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]
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.
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."
It's rather clever, as I'm having a tough time grasping the full vocabulary available for making pre-snap adjustments (there are more than 120 commands you can give). This may not be as handy as my Cooking Mama oven mitt but it's still a useful piece of swag.
Especially when I apply it to one of my favorite games.
Generations of gamers who have not only the arcade but also years of computer, Nintendo, and PlayStation games in their pasts are now, themselves, raising children. In a world of wall-to-wall screens and endless gaming options, it can be hard to find just the right game for game-loving parents and their inquisitive kids to enjoy together.
Over at Brainy Gamer, Michael Abbott describes the challenge of finding games that engage his four-year-old daughter, Zoe. Games designed for kids don't always do it. But Skyrim does.
"Kids quickly learn that parents save the best stuff for themselves," Abbott wisely observes. "Zoe is happy to while away twenty minutes with a Dora game, but she knows whatever I'm playing is likely to be a hundred times more interesting, and she wants a piece of that action." Enter Skyrim. While clearly some parts of the game are too violent or explicit to be kid-friendly, Abbott finds that with some planning and prep work on his part, Skyrim is perfect for his daughter to enjoy.
There are eight ways parents can help make Skyrim great family fun time, Abbott explains. Some are more obvious than others. For example, no matter what system the game is running on, a game pad will be easier for small, young, relatively uncoordinated hands to learn to use than the keyboard-and-mouse combination is. Likewise, establishing an ethical code of action in advance—such as "help people who ask for it"—can make the wide and murky waters of a game easier to navigate.
"Be a mage," Abbott also advises. "I prefer Zoe casting spells to wielding swords and axes. It feels less ‘realistic' to me and more suitable for a child." And of course, parents should review the game, or sections of the game, before sharing them with a child, to make sure the content in question stays appropriate.
But Abbott's best advice is all about letting kids explore and learn from games the same way their parents do. Creative problem solving can be the best part of Skyrim:
Let your child discover there can be more than one way to solve a problem. I spared Zoe the Fellglow Keep gore, but let her face The Caller boss at the end of the quest for a reason. We were given the choice of fighting her or negotiating with her, but we found a third option we liked better. We cast an Invisibility spell, grabbed the stolen books, picked her pocket for the exit key, and escaped the dungeon. "We were smarter than her, Daddy!" You bet we were.
Thanks to the time she's spent in Skyrim (and with her brainy gaming dad), four-year-old Zoe can now read maps and count currency. And she's young enough not to care about things that may not matter: " Just remember that a small child thinks less about leveling up or RPG mechanics," Abbott cautions, "and more about having fun, moment to moment, in an imaginary world."
Sounds good to me. Maybe we really should try seeing games through the eyes of a child more often.
Skyrim for Small Fry [The Brainy Gamer]
Wondering when you can get Skyrim's downloadable content Dawnguard for your PlayStation 3 or PC? So is Bethesda.
"We have not announced Dawnguard for any other platform, nor given a timeline for any such news. If we have news, I promise I'd tell you," Bethesda vice president of marketing Pete Hines wrote on Twitter yesterday.
But in May, Bethesda told me that the Xbox 360 would have a 30-day exclusive on the DLC. Dawnguard was first released on June 26. Today is July 27.
I've reached out to Bethesda to ask why the Xbox's exclusivity period has exceeded 30 days. I'll update if they respond.
There's nothing quite like a bard in a tavern, strumming his medieval proto-guitar of choice (here a mandolin, there a lute, sometimes a harp) and humming dulcet tones.
Then there's this bard. He's a little more 21st century than those other minstrels and troubadours. As he says: "You see, I bear some rare amazing information / and you look like someone who's used to strange situations." Because he's the rapping bard. And his Skyrim-wide rhymes are funnier than they have any business being.
For today's edition of Burning Questions, we're going to try something different.
While we usually have our weekly conversation/discussion/debate/verbal melodies via online chat and then put them on Kotaku, today we're going to do everything live. We'll be hanging out in the new discussion system, chatting with one another and maybe even you guys. So feel free to participate.
Today we're going to talk about DLC. Is it good? Is it evil? Is it somewhere in between? Probably. But why? How? When? Who? Those sure seem like some... burning questions.
Note: To watch the conversation in action, just keep hitting the Refresh icon below.
Update: The live chat is over, but we'll still be hanging out in the discussion system, answering questions and chatting it up with you dudes and dudettes!