Author Topic: WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined  (Read 8760 times)

Offline Silver Sorrow

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WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined
« on: April 13, 2009, 02:40:19 AM »
Note to self: disable MMM for SI, as well as Open Cities New Sheoth.


Oh, no reason...well, okay...two:

1. The new MMM spawns seem to either kill off or drive away NPCs to parts unknown. I visited several towns and only one of them had any people. (That would be the settlement -- Highcross?? -- with my favorite SI NPC, Runs-In-Circles: "ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni!") Maybe they're all trapped in a house, or something. I say that because that happened to me in...drawing a blank again...ah: Brindle Home. It seems some goblins (HATE GOBLINS DIE DIE DIE) riled up the townsfolk and they were all locked in the Nord's house, NPCs and goblins alike. ::)

On a side note, this is why I went back to MMM's reduced spawns plugin.

2. Open Cities is a great mod, but it's far too easy for the MMM monsters to wander into town and start a ruckus. The local populations were being wiped out when I reached higher levels -- oh, so the entire Kvatch settlement gets massacred by an Elder Ogre and *I'm* responsible because I wanted to level up? Don't I have enough to feel bad about already? -- and that's been carried over into SI. I've been taking my time getting to Sheoth (this character wanted to see everything along the way; I warned her that while the Isles looks cool, it's pretty damned boring to explore...she wouldn't listen), and I was informed that Hirrus Pseudoromannameus had been killed and "I would never find out what he wanted." (Something like that.) So it was either reload an earlier savegame and race to save him, find his corpse and resurrect it, or just go on with the game and ransack his home for the quest reward (I hope it's in there). The problem is that I had no savegame close to the event, nor did I know where he died. Open city, remember? He may have been chased all the way to the Fringe by a monster and killed. Who knows? So I'll drop by his home when the Purple Girls aren't looking.

While this is going on, I've had Bash's bashed patch let me use unlimited rings and amulets...pretty neat until I realize that I'm wearing enough magic jewelry to be totally invulnerable to everything but falling damage (I take more damage falling than I take from is that even remotely fair?)...and people asking me how I go to the bathroom wearin' all those gold chains...

Merely scrolling through my inventory takes up a lot of time, too. I'm wearing something like, I don't know, fifty rings and amulets? :lol:

Oooookay. I gotta get some sleep. I'm at that perfect twilight-of-consciousness stage where EVERYTHING is funny. :P
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 10:00:13 PM by Silver Sorrow »
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Offline Silver Sorrow

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Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
Unless you're sure you want to reply, please consider starting a new topic.


Ah, well. Part two of this seemingly dead gripe list is something I didn't even know existed until I got FCOM running. That is: reflect damage on certain Daedra.

I never noticed it, because I've played a custom health-regenerating race for almost as long as I care to remember, so any damage reflected back upon my character would be one usually takes damage from a Dremora anyway, right? But upon smacking a Fire Atronach and losing half my health, can imagine that this might concern me somewhat. (Especially when I stealth-killed three Daedra in quick succession and noticed I was down to a sliver of health.) So I got to looking...and found 1) morons justifying such a stupid concept ("well don't be a melee fighter," slurred one drooling idiot), and 2) a bit of information. That's all I wanted. But since this IS the webternet, you get all kinds of crap you didn't want in addition to, at most, *part of* what you wanted. :P

Anyway. After a bit of digging through the CS, I discovered that, yes, Clannfear, Dremora, Atronachs, et al, have Reflect Damage as a part of an Ability spell. While the values are somewhat negligible (that word! again!) -- 15% here, 30% there -- they do serve some sort of purpose...what that might be, I don't know. Unless the purpose is to make the player suffer, which fits right in with the masochism inherent in the average RPG fan (motto: "We Live To Suffer! Please Kick Us In The Testicles!"). Normally, this wouldn't be too much of a problem, but since the various frustration-inducing mods present in FCOM muck with a bunch of settings, these ordinarily trifling drawbacks are magnified greatly. Thus, losing half my health when backslashing (BECAUSE THERE IS NO BACKSTAB ANIMATION!!) an Atronach.

So I fixed it, I guess. I removed all instances of Reflect Damage from every Ability spell (including Raven and Mankar Camaron), and...I still took damage, but this time from one of the OOO monsters. "Aha!" I aha'ed, "More tinkering!"

Long story mercy-killed, I now have four anti-Reflect Damage plugins, one for each of the majors (vanilla, OOO, MMM, Frans), and I haven't taken any reciprocative damage so far that I know of.

It's very sad, though, that almost every day I stumble across some dumbass "feature" that I either have to fix or work around somehow. And some of them aren't fixable in a happy way. Take Light Of Dawn, for example: it's one of the best swords in the game, but it's a two-handed sword...this is a serious problem when your character is stealthy and wants to kill vampires with it, as two-handed weapons do only 1x damage. Yippee. I believe the modifier is hard-coded (yet another winning moment from Bethesda), so the only real fix is to dive into the OOO master and make a new dependent plugin that changes the sword to a one-handed sword...THEN edit the sword mesh to be a side weapon...

...but I have a damage enhancer (based on the one in MMM) and some strength enhancements, so the only real concern is vampire Elders and Ancients...but if your character is awesome, they're just minor annoyances at best.

There. That should take care of your insomnia. If not, just read it all again.
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Offline Silver Sorrow

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FCOM is a side-effect of the death of intelligent gaming, which is best charted in a side-by-side comparison of Oblivion and Morrowind...which I won't do. You're welcome.

Separately, the major overhauls (although I don't like grouping them all under that label, as they aren't *all* overhauls...) are fine; combining MMM and Fran's is perfectly acceptable. However, all four together...

I'm getting some irritating slowdowns and crashes; I successfully got QTP3-Redimized working (a mere four or five hours needed to download, convert to omod, patch, etc.), but the game was trying to barf itself to death. I deactivated it and noticed *some* fps improvement, but not much. Still stuttering, still a crash or two. I have a 512mb card, so that should be fine. I have Streamline set to Very Aggressive, and that's okay...but the worst thing, and I'll expand on this in a moment, was the problem I faced with combat.

OOO was an fps-strangling bastard to begin with, especially around the cities (oh, it does NOT like Leyawiin Reborn); MMM was slightly less so, but there were more frequent crashes due to the increased spawns and the stupid amount of monsters thrown at the player. WarCry...I don't know. Don't remember. Don't care. Fran's wasn't too much of a problem, IIRC.

No, most of my problems stem from OOO: it borks magic, weapons, armor...just about everything advantageous in the game is screwed over to some extent. The only way to eke enjoyment out of the thing is to install the lite version and add in the changes you like. And I do like several things about OOO: the hand-placed goodies, the new quests, the armor, the themed dungeons (for example: Fort Horunn is a minotaur lair instead of the vanilla game's chaotic mishmash of mythic monsters), and a couple of other things. The downsides, of course, are: the stupidity delivery system that is MOBS, all the armor and weapons weigh a zillion pounds...there's so much to hate, and so little willingness on my part to list all of it.

So again, the only way to enjoy it is to use the lite version. But I don't think FCOM wants me to do that. You NEED the full version, you NEED to find a rope and fashion it into a noose. And to return to my earlier point, this is what gets me the most about OOO entire: combat.

Take Dasek Moor, for example. Inside is a fairly powerful boss surrounded with oh, say, nine hundred million raider warlords and furies. Maybe nine to ten. I think I lost count. So here you have a strong boss with a strong sword, and at least 40% of his support staff are mages.


Not too bad...IF Oblivion had an efficient engine, which it does not. So with perhaps 400 assholes flinging magic shit at your head while the other 800 are trying to kill you via more conventional means (oh, and at least 200 of these will be archers :P), framerates...suffer. If only a little. So I find myself constantly engulfed in some sort of red cloud that drains my various attributes while I (attempt to) swing wildly at the stooges on crazy legs running all over the place...worse, I'm stuck in power attack mode: the game apparently groups my repeated mouse clicks as one click and all I do is power attack. Meanwhile, the AI are totally unaffected by the fps problems and end up behind me or across the room, etc., from one moment to the next.

So I think I'll break up the band. I'll scatter them to the winds and go back to the time-tested One-Or-The-Other method. OOO by itself, or MMM in conjunction with Fran's. I think FCOM is a great idea and is brilliantly put together (although it needs some more work), but it isn't for someone of my temperament. I'm not a masochist, so the changes made by the full versions of OOO and Fran's aren't for me; I'm also not a sadist, so playing MMM to kill a bunch of things just to be killing them isn't my motivation for playing. I normally use the severely reduced spawns...I like variety in encounters, not a tsunami of kamikaze monsters.

It is something of a bummer, as I like OOO's themed dungeons most of all...but I could probably make my own instead. There's a thought. :purplelaugh:

So to sum up and support my opening statement -- you may remember it -- FCOM doesn't really add much to Oblivion besides monsters and armor and stuff: it's pretty much just sheer combat dressed up in an enhancement package. And it does that doesn't claim to be a complete reinvention of the game. The overhaul and monster mods are there to bolster the game's lame plot and mundane quests. If you've been playing OB for any amount of time, you find you *need* one of the major overhaul/monster mods...anything to relieve the tedium of finding Bjalfi and Rockshatter yet again. OB, in its watered-down state, represents the worst side of mass-market games: trying to please a large audience by attempting not to alienate any of them with, you know, plot and stuff. That only confuses the kids. The downside of this is disappointing the people who thought MW was brilliant. Happily for Bethesda, this is merely an artistic failure and not a financial one, which is a big no-no.

...y'know, I wonder if TES V will have any plot at all. :P
« Last Edit: September 10, 2009, 04:49:37 AM by Silver Sorrow »
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Offline Silver Sorrow

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Unique Horrorscapes: Which Ones I'm Uninstalling

Unique Landscapes strives to reshape Tamriel into a gorgeous place in which to kill rats. I recently came into possession of a Geforce 250 GTS 1gb card (the weak link in my not-too-bad setup was my Geforce 8600 GS 512mb card), and I thought I'd try out a few of the more graphics-intensive landscape and texture mods. I'm running QTP3 with no vanilla...but I think I may have opened myself up to a world of frustration here. Ultra high-res textures plus cluttered areas is not the greatest combination on this so very inefficient engine. So I'm playing through the game with a new character and taking notes on what needs to go if I'm going to be using FCOM, or something similar.

This is necessary, as 1) the UL mods are developed in conjunction with the whole, but in an independent manner, and 2) not all of the modders care about or even understand the limitations of the engine. I wonder if I could save myself the trouble simply by sticking my finger down my throat, but that's not a character the Calvin way of thinking ("Go do something you hate! Suffering builds character!").

So far, this is what I've done:

Blackwood Forest by roobsi
Region: Blackwood, touching upon Leyawiin.

As I expected, it conflicts with Open Cities Leyawiin Reborn. There's a patch, but I think my load order may have been screwed up a little, as I found two markers for Darkfathom cave (the original, preserved by this mod, and the one added by OCLR, which moved the cave as well). It adds a large-ish Ayleid ruin nearby...picturesque, but a bit of a drag on the ol' framerates. Plus, the giant mudcrab pissed me off. But I juggled the plugins and the patch and ended up with something approaching harmony. I'll keep an eye on it, as something more swamp-like is needed in a region that's supposed to be a swamp. ::)

Bravil Barrowfields by bananasplit
Region: around Bravil, the Larsius river, that wizard guy's tower, etc.

While this is a gorgeous piece of art -- bananasplit's work is always top-notch (see his original Better Cities mods) -- it suffers from the author's ubiquitous complete disregard for engine limitations. Grab your plate, 'cause dinner's comin' right up. Uninstalled.

Chorrol Hinterland by Carel de Winter
Region: Chorrol and surrounding environs. (!)

For me, the region around Chorrol has always been something of an fps slog. So it stands to reason that this part of UL would make everything all stuttery and stuff. Just too much junk. Plus, I had to juggle the Bashed Patch to get the friggin' water to show up. The waterwheel spinning on nothing is sort of sad, really. Uninstalled.

Fallenleaf Everglade by aberneth
Region: South-southeast of Skingrad, right next to Silorn.

One of my favorites, but it has a problem with least whenever *I* run it. I found that loading it towards the end of my mod list, *after* the Bashed Patch restores the water. I also had to resize the damned swamp rats and make them non-aggro.  ::)  When I reinstall Lost Spires, I'll have to install a patch...but I'll worry about that later.

Imperial Isle by Gondor Wache
Region: Mars the Imperial Isle.

While impressive, it goes up against one of the trickiest places in the entire game and doesn't come out so well. Anything messing with the Imperial Isle is going to be stuttery and nausea-inducing, so I usually don't even bother. The only one I do have running is ImperREAL City All Districts Merged, which changes all sort of things; one of these is the Waterfront district, which needed some help anyway. This is rough enough on my framerates, so the UL mod goes. Maybe I'll give it a shot when I'm done with the others. Uninstalled.

The Dark Forest by addiktive
Region: South of the IC, encompassing Harcane Grove, too.

One of the more...ambitious...of the UL mods, it's probably also one of the more imaginative. The stress on my system is a little intensive, but not too bad. Quite atmospheric. Go there at night. Take a nap. I dare you.  :purplelaugh:

The Great Forest: Lush Woodland by Aelius
Region: The Great Forest, east of Chorrol...the Ayleid ruin of Lindai is at its easternmost edge, I believe.

Very nice. While it doesn't add three million waterfalls like some of the others (::)), the effect on the region is profound. Best of all, it doesn't mess up my own mod, which placed the dungeon exit not too far from Lindai.


That's it so far; I'll probably list more when I get to them, but I'm betting that I'll forget all about it.

Oh, and here's something good, in a way: the ultra-nifty vampire death sequence that was featured in StarX Vanilla Vampires Revised has been made a standalone thing by someone with way too many screen names. StarX's Vampire Deaths make it so that you don't have to squirrel around with the actual mod (which was kind of overwhelming, I thought). Which is fantastic. But here's the thing: every stinking overhaul mod messes with vampires! So if you're playing with Fran's (for example), and you want the new death're probably out of luck. I mean, you *could* load it after the Fran's plugins, but Fran's adds its own vampires...

So I took initiative and loaded up the Fran's .esp and the vampire .esm, made all of the Fran's vampires use the new death script, and it seems to work now. I just shudder to think of how much effort it would take if I were to use FCOM...oh, boo-HOO. It's not like I'm having to write the scripts *myself* or anything. Sometimes, I just can't believe myself. :P
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 10:14:08 PM by Silver Sorrow »
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Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2009, 12:33:15 PM »
Unique Horrorscapes, part 2

Ancient Yews by Carel de Winter
Region: The large tract of the mainland east of the IC isle, sandwiched between the Blue Road (north, to Cheydinhal) and the Yellow Road (south, curving eventually to Blackwood and Leyawiin), encompassing Arkved's tower, Nagastani, Lake Poppad, etc.

This turns the otherwise sparse region into something dense and wooded. Looking west from Nagastani, I always enjoyed the nice, uncluttered view of the IC...but the aesthetic update is good, too.

Arrius Creek by Malachit
Region: At the foot of the mountains, encompassing Aerin's Camp, Lord Rugdumph's Estate, Fanacas, etc.

Too much going on, both graphically and in an audio sense, as my speakers were crackling while in the area. It's probably due to the new environment sounds and the fps struggle. I don't really see a huge difference in the area, other than a waterfall (which has no water unless I mess with my Bashed Patch yet again) and a mill of some sort. Enh. Uninstalled.

Cloudtop Mountains by bananasplit
Region: Cloudtop, etc., northwest of Chorrol; extends past the game "borders."

Nothing *too* strenuous (astounding, considering the author), and it does add quite a lot of character to the area. Interesting that you really can't see *all* of it, as some of the new stuff is beyond the invisible barrier that separates immersion from the game; this actually works, I think. Of course, it's easy to see the rest with a simple value change in the .ini.

Stendarr Valley by Rancen
Region: Northwest of Bruma.

Like Fallenleaf Everglade, an indispenable installment. Makes the incredibly boring region interesting.
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Offline OrlopRat

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Re: WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2009, 02:49:02 PM »
 I needed this kind of information, I really did, honest. I want to use bits of UL, but I found the whole thing a little (a lot) confusing, as I find most things lately. Lately? Who am I kidding. Sometimes I forget how many cats I have. The answer is two, by the way, I just checked.

   So now I have a decent idea about what to try. Ancient Yews is going in, I'll be visiting Stendarr Valley, and Fallenleaf Everglade will now clutter my game. Once I get my feet wet I may try more, depending on how this goes. After I dry off my feet, of course. Fungus is not my friend. Usually.

  The landscapes in Oblivion bore the living shit out of me. Endless mythical rural England. I half expect Miss Marple to come out one of the cottages. I wish she would actually, so I could summon a Dremora on her ass. That would amuse me.

  And snowy places. There are a few snowy places. Oh joy. Which is one of the things that keep pulling me back to Vvardenfell. Landscapes.

   I read a post once by someone who wanted a mod that made Morrowind look like Fallout 3. I'm horrified that I live on the same planet with such people.

   Or maybe I don't...
Tiens, voilĂ  du boudin...

Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2009, 09:16:07 PM »
Lessee...they want VATS in Morrowind, they want Morrowind to look like F3...clearly, Darwin's theory of natural selection just does not work. (That is: they're dumb, but they're not dead!?) This lends credence to Creationism: a cruel God created dumb people and they'll eventually be involved in televangelism in some way. I'd weep for the future, but there is none. No hope at all. There is no Vaseline in Gilead.

But despite the eventual brain death of the species, I'll throw some more UL impressions out there.  ;D

It is a bit overwhelming, I agree: I had to download and install each one, and there are quite a few of them. Then I found the Unique Landscapes Compilation OMOD, which promises to make the process easier, but I would count on teeth-gnashing frustration and weeping despair. (I expect the same thing from Christmas, so take that as you will.)

As a side note, I've been slowly gathering the resources for a reinstall of FCOM (because I want to get it right this time) great it would be if they just dumped it all into one big package and said, hey, here it is...install it! I mean, the people who originally created OOO and MMM aren't involved anymore (as far as I know), so what's the big deal? Compile it all into one giant omod and let us pick and choose what we want...

...oh, wait. I forgot that most people are idiots. I suspect that one of the underlying reasons FCOM is such a pain in the skingrad to install is because it weeds out the borderline illiterates that comprise a good chunk of the so-called "community". Can't be bothered to read the instructions? Ha ha! Suffer!  :lol:

Anyway, the reason I bring that up is due to my own laziness: reading the manual (so to speak), it was recommended that I install something called BOSS: Better Oblivion Sorting Software. And here I thought Wrye Bash was enough. It turns out I'm a colossal moron. Because BOSS is "A simple 'one-click' program for users to quickly optimise and avoid detrimental conflicts in their oblivion mod load-order." Silly me for not recognizing the greatness of BOSS, and I will pay for my sins for all eternity.

Really, though: what the hell? This is yet another complicated utility to resolve mod order conflicts and such and they have this masterlist thing and I can't help but panic when I think about installing it. I'm hyperventilating and I'm starting to taste metal. Why is that? Why? Why??

But never mind that for now. (Note to self: stock up on paper bags and valium.) I suspect the reason Oblivion's landscape is so boring is that the Funworks employees couldn't figure out how to decorate the countryside AND keep framerates down on their lame-ass engine, so they made everything boring. I would have suggested that they get rid of Alchemy entirely -- thus eliminating the need for stupid plants all over the place -- and bring back Axe as a skill. Then they could make waterfalls and shit AND not keep me in a perpetual state of irritation over an axe being considered a blunt weapon.

Miss Marple being hunted by know, that led me down a strange path, and this where I ended up: "This may be kind of weird, but when I think of the literary detective, I think of the cast of Murder By Death. For example, I can't watch Poirot movies without half-expecting him to shout 'I'M NOT A FRENCHIE, I'M A BELGIE!!' at someone. And God help me, I think of Peter Falk instead of Bogie whenever someone mentions Sam Spade." And that's where I wandered off even further. Maybe I should get a cat. The sensation of claws sinking into my flesh always seemed to focus me.

Unique Horrorscapes, part 3

For a detailed map of where these places are, I refer you to THIS MAP.  :ok:

Part three, yes. I'm bored with the AI encounters; I installed Fran's beforehand, but I'm not seeing any real benefit from having done so. Sure, I run across a *couple* more bad guys (along with the occasional overpowered boss) in dungeons and the like, but it's really not that much better than vanilla. Sneak into a vampire lair to find...what, three vampires total? Yawn. MMM and OOO ruined me for the vanilla game.

I'll be installing FCOM after finishing up with the UL testing; then I'll see if me UL beauties will ship their freight with...with...oh, never mind. The worst thing that faces me then is adapting FCOM to use the StarX vampire deaths.

Anyway, keep in mind with these that I'm using QTP3 (Qark's Texture Pack 3) and Mikal33's various flora textures, all of which affects my framerates beyond a doubt. To counter the fps hit, I have grass turned off and shadows limited to half. (I *could* crank int. and ext. shadows all the way up, as well as self shadows...but I won't. The engine doesn't handle shadows very well, especially the self shadows, which are ridiculously stupid. Grass itself is neat until you get right on top of it and notice how shitty it is. Even UT2k3 had better grass.)

Entius Gorge by Phitt
Region: The river running by Fort Entius (eastern Cyrodiil)

It isn't the most elaborate of the UL mods, but it is one of my favorites. It changes a boring area into something worth trying to spit across. The landmarks mod I'm using affects the position of the Mage Stone marker, but I really don't care. Hee hee. I'm so nihilistic. Anyway, I found that, yet again, I needed to load it after the Bashed Patch. Illustration:

Before? Very little water.

After? Water.

Panther River by trollf
Region: The, uh, Panther River.

Nicely done. No framerate problems that I experienced.

Rolling Hills: Roland Jenseric's Farm by Malachit
Region: The area around Roland Jenseric's cabin

While it adds something to the area -- most notably stuttering -- I really can't recommend this one. I had some slight fps problems, and it should be mentioned that I'm using the non-wheat version. The most important thing, however, is that the spectacle of "rolling hills" is somewhat diminished by seven foot tall (or so) hedges running around the perimeter of the farm, marking off boundaries and such. What, no one made a wooden fence mesh?? The hedge obscures the view, as well as bogging down framerates as a special bonus. (It's there to keep the farm animals in and the spawned AI out, I think.) When I first tried this mod out a year or so ago, I tinkered with it a bit: removing the farm life and the hedges opened the area up considerably, but the changes he made to the landscape textures were quite ugly. So I abandoned it altogether. Uninstalled

The Great Forest: Ancient Redwoods by Aelius
Region: West of Fort Nikel, between the road to Chorrol and the road to Skingrad.

Adds many trees and friendly bears, with no huge fps hit. I approve.

River Ethe by Carel de Winter
Region: Western Cyrodiil; south of Chorrol, going past Skingrad to the border.

This is a river that really needs to be put on a map now. I had some stuttering problems here and there, but not too annoying. I'm guessing (guessing, mind you) that it was expected to be used in conjunction with Chorrol Hinterland, as the source of the river is...nothing. An illustration:

That, plus some lovely tears in the landscape may be a dealbreaker for some. I'm not letting it bother me. The imps bother me *enough* without worrying about the landscape, thank you.

Colovian Highlands by Malachit
Region: A bit further southwest from the Colovian Whatevers, on the border high in the mountains. (Duh.)

High in the mountains near the border, are the remnants of...hell, something. A pass comprised of bleached white rock, reminding me of the canal levels in Jedi Knight 2 (or was it 1? And, who cares?), leading past ruins left by the now virtually extinct cliff-building Cuervo Indians of Colovia (ancient Cuervo folk saying: "...*hic* ...givesh not a shit from where this wall comesh from my bottom...*hic*...fush it...letsh jusht take a break..."), it has its own charm...even though it stands out from the surrounding landscape like a couple of giant molars.

Just three more UL mods to go, I believe...right now I'm in The Heath.

And now for some screens.

Chorrol Hinterland's water wheel...loaded before the bashed patch; this is not how it should look, FYI:

A closeup of Mikal33's texture work:

Another closeup of another shrubbery, which has chosen to mug me:

"A Tree Grows In The Fortress."

Fallenleaf Everglade loaded AFTER the bashed patch; how it should look:

And finally (for today)...

At least we know what killed him.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 09:23:08 PM by Silver Sorrow »
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Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2009, 03:27:38 AM »
Unique Horrorscapes, part 4

Firefox has been giving me fits lately. Ever since v3...well. I guess you get what you pay for.

Two things:

1) I should write country songs. I think "I've Been Peeing Pink (Since You Punched Me In The Kidneys, My Dear)" is a potential chartbuster. How about "We Won't Be Rollin' Like Thunder Under Them Sheets, Thanks To My War Wound"? Or "I've Been A Changed Man Since I Got Out of Jail," aka "The Folsom Prison Puce"? What about "I Know This Is Our First Date, But I Didn't Plan On Havin' My Arm Jammed Up To My Elbow In Your Ass Just Yet, My Kinky Lil Darlin'"? Sure beats...well...whatever it is those [unkind anti-cowboy slur]s sing about.

2) I thought about fried eggs, for some reason. I hate fried eggs. Runny yolk is disturbing.

Beaches of Cyrodiil: Lost Coast by aberneth
Region: The west coast of Cyrodiil

Probably the most realized (and most updated) of the UL mods, this turns the agonizingly dull "well, it's *there*, anyway" west coast into something a lot more poignant. Ship wrecks and bleached, hollow logs dot the beach. I'd recommend a vacation there, if you don't mind the suicide crabs. Apparently it's compatible with Knights of the Nine, I guess. I'll see if that's so later on.

The Heath: Wetland by Phitt
Region: north County Kvatch.

Turns the boring-as-plain-oatmeal region into a marshy wetland...okay, yes: a heath. Or a moor. Whichever. One of the best of the installments.

Brena River Ravine by chuck21, IAMTHEEMPEROR, Arthmoor
Region: North of the Heath, extending well past the border into Hammerfell (according to the map).

This one deals with the Brena River, which separates Cyrodiil from Hammerfell; it adds an elaborate Ayleid dam system, along with a quest that you'll have to figure out for yourself without the help of the journal. (:madatwall:)  Unfortunately, you won't get very far without disabling the dumbass invisible borders around Cyrodiil. Either you can get a mod to do that for you (OOO does that, I think), or you can do it yourself.

Open your Oblivion.ini (which is in your My Documents\My Games\Oblivion\ folder) and find the line:


...and change the value to 0

Now you can become frustrated by the quest in the way the authors intended. Of course, it isn't all that straightforward and may require a bit of clairvoyance to figure out...or you can just ignore the inside of the ruins altogether and just consider it eye candy. Either way, it's a delightfully extensive Ayleid ruin/dam/etc., and you should enjoy it, if possible.

Note: the mod's bandit faction didn't seem to mind that I was killing them off one by one.

Revisited: Blackwood Forest
I explored the area more, and at first the only thing that made an impression on me was the fps hit. So...a few more swampy pools and trees, not to mention a considerable Ayleid ruin. Yippee. So I turned on grass -- "Tell you what, Short Green: why don't YOU lift the goddamn X-Wing out of the muck!" -- and wandered around until I found the spot where the guy took the atmoshperic screenshots: next to the ruin. Yaaaaaay. Nowhere else was the water covered in a layer of mist, so I followed the misty river along some not-unimpressive riverbanks (grass helps), past a couple of less-than impressive waterfalls (huh...I thought there might be some sort of rapids-action here), and ultimately to the sea, where it's goooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooone forever (hint: Alan Parsons Project). I guess I'll keep it: I like the ruin, and I'm rarely in Blackwood, so the difference to the bland norm when I *do* go will make the trip worthwhile.

Help ME. ::)

This is how all rivers and streams look before they turn to waterfalls. It's proven scientific fact.

Why, yes...I *do* have an Nvidia card. Why do you ask?

One additional irritated question: why the hell is it always raining in this game??

Thus endeth the casual dissection of the Unique Landscapes mods. Afterwards, I decided to switch back to QTP3-Redimized, as I don't need *quite* that level of detail. Now that I've done so, I think I might go BACK to QTP3...things don't look quite as good with the Redimized thingy.


And now...

Fussing With FCOM: One Man's Descent Into Insanity, One Optional Plugin At A Time

Okay. So I've spent the last few days collecting resources, archives, etc., in an attempt to install a permanent FCOM presence on my system. Why I would want to do this, I don't know. I have no idea why. But I decided to do so, and it's a lot more attractive than cleaning least, one would think so. After battling with this damned thing today, the quick break I took to actually clean one of those toilets proved to be the most rewarding, in 1) a hygienic sense, and 2) an accomplishment sense. All I got from getting FCOM running was a feeling of bone-deep weariness, a sense of I-never-ever-want-to-do-that-again-ness.

Here's a totally unrelated thought: a faith-healing priest of Mara sending people off to a pilgrimage in the West Weald. He makes his way down a row of waiting believers, grabbing each one by the shoulders and saying "You are going to the West...WEALD!" and then slapping them on the forehead.

Anyway, with all of the components in one place (yes, I read the various load order guides, followed the *long* instruction manual to its bitter end, etc., etc.), I began the process of unzipping, unraring, un7zipping (and so on) all of the stuff and placing them in a temporary folder. Since my Oblivion directory was somewhat pristine, I didn't have to worry too much about painful file comparisons (do I want to keep the larger .nif, dated 9/1/09, or do I want the smaller .nif, dated 5/7/06? To infinity and beyond!), and I got everything together...and put it all in the right places.

So far, yay.

Then came the load order. I spent most of today arranging this crap. So I consulted (several) load order guides and got it all sorted. I still had a few wildcard plugins (mostly my own), so I loaded them near the bottom of the list. It was recommended that I use BOSS to sort my FCOM crap, so I installed that and...ha, I'm so clever...I backed up my Bash load list before running it (plus, I had to turn off Lock Times). So I run BOSS, and apart from informing me that a couple of the plugins weren't necessary, it redated all of my plugins in a cascading waterfall of January 2001s.

Unfortunately, backing up one's load list is not exactly the same as preserving one's plugin dates. I looked at Bash and Bash looked back. No help there. Okay, so I'm an idiot -- granted, the antihistamines don't help -- and I went on from there.

All right. So I ignored my misfortune with the plugin dates and tried to get a few of my non-FCOMmies ordered. I locked the times in Bash, and...spent the rest of the evening 1) making all the vampires in all of the FCOM components use the StarX vampire deaths (result: inflammation in my mouse hand, agony extending to my elbow...the *opposite* elbow), 2) making sure that MMM's ghostly apparitions don't work like Martigen intended (result: cheerful chuckling from me), 3) hoping that the old mod I threw together to make MMM recognize the changes I made to the Dremora works (result: trepidation), 4) removing reflect damage and reflect magic spells from various AI across all of the mods in FCOM (result: eye strain), and 5)...well, I'll get to that in a moment.

With everything ready and loaded, I started Oblivion. I saved my game, exited, used Bash to paste a face onto my character, loaded Oblivion again, and stopped to read quite a lot of material on the various functions added with COBL.


With all the options taken care of, I was ready to be taunted by Dreth. All went well until I equipped the rusty iron armor...and my speed was reduced to a crawl. I had forgotten -- probably on purpose -- that OOO fosters masochism in its adherents. But I have a plan to counteract that crap: one of my nifty little plugins is a de-perker/enhancer that, among other things, removes the encumbrance penalty from heavy armor. So this, in conjunction with the Leveler Shack, will allow me to run around in heavy armor without problems. How? I won't choose armor as a major skill; after exiting the sewers, I'll amble up the hill to the Shack and max out my heavy armor. Yes, this is cheating. Yes, it's MY game.

Okay, whatever. Then I picked up the iron warhammer in the...hey! Why the hell is this thing so slow to swing??

Jesus Marimba.

This is #5, ongoing: I'm still trying to figure out how this stupid thing is overriding my Faster Weapons mod. (I sped up the weapons slightly, made Glass, Ebony, and Elven ignore normal weapons resistances, made them all lighter, etc.) For some reason Bash claims my mod is mergeable and keeps trying to merge it into the bashed patch. I've moved it after the patch, forced Bash not to merge it...nada. I still have something I want to try, though...I won't be defeated by MOBS-kissing morons who loooooooooove slow weapons. (Idiots!) That's the one thing I dislike most about Bash: the bashed patch seems to do more harm than good in certain circumstances. I'll just bet that I have to reorder the UL mods after the patch, too...

Hey, look: it's 3am. I can quit messing with Oblivion now.

On a somewhat related note, after taking the G.O.A.T. earlier today, Mr. Brotch informed me that I'm "perfectly suited for a career as a Waste Management Specialist. A specialist, mind you, not just a dabbler." Congratulations, indeed.



Btw, don't you just love this all-hope-is-lost-but-succeed-a-few-minutes-later method of posting?

Anyway, how I did it: I moved the plugins in question (Faster Weapons and the Heavy Bound Armor thing I've been working on) *after* the patch, but before rebuilding it, I _checked them_. This makes them active (apparently) and not a passive thing to steamroll over. I allowed Bash to merge them into the patch, loaded up the save...and the !@#$ing warhammer was useful again. Hey freakin' hallelujah.

It's the little victories that keep some of us from eating a Glock.

So I'll show what the Heavy Bound thing is all about:

This is courtesy of a nifty little spell I added to The Mod (someday I'll release the update! Won't that be fun!), called War Form. Bound everything (except for a shield), plus a bound sword. Normally it's just the standard Daedric stuff. But with the Heavy Bound Armor mod, I assigned the bound armor and bound sword to use that singularly neat-o MW-style Daedric armor plus sword (too tired to look up the mod name), darkened slightly by Yours Truly. Because, I reasoned, wouldn't bound equipment be the good stuff, not the mass-produced tin suits and crude weapons handed out to the rank and file Dremora?

The drawback: one and/or more of the overhaul mods screw with the bound items, so I have to load my plugin last. ::)

Another benefit of the HBA mod is that I made all of the bound items heavy armor. I don't know why they made some of the light, some's irritating. Anyway, I'll try and release this in conjunction with the next The Mod upgrade, which should be done any year now.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 04:04:22 AM by Silver Sorrow »
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Offline OrlopRat

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Re: WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2009, 06:33:24 AM »
 I give you joy in your success, though I'm still terrified of FCOM. Maybe one day in a new install I'll take the plunge. And probably drown.  :lol:

  As far as UL goes, I've installed Ancient Yews, Ancient Redwoods, Panther River, Fallenleaf Everglade, and Stendarr Valley so far. And I'm very happy, oddly enough. No horrors, and good FPS. I'm obsessed with framerates, any stuttering makes me ill, mentally and physically. Which can lead to untoward behavior. Or something.

It's the IC! I think...

   I enjoy exploring, wandering about gawking at stuff and seeing what terror MMM has to offer, so this is perfect. I re-installed Treleth's portable tent and Dark Monk's campsite (only for the campfire and stool, I dump the rest).

 I'm having fun. I know that's not what Bethesda intended, but there it is.
Tiens, voilĂ  du boudin...

Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2009, 10:10:21 AM »
"Hello, I'm Todd Howard. While we were denying the very existence of The Elder Scrolls V: Grab That Cash, we were feverishly throwing out ideas of how to further dumb down the game so that even the fanboys would be disappointed. It wasn't until we realized that we hate the player that things really got going; I often dress up in a viking outfit, complete with my magic cardboard sword and too-big magic helmet, and I sing 'KILL DA PWAYA, KILL DA PWAYAAAAAaaaaaa' until Emil karate chops me in the neck and I get to take a long, restful nap. It was during one of these much-needed naps that I hit upon the idea of turning the game into what amounts to a virtual abattoir, with the player taking on the role of an unnamed prisoner blah blah blah having to escape the clutches of blah blah blah...LOOK. Doesn't matter. You can die in the first ten seconds of play. You can die while creating your character, for Christ's sake. We've played NWN2, we loved Obsidian's utter disdain for the player, and now we're all about the numbers and how to crunch them. We hate you and we hope you die, and not just in the game. We're serious. We want you DEAD. We want your family DEAD. We want your home BURNED TO THE GROUND. Thank you, and may God strike you dead where you stand or sit or lay, depending."

As I was typing just now, someone who shall remain unidentified walked into the room and asked me if there's a phone book in here. "For what?" I asked, "sitting on or looking something up?" For me, before 9am, that's pretty sharp. Totally ignoring my incandescent wit, the person said, "I need you to go downstairs and--" To which I calmly said (because expecting me to hobble downstairs for a goddamn phone book is sheer insanity, and *someone* has to remain calm), "Heyheyhey! We have the *internet* here...Google it!"

Of course, *I* had to Google it.  I've come to regret showing basic competence when it involves the computer...I think my only option is to inflict a head injury upon myself and feign brain damage...well, more extensive brain damage, anyway.  :P


I heard about one guy who pitched a tent in Anvil. He spent 20 days in the pokey for public indecency. But that's great...I need something like that, since camps are always taken over by bandits (!), and I'm fed up with fast-traveling to the nearest one when I need to level up. (Dear Bethesda, please bring back MW-style level-anywhere gameplay. Thank you, your heavily-armed fans.)

It's always struck me funny: if the Empire is so great, why does all of Cyrodiil look like a crumbling green nightmare? The roads are terrible, the capitol city is an Ayleid ruin, no one knows what the Doomstones are all about, and magic is pretty much casting annoyance spells at the sheer number of evil people and horrible monsters inhabiting the countryside. Maybe it's an which I will *not* explore, seeing as how I like my stomach lining untattered.

As for FCOM...well, FCOM can suck it. I got rid of THAT nonsense. I worked for days getting everything right, and when I finally got to play wasn't any fun. Between OOO borking everything likeable about the game, MMM throwing nine million archers at me (typical: when I play strong melee characters, the game tends to give me mostly archers to contend with), War Cry inundating me with red goblins, and Frans doing whatever the hell it is Frans does, it turned into a painful slog. It was when I got close to Outlaw Endre's cave that I had had enough. I had grass turned on, which reduces visibility greatly (kudos to me for deciding to add more problems), and I was suddenly ambushed by no less than eight bandits: two melee idiots, three archer idiots, and three hedge wizard idiots. A very confusing encounter, as between the ridiculous grass and the constant thunking of arrows into my armor, I had trouble *finding* them all (this game really needs a directional damage indicator). Added to the puke-inducing mayhem (oh, yes: lots of stuttering) was a curious weapon bug I had hoped to avoid: when things get complicated and there's lots of magic (or *any* magic) being cast, the game interprets my rapid mouse inputs into one big mouse input and all my character does is perform power attacks and, curiously and confoundingly, blocks.  :realconfused:

And here's another thing: I hate fighting on slopes. This entire game world is one giant slope. And I hate blocking and recoil. I have a no-recoil mod, but it doesn't work all the time. (Get hit by one of OOO's stupidly overpowered foes...okay, I'm not supposed to be staggered, but I still can't move for five seconds after a stagger-inducing hit, whatever this is.) So before I decided that I hate this game more than anything else in the world, I got rid of FCOM. Now I have just MMM to deal with. Reduced spawns, safer roads, and so on. I'm a little weary of having to start the game over and over and over...I'm glad Renault died. I danced on Glenroy's corpse. HahahahaHAhahaHAha...

Adding to my list of unimportant woes is the fact that the last male character I created looked like a transgendered Pia Zadora. It's been quite a week so far.  :lol:

I also disabled Mikal33's flora and stuff textures, because...really, how useful is photorealisic shrubbery to the experience? I noticed an increase in performance immediately. A day without nausea is all I ask...

I see I'm going to have to teach her how to accessorize before she contacts the Archaeology Guild...more Tia, less homeless.

Okay, still not Tia. But I can live with this.

EDIT: fewer smileys.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 10:17:37 AM by Silver Sorrow »
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Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: WAS: The Gripe Corner. IS: Various Oblivion Mods Examined
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2009, 01:06:43 AM »

Patience is a virtue that I have never found rewarding. Okay, yes, patience is required for things like cooking pork and...well, that's about it. Others seem to benefit greatly from patience, but I never have. Every time I force myself to be patient, nothing good comes of it. Objectively, I am willing to admit that I may be expecting too much of Karma, depending on Instant Karma getting me, say, a widescreen monitor for not punching someone in the head for being too slow. However, I often find that if I'm impatient and preemptively do things myself, for example, tracking down every single one of the non-quest-specific vampires and all of those in MMM (and there are BILLIONS of them!) to make them use a specific script, it isn't long before something comes along and lets me know in no uncertain terms that all of that tedious work was time pointlessly wasted.

This then, is my convoluted way of saying that I wish StarX Vampire Deaths Improved had come out a few days earlier. When I could still feel my fingers. But don't let that stop you from downloading and using it, because you would sorely miss out on a fantastic addition to the game, my needlessly inflamed physiology notwithstanding. "See," the universe smirks, "if you had just remained as calm as Buddha, your patience would have been rewarded and you could still use cutlery without screaming."

To the universe: F*** YOU.

Anyway, the new thingy *says* it needs OBSE v0018, but it works fine with v0017b, which is the current stable version. v0018 is *beta*. I rarely deal with beta software. But it all seems to work okay.

Okay, some of you may be saying, what's the big stupid deal with this thing? What's the attraction? Take a look at this video (go fullscreen, because it's very dark) and then try to convince yourself that it isn't great, you little...
It is the scent of garlic that lingers on my chocolate fingers