The Creation Engine is the successor to the Gamebryo game engine, and was launched to support The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It retains much of the basic framework and has the same general feel, but adds numerous improvements over the older engine.
- Draw distance is greater to give a more epic, open-world feel.
- Multiple levels of detail on "distant" objects, such as cities on the horizon, allow a more immersive world space without sacrificing too much performance.
- Shadows were greatly improved, allowing almost any object to cast a shadow in real-time and better lighting systems make the world seem more alive.
- Animations used better blending to allow more complex actions to translate into the model, such as drawing a bow while strafing sideways and showing both actions simultaneously rather than one animation overriding the other.
- The Radiant AI system, introduced in Oblivion, is expanded to allow non-player actors to have more diverse and believable day-to-day activities, while still being able to take part in quests and large-scale events.
- The Radiant Story system was introduced with Skyrim to allow a more diverse array of dynamic quest elements and creation of on-the-fly quests, such as an innkeeper who might tell the player there's a local ogre who needs to be hunted, at which point the ogre is created by the engine rather than being created in advance by the quest team.
- The user interface transitioned from the old XML frontends and hard-coded backends to a Shockwave Flash system that, while more complex to edit, allowed much greater flexibility for modders and numerous graphical effects previously unavailable gave the interface a much more polished look and feel.
- The quest journal was extended to allow tracking multiple quests at once, or no quests at all, and included a "Miscellaneous" section for simple quests that would have been untracked in previous games. This allowed better tracking of minor side quests without cluttering the journal needlessly.
- The combat system was significantly updated, with each hand free to use any type of shield, weapon or spell independently of the other hand, allowing a much more diverse range of character builds and more complex combat tactics.
- A new perk system was added, giving each skill a tree of perks to further diversify character builds. Perks can range from simple +damage per rank to allowing special attacks with certain weapons to allowing stolen items to be sold to any merchant.
- The crafting system was expanded on to allow more flexibility in crafting and enchanting equipment, although the spell crafting system from previous Elder Scrolls games was non-existent in Skyrim.
During the development of Fallout: New Vegas, project director Joshua Sawyer at Obsidian Entertainment was aware of Bethesda's experimentation with the Creation Engine, but they did not have the time to work with it for New Vegas.
Fallout 4 utilizes an updated version of the Creation Engine, supporting better graphics capabilities and more features. Many of Skyrim's features were removed or overhauled to fit the Fallout game world and SPECIAL skill system.
Features include, but are not limited to:
- Increased texture resolution for more object detail.
- Volumetric lighting gives more realism in scenes with stark lighting contrast, such as sunlight filtering through a row of columns and illuminating dust in the air between columns while leaving the dust behind the columns dark.
- Physically-based rendering (PBR) shaders give a much more realistic look to the game's artwork and allow assets created under one lighting condition to look right under another more easily.
- The new weapon and armor modification system allows for more creativity and diversity in player-made items.
- The settlement-creation system allows the player to build an entire town with fully customized building layouts and features, power grids, water supplies and more.
- The character creation system has been redesigned into a point-and-click system rather than the old slider-based approach and is intended to make getting the perfect face much easier.
- The player character is voiced, with a new camera view during conversations giving a more cinematic quality than previous games.
- Conversations can be jumped out of at any time and dialogue choices have been simplified to a radial menu rather than scrolling through choices.
- V.A.T.S. has been updated so time is still moving, but more slowly, to make V.A.T.S. combat more engaging than previous systems where time simply stopped while the player made their choices while giving more precision than free-aim mode.
- An app for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile, Fallout Pip-Boy, allows one to access the in-game Pip-Boy wirelessly via smartphone.
Following the release of Fallout 4, the Creation Engine was updated again with additional features, such as the addition of multiplayer game mechanics, to be used with Fallout 76.
The Creation Kit is the official editor used to modify or create content for Skyrim, and is analogous to the Elder Scrolls Construction Set for Morrowind and Oblivion or the Garden of Eden Creation Kit for Fallouts 3 and New Vegas.
It had previously been announced that there would be a creation kit released for Fallout 4 some time in April 2016. However, the Fallout 4 version builds on the kit released for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and drops the G.E.C.K. title in favor of Skyrim's designation as simply the Creation Kit. The Fallout 4 Open Beta of the Creation Kit was released on April 26th, 2016 at Bethesda.net. The kit became supported for Xbox One in May 2016. However, even though PlayStation 4 was supposed to receive the modding tool in June 2016, it was postponed. According to Bethesda, Skyrim Special Edition will receive mods first, followed by PS4 support.
The majority of the functionality is unchanged, so modders using the old Construction Sets or G.E.C.K. will find the Creation Kit very familiar. As with every revision to a new game, however, there are a number of substantial changes to various subsystems of the editor to match Skyrim's new personality.
In addition, the scripting language was updated to the newer Papyrus language which has considerably more functionality than the scripting languages from older games.
Fallout 4 Creation Kit
An updated version of the Creation Kit for Fallout 4 has been publicly released for download for free on the Bethesda.net launcher following the closed beta. It can only be used by owners of the PC version of the game. More information can be found on the Creation Kit wiki.
- Game Informer article
- Radiant AI on Wikipedia
- Fallout: New Vegas 10th Anniversary Charity Stream (reference starts at 5:41:04)
Joshua Sawyer: "'Did Bethesda ever inform you of the Creation Engine while working on New Vegas?' Um, I mean I think I was aware of what they were doing, but like, there was no way we were going to use that for our game, there just wasn't any time to do any of that stuff."
- (Fallout 4 coverage at 42:40)
- Gamers Nexus article
- Voiced graphics article
- Todd Howard interview on gameinformer
- Creation Kit
- Creation Kit
- PC Gamer