Author Topic: Bethesda & Mods  (Read 2061 times)

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What's up with the culture of mods that has apparently sprung up around Bethesda games? In the Fallout 4 thread, Trashman mentioned he doesn't know anyone who would touch a Bethesda game without mods. Why?

Personally I've never understood the idea of actually modding a base game.  I appreciate mods like new campaigns for FS2, which basically add new content to a game, and can kind of appreciate to a lesser extent mods like the FSU project which visually update a game (though I don't generally use them). But using for an example an oblivion mod which "fixes" the enemy leveling system I don't really understand. In such a case I would say whenever I play an RPG I invariable create an non-optimal character and yet by the end of the game, it always becomes too easy regardless of whether highwaymen have glass armour or not.

My experience with Skyrim, Fallout 3 + NV were much the same.

Maybe it's just the case that I only play Bethesda games once so don't really crave new content or new tools in a second or third playthrough but it sounds like a lot of people use mods from the outset, in which case I wonder why are you playing the game if you cannot enjoy it in its base state?

 

Offline karajorma

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I'm replaying Witcher III right now and I wish I'd had the auto-loot mod the first time round. Probably would have saved me hours of my life overall. There's also a mod to rebalance Gwent which I prefer to the default rules and a mod to get rid of the encumbrance rules which barely alter actually gameplay but mean that I don't have to go to the shop after every ****ing dungeon crawl to sell loot so that I have space for more loot.

So I don't have much of an issue with that sort of thing. I can see the point in arguing that it's not a good idea to mod the difficulty of a game when playing it the first time, but there are plenty of mods that take care of idiotic design decisions that are worth using. 
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

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I remember having a ton of fun with a mod that rebalances Jade Empire while adding a bunch of styles previously only available to enemies and also changes a bunch of mechanics.
I think those have a lot of value, they let you replay the game while re-learning it with new mechanics and "stuff" while enjoying the story again. I don't think I would've enjoyed just playing the same game again, especially since the morality system doesn't give you that much replayability(it's just retarded).
[19:31] <MatthTheGeek> you all high up on your mointain looking down at everyone who doesn't beam everything on insane blindfolded

 
Also this is a bit off topic, but another complaint from that thread is that Bethesda games seems to be getting "smaller". Found this off a reddit thread, says that the morrowind/skyrim/oblivion maps are around to scale:
http://i.imgur.com/B7rBN.jpg

Only odd one is daggerfall but of course that's procedurally generated to a large degree not "hand crafted".

Haven't had the pleasure of playing Witcher 3 yet. Only played the first one. I remember looting being a bit of drag sometimes in Fallout but never got too annoyed by it.

Interestingly the game I played with the most boring, repetitive looting was Bioshock Infinite. Searching every crate for 2-3 dollars when an upgrade is like 750 or whatever was a major pain. You'd think looting would be the last thing to worry about in a shooter.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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That scale seems to assume a TES3 outdoor cell and a TES4 outdoor cell are the same size, which I'm not sure is the case (but I don't seem to see this data anywhere on UESP, so I'd have to reinstall all the games to check). My vague recollection was that Morrowind's Vvardenfell was done to 1:3 or 1:4 scale, but I can't recall where I read or heard that.

As to the topic itself: personally, I can't recommend Morrowind or Oblivion without any mods whatsoever. For Morrowind, Galsiah's Character Development is a must, while for Oblivion, something to fix the level scaling system (Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul was popular) was needed in addition to a leveling mod (I tended to use "not Galsiah's Character Development" for perhaps-obvious reasons). Obviously, unofficial patch mods are a good idea for any BethSoft RPG, but you can usually make do without them (a game's wiki tends to make note of known bugs and viable workarounds for them), so I don't really think of them as "must-have", but I just find Morrowind and Oblivion's default leveling system to be a terrible game design concept (and apparently Bethesda agreed, because it went out the window for Skyrim; and, of course, Fallout 3/NV never had it to begin with).

In the same category as "a really good idea but not neccessarily required" as the unofficial patches: UI overhauls for Oblivion and onward. DarN's UIs for Oblivion/Fallout 3/NV are generally the standard, and SkyUI fulfills a similar role for Skyrim.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline Aesaar

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Morrowind has been ported into Oblivion directly.  Not made from scratch, but direct ports of Morrowind's cell and objects to Oblivion handled by an automated program.  The scale is the same.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Morrowind has been ported into Oblivion directly.  Not made from scratch, but direct ports of Morrowind's cell and objects to Oblivion handled by an automated program.  The scale is the same.
Being able to use tools to port data from one game to the other does not mean the cells are the same size:
Quote from: http://www.oceanlightwave.com/morrowind/TESPort.html
Since each TES4:Oblivion cell contains only 32x32 grid points - that's 4 times smaller than TES3:Morrowind's 64x64 cell format, TESPort generates 4 cell records for later use; as a result, for example, a cell at co-ords (5, 6) in Morrowind will cover 4 cells in Oblivion: (10, 12), (10, 13), (11, 12) and (11, 13).
Unfortunately, this just tells us the number of points in each cell, rather than what scale those points are.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 
http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1264541-skyrimoblivionmorrowind-heightmap-comparison/

This thread might be of some use. According to those results, Oblivion is by far the largest while Skyrim and Morrowind are trailing behind by quite a bit.
[19:31] <MatthTheGeek> you all high up on your mointain looking down at everyone who doesn't beam everything on insane blindfolded

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1264541-skyrimoblivionmorrowind-heightmap-comparison/

This thread might be of some use. According to those results, Oblivion is by far the largest while Skyrim and Morrowind are trailing behind by quite a bit.
This line jumps out:
Quote
Full Heightmap Sizes (ignoring playable area borders)
The actual playable area is smaller than that (for every game except probably Morrowind; instead of invisible walls, I think it just has an infinite void of blank water cells extending in all directions). Not sure how much smaller, but I do know that turning those invisible walls off was a lot more popular for Oblivion than it was for Skyrim, which might speak to how much "useful" terrain was behind those invisible walls.


...Also, wow, official maps of Tamriel show Cyrodiil to be a lot bigger than I seemed to remember it was supposed to be.

EDIT: Well, this just contradicts everything I thought I knew about BethSoft RPGs:
Quote
Same scale in Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout3 and Skyrim. Each heightmap point is 1.8m x 1.8m in size, which makes a TES4 cell 57.6 x 57.6 metres. Morrowind cells were 115.2 x 115.2 metres (they were 64x64 heightmap points per cell).
On the other hand, you have this:
Quote
Vvardenfell and Skyrim are both somewhat square and compeltely filled up, while Oblivion's landmass is actually kind of crescent, with Elsweyr and Valenwood jammed in there.

Overall, i'd say that in terms of playable area, Oblivion is actually smaller.
although that's still not hard numbers.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 11:09:02 pm by AdmiralRalwood »
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline Aesaar

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Morrowind has been ported into Oblivion directly.  Not made from scratch, but direct ports of Morrowind's cell and objects to Oblivion handled by an automated program.  The scale is the same.
Being able to use tools to port data from one game to the other does not mean the cells are the same size:
If they were not the same scale, objects in them would be scaled incorrectly, either with the player or with their surroundings.  They are not.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Morrowind has been ported into Oblivion directly.  Not made from scratch, but direct ports of Morrowind's cell and objects to Oblivion handled by an automated program.  The scale is the same.
Being able to use tools to port data from one game to the other does not mean the cells are the same size:
If they were not the same size, objects in them would be scaled incorrectly, either with the player or with their surroundings.  They are not.
Read the edit I made right before you replied.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline Aesaar

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Maybe the tools used compensate.  Would make sense.  Either way, if you port Morrowind to the Oblivion engine, it's scaled correctly and it's a fair bit smaller geographically.

 

Offline TrashMan

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What's up with the culture of mods that has apparently sprung up around Bethesda games? In the Fallout 4 thread, Trashman mentioned he doesn't know anyone who would touch a Bethesda game without mods. Why?

Because they feel unfinished.

Do you know that when it comes to Bethseda games, the joke o the net is "mods will fix it!". As if it's the modders job to fix everything wrong, not the developers.

These games have some horrible UI and design decisions. Sure you CAN play them without mods. You might even have fun (but I can also have fun snorting coke). FUN can't be the only variable to consider, especially since it's quite possible to have fun with something that is - by any standard - horrible, precisely because it's horrible. If you ever watched The Room, you should understand.

Modders do such a far better job than Bethseda, it's not even funny. Far better models, better texture,s more variety of items, prettier areas and game in general, optimization, better UI, better AI, better skill progression, better scaling, etc...
I got 150 mods running for Skyrim

The question becomes: "Why SHOULD you play without mods?"
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Offline Klaustrophobia

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I like to use mods that fix bugs/annoyances without altering the gameplay experience or atmosphere.  I will mod out bugs and objectively awful design decisions, but not much else.  If I can find that rare mod that is 100% improvement with no drawbacks (or the pieces that are negative changes can be separated out), I might use it for replays. 
I like to stare at the sun.

 
What's up with the culture of mods that has apparently sprung up around Bethesda games? In the Fallout 4 thread, Trashman mentioned he doesn't know anyone who would touch a Bethesda game without mods. Why?

Because they feel unfinished.

Do you know that when it comes to Bethseda games, the joke o the net is "mods will fix it!". As if it's the modders job to fix everything wrong, not the developers.

These games have some horrible UI and design decisions. Sure you CAN play them without mods. You might even have fun (but I can also have fun snorting coke). FUN can't be the only variable to consider, especially since it's quite possible to have fun with something that is - by any standard - horrible, precisely because it's horrible. If you ever watched The Room, you should understand.

So exactly what game or gold standard is the franchise being compared to? If Bethesda RPGs feel so unfinished, what RPG feels complete?  Dragon Age? Mass Effect? Fable? Witcher? Final Fantasy? Dragon's Dogma?


Modders do such a far better job than Bethseda, it's not even funny. Far better models, better texture,s more variety of items, prettier areas and game in general, optimization, better UI, better AI, better skill progression, better scaling, etc...
I got 150 mods running for Skyrim

The question becomes: "Why SHOULD you play without mods?"

Consistency. Balance. Integrity of Artistic Vision. I can't imagine any collection of mods would have the same consistency as a group of modellers or texturers working under one supervisor at Bethesda.

Or the idea of better skill progression for example?  What skill progression? Morrowind-style? Is it that people cannot get around the new experience model and instead pine for the days of yesteryear where they choose not perks but immersion breaking numbers?

In what way are these areas "improved". What is wrong with the default system? Is it a case that people want to play with old-style systems? Old dogs don't want to learn new tricks? Or is the new system based on another RPG? What does "better" mean exactly?

The thing is you don't see people modding Civilization IV into Civilization I. Or maybe people do but no one ever mentions it. Don't really understand why people mod newer RPGs to behave more like older RPGs or other RPGs or whatever they're being modded into.

 
There are a lot of dumb Skyrim mods, the good ones tend to start accruing bloat and the modding community is horrendously toxic. Mods for Bethesda games are generally good at fleshing out gameplay systems that make the world more interesting to inhabit but they're terrible when it comes to adding content. They're a great addition to the base games but they have their own limitations.
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Offline Snarks

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So exactly what game or gold standard is the franchise being compared to? If Bethesda RPGs feel so unfinished, what RPG feels complete?  Dragon Age? Mass Effect? Fable? Witcher? Final Fantasy? Dragon's Dogma?

Bethesda RPGs are in their own category. Yes, you can be cynical like Trashman and call them unfinished, but the difference is that Bethesda RPGs are renown for incredible amounts of modding whereas other mainstream RPGs are very limited. IMO, the most similar RPG would actually be something like Mount and Blade, albeit obviously with a much higher budget. You can play through the base game, then download a total conversion mod and have a very different play experience.

If you're looking for a solid single player experience, then Dragon Age, Witcher, etc. all provide a much deeper narrative through characterization and dialogue. So in that sense, those RPGs might feel more "complete." But as for an immersive, free-roam experience, then Bethesda RPGs pull that off pretty well, especially once augmented with mods letting you do all kinds of things like get pregnant and have kids or become the ruler of a city.

 

Offline Cyborg17

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Yeah, I've never had a better gameplay experience than with Morrowind.  And that was without mods.  But once mods were possible, I enjoyed using them.  Having a lot of mods doesn't tell you much about the nature of the game except that extensive modding is possible.

 

Offline Mars

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It's because their games are built on some of the easiest to work with engines out there.