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About Hannes821

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  • Birthday 10/07/1988

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    Skyrim, Atmora

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  1. Application: LevelDesign (Interior/Dungeon)

    Looks very impressive on first sight, I think you will be welcome! Let's have a look what we can do.
  2. Level Design Complete (Assumes no Experience)

    a hint: at the start of this tutorial it is suggested to check "undelete" with ts5edit for cleaning. This means that everything you wanted to delete in the esm you are using, will be "undeleted in your esp". Your esp does not have the permission to directly delete things in an esp (this could mess up things for your teammates at merge later). So, what your esp does is, it flags an esm record as "deleted". And that flagged record will be deleted during merge, as it is assumed, that during merge you check conflicts with tools like TS5Edit and manually decide which things can be thrown away and which are needed. So, if people overhaul for example a mountain range that was previously only a rough layouting template, a sketch for LOD, they will be forced to delete objects of the recent esm used, and my that, automatically using "undelete" when cleaning their esp before sending would annihilate their efforts. Or in other words: everything you tried to delete in the esp from the esm would return, and you would have 2 mountain ranges stacked into each other at once.
  3. Application: 2D Concept artist

    nice work!
  4. Regions and Landscape of Thras v3

    Well, or these Yoku spirits are your quest givers, depending on your direction of the story. I mean this could give players a choice and double the fun, but of course, also require more voice acting and implementation etc. Probably you can give the Yoku spirits the ghost shader and Alikr equipment?
  5. Landscape of Thras

    cool! you can achieve better results with a low coverage of the shader and a very contrasty normal map height I think.
  6. Polzynn concept art

    Sorry if I take up an older aspect of this conversation. Lorewise Dwemer work with tonal magic. So maybe its more interesting to have power crystals that heat up surrounding water in steam pipes until certain frequencies are reached that bend reality (old magic) instead of creating illusions (new magic). you can find this aspect in Skyrim and with many very primal forms of energy like Thuum. this would be very easily used by a submarine. Overall I think if you include it in Thras we have some connection to the topic in our mod ;-). Polzynn, did you take some inspiration? ;-) it's alright though and it would be cool to see this implemented right.
  7. A very valuable member of Atmora. Thank you very much for a lot of hard work and good cooperation! 
    Your level design is very good. Keep up the good work!

  8. Writing for Exposition and Dialogue

    1) What is Exposition and its general purpose Exposition is the direct dialogue that carries the narrative. It should be split into slices to make them digestible most important info at the end of a dialogue just one piece of important information at once (per dialogue) the type of information chronologically gathered should follow a logical order characters presenting this information should have valid reasons to give them “The general purpose of dialogue is to move the player forward!” -> Dialogue does not offer the space to tell a background story in general. (for reference, minute 4+ in this video) “Let me tell you how our people started in stone age…” the writers history encyclopedia issue, player reaction: fall asleep “The evil empire killed all good people...” the oversimplification issue, player reaction: will feel how artificial and generic the story is “Dragons used dirty bombs and nuked our battle mechs with Magicka” the PR-exaggeration issue/ commercial keyword issue, player perception: artificial, unimmersive overcooked story “Once in the days of old, we captured the Mines of Moria, and Whiterun, and….” the lead level designer showing off random unrelated locations in the game issue, player perception: what a bulk of irrelevant information -> fall asleep “Oh, and when you go there, gather 20 Goblin skulls for me!” the Quality dep realized emptiness before shipping, adds random things issue player perception: its generic, artificial and unpersonal and unimmersive 3) The primary purpose of Exposition What is happening? What do I do? Where do I have to go next? Use Exposition? purpose example must plot-critical info "This Dragon will eat Nirn!" should in-character motivation "This dragon killed your father!" could additional lore and realism (optionally, only if not breaking game flow!) "How did we find out that he will destroy Nirn? Well, ..." should not irrelevant / stopping game flow “Let me tell you about the life cycle of dragons...” 4) The secondary purpose of Exposition Codex (encyclopedia) ingame books (journals, books, scrolls...) ambient dialogue (if the thalmor spy would say something to a guard when you visit him; you could overhear it and go on or stay and listen) optional questions (How did you meet character a, character b? -> above, category 3, could) environmental storytelling (level design and graphical design, music...) auxiliary products (card games etc, not for us) 5) Working with a complex background story To avoid getting stuck in details, the only way is to analyze the relevant key pieces of information and to serve them in bite-able chunks where it is necessary. example: the ancient crown went missing has elven magic the elven kingdom was west of where you are it was destroyed by a war with the goblin king -> the player only remembers one last thing in each dialogue. 6) The strategy of breadcrumb trails What (motivation) or: know about the crown Why (connection) or: realize there are runes with elven magic Where (location) or: find a scholar who can translate them How (method of interaction) or: read the runes yourself 7) Pitfalls using the Bread Crumb Trail 1) “Maybe the Elves know something!”... Problem: Player has no idea where the next NPC is and how to proceed with the story. Their perception is not: “Wow. this is challenging, I should keep trying…” but rather: “Your game does not work, it is broken and it sucks.” “go there and do this” -> pack it, so it does not appear as the designers manipulate the player in a certain direction but rather like “you have this choice, and there will be your reward”. (Quest Objectives) 2) “Let me tell you a story”… Problem: irrelevant information gets ignored and disturbs the game flow. (check the 4 W’s about Motivation and Hook up above for better use) 3) “Red Herrings” Each bit and piece of information is expected to be relevant and important; giving irrelevant information (and having the player remembering it without reward) will make him frustrated. Player perception will not be “Oh, I was stupid to try that and go there.” but rather: “Your Game is broken and it sucks.” 8) SHOW EVERYTHING, TELL NOTHING (or: how to pack exposition in the game) "Exposition is the bitter pill to swallow information; Characterisation can be the chocolate coating to make it more appealing." a) Speakers Position, Style, and Perception Framing the Exposition with a believable character -> the information given must be an integral component of the characters own life story. You should not be able to replace a character by a road sign “bandits this way!” - then, something went horribly wrong! Ask yourself, what would the characters say, if it was themselves? Consider topics of their environment, daily life, and social group, plus their unique character. b) Speakers Messages (Subtext and Analogies) The subtext is raised out of the worlds background, Plot, the Character, and his/her feelings. The example below from a scene we all know: See, why scene 1 is good, and scene 2 feels “off” because of the perception of Han Solo’s Character we all have? Analogies Whenever you can package Exposition in an analogy using consistent terms of a world, you can avoid making an “artificial, top-down birds-eye analysis” which would break the immersion of the scene entirely. Also, analogies can be understood subconsciously and quicker and be remembered longer, using metaphors and pictures. Example: Do not say “you need to explain to them their feelings” but rather “tell them, this is normal, this is your anger, and this is your happiness.” It will get one level closer to the reality of the recipient and less meaning is lost in translation between implied message content and the receiver level. You do not exactly say what you mean, but portray it. making it more impressive and lasting. This applies only for non-immediate and non-interactive info; that info should all go in subtext and / or analogies! (obviously “run for your lives!” does not go there as it requires immediate action! ;-) ) c) About the Characters Stake in the story What is the personal connection of the Character? What are his feelings regarding the plot and other characters and the environment? Every speaker should have all of these elements: (The 5 personal ties of a speaker) something they want something they need something they fear something they gain something they loose And, of course, if possible, every actor should have each different from each other! Some should be the noble part, others the mean ones, some altruistic, some merchants,... d) How much Emotion? Like in music and painting and theater play, it is best to first give a stronger emotion, and later tune it down, the opposite way will get very hard with writing. “go there.” (how could a voice actor invoke much emotion in this anymore? ;-) ) e) The Player - NPC relation: Start considering the dialogue from both sides: What does the player want to / need to hear (for story progress)? What does the NPC want to / would be willing to tell, and what does he/she usually think of? “A Janitor is more memorable than a commander, because he has a more personal relationship to his environment, and not all of his character is filled by his assigned role.” “Characters who are not as we expect them, like a commander who is not a fierce strategist, or a janitor who is actually a warrior, are memorable and noteworthy and have character; but the general dummy characters based on stereotypes are killing the credibility of your story.” Exposition is telling. -> direct dialogue The characterisation is showing. -> show emotional reactions on events and plot! example: You don't say “he hates the empire” but you find out he was imprisoned and later after a battle that he is in the secret resistance. You can and should split this information over time. And do this for all relevant characters, as space of the game plot allow it. Then you come to the point where the player asks themselves “What else might we know about a character?”. The player will start guessing what kind of person the character is, and most can be left vague, but it will be an interesting actor. Stereotypes Nobody wants to see the stereotypical actors. The blonde cliche women, the idiot boy, the super hulk, ...rather do some research on the roles of your actors and their possible background and social relations, but most importantly, besides their official roles and their self-understanding, imagine them as human beings. Credible humans are, in doubt, more convincing than perfectly sketched actors for their “roles” who lack any character. That means, in doubt, give your characters 60% persona and individual character that might even conflict with the role their environment puts them in; and for the remaining 40% try to get a good idea of what role this character players play in their world. Some personas might support their roles, as having chosen them, others might not. Summary: small info bits dialogue should be the solution to a players problem the characters who deliver the dialogue and the way of speaking should be carefully considered try to “get in the head” of the speakers do it like for a musical, the time horizon of an RPG is similarly short and fluid remember that you have a tiny amount of time to place information in a fluid and dynamic game environment thanks for your attention! please send feedback and criticism my way! ;-) have fun
  9. Guideline Leveldesign

    Hello, BS Teams and Skyrim fans, there are a few basic questions when working on level design. Answering these appropriately, and having some practice, it is possible to create a beautiful dungeon or world space. 1) General Considerations Level design is the stage between designing the world on paper and implementing the mechanics of it; it is the intermediate step of realizing your vision. As with all sections of development, the criteria of good and bad should be how things as a sum come together and work out. And "works" means from testers/players perception, so it is always helpful to get quickly into the game tests and get third person opinions. The ties between especially the writing - level design - implementation chain are very strong. Bad writing annihilates every chance on good level design (if the level design follows the writing) and obviously the implementation afterward. Also, "bad" level design that does not fit the written story or the implementation makes a splendid player experience impossible. For that reason, good level design needs a basic understanding of the writing and implementation, and early testing by others. In general, the level designer should be in close communication with the responsible writer and implementer, or the same person; and at least another equally (or more) experienced person should check the work and add feedback, suggestions, constructive criticism. This requires a respectful but honest and rational communication. On the process level, it also requires running through stages as a team, like brainstorming, filtering and taking decisions. On sub level, the level design itself also follows a chain of stages. This can be done by either a responsible group or a professional director or department lead who is aware of all details. The optimum would be, if all the department members checked it, everyone knows about the background, and all responsible persons; and after a detailed discussion, a decision can be achieved that convinces everyone and takes inspiration from all suggestions. 2) Steps for level design The level design workflow follows stages. These could vary from each person, but to give you a general idea, I took a preference: a) interior Concepting Phase (story, the concept of playstyle, enemy stories, type of dungeon) Layouting Phase (having a closed layout without holes and getting stuck) Basic Cluttering Phase & basic light sources / lighting template raw (adding first objects to get a better impression of the design) Test and basic implementation (if the functionality is not yet proven) detailed clutter (going into a certain direction of design after having enough input, repairs and reworks at this point might improve things) encounters, traps, activators (making the interior functional for the test, adding the interactive elements) Navmesh, Lighting Template fine tuning, Sound; load optimization, north-marker, World-Hook Up, Name of the cell, coc marker, Markers etc (adding the full game integration data) extended tests and polishes (expect this to take a lot of time until it feels right) b) world space height map district layout regional layout basic clutter regional weathers, music interactive elements (as above) detailed clutter 3) How to approach the first stage Most work happens on a paper with a pencil, or a google doc, or your head (if you know what you are doing, but being able to discuss this with your team always helps). Standing on the brink of creating a new interior for example (but this also applies to exteriors) the first questions you should ask yourself are the following: What do I want to portray? -> Story, Peoples, Quests, Atmospheres. you need some game environment (we have skyrims) and a world/lore to realize at this point. the main challenge is to find a way to appropriately introduce this topic then later to the player, as you need to consider the player's conception; how he enters and leaves a place, how it feels from the first-person view, what relations he could build (or cant) with NPCs in your location; and how immersive that is and so on, you see this is already a heavily writing-connected topic... Most importantly, note that you can only transmit a limited amount of information; so relevance is key. Who would be inside when the player enters? -> “residence topic” consider exactly who or what needs to be placed inside and what these encounters require you to do from a level design point of view; if you have a huge monster, for example, having narrow sewers is no option, as the beast would get stuck and this loophole would quickly get exploited by players; which would ultimately break the balance and immersion of your aspired game experience. Who created that Interior, how was the process, which tools have been used? -> in your game, your world history, your dungeon is somehow connected to its environment. It was created by certain natural forces, peoples or beasts, and this should be reflected by its composites and its structure. This can greatly aid you in getting forward with a meaningful and realistic and believable design. What happened to the Interior until then? -> the next point is logical: when the player arrives, things happened. Make sure you portray these things as part of the environmental storytelling by structures, objects, and damage or intertwining materials (Aging, weather, wars, Dragon attacks…). What would the basic structure be like? -> some civil engineering and material science and maybe socio-historical economy on small scale here ;-) (does it carry its own weight, what kind of material is it, how durable is it, what stretching still makes sense, would the tunnels collide, how much / deep “digging under the earth with elder scrolls lore resources and magic is realistic” ?) Make sure that your small village of farmers does not possess a heavily fortified castle in the exterior unless you really have good reasons for that! what would I want to show with it? -> (feeling, mood, quest event) Your interior should clearly follow a function and a functionality. Make sure that this purpose is followed and the player intuitively can understand that. how I connect it towards world space / other interiors? -> (load doors, connection network or “linear run through” consider what you need: a circular path, an expanding labyrinth of instances, an open world or a linear street of dungeons? Think about this carefully because it influences the density of "distribution of content" in your world. Also, obviously ice caves should not be placed in deserts; so check if things fit together, and also consider how much "player convenience" (hidden exit after the boss was killed, shortcuts, etc) you want. Can I make a sketch and draw it? -> the first best thing to do after you have a frame for your story, is to actually sketch the layout with pencil and paper. "think in multiple ways" you can use your haptic impression with the pencil to realise "empty areas" and "choking points" or maybe you can achieve something more organic if you have a blueprint before touching very linear wall segments. Only playing with linear wall segments without a previous thought on an organic layout often leads to a design catastrophe. You want it to be relevant, unique and definitely not too big! how does it connect to the player's quests, how could it be interesting to him/her? -> you don't only want your interior to be fitting to the worlds environment and story, but also to have some intrinsic motivation for players to go there. Or something unexpected, or better both. Make sure you have room for that! Do I use the same materials as in the surrounding exterior or connected interiors? Should I use 2 or more sets? -> (cave+mine+imperial fort? Or rather stick to the main idea of the dungeon?) be careful not to visually "overload" your dungeon with various assets that don't look very much like they belong together. The visual impact should be scored by an organic unique shape and a (fake) variety of assets along with unexpected and before unseen progression, not a big pit full of various rubble. In fact, monotony if done right can amplify certain aspects of the player's awareness of the level design. Where can I place events, ambushes, loot, “safe zones”, hints for the story, encounters, traps, lights, give the player nice detailed Points of Interests or points of sight? -> along with the implementation, this is maybe the most important. If your interior or world space cannot offer spots for what you need to place your gameplay, no matter how beautiful it is, it is useless. 4) Basic Rules of Cluttering There are some basic "unwritten rules" that you can follow if you want to avoid a bad impression: mention the scaling size! 0.5 < "your object" < 2.0 (because of texture resolution) Scaling under 0.5 will drop fps; or over 2.0 will look miserable in game. A 1024x1024 texture would practically reduced by half. Especially on vanilla resolution textures, this could look harmful. If you can cover the low resolution texture, or it is a surface which is not seen close up, or you have a higher resolution texture than vanilla, it might still be an option to scale bigger. On the other hand, regions with a low object count might allow small meshes with higher resolution. This is just a general guideline like everything here, and depends on your case of application. (thanks anathem7x for the hint of exceptions) Hate Duplicates! Better do not get used to duplicates. Try to be original and unique at as many place as possible. Balance the density of Objects! Don't use too less or too many objects; especially not “an empty floor and a full room” since it would look awkward. At least, the amount of clutter should be balanced and distributed evenly across the area. Try to stay below the suggested object count (see that percentage value at top of render window in CK?) More objects also mean more havoc chaos (unless you add the unhavoc script, the checkbox does not always work) and more does not always mean better. Avoiding Death Space! Get a dynamic balance in the space; use all spaces, especially heights and ceilings, often newbies having interiors with a big empty hall above the players head, that kills the feel because it is a) unrealistic ancient people would build that way b) it is unrealistic this would stay unharmed over the ages from decay c) it does reduce the tension of a narrow tomb etc d) it might force you to clutter / redo areas that nobody will use in game e) it might kill the visual aesthetics in general. Avoiding boring Space! very close to the above, for example, be careful not to create long hallways with flat, unspecified and generic ceilings. (thanks uberman for the hint) Fake Spaces, Choices, and Decay! Spark the player's interest and imagination by a non-linear approach that implies that "this dungeon was actually bigger but this way is blocked" saving you object count and development time and also adding realism and non-linearity. Point out blocked/hidden areas. stay non-symmetric and organic! (except for places that require it) avoid any linear and symmetrical level design wherever you can (unless you work on cyrodiils palace maybe ;-) ) Style Kits don't like kitbashing between each other Use different kits only to a believable extent in the same region/interior; (consistency, not a surrealistic world) Optimisation load room borders, occlusion planes, check unrequired objects, remove stuff from concepting phase and clean up carefully; if you have too much to load in an interior, making a second interior is always an option, as there are limits to our beloved CK engine. Try to remove or replace small scaled objects (high texture density), FX effects where they arent needed and objects that are only 30% or less visible (because the rest is outside the surface). Eternal Gravity and Out of Reach -> checking that nothing is "falling under the ground"; (resetting in the center of the cell later on load!) and that also nothing is outside of + / - 30.000 units in all x, y and z dimensions, as this can result in issues. NAVMESH TEST with Overlay keeping at least always a walking corridor (test with navmesh). Find a good balance between count of vertices and resolution of your navmesh map. Additional Info acoustic spaces for different acoustic impressions; North marker for the map; coc marker, x-marker heading for teleports; consistent cell name and hooked up map markers; music playlist, trigger boxes and implementational preparations... Light Sources make sure you use beams, spotlights, omni-emission light sources and shadow creating light sources as suggested in tutorials; as shown in the tutorials. (thanks to Dimonoider for the hint) they are specified here: Lighting Template (not the light sources and FX, but the cells "background lighting") be very careful when using the lighting templates. rather choose all black, if not sure, and gradually improve brightness. Because the background lighting can come off unimmersively pretty quickly. rather go with low values; especially if you plan to have realistic light sources etc. Loot lists and items consider if the standard container with standard loot lists do fit in; Activators & Traps consider player-interactions like lighting a fireplace or climbing a rope/ladder, mushrooms etc. That needs the appropriate space. Build a Stage for your Encounters / Actors consider your dungeon as a stage for actors you place, that means, plan the encounters and patrols and ambushes (like traps and puzzles and collectables) already at concepting stage or layouting stage to distribute them consistently and make the area / dungeon feel more "smooth and natural". (most importantly) Stay open for inspiration, feedback, criticism even after the "duty job is finished" check all available sources of content and technique like historical/archeological sources and the Creation Kit Wiki https://www.creationkit.com/index.php?title=Main_Page quality is made by finishing a dungeon, polishing it and going deeply into the thoughts behind it. you will find that, whilst the first stages you have a lot to lose, the last stages are those where you really gain something. So you should estimate to spent more time on the later stages, even though your "duty job" is already done; but at that level it becomes fun and you can actually become creative with tweaking the overall composition as a whole. Thank you very much for your attention! I hope this helps! Come to the Arcane University, the teachers are great. Oh and every feedback is very welcome, so we can continuously improve this little guideline! Have fun!
  10. Status Quo Models

    @TARS well, a few statics can always be added. Environmental add-ons. And every Skyrim-Modding team is happy about rigged creatures. Whats your portfolio? ;-) Are you modeler or concept artist?
  11. Application - Papyrus Scripter

    hello Tommy, this seems like very good application. Especially that Atmora is one of your preferences ;-) Atmora is now implementing quests and working towards release. We would be very happy to have you on board and see where we can go together. Of course, its free for you to also to work in another team or in Atronach Forge for several teams; and after Atmoras release, I would highly appreciate if you would proceed with other teams anyway if you want ;-) New applicants run as recruits until they have handed in something for evaluation. We have an open and cooperative and communicative team and we are looking forward to seeing you around! greetings
  12. How to Apply

    UPDATE June 2018 We are no longer recruiting Writers, Marketing, Sound Engineers, Composers and Concept Artists. We have very little tasks left to do for level designers (Creation Kit). We have still space for 3d recruits (Nif-Formate) and Implementers (Creation Kit Quest Building). We do not yet cast Voice Actors. Please stay patient. This job is last.
  13. Recruitment: Spanish translator

    we will see ;-) at the moment, the focus is on development, translation later. you can help us translating the new BS website if you want. If so, write me a pm. では、またね amigo
  14. Application - Web Developer

    welcome ;-)
  15. Housing & Human Structures Concept Ideas

    please read up the lore about Atmora. the weather and the thousands of years in-between.