Monday, 26 March 2012

RealSwords and WAC Content for Skyrim

Just a quick additional note for anyone who used RealSwords and/or Waalx Animals and Creatures in Oblivion and might be interested in knowing that some (a lot) of these things are being converted.   Some things, mainly creatures, can't be done though because they are based on Oblivion meshes, but some can and are being done.   Not by me though.  I'm not that talented.

RealSwords Nord is already released at the Nexus as I mentioned in a previous post, but you can read about what else is happening either here at Waalx forum (needs registration)

Or here at the Official forums, but not all info is there.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Skyrim and a Late New Year's Resolution

You know I really, REALLY have to stop reading doomsday posts on various forums when new patches are coming out, or have been released for Skyrim, and how people's games are adversely affected.  I'm going to attempt to make it my late New Year's Resolution for 2012, but how many people stick with their

Sometimes it can be entertaining in a "face palm" kind of way.   The number of posters who create threads, particularly on the Official forums, complaining about what they hate about the game, are never playing or buying another Bethesda game, or just want their 15 minutes of forum fame by starting a flame war never ceases to amuse me.  It might be a bit twisted but I often enjoy reading about the drama and stupidity of my fellow humans as long as it's not about me.

And there's another subject I'll be talking about at some point in the near future.  Forums and the people who inhabit and hide behind them.   It won't be especially pleasant and I know there are a lot who will agree with me.  It won't be about any specific forum, but I'm sure people will get the gist of it and will know of similar situations.  I'm just happy to have found this outlet to voice my frustrations on various topics, and though I could, if I wanted to be, quite outspoken and vitriolic, most times I find that to be counter productive.  Anyway, as I said, that's another story.

 Back to business...After reading the "horror" posts on a couple of forums (again) I was once hesitant about updating my game to the 1.5 patch.  I finally bit the bullet and ended up going ahead, and I'm having no issues whatsoever.  Not the underwater bug, no shadow problems, (in fact I think they look much better) and no crashing on fast travel or entering buildings which seem to be the main complaints.   I also think the graphics look better or sharper, which might be my imagination, and I'm not using the DLC graphics patch because my system would hate me.  I do have a lot of  mod texture replacers though.

Having said that I am still using, and will continue to use the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.

However, I think a lot of problems, (but not all obviously since I've had previous genuine issues as have other people), are due to the fact many users have no idea how to manage their game or the desire to find out.  Sometimes it comes down to laziness, not reading the documentation and unreasonable expectations.  Patches to a base game are NOT supposed to be made to accommodate the myriad number of mods and their users and the sooner people realize this the better.  For the most part mods are also not created with other mods compatibility in mind otherwise it would be almost impossible to actually do anything.

I have noticed a few things with the 1.5 patch though.  My bow damage skyrocketed and the archery kill cam often doesn't complete or kill the victim.  I'm not really sure about the bow damage part as it may be tied into perks or some other variable and I'm not into the facts and figures behind it.  I'm not complaining though as it still seems to be balanced between enemies and myself.   Apparently there's a glitch with smithing, but I'm already at 100 so I can't comment on that and I only have one character at present.  The navmesh bug was supposedly fixed, but it seems it needs another look over as this seems to be the cause of the problem with house mods causing CTD's and I believe Bethesda are aware of it.

I have noticed improvements to companions.  I have Marcurio and Meeko.  They both have much improved sneaking and the biggest bugbear of mine where they would block doors seems to have been fixed, especially for Meeko and I assume Vigilance.  Meeko now moves away as soon as I bump him.  I saw Marcurio do a sneak roll move as well when we were creeping up on a bandit camp, which was quite a surprise and he doesn't break my sneak anymore....or not so much, but it's usually because he's been spotted while I'm still in sneak mode.

I realize the humanoid companions can be told to move via their menus, but that annoys the crap out of me.  I hated companion menus in Oblivion and I detest it in Skyrim.  Since there obviously has to be a way to communicate with companions I would have liked to see the same system as used in New Vegas with the companion wheel, but you can't have everything.  Unfortunately.

 I've done my fair share of complaining here about issues I've had with the game and when it actually comes down to it they are relatively minor things in the grand scheme...for the most part.  I almost gave up altogether when all my saves were corrupted, or so the game thought awhile back.  That made me so angry I can't describe it after 100's of hours invested but now with my new character I'm at 119 hours and level 59,
(oops 49) so I'm crossing fingers and toes it doesn't happen again.  I haven't even finished the main quest once yet because of the problems I've had, and not for lack of trying.

I have a list of things I think should have been done better, but neither am I a programmer or game developer.  Games with the scope of Skyrim are bound to have bugs and glitches and the rushed release date made that so much more obvious this time round.   That's where I put the blame the most and that's not so much on the developers as the "money men" and hype filled advertising with the usual failed promises.

I'm not a fan"girl" by any means though.  Bethesda games are always buggy and I don't worship the ground any game developers walk on like many do.  If it weren't for the fact that Bethesda games are so moddable and open world, I probably wouldn't even bother keeping the games installed after one play through.  I've always been of the opinion that Oblivion was like a half finished canvas shipped so modders could finish and polish it.  I found it to be shallow and highly repetitive and the only reason I continued to play it was because of mods.

People keep comparing Skyrim to either a fully modded Oblivion, which is unfair, or to Morrowind which is also a bit silly.   MW was the first RPG I ever played and as much as I loved it, at the time, I would never go back to that style of play.  It's also another game main quest I never finished despite the time I put into it over the years until Oblivion came along.

One of these days I'll post the mods I'm using and recommend, if anyone  But, I tried out the Horse Armour mod and it is just amazing.  Much better by far than a cheap DLC, I might add.  Another mod I added last night is Skyrim Monster Mod and I'm having a blast with that one as well.  I used MoMod for New Vegas and the authors work is just as good this time and importantly for me, lore friendly.

Horse Armour - works with companions horse mods as well as you can see.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Skyrim Official Patch 1.5 Beta Vs Unofficial Patch Beta

Well the Official Skyrim Patch 1.5 is in Beta at the moment, but I'll be holding off this time and making bloody sure Steam doesn't download even when it when it goes live out of Beta, UNLESS I damn well say so.  I don't know how many times I've changed the options in Steam to say "Do not keep this game updated" and it doesn't apply.   I'm sure new killcams are very exciting for some, but I'm more interested in bug and quest fixes before cinematics.  Besides that this patch breaks the CK so that will also need patching. 

However because of a Steam issue I'm having it will probably bite me in the backside and download, but maybe, just maybe I'll catch it first.  I'm finding myself joining some of the Steam bashers.  Lately I've been having an issue with Steam where it won't shutdown when I want it to after I exit the game, or if the game CTD's and I've finished playing for the time being.  This requires me to login to Steam, otherwise it says there's no valid info on my computer and it cannot be run offline because of whatever is causing the error.  This would probably be fixed by rebooting the PC, but since the process won't end and is looped, ie - shutdown any program using this app - (and none are after ending an offending one in Task Manager, which is usually a process called Game Overlay), or I get an error message followed by the same shutdown process crap.   Steam updated last night after one of these little forays into annoyance land, so hopefully it fixes itself next time I play.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.   The Unofficial Patch team (Kivan atm) has released Beta 1.2 which when you compare the list of important fixes against the Bethesda patch is really something of wonder.  Four  months approximately, including testing and checking, and only two of those months with the CK, and this is what is produced compared to five patches from the developers and one of those in particular broke so many things...

Official topic with download link 

Download link which is in the forum topic anyway.

The wise dragon says...check out the Unofficial Patch now....

The list is huge.  Granted many things like misplaced trees aren't that dire in the scheme of things, but the number of quest and other things like game mechanics, mesh and textures fixes, creature and NPC fixes, dialogue, item placements, and much, much more is amazing.  Why has it taken the actual developers of the game this long to even acknowledge a tiny fraction of these, in particular the important yet broken quests, some of the perks (ie block), crafting exploits and other much talked about issues that need to be addressed. 

Bashing Bethesda for their buggy games is just a pointless exercise and the fanboys and girls who worship the ground they walk on can think what they like, but I have to wonder why Bethesda is focusing on things like killcams and gimmicks they know all the cool kids will go ape over, when vital things like broken quests and perks seem to be way down on the list of priorities.  New features would be nice, and I like the cinematics myself as long as they aren't too frequent, and as some have asked, there's an option to turn them off if preferred.    The game bugs and glitches should be fixed once and for all by the actual people who made the game and not leave it to modders to fix as every other TES and Fallout game.  And, yes I know they probably have different teams for different things, they also have to code for consoles, and these things have been said a million times by people, but really....

Here's a link to the Official Beta Patch changelog and a video.   It's opt in at Steam at the moment so back up important saves before trying it out.   You may or may not detect my lack of enthusiasm due to previous experiences with "Official patches."

Oh, what happened here.....they are broken.

Let's wait and see.  I'm afraid I have more faith in our experienced and respected modders to do the important things than the actual developers, and more results in a shorter time frame.  

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Lottery Win

I got a letter from the South Australian Lotteries last week with a cheque for $10.00.  It was from December so I must not have checked it properly.

A few more zeros would have been nice, and they took out a small commission, but it amused me.  I have a membership card so it I do hit the big one at least I'll get the money at some point.  Then again I only buy a coupon once in a blue moon so that doesn't seem likely... One can only dream.

Horses, Followers and Fun With Draugr

I found an excellent mod that allows followers to ride their own horse and to say it works beautifully is an understatement. 
Horse For Followers

There are a couple of mods like this but I tried this one first and I cannot say enough how much I'm loving it.  I wish Bethesda had done something like this for followers at the very least.

Mind you there are a lot of comments where people are having problems but it may be other follower packages or something else.  I have no idea really.  All I know is it works for me.  I purchased my first horse at the same time as Marcurio's from the stables at Whiterun via the dialogue options and it worked.  I also don't have any other mods that affect followers or horses except Essential Horses and I don't plan to use different followers, at least for this character and she's my only one at the moment since i got my game working properly.

I must admit I've only used it so far with Marcurio, but he's well and truly got the idea.  But, I can't see why other followers shouldn't be the same as their packages should be basically similar, except maybe for the House Carls like Lydia, who I don't use as her comments annoy me.   Not only does Marcurio mount when I do, but he dismounts when an enemy is near and attacks them.  If I remount my horse and ride off leaving him to find his horse, he does so, no matter how far back it is and catches up to me.  It's like it was already in the game.

I just wish I could do a quick dismount myself instead of the awkward almost fall off my horse animation, and sometimes having to mash the E key to get off when I'm ambushed.   The only thing about this mod and it's not a the author, Jorne, made the horses run away a short distance when danger approaches, whereas my horse runs in like a kamikaze. Sometimes we have to find his horse, especially if we're in a wooded area...and mine as well since they don't have a location marker.  However, as I said, I've taken to just mounting up and moving on and he finds his horse without any problems. 

This is a better pic of my character Sonje.  She's a Nord, a light armour, sword and shield warrior.and I have Marcurio as ranged backup. Sooner or later I'm going to do some writing and outline some characters and adventure stories which I'll post here.

These next two screen shots are of Draugr using weapons from RealSwords Nord which is soon for release.
Shingouki is doing a great job of getting these weapons in game and the other racial blades will follow later.

Poor Farkas.  I did heal him after although he's essential for this quest.  Just makes me feel