Thursday, October 14, 2010

Introspection and Cyclical Time

Was PMing back and forth with my favorite little fairy again tonight; and again on the subject of Oblivion. In the course of it, I ended up linking (and re-reading) some old blog posts of mine from early this year.

It was interesting to see that back in February I was bitching about much the same things as I am these days: stupid people who can't RTFM, and a general feeling of getting no fun from modding anymore. What one might call burn out.

Interesting to see how history repeats.

Yeah, I realize I burn out about twice a year - but you guys can't imagine the number of stupid people I have to deal with since getting the RR Companions Vault dropped wholesale into my lap.

The last couple times I've gotten past it by dropping off the face of the Earth for a week or two, and working just on mods that I enjoy; and not any fan requests of bug fixes or what-have-you.

Trouble is, I've been trying that for nearly a month now. Granted, I haven't gone so far as to stop responding to PMs and file entry comments; but things have changed. These days there are a handful of you guys that I don't want to ignore - and would consider myself more than a bit rude for doing so.

It just isn't working. I'll confess, I enjoyed working on the penthouse level of the Tower last week, but as soon as I got into the more interesting features, the frustration started. After some thought, I think the issue is that after almost two years, I know the engine and GECK so well that most of my new ideas push the envelope; I've got the engine doing things that it was never meant to do, and at this point every time I try to take it a step further, I hit the wall.

Similarly, all of my later companion ideas take the NPCs further; deeper options and interactivity, more lifelike behavior. Some of it works in my testing, but even that which does I'm leery to release. It works on my system with my mod environment and load order. Experience has taught me a lot of it won't work once exposed to the staggering myriad of overhaul mods that fuck with everything under the sun and then some. Other ideas aren't viable simply because they'd lock the player into using a particular mod or other; and I don't like doing that.

It's more than a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, my - for lack of a better term - artistic integrity (yes, I do have some, thank you very much) tells me not to put out something less than my best effort. On the other, as a long time player of other people's mods, I know perfectly well that some mod is better than none, and doubtless at least some would get enjoyment from what I can beat the GECK into allowing.

I have to confess that at this point, I miss being a new modder. Yeah, I can write a companion script freehand now; set up a combat style without incremental testing; even alter models to add things like a glow effect and create the requisite glowmap to make it work... but I really miss the thrill of accomplishment - the idea (fallacy that it was) that anything was possible if I could just figure out the scripting tricks...

Nowadays I know the limits, the pitfalls, the bugs and boons; and for it, my digital world seems smaller and less bright.

Aw, hell, don't mind me. I'm apparently having one of those fatalistic nights.


  1. Unless I've misinterpreted that bit about the digital world, I know exactly what you mean. Once upon a time Oblivion was awe-inspiring. Then I started learning to mod, and I feel like Neo in The Matrix. I can see the green lines of code. I know my favorite characters are just programmed dummies. Bummer...

  2. Yeah, that's about it. Double-edged sword, really.

    Knowing that my companions are pre-programmed dummies makes it that much more amazing when they do something they shouldn't be able to...

    ...but knowing that it's not supposed to be possible, and that I can't replicate it on command takes most of the joy away.

    On the flip side, having carefully weighed all options and knowing that Vault 1 will always be the dismal little hole it is... well, that's 100%, unadulterated, suck right there.