Thursday, March 29, 2012

EBM WIP: placed the books ingame

News Update:
3-10-12


Now there are 6 spell tomes as I did the 3 rune tomes, each featuring a picture of their respective rune staff pattern. And I also placed the various books in different places including the Arcaneum, Bards College, some castles, inns, shops and houses. I paid attention to place the right books in the right places, especially regarding the interests of court wizards and jarls. I must say that I had quite some fun with Wylandriah, the wizard of Riften who's quite a specimen in her kind already with her scatterbrain mind and silly experiments. Poor J'zargo was also a target of my amusement. I'm not saying more, you'll find out about all of this...

Some of the books though weren't placed already. They are quite unique books and will be found in one location only, a Dwemer ruin I'm building on this purpose. It's quite some fun as well and I hope I can start placing the furniture tonight. I will post some screenshots soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Skyrim Books Update



There a number of important updates regarding the progress of Skyrim Books.

The first is that one of our team member has disappeared and we have not heard from him for weeks. Since he was the one that was building the bookstore, we are going to have to figure something else out. nox.fox has offered to build a level, and I have an old level that we could use. Whichever possibility we decide on, the project will inevitably be delayed.

Because of the loss of our team member, we have also lost a number of stories and authors which we had decided would be added to the mod. He had gathered a list of stories from authors that he contacted and was going to send them to us. If you are an author that had their work accepted by John, please shoot us an e-mail and we will include your story in the mod.

We aren't sure what happened to him. If you do know, we'd appreciate it if you could let us know. And if you're reading this John, please let us know what's going on, buddy.

Hint: Creating textures fitting in Skyrim

You have seen mods that either retexture items or add new ones in the game. And maybe you've noticed how some textures stand out like they come from outer space or whatever funky world that is NOT Tamriel. If you've never notice this then I suggest you to either look carefully the exemple or avoid doing any texturing job.

Textures are extremely important. You can screw the modeling, you can screw the level building, but do not screw the texturing! Textures are what you see all the time, if you screw them you screw the game. They are not the only thing that can screw the game of course, but we're talking about textures.

Skyrim was created with a graphic chart including a certain range of colors only to fit the rugged, cold, snowy place. It's not for nothing that we never see bright red big flowers. Even the crimson nirnroots aren't bright red:


So, which picture should be your reference for texturing a crimson nirnroot?



Skyrim uses mostly desaturated colors, almost grey for most of them. Now it's not always easy to figure if your desaturated colors will fit in the game. However note that you shouldn't just take screenshot of the game and use the colors of the screenshots as they are altered by the game engine's post process.
So how to do? Well, simple trick:
  1. Find items in the games that feature the colors you want to use
  2. Get their textures
  3. Pick the colors directly

If you can't find items with such colors, then maybe you shouldn't use them in the first place and go for other colors. If you want to extract textures from the game you will need a specific tool (see here for info and links).

Now if you want to expand a type of items already existing in the game, such as weapons and armors, to create maybe new variations within an existing set, or a new kind of weapon like staves in exemple. I cannot smith a staff in Vanilla Skyrim, it would be cool to smith some glass, elven or ebony staff!
...Okay... But before going wild, OBSERVE the existing weapons!
  1. Look their designs, see what are the smilarities between a dagger and a bow, between a sword and a mace, etc.
  2. Look if they have specific patterns in their textures, specific shapes in their modeling.
  3. When you're able to tell what are the graphic codes of a weapon set, you can start designing.
  4. Then submit your drawing on a forum to get feedback and advice.
  5. Eventually fix it before starting modeling and texturing.

It is very important to not neglect feedback. Unless you're doing a mod just for yourself you should get sure that your audience will like what you propose. Plus if people are aware of what you do you have more chances to get the audience you deserve!

Finally, here's a graphic review I made. I guess a concrete exemple speaks better.

You see the difference? Before and after?
(If not, maybe you shouldn't do any texturing for the moment)

You may also read this great post from Martigen on Bethsoft, gathering advice from Martigen and many other texturers who contributed to the thread. The main focus is texture compression and I found this post extremely interesting, both technical and professional.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Way of the Monk: Unarmed Overhaul, Mod Diary #2

Mod Diary #2

Pillars:

So, after tens of hours of studying Papyrus, posting questions on forums, and writing nearly one thousand lines of codes with around one hundred properties, I have finally completed the scripts for all of the Pillars that manage your stats in the mod. Not only that, but they all work! One of them is a tiny bit glitchy, but I aim to fix that soon. These Pillars of the Way will be used to manage and check your perks, stats, and skill inside the mod. For ease, you will also be able to use Balls of the Way (misc. items with the model of an Attunement Sphere) that have the same functions. These Pillars were vital for the work on the other mod to allow for proper testing and smooth use. They have also been added to the world and given a map marker for fast-traveling. Along with the completion of the Pillars, I have also completed every perk that the player can gain from leveling. 

There are some other Pillars that the player can find around the map (similar to the Standing Stones) that have not been completed, but they are next on my list. 

Enchantments and Focus Crystals:

They have not all been added yet, but I have decided upon them all and know for the most part how I am going to add them to the game. There is still some uncertainty on how to make Gauntlets that are both a piece of Armor and a Weapon, but I think I may have found a way to create them by mimicing the way shields work in the game.

Tutorials:

Along with all of this tedious scripting, I have learned a great deal about Papyrus and the CK. In the next few days I will post tutorials on making message box sequences, new skills, and (once I figure it out) weapons that are also categorized as armor.

Screenshots:

Pillar of Rewalking (allows you to reset your perks):


Archway to lead the player to the Pillars of the Way:


Pillars of the Way:


Friday, March 23, 2012

EBM WIP: 23 books + 4 spell tomes

News Update:
3-10-12


Despite being quite overbooked I found time to keep on writing for EBM. So far 23 books are written for the mod and 4 spell tomes have been completed as well.

EBM categories
The books can be sorted in several categories:
  • General lore - more casual books expanding the lore slightly
  • Scholarship - books with a scholar's point of view over a topic (magic most of the time)
  • Religious - books with a faithful's point of view over religion
  • Comical lore - more funny or entertaining books

General lore
  • A Dish Better Served Cold
  • Children of Shame
  • Sakin the Smith (5-tome series)
  • Telvanni Sweets
  • The male witches (5-tome series)

Scholarship
  • Anatomy of the Dremora
  • Another Book of Daedra
  • Beyond your dreams
  • Interview with the Dremora
  • Wild but not savage elves

Religious
  • The Book of Q'amsha

Comical lore
  • Dunmer tactics of guerilla
  • Giant Mudcrab
  • Khajiit's fleas
  • Red Riding Hood

Spell tomes
For now there are 4 of them, all in the school of Destruction:
  • Flames
  • Sparks
  • Frostbite
  • Fire Rune



The Frost and Lightning Runes should come quickly as most of the text is shared. They should also feature their respective Rune staves, like the Fire staff above, as illustrations -- as the staff is also explained. Since the Daedric letters really made no sense at all I went for a slightly humorous explanation.
Also note that the Mysticism spelled that were dispatched to the other schools will be explained as Mysticism spells with an addendum saying the spell now belongs to another school. Otherwise, how could I explain that Detect Life is an Alteration spell though it has no effect on the material world, doesn't alter it in any way? Et caetera, et caetera.
The list of spell books is long and it will take time to write them all but I hope they can be appreciated XD.
[up: a few screenshots of the readable Fire Rune spell tome!]



In conclusion
So this is what you can expect for the first release of EBM. The spell tomes will require the additional Readable Spell Tomes esp to be read so you can choose to activate it or not, or activate it and deactivate it, as you wish!
You can also expect illustrations for the diaries of Sakin. Other books may get more illustrations as time comes. I also wish to try a little trick to reduce the weight of png images while preserving a nice transparency (if the compression is too high the transparent element get an ugly white outline). I'll just downscale the images and set a higher resolution in the code (while preserving a same ratio) and see if how much the distortion shows up.



Thursday, March 22, 2012

Way of the Monk WIP Discussion

WIP Thread on Nexus Forums

I have started a WIP (Work in Progress) thread on the Nexus forums. More details about the progress and components of the mod has been included in this thread, along with some of the issues that I am currently facing. Feel free to come join the discussion!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Way of the Monk: Unarmed Overhaul, Mod Diary #1

Mod Diary #1

If you haven't heard about my new mod project Way of the Monk: Unarmed Overhaul, check it out, because that's what I'm going to be talking about. :-)

So, one thing I decided about making this mod was that I was going to use the opportunity to help other modders improve their mod. As I make the mod I am going to be writing a Mod Diary of what, how, and why I add or take away features from my mod. I hope that you enjoy my diary and learn from it as much as I had to learn to write it. :-D

Please keep in mind that this all takes a lot more time than it seems from reading it. For those of you trying to decide whether to get into modding, realize that it will take up a huge amount of your time. While it only takes a few minutes to write a paragraph about a step in the process, that step could have taken hours or even days to complete. Consider this both a warning to new modders, and a request to please understand why I take days to do what may it may appear should take minutes or hours. :-)

Note: This is going to be a pretty long and detailed post. Just giving you fair warning...

First steps:

The first step in any process is always the inception of the project, and the planning. I started having an idea that I wanted to make a new Unarmed mod over several weeks. During those weeks I saw that, while my Unarmed Warfare mod did improve the Unarmed gameplay, it was extremely buggy and felt too much like a workaround. So, I decided to build a new mod from scratch, following a different concept and process from the first one. 

Scripts:
One of the main desires I had was to have a scaling system for Unarmed damage, as well as having a "skill" and perks for Unarmed combat. Now, the CK does not allow the creation of new Actor Values, which is the class of object that skills are. So, that meant I was going to write a script that ran in the background as the user plays the game. Here is the basic concept of the script:

There are three main variables that the leveling-system/skill runs off of:
1. Use
2. Mod
3. Level

Use is the progress towards the next skill. Mod is the amount of XP that is gained each time the player makes a successful Unarmed attack. Level is the level of the skill. These three variables are stored as global variables.

(The entire script can be found here. The font might not be acceptable to the CK, though.) The equation :

when the player makes a hit
then Use = Use + Mod
if Use >= 100
then Use = Use -100
        Level = Level + 1
        Mod = Mod - .01
endif

So, every time you hit an enemy, your Use (level progress) increases by Mod. When this has occured enough times so that Use equal to or greater than 100, then your level increases by one. When your level increases, Mod goes down by .01 so that the speed of leveling decreases over time.

Practical application:

At Unarmed level one: It will take 100 hits to advance to level 2
At Unarmed level ten: it will take approximately 110 hits to advance to level 11
At Unarmed level 50: It will take approximately 200 hits to advance to level 51
And so on...

Now, the number of hits would get unmanageably high at higher levels, but only if you did not have any perks or items that sped up the process. If you are playing an Unarmed character, though, I expect that you would, since they are available.

The Unarmed Damage scaling is rather simple. It is multiplied by (1 + Level/20). Thus: At level 20, you would do twice Unarmed Damage, at level 40 you would do 3 times, etc. To get the script, click here.

Now this all might sound relatively simple. But it took me a lot of time to plan, balance, and translate into Papyrus syntax. I started out knowing very little about Papyrus. I still do not know a lot, but I have certainly improved my knowledge.

Perks:

Overall, I want to have 20+ new perks/enchantments. That may sound kind of bold, and maybe a bit imbalanced, but the whole goal is to build an entirely new combat style within the game. To do that, I'm going to have to add a lot of new options. As far as perks go, you will be able to choose a new perk every 5 levels. There will be both an "Unarmed" and an "Unarmored" branch that crossover on occasion. 

There will also be a number of more significant perks that you get from special Pillars. Across the landscape of Skyrim there will be a number of Pillars that are similar to the Standing Stones. You will only be able to have one active at a time, but each one can significantly change your gameplay. So far, I have ideas for several pillars, which you can read about here. Each pillar will have a perk that modifies Unarmed gameplay and a perk that modifies Unarmored gameplay.

So far I've only copied the perks from my Unarmed Warfare mod, but I will work on adding new ones as soon as I have them planned out.

Managing your stats:


Now, you might be wondering how you will be able to manage your stats. Across the road from the Guardian Stones will be a set of Pillars that perform that function. One pillar will add the perks start the scaling scripts, and will allow you to view your level, level progress, and amount of perk points.

Another Pillar will allow you to choose new Perks, and a third will let you reset your perks. If you're worried about managing your stats on the go, don't fret! You'll also get several Balls that let you do the same thing as the Pillars. Between the Pillars will be a table with a book on it that shows a tree of perks and explains the mod and its concept.

Making this and the perks functional is what I am currently working on.

Enchantments:

I will create a series of new enchantments that can be used for Unarmed combat. They can be added to any piece of armor, jewelry, or clothing. Now, I know the objection that the player will be losing an Equip Slot by doing that. Since you won't be using any weapons, you won't be able to enchant them. I am going to work around that by making new items called Focus Crystals. They will be equipable and enchantable. In the world they will look like crystals, but when you equip them they will not appear on your body.

The work on Enchantments will begin once I have finished all of the perks, scripts, and managing work.

Items:


Along with the new perks and enchantments will come Items to implement them. There will be a number of new gloves, clothing, and Focus crystals that you can find or purchase. They will not use new textures or models, but will have unique enchantments.

Items will be added once I have created the Enchantments for them.

Enemies:

Don't be surprised if you encounter enemies with the same abilities as you! I am going to create a new Combat Style for enemies that focuses entirely on Unarmed combat. I will also create varieties of the standard enemies that are Unarmored and fight with their hands. These enemies will provide a way of finding new items, as well as providing an interesting challenge and aspect to the game. Around the

The enemies will be added once all other work is completed.

Feedback is appreciated!


What I need the most is feedback. I can only come up with so many ideas for perks and enchantments. Please share with me your ideas!

Keep in mind that I won't be adding new animations (at least for the first version). So, please don't ask me to create an entirely new, awesome ninja attack. :-)

If you have any questions about the technicalities of how I am adding certain features, feel free to ask. I will answer them to the best of my abilities.

For the next Diary I am only going to share what is new since the last update. This one is only really long because I wanted to let people know my plans for the mod.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

TES Online, first MMO by Bethesda

The website Games Industy announces in this article that an anymous leak confirms the development of The Elder Scrolls Online, that should be Bethesda's first MMO. Many of us wanted it, Bethesda takes on the opportunity. Further details and an official annoucement should be made during the next E3.

The game should take place 1000 years prior to Skyrim which would mean around 2E531. But then don't expect Akaviri potentates, Versidue-Shaie is long dead and Savirien-Chorak was murdered as well during the previous century. But we can still hope to see some Akaviri somewhere (though I wouldn't count on it too much for the first release, if I was them I'd keep it as an expansion when the excitement goes a little down).
Here's a little time line from the UESP:


2E 412 — Earliest mention of the name of the Dark Brotherhood
  • This reference was found in the journals of the Blood Queen Arlimahera of Hegathe. "...with the help of the Night Mother and her Dark Brotherhood, the secret arsenal my family has employed since my grandfather's time." It can be surmised that the Dark Brotherhood was already well organized in 2E 360 if her grandfather truly used them.[7]
2E 431 — Potentate Savirien-Chorak dies.
  • Savirien-Chorak and all of his heirs were murdered by the Morag Tong, ending the years of the Akaviri Potentate and the Second Empire of Cyrodiil. Some historians date this event in 2E 430.[7]
2E 432 — Orsinium loses its territory status.
  • One year after the death of Emperor Potentate Savirien-Chorak, Orsinium loses the status of an Imperial territory.[9]

[edit]Sixth Century

2E 560 — The Knahaten Flu
  • A strain of the Knahaten Flu hits the southern provinces of Tamriel causing many deaths. The Argonians were strangely immune to the flu which has led some to believe they were responsible for it in some way. The flu continued until around 2E 603.[9]
2E 563 — Voyage of the Crimson Ship.
  • A vessel filled with Kothringi tribesmen fleeing from the Knahaten Flu leaves Black Marsh on 9 First Seed. After spending over a year being turned away from port after port, it sets sail to the west and is never seen again.[3]
2E 572 — The Akaviri invaders of Morrowind were defeated.
  • The Akaviri invaders were killed when the land mysteriously became flooded. Despite the extensive flooding, almost no Dunmer people were injured or killed. Legend has it that the god Vivec taught the Dunmeri to breathe water and flooded the island.[10]

As you can see we can still expect some fun.


Tom's Guide also reveals that: "Elder Scrolls Online will have three playable factions, according to the tipster. Not much is known about the factions, except each is represented by one of three animals: A lion, a dragon, and a bird of prey (either a phoenix or an eagle, we aren’t sure)." - March 15, 2012
I still have to check after mentions of lion and bird of prey as emblem of some factions.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Way of the Monk: Unarmed Overhaul

Way of the Monk: Unarmed Overhaul


I am currently working on a new Unarmed mod. My Unarmed Warfare mod was mostly a workaround and was pretty buggy, as you probably found out if you played it. The one I'm creating will add a skill. It won't be visible in the levelup screen, but will scale your unarmed damage and add many new perks that you can get. It will run in the background, but will notify you when you level up. As you level up you can gain perks by visiting various 'pillars' (kind of like the Standing Stones), reading books, or gaining items. I will also add a number of new gloves that add unique effects for your unarmed. In addition to Unarmed-related perks, I am also going to add a series of Unarmored (not wearing armor) perks.

As it relates to differences with my Unarmed Warfare mod, there will be no 'Unarmed Weapon' that you have to use to raise your OneHanded; you will merely use your fists. If you want an 'enchantemt', there will be a number of new unarmed-related affects that you can add to your gloves or other armor.

The mod will be called Way of the Monk (in reference to the classic Monk-class in standard rpg's), and will be built entirely from scratch to avoid bugs. Unlike in my Unarmed Warfare mod, I am also going to take care to make sure that it has as little conflicts as possible, by not changing a great deal of content, only adding new content.

If you can think of any enchantments or perks related to Unarmed or Unarmored, please share them. I can only think of so many by myself, but the more input I get, the more that I can add to the mod. :-)

Details:

The Skill: The skill will consist of a series of scripts that scale the damage and keep track of a "level". The scaling and leveling will work approximately the same way that the normal skills do, but will work in the background. You will be notified whenever you levelup, and you will be able to choose a new perk immediately, or delay choosing a new perk until later. 

Perks: You will be given a spell that lets you choose new perks (it will use the same perk points that the other skill use), check your level and leveling progress, and reset your perks if want to (I will limit the amount of times that you can reset them). These perks will be basic perks that give you bonuses and neat features as you level up. To get the best perks, however, you are going to have to travel around Skyrim and find a series of Pillars. Each pillar will have a unique, powerful perk, and will work like Standing Stones in the way that you can only have one active at a time. There will be perks related both to Unarmed and Unarmored that you can choose from.

Enchantments: I will add a number of new enchantments to the game. These enchantments will have effects that change the way your Unarmed combat works, the amount of damage you do, add magical damage when you hit an enemy, etc. You won't be able to enchant your fists, but you can enchant gloves, other armor, rings, circlets, and other wearable items. And that brings me to items:

Items: Along with these enchantments will come items that have have them. Because I don't want to add conflicts with other mods, I will simply add these items to leveled lists to be found as loot. I may leave one or two of them around particularly hard-to-get-to Pillars, as well. For the most part, these items will use vanilla models and textures, but will have new enchantments. I am not a 3d artwork guy, so I don't have the ability to make new models. If someone wants to volunteer some, I'd be happy to add them to the mod. 

Enemies: Just as you are going to start using Unarmed attacks, so might your enemies. So don't be surprised if you run into a character with some of the same abilities and items as you!

Animations? I am not an animator, so I won't be able to add new animations. I may try to find some way to  make the right and left hand attacks somewhat different (to let you have your own playing style), but other than that I cannot add new anims. If anyone wants to make some for me, I would GREATLY appreciate it! :-D

Schedule:

Since the work on Skyrim Books is not totally complete, it may be a while before the first version of Way of the Monk is complete. I've got Spring Break this week, though, so I'm going to be doing a lot of work on my mods. Hopefully I can get a fair amount of work done on WoM (Way of the Monk).

Tutorials:

As I work on WoM, I will write tutorials on various aspects of what I do in the mod. I may even write a sort of Modding Diary that details the whole process that I took to make the mod. If I do, then I hope you will enjoy them and learn from them. :-)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bethesda Releases New Kill Cams

Today Bethesda posted a new video on their channel and blog that reveals tons of entirely new kill cams, including magic and ranged combat cams! Check out their blog post here: http://www.bethblog.com/2012/03/15/new-features-highlight-1-5-update/



What this means for Unarmed Warfare:

Some of the kill cams that Bethesda is releasing are unarmed kill cams! Which means you will finally have more than the two standard ones! I plan on redoing my Unarmed Warfare mod from scratch (once I have the time), and building it in a more efficient, less buggy, and more useful manner. As a part of this, I will make sure that these new kill cams are added to the mod. They should be added by default, but if not than I will make sure and manually add them to the game.

Are you excited about these new kill cams? Post in the comments below what your favorite one was!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

News Update: 3-10-12

News Update:
3-10-12

Skyrim Books:

New team member:

We are lucky to have been joined by John Allan, a writer and level-builder. He is building the bookstore for us, along with a printing press that will allow you to make copies of books if you have the proper materials. His contact info will be added to the Contact soon. Welcome to the team, John! :-)

New authors/books:

Due to a few threads that John posted around the Elder scrolls forums, we have gathered quite a number of new stories and authors. They are quality stories that will fit into the Skyrim world well, and will excite you as you explore the wonderful world that Bethesda has created. Once we receive as many as we want for the first edition of Skyrim Publishing, then we will publish a list of the stories for your perusal.

SP Bookstore:

The development of the Skyrim Publishing bookstore is in progress. The structure has been made, and the printing press designed. Screenshots will be posted soon.

Voice Acting:

I am in the process of writing the lines for the bookstore owner. With the help of Giskard and the Engineering Guild, I hope to find a good Voice Actor for the character.

Timeline:

In order to aid you by letting you know our plans and when they should be completed, a timeline has been created. The ultimate goal of this schedule is to finish the entirety of the first edition by the end of the month. I expect that we will actually finish quite a bit before then, but since we are real people with busy lives, stuff occasionally gets in the way. This schedule is subject to change.

  1. March 17th: All books for 1st edition will be written, gathered, and added to the game.
  2. March 24th: Voice acting is totally complete and added to the game.
  3. March 31st: Bookstore, NPC's, will be complete, and the first edition of Skyrim Books will be released.

While I have not actually completed any more development, I have finally found a way to create an Unarmed skill! It will not show up in the image of the 'heavens' along with the other skills, but will rather be upgraded through a system of 'milestones'. These milestones could be in the form of quests, achievements, reading books, or more. This would allow me to totally get rid of the 'Unarmed Weapon', and not have to make any edits to the perk trees at all. I'm looking forward to making the next version!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tutorial: Writing good TES books



Object:
 Tips to write a book that fits in the world of Skyrim

Difficulty: Medium

Time Needed: Quite some, depending on your skills

Things you will need:

  • Some skills in writing, preferably
  • A little time

What is a TES book?

1. A TES book is a piece of text designed to fit in a game and this is something you must remember. What this means is that writing a TES book is not about writing a real book that can be printed, carried all around, bookmarked, anotated, etc. It is about writing a book that will be:

  • Read on screen
  • Has no numbered pages
  • Can't be bookmarked
  • In which you can't skip pages 10 by 10 but only 1 by 1


2. This means your book can't be too long or reading it won't be the smoothest experience. Among the longest books of the original TES games are those of the Real Barenziah series. Back to Morrowind I would go to Jobasha's Rare Books and read the whole series, totally hooked by the story. Back then it was a great chance pages had numbers in case I had to quit the game for a while and then try to find out where I was in the book, scrolling longly until I hit the right page. Now in Skyrim there are no more numbers on the pages... figure out the mess if you need to find back the page where you stopped in the middle of a long story without spoiling yourself. So what should you do?

  • Limit your word count around 4000 words. 6000~8000 should really be a max for a stand-alone story.
  • If your story is longer than this, split it into several tomes and make it a series.



Write in Tamrielic

1. A TES book should fit in the ES games not only from its design but mostly from its content of course. You don't want to hang around Solitude's Bard's College, open a book there and read a story about an Italian mushroom-eater plumber named Mario trying to find a princess in various castles. If you were to write such a story, please, make it fit in the lore or change your mind!
In exemple you can write the story of Mario, the Breton, and his misadventures in Sadrith Mora, getting totally skooma-high and starting to eat the mushroom homes of the Telvanni. As a Daedra worshiper, Mario seeks for Azura in his delirium and tries to conjure her. Unfortunately only Sheogorath answers and here comes a dark seducer... A great tale among Khajiiti slaves needing to cheer up.

2. Use Tamrielic names. Be it for your characters or for yourself as an author. Mario is a correct name for a Breton or eventually for an Imperial (though Marius would surely be more fitting) but surely not for an Orc or a Khajiit. The ten different races of Tamriel each have their own features regarding naming, try to stick to them as much as possible. Look the names of existing characters of a same race to understand how to compose new ones.
You can look the UESP's name lists or you can also generate lists easily with Tamriel Rebuilt's name generator but beware: it uses names of existing NPCs.

Here goes a little list of facts:
  • Breton - Names often have a Latin origin, mostly (old) French and Italian (Fran├žois Motierre, Vicente Valtieri). Sometimes it can also sound more English (Cassyr Whitley) or Latin (Socucius Ergala). Breton names feature a first and last name.
  • Imperial - Names have a Latin origin, often ending by "us" or "o" for men (Hieronymus, Crassius, Toutius, Gergio, Falco) and by "a" for women (Camilla, Vilena, Simplicia). Family names often end the same way with "us", "a", "o" (Sextius, Curio, Cosma). Latin words are often a base for most names. Imperial names feature a first and last name.
  • Redguard - Redguard names are a little more tricky as they look like a mix of Breton (Alonzo, Neville), Imperial (Demetrius, Varnado), sometimes almost elvish or sounding quite tribal (Phintias, Shenk, Domba, Karlirah). This reflects well the nomade aspect of Redguard as the race counts many sailors and adventurers. I suggest you to refer to name lists to check if your Redguard name would be fitting. Redguard names usually feature only a first name. In rare cases there is also a last name (Gor Felim, Jim 'gentleman' Stacey).
  • Nord - Names have a germanic or scandinavian origine so you can refer to naming lists found on the web to help you out. Names such as Hadvar, Brindolf or Onmir car fit for men, names such as Svenja, Mathilda or Olga can fit for women. Nords often bear a nickname (Olaf One-Eye, Hjalti Early-Beard, Talos Stormcrown), that reflects who they are in some way. These nicknames may also serve as family/clan names (Battle-Born, Grey-Mane).
  • Altmer - Names often end with "ril", "mil", "nil", "rion", "mo", etc. for men (Carelcalmo, Tusamircil, Sinderion) , and end with "inde", "wen", "we", "lin", etc. for women (Elenwen, Palonirya, Estirdalin). Altmeri names and Bosmeri names share similarities due to their common elvish origins but there are still slight differences. Don't hesitate to refer to name lists if you don't feel comfortable with name creation and combine parts of different existing names. Altmeri names usually feature only a first name. In rare cases there is also a birthplace (Lathenil of Sunhold, Ocato of Firsthold), or in very rare cases, a last name (Mankar Camoran) or eventually a nickname (Rynandor the Bold).
  • Bosmer - Names often end with "gor". "dor", "nor", "goth", "roth", "fin", "lem", etc. for men (Fargoth, Meldor, Thrangirfin), and end with "wen", "el", "il", "iel, etc. for women (Aranwen, Aredhel, Menelin).  Altmeri names and Bosmeri names share similarities due to their common elvish origins but there are still slight differences. Don't hesitate to refer to name lists if you don't feel comfortable with name creation and combine parts of different existing names. Altmeri names feature only a first name.
  • Dunmer - Both first and last names often contain no more than 2 or 3 syllables and are very recognizable by their redundance (Eno Hlaalu, Tholer Saryoni, Nelos Ondrano). I won't list them all here and rather advice you to refer to naming lists, pick syllables, mix them up and come up with a name you like. Male and female names sound different (Sevil, Tovas, Reler VS Dovesi, Arvena, Lathasa). Dunmer names feature a frist and last name.
  • Dunmer (Velothi) - These names often stand out by their complexity and great ammount of syllables and consonants (Ninirrasour, Mabarrabael). Some names though are shorter but the syllables are still recognizable (Hanssour, Maley, Sakin) and some are composed (Erur-Dan, Ulath-Pal). Just as modern Dunmer names, Velothi names are composed with a set of given syllables combined together. Family names are often quite long (Sashmassamsi, Assunbahanammu) and sometimes composed (Dun-Ahhe, Timsar-Dadisun) but share a similar pattern and set of given syllables. Velothi names feature a first and last name.
  • Orc - First names often end with "mul", "muk", "bul", "buk", "zol", "ash", "shum", "zur", etc. for men (Durbul, Morbash, Murzol) and end with "ob", "og", "a", etc. for women (Murob, Umog, Mazoga). Family names are composed with gro+name for males, and gra+name for females. "gro" means "son of" and "gra" means "daughter of", thus the name coming after is usually a first name as well. However, to help their integration in the Imperial society, modern day Orcs tend to use the name of a famous ancestor rather than the name or the genitor. Thus Nash gro-Shurakh will name his daughter Mogra gra-Shurakh in spite of Mogra gra-Nash.
  • Argonian - Names usually either count one word (Huzei, Milos) or are hyphenated (Haj-Ei, Jeelus-Tei) or are translated in Cyrodiilic (Nine-Toes, Only-He-Stands-There) when too hard to pronounce for non-Argonians. Argonian names are usually rather short, counting 2 or 3 syllables. I suggest you to refer to naming lists for inspiration. Argonian names feature only a first name or nickname. Note that the name they use is one received during a secret ritual of passage with the Hist, different from their birthname. We don't know how Argonians out of Black Marsh get their adult name.
  • Khajiit - Male names usually count 1 or 2 syllables and often feature a title, usually hyphenated, like (S'Rava, J'skar, Dro-Basha), etc. These titles have meanings that shouldn't be interpreted litteraly ("Dar" means "thief" but rather implies swift agility or a quick mind). Female names rarely feature a title except "S'" and count 2 or 3 syllables (Ahnassi, Ajira, Kisimba). I suggest you to refer to naming lists for inspiration. Khajiiti names feature only a first name.

3. Avoid using vocabulary unfitting to the world of Tamriel. We've never seen Vodka or Tequila in Tamriel but we've seen Shein, Mazte, Sujamma, Colovian Brandy. There is no cocaine or heroine but there's Moon Sugar. You get the idea. If you want to mention such elements, make sure they exist in the lore and find an equivalent at need.


More tips to come as this post will be updated
(don't hesitate to contribute with your own advice!)