We often interview game developers, publishers and other industry insiders, but they aren’t the only ones that contribute to build our hobby. Often the best moments of being a gamer come from the interaction with other gamers, especially those that go out of their way to work for the sake of the community: modders, community coordinators, forum moderators, guild leaders…
That’s why this “Community Spotlight” feature on DualShockers will place some of those often unsung heroes of gaming under the titular spotlight, letting them tell us what they do and what drives them.
Today we interview Bella Gail, one of the most popular modders that work on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Her “Better Females” mod (featured in the latest episode of my Skyrim Mod Forge colum) is at the very top of the rankings of Skyrim Nexus (the most popular Skyrim modding site) for the last two weeks, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Her beautiful work was already highly rated and praised in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (If you still play it you should definitely download her Blood Elves, Vampire Race Reloaded and Succubus Race), and her expertly crafted textures definitely stand out in Skyrim as well.
Despite the booming popularity of her first Skyrim mod, looks like Bella is not nearly done, and she has a lot more in store for us (did anyone say Hairstyles?), so without further ado I’ll let her tell us about herself and her projects.
Giuseppe: First of all, can you introduce yourself? Tell us something about you and what do you do in the Skyrim modding community.
Bella: Well my nickname is Bella Gail, I am a digital artist and game modder. I love texturing and designing models for both Skyrim and Oblivion. I primarily make female characters which I like to define “Glamazons”. Not only for their beauty but because of the power and strength they express as well. I draw my inspirations from legends, myths and even true stories of real women that you can find in history books.
G: That’s definitely interesting. Can you tell us something more about the person behind Bella Gail?
B: Well I’m eighteen year old, born and raised in Russia. I work as a makeup artist, model, and self-taught digital artist. I enjoy gaming and creating art in my free time.
G: That’s quite young! What kind of art?
B: Thank you! Mostly drawing, painting, and sketching.
G: So young and so talented. I Know that Skyrim isn’t the first game you mod, isn’t it? What are your previous experiences?
B: Thank you. That is correct, I started modding a about year ago for Oblivion. I made new custom races for the game.
G: What is the mod you created that you love the most?
B: Well, they all hold a special place for me, because each of the was my creative outlet at the time. I honestly feel my best work is yet to come.
G: That’s a tease if I ever heard one. What are your projects from here to January when the Creation Kit will be released?
B: My current projects for modding are the creation of new hair styles and improving males characters for Skyrim. When Bethesda will release of the Creation Kit, I will be porting over my Oblivion race mods to Skyrim. After that, God only knows (laughs).
G: You anticipated my next question. So, your ladies are “Glamazons”, what kind of men will you create?
B: Tall, dark and handsome (laughs)! Or better, rugged yet handsome, like Viggo Mortensen or Hugh Jackman, and all those other hunky men us girls dream about.
G: That’s great. I really don’t like how my character looks in game and there’s very little for male characters so far modding-wise. By the way, what character do you play in Skyrim yourself?
B: I play several, but for the most part I play a female Nord modified with my own custom textures.
G: You said you’re going to create new hair styles. God knows how much I hate the default ones, they look really bad… Will you remake those as well?
B: Yes, I completely agree with you. My plan is to re-mesh and re-texture each hair style, to improve its original quality.
G: I can’t wait for that one, really. What tools do you use for your mods?
B: The tools I use are Adobe Photoshop CS5 with the Nvidia plug-ins, 3d Max 2010, and Nifskope.
G: Your Better Females mod is extremely popular and it seems it required a lot of work to make. How long did it take, overall?
B: I created it in about 3-4 days with quite a few sleepless nights (laughs).
G: What is your favorite mod that you didn’t make yourself?
B: I really love all of Xenius’ work. He creates and improves upon many things that many other artists overlook.
G: Let’s play predictions here: what do you see in the future of the Skyrim modding community?
B: I see many more great mods and artists to come. Skyrim has given the modding community so much inspiration and flexibility. The possibilities are endless.
G: Any advice you can give to newbies that would start to mod Skyrim on their own?
B: My advice is to never give up. If there is a will, there is a way to do something. Self-criticism is your worst enemy sometimes.
Start off slow, read and analyze how mods work, and never forget to put a touch of yourself in what you are creating whether it is something your are inspired by or that you admire. It is your art there are no boundaries. Like all forms of art, it is subjective. If you love it, who cares what others may think.
G: That’s awesome. Anything else you’d like to tell our readers to wrap this interview up?
B: I want to thank everyone who supports or supported me in the past year. I would have never made it this far without your encouragement and constructive criticism. I wish everyone the best and happy modding!
G: Thanks a lot for your time Bella, can’t wait to see what you’re gonna release next.