Once, the early Fallout RPGs were available on GOG. Then Bethesda and Interplay had a big fight, and Bethesda gained full rights to the Fallout series. Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics all promptly disappeared from GOG and Steam, and then—months later—returned to Steam only. That was it for the epic saga of The Company Who Owned A Thing. Until today.
GOG and Bethesda have finally struck a deal, and the Fallout games are back in DRM-free form on the distribution service. Also, GOG is now selling a number of other Bethesda-owned classics—all DRM free. Two of these new old games are being made available digitally for the very first time.
Here's what's now available:
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Game of the Year Edition
The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
The Elder Scrolls: Battlespire
Quake (includes Mission Pack 1 and Mission Pack 2)
The Ultimate DOOM
DOOM II + Master Levels for DOOM II + Final DOOM
A number of deals are also available throughout the next week. Purchase all three Elder Scrolls games, and you'll get a 33% discount. Purchase all three Id games, and you'll get a 33% discount. Purchase all three Fallout games, and you'll get a 66% discount. Finally, purchase any of the above games and you'll get The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall for free.
The team behind the Morrowind-based Skyrim mod Skywind has released an update video, to let everyone know they're "still alive and working just as hard".
The video runs through a few of the locations and creatures that those who've played Morrowind will recognise, but updated for the Skyrim engine: places like West Gash and Bitter Coast, and creatures like the impressive Kwama Forager and the adorable Guar Pup.
There's also mention of AI schedules and town clutter, which should serve to make this fan version of Morrowind feel a little more alive than the original. You can also see that intent in the trailer release back in March that shows the reimagined Seyda Neen, the starting town from the game.
We don't yet know when Skywind will be ready and available, but when it does come out you'll need legitimate copies of both Morrowind and Skyrim to run it.
Skyrim's taverns. They're cozy, they're comfy, but to be perfectly honest, there's not a whole lot to do in them except run in and sell a load of collected crap to the innkeeper and maybe knock a few things off the tables as you rush back out.
The Tavern Games mod aims to change that by adding two dice games, a card game, a board game, and even lottery tickets to Skyrim's inns and pubs. Just walk up to anyone in the tavern and begin a conversation, and there will be a dialogue option to play a game. Provided they have enough money, they'll agree to play. I mean, what else do they have to do besides sitting silently while eating comically large loaves of bread?
The games are relatively simple, and there's no animation when you roll the dice or play the cards—they just appear on the table—but it's still a nice way to spend a few minutes and try to win some cash. Here are the table games:
One player rolls two dice, and then guesses if his opponents roll will be higher, lower, or equal. If you bet on equal and win, you receive triple the payout. Get it wrong, and you lose triple your bet.
One player rolls two dice, and the total of that roll is multiplied by three—let's call that new total the Jack. After a coin flip to determine who goes first, the two players roll dice, trying to get as close as they can to the Jack without going over. If you bust, the other player wins. Hit the Jack exactly, and you win twice the bet.
The Battle of Heroes
A card game. Each player draws and plays three cards with numbers on them between 1 and 10. Add them up and that's your Hero Power for the round. At that point, you can choose to roll the dice up to two times to add to your Hero Power, though that dice roll costs gold which goes directly to the other player. In other words, you have to balance how much you stand to lose by rolling against how much you stand to win by having a higher Hero Power than the other player. Granted, it ain't exactly Gwent, but at least you can attempt to cheat.
Talk to the innkeeper and you'll be able to buy a rulebook for these games for a couple Septims. You'll also be able ask the tavern owner to play a board game with you.
The Daedra Challenge
This is probably the simplest game: dice rolls happen automatically and your pieces move around the board by themselves, attempting to get to the center first. Land on an arrow and you slide to the spot the arrow is pointing. Land on a skull, and you're asked a multiple choice question. Get it wrong, and you go back to the start. If you win, you get a gift from the innkeeper.
If you're looking for straight-up no-skill gambling, you might try purchasing a lottery ticket. Open it in your inventory to see if you've won, and if so, redeem it with an innkeeper. Prizes can be any number of things: gold, a spell book, potions, ingots, and even several nights of free room and board. I won two ingots! It was my lucky day.
Of course, if you know one thing about the rabble haunting Skyrim's taverns, it's that they don't exactly have a ton of gold, so most of the games you play will be of the low stakes variety (unless you yourself are just starting out and don't have much cash of your own). I did find a gambler named Gambler in the tavern in Solitude, however, who had a decent amount of Septims. He no longer does, thanks to a couple games of Dice Jack.
Remember that ambitious total conversion mod for Skyrim we covered earlier this year? Well, it's still in development, and while no release date has been confirmed just yet, the video above is the most substantial look at the mod in action I've seen yet.
Skyrim Enderal is developed by SureAI, the same team responsible for Nehrim: At Fates Edge, which was a total conversion project for Oblivion. It's well worth reading our interview with the team, where they discuss the logistic issues that abound when creating a hobbyist, non-for-profit mod that will (hopefully) rival the vanilla campaign.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Ben Barrett)
Skyrim Script Extender [official site], or SKSE to its sexy friends, is one of the most useful tools for making Skyrim do all the things you want it to with all those mods you use. Yes, even those ones you keep in the folder marked My Faxes, on the other> drive. It’s now available on Steam as a free addon that will install to your Skyrim folder and, according to the description, automatically run whenever you load up the game.
Given the success of Skyrim—and the upcoming release of Fallout 4—you might hope that Bethesda would have plans to announce a new Elder Scrolls RPG in the near future. Not so, according to Bethesda's Pete Hines.
During a chat with Dualshockers, the studio's VP of Marketing explained that Bethesda was still working on Fallout 4—a process that takes the entire studio's focus.
As such, Hines doesn't believe we're close to hearing about a new Elder Scrolls game. In fact, he believes it will be a "very long time" before the team is ready to talk about what they have planned after Fallout 4.
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given how close Fallout 4's own announcement was to its release. Skyrim was launched in late-2011, and it was only two months ago that Bethesda confirmed the existence of their next game.
Have you ever wished that Skyrim looked more like a Disney animated film, or maybe a Looney Toons classic? A Redditor by the name of UniqueUses has you covered: A mod called Toon Skyrim, which replaces the game's realistic-ish look with something more like Bugs Bunny might see after being clocked in the head with an apple.
"I'm basically making my own potato texture mod, with an enb and weather that goes with it to help hide that ugly lod," he wrote in the Skyrim Porn subreddit. "I like the potato texture style, but I think a lot of fixing up needs to be done for it to be playable. So I'm going to attempt to make things like signs and faces readable but still fit the potato style. For example, certain puzzles need to be seen, so I'm going to edit those."
"Potato texture," as Kotaku explained, is a flat, low-detail graphical style that's sometimes useful in getting games to run better on low-spec hardware. In this case, however, it doesn't sound like performance will be improved much because of the mod's use of an ENB, a sort of post-processing mod that adds additional effects to the game, but also places increased demand on hardware.
"All I'm doing is making the textures very small and then using an enb. So if textures size is a problem for somebody's pc then performance will go up in that area," he said in response to a question about Toon Skyrim FPS rates. "However enb's are very demanding. Turning off the ambient occlusion could make it at least break even with vanilla skyrim I imagine."
The mod isn't out yet, but the pre-release screens look fantastic. UniqueUses said he plans to upload the mod to Nexus Mods as soon as he's got the bugs worked out.
The following is an excerpt from The Most Dangerous Fantasy Game, a staple in the imaginary short story canon:
For a moment the general did not reply; he was smiling his curious red-lipped smile. Then he said slowly, "No. You are wrong, sir. The Giant Mudcrab is not the most dangerous big game." He sipped his mead. "Here in my preserve on this island," he said in the same slow tone, "I hunt more dangerous game."
Oh, so dragons.
Yes! Dragons! I was going to fake you out and say 'Man' but you caught on. Well done. Weird.
The dragon in the mirror
Short fiction in the Elder Scrolls universe would likely reflect less of man s existential concern with the self, and more of man s existential concern with being incinerated by an ancient, winged lizard-beast.
Through hours and hours of leveling up, finding gear, and building relationships, you can even the odds, somewhat. But, gosh dang, I am sick of dragons. They re always getting into my garden, pulverizing my cabbages (and also my house). It s time for an open season.
So, let s go dragon hunting! First, though, you ll need a gun. Spells and arrows won t do here.
Lock and load
Check out Project Flintlock, a mod that adds a few guns to Skyrim. Install is fairly simple. Just extract the meshes, textures, and sound folders, plus the Project Flintlock.esp file to your Skyrim/data install directory. After that, you just need to make sure the mod is checked in the Skyrim launcher under Data Files.
The total feature set includes:
authentic flintlock rifle, blunderbuss, and grenade launcher, animated and rigid
ammo with different damage values
three different bayonets (short, long, sword) for the flintlock rifle
new location with new models and items
custom sounds and new effects for each weapon type
the weapons are craftable, enchantable, upgradeable, follower friendly
an optional ammo add-on with 15 new bullet types
The animations aren t perfect, and it becomes fairly obvious that they re just reskinned, stat-modified bows and arrows, but I m willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of dragon population control. Here s a quick look at all three:
Dragons for dinner
Alright, it's time to head out. Bring your jacket? License? Good, good. First, we ll need to find some kind of evidence that a dragon has been nearby. You see, the key to dragon hunting is—
Let s see how it takes to the musket.
Well, shoot, for lack of a better term. That's not much damage at all. The big dog hardly flinched. And I got breathed on by cold stuff! And it smelled really bad, not like those gum commercials would make you think. Caught a whiff of dead goat, corrupt jarl, and—what's that? Cabbages! It's time to end this.
Let's not waste any more time.
Oh god. What have I done?
Save the dragons
Ah, dang. I'm reflecting on my actions, feeling consequence, guilt, and all that jazz. I thought this was about extrinsic danger, but now I m all worried about who I am and becoming a monster . I mean, the dragons are sentient, yeah? And when I was just using the powers and gear I earned, we were sort of duking it out on fair terms. Turns out Skyrim might also have its fair share of folks thinking about how messed up humanity might be, looking in the mirror, gaunt-eyed, crying and whatnot. Going to liberal arts schools. Can t escape short fiction in Skyrim. So, without further adieu, the revelation:
Maybe dragons aren t the most dangerous game.
Maybe, we re the most dangerous game.
Or maybe, Project Flintlock is just dumb fun, especially in a game that you might have already explored, head to toe.
My big hope for The Elder Scrolls VI: Elsweyr (I also hope that it's called that, and it's set in cat-people land Elsweyr) is that it's more systemic, more reactive and even more sandboxy than previous games in the series. Bethesda could start by re-introducing hauntings and NPC mourning, two features that, as it turns out, were cut from Skyrim. Modder vagonumero12 has dug through the game files, discovered the relevant code, and modded them back into the game.
Here's how haunting and mourning were supposed to work, according to the modder, before Bethesda scrapped the embryonic features.
"Haunting: when a unique NPC with family dies, there will be a random chance that it will—after some time—"resurrect" as a ghost that will follow a relative for the rest of the game. Only NPCs with generic voice files (don't expect to see Ulfric as a ghost), and only a single NPC in the whole save. You won't be able to fill Skyrim with ghosts (it was left like that by Bethesda).
Mourning: when a unique NPC with family or friends dies, their relatives/friends will do some comment about their loss to you on their hello dialogues."
The features don't appear to have been developed very much before they were cut, but Bethesda did get their voice actors to record some of that "my relative died, I'm well sad" dialogue. All of the 'random NPC' voice actors appear to have been asked to record these lines, including, weirdly, the ones that supplied the voices for Skyrim's children. Hear some kids lament the loss of their husbands and daughters here.