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13-10-2007, 05:13 AM   #1
Razorwing
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Oblivion mod looking for 3D Modellers
The "Silgrad Tower" mod team is dedicated to the Elder Scrolls game series. Our work started out as a The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind mod in late 2002, and grew into a huge landmass the player could journey to. Our lands were full of cities, dungeons and quests and gave dozens of hours of entertainment to tens of thousands of players.

When we heard that a new game in the series was under development we decided we would continue our mod for the new game, and rebuild it from scratch. This proved to be a challenge because naturally our old mod was crafted by using stuff from that game, and it would be illegal for us to use models and textures from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in a mod for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Using stuff from the new game wasn't really an alternative because it would have looked so wildly different from what it used to.

So, it became clear we needed to create the models and textures ourself and make them look like the old models. We've worked hard at that since late 2005 and have come quite a bit on the way towards our goal. If you want to check out our work and have Oblivion, you can download a beta from silgrad.com. If you don't have the game, here are a few videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq9jIdxXt2s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG01TYYuWkE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5oaaPJuLJ8

For all the work we've completed, a few big modelling jobs remain to be done. We'd like you to work with us on completing one of them. If you're looking for a productive way of beefing up your portfolio this would be a good opportunity, especially if your interest lies in game models. I'm rather good at writing accolades and would be happy to write a positive snippet of your work for us. We'd also feature your work in a news item on the front page of our site and emphasize whom you are and how you've helped us.

Read more about:
- What's good to know when modelling for the Oblivion game
- The recommended facecount levels
- How Oblivion handles textures

I've listed some of our open modelling jobs below. I've tried to keep the descriptions succinct, so if you're interested in one of these jobs please email me at razorwing@silgrad.com and we can talk about the details while you're developing the models.

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1. Dwarven tileset
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Traditional dwarven meets World War II military base.

- Download a max scene with examples of how the old tileset looked. (mirror)

The dwarves in the world of elder scrolls are called "Dwemer", and are very different from dwarves of traditional fantasy. For one they were elves, and to make matters stranger they weren't particularly short. According to legend they had dealings with giants, who naturally referred to them as dwarves, and the name spread to become the common term for the race.

The dwemer's society evolved to a pre-industrial level, but through an act of a God they all went extinct thousands of years ago. All that remains are their ruins, filled with danger - but also great treasure. Their ruins have a sturdy, blocky feel to them were built with stone and now-rusted metal. If you think "traditional dwarven meets World War II military base" you wouldn't be far off. They're very darkly lit apart from the light emanating from their weird light-tubes. Strange machinery can be found here and there, and one often sees pipes going back and forth.

There is one small and and one large Dwemer tileset. Recreating the small tileset is ten times more important than recreating the large tileset, so you don't have to commit to making the latter if you don't want to. It would be a nice extra rather than a necessity.

Dwarven ruins have their own kind of loot, which I've included in a separate max scene. They can be broken down into four categories; schematics, normal kitchenware, expensive kitchenware, and miscellanous trinkets. The expensive kitchenware, called limeware, is *really* expensive, on par with a Ming vase from the real world. The miscellanous items and the limeware items are be the most important ones to us. The normal kitchenware would be very useful to have, since it's great for cluttering. We can put the schematics to use, but they're not as important.

Video: Streaming | Download
Screenshots of the small tileset: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9
Screenshots of the large tileset: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13

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2. Ancient dark elf tilesets
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Abandoned, primitive egyptian-like tombs guarded by undead.

- Download a max scene with examples of how the old tilesets looked. (mirror)

The dark elves' ancient culture was referred to as "Velothi". As time wore on, dark elves divided themselves into clans and their shared culture (and architecture) developed into several diverse forms. Many traces of the Velothi culture remain to this day through the many burial tombs found across the lands. In older times each family maintained a burial tomb out in the wilderness, where their dead were carried and then cremated. Some dead were chosen to guard the tomb as undead, while others performed the same duty as ghosts. In modern times dark elves cremate their dead at city temples, while their burial tombs are left along to gather dust -- meaning, they're great places for the player to "tomb raid" for artefacts. The tombs are also sometimes homes to rogue necromancers (for natural reasons) or outlaws.

The design is not unlike ancient Egyptian tombs of the real world; made of ruggid stone, primitive-looking, and overall having a blocky impression.

There's three tilesets, which we can just call the small, large and huge set. The pieces of the small tileset start with "In_V_S_", pieces of the large tileset start with "In_velothilarge_" and the huge tileset starts with "In_V_L_int_L". Compared to the small set, the large set is a more bulbous version of it and the huge set is a doublestory version.

The small tileset is the most important one, since in many cases we would mod tombs with this tileset alone. The diminutive size of it gives a nice feeling of claustrophobia that's perfect for tombs infested with undead, and naturally it's easier to fill with 'clutter' (furniture, treasure, rubble, etc). But there will also be a fair number of situations where we need the large and huge sets, for instance to convey a sense of grandeur to the player in particularly long dungeon crawls.

Video: Streaming | Download
Screenshots: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8

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3. Dark elf strongholds
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Primitive but sturdy holds built long ago, now home to outlaws.

- Download max scenes with examples of how the old exteriors and the tileset looked. (mirror)

The now-abandoned strongholds constructed long ago by the dark elves mainly served as bases for travelling soldiers. They were also of strategic military importance since massive portals could be found in each one, allowing large numbers of soldiers to teleport quickly to a conflict zone. In modern-day Morrowind peace has reigned for over four hundred years, ever since Morrowind became a Province of the Cyrodiilic empire (which shares a lot of similarities with ancient rome), so the strongholds lost their purpose long ago. Since they're all situated in the wilderness, far from the major cities, they never saw civic use after their military use ended. Rather they became bases for local warlords, wizards, outlaws and the like. In the old game strongholds tended to be straightforward, intensive and challening action-oriented locations and were always great fun to play through.

Stronghold exteriors are made up of a basic tileset that lets one adjust the length and to an extent the size of the hold. Adjusting the size in this case means omitting the base level ('pylon') or the upper level ('fort') from the modded Stronghold. Despite it being limited in customization it does allow for making each stronghold have a unique look and size.

The pieces of the exterior tileset are gigantic, so the usual rule of thumb of how many faces a tileset piece should have don't really apply. Instead the rule of thumb is that a whole arrangement, like in the max scenes Andasreth and Marandus, should have about 50,000 faces. It can be less if you don't need to use that many faces, but it shouldn't be much more than that.

The interior tileset on the other hand works like normal tilesets do. As you can see if you compare this exterior screenshot with this interior one, the tileset was used to mod the interior so that it resembled the shape of the exterior. You can see a lot of cases where the interior correspond with the exterior; the normal-sized corridor pieces for instance often have one wall slanted because the walls on the exterior model lean inward.

The interior tileset is named rather inconsistently, and trying to make heads or tails of it based on the pieces' names will likely be futile. Suffice it to say there are three tilesets; one normal-sized, the other double-width, and the third multistory.

The teleport device is named "in_strong_portal_chamber" and included in the interior tileset' max scene.

Video: Streaming | Download
Screenshots (exterior): #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7
Screenshots (interior): #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7

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4. Medieval homes
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Traditional medieval homes in a blend of tudor and cottages.

- Download max scenes with examples of medieval buildings from the old game. (mirror)

The medieval houses we need for our mod have two main looks. One kind looks like a rural cottage with stone walls and a thatch roof, while the other kind look sortof like a Tudor building with plaster walls and roof shingles. Quite a few houses are a blend of the two looks.

In the old game the smaller buildings used single-piece models for its interiors, which you can check out in the fourth max scene. Larger buildings used a tileset, which can be checked out in the first three max scenes.

Ideally we would like you to recreate not only the interior tileset but also create a new exterior tileset that would replace the old single-piece exteriors. Given that houses used an interior tileset in the old game (except the little cottages), it would make sense to have an exterior one as well in our mod. With both an exterior and an interior tileset we'll have a lot more options for making customized buildings than we would have if we had just tried to make interior tileset configurations fit with a single-piece exterior building. Besides, the exterior houses in the old mod weren't *really* single-piece models since one would place the windows, entrances, chimneys and other accessories by hand.

The interior tileset can be divided into three categories; stone, plain and rich. The stone pieces are used for basements, for example a wine cellar or a storage area. The plain pieces are used in middle-class homes, while the rich pieces are used in manors and other upper-class homes. In the old game the two latter categories basically only differed in textures, though you can certainly make your version of the rich pieces more ornate and elaborate.

In this medieval home design windows are sunk considerably into the walls, which is kinda cool because the window sills are great places to put clutter, like bottles and vases and the like. But it means that windows can't be placed as accessory models on top of for instance an existing wall slab, so similar to the old game one would need to make special tileset pieces to account for different window configurations. One would make three corner pieces and three wall pieces; in each set one has a window on the left side, one has a window on the right side, and one has windows on both sides. (There's a few different kinds of windows so there'd be some more variations, but you get the idea.) Both the plain and the rich category would need those kinds of window variations, but for natural reasons the stone category wouldn't since it'll always be situated underground.

An interesting thing about the tileset in the old game is that pillars (in_c_pillar_wood) were frequently placed manually to cover seams between the pieces. I think it's a practice that has both advantages and drawbacks. On the upside it adds flexibility to the tileset without the need for additional pieces in the base set, but at the same time it makes it somewhat more complex to mod with - and for someone looking to recreate the tileset, trying to make the pillars work might be more complicated than just creating more pieces for the base set. There's no right or wrong answer in this case, just a matter of preference on behalf of you as the person creating the tileset.

If you examine one of the tileset scenes you'll notice a considerable discrepancy of the interior's size versus the exterior's - the exterior model is much smaller, sometimes being only half the base area of the interior. This kind of discrepancy between interior and exterior scale permeated the old game, but is not the case with the new game. Since the new exterior will be made with a tileset I don't suppose it will be much of a factor, but in case you wondered I wanted to mention that it's the interior size that's accurate.

Video: Streaming | Download
Screenshots (exterior): #1 #2 #3
Screenshots (interior): #1 #2 #3


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5. Flowers
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- Download a max scene with the plants we need recreated. (mirror)

We need certain flowers and other plants recreated. We haven't recreated them ourselves yet because the bulk of the job lies in recreating the necessary textures, and we've always had more modellers than texturers in the team. Not that we've been swimming in modellers, rather, most of the time we haven't had any texturers at all. We've tried to recreate them from time to time but it's proved impossible to recreate them without custom textures and still retain the original look while at the same time keeping within the facecount budget for plants.

The plants in "Flowers (1)" are needed the most, while those in "Flowers (2)" would be really nice to have and those in "Flowers (3)" would be quite useful.

You'll notice that there are groups of models called ingredients in the scene, and if you haven't played Elder Scrolls games you might be wondering how they're used. Player characters in ES games can pursue an Alchemy skill, which involves mixing ingredients together to make potions. Ingredients can be harvested from many different sources, like animals for instance, but the most common source is from plants. After the recreated plants have been placed in-game the player will be able to click on it to obtain an ingredient. The ingredient can be dropped from his inventory, and then enters the world as an ingredient model. Ingredients can also be placed directly in the world by modders, so they're definitely necessary. Luckily ingredient models are a breeze to create once the plant it comes from is finished - since they come from the plant, their model should in most cases be a part of the plant model. There's exceptions to that though, for instance the holly bush in (3) doesn't have modelled berries on it while that's what the ingredient model is. But for the most part taking a part of the plant model works the best.

As was mentioned above, "Flowers (1)" contain the plants that are the most important to us (which isn't to say the others are unimportant). The Bittergreen plant is modded by first placing a pod, then placing a number of vines growing out of the pod. Please make a dozen or so variations of vines. The Trama tree works sortof in the same way, but in this case a tree or a bush is placed and then roots shoot up from the ground around the tree. You don't necessarily have to create as many different kinds of Trama as there was in the original game if you don't want to, a few different trees and a few different bushes and a few different roots would work well. That's not to say that an equal selection or even a more extensive one wouldn't be the best situation, because it would, just that you don't have to go that far if you don't want to.

The plants in "Flowers (2)" are for the most part decorative flowers, whose primary use will be as potted plants but they will also occur notably in parts of our wilderness. Note that the Golden Sedge and Noble Sedge use the same mesh, and effectively so does the two Sweetbarrel cacti. You can also use the same mesh for two plants the way the creators of the old game did, but if you want to make your meshes unique that's not a negative either. Either way is fine.

In "Flowers (3)" you'll find plants that'll occur in cold or mountaineous regions of our world. There's eight kinds of flora, but as you'll notice there's really only four kinds with the other four being retextures to make them look frosty. It would be great if the plants you would create all had unique meshes since it would only be a matter of moving the leaves/branches around. Given that the facecount levels. Likewise the creators of the old game used the same mesh for the holly berries and the belladonna berries, which doesn't make much sense so please make your version of the ingredient meshes unique as well.

Screenshots: Belladonna Bittergreen Holly Horn Lily Meadow Rye & Timsa-Come-By flower Nirthfly Scathecraw Sweetbarrel Trama Wolfsbane
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Silgrad Tower - a massive Oblivion mod
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13-10-2007, 02:19 PM   #2
anasasis
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hey guys i wouldnt mind getting into some game modding i would love to join you guys i usually only model in maya so hopefully that is ok. so any other information on specific tasks i would be handling would be great thanks for everything
peter
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13-10-2007, 03:31 PM   #3
Razorwing
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Quote:
Originally posted by anasasis
hey guys i wouldnt mind getting into some game modding i would love to join you guys i usually only model in maya so hopefully that is ok. so any other information on specific tasks i would be handling would be great thanks for everything
peter
Great to hear that! I saw the monster you created, so I have no doubts about your skill. I haven't modelled in Maya myself, but I know other folks that do and I've heard a lot of good things about the program. I think the important part is that the program is set to allow you to take exact measurements, because for instance a tileset piece has to stop at (say) 256,0. If it stops at 255,97 there'll be a seam and if it stops at 256,03 there'll be a flicker effect. But we'll work that out as we go along =)

Is there any particular job out of the ones I listed that interest you more than the others? If not then my suggestion would be the Dwarf tileset job, because we have a number of guys in our team whom are itching to get started modding dwarven interiors
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13-10-2007, 05:20 PM   #4
anasasis
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yeah i looked at the dwarven one it looks all good but what the basic idea behind it do what is it exactly you want me to create
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14-10-2007, 06:50 AM   #5
Razorwing
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Quote:
Originally posted by anasasis
yeah i looked at the dwarven one it looks all good but what the basic idea behind it do what is it exactly you want me to create
The jist of the dwarven modelling job is to create a tileset (sometimes called prefabs). A tileset is made up of individual pieces that can be snapped together like lego. The pieces must be sized to work on a grid of 128 points, meaning that if you put one tileset piece at -128,0 (on either the X or Y axis) and another tileset piece at 128,0 they will fit together perfectly without seams or overlapping.

Do you have msn? If so my screen name is "patrik_jonasson@spray.se".
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