battlefield and Call of Duty co-op, Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2 and, for the first and final time, musical theatre.
Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our older podcasts here.
Our video interview with Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey and hands-on with the headset.
Chris' Guild Wars 2 review in progress.
Aug 30, 2012
Once of the most memorable things about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the in-game gear. So when cosplayers Sheila and Sylar feel in love with the game, they decided to replica Skyrim's Nightingale Armor for the above photo shoot. Because, you know, they being cosplayers and all.
This is the result. The truly impressive result.
Pulling something off like this ain't easy! The suit looks even more impressive when you read the nitty-gritty about how it was put together:
The entirety of this armor is made from craft foam, that was sealed, detailed (with hot glue and carving into the foam) and then painted to resemble leather texture. It is all heated into shape and then attached directly onto a base black catsuit.
The bracers are attached to gloves, and the armor below the waist is actually attached to a detachable belt. All of the silver adornments, buckles and rivets were sculpted from sculpy and sprayed silver. The face mask is also craft foam, simply glued onto a ski mask. The head and cape were sewn from scratch and attach via some metal snaps on the suit.
There's even a walk through so you can make the suit yourself. How nice!
Click the lower corner of each image to expand to full size.
Created by Kotaku reader Geo "Tyrannicon" Paradissis, he who made that crazy re-creation of 300's final battle in Skyrim, this is an excellent way to start off your morning. Pour yourself some coffee and dive in.
Skyrim's next slice of DLC will be Hearthfire, an add-on that will let you buy a plot of land, build a house, design its interiors and then adopt children to turn that house into an eternal prison home. It'll be out on September 4 on Xbox, so probably about a month after that on PC. It'll cost 400 MS points on the consoles, which equates to about £3.43 / 4.80 Euro / $5.
It looks as though there will be a bit of crafting involved in building your new abode, but once the roof's on you'll be able to start converting it into a monument to your mighty exploits. You'll get to show off the creatures you've slain by stuffing them or nailing them to your walls. Once you've created the most terrifying taxidermy diorama possible, you can adopt children and raise them among the corpses of your enemies. That's parenting, Dragonborn-style.
Here's the announcement trailer. I'm already mentally picking a spot for my plot. Hmmm, a bit of land among the silver birch forests near Riften would do rather nicely. What do you think?
Aug 28, 2012
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Alec Meer)
Here’s official news on the second Skyrim expansion, Hearthfire. The hook here is that you get to build yourself a home from the ground up, which involves finding yourself a patch of land then building and expanding a building appropriate to your tastes/budget upon it. It’s the Sims in dragon-addled Scandinavia, essentially. Apparently you can also adopt children, but hopefully not by abducting them from happy NPC families.Take a look below. (more…)
Aug 27, 2012
Unnecessary Censorship never fails to make me laugh.
"You've not only earned your payment, but my **** as well. And believe me, friend, that does not come easily."
The 30th edition of the HMV Gamesmaster Golden Joysticks are here, giving you the chance to whack your stamp of approval on the past year's releases for the good of PC gaming and JUSTICE. It's going to be a fierce competition. Diablo 3, Dark Souls, Mass Effect 3, The Witcher 2 and Skyrim are all battling for first place in the RPG category and Modern Warfare 3 is up against Battlefield 3 in the shooter category. As always, it's up to you to decide which games deserve to win.
To let your opinion be known, simply head over to the shiny new Golden Joysticks 2012 site, check out the categories and start voting. You can follow all the action on the Golden Joysticks Facebook page and the Golden Joysticks Twitter feed.
Two million people took part in last year's competition, which means we need even more people to vote this year to make sure those PC games secure their rightful spot in the limelight. The results will be announced later this year in a ceremony hosted by comedian Ed Byrne. Here he is explaining that if you vote in all categories, you stand a chance to win a ton of goodies from HMV, including an iPad 3, a 3DS XL and lots more. Take it away, Ed.
Aug 23, 2012
I’m playing Skyrim with a rule: Illusion magic only. No direct violence, just pure deception. So naturally I'm planning to join the Emperor's army: the Imperial Legion. Last week, I was on my way to their headquarters in Solitude. I'm nearly there.
< Part 2
There's just one more mountain range between me and Solitude now. I skid down its far side, cross a river, and see someone running towards me from the distance. I should run away, but I wait - I don't see a weapon, and it's unusual for an enemy to head right for you before you even get close.
Soon I can tell it's a woman, and that she's unarmed. When she reaches me, she explains that she's just escaped capture by bandits. She tells me I'd be a hero if I took them out. I bet! Well, see you.
I was hoping she'd ask me to escort her to the nearest town, because then she would effectively be escorting me to the nearest town, and the nearest town is now Solitude. But she just runs off.
I do the same, and run straight into the path of a bear.
Bears are nasty. I'm way, way off the beaten path the game expects you to take at this point, and a bear could munch a level 1 character like me in seconds. They're fast, too, but of course I don't need to outrun the bear. I need to outrun the weak, defenceless woman I just refused to help.
I pass her without a word, and glance back to see the lunk gaining on us. But is she actually going to fight it? If she keeps running, it might go straight past her and head for me. I have one way of making sure that doesn't happen, and it's not... it's not the gentlemanly option. I turn back again, just long enough to aim a Fury spell at her.
When I next look back, she's dead. The bear sits by her body, licking a paw.
Well, now I feel good.
Finally, I can see it: the towering rock arch that juts out from Solitude itself. I wade through the swamplands without major incident, and finally climb the long winding road to the city gates. On my way in, a guard tells me who to see about joining the Imperial Legion, but it's not anyone I know or know how to find. I decide to explore.
Whenever you first enter Solitude, there's an execution in progress. I'm always tempted to intervene, and this time, my skills might actually make it possible. If I Fury someone other than the accused, who seems to be innocent, the ruckus might disrupt the proceedings. I hide in a bush and Fury the captain.
There's definitely a ruckus. I can hear it from my bush. It seems wise to stay out of sight until I'm 'hidden' - the game's term for when hostiles give up looking for what caused something suspicious. I hear a lot of unsheathed metal, screams of pain, and Skyrim's weirdly over-specific battlecries: "And you thought I was just a pretty face!" and "Never should have come here!"
A while after it quiets down, I feel safe enough to step out. I'm immediately arrested.
Interestingly, despite at least one dead body in the street, my bounty is only 40 gold: I'm only guilty of firing off a non-lethal spell. I can easily afford to pay it off, but I have another idea: go to jail. The jails are all run by the Imperial Legion, and my sentence will be incredibly brief, so they'll essentially be instantly transporting me to their headquarters, which is where I want to go.
I wake up in a cell, and immediately go to bed to serve my time. Sure enough, when I get out, my quest compass points directly behind me: the guy I'm looking for is in Castle Dour, where I just served my time.
It's General Tullius. He's sceptical of new recruits, but I tell him about Hadvar and he consents to let me join the legion. "Not many are as resourceful as you," he reasons. That's true! If you count other people's lives as resources.
And with that, I'm ready to start my new life as a soldier in the Imperial Legion. A soldier who can never, ever attack anyone. Let's just agree never to wonder why I was coming from the dungeons just now, or why I left the building to immediately walk back in.
"I'm sure that spell in our jail was just a misunderstanding," Tullius adds before I leave. Damn it!
The next entry will go up next Thursday, or you can read the next four in one shiny feature in the next issue of PC Gamer in the UK, out next Wednesday. It'll be up on the Apple Newsstand, or you can subscribe to the print edition.
Aug 16, 2012
I'm playing Skyrim with a rule: Illusion magic only. No direct violence, just pure deception. I've just reached Riverwood and exploited the locals into killing some bandits for me, then gone to sleep in the Hadvar family's bed.
< Part 1
Because I am bad at basic arithmetic, I wake up at 4am. The entire family is standing around the bed, watching me, waiting for me to leave. It's not yet light, so I sheepishly get out of their way and move over to one of the single beds in the corner for two more hours.
When I wake up at 6, a young girl is standing next to my bed, watching me, waiting for me to leave. It's possible I am in her bed. The rest of the family are eating breakfast, so I slip out.
It's my first day of not being executed - where am I going? What did Hadvar ask me to do, right around the time he was saying how the Jarl of Whiterun urgently needed to be warned about the dragon attack so he could save Riverwood? Oh yeah, join the Imperial Legion!
Their headquarters are in Solitude, so I'm going to Solitude. I uncheck the game's main quest and mark my new objective on my map. It's, er, kind of a long walk.
It's not far along the first mountain path before I spy a wolf. I reckon I can sneak by, get behind these ferns, and ow my face. I run through the ferns and jump down some rocks. It's one wolf! An actual lone wolf. Why couldn't it be two? I can't Fury one wolf, it'd only make him angrier with me.
After trying to make myself small for a while, he hasn't gone away, so I make a break for it. It's steep going, and after a while the wolf can't find a way to follow.
Breaking out into the plains, I can see Whiterun in the distance, but I press on. The plains are dull but easy going, like Russell Howard. And also like Russell Howard, when I cross them I'm attacked by two wolves. Two wolves! The perfect number. I catch the first with a blast of Fury as he pounces, and in a startling pre-emptive strike, his unaffected friend immediately kills him in one bite. This wolf is dire! And lone! Run!
I can't seem to get away - I was already out of stamina when they attacked, so now I can't sprint ahead. Am I actually going to get killed by a wolf? Who knew not defending yourself could be dangerous?
I'm relieved to see some robed travellers ahead, crossing a bridge towards Whiterun. I stagger to them, stumble through the river, and they stop as I approach.
"Somebody do something!" one of them yelps. That's what I was going to say!
We all look at each other urgently, then turn back to the wolf. There's no wolf. Instead, a small mudcrab is waddling his way up from the river towards us on the bridge. I laugh. Then, over his rocky shell, I see the body of the wolf floating in the water. You! You killed Lone Dire Super Wolf? WHAT ARE YOU? I run.
When I look back, both travellers are thwacking the mudcrab champion. Good luck, new friends!
Next week: Run and bear it