Old blog posts from 2008

26th of November

Still far more fallout modding news going on than I can be bothered to type about. The obvious one would be that the official construction set has been announced in a slightly more definite way than the non-committal noises that have been made so far, so I'm switching fomm's focus from utilities for mod creators to utilities for mod users.* Before fallout's release when I asked what people would change from obmm if I moved it to fallout, one of the most common comments was that I should drop the whole concept of omods. Now that fomm is out and conspicuously devoid of omods, (or fomods, possibly?) one of the most common comments is asking where they've gone... They will come back in some form, but unlike obmm the whole of fomm isn't going to be built around them.

fomm is up to version 0.8.4 at the moment, and it's current New Big Thing is a script compiler, which was one of the bigger things we were missing from the official cs. It's gotten a bit better since 0.8.0, where it had a near 33% failure rate on fallout's original scripts; in the latest version about 2%** of the original scripts fail to compile, the majority of which have genuine syntax errors which the official compiler presumably ignores.

In other news, my interview is up on bethblog for anyone who's interested. I think I sound awful, personally,^ so no need to go look it up. :p

*Also fo3edit is out, which does a lot of what tessnip does in a far more user friendly way, so there's no need for me to duplicate it.

**28 out of 1257 total, to be exact about it.

^It was done before the GECK announcement, in case anyone was wondering what I meant by the current situation with the CS.

06th of November

I've added a tutorial page for fomm. (Hopefully visible in the bar on the left.) I was aiming to get some sort of automatic archiveinvalidation thingy into it in today's update, but ever since installing today's patch, (Which incidental did not fix my crash on exit problems, despite the claims in the release notes, :( ) fallout 3 has taken to CTDing on startup if I set bInvalidateOlderFiles to 1, which makes testing a little difficult. The best I could come up with was to use obmm's old BSA hash-mutilation patch, which I really want to avoid if possible, so I'll hold off on that for a while until I find out why I'm suddenly crashing so badly.

Still no news on a CS, apart from an official 'there is no news' message. Since I can imagine that they're facing legitimate licensing problems with the huge glut of 3rd party stuff they tend to use, lets try something different: Bethesda, turn over the format specs for your esm/esp file format and any other useful licence free information you can give us and we tool modders will* create an unofficial one for you. Probably faster than you can get your existing one out, at the rate modding is going atm.

I did actually say something similar in a PM to gstaff once, but was ignored, so I'm holding out no hopes this time. Even so, it's nice to dream... (And since I'm dreaming anyway, a copy of fallout3.pdb would be nice too. I bet the fose team would kill for one. :p ) Speaking of being ignored by gstaff, I was invited to take part in one of the modder interviews they have on bethblog a couple of months ago, but haven't heard anything back since the generic 'I'll get back to you with a list of questions.' Admittedly it was a bit close to fallout's release, but even so it would have been nice to say that rather than just never responding. I doubt anyone's missed much though; I'm not the politest of people when it comes to answering questions. :p

*Disclaimer: by the use of 'will' in this context, I actually mean 'until I get stuck and give up/get bored/die/all the the above'

05th of November

Modding continues to move apace. TESnexus has seen its first batch of esp based mods.* TESsnip/fomm has had enough updates that I've given it a page of it's own. The fallout launcher seems to be a bit buggy at activating esps, but if anyone's having problems with it you can either modify plugins.txt by hand or use fomm.

*I believe I got the first one out, although it was a trivial gmst mod just to prove that they were possible and I never uploaded it anywhere for very long, so it probably doesn't count. ThrottleKitty scored second place, with the Ivory Hilted Rapier.

01st of November

Fallout 3 modding seems to be well underway already, CS or not. I've updated TESsnip to handle fallout 3 esp's; download is here. It also includes a BSA creator/unpacker, but it is unable to open the textures BSA. For that, ScriptRon has his updated bsa tools here, and they seem to be able to handle anything that fallout throws at them. NifSkope is in the process of being updated to handle fallout's changes to the nif format, and to top it all off fallout script extender is already in alpha. Finally, it's not really mod related but if anyone else is getting that weird windows live hang that I mentioned, here's a fix I made for it. (Obviously it disables fallout's windows live features; avoid clicking the live button or fallout will hang on exit.)

28th of October (Updated, again)

MGE is up to 3.6.3. Since it became a joint effort between me and LizTail for a while LizTail uploaded to sourceforge for ease of source control. The current and all future versions will be available from there. The biggest new feature is that MGE now supports animated grass.

I'm going to remove all the stuff I wrote about fallout 3's securom here. After looking at the implementation myself I really can't believe it was done in that way by accident; it's simple to install and play the game without ever triggering it at all, and the only reason it's in FalloutLauncher.exe is because the same launcher is used for the disc autorun and for launching the game itself, something that wasn't true for oblivion. Probably it was just forced by a T&C of some 3rd party tool they were using, or by sony before they would let Beth release on PS3, because it certainly isn't there for the drm value. Now that I can be sure I can play fallout while keeping my pc securom free, all I need is for fallout to not lock up for 30 seconds when I launch it (Something to do with G4W, as best as I can tell,) and black screen on exit for it to be perfect. :p (Edit: Oh, and a CS of course.)

Finally, I'll probably be shutting this site down soon. It's hosted by chorrol.com, which is an oblivion site, and since I've done very little work on oblivion recently I don't think it's really fair for me to keep piggybacking, especially given the amount of bandwidth I seem to be using. Everything on this site is available elsewhere, with the possible exception of my thief 2 patch which I'm sure someone at ttlg will be kind enough to mirror.

20th of August

And another two months later, another new entry. obmm has received an update to add a script function Kivan wanted for the unofficial patch omods. It also adds a new option to disable anything that changes timestamps of esps, which should be very useful for anyone who uses bash exclusively for managing their load order. sfall is also up to 1.30, and has finally stopped messing up videos in dx9 mode.

Lots of news on the MGE front; it's now up to 3.5.4. LizTail has overhauled a large part of the distant land code, which is now a heck of a lot faster. For now it's still in beta, but will be replacing 3.3.2 as the latest (hopefully) stable version soon.

I was in my local games store last week, and they were having a bit of a sell off. One of the offers was to buy three games out of a small pile for 10. I was lucky enough to find two games I wanted in there, but in the absence of a third I ended up with Neverwinter Nights 2. Normally I would never have gone anywhere near that game, on account of it including Securom, (one of the two copy protections I really really despise,) but since it was cheap and publishers are always telling us drm is good and necessary, I decided to give it another chance. Sure enough, as soon as I installed and patched it, explorer started crashing whenever I right clicked a file. A quick check on the forums revealed that this was a known problem with the recent 1.13 patch, and luckily supplied a fix. What wasn't so nice was finding that since the 1.13 patch that introduced this problem, there has been another hotfix to that patch, which while fixing a rather horribly broken piece of game mechanics didn't touch the securom problem, as if screwing up a large number of computers isn't important. So just a quick warning to anyone playing NWN2: if you install a recent patch and explorer suddenly starts crashing, you know what to blame. (There are also a few other Atari published games that also include the same buggy securom context menu handler, so keep an eye out for them.)

As much as I'd like to have to have returned it as faulty goods I couldn't do so without returning the other two games too, but I swear that's the last time any publisher using securom or starforce is ever going to get money out of me.* The days really have changed when you need to download a pirate copy of a game to ensure you aren't getting any malware with it. It used to be the other way around...

*Yes, I know I've said that before the last time something like this happened, but I mean it really this time. Hopefully. As long as there's no more really cheap deals... Maybe I should just avoid games stores, or stick with my wii. :s

15th of June

Haven't updated this in a long while... Nothing particulaly oblivion-y going on, but sfall has had another 12 updates, and my thief patch has had a couple too. A brief experiment with removing the requirement to edit thief2.exe ended up breaking ATT* as well as some random video codecs.

I've also released a couple of fallout 2 mods, one to add extra traits, and another to add some weather.** I bought Gothic 3 this week, so probably not much more modding from me for the next couple of weeks though.

*It was the same problem that hit MGE a while back. Looks like the ATT fix was specifically for d3d8.dll and not for any of the other dx dlls. :(

**Thanks to Josan12 over at the NMA forums for helping out with that one. :)

13th of March

sfall 1.23 is out, and adds a few things to tweak npc levelling. A new version of my thief 2 fix is also out, and fixes most of the bugs from the previous version at the expense of dropping support for some of the more advanced tweaks. (Normal version / GUI version.) Thanks to the thief 2 community too; after hitting a problem that only affected ATi cards which I couldn't debug myself on account of not owning one, I ended up getting offered an x300. That's certainly never happened in all my time struggling with graphics card specific problems with MGE...*

*Bit of a late edit, but rereading that it sounds like a swipe at the morrowind community. That's not really fair; the chorrol team are hosting this website for me for free after all, so thanks to them too. :)

13th of Feburary

obmm has had another two updates, up to 1.1.9. Baring any bugs, it's now theoretically capable of automating the install of Horse Armor Revamped, which has what is possibly one of the most convoluted install procedures of any oblivion mod ever. Development on obmm has now been semi taken over by niaht, who has set up a sourceforge repository here.

Most of my time over Christmas was spent on sfall, which has recieved 17 updates, and now stands at 1.22. Notable changes include a new cpu-speed independent world map patch, upscaling filters, eax support and piles of new scripting functions.

I've also had my university exam results for the last semester, and managed to get the highest score in the year in every module I took.* Now I just need to worry about a couple of months of project work, and then I've finished uni for good. If anyone wants to offer me a job that pays lots of money for doing very little work, now would be a good time to mention it. :p

*i.e. 2 of them. One was computing, and in the other our years resident genius got stuck in traffic and turned up late to the exam, so it's not really that big of an accomplishment. Still gives me something to brag about though. :)