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The Oblivion Bookbinding Mod 63

Posted by Zonk
from the labour-of-love dept.
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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The Oblivion Bookbinding Mod

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  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @06:56PM (#15440460) Journal
    For those of us who think being a Librarian in real life is too risky, you can now do it on computer.
    • 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
    • Re:Virtual Librarian (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tackhead (54550)
      > 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

    • 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.
    • 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!"
  • by stipe42 (305620) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @07:02PM (#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.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @07:24PM (#15440672) Journal
    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.

    • 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.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      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
  • Realism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ClamIAm (926466)
    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.
  • on slashdot, rebinding a book = changing a graphic
    • 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.

  • 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?

    • 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)
  • 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.
    • 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.)
    • 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.
      • 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
        • 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.
          • 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
            • 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
          • 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
        • 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.
    • 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
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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
  • by Phaxn (946939)
    Huh, The books in Oblivion had bad grammer? Did anyone else miss this or is it just me?
  • 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].
  • 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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