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Curse March Gaming Bracket Challenge - Round 5!

Posted by Xenius01 Mar 27, 2012 at 20:20 UTC
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The challenge is nearing its end, the fifth round began yesterday. You can cast your votes until this Friday, March 30. Go here if you would like to take a look at the results of the previous round.

Enter our giveaway to have a chance to win an Alienware x51!

View the current bracket

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Skyrim 1.5 update now available!

Posted by Xenius01 Mar 21, 2012 at 17:57 UTC
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The final version of update 1.5 for Skyrim is now available to everyone on Steam. Besides fixing bugs the latest update also includes new features, such as kill cams for ranged attacks, new kill moves and shadows on grass. The complete changelog can be found below.

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UPDATE 1.5 (all platforms unless noted)

<span style="text-decoration: underline;">NEW FEATURES</span>

  • New cinematic kill cameras for projectile weapons and spells
  • New kill moves and animations for melee weapons
  • Shadows on grass available (PC)
  • Smithing skill increases now factor in the created item’s value
  • Improved visual transition when going underwater
  • Improved distance LOD transition for snowy landscapes

<span style="text-decoration: underline;">BUG FIXES</span>

  • General crash fixes and memory optimizations
  • Fixed issue with Deflect Arrows perk not calculating properly
  • In “A Cornered Rat,” the death of certain NPCs no longer blocks progression
  • Fixed issue where Farkas would not give Companion’s quests properly
  • Fixed crash when loading saves that rely on data that is no longer being loaded
  • Followers sneak properly when player is sneaking
  • Fixed issue with weapon racks not working properly in Proudspire Manor
  • Arrows and other projectiles that were stuck in objects in the world now clean up properly
  • Fixed issue where “Rescue Mission” was preventing “Taking Care of Business” from starting properly
  • Fixed issue where certain NPCs would fail to become Thieves Guild fences
  • Fixed issue in “Diplomatic Immunity” where killing all the guards in the Thalmor Embassy before starting the quest would break progress
  • In “Hard Answers,” picking up the dwarven museum key after completing the quest, no longer restarts the quest
  • Killing Viola before or after “Blood on the Ice” no longer blocks progression
  • Fixed issue where Calixto would fail to die properly in “Blood on the Ice”
  • In “Waking Nightmare” fixed occasional issue where Erandur would stop pathing properly
  • Fixed issue where letters and notes with random encounters would appear blank
  • Fixed rare issue where dialogue and shouts would improperly play
  • Lydia will now offer marriage option after player purchases Breezehome in Whiterun
  • Fixed issue where if player manually mined ore in Cidhna Mine, jail time would not be served
  • Fixed rare issue with skills not increasing properly
  • Fixed issue where the Headsman’s Axe did not gain proper buff from Barbarian perk
  • In “A Night to Remember” it is no longer possible to kill Ysolda, Ennis or Senna before starting the quest
  • Fixed issue with the ebony dagger having a weapon speed that was too slow
  • Fixed issue with “The Wolf Queen Awakened” where backing out of a conversation with Styrr too soon would block progress
  • The third level of the Limbsplitter perk now properly improves all battle axes
  • Fixed a rare issue where Sanguine Rose would not work properly
  • In “Tending the Flames” King Olaf’s Verse will no longer disappear from explosions

Original announcement on Bethesda's official blog

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Curse March Gaming Bracket Challenge - Round 4!

Posted by Xenius01 Mar 19, 2012 at 22:17 UTC
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Round 4 of the challenge has begun today, voting can be done till this Friday, March 23d. The results of the previous round can be found here.

Aela the Huntress did not make it into this round, which means that there are no more characters from Skyrim represented in the challenge.

Don't forget to go here to enter this week's Alienware x51 giveaway!

View the current bracket

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Mod interview with Recon3Y3z - Dragon Belly Home

Posted by Xenius01 Mar 16, 2012 at 18:15 UTC
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In today's mod highlight we will be featuring "Dragon Belly Home" a mod created by Recon3Y3z, who also kindly agreed to participate in our interview.

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If you're looking for a new player home outside of town, look no further! This mod will add a new home located under the Dragon Bridge. Special attention has been paid to make sure it fits seamlessly in the environment and does not look out of place.

In order to gain access to your new home you'll have to finish a quest first. What also makes this player home mod special is that it includes a new NPC complete with voiced dialog. The home itself offers crafting facilities including an enchanter, alchemy lab and more. Containers for storing your loot are available as well. There is also a garden outside where you can gather ingredients.

Find out more about the creation process of this mod in the interview below.

What inspired you to create this mod?
I love settlement style player homes and the location under Dragon Bridge is perfect. Right on the river, next to the road, and close to town but it still retains that seclusive feeling. Plus, I really wanted a settlement house that felt more like a vanilla house and not standout so harshly by contrast. Ensuring the mod is lore friendly and that things like plants and architecture respect their proper regions completes the experience for me.

How much time went into creating it?
At the time of releasing the current version of Dragon Belly (0.0.9), my Creation Kit usage was at exactly 100 hours. However, that time also included learning Papyrus scripting, navmeshing, and other Creation Kit features. Also, several hours were spent recording and editing audio tracks with Audacity.

Did you come across any problems while working on your mod?
The navmesh bug was going to be a showstopper. If Bethesda had not verified that the issue was going to be addressed, there would be no Dragon Belly. Another problem I had was the NPC facial data exporting issue, which required me to find a work-around to keep the mod Steam Workshop friendly and not have nasty facial texture issues.

How was your experience working with the Creation Kit?
Challenging and fun. I have nothing bad to say about the Creation Kit, it provides the tools needed to add complex custom content to the greatest single player rpg, imho. I'm so thankful that an experience like Skyrim and the Creation Kit exists at all. I’ll be modding till I take an arrow in the knee.

What did you like most about the development process of your mod?
I really enjoyed Papyrus scripting and found the Creation Kit to be an interesting way of developing object-oriented code. The landscaping work was also fun for me to envision natural scenes and apply them. But by far, the best part is all the positive comments and feedback I’ve received. To all my downloaders... hugz!

Could you tell us about any other mods you currently have in progress or planned for the future?
Currently, I'm expanding Dragon Belly to include an optional spelunking mission and offering purchasable home upgrades from an NPC in Dragon Bridge. After which I will start working on a minor faction mod or a unique shop mod I have planned.

Do you have any advice for others who would like to start modding?
Keep good backups, and manage file changes with version control (like mercurial). Test every change you make. Don’t be afraid to just dive in, all the answers are awaiting your questions. Personally, I pretty much relied solely on the Creation Kit wiki. I feel Bethesda is going the distance to provide the support resources needed to keep Skyrim modding alive and well for many years. Here’s hoping.

Thanks to Recon3Y3z for creating this mod and for participating in the interview.

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Skyrim 1.5 beta update now available!

Posted by Xenius01 Mar 15, 2012 at 19:40 UTC
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Bethesda is currently working on the 1.5 update for Skyrim. A beta version of this update is now available on Steam, so anyone interested can try it out before the final release. Besides fixing bugs the latest update also includes new features, such as kill cams for ranged attacks, new kill moves and shadows on grass. Watch the video here to see it in action! The complete changelog can be found below.

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<span style="text-decoration: underline;">UPDATE 1.5 (all platforms unless noted)</span>

NEW FEATURES

  • New cinematic kill cameras for projectile weapons and spells
  • New kill moves and animations for melee weapons
  • Shadows on grass available (PC)
  • Smithing skill increases now factor in the created item’s value
  • Improved visual transition when going underwater
  • Improved distance LOD transition for snowy landscapes

BUG FIXES

  • General crash fixes and memory optimizations
  • Fixed issue with Deflect Arrows perk not calculating properly
  • In “A Cornered Rat,” the death of certain NPCs no longer blocks progression
  • Fixed issue where Farkas would not give Companion’s quests properly
  • Fixed crash when loading saves that rely on data that is no longer being loaded
  • Followers sneak properly when player is sneaking
  • Fixed issue with weapon racks not working properly in Proudspire Manor
  • Arrows and other projectiles that were stuck in objects in the world now clean up properly
  • Fixed issue where “Rescue Mission” was preventing “Taking Care of Business” from starting properly
  • Fixed issue where certain NPCs would fail to become Thieves Guild fences
  • Fixed issue in “Diplomatic Immunity” where killing all the guards in the Thalmor Embassy before starting the quest would break progress
  • In “Hard Answers,” picking up the dwarven museum key after completing the quest, no longer restarts the quest
  • Killing Viola before or after “Blood on the Ice” no longer blocks progression
  • Fixed issue where Calixto would fail to die properly in “Blood on the Ice”
  • In “Waking Nightmare” fixed occasional issue where Erandur would stop pathing properly
  • Fixed issue where letters and notes with random encounters would appear blank
  • Fixed rare issue where dialogue and shouts would improperly play
  • Lydia will now offer marriage option after player purchases Breezehome in Whiterun
  • Fixed issue where if player manually mined ore in Cidhna Mine, jail time would not be served
  • Fixed rare issue with skills not increasing properly
  • Fixed issue where the Headsman’s Axe did not gain proper buff from Barbarian perk
  • In “A Night to Remember” it is no longer possible to kill Ysolda, Ennis or Senna before starting the quest
  • Fixed issue with the ebony dagger having a weapon speed that was too slow
  • Fixed issue with “The Wolf Queen Awakened” where backing out of a conversation with Styrr too soon would block progress
  • The third level of the Limbsplitter perk now properly improves all battle axes
  • Fixed a rare issue where Sanguine Rose would not work properly
  • In “Tending the Flames” King Olaf’s Verse will no longer disappear from explosions

<span style="text-decoration: underline;">How to install beta updates:</span>

  1. Log into Steam
  2. Click on Steam in the upper menu
  3. Select Settings
  4. Under the Account tab, go to the Beta Participation section and select Change.
  5. A drop down menu will appear. Select Skyrim Beta.
  6. Select OK.
  7. Steam will now restart. After Steam restarts, Skyrim will be updated to the Beta version currently available.

Original announcement on Bethesda's official blog

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