Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

I'm willing to admit this might be a niche issue to have

I have The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter installed on my PC and ready to go. But there’s something that’s been playing on my mind regarding that game before I’ve even booted it up. It’s been nagging at me ever since I watched a video from Andy Kelly’s Other Places series the one which focuses on Ethan Carter’s Red Creek Valley and it finally crystallised a problem I’ve been experiencing for years without being able to put it into words.

Just after a shot of a dam there’s a lingering shot of a churchyard. In the foreground a handless statue of Jesus marks the grave of a woman named Thusnelda. In the background the autumn trees sway in the breeze and the weed-infested grass well, I want to say that it sways but it’s a sway which comes via a clump-by-clump waggle. That grass is why I’m proposing there exists a foliage version of the uncanny valley.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which >could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i)write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.>

I found Meeko sitting by the side of the road. He is one of Skyrim s shaggy, grey wolfhounds that look as old as they do stupid. He saw me, turned around and ran into the thicket. I followed him through the trees, where he led me to a run-down shack. I looked inside and there, lying still and grey on the shed s single rickety bed, was Meeko s owner. He was dead. The mongrel looked to me, blinked in the cold and seemed to whine. All right then, I thought, you can follow me. It was a decision I never came to regret. Later on, Meeko killed a lot of people for me.

But more importantly, Meeko kept me warm in Skyrim s deadly mountain passes. One of the mods I have installed is Frostfall, which gives the player a few extra things to worry about. Exposure can leave you freezing to death, while being wet means you succumb to the cold even faster. You have to keep yourself warm at fires and fill up on hot soups to keep your exposure meter from dropping too low. Once, I tried to swim across a small, icy river and before I could get a fire going on the opposite shore I passed out from hypothermia. I woke up in a familiar inn, penniless, frostbitten and with this note in my pocket.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which >could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i) write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.>

You may have already read my Skyrim survival diary and if not, why not? It sees me struggling to ward off frostbite with wine and adopting the game s most lovable dog just to keep my feet warm. If you want to plod through the winter wastelands of Tamriel with the same survival mode in mind yourself, these are the mods you ll want to add. Most of them come from a single source, the Nexus modding community. Before you grab them, it is best to have their Nexus Mod Manager installed, as well as something called SKSE. (You will also have to register to join the Nexus community to download these files). Getting all this architecture in place is a minor frustration compared to the improvements you ll see in the end. It will be worth it when you find yourself freezing to death under a rocky outcrop with no wood to start a fire.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

I love RPG lore. I walk into a virtual library in pretty much any game you care to mention, and I'm stuck there until I've read every single book in the place. And there are few games with more voluminous lore than The Elder Scrolls series, which is why the two series of books recently announced by Bethesda—The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel and The Elder Scrolls V: The Skyrim Library—represent such a dire threat to my wallet.

Bethesda didn't actually reveal how much these books will cost, but they sure don't sound cheap. There are five "lavishly bound" volumes in total, two for TESO: Tales of Tamriel—Vol. 1, The Land, and Vol. 2, The Lore—and three in The Skyrim Library—Vol. 1, The Histories, Vol. 2, Man, Mer and Beast, and Vol. 3, The Arcane. The books will collect all in-game text from both TESO and Skyrim, plus concept art and, for the TESO books, nearly 100 pieces of all-new art "illustrating the lives, the land, and the lore of Tamriel at war."

The series is being created by Titan Books, which has previously published licensed novels and art books for other games including BioShock, Crysis, Halo, Dead Space, Resident Evil, Thief, Titanfall, and two Elder Scrolls novels, Lord of Souls and The Infernal City. The first volumes are expected to launch in March 2015.

PC Gamer





Where next in Skywind's ongoing tour of a Skyrim-built Morrowind? It's West Gash; home of cliffs, canyons, hot springs and ruins.

If you've thus far managed to miss the mod, its aim is to recreate—even redesign—the entirety of Morrowind in Skyrim's younger engine. Quests, NPCs, and environments will all be brought over, although it's the latter that the most recent trailers have focused in on.

Previously, the mod's official video archivist has previewed Bitter Coast. You can keep an eye on the official channel for more.

Thanks, RPS.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

When I last wrote about Skywind, it was to cover the game’s ‘Slough’ trailer, which showed Morrowind’s Bitter Coast brought to life within the Skyrim engine. In the comments, what followed was an interesting conversation about the etymological root of the word “Slough”, and its geographical uses in the UK and in America.

Anyway, the latest Skywind trailer shows off the West Gash region.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Skywind‘s latest trailer is titled ‘Slough’, but it does not, as every British reader just hoped, mark the inclusion of Berkshire’s much maligned city in the game. Instead it’s the first look at the remake of Morrowind‘s Bitter Coast inside the Skyrim engine, and it’s as pretty as every other chunk we’ve seen of the ambitious mod project so far.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Skywind trailer shows Morrowind’s Bitter Coast get a Skyrim makeover">Skywind



Hey, even swamplands can be pretty. Kind of. Here's the latest trailer for Skywind, the Skyrim total conversion that aims to port Morrowind in its entirety into Bethesda's newer game. This time, we're being shown the Bitter Coast home of swamps, smugglers and slaughterfish.

As the trailer's description explains, Skywind is still in closed alpha development. Many of the video's assets are placeholder, and likely to change between now and the final release.

For a less directed look at the project, the team previously released a 13-minute exploration-based video.
Product Release - Valve
Save 75% on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as part of this week's Weekend Deal*!

The next chapter in the highly anticipated Elder Scrolls saga arrives from the makers of the 2006 and 2008 Games of the Year, Bethesda Game Studios. Skyrim reimagines and revolutionizes the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose.

Play any type of character you can imagine, and do whatever you want; the legendary freedom of choice, storytelling, and adventure of The Elder Scrolls is realized like never before.

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Mod of the Week: Legendary Cities, for Skyrim">lch



There are nine main cities in Skyrim, seven large towns, a dozen smaller settlements, plus scads of farms, mills, shacks, camps, caves, lairs, and ruins. All together, the game sports over three hundred locations, so naturally we all have the same thought: that's just not enough, is it? The Legendary Cities mod adds ten beautiful and historical cities to Skyrim from The Elder Scrolls: Arena (the first Elder Scrolls game from 1994). This mod has been around for a while, but a recent update makes some major improvements to optimization and fixes an incompatibility with popular follower mods, meaning it's the perfect time to check it out with your favorite companion.

It's always good to have new cities to plunder.

Each of the locations added by Legendary Cities is rooted in the original The Elder Scrolls: Arena and placed in roughly the same spot they appeared in on the original map. A lot of effort has been made to ensure the new cities are both lore-friendly and fit in with Skyrim's aesthetic. I think the modder has done a wonderful job in that respect: the new locations are lovely, creatively designed, and bustling with NPC activity. Plus, they fit in wonderfully with the surrounding landscape, giving the impression they've always been there even if you've never seen them before.

A nice stopover when you're visiting a friend in college.

My first stop on the historical tour of Skyrim was Amol City, between Windhelm and Winterhold. Built right into the snowy cliffside, it sports a smattering of buildings and points of interest, including a treasury that even the most noble and heroic of Dragonborn will immediately want to burglarize. There are a number of new NPCs, from simple guards to townsfolk with personalized stories. There's no custom voice acting, which isn't really a problem -- sometimes custom voices can be a little distracting.

A giant wall safe? Yeah, no chance I'm not robbing that.

After gazing appreciatively at Amol, I snuck away (with my pockets clanking with their gold) and moved on to Blackmoor Fortress (Black Moor in the original game), west of Whiterun. With its back to the mountains and its looming walls, it's an impressive and imposing sight. According to the modder, the city was abandoned ages ago and then rebuilt just before the Oblivion Crisis. The sabre cat who attacked me while I was trying to take pictures of it didn't seem particularly impressed, though.

Be with you in a moment, kitty.

It's equally enjoyable strolling around inside as well. The heavy portcullis lifts open as you approach, the interior of the city has some great walkways and overviews, and you can easily imagine enduring a long siege within it's towering walls.

Massive walls send a clear message: go attack some other city.

From Blackmoor I visited Granite Hall, a former above-ground Dwemer settlement which is truly spectacular looking and provides a safe haven from the local Forsworn population, who attacked me while I was on my way there, and from bears, who attacked me roughly three milliseconds after I took this picture.

Those Dwemer dude were pretty cool.

Just look at this place, it's amazingly well-made.

Would take an arrow to the knee and retire here A+++

Other cities include Nimalten, North Keep, Helarchen Creek, Vernim Wood, Dunparwall, and Pargran Village. I'd almost advise you to not simply install the mod and hop from city to city, but just play your game and come across these locations in the course of your natural travels. Seeing them in the distance and then slowly approaching them is exciting, and I'd imagine the effect is even more pronounced if you're not deliberately headed there or if you've forgotten you've installed the mod altogether. The new cities feature plenty of appealing interiors as well, from homes to temples to shops, all carefully and thoughtfully designed.

A statue that's not of me? Hmph.

As far as the new NPCs go, they're a little hit-or-miss, as many of their lines have typos and capitalization errors, which I'm hoping will be fixed at some point. Still, it's nice to see so much custom flavor added instead of just populating the cities with standard NPC templates.

Dragonborn approves. You may all live.

I looked at this mod a while back, when it consisted of individual cities, but there's a handy all-in-one version now that makes installation much easier, and there has been a marked improvement in optimization from what I remember. There's a still a bit of an FPS hit (for me anyway) in a couple of the cities that have new textures, but for the most part exploring these locations was an impressively smooth experience, especially considering they're all built right into the world (as opposed to Skyrim's major cities, which are instanced locations).

Installation: Download is here. I installed using Nexus Mod Manager, as always, but you can also manually install by dropping the downloaded files into your Skyrim data directory. The download also has a modular installation option if you'd prefer to add certain cities but not others. Happy travels.
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