First, they get a version of Bethesda's hit action/RPG release that became increasingly unplayable. Then, PS3 owners had to endure news that they may not even get the Dawnguard DLC that Xbox 360 users got back at the end of June. The Dawnguard troubles make it all too easy to believe that Hearthfire's home-building features may never make it to the PS3 either.
So, yeah, if you're a PS3 who wants all that Skyrim magic on your console, you might feel cursed. Sony VP Adam Boyes feels your pain.
Boyes handles publisher relations for Sony, which means he interfaces with third-party developers. He's new there, having arrived about three, four months ago. But he knew all about the Skyrim woes when I asked him about the game after he spoke at the New York Gaming Conference this week. He took a deep breath before replying.
"We work with all of our partners to try and solve their problems," Boyes answered. "We have a big, broad dev support team that works closely with Bethesda—and with all of our partners—to work with them to solve that any sort of issues they have along the way."
"Of course, I always want everything to work always for everyone. I can't promise any kind of resolution or timeline but can say that everyone involved is trying their best to get this stuff working."
Just a heads up: I've experienced a significant bug in Skyrim's newest downloadable content that seems to be avoidable.
When you get your plot of land in Hearthfire, you'll be using two major devices: the drafting table and the carpenter's workbench. At the drafting table, you can select blueprints for buildings and wings in your new home. Once you've selected a blueprint, it moves over to the carpenter's workbench, where you can actually piece it together in stages: first you build a door, then a floor, then walls, etc.
After you've built an entryway and a main hall for your manor, you can start selecting optional rooms like a library or kitchen. Each set of rooms is attached to a wing of the house—you can only build bedrooms in the west wing, for example—but you can only start planning out one room per wing at a time.
This is where the problems start. If you pick a plan from the west wing, start building parts of it over at the workbench, and then select another plan from the west wing at the drafting table, everything goes wonky. You can lose progress and even deny yourself access to entire rooms. (One of my blueprints disappeared entirely, and I can't get it back.)
So what's the solution? Build one thing at a time. Don't pick multiple blueprints from the drafting table at once: just select one, finish all of its pieces at the workbench, and then move on to the next plan. Don't get cute and experiment with drafting, or you might lock yourself out of some of the game's content.
I've reached out to Bethesda to inform them of the bug and ask if they have plans to fix it. If you've experienced any other bugs (and know how they can be avoided) please post'em here!
There are four types of video game players, says Richard Bartle: the Explorer, the Socializer, the Killer, and the Achiever. The names are rather self-explanatory: the Explorer loves to wander; the Socializer loves to chat; the Killer loves to compete; and the Achiever loves to rack up points and trophies, even when they might seem arbitrary to everyone else.
You'll really enjoy Skyrim's latest piece of downloadable content, Hearthfire. But only if you're the type of player who gets a kick out of achieving things just for the sake of achieving them. Only if you're an Achiever.
Though Bartle, the man who invented MUDs (rudimentary text-based predecessors to MMORPGs), was mainly talking about online games when he devised his four archetypes, they apply even to single-player experiences like Skyrim. When I play Bethesda's open-world masterpiece, I think like an Explorer. I want to see the world, to find hidden secrets and discover everything the designers wanted me to discover, to slowly peel away at the story one layer at a time.
Throw in a few dashes of Killer and Socializer and you've got a basic rundown of the way I play video games.
That's why I had no real interest in Hearthfire, which came out Tuesday for Xbox 360. Hearthfire gives you an acre of land and asks you to build a house. You can add extra wings, decorations, and even a bedroom for children (which you can adopt, naturally). You can use your new home for storage or tea parties or corpse dissection or whatever else you feel like doing. It's yours.
To do all of this, you'll need to find ingredients. This is rather tedious. It usually means fast-traveling to a store, buying an iron ingot, hammering it down into a set of nails, realizing you're out of lumber, fast-traveling to a lumber mill, buying stacks of lumber 20 at a time by selecting the same dialogue options over and over, heading back to your place, realizing you're out of stone, walking to the convenient infinite stone quarry next to your house, mining for a while, encumbering yourself because you're carrying too much, and slowly treading back to build the next section of your manor. Rinse, repeat.
I've played several hours of this new DLC. I've built up a manor, adopted children, and turned my level 30 powerhouse into Domesticated Dragonborn. To me, there were few things enjoyable about this experience. It was nothing but a mundane to-do list.
See, I have no interest in showing off a gigantic mansion or collecting lots of ingredients. I don't care about how big my house is, much in the same way that I don't care about min-maxing or achievements or many of the other game mechanics that many players find fun. My brain just isn't wired to enjoy that sort of thing. I'd rather spend my time wandering and exploring and questing and killing and adventuring.
All that said, I can't speak for Achievers. I'm not one of them. If you're the type of person who can't get enough of trivia scores or Xbox Achievements, if you're constantly trying to master the leaderboards on Jetpack Joyride or collect a million coins in New Super Mario Bros. 2, this DLC may very well be perfect for you. It certainly does what it promises: it gives you the plans to a house and asks you to fill them in. It gives you the opportunity to progress through a series of sequences and feel like you've accomplished something grand. "Hey, look, I built a house!" you can scream to the world. And maybe someone will listen. It probably won't be me.
Out this week for Xbox 360, Skyrim's Hearthfire puts you in charge of your very own dream mansion. You'll get to collect lumber, mine ore, craft nails, and build a house from the ground up, decorations and all.
I've played a bit of the new expansion. Here are ten things you should know about it.
1) To start building your new mansion in Hearthfire, you'll have to get yourself a plot of land. This is a similar process to buying a house in Skyrim: you can do it when you become Thane of a city, which happens when you help out that city's Jarl and do some quests for them and whatnot. It appears you can only buy land from three cities: Falkreath, Dawnstar, and Morthal.
2) Yes, this means you won't be able to do anything in Hearthfire without doing some city quests first. Sorry.
3) Your brand new land plot comes with a handy manual, a drafting table (for plotting out buildings), an anvil (for hammering locks and nails), and a carpenter's workbench (for constructing your new home). You'll have to build a whole lot of things: every section of your house requires a foundation, walls, a door, a roof, etc.
4) Getting ingredients for these buildings—like corundum and glass and quarried stone—is kind of a pain in the ass. Get ready to fast travel a lot.
5) Some of the things you can add to your home: an animal pen, a workbench, a fish hatchery, a garden, a grindstone, a smelter, a stable, a greenhouse, an enchanter's tower, an armory, a storage room, a trophy room, a kitchen, a laboratory, and a library.
6) When you start a game of Skyrim after installing the DLC, you'll get a letter saying you should head to the orphanage in Riften. If you've done the quest involving the first matron there, you'll find a new lady in charge named Constance. Why are all orphanage owners named Constance? I don't know. But now you can adopt kids.
7) Things you cannot do with your new kids: command them to alphabetize your book collection; murder them; put them to work in an elaborate lumber-harvesting sweatshop; feed them to dragons; turn them into vampires; throw them off your library tower; build your home out of them.
8) Things you can do with your new kids: give them things; play tag; play hide-and-seek; get creeped out by their weird wooden kid faces.
9) You can also hire stewards to manage your house and do tedious tasks for you. Some GameFAQs users have started compiling lists of stewards you can hire and children you can adopt. If you are the type of person who enjoys building homes and decorating and all that jazz, you will enjoy this DLC.
10) On the other hand, pretty much everything in this DLC you can download as a mod on your PC for free. Just throwing that out there.
When the rumors started circulating about a new DLC called Hearthfire for Skyrim, people started excitedly speculating as to what new powers you'd go on in the expansion. Dawnguard brought vampire abilities to Bethesda's hit RPG so Hearthfire would bring what? Magma-flinging? Dovahkiin sidequests involving arson?
No one was really expecting house-building and adoption.
In a new team diary on the Elder Scrolls site, lead designer Bruce Nesmith, environmental artist Robert Wisnewski and co-lead designer Kurt Kuhlmann all talk about how the add-on was created. It turns out that Mojang's hit sandbox construction game Minecraft served as a key inspiration:
Meanwhile Nesmith, a fan of the popular game Minecraft, wanted players to have more ways to create content in the game. "Being a fan of [Minecraft], I asked, ‘Why can't I build things in our game?'"
Hearthfire started out as a project during the Skyrim Game Jam mentioned by Todd Howard talked about earlier this year. It grew from humble origins of being just a cabin to a multi-room home that can hold a greenhouse with plants for alchemical recipes. As for the adoption of little Dovah-kinder, level designer Steve Cornett says:
"The idea of adoption came to me after the Dark Brotherhood questline was presented. After first seeing the [Innocence Lost] questline, I asked, ‘what happens to the kids? What happens to the orphanage after the quest is completed?'"
Hearthfire provided an opportunity to answer these questions, as the concept of adoption seemed a natural fit with the idea of creating a household.
"Build your own house lets you make a house and adoption lets you make it a home."
Players will get the chance to build their own Dragonborn estates when Hearthfire comes out next week.
Skyrim Team Diary #6: Hearthfire [The Elder Scrolls]
Once of the most memorable things about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the in-game gear. So when cosplayers Sheila and Sylar feel in love with the game, they decided to replica Skyrim's Nightingale Armor for the above photo shoot. Because, you know, they being cosplayers and all.
This is the result. The truly impressive result.
Pulling something off like this ain't easy! The suit looks even more impressive when you read the nitty-gritty about how it was put together:
The entirety of this armor is made from craft foam, that was sealed, detailed (with hot glue and carving into the foam) and then painted to resemble leather texture. It is all heated into shape and then attached directly onto a base black catsuit.
The bracers are attached to gloves, and the armor below the waist is actually attached to a detachable belt. All of the silver adornments, buckles and rivets were sculpted from sculpy and sprayed silver. The face mask is also craft foam, simply glued onto a ski mask. The head and cape were sewn from scratch and attach via some metal snaps on the suit.
There's even a walk through so you can make the suit yourself. How nice!
Click the lower corner of each image to expand to full size.
Created by Kotaku reader Geo "Tyrannicon" Paradissis, he who made that crazy re-creation of 300's final battle in Skyrim, this is an excellent way to start off your morning. Pour yourself some coffee and dive in.
Unnecessary Censorship never fails to make me laugh.
"You've not only earned your payment, but my **** as well. And believe me, friend, that does not come easily."
It's rather clever, as I'm having a tough time grasping the full vocabulary available for making pre-snap adjustments (there are more than 120 commands you can give). This may not be as handy as my Cooking Mama oven mitt but it's still a useful piece of swag.
Especially when I apply it to one of my favorite games.
Generations of gamers who have not only the arcade but also years of computer, Nintendo, and PlayStation games in their pasts are now, themselves, raising children. In a world of wall-to-wall screens and endless gaming options, it can be hard to find just the right game for game-loving parents and their inquisitive kids to enjoy together.
Over at Brainy Gamer, Michael Abbott describes the challenge of finding games that engage his four-year-old daughter, Zoe. Games designed for kids don't always do it. But Skyrim does.
"Kids quickly learn that parents save the best stuff for themselves," Abbott wisely observes. "Zoe is happy to while away twenty minutes with a Dora game, but she knows whatever I'm playing is likely to be a hundred times more interesting, and she wants a piece of that action." Enter Skyrim. While clearly some parts of the game are too violent or explicit to be kid-friendly, Abbott finds that with some planning and prep work on his part, Skyrim is perfect for his daughter to enjoy.
There are eight ways parents can help make Skyrim great family fun time, Abbott explains. Some are more obvious than others. For example, no matter what system the game is running on, a game pad will be easier for small, young, relatively uncoordinated hands to learn to use than the keyboard-and-mouse combination is. Likewise, establishing an ethical code of action in advance—such as "help people who ask for it"—can make the wide and murky waters of a game easier to navigate.
"Be a mage," Abbott also advises. "I prefer Zoe casting spells to wielding swords and axes. It feels less ‘realistic' to me and more suitable for a child." And of course, parents should review the game, or sections of the game, before sharing them with a child, to make sure the content in question stays appropriate.
But Abbott's best advice is all about letting kids explore and learn from games the same way their parents do. Creative problem solving can be the best part of Skyrim:
Let your child discover there can be more than one way to solve a problem. I spared Zoe the Fellglow Keep gore, but let her face The Caller boss at the end of the quest for a reason. We were given the choice of fighting her or negotiating with her, but we found a third option we liked better. We cast an Invisibility spell, grabbed the stolen books, picked her pocket for the exit key, and escaped the dungeon. "We were smarter than her, Daddy!" You bet we were.
Thanks to the time she's spent in Skyrim (and with her brainy gaming dad), four-year-old Zoe can now read maps and count currency. And she's young enough not to care about things that may not matter: " Just remember that a small child thinks less about leveling up or RPG mechanics," Abbott cautions, "and more about having fun, moment to moment, in an imaginary world."
Sounds good to me. Maybe we really should try seeing games through the eyes of a child more often.
Skyrim for Small Fry [The Brainy Gamer]