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postgraduate thesis: A genealogy of skyrim modding

TitleA genealogy of skyrim modding
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2019
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Yeung, C. [楊津]. (2019). A genealogy of skyrim modding. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractSince Bethesda Softworks released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011, internet users have published 50,000-60,000 mods, i.e. player-created modifications, for this game on a multitude of online platforms. Similar to many other collective creative works that have emerged on the internet over the last few decades, its magnitude means the traditional method of close reading appears to be unsuitable. This research aims at producing a historico-critical reading of Skyrim’s modding scene. I argue that Skyrim modding is a process that can be analyzed genealogically. Drawing from Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, and Alain Badiou, I show that two levels of difference and repetition constitute the process of Skyrim modding: while mods themselves are made up of differences from and repetitions of the original game, the repeated manifestations of the virtual “modded” Skyrim is what constitutes the entire modding phenomenon profoundly. I subsequently define “modded” Skyrim as a virtual entity without a center or definitive structure: what Alain Badiou calls a “pure multiple.” Using Badiou’s mathematical ontology to axiomatize “modded” Skyrim and drawing from his theory of the event, I argue that “modded” Skyrim is, on the one hand, a consistent multiplicity that operates in a coherent state, and on the other, an inconsistent multiplicity that is potentially evental. Moreover, the state of “modded” Skyrim could undergo paradigm shifts in the face of changes in the ecology of modding such as the emergence of new modding tools. I exemplify this modding genealogy by two families of mods, namely gameplay mods and quest mods, to illustrate how “modded” Skyrim manifests itself in difference and repetition, and, at the same time, how the tension between consistency and inconsistency forces its evolution. More specifically, I examine the game assets of various gameplay mods, including Ordinator, FNIS, Frostfall, and Survival Mode, and compare them with the original version of the game and investigate how they function with one another as well as other families of mods. It reveals that the operation of “modded” Skyrim centers around a few canonical mods in different areas of gameplay, and the standards set by these mods loosely defines the consistent multiplicity. Moving on to quest mods including Legacy of the Dragonborn, Beyond Skyrim, and Enderal, I demonstrate how individual modders break away from different states of modding while staying in fidelity to the spirit of “modded” Skyrim, thus implying that the origin of Skyrim modding is arguably evental. This research sheds light on a new understanding on gaming as a multiplicity of activities that take place inside and outside of the materiality of digital games themselves.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
Dept/ProgramComparative Literature
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/281275

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorMarchetti, G-
dc.contributor.advisorKochhar-Lindgren, GM-
dc.contributor.authorYeung, Chun-
dc.contributor.author楊津-
dc.date.accessioned2020-03-10T08:46:27Z-
dc.date.available2020-03-10T08:46:27Z-
dc.date.issued2019-
dc.identifier.citationYeung, C. [楊津]. (2019). A genealogy of skyrim modding. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/281275-
dc.description.abstractSince Bethesda Softworks released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011, internet users have published 50,000-60,000 mods, i.e. player-created modifications, for this game on a multitude of online platforms. Similar to many other collective creative works that have emerged on the internet over the last few decades, its magnitude means the traditional method of close reading appears to be unsuitable. This research aims at producing a historico-critical reading of Skyrim’s modding scene. I argue that Skyrim modding is a process that can be analyzed genealogically. Drawing from Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, and Alain Badiou, I show that two levels of difference and repetition constitute the process of Skyrim modding: while mods themselves are made up of differences from and repetitions of the original game, the repeated manifestations of the virtual “modded” Skyrim is what constitutes the entire modding phenomenon profoundly. I subsequently define “modded” Skyrim as a virtual entity without a center or definitive structure: what Alain Badiou calls a “pure multiple.” Using Badiou’s mathematical ontology to axiomatize “modded” Skyrim and drawing from his theory of the event, I argue that “modded” Skyrim is, on the one hand, a consistent multiplicity that operates in a coherent state, and on the other, an inconsistent multiplicity that is potentially evental. Moreover, the state of “modded” Skyrim could undergo paradigm shifts in the face of changes in the ecology of modding such as the emergence of new modding tools. I exemplify this modding genealogy by two families of mods, namely gameplay mods and quest mods, to illustrate how “modded” Skyrim manifests itself in difference and repetition, and, at the same time, how the tension between consistency and inconsistency forces its evolution. More specifically, I examine the game assets of various gameplay mods, including Ordinator, FNIS, Frostfall, and Survival Mode, and compare them with the original version of the game and investigate how they function with one another as well as other families of mods. It reveals that the operation of “modded” Skyrim centers around a few canonical mods in different areas of gameplay, and the standards set by these mods loosely defines the consistent multiplicity. Moving on to quest mods including Legacy of the Dragonborn, Beyond Skyrim, and Enderal, I demonstrate how individual modders break away from different states of modding while staying in fidelity to the spirit of “modded” Skyrim, thus implying that the origin of Skyrim modding is arguably evental. This research sheds light on a new understanding on gaming as a multiplicity of activities that take place inside and outside of the materiality of digital games themselves.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.titleA genealogy of skyrim modding-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineComparative Literature-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2019-
dc.identifier.mmsid991044104199303414-

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