Saturday, 27 August 2011

Age of Conan - A Travelogue Video


This is the game I'll be playing for the near and foreseeable future so many of my posts will more than likely be about it. Maybe I should have started an Age of Conan blog, XD...but I won't. This one is enough.

Anyway, this is a short post, but shows an excellent video of the environments in the game accompanied by the excellent in game music. Kudos to the author of the very professional video.

To say I was astounded is an understatement. Even after reading on various sites about the game, I was still blown away with this video and the actual size of the world.

This is how it actually looks in game. The city I just left, Tortage, is featured at the start with the jungle environment.

Farewell Oblivion Community - Temporarily

 UPDATE:  I know I whinge about this game but for some reason I always come back to it.  That's why I added "Temporarily" to the title.  This time I'm going to be more selective about which mods I add besides the ones I can't live without....and one day I will update the post I made here about that...lol.

As mentioned in a newer post I'm getting stir crazy without my games due to the dead hard drive and since I'm also getting a new graphics card, as well as a new hard drive, I can't wait to have a play again.  More than that I think, I miss fiddling around in the CS and now Spring is here i might even finish some projects I started and start some new ones I had ideas about.

The stuff below the stars is still true and many things bug me about the vanilla game, but it's still one of my favourite games, even though it lacks a lot of things, in my opinion.  But, that's what mods are for and the modding community is still going strong even though Skyrim is on the horizon.. 

I've also made some changes to the bottom of this post because in the past few days I've had a revelation about the TES Community, or at least the Tesnexus, Official forums part of it and a few others.  The rest don't seem to care about thieves or their mods, but that's their problem, not mine.  This is due to the trouble over Gmods which I've spoken about in other posts and goes to prove that a community of gamers can stick together when the going gets tough.

 ***********     ************     ***********     ***********     ***********     **********
Well, I think my Oblivion days are almost over.  There's very little left that interests me except for Waalx Animals and Creatures and Elsweyr the Deserts of Anequina which are the only reasons I still play it, when I do that is.  It's been months since I did play it more than to upgrade one of my mods.  Maybe I'll have another play before Skyrim gets here as I did with Morrowind before Oblivion, but at the present I have no interest at all.

I still look for and download mods though, which has become more of a habit than anything as I don't even use or look at the greater majority of them in game, so who knows, I may change my mind.

I'm not one for serious screen shooting or the type of role playing many are into.  For me the game doesn't have the scope for real role playing as I see it, especially without mods to add things like crafting, cooking, having a job, joinable guilds, real consequences for your actions, real factions that cut you out of others because you joined the wrong one and much more that just annoys me no end.  There are mods that do add some of these things, but they should have been in the actual game, or some of them at least. 

I HATE the way the direction the game is going as far as some mods that are just sick and degrading, yet seem to be more and more popular.  Refer to my other posts if you want info on that, but suffice to say I think there are some sick minded people out there, especially where rape, bestiality and other questionable content is concerned.  I'm not talking about the role playing sex mods where one can act out a life that includes it, although I can't find a place in a game for it myself when the reality is much more....real.  I've said enough about that on this blog so I won't bother elaborating and boring people with it again.  I just wonder where morals and a sense that something is just "wrong" flew away to, even in a game.

When I play a game like one from the Gothic series and now Age of Conan and other games as well, the things that annoy the hell out of me in Oblivion just seem so much more obvious.  Like the incessant loading screens, however brief, especially to enter every tiny room in a building, which really gets me down.  One example that stands out is loading into a tent in a well known cave near Leyawiin.  A tent you can't even turn around in!! ....why they didn't just leave this tent and other entrances open is anyone's guess.  That particular tent has a dog in it so I suppose they didn't want it wandering when there was fighting going on....who knows.  In the two games I just mentioned there are NO or very few loading screens anywhere let alone into something as small as a tiny tent.  Changing world spaces I can understand, but not everywhere you go in a town or city because the game engine is crap.  These other games NEVER crash or act up either which is another plus in their favour even though they have so much more content and action happening at once.

I find myself avoiding cities and NPC's because of the stupid AI, inane comments and awful voice acting that is used for every race, generic cut and paste dungeons and a lot more.  If it weren't for the amazing modders that made this game what it should have been, as far as humanly possible, I would have uninstalled it a couple of years ago.  In my opinion it was released as a base for modders to fix, not a real game.

Then there are the CTD's and other problems that still occur even with every mod and available fix applied because of a game engine that can't handle a living breathing world.  This is why the cities are almost deserted, there are very few animals and the AI can't handle more than around 15 actors on screen at once without the "statue" effect.  I'm sick of the micro management to keep a game running from one play session to the next.

At this point in time I can't be bothered with it.  I work to get my game stable and running smoothly and then for no explicable reason it starts acting up.   My patience is wearing very thin.  I probably know more about this game and how it works than any other I've ever played, especially since I mod it, personally and in released mods which don't really show how much I do actually know.

I can do world building and editing, some basic scripting and quest work as well as other things.  As far as quests go I don't use them in my released mods, except for a couple of small ones, because the mods I make are ones I always like to play with and it peeves me when I have to do my own quest over again for every new character.  That's not to say I'm ungrateful for the epic quest mods that are around...I thank the people who have the patience to do it and have enjoyed their work immensely.

Then there's the recent furor over the upgrade to Tesnexus and it's other game sections.  This was very nearly the nail in the coffin for me and almost put me off altogether.  However it is growing on me, especially since some changes gave been made.  I'm having a problem with downloading anything, but since it seems to be hard to nail down what that problem actually is, and I'm not alone, I'll wait until a solution is found...hopefully.   At the  moment there's not much that interests me in the newer files and I also don't want to download much until I get my computer fixed....see newer posts re hard drive.

My main gripe about Tesnexus as a community though is some of the people and I guess it's a bit like the old saying "You can choose your friends, but not your family."   Or something like that.  Like any group of people there are some I wouldn't give the time of day to and others who could be good friends, and in fact some are.  Some of them are my age and older, not just some of the younger members.

I haven't been as active in the community as I used to be because the community has changed and is definitely not as friendly.  I suppose that's because it's grown so much since I joined.  Too many chiefs and not enough Indians as the saying goes and I'm not talking about the staff.  The normal members, who think they are the be all and end all of the community and get to say what others can think and say just grates on my nerves.  It's like any family where the bullies rule, get away with it, and everyone else is expected to tow the line.

If I ever see this emote, and it's other forms again, related to people having a voice it will be too soon. 


Re the Tesnexus upgrade....There are things I don't like about the upgrade, but it's here to stay and I admit it's growing on me.  Orange isn't one of my favourite colours either, but at least it was toned down.  It's better than the Fallout colours though...lol.

I've removed the rest of the rant.  Over the past days it's proven to me just how close a community can be when something threatens it.  Refer to the posts about Gmods.com.   It's pointless and self defeating to whine and complain about things I can't change and that are often bought about by my own personal problems.  It  might make me feel some kind of relief for a short time because I can say what I like here to a point, but then when I read back over what I've written it seems petty and is not who I really am.  If I'm going to complain about something I'll keep it private so I can vent without regret.

I also want to take this opportunity to apologize to any people I may have offended, however I won't mention any names here.  The people I do not get along with probably know it already and will never be friends.  Not because they have differing opinions to me, that's natural after all, but because of their nature and the way they treat others.

Suffice to say, I have made a lot of friends through the TES modding community and some are still friends after all the years since Morrowind and then the Oblivion years.

Age of Conan - Into the Big World

Well, I played for over six hours again last night and finally liberated Tortage, the first city you play in after the tutorial.  It was easier than I thought it would be with a little strategy, sneaking talent and fighting skill which I'm getting pretty good at...so far.

I'm not going to put spoilers here for anyone who may want to try the game.  Some screen shots will show areas I've completed, but will mean nothing to new players or anyone who haven't progressed that far.

I have now visited my characters homeland, however briefly, and am following my quest to regain my heritage and memories of a former life.  Picked up a few quests and used the Pathfinders to travel to a few areas to see the world, then I'll actually do the quests.  Pathfinders are people who take you to various places, much like fast traveling in Oblivion, or actually more like the mages in the guilds in Morrowind.

How's this for a city...Old Tarantia where I am now.   I can't wait to see the rest of the game if it's like this.



High above the city on my mission to free the city.

Fight high above the city.  I had to leave the HUD on because it's too hard to take action pics without it.....and not die!


A city in ruins

Fight with savage Picts. 

Making a sneaky exchange

At the race track in Old Tarantia...just having a look around and wishing for a horse








Thursday, 25 August 2011

Age of Conan Continued

I am so loving this game and I can see why online games are so addictive.  My first character was a test to try out the game and find my way around the mechanics which are so involved and a bit confusing at first.  It's much more than a standard rpg.  The story, the music, the live NPC's...just everything is so immersive.

I've created a new character called Sorrel who is a Cimmerian Barbarian and she rocks.  Usually, I prefer to play as a mage or half and half magic and melee, but I'm really into this melee system.  My girl is a berserker and the combat is so fluid and satisfying, now that I've gotten used to it.

Anyway here are a few more pics and I'll add more to this post as I remember to get them.  It peeves me so much that screen shots look so flat compared to the game, or any game for that matter, but I refuse to touch them up as it defeats the purpose and doesn't reflect the reality in game. 

Until Skyrim comes along this will be my main game and probably for a long time after as it's going to take awhile to get out of the first city into the main world.

This is at the very start in the tutorial so she has on the basic clothing all characters start out in and a piece of wood from the slave ship she was on which sank to the depths.






Overlooking Tortage city.

Healing power...standing at a resurrection shrine, but using the rest function to heal out of combat.




Sorrel - face shot.  Wearing a bandana, but her hair is braided.




Fighting a Boss in the tutorial.  He was easy....how that changes once the tutorial is over.  It's not exactly easy getting combat pics either...lol.



Monday, 22 August 2011

Age of Conan - Unchained (MMORPG) Free to Play

 Well, I never thought I'd say this because for several reasons I've never had any interest in online games.
One of those reasons was lousy internet speeds and miserly monthly download limits which are now a thing of the past...if you're willing to pay a fortune, or like me get a decent discount for a landline, mobile phone (that I hardly ever use) and internet bundle that is.  Still not quite like Europe and the States, but at least better than it used to be. 

My friend in Greece (ThePriest909) has tried talking me into it a couple of times so I thought "Well, why not." Now I've got decent internet speed and don't have to worry about being capped to dial up speed as much as I used to when my monthly bandwidth allowance was exceeded. In fact I'm finding it hard to get anywhere close to the limit now so I'm happy I won't be capped.  Ironically, I'm on the US server and John is on the Euro server, something neither of us thought about beforehand so we haven't met up in game yet, but that will soon be remedied, I hope. Players can change servers relatively easily (I believe) so it's not a big problem.

A little warning....this game is huge. At first I downloaded 12GB which is the first part of the world up to level 20, then I believe it goes to 34GB or thereabouts by the time one reaches level 80. Currently I'm at 20GB of data.  It also downloads in the background if necessary and even then I haven't had any lag issues.

I could have downloaded it all at once, but I wanted to see if I liked it first. Which is a big "Thumbs Up."  
The game used to be subscription only but is now free to play and the whole world is open for Free players. There are limits on classes and the number of characters one can make as well as a few other things, otherwise it's almost the same as the paid version.  Somewhere down the track I may just subscribe as there are some things I would really like to have that the free version doesn't...like tiger mounts...they look awesome. 

To say this game is beautiful is an understatement and I was surprised to find I can run it on high graphics an idiot because I thought I was running on high graphics, but was actually on the default low settings because I didn't check something I won't go into and make myself look even more stupid.  I did then try it on high which looks absolutely amazing, however I can't move...it's a slideshow unfortunately.  But, I did change to medium and it looks great and I have no lag or other problems with it.

The voice acting and music is superior and the sheer variety of character customization is staggering. No-one need look like anyone else. There are numerous choices of face and body tattoos and scars (or none if preferred), eye colour, hair styles, facial hair for the males, you can change height and weight and much, much more.

A note on voice acting...now I'm out in the big, bad world and except for the main quest givers there's little to no voice acting.  However, this is quite understandable and I imagine it would add many GB's of data to an already huge world and it's already a massive size.  For people who enjoy reading the story and atmosphere is very immersive.   I know some people don't read because when I'm at a quest giver reading the text, others just come and go to get the quest in their journal without listening or reading, which is a bit sad.  The whole game is based around a lore and story so they would miss a lot.  Each to their own though, I guess.

I've only made one character so far and she's fairly generic because I didn't see the customize face button until I clicked finish and started the actual game. You can't go back which is OK as she's more of a practice run. She looks suitably barbaric for my needs and I chose that hairstyle for that reason.

Launch video from earlier this year.  Bloody awesome and this is actually what the game looks like, not just a marketing ploy.


 Simea - Stygian Race - Mage - Demonologist
She can use some melee weapons, bows and of course spells.  And she can summon a demon from hell (Succubus) to help.  This screen shot was taken at the start of a cut scene and before I found out how to reemove the HUD.


This is a game of high adventure with a massive number of quests, many of which are tailored to your class or race. You can roleplay to a great extent and even take up a profession like tailoring or other crafting jobs, join guilds and other things I haven't discovered yet. There's so much to absorb, but at least I have single player rpg experience to help me along so it's not all new territory. There's also a large single player component where you're on your own to do with the main quest.

There are quests that have to be done to get off the initial starting island and into the main HUGE world. I'm still working on that, but getting close. Combat can be very hard and one needs to use strategy a bit especially according to your class, but is very rewarding. I've died a LOT, but usually because I'm trying something beyond my level or even at the same level, depending on how many enemies there are at once.  Not to mention falling off a bridge into lava and slipping off a bridge over a high mountain pass,which I've done.

I've found the controls a little cumbersome, but I'm getting used to it. At least it's real time combat and not turn based, which is another plus.  Besides the controls the only thing that annoys me is the rapid respawn rate of enemies which is sometimes even before you kill all in a group of four.  It doesn't seem to happen all the time so I wonder if it's dependent on the number of players doing the same quests, or I might be talking out of my hat.  It's not always possible to pull a single or even two enemies from a group and then they all rush you.....resulting quite often in a grisly death.  Running away is often not an option as they chase you and more often than not you can't get away.....because....another thing I also find extremely odd is that a pirate for example, can hit me with an unenchanted sword when I'm running way down a path so far out of range it would be physically impossible.   My character has been decapitated by a sword from a distance of many times it's length.  That's just stupid and all melee enemies do it.  Other than that, I've played so far for several hours per day, over four days (I think) and had no crashes, no lags, no problems at all.   Big tick for a game world so complex.

Once I get a bit further with this character and learn the ins and outs of everything I'll make a new one and make some changes to how I play. I play on PvE servers (Player Vs Environment) which is just like any role playing game except there are tons of other people doing the same thing you are, but don't want to kill you...and can't anyway. You can work together to an objective or solo, whatever you choose. Plus, there are night time only quests where you're solo anyway, and these are to do with your Destiny and the actual main quest.

Climbing the heights



This is also an adult game insofar as there's a lot of violence, according to the brutal and dangerous world of Conan created in the books by Robert E. Howard, nudity if players choose although I've only seen one topless female barbarian so far and it fits with the world, and harsh language but not crude swearing which I think would ruin the atmosphere.

Read about it here:
http://www.ageofconan.com/playfree/

With the demon and ready to fight - searching for scorpion and snake venom for a potion.






Moments after casting a buff spell.   Stygians worship the Serpent God - Set,  so I thought that was quite appropriate.






More pics to come....  Hard core fans, (and I know there are a lot of them), excuse the lack of lore knowledge at the moment.  I've just started...lol.  However, I do know and love the Conan world model and some of the books, although it's been years since I read one.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Live Exports - Sheep This Time

Sometimes I wish I lived in a bubble, isolated and away from other people where I didn't have to hear about the depravity and cruelty that seems to be increasing every day and in more depressing ways.   I realize that in reality it's not increasing so much as being revealed and the secrecy behind it is being exposed.   It just seems like there's more because as the population increases so the trash and dregs of society proliferates and grows.

This is about the recent expose of how live sheep from Australia are being treated at abattoirs in Turkey and here is an article outlining the basics is from a few hours previous to the time of this post. 

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/live-animal-export-outrage-horrendous-slaughter-of-cattle-20110818-1iz2i.html

I'm  not going to write another long post about how I feel about this as I've already expressed my opinion here of the inhumanity and cruelty of certain cultures and their mistreatment of animals....and in fact their own people.  I'm not going to add a video link either as I saw some of it on the news and it made me angry, sickened and depressed again that these people call themselves f*cking human.   I couldn't watch all of it.

There's also a stranded transport ship sitting at Port Adelaide, South Australia (the state I live in) which has 67,000 sheep aboard and they've been there since last week in cramped, dark and unsatisfactory conditions.  The ship is bound for Qatar and on the way many sheep are expected to die as have many already.
Interestingly, the RSPCA have been refused access to the ship to check the welfare of the animals, but people living in nearby suburbs have commented on the smell of excreta and death...since many have already died.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/stranded-live-sheep-to-be-offloaded-from-broken-down-export-ship/story-fn59niix-1226116876831

As it says in the article...even if the ship were to leave today it's hard to imagine a month or more of stifling heat in those conditions inside a floating steel coffin, and if the animal survives that, all it has to look forward to is a brutal slaughter by cruel methods.

You know what's as bad if not worse than this?  The politicians from both major parties who voted NOT to stop Live Trade to these countries today in Parliament.   Blood sucking, money grabbing poor excuses for human beings.   I also have little to no sympathy for the farmers who are crying about loss of livelihood and know these practices exist.   It's all tied up in politics and money.   

Next election I would rather pay the fine than vote for any of these bastards or I'll vote for an Independent with no preferences to the major parties as I've done in past years.   They are all lacking in conscience and democracy is a joke. Voting is compulsory here in case people were unaware. 

Years ago the Govt closed down many abattoirs in this country and many people lost jobs, which of course flowed on to other industry.   It's a job I wouldn't do under any circumstances, but if humans want to eat meat, someone has to and at least, one would hope, controls can be set in place and monitored here.  By the way, I do eat meat when I can afford it, but I prefer mine to come from animals that have been humanely treated at least...even to their death.

It's been said that if Live Exports are banned here some other country will take up the slack. Good on them, and shame on them if they do knowing this shit happens...at least we can have a clear conscience...or we could hope.

I've seen people commenting in various places "but they are only sheep, who cares"  and other less choice and despicable things, but there are always lowlifes and sickos that get off on this kind of thing.   They are beneath contempt and don't even deserve acknowledgment or a reaction, and should be ignored and pitied....as hard as that is since there is so much scum floating in the human pond.

There's so much I could say on this subject, but it's given me another headache. Suffice to say at the moment I am supporting a protest group and as has been said before...the more I know about people the more I like animals.   Except for a select few people I call friends, people can go to hell as far as I'm concerned. 

I know the song is old but the lyrics are appropriate and I couldn't think of a newer song off the top of my head. Ignorance is NOT bliss. Neither is it humane.

Just remember it's not a great step up from animal cruelty to abuse of children which we already know is rife and a flourishing industry. Closing ones eyes doesn't make it go away.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

My Simple Creature Companion Tutorial - Oblivion

PLEASE DO NOT POST THIS TUTORIAL ANYWHERE ELSE WITHOUT ASKING ME FIRST.

This tutorial outlines the system I use to create my creature companions. It uses activation to Follow and Wander (stay) so you won't find a menu system here. I don't like menus for creature companions and I find it totally unnecessary.

The scripts are included, but there's also some latitude in what you can do with them. For example you can add or subtract spells, sounds or shaders etc inside the main and magic scripts if you wanted to, but I haven't included it here. My House Cats mod and a couple of others adds sounds like a bell that rings on activation or purring sounds as Idles and/or on activation.

You could also add extra functions to the creature script and it already includes Sneak. This function depends entirely on your own Sneak Skill.

This Tutorial is quite long and detailed. The main part has the script for the original mod it's based on, but the last part (UPDATE) includes the updated script with the sneak function as well as having the summon spell added to it rather than an item.

Also located at:
TES Alliance
http://www.tesalliance.org/

Waalx Animals and Creatures Forum
http://waalx.com/RealSwordsForum/index.php
 It has been translated to French by Sita Kaos, but I don't currently have a link.


CREATURE COMPANION TUTORIAL BASED ON MY SHER JA - MOUNTAIN LION COMPANION MOD.

***This tutorial assumes the user knows very little about using the Construction Set so I've tried to be as detailed as possible.***

Click the screenshots for a better view so you can see what I'm referring to. If you think you've made a mistake in any open form, click Cancel instead of OK, but generally you can go back and make the necessary changes without problems. There is an exception to this. If you move an object unintentionally when placing the creature in the world you can go to Edit/Undo in the File Menu as long as you realize immediately you've done it. Otherwise you'll need to "clean" the mod afterwards. It's no fun if you find you've moved a door or house by accident and don't find out until later.

CREDITS:

Sher Ja - Mountain Lion Companion was my first mod besides some save games and has been updated and experimented with several times until found I was finally happy with it.

The scripts used here for the companion are adapted from the Fenrir the Wolf Companion mod by delphinus with his permission. They were created with OBSE by Jumonji, but have been changed so they no longer require OBSE which mainly dealt with fast healing after battle. This is now dealt with by adding a Healing Ability and making him Essential. Jumonji helped me to do this.
The Add Summon Spell script is by WillieSea. I found it on the Official CS forums where I also find a lot of other helpful information.
Thank You.

Fenrir the Wolf by delphinus and Jumonji
http://www.tesnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=14192

Sher Ja - Mountain Lion Companion by Maigrets
See my mods section here on this blog.



STARTING OUT:
This will create a simple creature companion that can be activated to stay and follow. It will fight anything that is your enemy or that attacks you in Follow mode. It will NOT be aggressive to friends or yourself, and is player owned. Otherwise, if you resist arrest for a crime, it will attack the guards who are chasing you, or if you go on a murder spree then you can rely on it to defend you. I make my companions Essential so they don't die, but become unconscious for a short time. That's up to you. I prefer not to have to reload or deactivate and reactivate the mod if it dies, especially when using overhaul mods like I do, where a non essential companion death is almost guaranteed.

In Wander mode it will patrol the area where you left it and will defend itself if necessary. When you first go to find your companion it will also start to wander as soon as you enter the cell it's placed in, so if it's not where you put it just search around a bit or use the summon spell as described below.

There will be a Summon Spell to call your companion if you've left them somewhere, if they get stuck (rare), or to remove them from battle. If they do happen to get lost, for example, falling from a great height, they will teleport to you or return on entering a new cell. Or, of course, you can summon them back.
This spell can be added to an object and you can create a quest to find it if you like, or you can place the object near the creature. Make sure to mention it in your readme if you plan to release the mod.

I am including the option of adding the spell to an object to this tutorial. When the object is taken the spell is automatically added to your spellbook. The item doesn't need to be in your inventory afterwards, so you can throw it away or keep it depending on the item used.

The spell can also be added via a quest script which will add it as soon as you load your save, but will not be included in this tutorial. I prefer not to add the Summon Spell by a quest because I like to put my creatures somewhere to find, rather than an easier location like the Waterfront District.

Quest related options will be included in another tutorial which will outline a simple quest to find a companion or object with a small story attached to a note or book. This can be added to your inventory when you load your game with the mod active or you can use the quest to search for it. It will also include how to add spells via a quest and other options like sounds and messages which can be added to the scripts.
NOTE: I haven't gotten around to doing this addition yet.

I used to make it a habit to take screen shots of all my open windows in the Construction Set. For example: scripts, spells, stats etc. I can see at a glance what I've done for future reference, without loading the mod. But that's just me. I sometimes still do it for new mods depending on what I add to them.

Regarding Shivering Isles and companions: I haven't played SI for some time, but I know if you tell the companion to wait before entering the portal and then summon it when you are in the SI world there should be no problems. I've done this with Sher Ja and a couple of others and it was fine. That also relates to Oblivion Gates. Make the companion wait, enter the gate, then summon. Do the reverse BEFORE taking the sigil stone and summon once outside. Unlike other types of companions they obviously have no inventory that can be reset when the cells update.

FIRST STEPS:

This tutorial will create a lion companion, but can be used for any creature. I've never bothered making a companion from a Shivering Isles creature, but I know someone who did using this tutorial and it worked out as far as I'm aware.

It's a good idea to name all References and ID's with a prefix. For example - JJMyLion. Don't use numerals at the beginning of the ID, and have no spaces in the ID field. Using the JJ, or any other prefix makes it easier to find your entries. You can use AA or aa, or your initials as long as it's always the same for consistency.

Load the Construction Set and go to File/Save and create a new esp with the name of your choice. This will automatically make it active.
Click OK and Oblivion ESM will load automatically because you are loading a mod that requires it. Otherwise you can select Oblivion ESM only to load and choose to save your esp when you've started work on your mod.

Go to the Object Window on the left and expand the Actors\Creature\creature tree. Select the CreatureMountainLion and double click to open it's Stats Form.


In the ID field give it a NEW unique ID. If you don't give it a new ID every lion will be a clone of yours. Close the window by clicking OK, and you will prompted to make a new form because you've changed the ID. Click YES to create a new object. In the NAME field give it a name which will appear in game.

Open the lion's Stats Form again.
Here you can change the Essential status and whether he will Check Corpses. I leave it checked for dogs and wolves, but not the lion because it does nothing and can slow the creature down. Canines have animations so it works well and they only do it after combat is over. Check swimming so they can follow in water. Again, canines seem to be better for this since they do actually swim while other creatures sink like a stone or have to find another path, but they will catch up.

Take the tick out of No Low Level processing and Respawns. Leave his Combat Style at Default for the mountain lion.
Tick PC Level Offset to have him level with you. Choose whether you want him to level above or below you by entering a number in the Offset box. For example, 1 to stay at your level or -1 to be one level below you.
In the Calc Min box type 1 and in the Calc Max box type 0. This will adjust his health, speed and fatigue modifiers on the right of the window.

Starting out it's probably best to leave his health and other stats as they are. You can adjust them later if you want. Although, I give my creatures an Intelligence of at least 30 so they can follow up stairs and through doors. They will even open gates. This also relates to successful fast travel so they zone with you instead of getting lost and having to be summoned.

Always leave Personality at 20 or even at the default as anything higher can make him passive, and enemies, depending on their Faction will ignore him when you want him to fight.


From now on I'm referring to the Lion as Leo to make things a bit easier. The abbreviation, CS, will refer to the Construction Set.


Go to the Factions Tab and right click to delete anything in there which is usually Creature Faction.

Next go to the CS Menu at the top of the screen and select Character -- Factions. Scroll down the list until you find Playerfaction. With Leo's page still open drag it to his Factions Tab. You can make a custom Faction, but it's not necessary. Player Faction gives Leo all the rights and privileges as the Player.


 Select the Inventory Tab. You can leave anything there or delete it. If you make him Essential he can't be looted anyway.

Select the Spell Tab. Depending on your choice of creature there may be a Disease listed. If so, delete it. The mountain lion has a Resist Frost ability which you can leave intact. Other creatures may have their own Abilities which can stay as well. This can depend on whether you decide to give him a Defensive spell that includes what he already has or boosts it. In that case remove the default spells.

There's no need to do anything with the other Tabs except if you want to add new meshes and textures for your creature, but this tutorial deals with the default Mountain Lion..
You can preview him moving and attacking by selecting the Animations Tab and clicking each movement to see him in the preview window. Tick the Preview Full box to do this.

**Remember to save often. Make regular backups of the esp so you can revert to a previous file if you make a mistake and have saved it! **


NEXT:

AI Tab:

At the bottom of the stats Form is the AI Tab. Click to change the values at the top of the new window.




Aggression -- I've found 5 or 10 works well. Some companions use zero, but I found it causes the companion to be passive at the most inopportune times. Anything above can cause him to attack indiscriminately, including friends.
Confidence -- the higher the setting the less likely he is to run from a fight. 75 is a good number. If he's Essential and you want him to break off a fight if you decide to run or come back to fight another day, you could try a lower number. I have several Pet Only mods. Their aggression and confidence settings are different so they will flee when danger approaches and return when combat is over. It's not necessary to script this.
Energy Level -- This determines how much he moves around and animates when idle. Actors with low energy levels idle more often. You can leave it at the default for your creature.
Responsibility -- leave this at zero otherwise you will be reported for crimes by Leo and he can also accrue a bounty which applies to you being the owner.

At the bottom is the AI Package List. Right click on any packages in the list and delete all of them.

**Click SAVE and OK at the Stats page. Save the esp.

THE PACKAGES THAT MAKE LEO FOLLOW AND WANDER:

You will need to create a new Global Value first. Go to the Gameplay menu at the top of the main CS window and choose Globals.
Right click on any one and choose New.
Call it "LionFollow". Click OK. If you're using another name or creature, it still must be **Follow. In my House Cats mod I called them by their individual names..eg CleoFollow, PepperFollow etc. They must all be different otherwise the same value will relate to them all and the Follow and Wander commands for one will be used by them all of them. So, if you make two dog companions or even companion separate mods, they must be named for that creature so problems don't occur if using the mods together in game.

Now you have to make two AI packages.....Follow and Wander.

FOLLOW PACKAGE:

Open your creature entry again and return to the AI Window:

Right click again in the AI Package List and select NEW.
Select at least, Allow Falls, Defensive Combat and Allow Swimming.

At the top right where it says Package type select "Follow" from the drop down list.

In the ID tab give it a name for example (yourprefix)LeoFollow.

You'll then see four tabs:

SCHEDULE, CONDITIONS, LOCATION and TARGET.

Go to the CONDITIONS Tab -

At the very bottom click on the "NEW" button and select "GetGlobalValue" from the list.
The next box "Function Parameters" will say Invalid....click it and select the Global Value you made before. ie LionFollow
Leave the Comparison box as is and change the Value to 1.0000.


 Go to the TARGET Tab and select Specific Reference then select PlayerRef in the "ref" tab.
At the bottom right where it says Distance enter a number. This is how far Leo will be behind you when he follows. The number I use is 170 which is the distance the mod I based Sher Ja on uses. I assume it's feet, but we're metric in Australia. Anyway, it's a good distance because the companion is not under your feet or bumping into you all the time. This is also good if you use horses, because he won't be pushing the horse from behind when you are stationary. You can make it smaller or larger if you like.



Click OK . You can go onto the next Package or click SAVE and come back to it. Remember to save and backup your esp.

WANDER PACKAGE:

Do exactly the same again, but this time call the ID "LeoWander". Choose the Package Type as Wander.


 Do the same at the Conditions Tab, but leave the Value at 0.0000.

Click the LOCATION Tab and select Near Current Location. Give it a distance. Again mine is 1800. This is how far he will wander around when you activate him to tell him to wait. Some mods use 1200 or less...it's up to you. When you have the summon spell you can call him to you anyway if he's wandered off into dense forest. In fact I have lowered this distance in my more recent mods myself.


 Make sure Defensive Combat, Allow Falls and Allow Swimming are selected here as well. Click OK and SAVE to close the window.

PLACE LEO IN THE WORLD:

NOTE:
He must be placed in the world before you can make the Summon Spell and especially before using the updated script adding the spell and sneak component to the main script posted after this tutorial. This because you need his Editor Reference to add to the spell script.

In the Cell View window where it says World Space and in the selection box, find and select Tamriel.
You can click on any name to select it then type the 1st letter of the area you want to load......For example "I"...then scroll down to the IC Waterfront01.

Double click to load the area in the Render Window on the right. It may take a few seconds to load depending on your system.

Zoom in to the location you want to place your creature. Try to get as close as possible to where you want to place him, then drag the creature (the text) from the Object Window to the world and press F to drop him. Don't drop him from way up high or you might have trouble finding him, especially in an exterior. If that happens you can find him by looking in the left side of the Cell View Window where you are placing him. Find his ID and double click it and the CS will locate him for you.

Press the A key to turn on the lights so you can see what you are doing.
Use a combination of Shift + Mouse Wheel (held) alternately to manipulate the screen to get as close as possible to the desired position. Scroll the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
Click the creature so it is selected to move it around, and use the Right Mouse Button to rotate it if necessary. Or use the Z, X and Y keys for other movement.

When he's in the world double click him and give him an Editor Reference ID. This can be the same as his stats form ID, but put REF at the end. No spaces. Select Persistent Reference so he won't disappear when cells respawn. You should also select the Ownership Tab and make him Player owned. This will ensure he doesn't attack friendlies and will even defend you from guards if you resist arrest.


 Now it's a good idea to open his Stats Form and check Quest Item. Making him a quest item gives him loading priority, so he always gets loaded at game start. Otherwise he can also be forgotten by the game engine when cells respawn.
Don't do it before putting him in the world or the CS will prompt you about Quest items and possibly give an error message.

Save your plugin and test it. At this point we haven't added the Summon Spell, but you should make sure he is where you want him. He can be activated to Stay and Follow without the spell once the script is added.

NOW ADD THE SCRIPT



It's a good idea to type or copy the script to a text editor like Notepad first. That way you can make alterations if necessary before adding it to the creature and risking errors when you try to save it.

You'll see where it says LionFollow you must change it to the name of the Global Value you made for your creature. The message as you see can be whatever you like, but should not go to another line.

Give the script a name. It should have SCRIPT at the end no matter what you call it.

The bottom part of this script also tells him not to attack you if you hit him, but is probably not necessary because making him Player Owned does the same thing. However, I was advised to leave it in and it doesn't appear to have any adverse effects. When I get to it I will test without that part of the script, but for the moment it's probably not doing anything anyway.

NOTE: "scn" means script name. You can also use the word ScriptName instead.

Code:

scn AASherJaScript

ref rEnemy

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

begin OnActivate

   if IsActionRef player
      SetIgnoreFriendlyHits 1
      if LionFollow == 1
         set LionFollow to 0
         Message "'Sher Ja, wait for me.'"
      elseif  LionFollow == 0
         set LionFollow to 1
         Message "'Sher Ja, come with me.'"
      endif
      EvaluatePackage
      playGroup Idle 1
            else
      activate
           endif
end

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

begin OnStartCombat

;make sure not to attack friends after accidental hits.

   set rEnemy to getCombatTarget
   if GetShouldAttack rEnemy == 0 && Player.GetShouldAttack rEnemy == 0
      StopCombat
      StopCombatAlarmOnActor
      playGroup Idle 1
      return
   endif
end


NEXT

In the creature's Stats Form click on the little box with "......" on it, next to the Script field, beneath the NAME field.
Select New from the Menu. Copy and paste the script into the box. Make sure it is an Object Script. Select this from the Script Type list at the top right of the script window.
Select Save from the Menu or use the disk Icon. You can also just click the cross and if there are no errors it will save.

DO NOT EVER SELECT RECOMPILE ALL WHEN SAVING -- This will compile every script in the game and your plugin will be extremely large not to mention problematic.

You'll have to close the stats form and re-open it to select the script from the drop down list in the Script Field below your creature's name.

Close the Stats Form, SAVE and backup again.


NEXT:

CREATE THE ITEM TO HOLD THE SUMMON SPELL

If everything is working correctly we can go ahead and create the object that contains the spell and the spell itself.

**If you have Shivering Isles installed be careful about using items from the expansion unless you plan to use a creature and object from SI. Items, objects and spells etc from SI are usually prefixed with SE. If you plan to release the mod using SI items make sure to add that to the Readme.
From the OBJECT LIST choose an item from the ITEMS list which will hold the Summon Spell script. It can be virtually anything, for example a gemstone or a bone which I used for Sher Ja or a shoe which I used for a dog companion. As long as a script can be added, it will work.

***Be careful about using Quest Objects as you must be sure to remove the tick from Quest Item first otherwise it will interfere with the related quest.
Once you've decided what you will use, double click to open the item's Form. As described above for Leo, give the item a unique ID and a name that will be displayed in the game. When prompted to create a new item, click YES. Leave the item for now. We have to create the Summon Spell before we can add the script to it.


CREATE THE ACTUAL SUMMON SPELL

In the OBJECT Window got to Magic/Spell. I usually make a Summon Spell a Lesser Power because it's easier to find if you have a lot of spells like I do. Otherwise it can be a basic spell.

Right click on any spell and select NEW.

Give your spell a unique ID and a name which will appear in your spell book. Select the type of spell eg Lesser power. Select Script Effect Always Applies.
Remove the tick from Auto Calculate. This negates the Magicka cost of casting the spell unless you want it to have one. Close the Spell Form and reopen it. This saves your changes.

Right Click in the text field on the right and select NEW. From the Effect List select Script Effect. The Range is on SELF because we are casting the spell on ourselves. There is no need for a duration for this spell.
Leave the Script and Effect names for now. Choose the school of magic, eg Conjuration and a visual effect if you want one. I sometimes choose Command Creature for my companions, but this is better for Summoned Creatures only rather than constant companions. It's up to you though.

Remove the tick from Effect is Hostile. Again, close the Form and reopen it.

Now we add the script. In the text field it will say Script: NONE. Right click and select EDIT.

Click on the "..." next to the Script drop down box and a Script Editor window will open the same way as when we created the companion.
Select NEW from the menu and copy and paste this script into the blank box. Make sure to choose MAGIC from the drop down box on the right.

Code:
scn SummonSherJaScript
Begin ScriptEffectStart
AALionref.moveto player, 100, 0, 0
End
Begin ScriptEffectFinish
End

Give your script a unique name. It should have Script at the end as shown. Change AALionref to the Editor Reference you made when you placed your creature in the world.
Save your script and close the Script Editor. Click OK to close the Effect Item Box and OK again to close the Spell Form. This saves the information.

The distance in the script is sufficient so that it won't land on top of you but a few feet away.

Once again open your spell and the Effect Item Box. Select the script you just made from the drop down list. Give the effect a name in the Effect Name field, eg Summon Creature or Summon "It's name."
Now the script will show in the text field of the Spell Form. You can click OK to close it now.


ADD THE SUMMON SPELL TO YOUR ITEM

Find your item in the ITEM list and open it's Form. Add this script to it the same way as we added the previous scripts. This one must be an OBJECT script.

Code:
scn AASummonSpellScript

short doOnce

begin OnActivate
if doOnce == 0
Message "Friendship will be your reward"
Player.addspell AASherJaSpell
set doOnce to 1
endif
activate
end

Once again give it a unique name and add it to your item the same way as the previous scripts.
You can add a message as shown, which will show in game at the top left of the screen when you take the object. You will also receive a message to say the spell has been added to your spell book. If you prefer not to have the message in the script you can delete that line, but make sure not to leave the line blank. Move the next line up.
Click OK to close and save the information.

Place the item in the world the same way as you placed your creature. Drag the name of the item into the Render Window and place it wherever you like.

***Save your esp and now test it to make sure everything works as intended.

EXTRA NOTES

Your companion will start to wander as soon as you enter the cell where you placed him. If he has wandered off, just pick up your item containing the Summon Spell to bring him to you.
Activate him to make him Follow and again to make him Stay. He will take care of the rest.

I usually create a Healing Ability Spell even though my companions are Essential. Even Essential companions can very often become unconscious when you really don't want them to, and some of the WAC enemies are pretty hard.

See the screen shot for the Healing Ability I added to Sher Ja. You can make it weaker if desired, but this keeps him going in most heavy battles. I have in fact made changes to this ability in all my companions, but the following screen shot is the original.

They are still essential with this change, but can be knocked out more easily and now their health bar will show. I've added Resist Poison 75% and Resist Magicka 50%. The reason for this is I've been finding certain custom poisons and some enchantments in some mods cause lasting damaging effects to companions and in Essential companions they can become permanent requiring a reboot of the mod. Sometimes you'll see it happen with NPC companions where they will get up and fall down constantly because they've been damaged. Plus other odd effects.

For example My Dog Rosie was hit by a weapon with Damage Speed several times and ended up running as though in a pool of molasses, so I added the resistances which have worked so far. It's only happened once, but that was enough.


 Create a spell as described for the Summon Spell, but not a Script effect. Make it an Ability and drag the Spell to the companion's Spell Tab in his Stats form

If there are any problems or something seems unclear, please ask and I'll do my best to clarify.


UPDATE:   The following is to add the spell and sneak function to the main script. 

This is the updated script with the sneak function as well as adding the summon spell when activating your companion that I'm now using for all my companions. With this script it's not necessary to make an object to hold the spell. It's directly added to the companion and when activated it will be added to your spell book. It also means you have to find the companion before getting the spell so if it's wandered off you need to look around.

If you choose to use this script for the sneak function, but wish to still have an object for the spell you must remove the part of the script referring to the summon spell.

The sneak function works. If you are sneaking you can get right up to an enemy before the companion will react, and then only when you are detected or you attack first. Then he will enter combat mode. I've tested this extensively before releasing my updates and I know it works. I never noticed whether the sneak eye remains lit when sneaking with the companion, and I don't think there's much I can do about it anyway. I also don't add Chameleon because I don't think it's necessary. However, you can add the Chameleon shader via the script only when sneaking if you wish.

NOTE: This relies entirely on your sneak skill so if it's low and you are detected in a dungeon full of vampires expect havoc.

In the updates to my companions I also altered the Healing Ability as described in the main tutorial. They are detailed in my Readme texts, but it's your choice in that regard.


Code:
scn AASherJaScript

ref rEnemy
short doOnce
ref GetSelf


;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

begin OnActivate

   if IsActionRef player
      SetIgnoreFriendlyHits 1
      if doOnce == 0
         Player.addspell AASherJaSpell
      set doOnce to 1
      endif
   if (GetSelf.GetForceSneak == 0) && (player.IsSneaking == 1)
         GetSelf.SetForceSneak 1
        elseif (GetSelf.GetForceSneak == 1) && (player.IsSneaking == 0)
         GetSelf.SetForceSneak 0
      endif
      if LionFollow == 1
         set LionFollow to 0
         Message "'Sher Ja, wait for me.'"
      elseif  LionFollow == 0
         set LionFollow to 1
         Message "'Sher Ja, come with me.'"
      endif
      EvaluatePackage
      playGroup Idle 1
            else
      activate
           endif
end

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

begin OnStartCombat

;make sure not to attack friends after accidental hits.

   set rEnemy to getCombatTarget
   if GetShouldAttack rEnemy == 0 && Player.GetShouldAttack rEnemy == 0
      StopCombat
      StopCombatAlarmOnActor
      playGroup Idle 1
      return
   endif
end






Thank you for reading and I hope someone finds it useful. 

Conan The Barbarian 3D

I just found out about this movie which is coming out this month.

Conan The Barbarian 3D.   It looks awesome in the trailers so I hope it is as good as it's meant to be.  They at least seem to have cast the right guy in the lead as Conan.

Home site and trailers.
http://www.conanthebarbarianin3d.com/

By the way...for Oblivion players this is what WAC (Waalx Animals and Creatures) does as much as possible and as far as the game engine will allow.  The stories, weapons, armour, creatures and especially the Arena overhaul.  And more.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Followers List Vanished

I found I have a new follower tonight and I clicked on the name and it seems I did something or there was a glitch and the list and avatars has disappeared from my blog page.  I don't know how to get it back at the moment and it's 5 AM so I'll have to see if I can fix it later today.

The list of followers is still in my settings so I don't know what happened.  Probably something simple but my apologies to the new member.  And welcome.

When and if I can fix it I'll remove this post.   I'll leave it here now in case anyone else has the same problem even though it's not a solution.

EDIT:  Bit of quick research and it seems this is a known issue where they come and go sporadically which hopefully gets fixed.  This is the first I've seen it happen though, but there's always a first time.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Zombie Autopsies

I borrowed a book called The Zombie Autopsies - Secrets Notebooks from the Apocalypse by Steven C. Schlozman, MD from the library last week.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/steven-schlozman-md

Zombies, you gotta love them.  I remember the first time I played a Resident Evil game before the last two where zombies weren't actually in them.  The zombie sounds from those games are the best I've ever heard in a game and the Nemesis still gives me the palpitations when I think of having to avoid it and finally kill it....lol.

This book is written like a real medical diary with drawn diagrams and a hand written font which makes it look really like an authentic notebook of a medical investigation in the field.  I've only just started it but flicking through the diagrams and text it's quite gruesome and very well done.  One picture shows a zombie being surgically "investigated" and mentions the fact it doesn't seem to be aware....  It looks pretty annoyed though...lol.

It's so well written one could imagine this really happened and begins when the dead start waking up around the world beginning the apocalypse.  Some brave researchers desperately search for a cure to the "unfortunate" condition.  No-one knows the fate of the doctor whose notes are contained in the diary however according to the description on the back of the book, but I'm yet to read that far.

This little clip shows the author speaking about zombie movies.  Personally, and as one person commented I prefer to shoot them from a distance with a bloody big gun.  Preferably in the head.

You Can Fool Some Of the Dogs.....

 People will recognize this famous quote which I've changed to suit this little story:

"You can fool some of the people dogs all of the time, and all of the people dogs some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people dogs all of the time."

Today was my shopping and bills paying day so I also registered my dog as per city council regulations and also bought her a spiffy new collar because the old one was getting a bit frayed at the buckle.  She loves that darn thing and if I take it off at bath time she follows me around until I put it back on.

Her name is Bella and she's a black and tan Kelpie X  Red Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog) and very smart. So much so that sometimes I think she knows what I'm thinking.  Anyway, since we got a new collar I decided it was also time for the dreaded worming tablets.  Don't worry this isn't gross...XD.

Last time we went through this drama I bought what are falsely called "meat flavoured chews".  I get the proper medications from recommended companies, not cheap stuff that doesn't even work and probably contains who knows what dangerous chemicals.

That went down like a ton of bricks.  The chews had the consistency of hard rubber and she took one sniff, looked at me as if to say..."You have got to be kidding...."    

Irresistible to dogs, yeah...what a laugh.  Not my dog!  No way was she going to eat them.  I didn't think they even smelled like a meaty treat myself and with her sense of smell I can't imagine what they smelled like to her.  I ended up painstakingly chopping them up into tiny pieces and mixing them into a teaspoon of peanut butter so she would take them that way.  Crisis averted.    They are not cheap and if I had gone to the Vet here they would have charged me an arm and a leg and they give tablets which would have had the same result.

Bella has a few foibles.  She won't eat meaty bones and she's not really fond of meat in general which is something I've never come across in all my years of having dogs as pets.  Having said that I've also never had fussy little toy breeds either so it's probably quite common among some breeds.  

I've never given her canned food as I think it's just rubbish and unhealthy and she won't eat it anyway.   She will eat meat if it's prepackaged and cooked in a compressed roll from the refrigerated pet food dept and she will eat raw chicken wings and some raw and cooked vegetables as well as dry dog food.  Her favourite veggie treats are raw snow peas and green beans.  Because she won't chew meaty bones I give her rawhide chews and dehydrated real meat "bones' to keep her teeth healthy.   One bonus is she doesn't have bad breath and her teeth are pearly white...!!

Anyway, back to today's worming drama.  This time I got tablets that were small bone shaped and supposedly liver flavoured.   Right.....that worked...not.   I offered her one and I got the "look."  She did give one a cursory chew and immediately spat it out in disgust.  I don't know how what kind of dogs these are tested on but they must be really gullible...lol.  

So, it was back to the peanut butter solution.  A teaspoon made the medicine go down.  I wonder what I'll get next time.

I don't own a camera at the moment but she looks like this picture of a Kelpie I found on the Net as far as colouring goes.   She loves tennis balls too.




She is of a more stocky build with a deep chest and has some ginger/red undercoat beneath the black due to the Red Heeler parentage.  I never saw her parents as I got her from some people who had pups to give away and the parents were on a farm out of town.  Because many people don't want females because of the cost of de-sexing or the probability of unwanted breeding she was going to be put down as she was the only one left.  It cost me $280 for the operation five years ago, but it was worth it ten times over.

Many people who know of my Oblivion mods will possibly have seen My Dog Rosie which is based on the dog I had for 15 years before Bella.  Even after all this time I still miss Rosie as she was extra special.  Bella also has the same qualities but is more out going and has a different and at times stubborn character.





Sunday, 7 August 2011

Gothic 3 - Up All Night

Oh, I knew this would happen...  Since I started replaying Gothic 3 I've been up most of the night, every night for the last several days.   I saw the sun rise at 7am this morning after a marathon play session starting at 11pm the evening before.  Then I only shut it down and went to bed because my eyes almost needed matches to stay open and because my arthritic hands were so stiff and sore.

If you've never played a Gothic game you will be a bit lost in the following descriptions, but this is mainly for fans who will know what I'm talking about....and possibly new fans whose interest may be piqued about the games. 

Anyway, I ended up at Gotha, (via several other towns and location...lol...mainly just exploring this time) which used to be a Paladin stronghold before and during the war with the Orcs.  It's now cursed by a demon summoned by the god Beliar, and is full of undead....the paladins themselves.   There's a very good story behind it, and indeed the entire game, but if you haven't played the game it's a bit pointless explaining it in detail.

Anyway, the main reason I was up all night was to clear the area completely and get one of the sacred artifacts that was being held by the demon, as well as finding the teleport stone to Vengard, the capital city.   The city is behind a force field and the stone is the only way in....currently. 

That didn't take me all night of course, but when I arrived at Gotha I had to finish it and it was hard since I ran out of mana potions and was resorting to eating raw plants and fungi...ewww!    I'm primarily a mage so getting in close quarters with skeletons and zombies is a sure way to disaster.

Thankfully, I also have a good bow and did have a very useful companion, but he gave his life for the cause.  RIP Cyrus from Cape Dun!   Even healing him when I could get close enough wasn't sufficient in the end.  He has followed me all over Myrtana even after completing his quest and is, or was very useful. 

Gorn who was at Gotha as a prisoner until I released him isn't nearly as good or versatile as he only uses an axe where Cyrus uses bow and blade.  I say only an axe because Gorn has to get into close quarters to fight and just seems to endlessly fight rather than do much damage or so it seems.  I can't get at him to heal sometimes in large fights either, and healing the enemy by accident isn't the way to go!!  That's for masochists!!

For now until I head for the desert Varant and pick up Diego,  I'll rely on my druid spells to call animals to fight for me which is often better anyway as the animals don't seem to get stuck on things and seem to find paths to follow me much easier.  Copper, the other early companion is also six feet under and he wasn't very strong to start with.  I think the Orcs got him if I remember that far back, as he's a rebel and factions mean something in this game, even down to the armour I wear.

What made it epic and a lot harder, particularly at Gotha which is part of the main quest, is the whole thing has been beefed up and balanced by the Community Patch team as previously it was so easy it was laughable.  A few fireballs to the demon and it was dead, but not now.....now it's a worthy opponent.

You know when there are games like the Gothic series, Two Worlds and a few others around even though they are getting old now I find it hard to raise any enthusiasm for Skyrim.  I've only watched a couple of trailers and that was because someone suggested them to me.

The hype and promises don't impress me, especially after Oblivion and it's empty world and dumbed down game play which was saved only by modders.   Even though I will more than likely buy Skyrim I don't feel the anticipation many seem to.   Any functions like crafting armour, cooking, smithing, prospecting, actual factions and consequences, not to mention a living world that goes on around you and not because of you, have been done way before Bethesda even thought of it. 

Unless there is something very special to set Skyrim apart from other games of it's type it's going to seem like a copy of previous games to me, just with different graphics.  Even the horned helm worn in one of the Skyrim trailers is in the Gothic games.  I realize it's concept probably came from reality, but it looks exactly the same, even down to the colour and shape.

My preference in rpg's is medieval style rather than sci fi.  I wish more developers would put as much thought into their games as some of the developers of days gone by.  The day of the casual gamer is upon us....sadly.

Click to enlarge screen shots if so desired

The Demon of Gotha - best pic I could get under the circumstances.  Would have been easier if it wasn't for the cursed bony fellows and their rotting friends getting in my way and stabbing and poking me in the ribs all the time. And there are a lot of them.




I call down the lightning to smite thee....awesome spells in this game except the higher level and AOE ones take too long to cast, especially if you're about to be overwhelmed, so you have to get on a ledge or somewhere the mobs can't get at you which isn't easy.   That doesn't save you from archers though.  The visual effects are better than seen here...it's a matter of capturing it at the right time.



The now deceased Cyrus and a Warg which I tamed via a druid spell.   The Warg is trying to sniff it's name....lol.







Trolls in tandem.   Cyrus gave up on the crossbow and waded in with his sword.   I of course cast fireballs and healed Cyrus when necessary.  I'm not a great melee fighter so I keep my distance.






The Nameless treasure hunter.






Prospecting for gold.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Oblivion Experiment

A few screen shots of an experimental Oblivion race I put together after I was given the main files yesterday.

It gave me something to do after recovering from a virus that I thought started out as one of the migraine headaches I have on a regular basis.  I still feel like crap and I know I'm supposed to be answering emails among other things, but I'll get to that tomorrow or the next day.  I'm not ignoring anyone....just don't feel like talking at the moment, virtually or otherwise.  My apologies.

Anyway, the race is not much use except for screen shots as the eyes don't blink and there's very little facial expression although it is functional as far as game play goes I suppose.  Since screen shooting factors in as a very small percentage of my game play time, I doubt I will use the race except maybe for a few more pictures.

Hence...the experiment.     By the way, don't ask for it as the hair is private (separate mod files) and I imagine so are the rest of the race files although they could probably be found with some diligence.  I don't actually know where they came from myself, so I can't help there anyway.

You'll notice the lack of AA and some jaggies against the black background.  I forgot to enable it after some fiddling and indecision about Bloom and HDR.  I've gotten used to Bloom now and I prefer it to the eye jarring glare.  

As someone commented at Tesnexus a little while ago, (in a controversial hot topic), that screen shots with the jaggies are hideous and shouldn't be allowed as they are an offense to the eye,  among other things (slight paraphrasing as his words were even more offensive) ......enjoy and suck it up...   They weren't my screen shots he was talking about though as I don't have any at Tesnexus to be criticized, but I'm pretty sure it offended some people.  We commoners are treated so unjustly sometimes.  And that was sarcasm if no-one guessed.

Click to enlarge if so desired.

Ice Cream Sundae




Freckles






Porcelain Doll