(This is a very long thread by the way. Oh, and it also has pictures. Yes, I know pictures make the page more difficult to load, that's why I've kept them small)
(others concept art used the express possible costumes as well as the style I have in mind)
The mod (working title) Steampunk Oblivion will include (assuming completion):
A new city, Unnamed (open to suggestions), made of illogical Steampunk-styled buildings
A puzzle-based and story-tied underground dungeon, using old-style rpg puzzles not yet seen in Oblivion
A fleshed-out cast of characters (10-15, most likely), with completely unique costumes, hair, and dialogue
A simple, small city like those appearing around Oblivion already to start from
An overworld dungeon with respawning monsters, for material collection
New steampunk outfits, which may be earned by the player
An involving storyline
Steampunk Oblivion will start in a custom but simple village, styled after the small villages around Oblivion. Filled with normal and unassuming NPCs, with some custom dialogue, but largely meant to be common. The one thing that sets this village apart is a rusty metallic building set on a slightly-isolated rise apart from the rest of the buildings. The building will be tall and circular like an old and broken windmill, yet made of the aforementioned rusty metal in contrast to the regular wooden structures of the village. The building will be strangely crumpled towards the inside, like an aluminum can, with small rays of light escaping cracks in the structure. I'll cover it more in the storyline, but it is a building that was a windmill hundreds of years ago, worn over time, then largely destroyed in a strange experiment by its resident mage very recently (which the village NPCs will talk about, though they're unwilling to investigate further, as they weren't very trusting in the mage's experiments to begin with).
Basic and uninteresting, made to contrast the steampunk city as well as begin the questline. Simple wooden structures, small gardens, a few roaming animals, and NPCs that either want a simple farming lifestyle or are student mages. The broken windmill I spoke of stands on a small hill overlooking town, a ring of no vegetation outlining it from the edge of a small forest. The entire village lies on the coast, with the broken windmill facing directly out to sea.
(basic layout. Building size is also fairly insignificant here, as that's not really planned yet)
(Also Unnamed) Steampunk Village
Contrasting the regular building style of the village, the steampunk village (I'll call it old town from here on) uses a mesh of various Steampunk themes- cogs, buildings made of pieces of old structures and machinery, gold and copper garnishing hardwoods, victorian-punk style clothing, and so on. The Old Town lies in a basic circular shape, with the windmill still standing above everything else facing the sea (at the bottom, I've attached a basic concept sketch of one of the windmill's arms, which are built of various scraps of metal). Building design is impractical on the border of illogical, with cogs, pistons, and small moving parts active around the village. NPCs roam the village dressed in what I can only call the steampunk style, and if I or someone willing to join is able to create creatures, a few simple robots will pace the village un-aggressively. The Old Town is the central hub of the mod, and is meant to appear teaming with life, creativity, and a DIY optimism. The Old Town is set around 200 years in the past in the same location as the village, yet the only building that survives the years is the windmill. As demonstrated in the pictures, the more recent construction have over time moved away from the windmill's remains. In the very center of the town is a mechanical clock, a concept of which I've sketched and attached at the bottom (I'd like this clock to align with the Clocks of Cyrodil, if someone knows how to do that).
(Really, I haven't come up with any names at all, please feel free to suggest some)
The puzzle dungeon will contain much of the storyline's combat, as well as the antagonist's lair. The dungeon is an old mine which (as do all mines in RPGs) becomes infested with monsters. The clever but overly-extravagant people of Old Town devise a complex system of keys, locks, and puzzles enclosing the various rooms and halls of the mine, effectively sealing it forever. Should we be able to, the dungeon will be filled with various new and custom monsters- otherwise, probably just retexed monsters from vanilla Oblivion. The mine will have a simple structure- a relatively straight path straight to the bottom for the final boss, with branches coming off from various points of the main path away to dead ends (which will contain stronger monsters and rarer materials, some completely unique to that room). Simply, think of the vein structure of a leaf to get the idea. This dungeon will be one of two main locations for collecting materials, which are used to create steampunk items and costumes for your character. Color and shape coded keys and doors will litter the dungeon, as well as the occasional puzzle, which will allow further progress into the dungeon as they're completed/keys are found. The main branch will be directly tied to the main quest, but the branches will be possible to complete as soon as they're reached. Doors in the dungeon will have moving parts and visible locks, true to the steampunk style.
Like the puzzle dungeon, the overland dungeon will be a place to collect materials for the creation of items- however, you will collect cloth and leather skin here, as opposed to the metals of the mine. All of the monsters will respawn as the dungeon is reloaded, and each monster will have chance drops of various materials (the percentage based on rarity, but no chances too cruelly low). Flaxes of various cloth can be picked from plants throughout the area, with many of the common material plants and few and difficult-to-find rarer plants for the more valuable collectible outfits. Now that I think of it, this area feels in essence much like the grasslands area of the first Monster Hunter (PS2) game.
There will probably be a few smaller areas, but these four are the location for the majority of the mod.
As mentioned, the two dungeons will be locations in which you can collect a number of materials to create items. A storekeeper in town will explain that only a number of people live in the town, and there's never been a need to craft clothing for more than request (leaving no extras for sale). However, if you see outfits you like, the storekeeper would be able to recreate them assuming you bring them the correct materials. Materials will come in four varieties- Animal Leather, Woven Cloth (which can be spun from collected flax on a wheel within town), Metal Ore, and unique items.
The shop should be able to show a basic list showing the name of the outfit and the required materials, for example-
Pilot's Outfit - 3 Linen - 1 Tough Leather - 1 Copper - 2 Glass Lenses
Many of the outfits would be quite simple to collect for and create, but the best will be very difficult- requiring the drops of high level enemies and the solving of the most difficult branches of the mine dungeon, as well as items received from sidequests. This would hopefully create a value to them, making a player need to play the mod to obtain outfits (I'd hate to have someone miss out on the story), and also create very cool outfits which are an accomplishment to obtain. Most mods if not all have the items instantly available upon download, and though the items could be dropped from the CS to the game effortlessly, I think many players will enjoy legitimately earning a few rare trophies. I'm not a scripter, and I'm not sure how difficult a store of this format would be to create- if you know scripting well, a little enlightenment on this issue would be greatly appreciated.
The storyline is still in development, subject to change, and all of that jazz. Also, if you intend to play the mod someday but aren't planning to help develop it, you may want to leave the spoiler closed so the major plot points are still a surprise when this is released.
The story isn't yet fully developed, and will change and grow to both fill in the gaps and edit what's already there. Of course, the story is open to suggestions as well, and will change as needed.
Animator- Many simple animations are going to be needed, as the city and dungeon will have many small moving parts- cogs, pistons, steam pipes, and so on. If we're unable to find anyone, I may be able to cover this one.
Modelers- Modeling will be my main area of focus, but there will be a lot to do. At least 10 outfits, 5 buildings with interiors, basically unique meshes for most of the mod.
Scripters- Perhaps most essential to me, I need talented scripters to help create the quests as well as the item store and all of the little intricacies in-between. Clever scripting will also be required to make working puzzles for the dungeon, very important!
Set Designers- Knowledge of the CS as well as a good sense for environment to help create the locations, cities, and dungeons.
Puzzle Design- Many oldschool RPGs had puzzle dungeons not unlike I've described- clever puzzles are essential to a challenging, unique, and an enjoyable oldschool dungeon. Puzzles from the simple to the mind-bending will be needed!
Writers- The fleshing out of the main quest, writing of clever sidequests that laugh in the face of go-and-collect quests, and literature to help bring the Old town to life will all be needed. I'd like to read, edit where necessary, and approve all of the writing for the mod to ensure it remains with the attitude of the mod. The main quest will have darker moments than what I've written so far, but I'd like humorous, clever, upbeat, and perhaps more serious sidequests to help keep the player busy and give the NPCs depth. Anyone can write, and all are welcome to chip in with a little high-quality writing to help create this world.
Texturers- I'll admit, texturing has always been my Achilles heel in mod creation. Help from textures able to create new textures for finished meshes as well as re-texturers to create different versions of monsters and outfits within the mod.
Voice Actors- Voice isn't currently planned for the mod, but I'd love to have them if enough are willing and equipped to lend their voice to our characters.
Artists- Concept art is of huge benefit to all of the members of a modding team, giving inspiration, reference, and a solid theme for everyone to work from. Ability to sketch, charcoal, pastel- anything! A dedicated artist can single-handedly define the appearance and continuity of a mod, game, or movie... needless to say, I'd love your help!
On the same note as Artists, marketing art goes a long way too! If you're experienced in making banners, signatures, and such, your help would go a long way. A simple signature to show involvement with the mod can increase public knowledge of our work, as well as attract more talented individuals to contribute as well!
Beta Testers- I greatly appreciate any interest in beta testing, as it confirms the ideas within the mod sound fun to you as they do to me- though it will be a while before anything needs testing, I'd love to have your enthusiasm towards these ideas involved in testing down the road!
I'm sure I haven't covered everything, and really modding ability of any and every kind can find a place within my and your ideas for this mod. Please, if you have time, dedication, and ability of any kind I welcome your talents!
Finally, if you know of a good place we can talk about progress and needed work on the mod (a small, preferably free forum of some kind), and possibly an effective way to trade files between members, I'd appreciate the input.
If you've made it to this point in the thread, then I'm thoroughly impressed- that's a lot of reading! If you've thought of ideas or suggestions for the mod, or would like to join my team to work on it personally, don't be shy about posting! Without posted interest, this thread, the mod, and the ideas with it will likely die away forever. Please contribute!