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How Modding Made
Bethesda Better
Joel Burgess, Senior Designer
A Note About This Presentation
These slides have no speaker notes.
I will be posting a free, written transcript
online at ...
(This is Steve)
Epiphany: Cross-Discipline Tools
● I cannot program, therefore:
I cannot make games.
Epiphany: Cross-Discipline Tools
● Programmers can create tools that
empower other creators
Player
Consumption Modder
Tinkering
Developer
Creation
Overview
● This talk is about:
● The history and significance of modding
● Modern relevance of modding
● How Bethesda is i...
Modding?
● Mod = User Modification
● Total Conversion, HD Assets, Unofficial Patch,
Tweaks, New Levels, etc…
● In General:...
Historical Context
● Mod Scene of 90’s PC era
Historical Context
● Mod Scene of 90’s PC era
● Attractive to aspiring creators
● Junction of Cutting Edge and Accessibili...
Silicon Graphics Octane 2
• OpenGL chip
• Dual 550mHz processors
• 8GB SDRAM
• 1920 x 1200 max resolution
MSRP $75,000 (19...
Unreal
• Fully 3D Environments
• Free Level Editing Tools/Documentation
• Compatible w/Consumer-grade hardware
• ~$1,000 -...
Historical Context
● Mod Scene of 90’s PC era
● Attractive to aspiring creators
● Junction of Cutting Edge and Accessibili...
Historical Context
● Similar to the Indie scene of today
● Unity:2010 as Hammer/Unreal Ed:1998
● Attracts vocal, driven cr...
What Mods Can Do
Past, Present, Future
Mods Blaze Trails
● Mods attempt what “Big” games may not
● Experimental, Unusual, Risky
Mods Become “Real” Games
● Blurred lines between mod and new game
● Can become standalone games
Mods Launch Careers
● Mods & Individual Creators
Mods Found Studios
● Mod Teams can become “Pro” teams
Mods Create Whole Genres
Mods & Modern Dev
Are Mods Relevant Today?
“User-Generated Content”
● The hot Buzzword of GDC 2015?
Recent Games Supporting UGC
● Far Cry 4
● Disney Infinity
● Minecraft
● LittleBigPlanet
● Project Spark
● Mario Maker
● Ha...
User Generated Content
● Buzzword implies new concept
● But creation as play goes way back
2008 2011 2014
2009 2012
Warioware DIY
(2008)
Timesplitters 2
(2002)
Tenchu 2: Stealth Assassins
(2000)
High Heat Baseball 2000
(1999)
Myth II: Soulblighter
(1998)
The Incredible
Machine
(1992)
Excitebike
(1984)
Pinball
Construction Set
(1983)
Adventure
Construction Set
(1984)
Player
Consumption Modder
Tinkering
Developer
Creation
Bethesda & Modding
An abbreviated history
Bethesda Games Modding History
Morrowind
2002
Oblivion
2005
Fallout 3
2008 Skyrim
2011
Steam
Workshop
2012
Benefits of Mod Support
(The Obvious Stuff)
Mod Support Benefits
● Obvious Benefits:
● Develop Community (social)
Mods as Expression
● Enthusiasm can extend beyond the game
● Fans want to express this enthusiasm
● Streaming
● Online dis...
Mod Support Benefits
● Obvious Benefits:
● Develop online community (social)
● Extends lifespan of games (sales)
Mods Can Sell Games
Typical PC/Console Sales Pattern
PC Console
Launch
Sale
Price Drop Bundle
Long-Term Sales Taper Off Over Time
PC Console
Launch
Mods Can Sell Games
• Long-term replay value
Mods Can Sell Games
• Long-term replay value
• Notable mods keep game in public eye
Mods Can Sell Games
• Long-term replay value
• Notable mods keep game in public eye
• Game becomes platform for mod(s)
Benefits of Mod Support
(The Less Obvious Stuff)
Less Obvious Benefits:
● Modular Data Format for ease of integration
Collaborative Data Format
Plugin
ESM
Plugin
ESM
PluginESMPlugin
Base Game
Master File
(ESM)
Mod integration w/Base Game
Base
Game
ESM
Mod 3
Mod 2
Mod 1
Less Obvious Benefits:
● Data format cleanly adapted to DLC delivery
DLC!
DLWTF?
Mod/DLC integration w/Base Game
Base
Game
Mod 1
DLC 1
Mod 2
Mod 3
Figuring Out DLC
● Modular Pipeline as Head Start, but…
● What do we make?
● What deployment issues exist?
● What should w...
Yup. Horse Armor.
Yup. Horse Armor.
● Proved DLC deployment pipeline
● Led way for more complex DLC
● Gave internet something to make fun of
DLC: The “New” Mods?
● Love it or Hate it… DLC is here to stay
Post-Release Choices
● 1985: Sequels
● 1998: Sequels, Mods, Expansions
● 2015: Sequels, Mods, DLC, UGC, IAP, Updates
Modders & Paid Mods
● Modders Get Paid
● Games Live Longer
● Direct Fan Support
● Everyone wins
Mod Support Benefits
● Less Obvious Benefits:
● Observe “alternate realities” of your game
●Like: What if Fallout 3 had gr...
Alternate Realities
● Ideas we avoided, cut, scaled back etc
● Less polish required, no canon restrictions
● Able to revea...
Alternate Realities
Oscuro’s Overhaul
Influenced Fallout 3 level systems
Deadly Reflex
Inspired Skyrim archery feel
Open C...
Mod Support Benefits
● Less Obvious Benefits:
● Community Documentation & Practices
Mod Support Benefits
● Less Obvious Benefits:
● Publically-accessible training tool
Mod Support Benefits
● Less Obvious Benefits:
● Influence on internal tools design
Eat Your Own Dog Food
● Temptation for just-good-enough tools
Responsibilities:
• Editor Tools
• Data Loading Systems
• ESM Optimization
• Visibility Systems
• Actor Template Systems
R...
Eat Your Own Dog Food
● Temptation for just-good-enough tools
● “Will modders use this?” test
● How Intuitive is the workf...
Mod Support Benefits
● Community/Social
● Sales Lifespan
● Versatile Data Format
● DLC Pipeline
● “Alternate Realities”
● ...
The “Modder Mentality”
● Resourcefulness
● Prioritizing Intent
● Swiss Army Knife Developers
● Professional Finishers
Thanks!
Questions?
@joelburgess
joel@joelburgess.com
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day
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How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day

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Modding has had a direct influence on many developers, game studios, genres, and helped shape the course of the video game industry itself. Bethesda Game Studios is no exception to the influence of modding, having provided official mod tools for all of their projects since 2002's Morrowind to their most recent game, Skyrim. This talk will touch on the historical and modern relevance of modding, as well demonstrating the many positive ways in which modding has affected the studio. Attendees will leave with a new perspective on how modding has influenced everything from community building, tools design, team workflow, DLC, and the recent surge of interest in user-generated content.

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  • DOWNLOAD FULL BOOKS, INTO AVAILABLE FORMAT ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... 1.DOWNLOAD FULL. PDF EBOOK here { https://tinyurl.com/y6a5rkg5 } ......................................................................................................................... 1.DOWNLOAD FULL. EPUB Ebook here { https://tinyurl.com/y6a5rkg5 } ......................................................................................................................... 1.DOWNLOAD FULL. doc Ebook here { https://tinyurl.com/y6a5rkg5 } ......................................................................................................................... 1.DOWNLOAD FULL. PDF EBOOK here { https://tinyurl.com/y6a5rkg5 } ......................................................................................................................... 1.DOWNLOAD FULL. EPUB Ebook here { https://tinyurl.com/y6a5rkg5 } ......................................................................................................................... 1.DOWNLOAD FULL. doc Ebook here { https://tinyurl.com/y6a5rkg5 } ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... .............. Browse by Genre Available eBooks ......................................................................................................................... Art, Biography, Business, Chick Lit, Children's, Christian, Classics, Comics, Contemporary, Cookbooks, Crime, Ebooks, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, History, Horror, Humor And Comedy, Manga, Memoir, Music, Mystery, Non Fiction, Paranormal, Philosophy, Poetry, Psychology, Religion, Romance, Science, Science Fiction, Self Help, Suspense, Spirituality, Sports, Thriller, Travel, Young Adult,
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How Modding Made Bethesda Better: GDC 2015 Level Design in a Day

  1. 1. How Modding Made Bethesda Better Joel Burgess, Senior Designer
  2. 2. A Note About This Presentation These slides have no speaker notes. I will be posting a free, written transcript online at a later date. Please feel free to contact me for details on how to access that. (contact info on last slide) In the meantime, please enjoy!
  3. 3. (This is Steve)
  4. 4. Epiphany: Cross-Discipline Tools ● I cannot program, therefore: I cannot make games.
  5. 5. Epiphany: Cross-Discipline Tools ● Programmers can create tools that empower other creators
  6. 6. Player Consumption Modder Tinkering Developer Creation
  7. 7. Overview ● This talk is about: ● The history and significance of modding ● Modern relevance of modding ● How Bethesda is intertwined w/modding ● The hidden benefits modding has provided
  8. 8. Modding? ● Mod = User Modification ● Total Conversion, HD Assets, Unofficial Patch, Tweaks, New Levels, etc… ● In General: Any user content
  9. 9. Historical Context ● Mod Scene of 90’s PC era
  10. 10. Historical Context ● Mod Scene of 90’s PC era ● Attractive to aspiring creators ● Junction of Cutting Edge and Accessibility
  11. 11. Silicon Graphics Octane 2 • OpenGL chip • Dual 550mHz processors • 8GB SDRAM • 1920 x 1200 max resolution MSRP $75,000 (1997) 3Ds Max R2 $3,495 (1997)
  12. 12. Unreal • Fully 3D Environments • Free Level Editing Tools/Documentation • Compatible w/Consumer-grade hardware • ~$1,000 - $5,000 Retail $50 (1998)
  13. 13. Historical Context ● Mod Scene of 90’s PC era ● Attractive to aspiring creators ● Junction of Cutting Edge and Accessibility ● Brought together vocal/active communities
  14. 14. Historical Context ● Similar to the Indie scene of today ● Unity:2010 as Hammer/Unreal Ed:1998 ● Attracts vocal, driven creators
  15. 15. What Mods Can Do Past, Present, Future
  16. 16. Mods Blaze Trails ● Mods attempt what “Big” games may not ● Experimental, Unusual, Risky
  17. 17. Mods Become “Real” Games ● Blurred lines between mod and new game ● Can become standalone games
  18. 18. Mods Launch Careers ● Mods & Individual Creators
  19. 19. Mods Found Studios ● Mod Teams can become “Pro” teams
  20. 20. Mods Create Whole Genres
  21. 21. Mods & Modern Dev Are Mods Relevant Today?
  22. 22. “User-Generated Content” ● The hot Buzzword of GDC 2015?
  23. 23. Recent Games Supporting UGC ● Far Cry 4 ● Disney Infinity ● Minecraft ● LittleBigPlanet ● Project Spark ● Mario Maker ● Halo’s Forge
  24. 24. User Generated Content ● Buzzword implies new concept ● But creation as play goes way back
  25. 25. 2008 2011 2014 2009 2012
  26. 26. Warioware DIY (2008)
  27. 27. Timesplitters 2 (2002) Tenchu 2: Stealth Assassins (2000)
  28. 28. High Heat Baseball 2000 (1999)
  29. 29. Myth II: Soulblighter (1998)
  30. 30. The Incredible Machine (1992)
  31. 31. Excitebike (1984)
  32. 32. Pinball Construction Set (1983)
  33. 33. Adventure Construction Set (1984)
  34. 34. Player Consumption Modder Tinkering Developer Creation
  35. 35. Bethesda & Modding An abbreviated history
  36. 36. Bethesda Games Modding History Morrowind 2002 Oblivion 2005 Fallout 3 2008 Skyrim 2011 Steam Workshop 2012
  37. 37. Benefits of Mod Support (The Obvious Stuff)
  38. 38. Mod Support Benefits ● Obvious Benefits: ● Develop Community (social)
  39. 39. Mods as Expression ● Enthusiasm can extend beyond the game ● Fans want to express this enthusiasm ● Streaming ● Online discussion & Forums ● Fan-Created Music/Video ● Cosplay, Fan-fiction, etc ● Making & Playing Mods!
  40. 40. Mod Support Benefits ● Obvious Benefits: ● Develop online community (social) ● Extends lifespan of games (sales)
  41. 41. Mods Can Sell Games Typical PC/Console Sales Pattern PC Console Launch Sale Price Drop Bundle
  42. 42. Long-Term Sales Taper Off Over Time PC Console Launch
  43. 43. Mods Can Sell Games • Long-term replay value
  44. 44. Mods Can Sell Games • Long-term replay value • Notable mods keep game in public eye
  45. 45. Mods Can Sell Games • Long-term replay value • Notable mods keep game in public eye • Game becomes platform for mod(s)
  46. 46. Benefits of Mod Support (The Less Obvious Stuff)
  47. 47. Less Obvious Benefits: ● Modular Data Format for ease of integration
  48. 48. Collaborative Data Format Plugin ESM Plugin ESM PluginESMPlugin Base Game Master File (ESM)
  49. 49. Mod integration w/Base Game Base Game ESM Mod 3 Mod 2 Mod 1
  50. 50. Less Obvious Benefits: ● Data format cleanly adapted to DLC delivery DLC! DLWTF?
  51. 51. Mod/DLC integration w/Base Game Base Game Mod 1 DLC 1 Mod 2 Mod 3
  52. 52. Figuring Out DLC ● Modular Pipeline as Head Start, but… ● What do we make? ● What deployment issues exist? ● What should we charge?
  53. 53. Yup. Horse Armor.
  54. 54. Yup. Horse Armor. ● Proved DLC deployment pipeline ● Led way for more complex DLC ● Gave internet something to make fun of
  55. 55. DLC: The “New” Mods? ● Love it or Hate it… DLC is here to stay
  56. 56. Post-Release Choices ● 1985: Sequels ● 1998: Sequels, Mods, Expansions ● 2015: Sequels, Mods, DLC, UGC, IAP, Updates
  57. 57. Modders & Paid Mods ● Modders Get Paid ● Games Live Longer ● Direct Fan Support ● Everyone wins
  58. 58. Mod Support Benefits ● Less Obvious Benefits: ● Observe “alternate realities” of your game ●Like: What if Fallout 3 had greenery?
  59. 59. Alternate Realities ● Ideas we avoided, cut, scaled back etc ● Less polish required, no canon restrictions ● Able to reveal unexplored paths
  60. 60. Alternate Realities Oscuro’s Overhaul Influenced Fallout 3 level systems Deadly Reflex Inspired Skyrim archery feel Open Cities Attempted prohibitive layout concepts
  61. 61. Mod Support Benefits ● Less Obvious Benefits: ● Community Documentation & Practices
  62. 62. Mod Support Benefits ● Less Obvious Benefits: ● Publically-accessible training tool
  63. 63. Mod Support Benefits ● Less Obvious Benefits: ● Influence on internal tools design
  64. 64. Eat Your Own Dog Food ● Temptation for just-good-enough tools
  65. 65. Responsibilities: • Editor Tools • Data Loading Systems • ESM Optimization • Visibility Systems • Actor Template Systems Responsibilities: • Editor Tools • Interface • Facial data • Material properties
  66. 66. Eat Your Own Dog Food ● Temptation for just-good-enough tools ● “Will modders use this?” test ● How Intuitive is the workflow? ● What are typical mod use cases? ● How frequently is this feature used?
  67. 67. Mod Support Benefits ● Community/Social ● Sales Lifespan ● Versatile Data Format ● DLC Pipeline ● “Alternate Realities” ● Documentation & Tools Design ● Hiring & Training
  68. 68. The “Modder Mentality” ● Resourcefulness ● Prioritizing Intent ● Swiss Army Knife Developers ● Professional Finishers
  69. 69. Thanks! Questions? @joelburgess joel@joelburgess.com

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