“I remember a time not too long ago when Wanaming0, a modder friend of mine, needed help getting this mask to follow the facial expressions of the NPC wearing it,” recalls modder Neeher, “Well, I had no idea.”
“At first, there was no documentation on it,” he continues, “but fairly quickly, it was figured out and now that information is easily accessible for anyone to look up. Problem solved.” The modder adds that the solution to this conundrum ended up being: “this strange work around, but [somehow] it does indeed work.”
Without the likes of Neeher, Wanaming0, and countless others in the massive modding community that’s long existed around Bethesda games being willing to coming together and not just solve weird issues like this, but share their work and experiences, there’d be a lot more would-be creators sitting in front of computers looking stumped. More importantly, most of the array of interesting and impressive mods and modding projects that’ll be on display at C3 – a community-driven showcase event that’s set to take place on Twitch across February 2 and 3 – probably wouldn’t look as cool as they do.
“[It] really just shows the community’s ingenuity and how dedicated everyone is at figuring out how everything works under the hood, so anyone can make whatever content they can dream of,” says Neeher, “At this point for Fallout 4 and older games, if you can think it, you can make it. Mods like Fallout: London and Sim Settlements 2 really prove this.”
While the modder is involved in both of those projects, the former of which will be showing off some more of what it has to offer during a dedicated stream as part of C3, he’s planning to use the solo broadcast he’ll be putting on as part of the event to focus in on the specific area of modding that’s proven to be his specialty – animations. Neeher’s hope is to encourage more folks to take an interest in mastering this aspect of the craft, which he says many view to be “the least approachable”.
“3D animation at first sounds hard or even impossible, so people tend to avoid it or maybe don’t want to go down a rabbit hole and learn how to do it,” he explains. “During my time slot I intend to go over how I got into animation and why it’s my favourite aspect of modding. Of all the various fields of modding, animation is one of the least pursued, even mysterious in some ways, so I think people can find it interesting how we go about creating an animation and seeing it in-game.”
This, alongside seeing what the larger projects and teams that’ll be present have been busy cooking up, seems to be one of the major factors that’s drawn so many established names in the world of Bethesda game modding to play a big part in the event’s first iteration. “I’m hoping we can inspire and invite new people to this wonderful world,” says modder Emmi ‘Elianora’ Junkkari, adding that she’s looking forward to “people having a chance to interact [with] and reach mod authors in a new way, discussing [things in] real time instead of [via] mod page comments”.
“It might lower the barrier of entry for people who would like to get into the modding scene as either users or creators, seeing it happen in real time and talking with experts in the scene,” Junkkari continues. “As a creator, the whole premise of C3, to encourage collaboration and positive interactions between creators, and users, and building a friendly community, is the most important aspect. It’s always been [important to] me to support, encourage and lift up others in the community and I’m hoping we can get new people excited about mod creation and content sharing in a warm and [exciting] environment.”
“What I, personally, hope for from events like this, is that everyone can see how unified the overall Bethesda modding community is,” adds Dylan ‘DylanF1’ Fritch, implementation lead and recruiter for Fallout 4: Capital Wasteland. The team behind this massive modding project – which seeks to re-create Fallout 3 in Fallout 4’s version of the creation engine – is set to show off its revamped version of the The Pitt DLC at C3.
“I think everyone should be excited for something like this, because it’s quite rare to [see] all of these modding teams/projects/creators to get together [for] one single cause,” the modder points out. “The team I am a part of was approached by the organisers of the event a few months ago, and we decided that it’d be a good time to show off our work on our Pitt DLC recreation, but also for [that] to support an amazing cause like Make A Wish.”
Fritch singles out an interaction that Fallout 4: Capital Wasteland team had while working on that recreation as an example of the kind of collaboration that, as Neeher alluded to, really symbolises what many of its members love most about the Bethesda modding community. “During our time working on the Pitt we had some trouble getting some voice acting done, so [modder] Kinggath and his Sim Settlements 2 team sent us over some of their voice talent, after [we’d previously] helped his team out with their SS2 Chapter 3 trailer,” he explains, “It was a good deal, and Kinggath and the SS2 team are amazing people.”
He also picks out that willingness many modders have to openly share their expertise and make it available in ways that make useful knowledge easily accessible – for example, via YouTube – to those keen to learn about the craft as one of his “all-time favourite things” about the community.
Overall, the modders taking part in it look to view C3’s biggest strength as being the sheer variety it’ll have on offer. “It can be [about] showcasing a project a whole team of people have been working on for years,” says Neeher, “It can be about seeing how game design works behind the scenes. People who want to get into the games industry can see how it works. Or people who just love [playing Bethesda RPGs can see that] these mod teams and modders are making more content for those games for free.”
“What if you play Skyrim, Fallout 4, or Starfield in its vanilla state and run out of content? But you love this game and you want more. I guess you could replay it over and over again, but the modding community is here to add to it in many different ways, from simple weapon mods to full-on quest mods.”
So, whether you’re someone whose passion for Morrowind burns with the heat of Red Mountain, you’ve been busy flying around in space since last September, or you’re constantly trying to convince your coworkers that Fallout: New Vegas is the best thing since sliced bread (that last one’s me), you might want to tune into C3.
Who knows, if you like what you see, maybe in a few years time you’ll be the one finding a bizarre workaround that can bring a properly visible smile to a masked NPC’s face.