The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles™

The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles™

Postby Wighar on Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:32 pm

Offical Press Release:

Bethesda Softworks Announces The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles™ — Official Expansion for Oblivion
Spring Release Planned for Official Expansion for 2006 Game of the Year as Oblivion Sales Top Three Million Units

January 18, 2007 (Rockville, MD) — Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, today confirmed the upcoming release of The Elder Scrolls IV®: Shivering Isles™, the official expansion for the award-winning The Elder Scrolls IV®: Oblivion™. Shivering Isles will be released for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows this Spring. Details are presented in the exclusive cover story for Official Xbox Magazine’s (US) February issue, which hits newsstands this week.

Shivering Isles features more than 30 hours of new gameplay and allows you to explore an entirely new plane of Oblivion – the realm of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Shivering Isles adds to the existing world of Oblivion so you can continue playing with your existing save game/character, or create an all new character just to explore the new content.

“We’re thrilled with the response that Oblivion has received to date and feel that Shivering Isles will offer a whole new and different experience to anyone who played and enjoyed Oblivion,” said Todd Howard, executive producer for The Elder Scrolls.

Within the Realm of Sheogorath, players can explore the two extreme sides of the god’s madness – the sublimely creative and the completely psychotic. Something is happening to the Shivering Isles and Sheogorath himself looks to you to be his champion and defend his realm and its inhabitants from destruction. Do you have the strength to survive his trials, tame a realm fraught with paranoia and despair, and wear the mantle of a God?

The Shivering Isles features a bizarre landscape split between the two sides – Mania and Dementia –filled with vast, twisting dungeons mirroring the roots of the trees they are buried within. You’ll encounter more than a dozen new creatures including hideous insects, Flesh Atronachs, skeletal Shambles, amphibious Grummites. Throughout your adventure, you will discover all new items, ingredients, spells, and more, and have the talented craftsmen of Crucible and Bliss forge new armor and weapons just for you.

“The enthusiastic response we’ve received to our downloadable content has been overwhelming, and we’re excited to bring Oblivion fans a full expansion,” said Vlatko Andonov, president of Bethesda Softworks. “The world we’ve created for Shivering Isles is unlike anything you’ve seen or played in Oblivion and we can’t wait for folks to play it.”

Released in March 2006 for Xbox 360™ videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows, Oblivion sold more than three million units in 2006. Among the countless awards and accolades it has garnered to date are Game of the Year and RPG of the Year honors from numerous outlets, including Spike TV’s 2006 Video Game Awards, G4’s G-phoria, the Golden Joystick Awards, GameSpot.com, ShackNews.com, Voodoo Extreme, FiringSquad.com, and many more. Oblivion received the #1 ranking on PC Gamer’s (UK) list of the top 100 games of all time and is the highest rated Xbox 360 game of all time according to Gamerankings.com.
The Windows version of Shivering Isles will be available at retail and is co-published by Bethesda Softworks and 2K Games, while the Xbox 360 version is currently planned for release through Xbox Live® online entertainment network by Bethesda Softworks.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles™ Trailer

A bit late i agree :D
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Postby velkairiwyth on Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:54 pm

Hmm.

been playing lots of Oblivion lately, but I dont think Ill be planning to get expansion packs for it any time soon.

After being absent from the game for a year, Ive returned to find that there are hundreds of fantastic mods for the game that bring so much to it, from graphics improvements (believe it or not, the standard graphics looks PANTS compared to what some of the mods do - this goes for textures, buildings, character skins, etc etc.) Roleplay additions (Such as requirements to eat + sleep. If you want a good idea on what has been done google Arwens Oblivion Journal.) bug fixes, basically a hell of a lot of stuff that should have been there in the first place. The game is entirely new to me now, and is so much fun.

For those interested, mods I currently use (that I can remember, although the names will be wrong) are:

New grass (low poly shorter grass for better performance)
Nature mod (adds birds and insects to the game as well as revamps trees bushes and water.)
Darker dungeons mod (Dungeon Crawling is a lot more atmospheric, and you need to strategically use your torch to get about.)
Better weather (gives I think 18 instead of 4 weather effects.)
Texture overhaul mod (no drop in performance for much clearer textures on buildings etc.)
Better signs (cleans up shop signs.)
Ren's Hair (adds on lots of hair types, that look a LOT better than original.)
Mystics eyes ?? (adds some 18 eyes as options over the original 4, including odd-coloured eyed, (e.g one blue one green.)
better bodies style mod (makes everything much smoother and more realistic than the original character looks.)
An improved HUD/Inventory Mod (Inventory icons are much smaller which looks a lot better when your not running 640x480 resolution, and also customises the HUD for immersion (small transparent icons, you dont notice them unless looking at them, instead of big chunky icons on the screen.)
Martigens creature mod (adds dozens of variants to creatures out there, includins non agressive versions.
Inside Light? At night the windows of buildings light up and change to mimic activity inside, lights going on and off.
Towns alive at night Outside of town you can look in over the walls or from outside the town and the town glows with the lights, pretty cool.

Theres more and these are mostly the wrong names, but if you search the oblivion forums or check Arwens Oblivion journal youll see a lot of good mods, and find many more to your liking! I recommend this to anyone that has the game and has not played it in a long time.
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Postby Wighar on Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:10 pm

hmm velk you just gave me an Idea :) now everyone please blame velk for my next mad suggestion/scheme :twisted:
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Postby Requiemourn on Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:05 am

Actually, I recently downloaded a bunch of mods myself and started playing Oblivion again :D. And after 3 weeks (approximately 20-25 hours) I feel like I'm nearly done with the face... :roll:

I'm using only the outdoors, distant textures' replacements though, since they're not plugins per se, after the Natural Environments plugin screwed up one of my save games with a critical face variant (even though I saved in-doors). This particular plugin also changes the weather from two extreme ends of the spectrum in a span of 3 seconds on occasion on my PC. Otherwise it would've rocked as it really makes the Oblivion world seem more alive.

The Ren's Hair mod is bad for performance when you play in TPP but it does look good. I'm not a fan of manga-style hairdos tho' - not in a realistic-looking setting like Oblivion's at least. Most of them seem strangely reminiscent of "emo" hairstyles too :roll:.

I also tried:

Book Jackets - a plugin that can only enhance your Oblivion experience. Replaces all book jackets with jackets custom made for each book separately - and they look awesome. A great amount of work went into making this one and it shows.

All +5 Attribute Modifiers - a minimalistic mod that simply gives you, upon hitting a new level, a +5 attribute modifier for each attribute that corresponds to skills that you have gained at least 1 point in. No longer will you be forced to subtract from your play experience just to max out your character (I still don't intend to use it though, it would feel like cheating :P).

I would also feel a mod removing the ridiculous, perverted idea of enemies' difficulty and quest rewards' potency scaled on the basis of your own level removed in order to fully enjoy the game.
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Postby Wighar on Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:23 am

velkairiwyth wrote:Hmm.

been playing lots of Oblivion lately, but I dont think Ill be planning to get expansion packs for it any time soon.

After being absent from the game for a year, Ive returned to find that there are hundreds of fantastic mods for the game that bring so much to it, from graphics improvements (believe it or not, the standard graphics looks PANTS compared to what some of the mods do - this goes for textures, buildings, character skins, etc etc.) Roleplay additions (Such as requirements to eat + sleep. If you want a good idea on what has been done google Arwens Oblivion Journal.) bug fixes, basically a hell of a lot of stuff that should have been there in the first place. The game is entirely new to me now, and is so much fun.

For those interested, mods I currently use (that I can remember, although the names will be wrong) are:

New grass (low poly shorter grass for better performance)
Nature mod (adds birds and insects to the game as well as revamps trees bushes and water.)
Darker dungeons mod (Dungeon Crawling is a lot more atmospheric, and you need to strategically use your torch to get about.)
Better weather (gives I think 18 instead of 4 weather effects.)
Texture overhaul mod (no drop in performance for much clearer textures on buildings etc.)
Better signs (cleans up shop signs.)
Ren's Hair (adds on lots of hair types, that look a LOT better than original.)
Mystics eyes ?? (adds some 18 eyes as options over the original 4, including odd-coloured eyed, (e.g one blue one green.)
better bodies style mod (makes everything much smoother and more realistic than the original character looks.)
An improved HUD/Inventory Mod (Inventory icons are much smaller which looks a lot better when your not running 640x480 resolution, and also customises the HUD for immersion (small transparent icons, you dont notice them unless looking at them, instead of big chunky icons on the screen.)
Martigens creature mod (adds dozens of variants to creatures out there, includins non agressive versions.
Inside Light? At night the windows of buildings light up and change to mimic activity inside, lights going on and off.
Towns alive at night Outside of town you can look in over the walls or from outside the town and the town glows with the lights, pretty cool.

Theres more and these are mostly the wrong names, but if you search the oblivion forums or check Arwens Oblivion journal youll see a lot of good mods, and find many more to your liking! I recommend this to anyone that has the game and has not played it in a long time.


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Postby Orakio on Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:54 am

Requiemourn wrote:
I would also feel a mod removing the ridiculous, perverted idea of enemies' difficulty and quest rewards' potency scaled on the basis of your own level removed in order to fully enjoy the game.


That's one of the things I didn't like either, but I understand the system if they wanted total freedom in a game. I'd rather have areas with strong enemies and areas with weak enemies myself though.
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Postby velkairiwyth on Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:26 am

Links coming up (will edit this post with the correct Mods :p)

Enemy scaling is a bit pants. Its not so bad if your a warrior class with high armour, block and weapon skills. Just methodically exchange blows, and they drop soon enough. Its mostly kit problems I have at the moment (glass, elven, dwarven weapons and armour everywhere, but being a light armour user I need to gather Mithril and im still using an enchanted silver blade... - takes some whacking, but since Im an assassin, theres a mod called Attack and Hide that means with the darker dungeons (and darkened natural environments mods) I can snipe from the shadows quite effectively :D ) Working your skills "improperly" will help - by this I mean - dont have your oft-used skills as primary skills, they will level you up insanely fast whilst keeping your stats at a minimum. Bad combination for later on survival. Unlike Morrowind, having a low blade skill for example just means you do a little less damage, but you skill up fast so its not a problem. - In morrowind you would swing 5 times to hit once to train up a skill... I usually put skills into primary that are easy to control and level up, but you dont use in abundance, e.g Armoury, and some difficult magic skills (such as mysticism and illusion) - The bonus of this is you get spells that you can use, and you can level when you desire (or at least a lot slower) - meaning you get better stat multipliers and get to enjoy the game more - although this does involve a fair bit of focussing on getting your level up. I just try to get better than x2 multipliers where i want to skill up and it all seems ok. This can be done with sensible placing of primary skills for when you decide to level up.

I rant. Heres the mod links.

For those of you wanting a list of some of the best mods for roleplaying, heres a >Linky< to Arwens Oblivion Journal Mods page. A lot of the mods listed above are linked here with some descriptions, I see no reason to repeat :D

Other mods Ive mentioned: Note: Some of the links download options might take you to sites you need to register, just give it a google and you will find alternatives. Tessource Ive found to be the best all round for downloads. Additionally, on the search for these mod links, Ive found a number of other good looking mods that I shall link for you all :)

Low Poly Grass
Shorter Grass
Martigens Monster Mod
Book Jackets: Oblivion
Slof's Faster Turning Horses - My horse only got used for fast travel until I got this. Now its actually worth riding!
Slof's better horses
Quarl's Texture Pack 3
No Phsychic guards
Lighter Alchemy Ingredients
Landscape LOD (textures distant landscapes so it looks more natural.)

List of good mods: BetterOblivion - I got most of the links for the above from here, theres a lot more good looking mods here. There are a number of compilation pages. If your feeling experimental google some, if you find anything good Id love to hear about it :p
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Postby velkairiwyth on Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:01 pm

OMG OMG OMG I just found a great mod - yet to try it out, but in theory its something Ive wanted to see implemented into the game for a long time.

The mod? Thief's Arsenal.

It is basically a mod that implements a lot of the features of the Thief game series such as water arrows, Noise-Maker arrows, NPC suspicion (they check out suspicous noises and dead bodies put them on alert.) They even have water /holy water arrows and extinguishable light sources :D

Overall this looks like a BRILLIANT mod! Check the Reame To find out more, and for recommended companion downloads.


OMGOMGOMG *runs off excited*
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Postby Wighar on Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:21 pm

velkairiwyth wrote:OMG OMG OMG I just found a great mod - yet to try it out, but in theory its something Ive wanted to see implemented into the game for a long time.

The mod? Thief's Arsenal.

It is basically a mod that implements a lot of the features of the Thief game series such as water arrows, Noise-Maker arrows, NPC suspicion (they check out suspicous noises and dead bodies put them on alert.) They even have water /holy water arrows and extinguishable light sources :D

Overall this looks like a BRILLIANT mod! Check the Reame To find out more, and for recommended companion downloads.


OMGOMGOMG *runs off excited*

Ah velk your a member of TESsource.net as well then?
I have been since i got my oblivion :)
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Postby Requiemourn on Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:08 pm

velkairiwyth wrote:I usually put skills into primary that are easy to control and level up, but you dont use in abundance, e.g Armoury, and some difficult magic skills (such as mysticism and illusion)

That's what I do too :). But I still like to retain some character identity (I think the set of primary skills is the main technical thing that makes you unique in that game), so I try to balance it between fast levelling and having a set of primary skills that makes me think "wow, that's one bad-arse mo-fo" when I look at them. Currently my primaries are: Alchemy, Block, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, Long Blade (I can always switch to blunt weapons when I'm nearing a level-up I don't want yet), Stealth (assassins are the hotness (not that Hotness though :roll:)).

Those skills cover at least one attribute, except Speed (you don't want skills governing Speed as your primaries) and Luck. I'm not sure about the benefits of this approach yet but I think it might pay off.

I'm playing a Breton, since IMO they get the best bonuses (they don't get redundant even when you hit level 50) with the Mage sign (I played with the Atronach on my previous char - a Redguard - but I didn't realize then that mana can regenerate so fast with high Willpower).

There's a neat trick for levelling-up using magic while sporting some spell absorption (characters with the Atronach sign specifically). Somewhere to the East (I might have not remembered the direction correctly) from Imperial City lies a small hut with a farmer who lost his wife to some goblins. Near the hut there's a grave. If you complete the quest for the farmer and use the grave, the thankful spirit will bestow some temporary bonuses on you. It's an endless well of mana with no down-time. You just need to absorb some of these bonuses. I kept standing there for hours casting Starlight (I'm not sure but I think certain spells have better cost/skill increase ratios than other) and absorbing mana just to increase my skill. So be on the lookout for items with spell absorbtion quality.
Of course, if you didn't choose the Atronach as your sign then you can simply wait an hour for your mana to regenerate... :roll:

And also, if you're planning to max out all your attributes including Luck, you need to put points into Luck early (level 1-early) or you'll run out of levels beforehand (as I did on my previous char).

There, power-playing through Oblivion by Reqy :P.

velkairiwyth wrote:meaning you get better stat multipliers and get to enjoy the game more

I'm not so sure about that last part :P.
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Postby Sentenza on Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:18 pm

how about some screenies of your Oblivion chars ? kinda "Oblivion: The Toons" ...
maybe helps us to better "feel" with you ... ;-) ...
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Postby velkairiwyth on Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:14 pm

Good point on the stat-levelling... I have had a lot more fun with my character who looks at a minotor or a dremora and goes *pee* and I love the epic fights, bit of a pain when every fights epic, but adds to the fun :D gotta balance it though, I keep getting levels due to having armour blade and block all as a primary... (level about once every 20 minutes of dungeon crawling, its becoming a pain :p) - my alts i seem to micromanage their stats all the time, as you say - strike a balance. I think one or two main skills (that are not used every moment of the day) and keeping other main abilitys you use as minor is key, i have a mage like this, and he is actually fun and balanced (thusfar)


On the other hand theres dozens of balancing mods out there...
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Postby Jin on Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:08 am

I reccomend downloading "oscuros oblivion overhaul".

It adds more NPCs, changes a few things such as levelling, removes the level scaling (making it harder, but so much better) among other things. Give it a try.
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Postby velkairiwyth on Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:40 pm

I was looking at that.

some of the mods are hard to tell apart, theres a lot that do the same thing, and many that conflict, so Im kinda sticking to the simpler ones for the time being :D

On a side-note that Thief mod... Im not overly impressed by it. The system seems better and more realistic, but I couldnt get the arrows to do their job (other than water arrows and candles :p ) Rope arrows bounced off of things then dissapeared, moss arrows just bounce or get me arrested... lol.
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Postby Requiemourn on Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:16 pm

Sentenza wrote:how about some screenies of your Oblivion chars ? kinda "Oblivion: The Toons" ...
maybe helps us to better "feel" with you ... ;-) ...

Here's the product of my sleepless nights ;).

Valten

It took more work than it looks like (and it looks better with a directional light source). It's crazy how many things can be affected by a small change to the chin shape or brows texture - basically, everything. The eyes are the worst since it's nigh impossible to prevent them from squinting. I would've preferred a narrower face but I couldn't make one that would look good.

There were a few technical issues when creating this guy. You wouldn't be able to achieve such skin smoothness and lip wideness without cheating the system. Basically I operate a few sliders to be able to push other sliders further beyond their limits. For the skin smoothness for example, I push the age slider all the way to the left, lower the lips to the maximum and then exit the generator. Upon entering it again, the age slider is reset and shows the updated position - making the character relatively older due to the character's lips being lower. Now I push the age slider all the way to the left again and get the lips back to their original position. Operating on a tone before exiting and/or saving and loading the game will update the textures. However, the face is reset to accommodate the old, artificial limits upon entering the generator again, thus I need to remake the skin smoothness and lips (which are even more of a chore) every time I want to change a single detail. And every time I enter the generator it makes all those small changes that are cumulating into noticeable differences after a couple hours of polishing the face. Usually I lose perspective and end up with a face that looks worse than the one I started out with (in fact, the one on the screenshots has been already overwritten by one noticeably worse, that seemed better at the time, and right now I'm trying to recreate this one - a truly impossible task).
Add to that the fact that I spend only 10-20% of the time actually making the face and the rest for testing it in different lighting conditions and clothes/armor and making sure it looks flawless from any angle and you get an awful lot of time wasted.
*sigh* I'm a masochist. I can't help it :roll:.


Here's a face I created in the FaceGen program (Bethesda licensed that for Oblivion) before Oblivion's release:

A Random Elf

It took maybe 15-20 minutes. I created a bunch of other faces and they all look more natural than anything I could come up with in the game. Without any artificial restrictions and a couple more sliders added (or, to be more precise, simply not removed) it's just so much easier. It's another one of those small things that makes Oblivion only a good game instead of an awesome game.
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