Gaming

Blog 862: The Decline

I had played Skyrim several times before, but never as hard and deeply as I did this time. Part of that was simply the novelty of trying to hoover up all the stuff I’d never seen before — the 74 Creation Club packs, Dawnguard — but I think most is owed to the transformative pacing of Survival Mode.

So please indulge me one last blog about Skyrim before I return to playing… literally anything else. Oh god please, let me play anything else. It’s time to let it go.

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Nondescript

Blog 861: Robbie Enterprises Movie Company 2

I used to burn a lot of stuff to CD-Rs. Back in the day, it seemed like a reasonable way to keep stuff safe for… well, ever. Joke’s on me — burned CD-Rs have about a 20-year lifespan and, yes indeed, we are approaching that cut-off. I figured it was time to rescue what could be rescued and transfer everything to more reliable external hard drives. (Whether or not any of this junk is worth saving is another matter entirely.)

And then I discovered a whole heap of Lego stop-motion movies I had totally forgotten about. Enjoy!

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Gaming

Blog 860: Dawnguard

I don’t go to an Elder Scrolls game for vampires, nor do I go to them for home ownership; that’s why I didn’t buy Dawnguard or Hearthfire at the time. (Though, given the state of the rental/housing market these days, I can appreciate why others might enjoy murdering blood-sucking parasites and taking their property.) Meanwhile I am a sucker for a Morrowind callback, so of course I got Dragonborn.

But here we are with the Anniversary Edition and all those bits I missed are part of the package. I’ve so far got a lot of enjoyment out of Skyrim‘s Survival Mode, though the rest of the Creation Club content has been a bit of a mixed bag — but how does the other tentpole expansion pack hold up?

(I have been playing for weeks and simply not found anything of consequence that is obviously from Hearthfire, so I’m not sure if that means its integration is amazingly seamless or abysmally pointless.)

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Game Development

Blog 859: Past Mistakes

Sometimes, you just have to admit that you’ve ended up melding critical gameplay logic with artwork, and maybe that’s not such a great idea.

Yes, as I was working on beefing up my Milkshape model importer to automatically generate entire units, I stumbled into… well, an issue that had been on my mind for a while (as well as realising that making a model wholesale generate a unit is also a bad idea). Time to do a whole universe of rewiring to achieve absolutely no visible impact!

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Gaming

Blog 858: Creation Club

I actually tend to play my Elder Scrollses completely unmodded, accepting only official expansion packs. I find it’s rare for a modder to perfectly match the fidelity of a base game — not just in terms of art style, but also in terms of balance and structure. While you can get away with a lot in Warcraft III because each map is completely self-contained, the Elder Scrolls modding experience is additive: you put more stuff into the existing open world, and that means it has to fit.

Skyrim‘s Anniversary Edition comes with 74 pieces of so-called Creation Club content, which ranges from bite-sized chunks to full-on dungeons and houses. While Survival Mode is a systemic addition that settles across the whole world like it was always meant to be there, a number of other packs struggle to conform.

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Gaming

Blog 857: Surviving Skyrim (Anniversary Edition)

I have so many problems with Skyrim, but there’s still something compelling about it. Maybe the simple act of trudging through an expansive wilderness, replete with ancient ruins to explore, is enough to carry all its weaker elements.

Well, whatever — the legendary game that has been re-released more times than you’ve had hot dinners is at it again, and has finally appeared DRM-free on gog. I have to admit, this is the signal I’ve been waiting for to give it another go; I didn’t get all the expansion packs the first time around (only Dragonborn), and nor have I seen the visual upgrades of the Special Edition or the reams of “Creation Club” micro-packs that came after that.

Here we go again…

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Game Development

Blog 856: My Milkshape Brings All the Models to the Unity (Part II)

I wrote previously about how I had made a native Unity importer for Milkshape 3D model files — well, half of one. I managed to import geometry, beautifully and reliably, but I failed to get animations working; mainly because Unity’s animation systems are utterly opaque and incredibly poorly documented. No worries, I thought, direct Milkshape geometry importing is still a really useful addition and has saved me a lot of pain and annoyance over the months since I installed it.

But I am, if nothing else, a dreamer. I just knew that getting all the way woud be amazing, and so I decided it was time to try again. Those animations will go to the ball.

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Gaming

Blog 855: Ember

I tend to ignore game store sales. Sales are so frequent that missing one is irrelevant, because there will be another. I don’t really buy games to stack up into a backlog either; I’ll usually wait until I’m in the mood for something new, and then I’ll see what’s on sale at that moment and let that guide me (or ignore the discounts and pay full price for something like a god damn rube).

But sometimes you’re between games and a discount comes up for a thing that’s on your wishlist, and since that takes it to 69p (nice) it seems almost rude not to pick it up. Thus is the story of how I bought RPG Ember.

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