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Custom mod - Skyrim Creation Kit

Type: Team Project (2 people) - Course Assignment


This is a custom mod for game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This mod was developed as a part of an independent study project at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Name of the mod: Neo-Orsimer

Background Story: This whole mod can be considered as a side quest chain of original the Skyrim storyline. You play as a person who needs to become ally with the city of Orsimer and save the local Orcish Clan from their thousands of year old enemy. You go through a main quest line which allows you to gain reputation towards the local clan which in the end allows you to pick up a quest to kill the main boss.

Things I worked on:

  • Quest Design

  • Quest Scripting

  • Navmesh

  • Boss Scripting

  • Packages (Things that control NPC’s behavior)

  • AI

  • NPC Schedule

Things I learned: Questing is a very important part of games, for especially RPG genre. A proper quest design is necessary to keep player immersed in the story. However, being an RPG there are a lot of loopholes quest designer needs to take care of. For example, what happens if an NPC dies, who is a major part of a quest line? Or what happens if a quest item is lost/destroyed by player and a future quest is dependent on it? Or what if player tried to complete the quest objective first before accepting the quest?

A simple loophole can break the whole quest chain and possibly stop player from progressing in game. We surely don’t want player to google the problem at the time when he is supposed to enjoy the story.

Following are the things which are generally done by quest designers to solve some of the basic loopholes (These are specific to Skyrim Creation kit, things are done differently in other SDK’s)

  1. Make important NPC Immortal or respawn them. (This is done by using “flags” in Skyrim Creation Kit)

  2. Quests are divided into different stages. Use Conditional Logic to traverse between different stages. So, if an NPC dies or player mess up with quest items or any other problem, then just traverse to appropriate quest stage.

  3. Use dialogues system. Allow player to talk to quest givers again in case he loses important item and if possible tell player through dialogues about what he can do next. For e.g. If player has given objective to carry one item from one place to other and player loses the item then let the player get item once more from quest giver. But there can be a problem of game balancing if player keeps losing items, in that case tell player first to not lose item and if he loses it then change future dialogues dynamically. For e.g. NPC’s will remember that item is lost and will say “You should not have lost the item” etc.

Things that went wrong:

While development, we had some technical problems in Creation Kit. We had to completely fall back and start from scratch when the Special Edition Creation Kit started to show bugs. However, we were able to catch up easily at the end of the semester. Things that went right:

Our team was good. Darren(my teammate) helped me whenever I stuck somewhere and I tried to help him whenever he required any help. We divided project work load evenly among each other and we merged our work from time to time. Sometimes we had problems after one person had to work on things which are linked to other persons work. So, we sometimes had to revert the changes. Fortunately, we never had any serious problem where we came to a complete halt. Here, I learned, using version control is useful as you can keep track of things which can let you rollback in case any problem occurs.

Some interesting facts:

  • 20 minutes in Skyrim game equals 1 minute in real life.

  • 1 Hour in Skyrim game equals 3 minutes in real life.

  • 24 Hours(1 Full day) in Skyrim game equals 72 mins in real life.

Using NPC schedules (special kind of packages) is useful to add realism to Skyrim. For e.g. Rokra(NPC who gives “Bring the amulet” Quest) will go to sleep at 1 AM. She will try to find something to eat at 8 AM and 7 PM. So, if player wants to do quest at night time, player will find her sleeping from 1 AM to 8 AM. Though Player can still wake her up if he wants to do quest.

Mod Cover Image

Video Playthrough (Updated Video coming soon, this video has some sound issues)

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