Notes, Trailers, and Anniversaries

Here’s a video showing some of the things that will be implemented in tomorrow’s update. The biggest addition will be Duraz, who at long last is fully voiced. The where do you want to explore next question came from not knowing how to do idle dialogue. I was able to transfer most of it to that section, but some of it I left for sentimental reasons, I think. I don’t remember.

The video also shows how even some of the more popular NPCs like Eldawyn need a bit of tweaking. Everyone loves her so I generally left her dialogue alone, but after playing around with it myself I figured some changes were necessary and scenes were added to the stories about her companions. Extra points if you notice the easter egg I put in there.

Lastly, there’s a preview of a new tavern song that’s currently just a small duet with Alassea for bard players but may be expanded later.

Happy 2-Year Anniversary, Interesting NPCs!

Okay, so I’m kind of wishing myself a happy birthday, or at least, this creation of mines and yours, but Interesting NPCs was first released two years and a day ago, on February 8th, 2012, so just like last year, I suppose I should write something about the mod to celebrate and tell you how I feel about the project two years in.

Last year, the theme of the post was time – how important it was to save it, and how much we all have to sacrifice to create this thing. Right now, I want to talk more about the notion of opportunity, and whether, if after two years of time, work, and effort, if there’s a feeling that we’re owed anything.

In all honesty, I think of this mod as a lottery ticket. Not in the way most people use that analogy, because it’s usually meant to describe someone who’s gambling on something with the ultimate goal of getting paid. I don’t think of this mod as a way to personal success. That’s the opposite of what I mean. Let me explain.

Now, it’s a popular saying to imply that lottery tickets are taxes for the poor. There’s some truth to this notion, because ultimately wealthy people aren’t the ones standing in line for the next Mega Millions Jackpot. Wealthy people don’t know how to dream. They’re living it.

However, even in my most cynical of days, I never thought buying a lottery ticket was a con. You aren’t paying to win the lottery, you’re paying for a chance to win. That distinction means something. You’re paying for that small bit of euphoria when you look at your numbers, those long hours debating with friends over what you’d buy, who was coming along for the ride, and who was getting the ejector seat. From the moment you make your purchase to the moment those numbers are drawn, that ticket allows you to escape your current reality. It allows you to dream.

Building this mod is something like that. I know there’s going to come a day when the numbers are drawn, when all of it goes poof. In the meantime though, I’m holding on to that tiny, sliver of a possibility that what we’re building here is something people will appreciate for years to come. This isn’t to say I’m some idealistic cunt who loves art and hates money. I actually have a stalker-esque relationship with money. I would very much like to have it, but it won’t return my phone calls. What I mean is, money is not expected. Success, recognition, and opportunity are not expected.

Because ultimately, there’s going to come a day when all the naysayers and cynics and haters will be proven right – in the end, I’m fairly confident this work will be just another mod in a sea of millions of other projects that people never knew enough about to care. That’s just the way it is.

Maybe that makes us all losers. But then again, when I bought my ticket, I was never playing to win.

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16 thoughts on “Notes, Trailers, and Anniversaries

  1. I’ve been a longtime fan of this mod and, actually, this site too. I just wanted to drop by to wish you the happiest of anniversaries: I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but for me at least this amazing project has always been a tremendous asset to my Skyrim experience. 3DNPCs is one of my top 3 or 4 absolute favourite mods and I’ve missed it *terribly* during my last playthrough when I tried to go for a “clean” unmodded save. It will be one of the first things I install for my next character.

    I think it’s very much in keeping with the spirit of Skyrim to create all these new characters and stories: It is, after all, more than a game and always has been. It’s a genuine living world that grows generatively and dynamically from all of us working and playing together within it. That, I feel, is the great strength of The Elder Scrolls as a series, if not the most important thing about it. Skyrim has felt like a second home for me since I first discovered the game three years ago and as such it’s very, very special to me: Knowing there are people out there going above and beyond to make it really feel alive, and *continue* to feel that way, means a lot to me at the very least. I try to learn the Creation Kit when my schedule permits as I have stories of my own I’d like to build, and someday I kind of hope to write a book at least partially about my connection to Skyrim and TES. But, until I manage to do that, it’s mods (and blogs) like this that ensure Skyrim never fully leaves my thoughts or my imagination.

    I felt a similar twinge of fear, or perhaps apprehension and resignation, that you seem to be feeling when Bethsoft ceased official support for Skyrim-the-game last year, I worried that, because of this, the world might fade from memory (or at least collective memory) to the point it would eventually feel more like an artefact than a living thing. But then I remembered that any piece of art that touches a person never really dies-I think as long as there are people, no matter how small in number they may be, with whom things like Skyrim and 3DNPCs resonate, it will always be remembered to an extent. This is especially true of TES, which seems to have a knack for really striking a chord with certain people (hell, look at Skywind: Despite the Oblivion Crisis and the Red Year, Morrowind is never, *ever* going away). That’s how stories survive and have survived since the dawn of oral history: They stick with people and continue to inspire them such that they feel compelled to tell them over and over again, much like how an Imperial prisoner always manages to escape in the nick of time and always eventually ends up becomes a great hero.

    And now I need to go plan my next Skyrim playthrough. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve ridden that carriage to Helgen.

    1. I agree when I started playing Oblivion for the first time I felt so completely sucked into the world. That was probably the first game where I actually started roleplaying as well. Skyrim is a very much a worthy sequel to Oblivion, and i’m glad that I can also be sucked into this world as well. When I see mods like Interesting NPCs, I realize that even if it’s a decade until the next TES game comes out, Skyrim will be a game that will keep evolving thanks to mods.

      Also Alternate Start-Live another life will solve that carriage problem for you!

  2. When I first discovered Iinteresting NPCs, I thought it would be a fun little diversion mod. Something with which to amuse myself by way of passing exchanges with conveniently-placed automata in the virtual taverns, but ultimately something that just got a little irritating when I was in the middle of accomplishing some other quest. I found that most of the time I would tell myself I’d go back and find out more about their little stories later, when I was more interested. I am not certain at what point this mod became what I love best about the game for me…probably about the same time I decided it was more interesting to explore than to finish and more satisfying to wonder what the shopkeepers did at night than to slaughter yet another dragon. What is rewarding about this mod – and this is something that naysayers will never really comprehend, because they have obviously not immersed themselves in the scope of the project – is just how important these individual stories become, how compelling it is to see issues resolved (or never resolved, in tragic ways), and just how interconnected everything is. A chance event can lead to levels of complexity and repercussions one never sees coming, just as actually taking the time to find out just a bit more about something or someone in reality leads to paths unexpected. I am constantly in awe of this mod, and for this I thank all of you who have worked so hard on it.

  3. I doubt the day will ever come where Interesting NPC’s is “just another mod in a sea of millions”. It’s big and just getting bigger, and full of quests and npc’s that live up to the mod’s name. Besides a couple of mods, the most popular follower mods are women with absolutely no depth + backstory, boring vanilla voices, and whose only redeeming quality is being hot and scantily dressed. I was so happy to find a mod that gave life and personality to Skyrim that not only existed, but kept growing and getting better. It’s a multipurpose quest/NPC/follower mod (and if you wished, you could dress super-interesting followers like Amalee and Gorr in whatever outfits you desire, thus rendering the boring nexus chicks obsolete). May it last for many more years, even after we move on from PC’s to virtual reality machines. Hurrah, let’s raise a glass of champagne!

  4. “and if you wished, you could dress super-interesting followers like Amalee and Gorr in whatever outfits you desire, thus rendering the boring nexus chicks obsolete”

    Now I’m picturing Gorr in a frilly skimpy dress. I CANNOT UNSEE IT.

  5. INPCs will never be just another mod, no more than “Bioshock,” for example, will be just another game. As much as we’re inundated by entertainment choices, the number of truly memorable games we get a chance to play remains relatively small. For a person like me, who was drawn to interactive games in the first place not as a way to forestall boredom, like the commuter moving blocks around, or as a way to assert my superiority over strangers, like the teabag happy COD teenager, but as a way to experience story in a new and exciting way my novels and comics could not provide, Interesting NPCs’ well developed characters and brilliant stories are the perfect complement to Skyrim’s gorgeous sandbox.

    That’s true for a lot of us. We may forget the details of Gorr‘s culinary obsessions over time, or have trouble capturing the exact emotions we felt when Zora reconciled with her sister, but we will never forget that this mod transformed a good game into an amazing game, and brought us closer than ever to capturing that feeling of stepping into a fictional world and becoming a part of it.

  6. Having problems leaving a reply for the stolen property My fault, Serana the sort-of-follower has a different id than Serana (still could not get her to follow me out,but with the right id got her to me and all is good) sorry for the misunderstanding, is a great mod and appreciate all of the hard work done on it! Thanks

    Craig Mainely Sound


  7. I wouldn’t say this is a mod. This work makes me feel like restoring the missing pages from a book you once read. The first time you tried to read the book, you stopped because it felt incomplete. Only now, after reading those pages, you feel like the book is really precious to you and that the stories you read there will be a part of you forever. Maybe millions will never know about it, but thousands keep it close to our hearts.

  8. Happy 2nd birthday, INPCs. I really can’t imagine Skyrim without it, even though I’ve only been using the mod a few months. It’s so hard to imagine all the work that’s gone into creating it, but I’m so, so happy it was. Looking forward to more and more updates as time goes on :)

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