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Suggestions wanted for a follower mod!

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#1
JosephRussell

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Hi everyone! :smile:

I'm currently at work on a custom-voiced, male follower mod for Skyrim Special Edition, which I hope to release next year. He's a scientist, philosopher, and amateur musician, so will occasionally sing, and will also be quest-aware and comment on your surroundings in the same vein as Inigo, Vilja and Sofia (though I can't imagine getting 7000-odd lines recorded before TES VI is released!)

As it's still very early stages and nothing's set in stone yet, I thought I'd ask if anyone has any suggestions for things they'd like to see in a follower mod! I'm looking for cool ideas, things that might bother you about currently available followers, features you've always thought would be useful/interesting/fun, etc.

Any and all thoughts would be appreciated! :smile:

Thanks!



#2
yian

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Hmmm, well. Being a man of science and philosophy could mean two things - always on the road doing field research thus an experience adventurer, or, studying books and scrolls and lived a pretty sheltered life. Well, I personally hope to see a male follower who is a bit younger, less experience, so he could be the POV character with a voice as he goes through all the events with you.

 

Also, maybe he would say something very thought provoking as a philosopher, but not obvious social commentary that hit you in the face.

 

And finally, I think he could be an Orc. It would have the same vibe of the Beast from the X-Men. We don't have a famous Orc follower yes and I think this is a perfect chance. A young, inexperienced Orc scholar would shatter people's expectation.


Edited by yian, 20 September 2017 - 12:45 PM.


#3
MayanMisfit

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Could you have him respond to some comments made by the other top followers like Sofia etc it doesn't have to be too extensive, but the odd remark now and then would he awesome

#4
JosephRussell

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Interesting ideas, thank you! I'm definitely going with the younger, inexperienced vibe - I'd like him to develop alongside you and learn from you and your decisions. I actually hadn't considered making him an Orc, but that's a nice concept! Unfortunately, I don't think I can sustainably make my voice gravelly enough for an Orc - for a few lines, perhaps, but I think I might struggle in the thousands!

And yes, I'd love to make him respond to the other top followers! It's definitely possible, as Inigo and Vilja manage it pretty flawlessly, without even needing a patch! Not sure what wizardry they use to implement that, but I shall make it my mission to find out.



#5
cdcooley

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The most important feature is to give the character its own personality. Don't worry so much about the technical details and definitely don't spend your valuable time trying to fight how the system works by scripting activities. Let the features you develop be things that support the character's personality. Occasionally you can start with a unique technical feature but when you do be sure to hook it into the character's personality.

 

Since the game's AI isn't perfect it's always good to have a reason the character acts odd at times. Gary has Inigo blame things on his past use of Skooma or a need to urinate. Vilja can be self-absorbed and not very observant although my favorite cover for game engine bugs is when Vilja tells you she never gets lost but instead prefers to take the long way. That lie is so obvious that me makes you believe she knows there's a problem but simply doesn't want to admit it. Your character could simply have a habit of getting distracted or lost in his own thoughts.

 

You'll need to decide at some point whether you want the character on the standard follower system. If you're on the standard framework it's hard to do more creative and unique things. Inigo started on the standard framework then switched to something unique so that's always an option. If you want to start off on a unique path you don't need more than a few AI packages and some dialogue (including dialogue script fragments) to make it work. Keeping things simple is always good.

 

There are multiple ways to store information and you'll want to use different methods for different effects. Faction membership and faction rank are good for recording information but the actor values are also useful.  For example changes to aggression, morality, confidence, etc. can be handled directly in dialogue topic script fragments. If you're starting from scratch simply use the WaitingForPlayer actor value to control various stages of following instead of worrying about multiple factions like the standard followers use. Inigo uses a simple system where -1 means dismissed (or never recruited),  0 means following, 1 means waiting, 2 means relaxing, etc. Inigo also uses faction ranks to control things like his combat style because faction rank is easy to use as a condition on the AI packages.

 

Basically start small on the technical side and develop some basic personality features then let it grow naturally. And most importantly never implement some feature that violates the character's personality no matter how much people ask for it.

 

Not all Orcs (especially young ones) would absolutely have to have a gravelly voice, but if you don't have a strong preference about race you could make a few recordings and post them on a poll and let people pick which race they associate with the voice.

 

Good luck, I'm looking forward to seeing your first release because this sounds like a character I could enjoy.



#6
nightscrawl

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Well my preference would be to make him look realistic, not impossibly gorgeous. A person can be good looking, but not look like they belong on a runway. (I also prefer human or orc, but that's just me...) I'd also suggest a mid-ground as far as age, late 20s into 30s or 40s, so he's not super young and inexperienced, but he's also not too much older; I think this has the potential to appeal to most players.

 

You didn't say what you're going to do with combat. I think the first thing you need to decide is the type of combat the person is going to use: physical versus magic, ranged versus melee. You can tie this to the personality as well; if the person is a risk-taker, or a protector-type, they might be a melee warrior; a cautious person might use a bow or magic from a distance.

 

Once you know the type of fighter they are, you can then have backstory to match. Maybe the person is a mage from Cyrodiil, so doesn't really get the whole Nord thing, and maybe even prefers you to be on the Imperial side in the civil war. While he might not leave your service, you could have comments change based on which side the player chooses. OR you could go all-out with this idea and have him be pro-Imperial, meaning he would leave if you pick the Stormcloaks (I don't know if this is possible in the CK).

 

For scientist/scholar/nerdy types, I really like when they have a particular subject they're into and geek out over that. Marcurio has elements of this with the Dwemer, but it isn't developed as much as it could be. Your guy could spout bits of lore in an excited tone when you're in Dwemer ruins. If you're doing a quest where you learn of other such scholars, like Sinderion in Blackreach, there should be comments about that. And so on with similar things.

 

What is the moral compass of your character? If they're into logic, perhaps they won't look at some of the more evil daedic quests from a moral standpoint, but more along the lines of "let's do it and see what happens."

 

 

If you've played through most of Skyrim, I think the key is to think about the kinds of situations the player can find themselves in and the potential for reactivity in those situations.

 

If you're going to have them be eligible for marriage, it would be nice to have some couple-oriented dialogue, stuff that is repeatable. I imagine that dialogue menu would look like this:

 

The current standard options for a spouse are:

Follow/wait.

I'd like you to do something.

Has the store made any money?

Can you make me something to eat?

I'd like to trade some things with you.

I'd like us to move somewhere else.

It's time for us to part ways [dismiss, return home].

 

Perhaps there can be an additional option like, "Other things," or "I'd like to talk to you," or something along those lines. Then you can have repeatable dialogues where the player can engage is some general banter. There can be some more general dialogue for non-spouses, while spouses have additional options with more romantic choices.

 

I emphasize repeatable because I think it's important for player roleplay. I don't need to have involved conversations every time -- I can imagine those -- but having the action and pretending like I'm talking would be a big help with that.



#7
JosephRussell

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Thanks for the advice, guys, I really appreciate it! I'll be sure to bear it all in mind. I've gone with making him an Imperial, as that seems to suit him (and my voice) best. To open up the most potential down the line, I've switched him across to his own non-standard follower system as you suggested, which seems to be working fine so far! I'm going to leave the prospect of marriage for now, and I'll come back to it when the mod is otherwise more or less "done".

I'm going to open up another topic to ask a question about conversations, but if anyone else who comes across this thread has any further thoughts/suggestions, I'd love to hear them!



#8
thumbincubation

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To add to what cdcooley mentioned, about the voice thing, if you decide to go the book learning route, then you may find a specifically non-orc voice to be an oddly-refreshing change, playing on the stereotypes of the aggressive warrior vs the mild-mannered academic types.  Perhaps he was born into a traditional orcish warrior stronghold, who got into a fight with a close friend (over honor, or a girl, or whatever), and ended up killing the friend in a fit of rage.  He may fight bouts of guilt, or recurring nightmares, that caused him to leave that life and seek the measured calm of academia. Every day, he becomes a bit more confident in his self-control, and though he will fight bravely at your side, he will always seek to avoid conflict if possible. (Non-aggressive, foolhardy)  On occasion, though in moments of extreme fear or anger (surrounded by draugr) his berserker rage overtakes him, and that combat dialog would get the deep, growling orc voice, while the rest of your lines are calm, normal speech.



#9
JosephRussell

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It *would* make for an interesting character! I really don't think being an Orc is quite right for what I have in mind this time around, however. I'd love to see it, though, if anyone wants to give it a go! Otherwise I'll file it away in my brain for the future.







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