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Oct 31, 2012
Poor Lydia. Her eternally pledged sword for the Dragonborn makes her nothing more than a guinea-pig for an egotistical nomad with volume problems. This time, she's blasting off into the sky once more after taking a small hot air balloon's worth of Fus Roh Dahs—aka The Only Shout That Matters—straight into her face. The resulting hilarious physics grenade comes courtesy of LilCosco08 and a usage of the "TCL" console command which toggles collision detection.
If you also feel like going back to Skyrim, our list of console commands should make your second visit memorable.
As I discovered in the previous episode of No Trace, making Corvo's assassinations look like accidents isn't exactly a noble endeavor. I've fed innocent people to rats in order to cover my tracks, and in this week's episode I'll put innocent people - and fish - to the blade if it'll help me build a more convincing lie. I am not especially proud of myself. Nor am I especially good at staging a staircase slip-up. I'll let you figure that out for yourself.
In episode two, I take on the Pendleton twins in the Golden Cat bath house, and finally figure out how to make Corvo talk. There will be vomit. I will have trouble with a locker door. I will make a certain amount of use of stock sound effects and circus music. Needless to say, there will be spoilers.
If you're new to the series, start here. If you've finished the game, you can also give our Dishonored podcast special a listen for more of our thoughts. Check back next week for episode three.
Oct 29, 2012
PC Gamer - PC Gamer
Martin, Chris and Tom Senior discuss wibbly wizard whirlwinds, the problem with peace, returning to Guild Wars 2 and what today's games might taste like if they were food. Also featuring the Steam charts, your questions from Twitter, and an exploration of hamster Objectivism.
We've noticed some comments about people not being able to see the Flash podcast player on previous episodes. This may be down to an ad blocker - if you're running one, you may need to temporarily disable it. You can always subscribe on iTunes. And you should!
Shepard's awkward, awkward dancing.
Adam Jensen can dance if he wants to, he can leave his friends behind.
Star Wars: The Old Republic free to play details.
Our Dishonored podcast special.
Oct 29, 2012
Announcement - Valve
Freaks of the night, rejoice! Steam has unleashed monster savings on ghoulish (and not so creepy) titles. From now until about the time all the pumpkins are smashed*, over 80 titles (including The Walking Dead, Bioshock, Left 4 Dead, and many more) are available at prices so low, its scary.
For more info, click here!
*Discount offers end November 1st at 10am Pacific time
For more info, click here!
*Discount offers end November 1st at 10am Pacific time
Oct 29, 2012
Maybe you held off from getting and playing Skyrim last year, thanks to either the tingling of your wizardly instincts or an emptiness of wallet. Whether you waited or couldn't get it a year ago, you can get a Premium edition of Bethesda's hit action/RPG hybrid.
According to Examiner.com, the enhanced release of The Elder Scrolls V will be packed in with a bonus disc with behind-the-scenes content, trailers, walkthroughs, five music tracks and a 600-page e-book. The Premium Edition reportedly also comes with a map of the game's environs, a t-shirt with the dragon emblem and postcards featuring concept art.
Amazon.de lists the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the Premium Edition at €59.99 (about $77.36) with a PC counterpart costing €49.99 on the PC (approximately $64.47). The product has a release date of December 7 on the online retailer listing.
Bethesda Softworks—publisher of Skyrim—has told Kotaku that the Premium Edition will be only available in some territories in Europe, with the U.K., Benelux, and Germany the only ones announced so far.
First images and details for premium edition of ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim' [Examiner.com, via Polygon]
Oct 28, 2012
Want to know what Skyrim looks like when you install 200 mods at random? Find out in our eye-opening, eye-bleaching diary: Skyrim: Week of Madness.)
Skyrim mods are amazing. In the two months since release, thousands of mods have been released, some of them quite spectacular. It’s not like Skyrim was an ugly game to begin with, but with new high resolution textures and post processing it becomes truly stunning. Then there are the new items, expanded crafting and full UI overhauls.
With so many mods available, choosing them can be a little daunting, which is why we’ve rounded up the 25 best here for you to enjoy.
We've picked the best mods we can find from both the Steam Workshop and Skyrim Nexus, but the best results come from combining the two. To do that we recommend downloading the Nexus Mod Manager, which helps to keep your non-steam mod up to date, and BOSS, which re-arranges your mods to load in the most stable order.
If you’re the tweaking type, you’ll also want to check our personalised picks of the Steam Workshop. Or maybe you’d like to create your own mod. Thanks to the Skyrim Creation Kit it’s a lot easier than you think. Our Skyrim Creation Kit Video Tutorial is all you need to get started.
Oh, and don’t worry if you’d rather sit back and read about someone else’s Skyrim adventures. Christopher Livingston’s Elder Strolls diary will see you right.
The ENBSeries mods are famous for adding improved post processing and lighting effects to make games like GTA4 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution look amazing. The Skyrim version is one of the best. Not only has ENB creator Boris Vorontsov done his usual fantastic work, but various other modders have tweaked and adjusted the program to come up with their own presets. There are many different kinds of ENB available, from Boris' own colourful version to more muted and realistic tones. Personally I use Cinematic Lighting ENB, which comes recommended by famous screenshotmancer Duncan 'Dead End Thrills' Harris.
Realistic Lighting is sits alongside ENB as one of the best graphical upgrades you can make to Skyrim, and you can combine the two for even better effect. Realistic Lighting makes Skyrim's shadows starker and more pronounced, and re-arranges in game lights for a darker, more realistic look, including some pitch black nights. Although this mod is on both Nexus and Steam Workshop, I recommend using the Nexus version, which is more frequently updated and has more customisation options.
There are a lot of excellent retexture mods available for Skyrim, but the sad thing is that you can only ever use one at a time. Automatic Variants exists to correct that problem. It allows Skyrim to randomly choose different skins from a pool of variants, so each animal looks unique. Right now it only works on creatures, but there are plans to expand it to items later on. Because of the nature of this mod, it's a little complicated to install. First download Automatic Variants, then download any texture packs you want to use (I recommend Bellyache's animals). Drop the texture pack into the folder, then run the AutomaticVariants.jar file to build the mod, which goes last in your load order. If you're adding new skins, make sure you build the mod again.
Get Snowy is simple, but beautiful. It allows snow to land on creatures and NPCs, covering them with a light dusting of icing sugar. That's all it does, but it has an amazing effect on your game, making the winter wonderland of Skyrim's colder regions seem even frostier and more unforgiving. Take a trip to the Winterhold to see it at its best.
Ask any PC gamer what Skyrim’s biggest flaw is and you’ll get one answer: the inventory. The default UI is inelegant, slow and features far too much scrolling. Which is why Sky UI is so essential. It doesn’t merely fix the problems with Bethesda’s interface, it improves it on every level. Icons are now used to easily distinguish items while using less space. Additional information, such as if an item is stolen or poisoned, is clearly displayed. The inventory can even be sorted by value and weight, while a text search lets you find the correct item in a hurry. There is simply no reason not to install Sky UI, even those few who don’t mind the original interface will find their Skyrim experience improved immeasurably as a result.
Xenius Character Enhancement
Xenius has rapidly carved himself a niche as Skyrim’s premier character enhancement modder, producing a whole series of texture improving mods at a tremendous rate before packaging them together as Xenius Character Enhancement. While so many other modders have spent their time making characters that look more like fashion models than medieval peasants, Xenius stays true to the original art style of Skyrim, and for that we salute him.
Melee fighters in Skyrim can block, parry, shield bash and counter, but mages are limited to just spraying each other with destruction spells until one of them falls over. Magic Duel aims to fix that. When you and another mage fire spells at each other, there is a chance you'll be locked into a duel. The world around you moves into slow motion and you must alternately click the right and left mouse buttons force the energy towards them. It reminds me a lot of the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire... which I totally haven't read.
Steam: Dawnguard and Vanilla
There are a lot of mods to improve the behaviour of Skyrim's mounts, but Convenient Horses is my favourite. It combines the features of many other horse mods, adjustable speed, horses for followers and saddle bags for storage, plus several features of its own, like mounted conversations and looting, plus a fast dismount when in combat. Plus it features the return of that most beloved of Elder Scrolls features: Horse Armour.
Ultimate Follower Overhaul
Ultimate Follower Overhaul combines dozens of little tweaks and adjustment to the way Skyrim's companions work. It lets you control their equipment properly, force them to level up with you (they don't in the vanilla game) or teach them new spells. You can even recruit multiple followers, all the way up to fifteen, although more than one or two can rapidly unbalance the game. It also comes with its own follower horse riding system, although I prefer Convenient Horses' approach myself, thankfully the two are fully compatible.
Skyrim's followers are a characterful bunch, encompassing everything including a cheerful Khajit mercenary to an arrogant magic school dropout to a death obsessed Dunmer. The only problem is that their diversity of character is rarely reflected in their fighting style. Enter Specialised Followers, which tweaks and adjusts the stats, spells and perks of every follower, and gives them all a powerful special ability. Kharjo can now detect enemies by smell, and sneak even in heavy armour, while Ahtar's huge axe strikes leave enemies temporarilly slowed. Its a huge improvement on the vanilla followers, although sadly it is no longer being added to.
Unofficial Skyrim Patch
This mod does exactly what you'd expect it to do. Modders realised they could patch the game faster than Bethesda, so they banded together to fix whatever bugs they could. The mod is being constantly updated, fixing new bugs as they emerge and updating the patch whenever Bethesda themselves release an official fix. There's also a variety of subtle tweaks, like making sure Brand Shei (above) eventually gets out of prison after you frame him to join the Thieves Guild, so you aren't robbed of his services forever.
Build your own home
Who needs Hearthfire when you have mods? Supernastypants' Build Your Own Home mod actually came before Bethesda's official add on, and offers many of the same features. There's only one plot of land, just outside the Abandoned Prison, but a wide variety of homes you can build on it. It's all modular, so you can create anything from a simple shack to a towering fortress, with a four different themes for the interior that can be mixed and matched throughout. Add the Adopt Children mod and you've basically recreated Hearthfire, only for free.
For the Dragonborn that has everything, we have the most ostentatious Skyrim home possible. The Asteria is an enormous floating Dwemer airship that hovers near Riverwood. As you can see, it looks magnificent from the outside, but the interior is also meticulously designed and stocked everything a budding Dragonborn could need. There are smithing facilities and archery targets on deck and an on board hydroponics facility for all your alchemical needs. There's even a book on the bedside table detailing the history of the vessel.
Dragon Falls Manor
If you find The Asteria a tad over the top, modder Mattcm919 has also produced a more lore friendly alternative in Dragon Falls Manor. This luxorious mansion house is perched on the edge of a waterfall, and is ever bit as detailed and comprehensive as its airborne counterpart. There's a smithy, mannequins, weapon plaques, gardens, alchemy tables and fully stocked bookshelves. It really feels like the fully functioning home of an accomplished adventurer.
For those who want a more convenient and humble abode, I heartily recommend Gleaming Falls. This snug liver riverside shelter is completely open to to the elements, with only a roof to keep the rain off. The result is that you can drop in, store your items and head off again without ever having to go through a loading door. It's not just about convenience though, Gleaming Falls is every bit as pretty and well designed as the larger homes in this list, it's just for those that prefer a low key fishing shack to a grandiose mansion.
Deus Mons is one of the most biggest and most spectacular Skyrim home available. It's a huge Dwemer castle built into a mountain peak just south of the Throat of the World. It's epic, you have to defeat a Dragon just to get the front door key. Conquer the beast and you'll have a castle fit for a Dovaking. Of course having such an enormous building to yourself can be lonely, which is why Deus Mons' creators have included the option to populate it with cooks, blacksmiths, bards and other NPC servants, as befits a player of your station.
Hothtrooper makes some of the best custom Skyrim armours around. His creations are interesting, artistic and supremely detailed. Immersive Armours packages together all of Hothtrooper's mods along with a few other selected armour sets, and spreads them throughout the land. New armours have been carefully dished out to appropriate NPCs and added to random loot lists, where their lore friendly designs mean they blend right in.
Steam: Dawnguard and Vanilla
Ever wanted to wield a halberd in Skyrim? Club? Spear? Shortsword? Quarterstaff? Heavy Armoury adds a whole variety of new weapon types in to the game. Each weapon is available in Iron, Steel, Dwarvern, Orcish, Elven, Glass, Ebony and Daedric, plus Falmer, Forsworn and Draugr versions. The Dawnguard version also adds Dragonbone weapons. Each of these is craftable, and can be randomly carried by NPCs, and each is carefully designed to be in keeping with Skyrim's established art style. The only downside is that spears use the default two handed animations, meaning swinging and hacking, rather than stabbing and poking. If you want a more authentic spear animation try Spears of Skyrim , although sadly that doesn't come with the other weapon types.
If you're using Realistic Lighting, you'll notice that nightime is Skyrim has gotten much darker. Spell and torches can help, but warriors who want to use their off hand are out of luck. Chesko's Wearable Lantern mod sorts out this problem, letting you clip a light source to your belt, front or rear. Companions can also carry the lanterns, and will automatically douse them when you enter sneak mode, acting as your own portable night light.
Plant Trees was actually created by one of Bethesda's community managers, Nick Breckon, which explains why it's so professionally made. The mod adds a selection of seeds that slowly grow into full sized trees. It also adds the Staff of Efflorescence, which can be used to paint flowers onto items, terrain and even people. For some reason using it on enemies calms them, which makes sense, because nothing relaxes me like having flowers sprout from my skin.
Crossbows Basic Collection
Many of those who purchased Dawnguard were disappointed that there were only a handful of crossbow varieties available. This mod expands the collection to include crossbows of every material available. It also adds them to levelled lists, meaning you'll find them as loot, and see them being wielded by bandits. For obvious reasons, this mod is for those who own Dawnguard only.
Moonpath to Elsweyr
For those who are getting a little sick of snowy mountains, Moonpath to Elsweyr offers two brand new environments, lush jungle and barren desert. This quest mod takes you to the Khajit homeland of Esweyr, making a strong case for setting the next Elder Scrolls game there. There's also a jungle home thrown in, and if you install the add on mod a talking tiger for a follower. As with a lot of quest mods, the voice acting is of questionable quality, but if you can get past that then you'll enjoy a great adventure though some beautiful environments.
This mod adds eight powerful boss monsters in locations dotted around Skyrim. Each is a souped up version of a traditional monster, and drops unique loot upon death.The quest to hunt them down can be found in a journal at the Bannered Mare in Whiterun. Legendary Creatures doesn't exactly have a deep narrative, but it offers new and challenging fights, and some great items as a reward.
Sea of Ghosts
The Sea of Ghosts adds several new quests, all centred around the ice covered seas to the north of Skyrim. Hiring the Winter's Warmth from Solitude docks will allow you to explore a series of islands, containing seven different quests for you to discover and complete. What makes it stand out is the exploration element, you're often heading off to a new island with no idea what it contains, capturing that feeling of striking out for the horizon that Skyrim's land based adventures create so well.
Descent into Madness
Descent into Madness was one of the highlights of Richard Cobbett's Week of Madness diary. Take a nap in your bed in Breezehome and you'll be transported into the realm of Sheogorath, where two realms called Madness and Dementia are engaged in an eternal clash of the crazies, and both want you to help. Each side offers a different, hour long questline full of puzzles and riddles, all set within a bizarre, dreamlike landscape.
Hunting in Skyrim
Not merely a new quest, but a whole new guild. This mod adds a new Huntsman's Guild to Skyrim. It's a work in progress at the moment, but for now you can jump start the questline by reading a journal in the Drunken Huntsman. This leads you on a series of hunting themed quests, letting you track and kill several unique and tough animals, from feral wolves to great white stags. In addition to the quests, the prices of pelts have increased, allowing players to earn a living hunting, and several new perks have been added.
Oct 26, 2012
Join Evan, Omri, and T.J. for a descent into the frightening (and sometimes disappointingly not-so-frightening) world of horror games on this minimally-gimmicky, holiday-themed epsiode. Featuring SPOOKY news, SPOOKY discussion of upcoming DLC for some of our favorite games, and SPOOKY musing on whether Minecraft is still relevant. Listeners beware, you're in for... PC Gamer Podcast 334: Burger Commando
Have a SPOOKY question, comment, complaint, or observation? Leave a SPOOKY voicemail: 1-877-404-1337 ext 724 or email the mp3 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to the SPOOKY podcast RSS feed.
Follow us on Twitter:
@ELahti (Evan Lahti)
@omripetitte (Omri Petitte)
@AsaTJ (T.J. Hafer)
@belsaas (Erik Belsaas, podcast producer)
Oct 26, 2012
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has scooped the big gong at this year's Golden Joystick Awards, fighting off competition from the likes of Mass Effect 3, Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 to be anointed The Ultimate Game of the Year. Jarls everywhere raised a mead-filled skull in stern approval of its triumph.
Hit the jump for the full list of winners.
Bethesda's open world dragon-bashing RPG also snagged two other awards at the ceremony, held this year in the extremely plush Westminster Park Plaza hotel in London. With comedian Ed Byrne doing the honours, Skyrim received commendation as the Best RPG and also won the Top Gaming Moment category for the Throat of the World sequence.
Other PC games won big as well, with Civilization 5: Gods & Kings winning Best Strategy, Portal 2 getting the Best DLC nod for the Perpetual Testing Initiative, Battlefield 3 snagging Best Shooter, the Best MMO award going to World of Tanks and indie horror hit Slender championed as the best Browser-Based game.
Here's the full list of winners:
BEST ACTION / ADVENTURE in association with Digital Spy: Batman Arkham City
BEST STRATEGY in association with PC Gamer: Civilzation 5: Gods & Kings
BEST MOBILE / TABLET in association with Edge: Angry Birds Space
BEST DOWNLOADABLE in association with Official Xbox Magazine: Minecraft (360)
BEST FIGHTING in association with Nuts: Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition
BEST SHOOTER in association with Gioteck: Battlefield 3
BEST MMO in association with hmv Gamerbase: World of Tanks
BEST HANDHELD in association with T3: Unchartered: Golden Abyss
TOP GAMING MOMENT in association with Daily / Sunday Mirror: The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim: Throat of the World
ONE TO WATCH in association with hmv: Grand Theft Auto 5
BEST DLC in association with Official Playstation Magazine: Portal 2: Perpetual Testing Initiative
BEST RPG in association with MSN: The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
BEST SPORTS in association with talkSPORT: FIFA 12
BROWSER-BASED / FLASH in association with CVG: Slender
BEST RACING in association with GamesRadar.com: Forza 4
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION: EA Sports & FIFA
ULTIMATE GAME OF THE YEAR in association with GamesMaster: The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
A dance party with corpses?! Corpses that I made?! Sign me up!
The guys are RoosterTeeth have outdone themselves yet again. *slow clap*
The rusted, iron-wrought gate clangs shut behind you. Heaving a sigh of relief, you eagerly anticipate the after-action report charting your achievements of another aced Dishonored mission. Alerts: none. Detections: zip. Enemies killed: one. Bodies fou—wait, one?! You didn't lift your blade at all against the City Watch during that run, and you even ensured a shadowy dumping corner in the sewers for the unconscious. "The sewers," you quickly realize, an teeming with swarms of infested rats hungering for a fleshy meal. Whoops.
Dancing the detection disco in Dishonored often hinges success or failure upon a single decision or mistake rippling with a cascading effect across your Chaos rating and applied lethality. Keeping Corvo's observed presence minimal gives you a shot at the boast-worthy Ghost Achievement—where you complete Dishonored with no alerts—but the effort also ties heavily into the multiple detection and Chaos mechanics lurking beneath the game's steam-stained hood.
Earlier this month, Bethesda laid out details on the specific workings of detection and Chaos to help ambitious assassins attain the perfect balance of subtlety and savagery they prefer. Like a revelatory journal entry, the official forum post reveals all, but we've pasted the important bits below. Have a look:
How does the Chaos system work? How do I raise or lower the Chaos level that is displayed on the end mission stats screen?
Chaos is a value that is adjusted according to the actions of your character during gameplay. This system is a hidden mechanic and you will only see the Chaos rating displayed during the ‘end mission’ Stats screen.
Weepers do count for detection. They do raise the Chaos level if they are killed.
Kills by Rewired traps will contribute to your kill amounts and Chaos; that’s Watchtowers, Arc Pylons, and Wall of Lights.
Rats, Hagfish and River Krust do not raise Chaos if killed. They also do not count towards detection of your character.
Wolfhound kills do not count towards Chaos, but they can detect your character and will count towards that. They can also discover bodies, as well as their corpse will count towards “bodies found”.
Your character’s Chaos level will change the story outcome and lead to other various differences throughout gameplay, such as more enemy characters, more rats, or different scenes/environment items and conversations.
Basic rule is killing less than 20 percent of the characters in a Mission should allow the Low Chaos rating to be sustained.
I’m getting stats for bodies being found or killed when I’ve rendered NPCs unconscious, why?
Not hiding bodies well enough after choking them out or sleep darting them can sometimes lead to other characters finding them.
Unconscious characters won’t survive a fall from a great height, or a slip into the water which will also result in a kill towards your character stats.
Situations that could lead to an NPC being killed inadvertently
Sleep Darting or Choking out an NPC and having them hit an object when falling, causing death
Sleep Darting or Choking out an NPC near a ledge and having them fall to cause death
Sleep Darting or Choking out an NPC and having them fall into water will cause drowning death
Sleep Darting or Choking an NPC and allowing them to fall down a long flight of stairs will sometimes cause them to die (possible with the stairs in the Overseer building)
Placing an unconscious NPC in water, or even near shallow puddles, can cause drowning death
Placing an unconscious body on un-even terrain near water can sometimes lead to the NPC slowly moving and falling into water, which would count as an NPC kill (in Prison Sewers for example)
Rendering an NPC unconscious near a damage source (such as a fireplace or lit grill) may cause the NPC to take damage and die
Leaving an unconscious NPC in the middle of the street or alley, where rats have access to the body, can result in clean-up which will count as a kill for the player
Accidentally casting Devouring Swarm near an unconscious NPC could cause the rats to clean up the body, counting as a NPC kill
Accidentally casting Windblast near an unconscious NPC could cause damage leading to NPC death
Having a Grenade, Springrazor or Whale Oil Battery explode near an unconscious NPC could cause splash damage resulting in NPC death
Throwing an unconscious NPC into a Wall of Light, or near and Arc Pylon would incinerate the NPC and count as a kill
Leaving unconscious NPCs in the area around the large door on which the player places the explosive device in Prison will cause the NPCs to die when the device goes off. This includes in and around the nearby dumpster and behind the consoles and gate switch across from the door on the upper level.
Rendering an enemy unconscious while fighting a nearby Tallboy can cause the Tallboy to stomp at the player, essentially killing the nearby unconscious NPC in the process
Rendering an enemy unconscious and having another enemy throw a projectile (such as fire bottle or grenade) at the player, can kill the nearby unconscious NPC
Leaving an NPC unconscious in the Brothel Steam room may cause “bite” damage due to hagfish in the center pool, killing the NPC
As a bonus, a player posted a short video walkthrough on surmounting a particularly tricky section of the latter portion of Corvo's journey that easily throws a Ghost run into peril due to a friendly NPC turning hostile after a scripted sequence. Check it out, but take heed of the massive spoilers revealed in the process.