Feb 10, 2014
Sometimes it's difficult to have a surname that can double as an adjective for uncontrollable, mindless violence. Especially when your job is to report on games, which are exceptionally good at making enemies that are characterised by their uncontrollable, mindless violence. The overuse of the word 'savage' in gaming is a completely unwarranted defamation of my ancestors. After all, they were only responsible for around 28% of maulings in the UK's West Midlands area. Still, the damage is already done, so here's the "Savagery" trailer for Skywind, the excellent looking Skyrim mod that aims to fully recreate Morrowind.
The natural question, then: when's this out? Not for a while, it seems. In the comments of that video, it's creators set out only the vaguest of release targets. "For everyone asking, there is no final release date. We're not just being jerks and not telling you, it's just hard to say at this point. It's estimated for late 2014, but it all depends."
In fact, it's so not currently ready, that the makers are no longer allowing downloads of the current alpha stage. That's because the footage from the video is of the next planned build. The current one did little more than let you move through the terrain and interact with certain objects.
Even though it's still a long way off, the amount of activity that's recently been revealed about the project leaves me hopeful that it will eventually be finished. Previously, we've seen trailers showing just how pretty its environments are, and a lengthy video detailing how many people are involved in bringing Morrowind to a new home.
Jan 22, 2014
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Graham Smith)
It was only December that Craig last came scampering along on the back of a Silt Strider, bouncily telling us all about Skywind, a mod project to port the world, creatures and mechanics of Morrowind to Skyrim’s fancier engine. Now there’s a new trailer showing features for the next update, and a thought occurs: maybe they’re going to pull this off.>
Jan 8, 2014
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Duncan Harris)
An occupational risk of Christmas is that the great mead (Jaffa Cakes) hall of my in-laws’ living room will inspire me to reinstall Skyrim, post a few fancy screenshots, and sure enough get a few emails asking for some mythical mod guide. Then comes the abuse: “He doesn’t want anyone to have his secret sauce!” Or: “His Skyrim doesn’t look like that – *snort* – those are Photoshopped.” Only they don t capitalise Photoshop because they didn t have to sit through that> publishing meeting, lucky old them.
They’re almost right about one thing: my Skyrim doesn’t look like that. Likewise, when someone asks me what English weather is like, I don t answer: It s like that evening drive between Dorset and Wiltshire when a torrential downpour gave way to just the best> sunshine that lit up the faces of distant historic buildings and cast painterly shadows across dale and field. What I tell them is that, nine times out of ten, it s shit. (more…)
It seems like everyone in Skyrim keeps a journal. Bandits, smugglers, fishermen, necromancers, and even serial killers all obsessively document their lives. Yet the most interesting person in Skyrim - that Dragonborn character - does not. It's time to change that, with the Journal of the Dragonborn mod. Take notes, jot down reminders, keep a diary, and record your exciting adventures for posterity, all from right there inside the game.
That last part - writing your journal entries inside the game, while playing - is especially appealing. I often take notes while I play Skyrim just in case I wind up innocently murdering dozens of people, but it either requires having my laptop crammed onto my small and already crowded desk, or alt-tabbing out of the game, which can occasionally cause a crash. I guess you could also use the Steam interface to open a browser window, but you won't have the Steam interface if you're using the Skyrim Script Extender, which I often am. Either way, being able to use an in-game journal to take notes, or read them later, is really convenient.
As for the actual point of keeping a diary while playing, well, I can think of several. Just a couple weeks ago I was looking through my old saved games and I came across one with a level 12 character named Mags. Obviously, I d put in at least a few hours with her at some point in the past couple years, and looking through her quest history I could see she did some of the Winterhold College quests. She also looked like kind of a badass.
Problem is, I can't remember a damn thing about who this character was or what sort of goals I had for her. Her personality, her loyalties, her alignment, her back-story... I honestly can't recall. Plus, she was just standing up on a mountain, and I have no idea where she was headed or what she was doing whenever it was I decided to take a break.
This mod means I can avoid that in the future. It'll be great, years from now, to load up an old character, open their journal, and read the details about who they are and what my plans were for them, in case I've forgotten. Instead of staring blankly at a forgotten character, wondering who they were, I'll be able to pull up something like this:
The journal is also useful for general day-to-day reminders. Has this happened to you? You re leaving a dungeon, loaded with so much loot that picking up even a single mushroom will render you immobile. You can t fast-travel because some mudcrab or slaughterfish has spotted you from a mile away, and you don t feel like wading into the water to deal with it, so you have to spend some time actually running through Skyrim for a change. Along the way, you spot something interesting: maybe a camp, maybe a cave, maybe just an interesting looking spot on the map, something you want to remember specifically, in a way that a map marker just can't capture.
Speaking of loads of treasure, here's another use for the journal if you're a massive slob like myself. I have an Orc character who owns every house in Skyrim and has stuffed each house with several dozen mounds of loot. For a while I was being careful: putting weapons in racks and armor in wardrobes and valuables in chests, but after a while, I just started running into whichever house was closest and dumping a giant pile of treasure on the floor before running back out.
Not only am I deeply ashamed of my haphazard hoarding, I occasionally need to actually find something specific that I dumped somewhere. For instance, I collected dozens of dragon bones and scales, and later it took me hours of house-scouring to find them when I finally wanted to do some crafting. I also have a special enchanted set of armor that allows me to carry more loot, which I of course dumped somewhere in a random loot pile. Now, at least, when I do something stupid like that, I can write it down.
So there are plenty of practical uses for the journal, but if you really want to do some role-playing, you can also use this journal as, well... a journal. Record your adventures. Write down the things you do. Keep a faithful diary of your heroic and exciting life. Export them from your game so you can read them whenever you want. Send them to someone. (Don t send them to me.)
>As for how it works: the journal opens up with a simple hotkey (X) and lets you type right there inside the game. You can save your entries, edit old ones, or delete ones you no longer need. There's a couple of choices on appearances, and a few different Skyrim fonts to choose from. You can also move the journal interface around the screen, re-size it, and change its opacity. It even enters the in-game date for each entry for you. Pretty cool!
Installation: You can subscribe via the Steam Workshop link or download the mod from the Nexus and drop them into your Skyrim data folder. You'll also need the Skyrim Script Extender and SkyUI installed. If you want to export your journal, you'll need a mod called FISS: it will let you save your journal as a .txt file.
Jan 6, 2014
My Skyrim character is simultaneously the head of the Mage's Guild, top dog of the Companions, a mid-tier operative of the Thieves Guild, vaguely acquainted with the Dark Brotherhood, the saviour of the entire goddamn world, and a werewolf. And yet, for all of those many achievements, I don't have any actual power or respect. Despite housing vastly more players than a sole person's Skyrim campaign, The Elder Scrolls Online will offer a role hitherto unachievable: that of Emperor.
How do you become the ruler of the Imperial City? Why would you want to? TESO's game director Paul Sage has revealed all in an interview with OXM. Much as in real life, becoming Emperor involves travelling to the relevant country and beating up a lot of people.
Kill foes, heal allies and controlling keeps will build your Alliance Points. If your Alliance takes control of all the keeps around the Imperial City, the player with the most of these points becomes Emperor. "Players who become Emperor will get a full skill line that they keep throughout the rest of their lives in The Elder Scrolls Online," Sage said. "It won't be easy to become Emperor, but we think people will be glad they worked for it."
So no making proclamations to your people, or bothering unassuming prisoners about ill omens. Still, you will be a better fighter because of it, even if you will lose some of your bonuses when you're finally deposed.
The Elder Scrolls Online will be released on the 4th April.
After last month's "Call to East" trailer, I doubt anyone would have dismissed Skywind's aim to port Morrowind into the Skyrim engine as an easy task. Now, though, the Skyrim mod's first official development diary will give you an idea of the epic scope of the project, and the ambition and dedication of its 70+ team of volunteers. And all so you don't have to go back to the third Elder Scroll's angular and low-poly giant mushrooms.
The diary reveals some of the difficulties of crowbarring that windiest of Morrows into the Skyrim box. For one thing, the elder game's technical limitations mean that landscapes are unusually barren. As a result, the team have had to fill in the gaps - increasing the detail of the world in order to make it feel more alive.
For all the effort involved, it should lead to a better mod overall. I'm always a little suspicious of straight engine remakes, especially when older PC games can usually be modded into a much improved state on their own terms. But a complete re-imagining, with the team's own personality stamped into the final release, will hopefully mean a mod that can both please Morrowind's fanbase, and also provide a fresh experience.
The developers of Skywind are currently looking to bolster their already sizeable ranks of volunteers. To get involved, or to just find more information on the project, head over to the official development forum.
Dec 11, 2013
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Nathan Grayson)
[Droning train whistle sounds]
[The sound of an engine chugging, whirring as though fueled by the souls of a thousand blood-puking damned]
No. No, no, no, no, no, no. This can’t be happening. This cannot> be happening. Quick, stay behind me, and whatever you do, DON’T LOOK DIRECTLY INTO ITS–
Skyrim is a beautifully vast and sweeping game. Also vast: the possibility of its modding potential. The nomadic fans of Morrowind are crossing those rolling plains of creation, as part of their quest to settle within the safety and shelter of this newer game's engine. Their journey started just over a year ago, and now - while still far from the home stretch - they've made great progress. They've even released a trailer showing just how far they've come.
Skywind is currently on version 0.91, and, according to its makers, still very much in alpha. "You can move around the world, interact with a few things, but the full content of questing, gameplay and many other various elements are not part of the game yet," they write. "These Alpha releases are more for getting people interested, inspired and up-to-date with development so they can help with the project."
Nevertheless, it's a fantastically ambitious project that appears to be progressing nicely. You can download Skywind from the Morroblivion website, stopping only briefly to appreciate how great the word "Morroblivion" is. To play it, you'll need both Skyrim and Morrowind (along with the Tribunal and Bloodmoon expansions) installed on your computer.
Dec 5, 2013
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Craig Pearson)
Skywind is a mod that brings Morrowind into the Skyrim engine. It’s like someone at Bethesda took the Morrowind and Skyrim design documents and riffle shuffled them as a party trick, and then forgot to unshuffle them. Somehow–probably through a montage–those files ended up with modders. A less tired Craig would probably recount that montage, but that show-off wasn’t up late playing Starbound and eating takeaway, so you just get facts and trailers. The last time I reported on Skywind, it was just an empty world. You could run around, but you could not do anything, but more recent updates have begun the task of integrating people, monsters, and quests. Which means it might be worth installing. There’s a wee video to demonstrate some of that work. (more…)