Skyrim Insight


Uploaded by Linkthe1st on 22.03.2011

Transcript:
With the advent of Bethesda's announcement for next Elder Scrolls game Skyrim, there
has been a wealth of information released. However there's also lots of speculation out
there, which can slip between the factual cracks, and distort the truth on this new
game. What I'll be doing here is summing up what is fully known, bridge some gaps, and
hopefully clear most of the confusion that exists about "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim".
The first thing to know is Skyrim is the first game created by Bethesda Softworks since Fallout
3, which was released back in 2008. Despite what many people may think Bethesda was not
responsible for the creation of New Vegas, the Fallout 3 sequel. The second thing to
know is how Bethesda has been working on Skyrim in graduated volume since the release of "The
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion", which was put out back in 2006. This plays a key role in
the significant changes that have been made to the game series since Oblivion was released.
The primary alteration being the form of technology driving the experience. Bethesda's games,
being as large and open as they are, have traditionally had serious technical limitations
due to the lack of a game engine geared toward creating such detailed and cohesive world
on such massive scale. In order to remedy this problem Bethesda Softworks created a
game engine of their own called the "Creation Engine". This new program allows for increased
graphical fidelity, improvements in the drawing of natural environments, more accurate weather
effects, and full shadows. some of these features were intended to be in oblivion, but were
scraped due to technical limitations. However, in the creation engine such features are not
only attainable, but they cam be implemented without inhibiting gameplay. The internally
developed Creation Engine marks a new dawn for the games bethesda produces, removing
old restrictions and giving new freedom to the in-house production team. When talking
about technological advancements though, It's only the beginning of the list for Skyrim.
One of the things Bethesda prides itself on is the ability to basically republish the
same game over and over again successfully, by simply redesigning it. Back in 2002 Morowind
was a landmark game for many players, for several good reasons. Oblivion delivered the
same base experience in 2006, but with significant upgrades in not only graphical quality but
also its user interface, and interaction. Skyrim, following the the footsteps of it's
predecessors, is no different; Delivering the same experience, but with enough outward
changes, and improvements to feel different. A plethora of new technology is implemented
in Skyrim to make this possible, and enhance the experience, setting it apart from earlier
entries in the elder scroll series. One of the ways by which this is achieved is through
the improvement of artificial intelligence, which drives the actions of non player characters,
or NPCs. This is where Radiant AI comes in, which was a first created for Oblivion back
in 2006. The intelligence system returns in skyrim, but with vast upgrades to what it's
capable of keeping track of. Character's will react to player actions more realistically,
basing their reactions to good or bad deeds on things like their personal relationship
with the player, or fame or infamy. In addition NPCs can react to player actions that may
not be directed at anyone, such as fighting over or attempting to return items arbitrarily
dropped on the ground. These upgrade help to increase game immersion, and reduce the
chances of being abruptly reminded that Skyrim is still a game. However, as noteworthy as
the upgrades to Radiant AI are, the technological improvements don't stop at individual character
AI.
Another large upgrade Skyrim has in it's bag of technological tricks is a brand new quest
management system called "Radiant Story". This sub program keeps track of bounds of
statistical data regarding how the game is played. Radiant Story then puts the data to
use when determining things like weather or not, or which, random NPCs will step forward
with a quest that need be done. The system doesn't stop there though, in the case of
side missions, as the main missions are unaffected by Radiant Story, the game will proceed to
tailor quests to individual play style, treating all the necessary elements like cookie-cutter
pieces that only need to fit limited predetermined requirements. This means quest elements can
vary dramatically such as what type of dungeon could be involved, weather it's been explored
before, what type of enemies populate it's halls, and how difficult the opposition will
be. All in all a very large amount of improvement has gone into Skyrim widening the gap between
it, and the preceding entries in the Elder Scrolls series on a technical level. Yet,
there are many more surface visible changes that have been made.
As part of the process of refreshing an old formula to make it feel new, Bethesda has
made significant changes to the base role playing mechanics, in order to make Skyrim
more accessible and less restrictive. Unlike in earlier titles, where character creation
was centric to beginning the game; consisting of choosing a race, sex, class, and star sign;
Skyrim has been stripped down to almost only designing an avatar. This has been done to
not only simplify the game, but also to eliminate the feeling of screwing up during character
creation. By making this radical change a new system was necessary to govern the process
of leveling up. Like in other Elder Scroll games preforming an action will increase the
proficiency of the skill by which the action is governed. For instance swinging a weapons
around will increase the skill governing the use of that weapon, lighting enemies of fire
by throwing flames at them will raise the skill destruction magic, and mixing potions
will improve the alchemy skill. Increasing skills is what makes leveling up possible,
but since there are no dedicated skills that count toward leveling up, like in previous
games, Skyrim is geared towards skill specialization. Encouraging specialization in only select
skills both safe guards against leveling exploits, and creates a less restrictive leveling system.
This is first done by making low skill increases count less toward overall character progress,
while high skill increases will push up a character's level faster. This means increasing
a skill from 25-26 will have less influence over a character's level progress than a skill
increase of 62-63. The second edge to this system are perks. Taking que from fallout
3 and it's perk system, skyrim allows for powerful ability enhancing perks to be chosen
upon level up, which further help to encourage gameplay that focuses on using specific skills.
Perks can do things like ignore enemy armour, increase the chances to score a critical hit,
or cause enemies to bleed and lose health over time. By removing the class system, and
encouraging skill specialization by these means, Bethesda has gone to great strides
to make Skyrim a much more accessible game. It's yet to be seen weather or not these changes
will work, but seeing as how Bethesda has only made three games in the last decade,
all of which have earned multiple multiple game of the year awards, it's likely they
know what they're doing.
The amount of new technology and upgrades implemented in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
are impressive to say the least, epically for Bethesda who has traditionally licensed
third party tools. Even though a wealth of improvements and upgrades were covered here
keep in mind that only the most prominent game changing elements were mentioned. There
are ultimately far to many changes to cover, and it's very possible the sum of smaller
changes will have more impact on gameplay experience, than the larger ones.
The Elder Scrolls is an evolving series who's future is never certain. However, with Skyrim
on the horizon, the future certainly looks bright.
Thanks for watching and listening, this is William Strife for Visage Games and Kerosene
Dreams, I'll see you later.