Thursday, April 03, 2008

Recent Events, etc.

Well, my blog posts are officially a rare thing by now -- mostly because I spend so much time posting in the official Elder Scrolls mod forum -- so here's a brief update on what's been happening lately.

GStaff at Bethesda Softworks recently posted a modder interview with me, which was fun. There's some great information and fun reading to be found in this excellent interview series. By all means check them out if you haven't already. The interviews are a great service to the Elder Scrolls modding community because they give some recognition to all the amazing mod work done by Oblivion and Morrowind fans.

The interview actually became significant a bittersweet moment for me because it appeared only a few days before Gary Gygax passed beyond the vale. Like a lot of old pen-and-paper RPG geeks, this news had a surprisingly profound impact on me, prompting a lot of reminiscing about good times long past and renewed thought about what I like and dislike in RPGs and gaming in general. Perhaps all those loose thoughts will congeal into a future article (and maybe even a mod or two) at some point. In any case, Gary will be sorely missed.

In recent months I've released a bunch of new mod stuff, mostly updates to Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul and FCOM. I've also worked extensively with Corepc on recent upgrades to Martigen's Monster Mod and started a Wiki page for FCOM/OMOBS Compatibility guidelines at UESP (thanks to suggestions from several fans in the FCOM support threads).

I'm now hard at work on finalizing the 1.0 release of FCOM and the 1.34 release of OOO. I'm probably attempting to do too much again, but hopefully it will turn out to be worth all the hard work. I'll try to remember to post something here about these releases when they are ready.

One question I get asked from time to time is "what the heck does 'dev_akm' mean"? Not that it really matters, of course, but I figure if I answer it here then I may be able to avoid the question in the future. The "akm" part is pretty easy to explain (my initials). Most people reasonably assume the "dev" part refers to my work as a software developer, but the history of my handle is actually a bit more convoluted than that.

I first started using the handle "dev_akm" as a Unix geek joke (although probably not a very good joke). After running a lot of Unix/Linux/BSD systems for many years, I began to feel a bit like just another Unix "device", which are all usually found under /dev/. One of these devices in particular is very, very useful: /dev/null. That's actually the handle I wanted to use, but on several different forums the name was already taken (perhaps because there was a cartoon character named Dev Null created around the same time, though I had no idea until a few minutes ago that such a character ever existed). Anyway, I eventually settled for /dev/akm (myself as a Unix device), simplified to dev_akm since forums don't generally like / in a username. If you're a Unix geek, this will all make some sense. If not, it probably sounds like I'm speaking some foreign language or something, which probably isn't so far from the truth. In any case, there you have it. Pretty dull, eh?