Since the last post detailing what I had planned and was yet to implement for update 3.5, I've now achieved most of what I had envisioned and am in the process of polishing the mod for an imminent release.
New features I have implemented are as follows:
- A Town Crier who will speak of your exploits and current happenings throughout the mod AND skyrim, will talk on the state of the Civil War in Skyrim and depending on who you chose to side with; the victory as well.
- Merchants in stores will now provide custom voiced greetings, a small detail but something that I think contributes immensely to the immersion within a world. The dialogue is assigned to Voice Types rather than individual NPCs so that you can create your own NPC, assign him a voice type from the mod with the ARNIMA prefix, and he will perform all the necessary lines whether he/she is a merchant or Inn keeper.
- New random encounters that are to fit with the vanilla scheme of World Encounter scenarios, so you can travel down a road that would have previously been devoid of activity, to now stumble upon a unique situation every time you go to that location. This applies to both the wilderness and settlements, both the Town Crier and the Jesters use this system as to save them from traveling on foot to different towns.
- A new "Inspect" feature will provide you with plenty of lore and information on otherwise vague sights that peaked your curiosity in previous versions of the mod, adding to the immersion. Many plaques will have this feature near them so you can "read" the inscriptions on them. These are scattered throughout the entire mod and in most dungeons.
- Entire new location spanning the Bjoulsae river, you'll encounter 2 camps across this narrow stretch of land that are entirely fitting to the mod and will not seem like an afterthought. I will probably expand on this region as the environments of coasts or riverbeds eclipsed by epic cliffs has always attracted me. The waves may seem a bit excessive and not something that would appear in real life, but I thought it adds to the aesthetic as you make your way across the rivers edge.
- Main quest dungeons and areas have been modified and expanded offering a greater deal of wonder and enjoyment through better enemy placement and puzzles. Even new NPCs to meet as they tell their harrowing stories of how they came to be in the location.
- EVERY group of enemies has at least 1-2 NPCs doing full patrols and walking significant tracts of land, this may not seem like much, but for the more stealthy players, will provide avenues to completely avoid some confrontations. Most of these patrols are also provided with torches, this adds a lot of atmosphere at night when you can see activity off in the distance and the illumination the torch brings.
- There has been an IMMENSE amount of new voice work added through this update, even more so than how much was added from version 2.15 to 3.0. When you trek through the various dungeons with a follower provided by the mods main quest, he will comment on various things throughout the dungeon and offer idle dialogue. Also, if you're ever confused on what to do next, as with the puzzle pictured above, you can ask your follower for some advice. This is not Ulkarin, but the priest who follows you into the dwarven dungeon.
- Changed a lot of creature designs and fixed some issues
- Also detailed with the above picture, but not in the frame is the overhauling of the marsh land and generally smoothing out a lot of features so they're not as jagged. And added a lot more detail in the form of dirt cliffs and tundra features.
- On the advice of a very helpful contributor to the mod, I've changed some interiors as to better serve the player as they'll frequently be returning to these interiors during the main quest.
With the amount of work I've poured into the technical side of development rather than the visual, I hope that it could be a framework for detached mods that were built upon the basis of "Beyond Reach", such as new wilderness encounters around markarth and the Eastern Reach. Such as encountering Orcs attacking bretons, Witchmen vs exiles, Purgers vs Afflicted, Pilgrims traveling to a temple and many more. If you would like to see those features incorporated into skyrim as a whole instead of just in the mods worldspace, comment below.
And with the addition of complete leveled lists, you can start the mod at any time and expect a challenge, but never be too overpowered with damage sponge enemies. Higher level enemies will not just get a boost in health, rather their attacks will be more deadly in a variety of ways, such as Witchmen archers using poison tipped arrows and Witchmen melee having faster swings.
I hope to also expand on the follower Ulkarin so that he can rival many of the already established followers on the nexus. This is not just a worldspace mod now, it comes under almost every category of mods on the Nexus and I aim to have it as a permanent main stay in your load order due to the sheer amount of quality features it will provide.
In the meantime while I await the voice actors to provide their remaining dialogue, I may work on unique loot found in all dungeons so to encourage further exploration.