26th June – Furnace’s structure is now complete. I even put some of the detail into it, which has allowed for some slightly nicer screenshots. Total hand-placed objects: 4029. I think this is probably the largest single interior I’ve made yet. Next… Gorlab.
23rd June – The cave half of Furnace is complete (well, the main structure of it at least). Just the city half left. It required hand-placing 1768 objects, which any world-builder will tell you would be fairly time-consuming. Even though it is only half done, Furnace is already too large for me to take a top-down screenshot — in Oblivion or the Construction Set — even with view distances as far as they go. I’ve taken some first-person shots instead. If you look at the fourth screenshot it looks black in the distance (like there is nothing there); The other side is just too far away to see.
18th June – I’m going to put random progress info and images in here. Just to keep this website alive. I’ve recently re-made the Mountains of Freedom and Moonshade catacombs. I’ve started on Furnace now. As mentioned in my previous update, I’m not furnishing the locations really but am simply making it so they can be completed. The Mountains of Freedom for example have all the teleporters (which I unfortunately had to remake since they are some of the models I lost), the main NPCs, some moveable crates, and that is about it. The entire dungeon is mapped out however (one section is slightly different due to me increasing the size of the starting waiting area). So it is possible to arrive there, go through the dungeon (retrieving the Blackrock Sword), and get out the other side.
Well, since my last couple of posts I’ve had time to go through and take stock of what was lost. It was a little worse than I had hoped, but not as bad as it could have been. I’ve basically lost everything after making half of Moonshade. The automatons are done, but the secret passage part isn’t. If you look at the screenshots from May last year, basically everything up to the secret passage part is still there. So, some buildings are done (all the ones I did after the secret passage are gone however). Which means I’ve also lost everything I made after Moonshade: Monk Isle, Sleeping Bull, Great Northern Forest (buildings), Shamino’s Castle, a variety of stuff in the northern wastelands. I think the Sleeping Bull hurts the most. I had to make all sorts of new meshes/textures for that. And the secret passage… My last backup was the day before I made it… *sigh*
Anyway, my new plan of attack is to make the game finishable. Meshes, textures, faces, furniture etc can wait. I’m just throwing in placeholder NPCs, empty buildings, etc so I can get the dialogue/quests done. Once the game is playable, I’ll go and upgrade everything to be as it should be.
Ultima has a long tradition of putting faces of Origin employees, friends and fans into the game. In continuing that tradition, I have decided to start creating characters that look like fans of the Ultima series. If you want to be a part of this, simply send in photos of your face to email@example.com . Include any recommendations or requests for who you become in the game. If you want to alter your face and apply for more than one person, then that is fine too (as long as you actually look different). I won’t be too strict with people looking like the original characters (though I will try to find matches). This is our game. We can alter it a little (and besides… 80s hairstyles are so… 80s). Also, let me know what you would like to be put in the credits for you (eg, ‘John “MyName Dragon” Smith’, ‘MyNickname’, ‘John Smith’), and also if you are ok with me putting up before and after pics of you and your character (ie, showing your photos and the end result on the website).
I need the photos to have neutral expressions (don’t smile/frown/raise eyebrows/etc), with a few different angles including front and a couple of sides. For the side shots, it is helpful if I have one that is at an angle where your nose just doesn’t go past your cheek (shot 2 below) and another from a bit more of an angle where your nose does go past (shot 3). More angles are always helpful as well, if you want to go to the effort. Try and keep in a neutral white light with no shadows (Shot 2′s lighting is a little poor compared to the others).
Here are some example shots of what I need (shaving for a cure is optional):
While I’m at it, I might as well ask… Decent hairstyles for Oblivion are somewhat lacking (even in mods). If anyone is a modeller and wants to donate some hairstyles to the cause then that would be awesome.