Important Site Docs
- Category: Giskard's Blog
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 16:07
- Written by Giskard
- Hits: 402
No milk jokes today, just an update on the progress so far.
I have the NecroMages, ShockMages, Witches and Adventures to sort out now and then thats it, the NPCs will all have been cloned and the editing can begin. I'll have to clone various leveled lists too since they hold the equipment I need to edit and thats a job in its own right but it occurred to me that if I insert the default leveled lists back in to my cloned versions of the same list, any mod that edits the default lists will have its content automatically added to the Skyrim Overhaul.
Otherwise that content would not automatically appear unless the modder added it to some custom item.
A simple idea that I completely overlooked in CUO, so the Skyrim Overhaul will be slightly better off for this idea than CUO was.
Whilst cloning the NPCs and Creatures I have been struck by how boring and generic everything in Skyrim seems to be. For example, the Mages, here is a list of Mage names from the existing game, just to give you some idea of how little imagination Bethesda has for these sort of details.
And so on.
When they do try and get creative they use words that simply do not suit the period and then only at very high levels do those new names appear. For mages you need to stop and think what a bandit mage would be called, what sort of organization would they be part of. Then create the name from that.
For example... better names for these mages would be
Frost Cult Mage
Fire Clan Mage
Solstice Fire Clan Mage
Or for clan or cult leaders
Names that go with the period, unlike Pyro and Cryo.
Necromancers are the only mages that sound about right in the game to me. Unlike Novice Ice Mage, how dull is that. How about "Ice Cult Initiate" instead ?
Don't you think that sounds better than endless lists of generic and unimaginative naming schemes.
Even the Drauge could be spiced up as I said in the first dev diary. Ask yourself this, which sounds better.
Drauge or "Dead Walker"
Drauge Wight or "Sentient Dead Walker".
Drauge means Walking Dead
Wight means "Sentient Creature"
So the names say the same thing but I think they sound better.
Let me know what you think in the mods development thread on the forum.
PS In case you have not noticed, these Dev Diaries are not being shared outside this website. This are for this websites regulars mostly.
- Category: Giskard's Blog
- Last Updated on Monday, 14 May 2012 15:32
- Written by Giskard
- Hits: 372
Another Dev Dairy for Milk Drinkers... Opps.. typos :)
Well I finished making SKO_ versions of every NPC and Creature I need to use for the mod, that is whole 3 days doing nothing but selecting a NPC or Creature, clicking on duplicate and then adding SKO to the start of the name and removing copy001 from the end.
Real modders know this is job to get finished and just do it... they are not afraid of the work.
3 long boring days work that most overhaul makers I have spoken too in my time would never bother with in the first place. Thats the difference between my way of making overhauls and the old way that causes so many avoidable problems.
3 boring days will save me from spending the next 5 years making patches to fix issues for this mod because 99% of problems overhauls face will be avoided completely because of this initial step.
How cool is that...
Fact is CUO was a great design for an Overhaul, everybody who used it saw the benefits right away and its only this initial boring part that stops it being widely adopted for all overhauls because most modders simply cannot be bothered putting in this work. Yet they should... it makes a massive difference.
Which is why the same mod plan is being used for Skyrim now.
I have already started adding new templates to the NPCs and Creatures I have cloned, this will mean 100s of NPCs can be edited by editing that template once I am done. Speeding up tweaking from a days work to 1 minutes work in some cases with ZERO conflicts possible.
Again proof this is time well spent, even if its terribly boring and painful on the old bottom, sitting in the same position in a chair for so long.
After that it is time to organize a new set of custom leveled lists and then assign them to my custom NPCs and the games default Spawn points.
The Default Spawn points at the one part I cannot avoid editing, that is my chosen conflict for this mod the thing players will have to pay attention too.
It also means if a house mod maker deletes a spawn, my changes will be removed from that point in the world too, allowing his house to work without a sabretooth cat approaching his front door.
Adding spawns tends to create problems like that for other mods.
Though I expect I'll have to place some new spawns and I am already planning on adding some custom triggers to parts of the world to add cool encounters to the game using scripts.
- Category: Giskard's Blog
- Last Updated on Monday, 14 May 2012 10:27
- Written by Giskard
- Hits: 367
The news that Fileplanet is closing has come as a bit of a shock but IGNs statement that they will be supporting modders in the future, combined with the statement that they regard the Fileplanet style site to be obsolete these days gives us pause for thought.
In recent years there has been no new fileplanet style sites rising to become major players in the modding world and those that exist are increasingly threatened by a brand new type of mod hosting site that is currently rising to dominance.
For example here are a few that have appeared over the last few years.
All of which offer games and support for players, modding support is a little hit and miss but very much there for individual games. Bringing something new to even the single player experience.
I think IGN have noticed this hole in the market for an all encompassing gaming social site and are planning to replace the existing sites with a site that probably feels more like a gamers facebook with groups you can join for games you like instead of tons of different logins.
Google+ already has this, in fact the Guild has a page up for our stuff already. But google is hardly a gamers site.
These systems are not perfect yet, none of them tick all the boxes and forcing modders in to a social environment where trolls can easily take shots at us is not likely to be too popular unless a site does tick all the right boxes. Steam is currently learning this the hard way.
I said a while ago that we heading for a world where your right to access everything is not guaranteed, where players and modders will have a choice who to talk too and share with, just like we do on sites like facebook. These new gamer social sites are the first step down that road.
If you like trolling against modders, your going find your self left out of the coolest groups, unable to access the coolest stuff. That is the future.
In time things will settle down and we will see a change from download only pages to adware based sites that pay for them selves by selling us digital downloads and dlcs directly from the social sites pages. We may even see the digital stores threatened by this or benefiting from this.
All the major companies want us on their new social site right now. That is where we are being drive too and many do not like it. We are not being given anything we want from most of those sites, they are offering us something they think we want which is their first and most fatal mistake.
Giving modders direct control over their content saves a lot of admin problems and removes the need to moderate or admin sites as much, it stops the likes of Nexus playing god with other peoples hard work and abusing their position within the community. It puts the player/modder in charge of their own content and allows him to decide who gets it.
Real world values apply... real world rules govern behavior, you troll you lose out... nobody gives cool stuff to dickheads in the real world. That is something the net badly needs right now. Real world values of right and wrong and civilized interactions with each other and that is what these social sites provide.
Blocking somebody is the fastest way to tell them to piss off after all.
Currently no site is doing a very good job of this, EA Origins just sucks and is just a platform for EA to sell is over priced games in the worst way possible. Steams community features are so glitchy that most features do not work as described and features modders want to see are not being added because steam likes a more open environment and cannot actually support real blocking of trolls.
The Bioware Social site is another EA site and its just one massive troll fest with moderators trying to kill off fan sites by insisting all fan material gets posted on their social site.
NOT GOING TO HAPPEN EA!
Ironically the Sims 3 seems to have achieved a happy balance, its another EA game, before that Spore also did pretty well with its own built in game community, again another EA game. So why does EA screw up much when it has some success stories.
Well I think for EA its always about money, they put money first, they need to get more and more money so they change things and spoil them, destroying the very thing that made their earlier attempts special.
I believe if IGN and sites like that do not step up to fill the gap, in game social pages will kill off IGN and all similar sites because game content will be sent directly to the players playing the game.
This is the battle to come, we have seen little wars over this already but things are gearing up for a world war on this topic, a massive battle for dominance and the deciding factor will appear several years after the war kicks off when EA and the like pull down their servers for older games and fans are forced to stop playing those games, at that point IGN and sites like them will win.
Opening a door for something even cooler, in game site support, select the social site you want to sign in too and use that to store your stuff instead of EA and others. I see that 5 to 10 years away for gamers. Once the net and the gaming world establishes standards for it.
At what point the in game community will fade in favor of sites like IGN as players realize its safer to find a jack of all trades site than to use built in communities. Even Steam may fall foul of this at some point.
MMOs are a different kind of game of course, their sites act as social sites for their games. So I doubt they will change much.
As a modder I know 95% of my older mods are no longer available online because game specific sites that hosted them have closed down. Mods usually only remain available for about 5 years and then they are gone. Uploading them again does not revive interest in an ancient game. But not uploading them does stop support requests from users 5 years after I stopped playing that game though and forgotten what I did in my mods.
How does it affect sites like the Guild ?
It leads to less regular readers for us but not less traffic. We get more traffic but a less than loyal readership. That makes it harder to make large mods without regulars for voice work and makes most mods in to what ever a single guy can make.
It is actually already happening to the guild right now, take a look at the forum, even before the summer slow down, the forums started to fade the moment we started using steam and google heavily.
For me its finding a balance between what I tell users on other sites and what I keep for my own site users. Even a battle between what i post on the main site and what I post on the forum.
Yet we offer things none of those sites have allowed for and cannot provide without our help. So whether those sites do provide what we provide or not is basically down to people like me choosing to support them instead of our own website. Because we are the creators of that material, they need us.
Something Bioware Social Site moderators found out when their heavy handed approach to getting modders to use the Bioware social site resulted in many of us leaving it instead of supporting it. They wanted us but gave nothing back in typical EA fashion.
Gaming Social Sites
Social sites have become a great way for us to get the word of about new mods and guides, so they are now very important to the Guild. But its hardly a specialist audience we are promoting our stuff too. Social sites have a large mix of different people on them and less than 1% may be interested in what we offer.
If IGN do wish to head down the social site road, they would create an audience that is 100% gamer. Which would make them a very attractive site to join for modders and site owners like my self. Steam is already 100% gamer but is only just moving down this road it self.
These days social sites know that no site is an island or they die, we interlink, interact, those who do that the best win. That is the new modern world we are racing towards as gamers.
I have thought it odd for a long time that the gaming community still hangs on to the specialist gaming site idea in this modern world. The none gaming social sites have already moved on, we gamers are dragging our feet here.
- Category: Giskard's Blog
- Last Updated on Sunday, 13 May 2012 13:50
- Written by Giskard
- Hits: 312
Every time I write Diary I keep seeing Dairy, so this a Dev Dairy for you Milk Drinkers lol.
Anyway welcome to the first Dev Diary for the Skyrim Overhaul, a mod that will revamp most of the game world without actually editing anything that the Navmesh bug can break. Which I admit is going to limit what I can do but there is plenty of other stuff I can focus on and there is no reason why I cannot bring my quest making/Script creating talents to bare on the humble overhaul idea just as I did for the Cyrodiil Upgrade Overhaul for Oblivion.
Currently I am cloning the Draugr really for build new custom leveled lists to avoid most conflicts, its a lot of extra work most overhaul makers do not bother with but I find a few days spent cloning stuff now saves me months of incompatibility issues after release. So this extra time spent now, saves time later.
Edit: Too 4 hours of work to do just the Draugr in the end. 4 hours work most overhaul makers do not bother putting in at all. Yet these where 4 of the most important hours spent on an overhaul.
This is the most boring part of overhaul creation btw, endless lists of forms that need copying and renaming. YAWN.. still it separates the men from the boys because this is a necessary stop for avoiding problems. Those who take compatibility seriously always clone the items they intend to edit. Only editing defaults when they have little or no choice.
Btw did you know Draugr means Animated Body of the Dead in old Nordic, or "one who walks after death" in Icelandic. See what you learn when you read this blog. Lots of useless information :)
Wight is an English Word meaning living sentient being, so aq Draugr Wight is "one who walks after death" "living sentient being". Lol... Guess Bethesda did not look up the meaning of both words :)
RPG games have changed the meaning of Wight to soul sucking bad guys, so I guess we can ignore this little error.
Still I could call Draugr Wight's, Sentient Death Walkers, it would be more accurate than Draugr Wight and say basically the same thing in 1 language instead of borrowing from English and Nordic and making mistakes.
The Draugr are the single biggest category of NPCs that need editing, there are literally hundreds of them, what annoys me is they all look the same so what are all these variations for. How many of you have noticed any real differences between Draugr of the same level except male and female differences ?
Yes, exactly my point.... lots and lots of extra work right there.
I am using the SKO_ Prefix for all my edits to make it easier to find them but when dealing with 100s of SKO_ files, finding a template to switch a cloned NPC over too is actually hard and error prone. So I renamed all the templates to AAA_ then added them to the SKO_ NPCs before changing AAA_ back to SKO_. Its proven to be a real time saver and more reliable too.
I should also add that I am only cloning the ENC NPCs and Creatures, those are the ones used in normal spawn points so none of this will effect quest creatures or NPCs. Only default spawns will be effected by these changes.
Another thing I found whilst doing this is the Face Presents used at the start of the game when creating a new character so I am going to see if I can expand those to include many more presents. The game currently has that everything looks the same feel about it, lots of people inter breeding with their mothers and fathers to create entire races that look related to each other. So I'll try and add some variety to the player presents early on, if it lets me.
Once the NPCs and Creatures are cloned and working, I'll create some leveled lists to hold them, I am thinking I may series of standard leveled lists and set them up so they support the player character at various stages of the player characters development. For example level 1 lists might support the player up to level 10. Level 2 lists might support the player from Level 10 to level 20 and so on.
Then when I add them to the official spawn lists, I'll use mostly level 1 for early levels, with the odd level 2 thrown in for a nasty surprise. Then at a slightly higher level, there will be more level 1 spawns and more level 2 spawns and the odd level 3 spawns. Then at a slightly higher level than that, there will be a lot of level 1 spawns, a good number of level 2 spawns, a normal amount of level 3 spawns and the odd level 4 spawn.
This way when a level 1 baddie spawns in the late game, there will be more of them than in the early game. So you still face low ranking baddies, but they gang up on you in the late game. And early on you have a chance of meeting a baddie thats slightly harder than you are as well as baddies of the same level that you would expect to meet.
Thats what I am thinking anyway.
So far I have made ZERO changes to any of the stats of the creatures of NPCs so they are default right now, its just the number and composition that will change at first. Later when I got back and tweak them, the cool stuff will be added.
I will need lots of volenteer beta testers for this first esp in the Skyrim Overhaul, its going to need to be tested properly in a real game over a period of weeks so you "I'll test it at the week end types" are not going to be much help to me. This will need installing and leaving installed during a full game.
- Category: Giskard's Blog
- Last Updated on Saturday, 12 May 2012 10:32
- Written by Giskard
- Hits: 920
Fileplanet is being archived. This means no new submissions are being taken and whats left will be held in a kind of statis bubble from now on. Archived sites tend to stay the way they where on the day they where archived so you can expect the same news and the same files to remain on the site for as long as it remains open.
Sad news but then again Fileplanet and the related planet sites have all been under performing of late, their software is just not suitable for hosting mods for multiple games. The number of logins for their sites is messy and those running the sites have been asking for changes for years and not getting any.
So we may see Fileplanet return under a different name with brand new software and a brand new system later if this is part of a new upgrade to the entire system. OR we may be seeing the end of the IGN hosting network. Since IGN is a huge organization, I would expect something else to appear to take over from Fileplanet at some point.
Regarding the 900 megs of Fallout 3, Fallout NV and Elder Scrolls Oblivion mods I have uploaded there. I have no desire to test drive another mod hosting site only to have various trolls interfere with my uploads and my accounts as happens on a regular basis within the Elder Scrolls community. So once they are gone, they are gone.
I believe given the state of Skyrim, most of Beth games are about to go down the sewer anyway so I doubt anybody will miss these mods in a few years time. We will all have newer things to enjoy.
If a site out there that hosts mods and does not let trolls interfere with a mod makers account exists or work and I get certain assurances about the safety of my work and my account, I may consider using that site as my primary download spot for my Fallout and Oblivion mods. But I am not actively looking for such a site.
I am currently looking at a change of direction for my Elder Scrolls modding, but thats for a new blog not for this one.
- Category: Giskard's Blog
- Last Updated on Friday, 11 May 2012 11:52
- Written by Giskard
- Hits: 669
Following on from my Skyrim too buggy to mod blog from last year, it seems like all my predictions for Skyrim have or are coming true. With no fix for the Navmesh bug and Beth no longer producing regular patches now they are working on that Xbox DLC, we have little hope of seeing the Navmesh bug fixed at all it seems.
On Steam, Google and other places, people are already getting bored of Skyrim, 350 hours seems to be the rough average for the hard core players before they finally give up and go and play something else.
Whilst we wait to see if Beth is ever going to fix the bugs so we can make mods for their game, this site is dying a death as less and less people show any interest in Skyrim. It has become a matter of survival to drop Skyrim and move on to other pastures. Which makes me wonder what other sites supporting TES exclusively are doing about this. Will they still be around in 5 years time at this rate.... or will Beth have to release constant series of cheapo cash cow TES releases to keep people interested without mods to do that for them for free. Reducing the value of the series like to players, EA does to their games.
All of which reminds me strongly of Fallout 3 and Fallout NVs life spans, they all died around the same number of hours because of the same unfixed bug stopping modders from adding more longevity to those games.
I think 350 hours is a good number of hours for Bethesda games, but since we know you can add a zero to end of that if you add mods to the mix, its a real shame to see it go this way.
Without mods most Beth games stay a talking point for average players for 3 months at most for most people, after which the games just drop off cliff, you never hear about them after that.
Oblivion and Morrowind kept in the news for years, even a decade for Morrowind because of cool mods being released all the time but both those games had a working editor with no navmesh issues to worry about. They used the pathgrid system which does work with mods, not the Navmesh system that does not.
Sadly we are already at the point where any Navmesh fix will come too late for most players and modders, they have already moved on. Beth have waited too long and killed their own game dead for most players. Some may return for the DLCs but many such as my self have no plans to invest in DLCs when we brought the game to mod it and cannot do it because of bugs.
Many users decribed the reason they kept playing Oblivion for 5 years as being because of my mods. Well it seems like your not going to have that for Skyrim.
I am already looking around for new games to mod whilst keeping some new Skyrim project ideas running just in case Beth do fix it. But right now my minds on Sins of the Solar Empire Rebellion which is great btw and Guild Wars 2 which is looking very good indeed.
Guild Wars 2 is rather expensive at about £50 but its one of the few MMOs where you buy the game once and play it for free. Other payment models I liked are the monthly fee with the game being a free download this is good value for most players who do not play games for longer than 3 months unless they really like them.
Having to buy the game and pay a monthly fee like WOW users do seems a little cheeky to me. Especially since a monthly fee is less than £10 and usually if an MMO is crap, all you have lost is 1 months money. But if they charge for the game too, you lose £30 but typically get the first month free. Personally I consider the buy the game and pay a monthly fee method to be a show of no confidence in their game so they want to get as much money out of you early on as possible because they know your not going to stick around for long (usually).
I also like the play and download for free but buy in game items as upgrades method. This allows you to invest as much as you like in your game or as little as you like. But when you cannot get a good basic game without paying for upgrades then I think its a bit of a rip off, they might as well charge a monthly fee because a bottomless money pit is not a popular idea for anything, least of all games. This side of MMOs whilst cool, really need to settle down in to a clearly defined workable system. Currently its still in flux.
But anyway... this year we have seen a lot of good games released with more on the way.
Without mods, Skyrim is just a standard light weight RPG that raises expectations higher than its ability to deliver on its promises. A little like a woman with a padded bra or a guy with a sock down his pants.
I gave in to my site users last year for Fallout NV and allowed it to stand despite its bugs, but I have not felt right about that decision, it sends the wrong message to developers and says its perfectly okay to release seriously bugged games.
Clearly its not.
So this year Skyrim will not be on the game of the year list, it has been disqualified for being too buggy to play, it will be the policy of this site from now on to automatically disqualify all games released in a very buggy state from any game of the year vote.
I'll use the time it takes to fix any release day issues as a guide, less than 1 month = fine, more than 1 month = disqualification since the issues are more serious than simple release day jitters.
And that will be the only message we sent about Skyrim come September.
Far from rewarding Bethesda for releasing a game in such a mess, we will be expressing our displeasure at the way these things have been handled, I find I may make the Buggiest game award title "The Bugsada Award" since Bethesda make the buggiest games I have ever seen.
Seriously.... and they are getting worse.
I may even draw up a history of Bethesda Bugs in detail before than to show you just how bad things have gotten and why they are getting worse for Bethesda games.
Short version, its because they are not fixing the bugs reported to them so they turn up again in future releases. Things have gone downhill a lot since Morrowind and its not hard to demonstrate.
Just ask any merchant what time he was supposed to open in Skyrim or use the Wait feature in oblivion a little too quickly. Same problem... not fixed and thats a player issue, wait until you get to the modding issues.... OMG!
Bethesdas future games may not work for anybody at all at this rate.
Even now 6 months after release Steams Skyrim forum is still full of reports from people who cannot even get the game to load, or have other issues caused by the new scripting and quest system that is error prone by design.
So Skyrim is disqualified from our game of the year vote for being to buggy. But expect to see it in the Bugsada Award Category that reveals some of the worst games for bugs releases over the past 12 months.
Other games fair better, and have proven to be very stable at release time.
Some lack polish but are great fun such as Risen 2.
Others like Sins of the Solar Empire Rebellion looks exactly like the original Sins from from 2008 but have added elements that the original needed badly. Making it highly addictive today. They are calling this a X4 Strategy game btw. The wiki for X4 games describes these games as ""explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate" which makes sense, that is what most games claiming to be X4 do.
Btw the new Sins is moddable too :)
I might have to dust off my 3d modeller programs :)
European Escalation is also a good game and got a good reception from players, though not really my thing, I prefer Ruse. Not to mention Tropico 4, the best City game available right now.
So far this years been a very good year for games on the PC. So its a good time to look around for newer material and let the cripples to die from what ever bug turns out to be fatal for them in the end.
I have seen several major developers go under after rehashing the same material or releasing buggy games. Bethesda are making all those mistakes, its just a matter of time before the Bethesda Buzz wears thin on their victims... sorry I mean customers. Its so hard to tell what we are to them some days.
One thing I do now is if they cared about their customers they would fix all the bugs quickly before moving on to DLCs. Which is what they have done.
Also unlike Sword of Stars Developers who also released a terribly buggy game, Bethesda have not apologized for the state of Skyrim. Where as Sword of Stars Developers did and promised to put it right and have done. They released their game around the same time as Skyrim and even gave early customers free game content as part of that apology.
So which company wants our custom and which one thinks its so big it no longer has to care what we think... you decide.
- Category: Giskard's Blog
- Last Updated on Monday, 07 May 2012 08:04
- Written by Giskard
- Hits: 380
I am going to reply here to Gregs email about load orders since it may help other people.
Programs like Boss tend to give out a lot of bad advice to players and that usually leads to modders like me having to clean up their mess when things stop working and the players turn to me for bug fixes for issues my original mods do not have. Which is why i do not use boss or trust the team who make it. They create more problems than they solve.
People should be encouraging modders to make mods that have no load order specific requirements, mods that can work at any point in the load order regardless of the type of mod it is. But tools like Boss and those who use it encourage modders not to care about such things, which is why so many conflicts occur.
For example, given the choice between editing a dog in the game or copying it and editing the copy, most people edit the default dog and create a problem that needs BOSS to sort out. I encourage people to think twice about doing that and to always look at making something custom to their mod to avoid load order issues. Which is why my load order doc opened your eyes to some problems.
Steam Workshop has a good system involving BSAs and ESP files that makes it easy to block, override or delete content. But certain things like texture and mesh replacers can be installed loose, safely and cause very few problems, these usually do edit the defaults so only one of these mods should be used at a time.
Unfortunately the other types of mods are down to the modder and whether he chooses to be lazy and edit the defaults or does it properly and copies the item he wishes to edit first and then uses the copy. There is no way to know if a modder does that but if a modder is seen to do that once, the chances are he is like me and does that as standard.
The guy who made Midas Magic works this way for example, it does not matter what mod he makes, you know he has a safe way of working. Once you find a modder that does work that way, you should be fairly safe using his stuff, but the rest is hit and miss because far too many people use BOSS as a reason to not design mods properly. So I am afraid as long as people encourage folk to use Boss to get around these problems, there is no incentive for modders to learn to make mods properly.
As for house mods, these are the most basic form of mods and should rarely conflict with other mods, when a house mod does it usually means it was made without thought or consideration of other mods. Sometimes because the modder is a noob and just didnt know about it, and some times because the modder did not care.
Most house mods will work find with other house mods installed but beware it is classic noobie territory and noobies do make some mistakes. All you can do is report the issues to the modder and allow them to learn from those mistakes.
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