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Interview Oblivion interview at Games.net

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
28,038
Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

<a href=http://games.net>Games.net</a> has scored an <a href=http://games.net/features/101408.shtml>interview</a> with Todd Howard of the "let's do another TES game only in high resolution" fame. The interview addresses very important for an RPG issues like teh graphics, teh physics, and teh sound.
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<blockquote>Games.Net: Oblivion's outdoor scenes look astonishingly realistic. We've heard that Bethesda has been in touch with researchers concerning realistic depiction of tree growth and soil erosion. Could you elaborate on that? What kinds of tricks did the researchers help you with?
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Todd Howard: A great many things in nature seem random, but are really based on statistics, math, and other things happening over really long periods of time, like millions of years. Once we understood how those things worked, we found we could not only create environments that looked a lot more realistic, but environments that the game could generate for us, so we could spend our time on other elements of the game. </blockquote>
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Too bad they didn't understand how RPG mechanics work
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Spotted at: <A HREF="http://www.rpgdot.com">RPG Dot</A>
 

Taoreich

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Jun 16, 2003
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Did Todd rape your dog or something? Whatever your opinons are on TES in general or Oblivion in particular notwithstanding, I can't understand why your news posts are always so much more caustic when he's invoked. If it's true umbrage against the game I'd think you'd be a bigger asshole to Pete when he posts, yet I don't recall anything pointed in that regard.
 

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
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Messages
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Taoreich said:
Did Todd rape your dog or something? Whatever your opinons are on TES in general or Oblivion in particular notwithstanding, I can't understand why your news posts are always so much more caustic when he's invoked. If it's true umbrage against the game I'd think you'd be a bigger asshole to Pete when he posts, yet I don't recall anything pointed in that regard.
I got nothing against Pete, he's just a PR guy who does what he's told. Todd is a guy in charge who's directly responsible for TES games and who has blessed us with many hilarious quotes. He's a Feargus of Bethesda.
 

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
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Messages
28,038
It's not about feelings, it's about a guy like Todd or Feargus or DW who says something funny every now and then. I mean, who can forget that "that's what Fallout fans have been waiting since FO2" line or the infamous particle effectz line?
 

Saint_Proverbius

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Behind you.
I'm just not sure I care too much about how realistic the soil erosion looks on the side of a creek bank. It comes off as pretty funny when they make it sound like they put forth a lot of effort in to making sure trees look like trees and the soil erosion looks realistic - yet there's no crossbows in the game or mounted combat.
 

voodoo1man

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Joined
Feb 10, 2003
Messages
568
Location
Icy Highlands of Canada
Todd Howard the monkeyboy said:
A great many things in nature seem random, but are really based on statistics, math, and other things happening over really long periods of time, like millions of years.

It doesn't take, like, millions of years to figure out that nothing in nature is based on statistics, math, and "other things," but rather natural phenomena can be conveniently represented using mathematics (which includes statistics as a sub-field). Also, growing trees from L-systems and generating random "erosion" landscape height fields is old-school 90s CG effects, much like the shiny plastic reflective-sphere look Oblivion's graphics have. I'm not impressed.
 

DarkUnderlord

Professional Throne Sitter
Staff Member
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Jun 18, 2002
Messages
28,375
Well, at least the environments in Fallout 3 are going to... ummm... erode properly or something. God knows how long I've waited for soil erosion to be properly implemented in an RPG.
 

Sol Invictus

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Oct 19, 2002
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Pax Romana
Well, criticize the game all you want but having good soil erosion says nothing about the gameplay. Having good soil erosion doesn't make the game any less 'good' or 'bad', though it's certainly interesting to anyone who wants to mod the game by making their own maps or whatever.
 

Sol Invictus

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Pax Romana
You know, concerning horses, I certainly hope that there are saddlebags, for you to store stuff in. It'd definitely cut down the whole grind associated to travelling back and forth just to sell stuff, and having saddlebags would make the game a lot more realistic when it comes to storing all your herbs.

I can certainly understand the need for owning a house to store armor collections and the like, but when you're a herbalist on the road, you need saddlebags on your horse to store your materials in.
 

MrSmileyFaceDude

Bethesda Game Studios
Developer
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Messages
716
voodoo1man said:
Todd Howard the monkeyboy said:
A great many things in nature seem random, but are really based on statistics, math, and other things happening over really long periods of time, like millions of years.

It doesn't take, like, millions of years to figure out that nothing in nature is based on statistics, math, and "other things," but rather natural phenomena can be conveniently represented using mathematics (which includes statistics as a sub-field). Also, growing trees from L-systems and generating random "erosion" landscape height fields is old-school 90s CG effects, much like the shiny plastic reflective-sphere look Oblivion's graphics have. I'm not impressed.

Sooo shiny. Sooo plasticy.
obx02B.jpg

(Xbox 360 shot)

obliv18B.jpg

(PC shot)

Anyway the soil erosion and random placement of trees & such doesn't happen in-game. It happens in the construction set. As far as erosion goes, that happens when the terrain is generated. A tool in the TESCS lets you generate the landscape, raise & lower areas, and specify how much erosion has taken place, so areas can be naturally smooth or jagged. Makes it much easier to create realistic landscapes withouth having to build the entire thing by hand. The landmass in Oblivion is very large, this as an important feature to have.

In addition, there's a region editor that lets you define areas that have probabilities set up for various types of trees, shrubs, rocks, etc., and you press the "generate" button and the areas are generated. Artists can go through and refine the areas by hand as required, but time is saved by them not having to place every single tree, rock, shrub or fallen log by hand.

All the random generation happens in the editor -- so everyone's Tamriel is the same as everyone else's.

Oh, and as far as gameplay goes, there are lots of us on the team who are working on things that have nothing to do with graphics. This is not a case of graphics before gameplay -- graphics are just the most obvious facet of what we've talked about so far.
 

Drakron

Arcane
Joined
May 19, 2005
Messages
6,326
Neither will mine ... heck looking at previous Elder Scrolls engines I bet even the recomended specs one will run it like a slide show at times.
 

bryce777

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Feb 4, 2005
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4,225
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In my country the system operates YOU
MrSmileyFaceDude said:
voodoo1man said:
Todd Howard the monkeyboy said:
A great many things in nature seem random, but are really based on statistics, math, and other things happening over really long periods of time, like millions of years.

It doesn't take, like, millions of years to figure out that nothing in nature is based on statistics, math, and "other things," but rather natural phenomena can be conveniently represented using mathematics (which includes statistics as a sub-field). Also, growing trees from L-systems and generating random "erosion" landscape height fields is old-school 90s CG effects, much like the shiny plastic reflective-sphere look Oblivion's graphics have. I'm not impressed.

Sooo shiny. Sooo plasticy.

(Xbox 360 shot)

(PC shot)

Anyway the soil erosion and random placement of trees & such doesn't happen in-game. It happens in the construction set. As far as erosion goes, that happens when the terrain is generated. A tool in the TESCS lets you generate the landscape, raise & lower areas, and specify how much erosion has taken place, so areas can be naturally smooth or jagged. Makes it much easier to create realistic landscapes withouth having to build the entire thing by hand. The landmass in Oblivion is very large, this as an important feature to have.

In addition, there's a region editor that lets you define areas that have probabilities set up for various types of trees, shrubs, rocks, etc., and you press the "generate" button and the areas are generated. Artists can go through and refine the areas by hand as required, but time is saved by them not having to place every single tree, rock, shrub or fallen log by hand.

All the random generation happens in the editor -- so everyone's Tamriel is the same as everyone else's.

Oh, and as far as gameplay goes, there are lots of us on the team who are working on things that have nothing to do with graphics. This is not a case of graphics before gameplay -- graphics are just the most obvious facet of what we've talked about so far.

Will there be a tool like that released, or is it strictly an internal tool?
 

Xoanon

Novice
Joined
Oct 3, 2004
Messages
4
Very impressive screenshots. Do you have any with the details turned down and the fog enabled so that those of us without top-of-the range computers can get some idea of what the game will realistically look like?
 

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