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The Oblivion Bookbinding Mod

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the labour-of-love dept.

63

Via GameSetWatch, an article on the Guilded Lilies site interviewing a unique Oblivion modder. Phoenix Amon has taken on the task of rebinding every book in Oblivion, as well as spell-checking the documents within. From the article: "Q: How much time do you spend modding, and do you enjoy it more than playing games? A: I spend more time modding than playing recently, but I enjoy both a lot. I wouldn't have bought Oblivion if it hadn't been moddable, but that's because I knew from experience that I don't like a lot of Bethesda's game design choices. It's not a deciding factor for all games."

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Virtual Librarian (4, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440460)

For those of us who think being a Librarian in real life is too risky, you can now do it on computer.

Re:Virtual Librarian (1)

CtrlPhreak (226872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440533)

Think of all the paper cuts! Rebinding a book, that's gotta take a bunch of hammers and crazy tools for stretching out the leather and nailing it on the book, all too dangerous for PWG (pasty white guy) in the basement. Plus typing, clicking and lifting mountain dew hardly trains you for that sort of work, he'd have to start on small books, maybe photo albums before being able to make it up to enchanted books that magically increase your skill.

Come to think of it, there should be a book binding skill tree and librarian quest in the game, there are already book mercahnts in the game, you can work your way up through them, increase your mercantile skills as well... come on modders!

Re:Virtual Librarian (2, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440534)

> For those of us who think being a Librarian in real life is too risky, you can now do it on computer.

Considering what was in my library by the time I finished TES III / Morrowind, being a librarian was the most dangerous thing you could do in the game.

(About halfway through the main quest, I had already figured out most of what Dagoth Ur was up to, and that it ought to be a simple matter of reverse-engineering the thousands of pounds of Dwemer artifacts and plugging a few leaky steam tubes in order to pick up where he left off. Curse you, developers, I wanted my big steampunk robot apotheosis!)

Re:Virtual Librarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15440793)

get out more? you know; the big room, the one without the ceiling ;)

Re:Virtual Librarian (1)

one-eye-johnson (911152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441270)

Hey, if librarians can be arrested under the USA Patriot act, then maybe it's safer and more fulfilling to be a librarian in gamespace.

Re:Virtual Librarian (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444623)

Is there an "orangutan" player class?

Being a Librarian can be very dangerous in a world of magic. In the immortal word of one victim, "Ook!"

Wow... (-1, Flamebait)

BenJeremy (181303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440466)

What is next to keep the social-phobic nerd trapped a bit longer in his mother's basement?

Maybe he can give all of the ale bottles unique, detailed bap designs?

How about going over all of the etchings and inlays on swords and shields in the game to make them more accurate?

Perhaps he will next go in and create new patterns and quilting for all of the bedding in the game. :::yikes::: Glad I'm not stuck next to him during a long flight.

Re:Wow... (2, Informative)

TouchOfRed (785130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440506)

If you actually read the article before posting you would know that its a woman doing the mod. That being said, I think the article focussed a little to much on that aspect. OMFGBBQ FEMALE MODDERS!

Wow...Patience is a virtue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15441980)

Actualy I'd say that women are perfect for the modding community. They have great amounts of patience and concentration, characteristics needed when doing mods.

Re:Wow... (4, Informative)

cinnamoninja (958754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440527)

Perhaps he will next go in and create new patterns and quilting for all of the bedding in the game. :::yikes::: Glad I'm not stuck next to him during a long flight.

She, actually.

And she's really quite cool about it. She didn't think she had the talent to come up with some huge level quest mod, so she picked a small thing that bugged her and is going to fix it. Here are pictures of the books [photobucket.com] so far.

Also, she's got a couple guys to help her incorporate grammer and spelling fixes for the books. If only the original designers would put so much thought into the little details...

But, Some Oblivion residents do use poor grammar (5, Interesting)

ugmoe (776194) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440699)

Also, she's got a couple guys to help her incorporate grammer and spelling fixes for the books. If only the original designers would put so much thought into the little details...

The original designers did put the thought in when they purposely used poor grammar in some of the books.

Why does she (and the parent poster) assume that all the residents in the world of Oblivion are capable of using proper grammar?

If she corrects all the grammar mistakes, then a player who reads the books will assume that everyone (who writes) in the land of Oblivion uses good grammer, which is not what the game developers intended. They obviously intended to subtly show the game player the diversity of the educational backgrounds of the NPC's, and to show that even though some of the NPC's may use poor grammar, that they still have a love for writing.

Fie on her elitist attitude! I shall create a mod to add the poor grammar back.

Re:But, Some Oblivion residents do use poor gramma (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441430)

While somewhat in jest, this raises some interesting issues regarding authorial intent in games which are meant to be highly moddable by the gaming community. Is there a line where we, as players, should not cross? Is it less "sacraligous" to make holesale changes in a game such as making Counter-Strike from the base of Half-Life than it is to make smaller more subtle changes to the very fabric of the game such as perhaps giving Gordan Greeman a voice? Is changing the grammar and spelling in Oblivion more "offensive" than creating your own entire quest?
Of course, one can always take the opinion that it is just a game and if people don't like the changes, they won't download and install them, so it doesn't really matter in the long run...

Re:But, Some Oblivion residents do use poor gramma (2, Interesting)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442312)

There was actually an interesting sorta debate on this point in the community of one of the games I played, Natural-Selection. Mappers would spend lots of time making maps that they thought were aesthetically pleasing and had a certain sorta flow. But then servers took to implementing mods that would do things like advertise their server and its home website with big glowing particle signs inside the lobbies and such. This caused the mappers to hem and haw about people ruining their maps. Of course, nothing was done about it in the end, but I thought it was an interesting little back-and-forth.

Re:But, Some Oblivion residents do use poor gramma (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441872)

I'm wondering if the timeline in the game along with some of the books didn't follow the timeline of grammar. I mean if one of the books is from the 16th century and translated from another language, the rules aren't going to be the same as say, the same book authored from scratch, in a your native language, and writen durring the 25th century. It could be possible the errors were to reflect translations and whatnot. Also, it wasn't until around 1600 or so before we got an english dictionary. Earler for latin and chinese but until then words could easily change thier meanings.

(side note, that why most english science was formed with latin words, It was already a defined and translated language wich ment a homo always was a homo reguardless of what we currently call them)

Re:But, Some Oblivion residents do use poor gramma (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442455)

One of my favorite NPCs in Oblivion was the Orc guy who sounded like a middle schooler with a thesaurus. It was great!

Re:But, Some Oblivion residents do use poor gramma (1)

Mortice (467747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15443077)

"The original designers did put the thought in when they purposely used poor grammar in some of the books."

...

"If she corrects all the grammar mistakes, then a player who reads the books will assume that everyone (who writes) in the land of Oblivion uses good grammer, which is not what the game developers intended."



Go you.

Re:But, Some Oblivion residents do use poor gramma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15458352)

Of all the silly things to complain about. :D If you like Bethesda's spelling of "pugiliists" by all means don't use my mod because it will utterly destroy your game. I am an elitist pig because I both know what that word means and that it's a typo.

I don't plan on correcting any of the errors in personal books like journals. I'd expect more care to be taken in commercial books, and lots of them just contain typos rather than the sorts of mistakes a scribe might have made. There's a difference between time pressure during development and artistic intent.

Phoenix

Re:Wow... (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441849)

Also, she's got a couple guys to help her incorporate grammer and spelling fixes for the books. If only the original designers would put so much thought into the little details...

For an encore, she's going to fix the grammar and spelling errors in Flowers_for_Algernon and The_Sound_and_the_Fury

Re:Wow... (3, Informative)

Durinthal (791855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441263)

Maybe he can give all of the ale bottles unique, detailed bap designs?

Well, some other people have already [elderscrolls.com] gotten close to that [elderscrolls.com] .

My god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15440505)

...it's full of wasted time!

Re:My god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15440517)

So sayeth the Slashdot poster.

Re:My god... (1)

Hoch (603322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440848)

In regards to a GAME nonetheless.

Modding=Spellchecking? (5, Funny)

stipe42 (305620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440515)

If you hear "Build a user mod of a game" and your response is "I can fix all the spelling mistakes" then you, my friend, may be the most boring person in the entire universe.

Re:Modding=Spellchecking? Modding=beautifying (2, Insightful)

Maxhrk (680390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440611)

well i thinking Modding as to Beautifying the game.

Re:Modding=Spellchecking? Modding=beautifying (3, Funny)

cicatrix1 (123440) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441397)

Hm. Please don't get involved in any grammar or spelling mods yourself.

One of the best morrowind mods was like this (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440672)

It changed all the fantasy language roadsigns into readable signs. Very simple yet it made the game a lot more real. Instead of having to wait for a hint to popup when you where close you could just read the actuall sign.

It sounds trivial but the change in gameplay is huge. It is like when you first played Doom and could for the first time tell you where about to pickup a chainsaw because it actually looked like a chainsaw. When you didn't need to be told what was health pack because it was clear.

This is where graphics matter. Not purely the looks but in making the world act like our own. In the real world we can check the spines of the books to see what book it is. We don't have to hover close to it to wait for a popup to tell us.

This mod is going to require a more powerfull machine but in return you can now regonize valuable books. Granted there is no real need in game, just as morrowind didn't require you to use the road signs, but you now can.

TES games are best bought a year later and then you can just mod your own game. It is amazing how much better the user mods make the game. Either I just don't like bethseda's game designer or every modder out there can read my mind.

This however does raise a question, what could be done with a game that is fully open and modders do not have to spend the first few months trying to decipher cryptic files?

Between NWN and TES I am getting more roleplaying then commercial companies seem willing to sell. Then again NWN did seem to kill of the stream of Baldur Gate games. Pity.

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (2, Informative)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440875)

This however does raise a question, what could be done with a game that is fully open and modders do not have to spend the first few months trying to decipher cryptic files?


Capture The Flag.
Team Fortress
Rocket Arena

To name a few of the more notable things that happened. Yes, like usual I'm refering to quake, which embraced and really founded the modding revolution you hint about. Really, its not even that uncommon in major FPS titles now, not sure why the other genres havn't caught up.

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441755)

If you think that's notable, you should have seen the Tribes 1 & 2 modding communies. They turned a sci-fi FPS with jetpacks and armor into everything from a virtual life-size lego set (Construction mod) to a online fantasy game (TribesRPG).

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (1)

Khaotix (229171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15448311)

Quake had a few fantasy/rpg mods. Some are still active. There was also the first surfing maps/mods, racing mods, and tons of machinimas.

Quake mods were really top notch ... created a ton of awesome multiplayer mods since it was one of the first *really* widely played multiplayer games.

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441764)

I imagine it would be sort of humiliating for a developer to find that people are trashing what you made in favor or thier own alterations and other people like it better. Some might deep down inside reguard it as defacing.

Now substitute developer with some super cool game developing/production company whos reputation is going to be made on this game. What kind of blow does it give them when some one else is able to mod it in a short period of time and have the outcome better then thier production. It is almost like syaing, if companyX was anygood, they would have made this game this good already.

I can see a lot of reasons they would want to make it somewhat dificult to mod it. At least letting enough time pass untill everyones focus is on something else they made/did.

FPS games are probably using it as a selling point. Look the game lives forever! Were games might still suffer from the above.

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442748)

Imagine if I was able to put a DVD into my PC and make a new edit of a film.

All thre reputations I could ruin !

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15443155)

I imagine it would be sort of humiliating for a developer to find that people are trashing what you made in favor or thier own alterations and other people like it better. Some might deep down inside reguard it as defacing.

Only the crappy devs would adopt this mindset: the power of modders is in the dedication, time, concentration and sheer brute force power of it's community. If you have 20 million players and manage to get 1% of them to start modding (even small mods) you just got yourself a [b]free[/b] team or 200,000 devs, 200,000 that won't fear trying new things, shifting paradigms, and potentially create things that you can include in addons and stuff. The best games of the latter years were all highly moddable (even if not built for modding in the first place): Half Life, Total Annihilation, Morrowind&Oblivion, Warcraft III, ...

In fact, some devs are even looking forward to the mods their games will spawn, such is the behaviour adopted by Bethesta (which is the reason why they give many modding tools such as the TES for free and devote a whole section of the official forum to modding), and this is also what Chris Taylor (from GPG, the man who brought us Total Annihilation) intends to do with Supreme Commander: TA was highly moddable even though not built for modding at all and that was a big part of the reasons why it got popular in it's community. SupCom will be built to help modding.

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444507)

because of Nude mods... :) though I shudder to think of a Super Mario nude patch...

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (1)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 7 years ago | (#15454158)

Oh, so you don't know why he's know as Super Mario ;-)

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15441168)

Actually, the untelligible sings in the "mystic" language are pretty easy to read, if you know how.

The "ancient language" is plain english written in another font. Basically it's like trying to read english in the wingding font.

If you want to really be "immersed" find a way to translate all the chars from the game without refering somewhere else. In Morrowind it was quite easy. I first notice that the included map use one of the symbol on a compas. I tried to see if I was right.... Looking at the map, I saw some "ancient text" that could fit the world "Province of Morrowind", and of course, the n's had the same symbols. From all the new symbols, I found other incomplete word, which where obvious. From there I mapped the rest of the alphabet. Took me one evening but it make me "play" archeologist for a while, and was quite fun. :P

Sometimes, stuff like that makes many *happy campers*

Re:One of the best morrowind mods was like this (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15443801)

That was quite easy in Quake 4, too. Never managed to decode the "galactic standard alphabet" from Commander Keen, though.

Wow, never would have realized this (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15447013)

Offcourse it makes sense, make a new font and pump out all the fantasy text you want without having needing an artist for every bit of text.

Clever.

Realism (2, Insightful)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440769)

The quality of these covers is amazing. I realize it's not something that changes video gaming dramatically, but the fact that we can now use high-res textures that look like cloth is pretty cool.

more slashdot sensationalism (1)

Municipa (99320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440791)

on slashdot, rebinding a book = changing a graphic

Re:more slashdot sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15440993)

Oh my god! That means that they will be rebinding /. soon! OMGWTFBBQ!

Re:more slashdot sensationalism (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444605)

Sure, if you want to simplify the mod into three words.

There's a LOT of work that went into this and, going from my time spent playing Morrowind, I could see how this would be appealing. It's simple, but it adds another very nice graphical flourish to the game, and a tiny bit more to immerse you in its world.

knew from experience (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15440960)

I wouldn't have bought Oblivion if it hadn't been moddable, but that's because I knew from experience that I don't like a lot of Bethesda's game design choices."

Logistically that statement makes sense, but there just seems something wrong about it. Why would you buy a game from a maker whose design choices you don't like?

Re:knew from experience (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441658)

Because he knew he could change some of it. Hence the moddable part.

Actualy he probably knew someone else withthe game and saw what he wanted to change before even getting it. It is like instead of buying a yellow car, buying a red car and painting parts of it yellow to look exactly how you want it to. Like modding, It would depend on if you could paint (mod)

Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

KingBraden (959219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441114)

Maybe its just me, but the books in Oblivion were one of those nifty little features that you looked at one time and thought "wow they really care about the little things" and never thought about again.

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441361)

I've read "Purloined Shadows" a few times, and I still think it's a great story.

I've also read "An Incident in Necrom", probably my favorite TES book, about 5 times.

(...and yes, I have had multiple girlfriends.)

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15442064)

(...and yes, I have had multiple girlfriends.)

Clearly the parent must have had some sort of hot-coffee mod in his game.

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

Supurcell (834022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442233)

(...and yes, I have had multiple girlfriends.)
Multiples of zero are still zero.

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

masterzora (871343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442715)

Your left and right hands don't count as girlfriends.

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

Yosho (135835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441877)

I make sure to open every book at least once, because you never know which ones will give you stat bonuses.

Well, and "The Lusty Argonian Maid" was a fairly amusing read.

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442393)

Of course that skill bonus could accidentally put your into the next level before you had practiced your minor skills enough to get optimal stat bonuses! Argh.. i hate the levelling system. I had to install the "slow levelling mod" because my character was leveling uncontrollably. I'd be in a dungeon and I would gain two levels before I was out and only get like +2 to the important stats. Now I don a full set of Heavy Armour and tank a rat or goblin until I get enough Block/HA points before each level so I can get +5 endurance.

=matthew

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442552)

Do you have Athletics or Acrobatics in your major skills?

That's a sure-fire way to level like crazy. A good idea in Morrowind where there were no leveled creatures (unless you modded it to add them) but a bad idea for Oblivion.

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442700)

Yeah, i unknowingly chose a class that has both acrobatics and athletics as majors. But the slow leveling mod takes care of that. Still, it takes more work than it should to get decent stat bonuses per level. From what I gather, if you don't power level, the game gets ridiculously hard a higher levels and you end up having to turn the difficulty way down.

-matthew

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

FoamingToad (904595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15443709)

Agreed. My first go at the game was based on major skills that were the ones I wanted to use. By level 15 or 16 the creatures were far too hard to kill.

I haven't modded the game yet (ini file tweaks notwithstanding) as I'm wanting to complete the game as it was released first. I hit on the strategy of dropping my unused skills into Majors and my used skills into Minors.

This has meant that the levels come a lot further apart, and you have a better skill balance against the opposition. There was a couple of hairy moments around level 12 - 15 with Will 'o' the wisps (b45t4rds all of them) but I managed to finish the main quest at level 20 last week.

I may end up adding mods into the game soon, but at the moment I'm just working through the additional quests.

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

pugugly (152978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15465660)

Sneak has the same problem - I designed a character with sneak and acrobatics.

Don't know what I was thinking - I can only plead that it had been awhile since I played Morrowind.

Pug

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

Yosho (135835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15443607)

You might try out the AF Level Mod [fuzionmedia.com] and see if you like it. I greatly prefer it to Oblivion's level system; now I can just use skills normally and not have to worry about maxing multipliers.

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15442361)

IF they really cared the books would be more than 5 pages long and you'd be able to extract the PDF version of offline reading. ;-)

-matthew

Re:Silly kids, readings not fun (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444026)

You just have to visit the Imperial Library [gamingsource.net] .

What program? (1)

Lifelike (937107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15441278)

I may have missed this when I read the article (or it went over my head), but what graphics program does she use to create the book cover mods? I would imagine it would be something like Photoshop to create the image file itself, then another program to put the jacket cover in the right place to be read properly by the program?

Devs are people too. . . (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15443307)

I think it is easy to say, "look I'm better than the game developers! I made this mod that changes the text to something I think suits the game, not what they thought." When you had to spend maybe a few days on a tiny morsel of the game's entire code. The Devs had to think about every single aspect of the game when devoting time to that game.

Man, what a dork (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15443354)

Jesus, as if gamers didn't look enough like shut-ins, we've got this guy plying his obsessive-compulsive disorder on geeky Oblivion fans with no lives and less social aptitude-

I was curious to find out more about her modding project, so I asked Phoenix a few questions about what the process has been like for her. ...It's a girl? Oh, um. It's a girl. *ahem*

H-Hey there. So you like video games too, huh? M-Maybe I can show you my NES game c-collection. Heh heh heh!

Rob (What, where are you going? Please don't run away!)

Huh (1)

Phaxn (946939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15443883)

Huh, The books in Oblivion had bad grammer? Did anyone else miss this or is it just me?

Nonvirtual bookbinding (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444724)

For those who are so inclined, there's a substantial community of people interested in the geeky mechanics of antiquarian books. See, for instance, Rare Book School [virginia.edu] .

Also, you should not underestimate the l337ness of librarians -- they are all over the database world, fans of the semantic web, and friends of freedom of speech [ala.org] and even open source [ala.org] .

There's even a library webcomic [overduemedia.com] .

how about bethesda fix the game first (1)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445088)

If only bethesda would put as much time into making the game not crash as much as it does compared to how much time modders put into it I would go back to playing it.
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