Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Upcoming? Not Quickly

Some days, I hate computers so very much.

Oblivion is fucked. How? I have no idea. It crashed while I was testing something; and now won't show the player character. Empty armor and helm. Attempts to switch to third person cause insta-CTD.

Looking around where I can, there are a smattering of missing meshes now, as well; so apparently when I purged that steaming load Hammerfell some other stuff ended up getting caught in the crossfire.

Already tried replacing the meshes surrounding Imperial males, without luck. Bethsoft's forums continue to be a complete waste of bandwidth.

At this point I can either spend four or five hours going mod by mod; re-extracting everything I use - or I can nuke the whole shittin' mess and reinstall it from scratch. Neither is particularly appealing.

What's even less appealing is what a staggering resource whore TES4Edit is. I didn't think anything could be worse than FO3Edit. I was wrong. Twenty four hundred goddamned megahertz, a thousand and twenty four megabytes of DDR2, and TES4Edit can't run at the same time as Firefox.

Considering I ran this install without incident for almost a year; and now within one week of installing the "unofficial patch" my game is broken...

Well, let's just say your old friend Nos does not believe in coincidence. Especially considering the clusterfuck that it was last time... Makes me wonder if sometimes the people who create these things ever consider their work on the grand scale - that is, weigh the benefit of fixing a few broken texture paths against the negative of randomly destroying games left and right.

At this point, I really have no idea whether my savegames are even salvageable. It would be nice, considering the amount of time I put into the facegen... but I'm not going to bank on it.

Suppose I'll try overwriting a couple of mod files again; and if that doesn't work, the purge will have to begin. Then I'm going to return to my previous policy of patently ignoring the "conventional wisdom" surrounding making the Gamebryo engine work. The way I do it may not be "correct", but it sure as fuck keeps my games going better than this...


  1. Sounds like when fey creatures point you in the direction of untested Oblivion mods you should gently and politely tell them to go jump in a lake.

    Next time I'm in Underhill I'll have a sharp talk with them about that...

  2. Eh, I don't blame you.

    None of it broke your game, so there was no reason to suspect. 'Sides, I don't unequivocally know that either Hammerfell or UOP did it... just seems awfully coincidental otherwise, and I am nominally a believer in Occam's Razor.

    What gets me is not ten minutes before the crash I know all was well - I had been messing around in my inventory, and saw the display dummy's face just fine.

    Then it crashed, and now it won't show; won't remove armor or helm. It's like the equipped inventory status is locked or something. Thought I had kicked back to an earlier save where it did work... but I may not have gone back far enough. Going to try dropping all the way back to my level one save at the exit from the prison tunnels, and see if that does it.

    It would just be nice if I didn't need a fucking voodoo headdress and ouija board to fix randomly occurring problems in these games.

  3. Interesting. Went back to my save at the tunnel exit; where my character wasn't wearing gloves. Won't show any part of the player's body. No face in the helm; no bare hands.

    So is definitely a mod issue and not a corrupt save.

    Already switched off the CM companions I was working on; so I can be reasonably sure it's not an inadvertent edit there...

    Haven't added any mods - only deleted some straggling remnants of a Hammerfell and a couple others. Unfortunately, the recycle bin has been emptied; so I don't know exactly what I pulled.

    This is going to be a shitty day, I can already tell ya.

  4. More interesting still: I loaded up one of my old savegames with a female PC, and it displays fine.

    Whatever it is, it's just the Imperial male...

    Of course, that only narrows it down to about two dozen meshes, what with body and armor and such...

  5. Seems to be an armor/body issue.

    Added armors redone for Robert's male body (which I use).

    Now, instead of crashing when I go to third person, it crashes on game load.

    Fuck it. An uninstallin' we shall go...

  6. I know you already know these things so these are just suggestions in case you've overlooked a possibility or two...

    Archive invalidation. Is it active? Do you use the text file version or the BSA version?

    Pose mods, body replacers, animation replacers, etc. Sounds to me like a problem caused by something that obviously modifies the bodies of both NPCs and the player avatar, so that's where I would go lookin'.

    And I haven't run an Imperial male like ever, so I'll check and see how mine looks...

  7. My Imperial male is all there, head to toe with Robert's Body and no crash.

    Seems like I had a similar experience with this game around a year ago, in which my avatar was walking around with no body and couldn't interact with much of anything. Sadly that was long enough ago that I don't remember exactly what caused it or how I fixed it. I'll search my brain cells and let you know if I come up with anything...

  8. It's happened to me before when the body a set of clothing or armor is made for isn't compatible with the one installed. Got hold of some bikinis once, for example, that were made for some weird body; 'double melons' or something. Completely incompatible with HGEC to the point that when you tried to equip one, the body would disappear and the bikini would be floating in mid-air.

    That was my initial thought, here. But I wasn't running any male armor replacers, and Robert's is usually compatible with vanilla.

    I use BSA redirection, which apparently doesn't work worth a shit. The alternatives appear to be the text file, and using Wrye to hack my mod-textures into the original BSAs. Universe forbid Bethsoft have taken the time to fix their archiveinvalidation system at some point in the last four and a half years.

    Uninstalled, wiped the data directory. Reinstalled some mods, fired up my saved save, and the problem is still there.

    I just wasted two hours, it appears.

    New game has the faces show up fine, so apparently the game just spontaneously decided to corrupt all saves on that character.

    So, I'm obviously throwing away that ten hours of play time, five levels, and fully outfitted pirate's lair.

    If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go unload the dishwasher to resist the urge to throw my monitor out the damnably convenient window.

  9. Isn't there a way to use Wrye Bash to clean the save?

  10. Just tried Wrye bash. It's about as useless as I always figured it would be.

    If I were trying to make some monstrous merged patch it would be useful.

    As far as I can tell, it won't remove jack nor shit from my saves. Says it can "disable" mods from a save, but it doesn't do anything as far as I can tell, other than add an XX to the front of the mod name. Oblivion still thinks the mods are there and complains in my general direction when I try to load it. Would remove "bloat" except there is none to remove. Won't remove master files; won't tell me anything about missing meshes or textures.

    It does contain a lovely PM management system, and a list of my friends that I can add or remove "karma" from to indicate how much I like them, though; in case I... y'know... forget or something, I guess.

    Even with all the stuff "disabled", the game is still fucked.

    Four hours and fifty-nine minutes in right now; and I'm sick of dealing with it. I've spent half the play time of the save trying to salvage it now. Not worth it.

  11. Sounds like you've had the worst streak of luck today. I do have Oblivion, but was suitably unimpressed with the game, so the game DVD is in a box somewhere.

  12. Well, after Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2, and the intuitive toolsets they had, the story in Oblivion and the unintuitive (to me anyway) TES Construction Set just didn't grab me like I thought they would. Even though the GECK is pretty similar to the CS, finding the companion tutorial made me more accepting of Fallout 3 and New Vegas; I may dig out Oblivion at some point and see if I can enjoy it now that I know where to find people to help me with things.

  13. I'll agree as an NWN modder of old that the CS sucks in comparison. Mostly because we don't get a script generator for Oblivion and FO3... but it is more awkward all around, yes.

    Oblivion is kind of an acquired taste. Like Fo3, the Bethesda quests are utter shit. Horrible writing; cliche pseudo-plots, and tons of forgettable characters. The questing is much like Fo3, except without the profanity, sexual innuendo, or ability to be even semi-evil. Do yourself a favor and stay far away from the Knights of the Nine addon. That thing is so bad it's painful in places.

    Where Oblivion really shines is as a sort of evolved game of pretend. It's outstanding when you're doing the "sandbox" thing; working on your own objectives.

    Oblivion has straight-up gorgeous scenery; varied environments, an ample economy to deal with, four "official" guilds to join and be a part of, and enough wilderness and ruins to explore to keep you occupied for many an hour. By the time you do them all, you'll have forgotten what you did at first, and will be ready to go again almost anew. The Daedric quests can be rather amusing - some require 'outside the box' thinking - and the Shivering Isles is a beautifully twisted place.

    Beyond that, Oblivion truly shines on its mods. It was once described as 'the game that would be made perfect by a thousand mods'. The community is well established and wide-ranging. Weapons, armor, poses, animations, monsters, companions, houses, spells, scenery. Hell, I've seen mods that add an MP3 player to the HUD. You can get mods that let you have a sailable ship; visit the lands of previous games; even venture into the Forgotten Realms Underdark.

    I personally think the best thing about Oblivion is that with aftermarket texture replacers, you can actually eclipse FO3's graphics, on a considerably less powerful system. The NPC textures are especially amazing; there are HGEC textures out there that blow the Type 3 bodies so far out of the water it isn't even funny.

    With the sheer number of modding options available, Oblivion can be a bear and a half to get a handle on at first, but if you're into freeform fantasy with lots of eyecandy, it's well worth the time.

  14. Indeed. If you were to ask me to critique vanilla Oblivion, I would present a long list of things that it lacks. But with the right mods, the game is indeed not only good looking but fun to play and explore. Those Bethesda folks were marketing geniuses in the fact that they gave us the tools and the freedom to modify virtually every aspect of the game, because if they had not we all would have stopped talking about Oblivion a long time ago.

  15. Bioware did a good job with Neverwinter Nights, even though changing anything in the Official Campaigns was a pain until they released the last patch. They've done a better job with Dragon Age; it's not quite the same as Oblivion or Fallout 3 (or New Vegas, for that matter) but now you don't have to worry as much about changing something in the campaign and having your mod break the patch process.

  16. Actually, modifying the official campaign and expansions was easy. All you had to do was rename the file extension from .nwm to .mod, and the toolset would open them without complaint.

    Then, once edited to your heart's contentment, change the extension back.

    Voila! Instant campaign hacking. Never really bothered, myself, since with the ability to export characters from other modules you could make a module to give your character whatever you wanted them to have before starting an official campaign chapter.

    Was a handy trick when Hordes of the Underdark hit, though.

    Bastards thought they could steal my equipment and stick me with that cheap replacement crap? HA! Not once I edit the campaign and have all my stuff in a trunk in the next room...

  17. Oh, wait. I think I misread. Patch breaking the campaign?

    Never had that one happen, actually. Must've gotten lucky.

  18. What I meant was is that if you didn't remember to revert to the default version of the official campaigns before patching, modding the campaigns would break the patching process. This can't happen in DA, since the mods don't directly alter anything in the campaign files themselves.

  19. What are the must have mods (or patches) for the game anyway?