Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim designers reveal details

In a fan interview, three senior members of the Skyrim design team shared some details about the finer parts in the upcoming RPG.

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In a fan interview for the official Bethesda forums, Skyrim game director Todd Howard, lead designer Bruce Nesmith, and lead artist Matt Carofano shared some new details about some of the finer points of the upcoming RPG. Having seen the game a few times now, I sifted through their answers and found the following highlights:

Armor in Skyrim will be handled similarly to how it was in Oblivion. There are two types--heavy and light. This design choice ensures the player gets a strong sense of the difference between the two. "Having a 3rd one in the middle just muddles it up in how it plays, as well as visually. And even now we have to tweak those two armor types so they feel different, while remaining fun," Howard explained.

Armor also combines the upper and lower pieces into one piece. Carofano wrote that doing this worked best to achieve the desired look for Skyrim. "In most of the Nordic designs we created, the upper armor would completely cover the lower armor, making it unnecessary. We get much better visual results combining those pieces, and it renders a lot faster too, so we can put more people on screen, so that was an easy tradeoff for us." They also plan to have more armor with greater variation than ever before.

Quest structure also resembles that in Oblivion more than their more recent RPG, Fallout 3 according to Nesmith. That equates to more quests, but with fewer branches within them. "We’ve focused on telling one story well. There are decision points in all the quest lines that can change things, but overall it’s a single story," he writes.

PC players can expect benefits that reflect the strength of the platform, beginning with the Creation Kit allowing modders to customize the game. Other PC-specific upgrades include a richer keyboard-and-mouse control scheme, higher res textures, larger render models, and effects that scale based on the power of the machine being played on. But don't look for a 64-bit version of the game. That's not in the plans at this time.

And though it sounds like bludgeoning enemies in a non-lethal way isn't part of the normal combat system, Howard did add, "Oh, and we now have tavern brawls that are non-lethal! I love those." So if you happen to wind up at the Skyrim wrap party be sure you know where the door is. You never know when a bar fight might break out.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 5, 2011 3:15 PM

    Garnett Lee posted a new article, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim designers reveal details.

    In a fan interview, three senior members of the Skyrim design team shared some details about the finer parts in the upcoming RPG.

    • reply
      July 5, 2011 4:07 PM

      I don't want a onesie in my RPG, I like customization

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      July 5, 2011 4:13 PM

      Why need a 64-bit version? I doubt the game can suck 3 gigs alone.... unless it has some memory leaks.

      More armor than before? I ran around Oblivion with the start armor for half the game. I also didn't learn you could drag bodies until my friend came over and did some splinter cell stuff.

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        July 5, 2011 4:15 PM

        It's a Bethesda game. It'll have memory leaks.

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        July 5, 2011 4:16 PM

        Horse armor for every horse, human, and creature!

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        July 5, 2011 4:31 PM

        system memory + gpu memory can exceed 3gb pretty easily =\

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          July 5, 2011 4:32 PM

          although that might not be an issue with 64bit windows even if the exe is only 32bit. I'm not sure how that works exactly. It can definitely be an issue on 32 bit windows....

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            July 5, 2011 9:43 PM

            32 bit app on a 64 bit system doesn't have to worry about other things taking memory. Just has it's oen 32 bit imposed limits to worry about. Still, no reason for it not to be 64 bit nowadays :-/

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        July 5, 2011 4:33 PM

        64-bit dragons, bro!

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        July 5, 2011 4:35 PM

        beats the hell out of LOADING screens common of the last generation

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        July 5, 2011 6:56 PM

        You got it wrong.

        The address limit for 32-bit programs is slightly less than 2GBs. The 3GB figure is how much *system* memory you can have.

        And I can absolutely assure you that, with mods, the game will VERY EASILY break the 2GB barrier. I can only hope the modders find a way around this...

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          July 5, 2011 8:46 PM

          You can break the 2GB limit by adding a flag to the .exe using programs like CFF Explorer. I did that for Sims 3 because that game (with mods) rolls over frequently.

          If the game is coded well it can float around about a gig and a half. I think Resident Evil 5 used only 500 MB on systems with over 4gigs. Borderlands is pretty raw and eats ram (+3GB). Fallout3/NV fresh used a solid gig, even with lots of mods used only 1.5GB

          The only game I played that had a separate executable for 64-bit was Crysis, and even then it had no real performance difference because it wasn't open world. I'll have to read up what a 64-bit executable really does.

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            July 5, 2011 9:24 PM

            Having it simply be an integrated option for the game makes it much more approachable to most PC gamers. While there are definitely software hacks, like CFF Explorer, to utilize more RAM, it makes far more sense to design the game so that it works without people having to install and use 3rd-party software that may be buggy/broken/virus-infected.

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            July 6, 2011 2:31 PM

            Putting this flag in doesn't automatically mean it uses that extra ram it supposedly has though. Games are often programmed to make sure to be under that limit, even if it has access to more.

            Take SoaSE and STALKER for two. I know adding that tag to their executables did nothing for ram usage, even though SoaSE is notorious (or was) for using lots of ram and I hit ~1.7 easy in STALKER with mods. Once they hit those limits though, they would not go above them. Ever. And there was plenty (2+) gigs free in the system they could use if they wanted.

            Games have to be coded intelligently to recognize they have access to more, or at least not auto-limit to some arbitrary hard-coded amount.

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        July 5, 2011 10:13 PM

        64-bit in not only about memory. It doubles the register count besides extending to 64-bit. This allows more optimisations in CPU workload. While a high-end system would not see much benefit, I belive it could make the difference for low-end systems on CPU-bottlenecks.

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      July 5, 2011 4:13 PM

      WHATEVER YOU SAY, BETHESDA: I DON'T CARE. I WILL SUCK ALL YOUR DICKS.

      All of them.

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      July 5, 2011 4:56 PM

      Non lethal bar fights!! Am very excited for this game!!

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        July 5, 2011 5:00 PM

        I wonder if there will be a quest to pass a law allowing weapons in bars.

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        July 5, 2011 5:36 PM

        Awesome! That really excites me because when I got frustrated in Oblivion I would start killing random people then reloading a save, this'll make it so much easier! Seriously they should put this as a bullet point on the back of the box "Non-lethal bar fights!", no wait they should make it a subtitle for the game! No better yet change the title to "Non-lethal bar fights + cats" I mean "Non-lethal bar fights + Awesome opern world RPG!"

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          July 5, 2011 7:11 PM

          I KNOW RIGHT!!!! Someone who finally gets it!

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        July 6, 2011 12:31 AM

        So they played the Witcher then ;-)

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      July 5, 2011 6:45 PM

      Call me when they have LETHAL bar fights.

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      July 5, 2011 7:57 PM

      The Bethesda forum is QQing about Levitation being out. Funny thing is the same people that have been complaining about cheap Fast Travel in Oblivion all these years are suddenly admitting Levitation was cheap but they want that in game.

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        July 5, 2011 7:59 PM

        what about climbing? i fucking loved scaling shit in Daggerfall! surprise Mr. Wall-Guard! *BAM*

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        July 5, 2011 8:20 PM

        Was there Levitation in Oblivion? Holy shit I never knew that.

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          July 5, 2011 8:27 PM

          I don't think so. There are mods that add it though, like this one.
          http://planetelderscrolls.gamespy.com/View.php?view=oblivionmods.detail&id=2000

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          July 5, 2011 8:31 PM

          I'm pretty sure there wasn't. It (and similar things) break the way the cities were zoned (and presumably still are in Skyrim).

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          July 5, 2011 9:23 PM

          There wasn't. If you were an archer with a 1 point constant levitation item in Morrowind you were basically invincible if you strafed. They took it out in the Tribunal expansion for Morrowind and they haven't put it back in since.

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            July 6, 2011 12:34 AM

            It's a single player game, though, so why do they care if people want to break it?

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              July 6, 2011 12:58 AM

              They don't; You can mod it. They just don't care to spend time on a feature they don't want breaking their other gameplay designs

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      July 5, 2011 8:10 PM

      Anyone else taking a 7 day vacation starting november 11th? :D

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      July 5, 2011 8:55 PM

      link crashes android app =\

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      July 5, 2011 9:11 PM

      whats he saying about the armor? combining pieces? this is just visually so you dont get WoW clown suits or does it affect stats

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        July 5, 2011 9:21 PM

        50% less stats across the board, from what I've heard. considering not buying now.

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      July 5, 2011 10:18 PM

      Anybody knows about world leveling? This killed the replayability in Oblivion for me (1st play was too exctatic to be bothered).
      I mean, having the big boss fighting with iron weapons (low level player), or a glass/daedric bandit asking for 100 toll fee or your life (high level player).
      Immersion is better if you know you can't touch certain areas because you won't have time to swing you sword once.

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        July 6, 2011 12:55 AM

        the original Q&A said theyre doing it like FO3 with zones having level ranges

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      July 6, 2011 12:30 AM

      The quest structure comment is worrying, why Would they think anyone would want it to be more liniear!?!

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        July 6, 2011 12:33 AM

        So idiots don't have to think.

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        July 6, 2011 12:56 AM

        yeah i read that as "on the rails"

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        July 6, 2011 4:06 AM

        I prefered Nehrim to Oblivion, and that was more linear focused.

        Also, anyone know if cities will be walled off with a loading screen? The open cities mod is one of my favourites.

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          July 6, 2011 6:44 AM

          Probably.. since it's not 64-bit you can probably bet on it.

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