Ethas: Embrace of Destiny

Ethas: Embrace of Destiny

Ethas: Embrace of Destiny is a highly anticipated modification for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Ethas bring the player to a sprawling fantasy world built in the robust Creation Engine. I lead an extremely talented team of individuals, with my primary focus being the creation of the world and levels themselves.

After the linear introductory sequence, this is the first view of the world of Ethas that the player is presented with. I spent several weeks shaping the valley and planning its features, as I needed this first view to not only encapsulate the scale of the world, but also the freedom the player has in exploring it.

Imperial Crypt

Imperial Crypt

The high ceilings and surprise ghost appearances help define the look and feel of our custom imperial crypts.

Epic View

Epic View

The Western Reach is in the background as the player enters the Plains of Sorrow, a sweeping prairie that covers much of western Arelia.

Valeria Market

Valeria Market

This is the marketplace of the port city of Valeria. The city was inspired heavily by Venetian architecture and culture, with a focus on wide, busy streets. All NPC's in the city have realistic schedules, including work, multiple meals, occasional travel, hobbies, sleep, and more.

 

Hawkreath

Hawkreath

The Arelian military fort that the player arrives in following the introductory sequences. It is located high in the mountains of the Western Reach, and therefore has yet to fall under enemy attack.

The Great Valley

The Great Valley

A fairly dense, peaceful forest teeming with wildlife. I use two dozen or so different tree variations for this part of the Great Valley, including smaller oaks, maples, red oaks, and more.

 

Hearthlake Hall

Hearthlake Hall

This is Hearthlake Hall, the home that has been owned by your family for generations. As you recruit companions, they will stay with you at Hearthlake Hall, each with their own room that reflects their personality.

 

Hearthlake Hall - Kitchen, day

Hearthlake Hall - Kitchen, day

The lighting throughout the house changes depending on the time of day.

Hearthlake Hall - Kitchen, night

Hearthlake Hall - Kitchen, night

The lighting throughout the house changes depending on the time of day.

Hearthlake Hall - Attic

Hearthlake Hall - Attic

Hearthlake Hall - Mage's room

Hearthlake Hall - Mage's room

A Marker-Free Solution

A Marker-Free Solution

Because I am trying to avoid the over-use of quest markers and tend to dislike the hand holding found in many games, I try to rely on more natural and immersive ways to guide the player. In the Storinhal Undercroft, I use the rushing sewer water to lead the player forward.

A Marker-Free Solution

A Marker-Free Solution

Because I am trying to avoid the over-use of quest markers and tend to dislike the hand holding found in many games, I try to rely on more natural and immersive ways to guide the player. In the Storinhal Undercroft, I use the rushing sewer water to lead the player forward.

Interior Encounter Example

Interior Encounter Example

This is the undercroft of Storinhal Castle, one of the interior sections featured in the introductory sequence. The interior transitions from the basement and dungeons of a castle to the sewer system that runs beneath the town of Storinhal. Circled in red are the three enemy encounters throughout the interior. Groups one and two are soldiers from an invading force, and the third is a brood of sewer rats.

As we want our mod to be playable in any style, I have allowed the first two encounters to be avoided entirely. The first group of soldiers is a group of three, nervously discussing their plan of attack as they creep through the sewers. While the player can be easily detected by running carelessly forward, the encounter can be avoided by sneaking through, hiding in a nearby room, and letting the group pass. The second encounter involves two soldiers rummaging through the possessions of a slain enemy. Because you enter the tunnel with their backs to you, it is possible to sneak up behind them or even around them. Of course, carelessly running through the room will alert them to your presence. This freedom of choice is something that we really hope shines in not only the quests, but in the gameplay as well.

The Rilekarth Marshes

The Rilekarth Marshes

The marshes are named after the city of Rilekarth, seen silhouetted in the background. Navigating these grasses can be tough, as they are as tall as you are, making for some very tense moments. A lion relaxes on the edge of a fog covered pond, awaiting its next meal. 

 

Wasteland

Wasteland

A dwarven ruin located within the volcanic wasteland of Virardan. This specific location is close to the site of the eruption, leaving the land lacking any life whatsoever with the ground covered in a thick layer of ash.

 

Navmeshing Example

Navmeshing Example

An example of a fully Navmeshed interior, in this case, a soldier’s inn in the military town of Hawkreath. This  screenshot was taken from the Creation Kit. Some objects have been hidden to provide a better view of the Navmesh.

Alton, IL

Alton, IL

Alton, IL is an open-world reimagining of my hometown of 
Alton, Illinois and the surrounding area. It is based in Fallout 
3’s engine, making it the largest Fallout 3 mod to date. Alton 
features over 30 hours of engaging, choice-driven gameplay, 
letting the player make decisions that have drastic effects on 
the outcome of the game.

 

The Long Road

The Long Road

Alton was created entirely as a solo project, with the 
exception of custom meshes and textures, which were all 
obtained from public resource packs. I built all interior and 
exterior spaces and wrote, scripted, and implemented all 
quests and other special events. Overall, I estimate that over 
3,500 hours of work went into the project over the course of 
2 and a half years

Vault 59

Vault 59

A section of Vault 59, the storage hall that houses the vault’s G.E.C.K. Its activation has spurred the regrowth of the forests above. If the player sides with the Underground Railroad, the player must decide whether to destroy or deactivate the GECK to gain the upper hand over the Plague, which will either save or destroy the forests above.

The goal was to have the interior reflect the GECK's effect on the forest above, which I achieved by using thick roots and budding flowers.

 

New Life

New Life

The GECK that has been activated in the bowels of Vault 59 has caused new life to take root in the otherwise dead wasteland above.

Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad

The commons area of the Underground Railroad, a town built within the subway system of Alton. Throughout the day, some citizens will “sandbox” throughout the area, warming their hands, grabbing a drink, or simply sitting back and relaxing. The name of the town is a reference to both the location and Alton's history, as Alton is well known for being a stop along the Underground Railroad of the 19th century.

 

Downtown

Downtown

A view of downtown Alton, an area rife with raiders. To the left is the Clark Bridge, which spans across the Mississippi River, connecting Illinois and Missouri.

 

School's Out

School's Out

Even former places of education were not saved from the destruction that ensued following the Great War.

Old Godfrey

Old Godfrey

The player is tasked with ridding the formerly well-secured town of Godfrey, now known as Old Godfrey, of Super Mutants. The walls were built around a strip mall, with the residents living in a hotel across the street.

New Godfrey

New Godfrey

Following the Super Mutant invasion of Godfrey, the town of New Godfrey was founded around the scrap piles of the Alton dump.