Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Else?

As sort of an intermission, I’d like to take the time to discuss the mods I use but don’t plan on taking the time to create in-depth posts or videos for. Naturally this is going to much more like a list than anything else, so feel free to ignore this if you just prefer reading my discussions or watching my comparison videos.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Strategy Master's Combat Hide

As some of you may have noticed, I tend to learn a lot more towards the stealthy side of Oblivion. Although occasionally it can be fun to storm a bandit camp, mercilessly lobbing people's heads off as you go, it just seems to make more sense to try to have the advantage of not being seen. That being said, I'm sure warrior-oriented characters sometimes feel occasional desires to assassinate an oblivious stander-by with a dagger as well.

One gripe I've always had with Cyrodiil's enemies is that they always seem to know exactly where you are as soon you make your first move. It makes sense to have a general idea of where an attack came from, especially if you can hear someone scurrying away after planting the shot, but you can only hunt down a person for so long before you have to start guessing. Strategy Master, a mod author that tends to specialize in realism mods, employed a new detection system for NPCs that would give characters a chance to lose their tails. This is Combat Hide.

When watching the video, note that this mod is much more difficult to capture than it is to actually experience in game. I tried to film a couple of examples, but I'm not entirely sure how successful I was in properly portraying the mod's effect. Hopefully it's enough to understand the purpose, and if not, at least there's always my discussion and the mod description.

If you're in an interior such as this Ayleid ruin, it's likely that you won't be able to avoid combat entirely. With NPCs running around looking for you, chances are you'll be caught at some point. The most useful method of taking advantage of this mod is to hide from an enemy only when you think you won't be able to beat him in head-to-head combat. This gives you a second chance at getting a good blow to the back in before trying to finish the job. If this sounds at all appealing to you, you can read more about Combat Hide or download it for yourself at TESNexus.

Another day, another post. I would have liked to get one more in before the end of the weekend, but I ended up having more to do than I anticipated. I might not get time for another tomorrow, so the next update will probably fall on Tuesday evening or Wednesday. Until then, blessings of Julianos upon ye.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Skeleton Diversity

As some of you may have guessed, I took the past couple days off of updating my blog to work on a little mod of my own. And again, as some of you may have guessed, I'm going to blatantly advertise my work by discussing it here. Obviously this mod is something I would have added to my game if I hadn't made it, otherwise I probably wouldn't have taken the time to create it in the first place. That being said, I'm sure a lot of people are grateful to have this as well. Or at least those that use creature mods the way that I do.

For those that have no idea what I'm rambling on about, I'm referring to Skeleton Diversity. Just like Zombie Diversity, all it does is add more creatures into the undead leveled lists, except this time it's more races of skeletons rather than zombies. Despite the fact the models and textures for Argonian and Khajiit skeletons had already been created some time ago, there was no standalone mod prior to mine that added them into Cyrodiil. Since I've made myself known as one that has little interest in larger creature compilations, I decided to create the mod myself (and of course giving all the necessary credit to the original author of the models, who is known as Wiruman on TESNexus). There should be a relatively equal chance of you running into these skeletons wherever you would find the vanilla skeletons, and there are Argonian and Khajiit skeletons of each rank of skeleton that you normally be able to find in dungeons all over Cyrodiil.

In case you were wondering why the human skeletons have a different texture on them, that actually is not a part of this mod. The Argonian and Khajiit skulls don't match up too well with the default skeleton body texture, so I hunted down a mod that did a better job at replacing them in the right style. The one I settled for is called "Da Bloody Skeleton Mod," which you can find right here. Even if my mod isn't for you, I highly recommend getting Da Bloody Skeleton Mod if you want skeletons to look like they should if they've actually been lying around in a tomb for several years. However, if you are interested in trying my mod, you can also get it on TESNexus.

I have a good idea where I want to go next with the blog, so hopefully that means I'll have another post out soon. I'll at least have the time to make a couple over the weekend. Hopefully. Until then, have a wonderful Thursday.

Monday, March 21, 2011


After a long Spring Break, I've decided to start up again small with another little mod that adds a bit more excitement into Cyrodiil.

If a character decides to dabble with magicka and wants to buy a new spell, the merchant limits the character in accordance with their school of magic. If you're taught a spell by a member of the Mages Guild or elsewhere, you may not be able to attempt casting it due to these limitations. In an effort to give the player the chance of success or accepting the consequences of failing, Fizzle removes these limitations. However, if your character isn't strong enough to control the magicka necessary for the spell, it may fail or physically harm the caster. An example of this effect can be seen in the video.

The mechanics behind the mod are relatively straight-forward if you don't want to customize anything. When your character "equips" a spell, you will be notified of the chances of successfully casting the spell in question. A number of factors go into calculating this percentage, such as holding a weapon, what kind of armor is weighing the character down, or skill level in the appropriate school of magic. If any of these factors are changed, you will be re-notified of your casting chances. If the probability is low enough, and your character happens to fail, the spell will affect the player in some way, such as damage to health, fatigue, or magicka. The result of your failure will also be told to you the same way you are notified of your casting chances. Both of these notifications can be turned off if you don't like to see them, but I chose to not customize any part of the mod for demonstration purposes. If my explanation doesn't make sense to you, or you'd just like to use the mod yourself, you can find Fizzle right here.

I apologize for my absence over the course of my Spring Break, but I figured being social in the real world would be better for me than taking that time to update my blog. But class is back in session now, so I'll be posting semi-regularly once again. Until next time, goodbye for now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MOBS and Multipliers

I've reached the point where I think the majority of my posts are going to be more focused on interactions with Cyrodiil rather than just beautification. To start this off, I'd like to discuss two similar mods that I recommend using together.

The Medieval Oblivion Equipment Balance System (MOBS) was designed to give the weapons and combat as a whole a much more realistic presence in the game, primarily by reworking the amount of damage weapons are capable of at each character level. Another major fix that MOBS adds is the changing of weapon reach during combat, which adds a lot more sensibility to how fights play out. Hand-to-hand is improved by adding more fatigue damage, and marksman is rebalanced by giving more speed to arrows and slowing down the motion of running backward. On top of all of this, damage as a whole is increased.

Kuertee's Attribute-Based and Skill-Based Damage Modifiers, which I'll refer to as Multipliers for convenience sake, can be layered on top of the changes that MOBS makes to create faster and potentially scarier combat situations. The amount that weapon damage is multiplied by is easily customizable outside of the game by the player, and these skill-dependent changes also affect NPCs. Multipliers makes the game much more intense at times, but fights to the death typically should be more nerve-racking than the original game's portrayal of combat as a tiresome and lengthy nuisance.

Whether these mods result in easy kills or not is much more dependent on the skill of the NPC now, which calls for much more attention to timing and calculation before lunging head-first into battle. As you may notice in the video, the couple times my character dies are mainly due to one miss or misjudgment. To properly see the effects of the mods on both the player and the NPCs, I left the menus on. Be sure to pay attention to how health is affected.

Using these mods completely changes the way the player handles aggressive NPCs, so I recommend taking some time to practice before going right into major quests and expect to know what you're doing. Obviously the best method of doing this would probably be to start a new character, though a new save game shouldn't be required for either of these mods. They both are very simple to install, and Multipliers can be installed with the Oblivion Mod Manager, which I've mentioned a few times in previous posts. If one or both of these mods sound appealing to you, here's where you can find MOBS and Multipliers.

It was a long day today, but I still managed to have enough time this evening to post this. With enough luck, I'll at least get another one up tomorrow before the weekend. Until then, goodbye for now.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Creatures Alive

Moving away once again from mods that enhance the graphical quality of the game, I thought I'd talk for a bit about animal behavior in Cyrodiil. It's hard to say that any mods really "fix" anything with creatures in the game because several of the animals that live in Cyrodiil don't exist in the real world. However, based on how animals act on Earth, we can infer that certain behaviors would be present if creatures were exposed to certain environments. With this in mind, I'd like to present Creatures Alive.

The original game did a few things right when making Oblivion, and their approach to animal behavior was actually something I really enjoyed. There was a chance you could run into a wolf hunting deer, which would travel in herds and run at the slightest movement it detected. Creatures Alive takes this idea of mimicking animals in the real world and applies it to more of the creatures in Oblivion. It also increases the chances of seeing this by giving the player a good idea of where to look. Animals will likely be found near water, especially wild boar and mud crabs. There's a greater chance of seeing offspring with the animals, such as a lion cub or a baby deer. And to add even further realism, it provides more equal opportunity, so stumbling upon a mountain lion isn't reserved for those strong enough to kill one. All of this makes for a much more dynamic world that the player has to survive in.

As you can see, it occasionally makes things pretty dangerous, especially for my Level 1 character that I've been using for testing these mods. A lot of what I discuss is about adding more challenge and adventure to the world, though. There are other options of mods that change animal behavior, but this one stood out due to the very specific changes it made to how the creatures are seen. Most of the others that can be found outside of overhaul mods generally focus more on levels of aggression. This did that and more. For those of you that are interested in learning more, you can find Creatures Alive at TESNexus.

That's all for now. As you can probably tell, I think I'll be a lot more consistent the rest of this week. Until next time, have a wonderful Mardi Gras.

A side note: A separate author on the official forums made some tweaks to Creatures Alive in an attempt to make behavior a bit less glitchy. If you experience any issues with the original mod, be sure to download this version by him first before deciding to remove it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dungeon Actors Have Torches

I thought I'd take the time this morning to write a quick, little post about a quick, little mod.

When using mods to make the world darker when in dungeons or at night, torches and other light sources become increasingly important to the player, which makes a lot of sense. Who wants to run around in the dark all the time in a dangerous place like the wilderness of Cyrodill? Well, apparently bandits do, because the original game doesn't provide them with any light source for them to hold. Dungeon Actors Have Torches gives NPCs who reside in the underworld of Cyrodiil a relatively high chance of having a torch to carry with them. Not only does it provide your character with light sources for when you're stumbling about in the dark while trying to be sneaky at the same time, but it also makes it much more difficult for you to surprise the bandits. In my opinion, this adds a decent amount of realistic challenge to the game and makes dungeon diving a lot more exciting.

Before complaining that the first section of the video seems too dark, keep in mind that this is meant to point out the necessity of giving the actors torches. If you're not familiar with the mod that is making my dungeons look so eerie, be sure to check out my post about Cava Obscura. Also, if you're interested in having this idea extended onto the NPCs outdoors, be sure to check out Exterior Actors Have Torches, which was made by the same author. Finally, if this mod seems like just your thing, you can find Dungeon Actors Have Torches right here.

It looks like this week is going to be pretty slow for me, so hopefully that means I'll be able to post more on here. Please please please be sure to tell me what you think about what I'm doing here. I haven't received any feedback lately, so anything would be wonderful. Until next time, have a fantastic Monday.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tamriel NPCs Revamped

Sadly instead of getting better, my illness has only gotten worse. Today I decided not to go to classes because of it, so I had the time to post this.

The citizens of Cyrodiil are an odd bunch for various reasons, but the one that is most obvious is their faces. In an effort to make non-player characters (NPCs) a bit more realistic and easier on the eyes, the team behind the Tamriel NPCs Revamped (TNR) project redesigned the facial structure of over a thousand people. Due to people's varied tastes, it's difficult to say whether they did a good job. My previous experience with the mod tells me that the result overall can be considered a massive improvement, but there are a couple NPCs that still look a bit scary. I'm only showing a minuscule fraction of the whole population, but it should give you a good idea of what they did with the faces.

TNR is extremely easy to install due to the mod being made to be installed using the Oblivion Mod Manager. Because of this, it's also incredibly simple to remove. If you're not sure whether the result will be appealing to you, try it out for yourself and just delete the mod if you don't enjoy it. The files that come with the mod shouldn't replace anything already on your computer, so uninstalling the mod won't affect your gameplay in the slightest. If this sounds appealing to you, you can find Tamriel NPCs Revamped on TESNexus.

Be sure to wish me luck while I'm fighting off this dreadful cough of mine. The sooner I get rid of it, the easier time I'll have putting this blog together. Until next time, blessings of Stendarr upon ye.