AFK_Weye Commentaries: Epilogue
By Dwip April 10, 2019, 7:12 pm Comments (1) RSS Feed for this post

And so, here we are at the end of the road. 13 years later, what did all of this mean, and why did I just write 50 pages of commentary on it?

At its core, AFK_Weye represented my thesis on the way Oblivion mods should be made – how towns could work, how quests could work, how NPCs and items and rewards could all work.

In its turn, I have always believed that Oblivion itself was perfect for the sort of modding I and many others were doing. Modding Morrowind was a struggle what with the lack of documentation, tools, or really anything.

However, by Oblivion’s middle age all of that had been solved, and Oblivion itself offered a lot of room and possibilities for the enterprising modder to express themselves, in part due to the rushed and unfinished nature of the game. Too, we modders did our work in an age unencumbered for the most part by the demands of voice acting and other high budget items.

Skyrim, while it fixed many of the problems with Oblivion’s underdeveloped world, also made it much harder to work in something of the scope of AFK_Weye. I’ve thought about how I’d do the mod in Skyrim, and all I can figure is another worldspace – Skyrim is just too damn crowded. Too, the tools I was used to in Oblivion really never materialized for Skyrim, making mesh editing a nightmare.

In short, Oblivion came along at just the right time and in just the right way to produce something like AFK_Weye and so many other excellent mods.

If AFK_Weye represents a thesis of sorts, I think it is safe to say that my thesis was well received. While we are now long past the days where AFK_Weye was #2 in its category and File of the Month and having articles written about it, even long after its release it still makes the odd “what mods do I NEED to play Oblivion?” list, and it’s even had a starring role in a let’s play series. Beyond that, as I’ve said, I find it gratifying that much of what I’ve done in AFK_Weye has echoes in Skyrim, even if I wasn’t the cause – it’s nice to be on the right track.

Creatively, AFK_Weye marks the high point of my 25 or so years of creative work, still yet to be equaled, though I think the D&D games come pretty close. I set out to make a thing and while I can find flaws with it, by and large I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I learned a lot of skills and along the way I taught them to a few people. Very few things in my life have been this rewarding.

There is, however, a dark side to AFK_Weye – one that I don’t generally talk about, but if not now, when?

On the one hand, I have never again equaled the success of AFK_Weye in my modding efforts because frankly I couldn’t afford to sink the time and energy into it like that again. AFK_Weye was essentially a second full time job over the course of about two years, and by the end of it I was almost completely burnt out. It wasn’t that I had no ideas – the AFK Mods forums are littered with the corpses of my various projects from that time, including an Arena remake, a giant mausoleum, and an NPC courtier overhaul. By the time Skyrim came out I was barely able to touch the Creation Kit, though I have dabbled here and there. Despite a great deal of fondness and nostalgia, it is likely to remain that way.

On the other hand, to be very blunt about it, the time I spent on AFK_Weye probably contributed to a decline in my health in 2010-2011, and it explicitly contributed to the death of my relationship with a woman I thought I was on track to marry – come to find out she was not altogether fond of me “wasting my time on gaming.” That in turn led to absolutely catastrophic creative block – all of my creative efforts over about a six year period pretty much ended in failure because of that lingering spectre, and I am only now coming out of it. For someone who thrives on creativity that is apocalyptic.

And yet, in the end, I find it hard to regret any of what AFK_Weye was and is to me. As I’ve said, it’s one of the great accomplishments in my life, and one I am very proud of – proud enough to write all this at any rate. As we sail on into AFK_Weye’s sunset, I look back with accomplishment and nostalgia for the things I made and the fun we all had with it.

Oblivion sure was a hell of a time.

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April 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

[…] History, Part 1 History, Part 2 Main Quest, Part 1 Weye Manor Main Quest, Part 2 Main Quest, Part 3 Kerrach Side Quests Epilogue […]

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