One of the things we like to do at Darkwind Media is work on small side projects. We want to explore and experiment. A great way to do that is to modify an existing game. There are a lot of great games out there that support modding but my favorites are Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls and Fallout games. They have great modding communities built around them and there’s a ton of opportunities for making something really interesting. I dived in by making a simple mod to start: Mark Targets.
I’m currently playing through Skyrim’s expansion Dragonborn as a stealthy, thief character. I sneak, I pickpocket, steal, and generally try to avoid combat. Trying to avoid combat in Skyrim is hard and the game doesn’t come with a lot of good ways to play a non-aggressive character. There’s a good amount of variety when you are forced to fight but I started getting interested in modding the game to make it more accessible for this different kind of play style.
What I came up with is a series of mods adding new powers, abilities, and items to the game which suit a less aggressive and more sneaky style of play. I wanted to make it rewarding to sneak by guards instead of fighting them, to subdue an enemy instead of killing them. I’ve always been a fan of stealth games and Skyrim was never designed to be one but I decided to try to mod it so that playing it that way would be valid and fun.
The first mod I’ve released in this series is called “Mark Targets” (Skyrim nexus link: http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/32811). This is a new power you can unlock by investing perk points into the Sneak skill tree. It allows you to “mark” a target when you aim your ability at them. Marking them will make them glow and remain visible even through walls for a short time. This allows you to track enemy movements and see patrol patterns. When you are trying to sneak around a group of enemies marking them first makes it less likely you will run into them as you come around a corner. Of course, you have to find the enemies before you can mark them. This power isn’t like Detect Life or Aura Whisper which reveal creatures and people within an area of effect. You must be looking at the target to mark them.
I will be posting more mods from my Sneak series of mods shortly. I even plan on writing a post or series of posts which will explain in detail how I made one of them. Hopefully this will provide a good tutorial for new modders starting out to see how to go about designing and implementing a reasonably complex mod.