Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Slow March to Beta

Internal alpha on the sorters continues; and is nearing completion. I've gotten just about all the holes filled for item sorting, and the new method of using quest scripts entirely (rather than dialogue result scripts) has yet to fail in tests.

I wanted the companion reloading sorter to let me know when it ran; but since you can't see item add/remove notifications on containers other than the player, I had to approach it somewhat differently. I decided to have it display a simple message once the sorting code had all run, just before it reset the variable to zero to stop the script:

I had originally only intended this for the companion sorter, since there was no other way to get a notification as to when and if the code had actually fired correctly.

As I played on, though, I came to know better the full range of items available in FNV. The full Survival sorter takes more than ninety seconds to display all the item removal notifications; and the General sorter isn't far behind.

After about the third time of sitting and waiting on them to finish the stack of notes, I decided it was high time to do something similar to the above. I added the "silent" flag to every removeitem command on the player, and substituted instead a simple message to note that the items had finished sorting. No issues with it failing to run correctly thus far, so I think I'm going to keep the cleaner interface. It won't tell you which items are sorted anymore, but I think that's a small price to pay to not have to sit through five minutes of notifications.

I also discovered a bit of a flaw in the whole idea. Being able to sort and store at a dialogue command's whim means you pick up a lot more. A lot more. We came out of South Vegas, the sign factory, and Vault 3 with more than sixteen hundred pounds of swag.

Now, back in Oblivion, there was a well known bug that made items temporarily disappear when you got too many in one container. FO3/NV have not had a resurgence in that bug thankfully; but by the time we hit a merchant to start offloading loot, when I emptied the holding containers into my personal inventory there were so many items it goddamned near crashed the game. I didn't stop to count, but it had to be well over a thousand items -- not counting ammunition.

I may have to implement some sort of weight and/or item count limit on the containers. We'll wait and see, but I'm betting if I can get it to almost crash, someone else is going to try and cart around half the game at once and cause a save game corruption or something...

I've logged quite a few more hours through yesterday afternoon, last night, and this morning; and so far the code all works quite well. I'm still tweaking a bit here and there, trying to make sure I didn't miss any more common items. Unfortunately, I'm not heavily experienced with the Survival crafting thing, so it's entirely possible I missed a few recipe components. Nonetheless, I think it's about ready to begin the migration into NCCS v0.8.

While I was playing, I also got... not quite bored; but feeling that the game was lacking something. Some personality for my girls. So I set about adding some. Players of the RR Companions Vault are probably not unfamiliar with my brand of witty dialogue, already... but this being a personal plugin I decided not to censor myself in any way.

Maeva got the General container and sorting code:

Natasha handles Reloading:

And also weighs in on ammunition when I ask for a particular set of components to reload:

And Mystery-chan lets me know what she thinks of the quality of New Vegas (New Vegan?) food when asked to stow the food/drinks/survival components:

Now, obviously this stuff won't be making it verbatim into NCCS, but I think I'm going to add in some snarky comments here and there for sorting/retrieval. I also think I'm going to add an "All" command that runs all four sorters in one chain; for those times when you're feeling extra lazy.

I should be careful though, I'm going to fuck around and the companions will unionize. Do they have Pinkertons in New Vegas? I should check into that.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weirdness, Warriors, and Weapons

When I loaded the save today to test the new drivers and sorters, we were in Violet's trailer park west of the South Vegas ruins.

It had been odd going in; normally there are several guard dogs roaming about, but for some reason this time there were none -- only Violet and Violetta. I originally marked this off as a side effect of my level (remember, this game I proved that you can subvert the devs' railroading; on entering the park, I was only level seven). Violet and her mutt were already dead when I saved.

When I loaded this game, we were immediately surrounded by red marks on the compass. Obviously, it hadn't been an effect of my level; the stupid game just hadn't activated the spawn points for the guard dogs.

Well obviously the dogs didn't manage to hurt us, but nonetheless it made for an interesting test of the girls' combat AI.

I turned when the shooting started, and just barely managed to capture this shot of Maeva in action:

If you look close in the bottom left corner, you can see two of her hulls in mid-air.

I took this one just because I was still impressed with how well her black painted fingernails came out in the custom body texture I use for her. It's not something I notice every time I look her way, but boy does it make her stand out even more than usual sometimes.

This one was just inside the west entrance to the South Vegas Ruins. The combat style continues to impress.

Not only did this make for a nice screenshot, but that was how they fought -- rather than advancing as a normal NPC would, my girls sat in cover and used the choke point to pick off the Fiends one by one as they attempted to attack. Never underestimate the tactical value of being able to fill a gap in the wall with lead.

That out of the way, I also wanted to show off some preliminary shots of the NosCo Super Blackhawk. The "357 revolver" in FNV is, of course, based on the Ruger Blackhawk. How can I tell? It has a transfer bar safety, if you look close in first person view. Colt SAAs and clones don't.

So, when I made a 44 magnum version of the same revolver, I called it the Super Blackhawk; much as Bill Ruger himself did when he did similar in the '60s. If I ever release the mod, I'll probably have to change the name, since I'm pretty sure the SBH name is trademarked...


I started with the "custom" 357 model as a base, since it looked less shitty than the base model. I edited the texture, replacing the fake-ivory stocks with rosewood; I removed all the card suit symbols, and switched the engravings from gold to silver; as well as a few other minor edits here and there. The result is a lovely but less ostentatious piece, suitable for any single-action aficionado:

This is the revolver in first person. As you can see, it's in a two-tone style: the frame, barrel, and cylinder are matte blue; but the hammer, trigger, triggerguard, ejector, transfer bar, and front sight are all silver. We'll call it matte nickel.

Here's the sighting view. I haven't decided whether to recolor the front sight or not. As silver, it stands out well against the rear sight; but tends to wash out against light target backgrounds. I haven't decided what color to redo it in, though.

Here's one in NPC hands. As you can see, unlike the custom 357, this weapon is set to actually display properly in the hands of NPCs.

I should also note I've since edited the texture a bit more, and removed the engravings from the flutes in the cylinder.

Here's the other side, though the lighting's not as good.

I left the bulk of the engravings, since scroll work doesn't offend my sensibilities; though those clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds made me feel like I had wandered into a bad western movie so they had to go.

Unfortunately, once compressed by the engine, the text didn't come out nearly as legible as it had been in the image editor. If you look closely, though, you can still sort of see that the engraving on the ejector rod housing says "NosCo". I need to redo it with a larger, less ornate font, apparently.

Though it's difficult to see in these, if you catch the revolver under the right light, you can also still see the club engraving outline on the stocks. I tried removing it... but apparently I need more practice with normal maps, as it did not come out well, and had to be hastily reverted to the original normal map.

As noted before, the revolver is fully 44 magnum compliant -- it uses the other ammo types (44special, hollowpoints, handloaded SWCs), and does properly spawn casings for the player. It does not accept weapon mods -- this is a custom piece, and the innards are not to be tinkered with by the likes of you, Courier. Damage is mid-way between the custom 357 and the base game 44 revolver; the SBH has a shorter barrel than the latter, so produces less velocity -- but still packs considerably more wallop than its 357 little brother. As with damage, max effective range is midway between custom 357 and default 44. It is still a six shot.

I haven't decided how I want to get them into the wasteland. For simplicity's sake, I had the test version you see here start in Mystery-chan's inventory (two; one for her, one for me). For public release I'll probably have them sold by Gun Runners or something.

If I get together enough custom weapons, I may have a wandering NosCo weapons vendor. I've also had an idea to implement a pair of convertible revolvers -- one in 357/9mm, and one 45acp/45 Colt (CaliberX required for this one).

Better? Sort of?

Logged ninety odd minutes on FNV today; tested the sorting scripts and got in some general play.

Updated drivers seem to have helped. When I started the PC up this morning, my desktop was still like it was supposed to be. Inside FNV, "stutter" is reduced considerably, though FPS on the whole haven't improved much. Visually indistinguishable from the old drivers, as far as teh prettehs go. I stopped when it crashed on me. Oddly enough, not a wanderin' the wastes crash, but it crashed on opening a container; which is behavior I've seen plenty of times before in the engine. Not sure what causes it, but it existed in Oblivion and FO3 both.

The sorters themselves continue to be a bit of a work in progress.

They technically work, but the fact is: you give me thirteen hundred lines of text to proof in Wordpad -- 90% of each line being identical to the ones above and below; and it all tends to blur together. Especially after three straight hours of writing the shit. I'm going to make mistakes.

Thus far, the tally of fuckups has been minor:

The reloading sorter somehow escaped having the lines for moving large and small rifle primers copied when I split the scripts into categories; the general sorter was missing some items, and is still missing a few -- since it was originally written as I was glancing down the miscellaneous section of the item tree in the GECK and trying to remember which items were commonly encountered; the dialogue topic for the survival sorter has the wrong prompt (I copied it from the reloading sorter topic, and apparently forgot to change the player's line).

When and if the mess makes it into NCCS (blessedly, all I'll need to do for the scripts is dump them into Wordpad and run a "replace all" on the container name from my special companions plugin to one in the NCCS plugin), stuff will likely need adjustment, as well. At the moment, the items are sorted based on what I do with them. For example, Glass Pitchers and Surgical Tubing go into the survival container because they're used in the recipe for creating purified water. Turpentine goes into the survival container as well, because it's used to tan hides.

If you make Nuka Grenades but don't tan hides, the turpentine sorting will likely irritate you.

Unfortunately, because of the number of potential uses for an item, I'm not sure there is any "right" way to sort them across the board; short of a container for each specific item (not happening). I'm likely going to end up telling several people to learn to mod their damned selves if they don't like the way the script runs.

Other issues I can do little about. There's still the script delay before the quest scripted sorters run. As I feared, the more complex the script, the longer the delay seems to be on average. The Reloading sorter at 170 odd lines runs in just a couple seconds. The first stage of the survival sorter runs up near six hundred lines, though; and takes upwards of five seconds to fire on average. As well, because the survival item list was so blasted long that the script had to be split, there's the delay between the first script finishing, and the second starting.

Another issue is that to make sure the player knows the items are moving, I didn't use the silent flag on the RemoveItem commands, so you get the "4 Beer(s) Removed" or whatever it says exactly. Since each message stays in the corner of your screen for a couple seconds, if you have a full suite of junk in your inventory, it can... take awhile for them all to clear. I had at least one each of probably 75% of the items in the script, and it took something like thirty seconds for them all to clear. It's annoying, but unfortunately it's an all-or-nothing proposition. Since the player isn't guaranteed to have one specific item in their inventory to sort, I have to have multiple ones running non-silent; and if I just do one item in ten or what-have-you, I know people will think that all items aren't being sorted.

Lastly, I did write the survival sorter to not dump everything into the container. It keeps some items for you (again, based on how I play): a few pieces of food, five bottles of purified water, five Sunset Sarsaparilla bottles, ten stimpaks, two super stims, two steadies, a doctor's bag, a hydra, five each Rad-X and Radaway, a mentats, and a med-x. The rest gets filtered into the container, for safe keeping (yes, chems are weightless, but Bethsoft devs love to fuck the player over by stealing all your equipment -- this way, all but your "working stash" will be safely untouchable by DLCs or mods, and retrievable from any companion; yes, I'm an evil bastard who hates being railroaded). As I said, the numbers will probably be off for most people... but that's the sort of thing we can fix in subsequent versions.

On the up side, reverting the plugin to the old (non-NVSE enabled) version did fix the girls' combat behavior; so it must have been something in the NVSE commands that the game didn't like. Although whether it was the GECK itself, NVSE, or the NVSE plugin of the GECK powerup... I have no idea. That will have to be an investigation for another time.

It's a shame though; while NVSE wouldn't have helped at all with the sorter scripts, I was hoping to be able to make the casing-spawner code work with mod-added weapons, as well. One pain in my ass at a time though, I suppose. The sorters are far and away more important to my own game; and since I'm who I'm modding for... you guys get stuck with it, I guess.

Brick Wall, Redux

Updated my video drivers, and FNV didn't implode.

Performance seems somewhat improved; but I haven't logged enough time to comment on crashes.

So, being unable to sleep, I decided to work a bit on the sorter scripting. Got the reloading sorter repaired, made a couple additions to the general sorter; and finally started on the survival sorter.

Therein lies our problem this morning.

This time, the editor wouldn't take any more lines at 674; and near half of those are partially finished lines (I copy in the Refname.RemoveItem line, and then just go back through and add in item names).

So, it looks like one of three things has to happen:

1) Axe the sorter completely. Don't tempt me.

2) Cut half the frankly stupid number of consumables out of the sorter. This will result in endless bitching, and the eventual implementation of #1.

3) Chain two quests and scripts together, and make them run in sequence when the sort order is given. More work, more opportunity for problems, and no one is likely to ever notice beyond bitching that I didn't leave the correct number of item X in their inventory? Where do I sign?!

Edit, 0253PST:

Finished the split-script. Ye Gods that crap was a lot of work. I ended up having to write the whole mess in Wordpad, then copy as much as it would let me into the first script; then move the remainder into the second. The dialogue command initiates the first script, the first starts the second before shutting itself off.

Will it work? I have no fucking idea. I'd say yes -- there's no reason it shouldn't -- but I've seen plenty not work that 'should have' in this game. I put nothing past this iteration of the engine.

Total number of lines for all three sorters: 1317. That doesn't count the retrieval scripts; just the ones that put items into categorized containers.

This also doesn't cover armor, weapons, or ammo. I figured trying to sort those would be a hornet's nest -- no matter which I picked, I'd end up pulling stuff one player or another was trying to use; without invoking NVSE (which didn't go so well last time).

I think I'm getting RSI again...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crash. Burn. Etc.

I had a nice post typed out, detailing how I had used NVSE to improve my companion script; and make the case-spawner work with mod-added weapons.

It parsed fine, so I figured what was there to worry about? At the last second, I opted to save as a draft, and go actually test the scripts; rather than post only to have to issue a retraction. This turned out to be a good idea.

I have no idea if the NVSE code worked. I have no idea, because with it active, my companions never exit combat mode once initiated; and thus can not have their inventory checked.

Thank Darkness for backups...


Copied my plugin backup, fired up the game to see if that would unfuck my companions. The game hard-locked my system during game load.

I've about had it with this shit.

Fair warning, Kiddies: don't expect any NCCS updates in the near future.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Do you know what the quest script length limit is in FNV?

I now do.

I slammed head first into it writing the sorters. 778 lines.

Used to be well over a thousand.

Stupid subpar programmers can't touch anything without fucking it up beyond all hope of repair...

Now I've got to create two more quests; and run each sorter on a separate script.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More on FNV Sorters

I mentioned about a week and a half back the rather dismal results my first attempt at item sorters for FNV turned in.

The trouble was, I was trying to run them via dialogue result scripts directly; and apparently the new and improved limit on those is shorter than it was in FO3, despite the GECK not kicking it back as being officially over-length.

I had an inkling of how to fix it, but wasn't sure the solution would work for NCCS; what with you people being a pack of twitchy spider monkeys on crank.

Nonetheless, I decided that one way or the other, I wanted working sorters for my own companions. So, since I had to fire up the game this morning anyway to test the new revolver texture, I also went through and rewrote the two reloading sorters (one for the player, and one that automatically collects all casings/spent power cells from companions) using a quest script -- since they have much larger processing capabilities.

I'm moderately pleased to note that it went off with only a minor hitch -- and that hitch being smaller than I was expecting.

The hitch, as it were, is that as I've mentioned before, quest scripts in FNV don't run every frame as they're supposed to. They run once every few seconds. The average delay on the main companion management quest's script is about five seconds, but I've seen it go as high as ten.

Naturally, I could not help but assume that loaded into NCCS, sorters on a ten second delay would cause no end of bitching in my general direction.

The game surprised me, and the sorting routine runs on about a two second delay. Not next-frame as I'd like... but not long enough that people will assume it isn't running.

Well, most people.

Since that works, I'm going to write in the general and survival sorters, too. I'm interested in seeing if increasing the amount of data it has to process also increases the lag time between script runs. A direct correlation would be too easy, but there's always the chance...

The reloading component retrieval scripts ("Hand me the components to reload 357 magnum.") run fine from the result scripts. I still haven't recovered all the weapon repair kit components I lost in the container incident, so I haven't been able to test it yet.

On another note, I added CaliberX to the game; and while the reloading menu is much more cluttered now, on the whole I like the extra ammo types. Being able to load 7.62 and 5.56mm match ammo is nice, as is being able to load normal shotgun shells (makes it much easier to keep companions in ammo, since NPCs can't use any ammo besides the default type).

Also: the NosCO 44mag SBH looks smashing. Alas, it was dusk game-time when I was testing, so no good screenshot opportunities presented themselves.


Semi-related to the whole modding bit, semi not...

Am working on the NosCo SBH texture some more this morning. Decided I wanted to find a particular type of picture to potentially edit and graft into the texture.

I run a Google image search, as I'm doing more often these days.

...One of the results is an image from my other blog...

Do you have any idea how surreal that is?

"Hey, I recognize that picture... wait, what...?"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Nexus Design

No, Sir, I don't like it.

Look, I can understand that the previous design was fundamentally flawed (despite being used anyway for four years) but really? I have to tell NoScript to let Jquery do whatever it wants to my browser now?

Also: too many graphical buttons. I miss text labels. Yes, they're not what the cool kids use; but they load fast and are less prone to breaking when your servers revert to suck and fail mode.

On the other hand, it was high time you guys got rid of that thumbs-down nonsense. It was used as a tool of impotent vengeance attempts and nothing more. Also, I like that anyone with editing access to a file now gets the border around their comments; and not just the original uploader. That should make it much easier to identify people of importance for the file.

Lastly: the color scheme sucks. The FNV nexus looks like a Half Life fan site now.

Well we can look on the bright side I suppose that at least they didn't use a Flash intro...


Hm. And it also appears that the migration to the new design has wiped all rich text in comments, and lost part of the BBCode in file descriptions. I see on the NCCS page that the divider lines are gone between sections of the description.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


(From NCCS Comments)

"can some one show me how install this in a video"

Must not... respond... with profanity...

Hey Neko: you got the idea for that foot fetish blog ready yet? 'Cause this modding shit seriously isn't working out...

Saturday, August 20, 2011


So, I was cruising the Nexus this morning, picking up a copy of CaliberX -- because the NosCo Super Blackhawk is looking outstanding, and it has given me ideas for introducing some seriously evil weapons into the game (but more on that later) -- when I remembered complaining the other day about how bad navigating via my Shiloh DS-edited map was.

I have a very nice FO3 map; produced by a Russian gentleman I think it was -- it's modeled after a satellite photo, and reads almost exactly like a real LANSAT map would. Easier to navigate by, since you can actually discern roads, towns, the river, et cetera.

I had thought that the FNV map might have a similar overhaul.

I was wrong. They're all underdetailed, stylized pieces of shit. Why, you may ask? Because the base map is a stylized, underdetailed piece of shit; and all the replacements that I saw were simply colorized versions of the base map -- sometimes with extra icons and such added.

Seriously. Look at the map. Show me McCarran. You can't tell the goddamned airport from the rubble around it in any FNV map I've ever seen. There are no text labels for the highways, the airport and/or air base, the strip.

Now, I've spent a lot of years map-reading; and am more than slightly handy at navigating by even those craptastic Rand McNally tourist topos, but when there's nothing to see on the map it still makes it fairly difficult.

If you look really close at McCarran and Nellis (and already know where they are) you can see the pair of "roads" that represent the runways. Unfortunately, neither set stand out from the normal roads; so again you have to know what you're looking at, what you're looking for, and getting rid of the Pip-Boy screen distortion wouldn't hurt.

I've currently got the one with the "NPC data panels" installed; but not the cheat-icons that mark every vendor and skill book in the game.

I'm thinking I'll probably switch to the one with just coordinates at setting zero, and install the distortion remover, as well.

...Oh, I already have the 'clean pipboy screen' installed.

Well, shit...

Be Afraid.

Awhile back on my other blog, I posted a news story regarding some horrific plants that were becoming an epidemic in parts of New York state. As it often does, the conversation in the comments quickly switched topics, and ended up being about horrific insects and animals.

The Tarantula Hawk Wasp was mentioned; being as it is not only horrific, and nightmare inspiring, but is the real creature that the "Cazadores" from FNV are based on.

So while this might be mostly off topic for this blog, I thought I'd nonetheless share this image I ran across on a chan board this morning:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I suddenly feel the need to go buy an autoloading shotgun with a tube extension...

Edited to add: and Goddamn the JCS is still a sexy bitch, ain't she?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Updates Needed

So, a player commented on NCCS today, citing an issue with companion scripts not running correctly.

Now, I'm not going to call him stupid, or start ranting; or anything like that. This is a legitimate issue, and one that I've run into myself from time to time.

The fix is usually simple: force the companion to re-load into the game world. The easiest way to do this is to just change cells. Go indoors if you're outside, or outdoors if you're inside. This (generally) forces the 3d object to load anew, which seems to get the script's head out of its ass, and all starts running correctly.

In more severe cases when this doesn't work, a fast travel usually does. Even fast traveling to the map marker that you're nearest to in the same outdoor cell will usually do it. It's just an issue of forcing the companion to "spawn" into the world again. For some reason, once it's done that, the Object Script starts running again, 99% of the time.

Normally, you only run into the issue when a script has been modified without a clean save of the companion's plugin being made -- that is to say, changes are being made while the companion is active in the game full-time. Ideally, clean saves should be made anytime you update a plugin... but let's be honest: most of us are too lazy to do that -- myself included.

Other than that, the issue will very rarely manifest if you activate the companion plugin while you're in the cell where they're placed. Again, this seems to have to do with the 3d state not loading correctly, and the script not functioning for whatever reason.

The issue is easy to recognize: a companion so afflicted will still follow you (following is handled by the AI package, not the script), but will not sneak when you do, nor draw/holster weapons to mirror your ready state. This is the surest sign that the companion script is not functioning correctly.

Now, this whole thing has reminded me yet again how out of date the NCCS readme and companion creation tutorials are. When those were written, we hadn't even had one patch yet, let alone the four we have now; and many of the game issues were different. Several have since been fixed, and a few more added.

The bugs section is woefully out of date, as are the links in the tutorial; and quite a few new companion features are missing outright from both documents.

I have got to get around to that, one of these days.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Recently, my favorite Neko declared that I should unwind and lose my "modding blues" by playing a game I don't mod. Just play for fun.

Well... this is me we're talking about. If I don't mod the game? I'm not still playing it. I've written mods for C&C: Generals, Galactic Civilizations 2, Neverwinter Nights, DAO, The Witcher, even STALKER (yes, I threw one together for the one half-assed playthrough I attempted and quickly bored of; it's the way I'm wired).

About the only games I don't mod are the MW4 series and Sins of a Solar Empire -- both of which I've played so much that they hold little interest for me now.

So, I simply started a new Oblivion game. No worries on lore, no attempting to improve any scripting or packages; no new companions -- just a play. I reinstalled the Gun Mage mod, ramped up the difficulty, selected a set of companions to play with, and created my new character.

On a lark, I decided to try a new race. I mentioned some time ago installing the X117 race package. One of the races it contains is called simply "Xeo", and appears to be a modification of Ren's Mystic Elves. Kind of bishie... but what the hell.

Get it going, all my mods' scripts set up, and play a bit. Look through the character sheet to check my progress on getting a Sneak point, and I notice something off. My sneak skill is 55. In the tutorial.

Got to looking, and the race has severe bonuses to seven skills. Playing as the Xeo race is essentially getting a second set of class skills for free.

I took Sneak as a class skill, and the Thief as my birthsign; and when I stepped out onto the island as a full-fledged level one, my sneak skill was 80.

EIGHTY. Without changing it in the console. The other overpowered bonuses were to destruction (55 as a class skill), blade (75 as a non-class skill), block, restoration (55 as a non-class skill), conjuration (55 as a class skill), and marksman (55 as a class skill).

As well, "Xeos" get a greater power that grants fifty percent shield for sixty seconds; in addition to full time fifty percent resistance to magicka, and twenty-five percent resistance to fire. Or the other way around... I was running on two hours' sleep at the time. I know one is 25% and the other 50%.

Now, look, I'm all for racial skill adjustments -- even resistances. Five points here, minus five there; it adds an incentive to play a particular race beyond the strictly aesthetic. Makes them feel different. Nords stand up to cold, Bretons make better mages; it's all an added bit of depth.

This shit, though, is on the same level as the douchebags who make nuclear minguns for Fallout 3 -- it's cheat-gaming, plain and simple. Doing it in the CS does not make it any less of a cheat than if you do it in the console.

Jeez, and I thought the Horkew were bad (they have Hunter's Sight and resistance to normal weapons -- vampire abilities without the need for blood or sun damage).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Public Service Announcement

So, if you care what the Nexus admins think is newsworthy, you may already know this; but Bethsoft got hacked. Again. This last time was on Friday.

I wouldn't normally mention it, but I got an email from them (Bethsoft) this morning, warning me about it so I thought I'd pass it on in case their forum software misses any of you.

If you have an account with them, your password has been forcibly changed, and needs to be reset.

I personally will not be resetting mine anytime soon, as I long ago abandoned Bethsoft's retard-infested forums.

That is all. Going back to my hole, now.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Failure

Revised my scripts, still no dice.

The companion-sorting script that pulls casings direct from the companions into the reloading container does not run. At all.

The player-sorting script for components now runs until it hits something to transfer, and then stops. It will move one stack of items per run.

Obviously, dialogue resultscripts are even less reliable than object scripts in this fucked up game.

I maintain that Obsidian needs to be unemployed if this is the best they can do.

Regardless, I can do what I've had to do with damned near everything else in the game, and switch to quest scripts. The "sort" command will simply set a quest variable to 1, causing the sorting block to execute the next time the quest script is run.

This, while reliable, produces a new problem. FNV quest scripts don't run every frame like they're supposed to. There's often a delay of up to ten seconds between runs -- the average is about five. So, sorting will not be instantaneous.

This brings me to an issue I was tossing around in my head just a few minutes ago, while looking at some Doug Turnbull revolvers in a catalog, and comparing them to my latest NosCo SBH texture revision.

The issue is this: why am I bothering?

I've spent literally hundreds of hours on NCCS now. Revising, playtesting, adding new features. Fighting the engine every step of the way to make things work.

Do you know what it gets me?

"Your mod isn't easy enough to use."

"Your mod doesn't redefine the engine limitations to make my completely unreasonable companion ideas possible with only a few clicks of my mouse."

"I didn't read the directions, and your mod doesn't work!"

"I fucked with your scripts, and now the mod doesn't work!"

"The RR port that doesn't even work is better."

I actually got a PM earlier in the week from someone bitching me out because I had hidden all the sound files inside the mod esm, and he needed to get to them to add custom dialogue to his companions. I'm not even going to get into how many things are wrong with that one.

NCCS has more than 9800 unique downloaders (25,000 and change total downloads) and 149 endorsements. Assuming my head-math wasn't completely off, that means the roughly one user in seventy-five takes the ten seconds to drop in even a comment-less endorsement.

My files for FO3 and FNV combined are responsible for around a hundred thousand total downloads, if not more. I have eighty-four kudos -- more than half of which are because of the weapon selector scripts I wrote for 20th Century Weapons last year, and not my own files at all.

Why, I ask you, am I banging my fucking head against this construction set, trying to make the companion system better?

The new component recovery section of the companion scripts (a technical accomplishment I'm fairly proud of) won't even be noticed by 95% of players. Of the five percent that do notice, four percent will hate it, and the remaining one percent will like it, but request that I rewrite it to include whatever their favorite game-fucking overhaul is (GAAAAAAAAAAAME FUUUUUUUCKER! Yes, I still find that funny).

The sorters -- provided I ever get them working -- will just be bitched about because I didn't include every item and recipe in existence; and again, there will be the FOOK/FWE assholes wanting it rewritten to include the overhaul's 48,000 unnecessary items.

Friday, August 12, 2011


It's only 0930, and I can already tell you today's going to be a clusterfuck.

None of the new sorting scripts work. Oh, they parse fine. The references check out.

The game just isn't running them for reasons known only to the Old Ones from beyond the stars.

The reloading sorter removes everything from my inventory except shotgun hulls. The weapon repair kit component retrieval script doesn't return any wonderglue or wrenches.

My strip scripts decided totally amongst themselves to store items in a container with a completely different reference -- the general item container, so when run, they grab every item out of it and put it all into the companion's inventory.

The script to automatically transfer reloading components from the companions to the reloading container doesn't run at all.

Because of a container edit, I lost everything in the general container (and have no plugin backup to retrieve it in a previous save).

And it took three tries to get the game to even load. The stupid engine hangs during game loading; CPU usage drops to 0 and you just get the endless spinning loading wheel.

Can't breathe, head's killing me, and my XM has been completely taken over by those vapid Sirius fucks...

The only thing I'm missing is an email from my mother.

Fuck this. I'm going back to bed.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Note To Self:

When Google image searching samples of wood patterns to rework a weapon texture, searching for "ebony" does not return images of Diospyros ebenum or Diospyros crassiflora.

...Nothing but magazine covers and porn...

Welp. Rosewood stocks for the NosCo SBH it is...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Even More FNV Crap No One Cares About

I mentioned before finding a way to get to New Vegas that subverted the devs' railroading attempts to force you to go down through Primm, past Nipton, and up through Novac (taking up more than half the blasted wasteland).

On this new game, I decided to test the theory. Played through the tutorial, cleaned out a small bit of the area surrounding Goodsprings, and helped Ringo take care of the Powder Gangers. This left me at level three, and brought in enough swag to buy us some passable amount of ammo.

We set off.

There's a path, northwest of Goodsprings; near the roadblock.

Up in the rocks, looking back down at town. You can see the roadblock to the left of my cursor. The path up isn't hard to find -- just look for the most friendly inclines.

Same position, looking northeast to New Vegas.

Stay up in the rocks, and you can make it clear to the Tribal Village before having to come down, or fight.

The village is the one place where you have to engage in combat on the trip. You can either drop into the valley, kill the one roaming young cazadore and sneak past the village (if you took sneak as a tag you should be able to pull it off if you hug the eastern side of the valley) or do what I did, and slaughter everything.

I took advantage of a limitation in the engine, and attacked the cazadores from the cliff overlooking the village. Their AI couldn't figure out how to get to me to retaliate, by and large. Two found their way up; but they did so slowly, and singly -- making them easy for my compatriots to pick off.

I also met the one real flaw in the plan, and the one hefty downside to trying to solo anything off the railroad tracks in this game: with a Guns skill below 50, you're in auto-suck mode. Hitting anything is difficult, and when you do hit you do fuckall for damage. It took nearly a hundred rounds of surplus 5.56mm to down four adult cazadores.

Nonetheless, we made it through with a minimum of grief.

From there, we moved in the lowest terrain available: between the state park and Bonnie Springs -- giant mantises on one side, Viper bandits on the other. Neither I wanted to tangle with at level four.

Unfortunately... the three redheaded psychopaths I roll with had other ideas. In avoiding a herd of bighorners, I strayed too close to Bonnie Springs, and one of the girls' radar went off. A fight ensued. All went well, except that the last Viper spawned with a fucking grenade rifle. I took a lucky hit and ended up with a crippled leg. Stims don't work on crippled limbs in hardcore mode. Fortunately, there are a couple doctor's bags to be found in Goodsprings, so I didn't have to limp all the way to Vegas. Retrieved some nice swag, though.

Ah, the promised land is in sight.

Another unfortunate point... is that I am not an expert at navigating by topo. It is not what you call one of my intuitive skills. Even less so when the map is the stylized pseudo-LANSAT map replacer that I downloaded as part of the Shiloh Desert Succubus package.

With night falling fast, and not a bottle of cateye to my name, I aimed for the El Rey motel to hole up for the night; since I knew better than to try to make it all the way into Freeside in the dark. I had a fair idea of where McCarran was (even though it doesn't show up right on that map) but misjudged my approach and wound up staring into Cook Cook's compound. I considered swinging around, but I was already navigating by the nightscope on my varmint rifle, and couldn't remember offhand whether there were more fiends south of there -- I knew there were more to the north -- and I wasn't willing to wuss out and go look it up on the wiki. I put several bullets into Queenie -- helpfully frenzying Cook Cook and having him take out most of the fiends. Once his wounded hide was taken care of, it was a snap to take out the two remaining henchmen.

I had thought that was that, but apparently there was a straggler that had been back by the South Vegas ruins entrance. As soon as they noticed, the girls astounded me yet again. Miss Mystery made with the frontal assault, Natasha swung round in a pincer move to attack from behind, and Maeva attacked broadside through a window.

They have learned advanced infantry tactics. This frightens me.

Once the compound was looted of everything not nailed down, we pressed on and made it to the rail line underpass; where I realized we were not staring at McCarran like I thought we would be. I managed to find the McCarran control tower by its silhouette against the night sky (remember, kids: when in doubt, navigate by landmarks!) and after cursing the map yet again, adjusted our course and managed to get to the motel just as my varmint rifle was about ten shots away from being broken.

After spending the night, we struck out for Gunrunners.

The vast majority of our thus-far-collected swag went into acquiring Maeva a riot shotgun to replace her craptastic caravan shotgun. The remainder went into ammo and reloading components for our new NosCo Super Blackhawk 44's, and Natasha's marksman's carbine.

From there, we headed into Freeside, and bummed around doing the odd quest until I realized that all the quests are made for level ten plus characters, and I didn't have the skills to complete most of them. Actually, I didn't have the skills to complete any of them; but some can be done via violence if you don't have the speechcraft skills. Once I realized this, we quit Freeside and headed north into the fields; killing the odd Vipers and looting here and there. When I saved last and quit the game to do some scripting on the sorters, we had been in the pawn shop in Westside unloading some loot.

The north end of the wasteland is not made for level five characters. Not at all. Fortunately my loyal partners are scary fucking monsters in the guise of beautiful women. They make up for my shortcomings.

And now, screenshots:

You can see here Miss Mystery herself, having a snack to kill time while the "doc" interviews me. She doesn't seem to like him much. I can hear it now...

"I hope you have some idea, Doctor, what will happen to you if he doesn't make it..."

Here's the NosCo Super Blackhawk single-action 44 Magnum in-game. I used the model for the "unique" variant of the 357 revolver. You'll notice I modified it so that the correct form displays when the weapon is held by an NPC -- the unique 357 displays as the normal one if you give it to an NPC.

The NosCo SBH does not accept weapon mods, but has increased accuracy and health over the 357 version. Think of it as a custom piece. Damage is higher than the 357's, but lower than the normal 44 Magnum revolver -- since the barrel on the SBH is shorter. Effective range is midway between the two. Base value is placed at 1000 caps.

I'm considering doing a semi-custom texture, and removing that ace of clubs mark from the stocks. I may also color-shift the whole thing, so that it becomes black with silver engraving rather than gold. I'll have to see how it ends up looking.

I have to confess I'm also tempted to grab myself a copy of CALIBR for FNV and make up a revolver and levergun pair in 454. The revolver would have to be converted to a five shot, of course, but the custom ammo types I could make...

And here are Natasha and Maeva, sporting their spiffy mod-added outfits.

Natasha is rocking the "Jill BSAA" outfit, while Maeva uses the "Tactical Cleavage Outfit"; both from the "BB Armors 1st Package" from this mod. The bouncy effect is minimal compared to the Oblivion BBB armors I'm used to, but it's nonetheless a nice touch. Maybe it's the size? I mean, most BBB armors for Oblivion are E to H cup. The BB for FNV actually has racks that are... y'know, within the realm of probability.

I do need to dig up my old FO3 retexture of the Jill outfit, though. I have the textures someplace in red and black; either of which would be much better than that pastel blue. The gray wasn't bad, either.

I also fully recommend the Bouncing Natural Breasts mod, as well as Body By Race and Armor By Race. Adds plenty of variety to game NPCs; even if it does complicate loot a bit.

Edit: Also, I really like that last screenshot of Natasha. I changed them over to a smaller backpack model, and I think it looks far more balanced for people who have to actually be on the move. That, and the way she's holding her ACOG-equipped M4 in a perfect low ready...

Very nice.

Think I may need to find Maeva a new outfit, though. Those "tactical outfits" aren't bad by any stretch, they're just a little... random for my taste. Seems to be too much conflicting stuff crammed together. Nice boots, though... definitely. I'll have to look through those two BB packages and see what else I can come up with for her.


Why did one of my innate talents have to be intuitive scripting? Why couldn't it have been talking hot chicks out of their panties or something?

Had a few new companion ideas while playing FNV this morning.

The item sorters I mentioned before, of course; but also others that work the opposite direction. Allowing me to, for example, retrieve just the components to craft weapon repair kits; or just the components to reload 44 magnum -- thereby preventing me from having to go entry by entry in the (usually crowded) storage containers looking for the handful of items I need at the moment.

I've written nine sorting and retrieval scripts today; totaling about four solid hours of staring at walls 'o code. I had forgotten how transcendentally boring this stuff is.

To go with the new versions of the companion script that has the NPCs collect casings as they fight, I also added a sorter for them. From a simple dialogue command, all companions will now transfer their own casings and spent batteries direct to the reloading container -- no taking and redepositing on my part required.

I'm nearly done. The general and survival container-sorters are still to be written; and potentially a couple more crafting retrievers -- I haven't decided which recipes are used often enough to warrant such things.

There's already a retriever for Weapon Repair Kit components. I'm open to suggestion on others, though.

I'll also warn you guys up front that the general sorter is not going to cover every miscellaneous item in the game. There are just too many; and most have such low values that they aren't worth packing around for later selling.

Weapons will not likely be sorted at all, nor will live ammunition. Without invoking NVSE it's just too much trouble to separate what the player is using from what they're just carrying.

On the up side, I also got my companions' dialogue expanded pretty good.

I'd still rather be out shooting, though; thrice-damned day-star or not.

Monday, August 8, 2011

FNV - New Companion Features

Since I've been playing FNV again (as some of you have no doubt expected) I've also been tinkering with my companions; trying to fix holes in their functionality, and generally make the game suck less.

It's also fun to fuck over the devs' careful railroading and micromanaging, but that's a rant for another day.

Of the most recent batch, I fixed two flaws, and missed a third.

Though I never officially announced it, a few months ago there was an NCCS v0.75. It got shit-canned in mid-development after the denizens of the Nexus were stupid in my general direction one too many times in a week. This version featured portable campfires (for survival crafting) and bedrolls -- accessible via the companions' dialogue interface.

The campfire mostly worked, but the bedroll didn't at all. Since I deleted the working version of the NCCS 0.75 beta, I never bothered debugging it any further.

Since playing a hardcore game, I've found many needs for food and drink crafting; and found that campfires can be hard to come by in the wasteland. This in mind, I revisited the idea, and added both options to my personal companions.

I'm happy to say that I got the campfire issues worked out, and as far as I can tell it now works 100% as intended -- save that I need to adjust the position a bit (had it set up too far from the player). The campfire will stay set up and ready to use until you leave the cell it's in; at which point it will be whisked back to the holding cell, to await being set up again when and where needed.

The bedroll is being obstinate. Previously, it refused to be moved to the player's location at all. This still holds true. The motherfucker will not appear no matter how I script it. I'll try a different mesh; see if that helps, but at this point I'm thinking NCCS will not be getting sleeping bags.

The second feature that worked was to rectify something that's bothered me about the game from the start, but that I'd never taken the time to fix. That being that NPCs don't spawn spent casings and empty batteries as they fight, like the player does. NPCs come with some casings, yes -- they're part of the leveled list that spawns the weapon and ammo -- however, they are not generated on the fly, so once those few are gone, the NPC gets no more.

Keeping companions in ammo in the early game is extremely difficult without cheating. About the only way to manage it is to reload. This is hard to do when your companions never turn in casings from the wad of ammo they just shot.

So, I did a bit of rewriting of the companion scripts (only two hundred lines and change) and wrote in a script that identifies the weapon they're using; and when combat ends, adds an appropriate amount of spent cases/batteries, based on how long combat ran.

Since there's no way to track when/how many times an NPC fires, I had to go with total time combat runs.

I just got done play-testing this, and it works beautifully. My girls now police up their brass like good little shooters.

I need to adjust it a bit, too. My original formula turns in too many cases in lower-intensity combat.

Originally, I had set it as one casing per two seconds for the slower firing weapons (shotguns, levers, revolvers, AMR), one casing per second for the middle-road (autoloading pistols, marksman carbine, subguns), and two per second for the 5mm assault carbine and minigun. This turned out to be too much. Natasha recovered sixteen casings in the Goodsprings schoolhouse from her cowboy repeater, despite having only fired a half dozen times (and not even having had sixteen rounds to fire).

I'm thinking I need to scale back the numbers. Say... one case per five seconds for the slow-firers, one per two for the middle, and one for one on the 5mms.

I haven't written in the energy weapons yet, since I wanted to see if the mess of a script actually worked before adding a couple hundred more lines to it. When I do, they'll likely end up with pretty slow recovery, too; since most energy weapons have a low rate of fire. The RCW and Gatling laser can be bumped up, of course.

This may end in my adopting NVSE, as well. In the base scripting engine, I have to base all of this around the companion's equipped weapon, by name. So, it won't work for mod-added weapons.

Conversely, NVSE has functions to allow a script to check their equipped weapon's ammo type, and then simply spawn some spent cases from whatever it shoots. It wouldn't significantly reduce the number of lines in the script, but it would as I said at least work for mod weapons, as well as vanilla ones. I can't decide whether it's worth slaving NCCS to NVSE just for this one feature, though.

And speaking of weapon mods: I've created one. I modified the "unique" form of the 357 revolver to produce a custom piece in 44. Haven't decided what I want to do with it yet, though. It'll be staying in my game, obviously, but it doesn't really seem like the sort of thing many people would want to download. Assuming I do decide to share it, how would everyone prefer new weapons be implemented? Crate in Goodsprings? Sold by vendors?

More On FNV 1.4

With the way I've been playing FNV (IE: way too much) lately, I've been able to notice and track the myriad errors that have come up; and I'm seeing some patterns. Patterns that remind me almost of Shivering Isles.

Those of you who weren't Oblivion players in its heyday may not know this, but the original release of SI was unplayable long-term. Literally. It irrevocably corrupted its own savegames as time went by. You could play mostly okay at first, but the longer you went the worse it got until saves weren't even loadable anymore. Of course, a patch was eventually released that unfucked the whole thing; and if you're on 1.2 of Oblivion/SI, you can play with complete impunity -- or at least as much impunity as one ever gets in anything based on the Gamebryo engine.

You'll recall that the first play session from this new FNV game was over five hours, straight. This amazed me, as it was something I'd never been able to do. From five to fifteen hours, I had three crashes: two on cell-change, and one when a companion tried to visibly swap out equipped items.

Things started going downhill fast. From fifteen to twenty-five, crashes became much more commonplace, and started occurring in the open wasteland again; most often when new enemies were being loaded.

I'm around twenty-six hours in now, and yesterday had three crashes in less than ten minutes of play. One on fast travel, and two just walking around.

Now, it's fairly annoying. I'd chalk it up to my system being in its death throes, but I can play other games -- even high resource ones -- without issue.

I know my video drivers play a bit of a part in the issue (boy do I miss the days when Nvidia hired competent people) but that still wouldn't explain the steady progression of issues based on time played.

I've also noticed the issues exacerbated since I added a few more mods a few days ago. This again suggests a save issue -- that as the save files themselves get larger, the game gets progressively less stable.

I had thought to use Wrye to try and remove "bloat", but I loaded it up and the first thing it did was helpfully reset the timestamps on every plugin in my list and completely randomize my load order.

Will someone remind me why people love this program so much? It didn't even give me the option of fixing the save files, so it was a totally wasted endeavor.


Since the fan base's vaunted tools have proven once again more trouble than help, I'm going to pull those mods I added, trash all my saves, and revert to my "clean save" in chargen.

Yeah, it's throwing away all that "work"... but I don't much care. The game was mostly just getting reacquainted with the engine and checking for potential companion issues (there were none, blessedly -- my girls are 100% reliable); so it's not much of a loss. I made some pretty shitty decisions on perks along the way anyway, since I had forgotten which ones worked as advertised, and which were total wastes of time.

Because I'm sure someone is curious: the mods I had installed were several armor/outfit mods that I ended up not particularly liking, from these packages. Nothing technically wrong with them, I just don't care for the way they look. Save for the "Nida" outfit, which I intend to keep as Natasha looks quite smashing in it. I'll screenshot later.

The other mod, the normal replacer, was this one. The author claims it makes everything "look better" without impacting performance. He's half right. I didn't notice a performance hit; but nor did I notice that things looked better. Instead of looking more real, everything looks... I'm not even sure how to describe it. Craggy? I'd say jagged, but that usually implies the texture edges; and this is the normals themselves. It's like nearly everything is spiky; raised portions with valleys between -- almost like an exaggerated sandpaper surface. While I'll agree that some surfaces should look that way, all should not. It's especially annoying on asphalt. And as others have noted, certain other surfaces get decidedly shiny/glasslike. On the whole, it's not bad work... it's just not realistic. If I wanted surreal, I'd go full-bore and just download one of the anime packs that makes everything look cell-shaded.

Regardless, by starting over and removing said mods, I can at least get a handle on what's causing it. If the progression of issues stays the same, I can give credence to the idea that it's the game, itself, and not the mods. Conversely, if the issues don't manifest; or manifest at later points in the game, I'll know that certain mods have at least some impact on savegame stability.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Danger of Doing Your Job Too Well...

So, as mentioned before, I'm playing FNV again since the new patch.

I'm fifteen hours and change in, and while the experience is improved; it is not perfect by any stretch. The memory leak is less prevalent, but absolutely still there. Crashes still occasionally happen on NPCs equipping new clothing/items (a pair of sunglasses, in this case). No quest-related issues thus far, at least. The Cowboy Repeater is still a piece of shit that can't hit the broad side of a barn from inside with the doors closed. The Trail Carbine loaded with SWC handloads is the hand of an angry God. Powder Gangers still die in the most amusing fashion when you hit them with an incendiary round from the AMR.

I also discovered a route that allows you to get to New Vegas from Goodsprings in a northerly fashion without running into a single Deathclaw (suck it, Obsidian! It took eight months, but I finally found a way around your damned railroading without using the console or a cheat mod...). Not to say the going is easy -- you still have to deal with El Cazadores, but I find companions with subguns work wonders on those; as well as giant mantises (mantii?) and fire geckos if you aren't careful. Many enemies can be snuck (fuck you, Firefox, snuck is too a word -- agrees with me) past, and the few that can't can be handled by lower level parties. Could it be soloed? That would be dicey... but possible if you were extremely careful, and stripped Goodsprings bare for supplies before trying it.

As I also said before, this game is in Hardcore mode. I really don't like the way the water need propagates. You literally can not sleep a complete night through in the game without dying of dehydration. Now, granted, I wake up thirsty some mornings... but death by dehydration in eight hours? Lazy play-testing, guys. The only way to sleep through a night is to do it two hours at a time; pop a couple bottles of water, and sleep two more. Rinse, repeat, until daylight; eating as well every couple of repetitions. It's nice that your character has the need for food, water, and sleep; but a bit of realism would be nice. I realize only needing a couple bottles of water a day (the bottle meshes in-game look like they're each the best part of a liter) wouldn't require you to constantly be worried about it; so I guess someone decided it wasn't "intense" enough or whatever. Am tempted to see if I can't rework those game settings.

I am, however, quite digging the crafting system. So much so that I'm actually going to end up writing a sorting script or two, to help keep the components straight with some special companion containers I've made. I know I flat refused to write sorters for FO3; but that's mainly because the crafting system in FO3 is a joke -- there's no need to sort anything except to satisfy your storage OCD. FNV on the other hand has food, drinks, hides, ammo to reload, weapon repair kits; hell, you can make stimpaks, even. An apothecary shop would be nice, though -- tracking down broc flower and xander root in the four places in the wasteland it grows is getting annoying.

The new companions stuffs I mentioned the other day were a mixed bag. I set up some extra containers for my personal companions, similar to the 'backpacks' in NCCS, or the party containers I made for CM. The main difference here is that they're categorized. Since I had three companions, I made one container specifically for each: reloading supplies, survival supplies, and general. Now, in the course of setting up the containers, I decided to try something I never had before: there's a box on the base container in the GECK, that allows you to specify "weight". Put a number into this, and it updates as a listing of the maximum weight of the container -- suggesting that you can make containers get "full" at a certain poundage. I had thought to use this to give weight limits to the NCCS backpacks without having to go into the frankly complicated method I had already outlined (but not actually implemented yet).

This, unfortunately -- and like so much of the rest of the GECK -- was a lie. Oh, you can set the "weight limit" sure. It just doesn't fucking do anything in game. Put a weight limit of sixty pounds on the container; cram six hundred worth of stuff into it, and the game never complains. Never let me take the easy road on a feature, can you...?

I'm also tempted to flesh out the characters more. As it stands, companions are useful primarily for three things: eye candy, muling loot, killing shit.

I'd like to give them actual skills; and I don't mean just giving you a skill buff like I did in my RR companions. I'm talking about handloading ammunition; cooking or creating other survival skilled-stuff, giving medical aid, of course there's repairing weapons and armor.

What I'm talking about is giving you the ability to create an actual party. A team. Individuals who work together, adding their skills to allow the group to do all sorts of things that one person could not alone. It would considerably ease up skill restrictions on the player (not having to dedicate five levels worth of skill points to repair to be able to load certain ammo, for instance). Might be considered a cheat... but then plenty of people consider companions at all a cheat, so whatever.

The issue is how to implement it. Dialogue-based, obviously; but I mean just how strict on the skills. Limited to companion skill-level; so they'd have to be as high a level as you would normally be to create something? Or just make them fully-capable from the start? The major issue of course will be the sheer amount of scripting required to base everything on the correct components being available in inventory. Lotsa lines 'o code. If you have a specific request/thought on the issue, feel free to chime in with a comment or two.

As for the post title, I wasn't referring to the new patch; or my half-assed successes at inventory management.

I have -- as I always am (it's an ingrained habit at this point, I'm afraid) -- been watching my companions during combat. Even after scaling their abilities back considerably as I have... they're amazing.

I have ED-E in tow -- more so because I like the enhanced sensors perk than because I wanted to do any direct comparisons in performance -- and we cleared out vault 11. ED-E, as usual, stuck close to me until and unless we were directly attacked. My girls? They saddled the fuck up and went room clearing without provocation. Any detection of an enemy was enough to set them off. It was all I could do to get any personal kills in.

Maeva continues to be a holy terror with anything even resembling a shotgun -- she was using a lever action shotgun to take out cazadores from a hundred yards out. I'd love to pick her up a riot gun; but the AMR and a hunting revolver have pretty well eaten our cap reserve (~13,000 for the both).

Later, after taking out Nephi (what's that? A golf club didn't protect you from a .50BMG in the chest?), Cook-Cook, and Violet we were in McCarran looking for that douchenozzle Dhatri so I could sell the heads and hopefully score enough caps to put us over the top for another Gun Runners shopping spree. I made the mistake of exploring, and wandered too close to the tram door; since I had forgotten what it was (not really an NCR player). Rather than warn me, the two guards just attacked out of the blue.

This... was not a bright move.

The guards survived less than ten seconds; I only took a minor wound, and the entire NCR hated us. This suited my companions fine, as they then took the opportunity to go on a murderous rampage and kill everything in the concourse.

They... scare me, sometimes...

You know, they actually attacked the NCR with more zeal than they did the Fiends.

I copped out, I confess; killed the game with plans to restart at the exterior door where I had last saved. I normally let the chips fall where they may; but the entire western half of the wasteland is built around the damned NCR. Making enemies of them kills off a substantial portion of the game; and gets you hounded by the NCR-Super-Saiyan-Ninja-Rangers.

Though I am tempted to start shit again; just to see if my new companion scripts got over their original issue with attacking the rangers. Might make the game more interesting, anyway.

And now, what I'm sure you've all been reading my blather in the hope of getting: screenshots.

Natasha, early game (the outfit she spawned in) in the Goodsprings general store. It's interesting to look closer, and notice that under most lighting; correctly matched FNV bodies and textures don't need a seam-hider necklace.

This would be one of the worst things you can see in the game -- Maeva on overwatch with a shotgun. Those poor geckos didn't last long; and nor did the guy who thought he was a genius for tricking us into clearing the way to the stash.

I also have to say I'm seriously considering moving to Chernobyl. I mean, look at Maeva and Natasha. Living in a post-nuclear wasteland must be great for the abs...

Another Maeva; this one in Vault 11, which was early enough in the game that it was all but impossible to keep her in shotgun shells -- necessitating that she often dropped back to using a 9mm pistol (about the only kind of ammo we did have in abundance; we were all using them off and on). I should also note, this is not a pose-mod -- that's the standard idle animation I have installed. Looks so much better than the base one.

Here we have Mystery-chan; who has taken to wearing Legion armor, as it's the only way to get a skirt, apparently. You can also see where the base armor mesh isn't optimized for her Type 3 body, causing clipping at the collarbone. I leave her with the cowboy repeater since she can actually hit things with it, where I never can.

And of course I had to snap this one when I caught her doing the "SHAFT head-tilt", which is something she frequently does. It's so damned cute.

I've discovered two things since she started wearing that armor. #1) She really does always look better in a skirt.

#2) Apparently the Legion goes commando.

While hunting down Cook-Cook in the Vegas ruins, I had climbed up onto the second floor of a building ruin to take potshots from the windows while still having at least some cover. I was in sneak mode, of course. Looked over, and she was crouching next to me; of course causing the skirt to ride up. I shifted around, wondering idly what kind of underwear they put in the mesh... only to notice there weren't any. Shifted around a bit more trying to get a better look... and I fell off the damned ledge. Much giggling ensued.

What can I say? I am such a guy, sometimes.

Anyway, this has caused a few changes in policy for me. Firstly, I need to go find a Type 3 compatible mesh set for the legion armors to get rid of that clipping. Second, we need to make an expedition into Legion territory to find some higher end outfits of theirs (this is just recruit armor). Third, I need to edit Mystery-chan's clothing list so that she spawns in Legion attire, from now on.

Say What Now?!

...New Tribes game?

Fuck! Now I've got to buy a new computer...

Ah, Stormhammer; how I have missed thee.

Kids today with their wannabe SOCOM games. No one appreciates a proper FPS experience anymore.

Hard to be sure from the promo of course, but it looks good. I see lots of "real" Tribes (1 and 2) and less of that "UT with jetpacks" bullshit from Vengeance.

They kept skiing; kept non-regenerating health, no "iron sights"; still have the good old inventory station/class driven system...

Whoever was playing in that demo video was a Halo or UT player though, I guarandamntee ya. A real Triber would've been discing the shit out of people instead of putzing with that pistol. It was pretty cool when he MA'd that would-be capper with the Shrike, though...

I'd like to have seen more about the deployables. As a turret monkey myself, I care about such things. Not that it'll matter much -- I'm sure the Renegades crew is still out there somewhere, and will give us a proper mod for the thing.

Not sure I like the glow-y corridor leading into the base. It was supposed to be difficult for heavies to assault a Broadside-style base. That's what made it such an ego boost when you could pull it off.

Of course, it's also very cool that you can still run people down with the grav bike. That was always a kick; I remember in T2 there were maps where you could get a bike up to 300+kph. You could mow down heavies at that speed. Couldn't steer for shit, though... lining up your run-down was much like aiming a V2 rocket.

Gah, damn it. I miss my old Annihilation buddies, now. I know I've mentioned it before, but they used to make me stay in the base -- since I tended to beat on the 0300 server denizens so hard we could never keep the other team stocked with enough players for a game.

I really, really hope this one isn't dumbed down like the last one. One of the great things about Tribes was that cliff-like learning curve. Made it so much fun. It also made it easy to pick out UT and Quake players -- they were the dumbasses standing around trying to fight on the ground instead of jetpacking. Combat in three axises, she is a bitch.

Oh... and apparently we'll also soon-ish be seeing a new Planetside, and ARMA III...

Considering the first Planetside flopped inside a year, and ARMA II is still melting down even new systems, I'm not particularly excited about them, though. Shame; Planetside had potential. Persistent world capturing of territory over whole continents; with sort of a Tribes feel... it'd be nice if II works out. Might actually convince me to subscribe.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Whoops, yet again...

Working on my personal companions a bit this morning, adding a couple new features that may make it into NCCS provided they actually work, but more on that when they're tested.

I said the other day that I thought there had been an engine update in FNV 1.4 to handle the way quest scripts are started -- preventing them from doing so during chargen.

This, it turns out, is not true. I was digging around in my personal companions' quest script (because I couldn't remember what the hell I used as their ref names for the management system) and saw that I apparently added a check to their "DoOnce" block that prevented it from running as long as I was in Doc Mitchell's house.

Must've been something I did before when I was trying to get around the issue with new games not starting correctly.

Since the issue turned out to not be one of my mods, but corrupt game files, I think we'll just re-edit that so they start at the start again...

Edit: I also see that they still couldn't be bothered to actually activate error reporting in the script editor. Once again: fuck you, Obsidian.

Monday, August 1, 2011


So, not going to go into full-blown rant mode, but I've got to ask:

Is it bad that every time I open my Gmail box, and see the subject line "[name I don't recognize] has started a new personal conversation with you" from the Nexus forums my stomach twists and I wonder what it is this time?

I mean, with the number of people who wanted personal mods from me that I've snubbed this year alone, I don't see how I've managed to avoid getting embroiled in a moderator review. That is, assuming I haven't already been the subject of several and they just never found enough to officially start shit over.

I also seriously doubt my total refusal to even read comments on any of my FO3 mods is going over real well.

I tell you, long ago I once considered doing the reclusive modder bit. No answering of comments, not even answering PMs except from people I knew -- just occasionally popping up when something was ready for release or update, and then fucking off back into the shadows again. I think some days that would have been a much better policy than the one I did adopt.


Since playing FNV again, I've ended up thinking again about the need for a proper complex for housing myself and my companions.

To that end, I loaded up the NVGECK again this morning; in order to see if the new versions of engine and construction set would allow me to load the 'Lucky38 World' to copy and replicate the rooms with views.

It crashed, again. To be fair, I was expecting this, and so barely looked away from my DVD when the program shit itself and returned to the desktop.

Thinking on why the NVGECK would load other cells fine -- even inordinately large worldspaces like the wasteland -- but not anything to do with the Lucky38's replicated wasteland, the thought occurred to me that it might be a graphical issue; something in the worldspace that my video card or DX environ didn't care for.

I switched off all non-essential objects in the viewer: sound markers, collision planes, occlusion planes, trees, grass -- everything but lights and normal markers.

Tried loading the worldspace again, and this time was rewarded with it loading normally. I return to my DVD.

About ten minutes later, I glance back to the GECK, and see that the items-to-be-loaded counts haven't dropped by even one. I look closer, and see that Windows' "working" cursor has stopped moving. Great; the numbers aren't going down because it locked the system up. Another fine Bethsoft job, I see.

Ctrl+Alt+Del wouldn't bring up the windows manager either -- it was a legitimate hard lock.

Based on the symptoms, and the fact that Herculine can load the Lucky38 world for editing where I can't, I'm now inclined to believe the issue isn't so much that the GECK itself is crashing on the one world and no others -- I think it's a resource issue. There's something in that worldspace that's such a resource whore that it's more than the entire wasteland's system drain; it's just flat more than my little PC here can handle rendering.

What is it? Your guess is as good as mine. The wasteland copy is supposed to be empty; and only stretch as far as you can see from the windows. That said, as anyone who's modded a Gamebryo title before can tell you, "supposed to be" rarely coincides with "is".

So, this pretty much puts the kibosh on my tower in FNV. I'm back to working with standard interiors; and that being the case I'm far more likely to go underground than above -- maybe create some Bond-villain-esque underwater complex in Lake Mead or some such.

All that said, I have something I want to ask you guys. Bearing in mind that "underwater" does not have to equal Lake Mead (I can just as easily claim it's an underground aquifer as I did with the Vault 1 Remodel) where would you want to see player housing?

As I was playing through this new game, the thought occurred to me that if I did place the complex at the lake, I wouldn't be able to access it until at least level six; often closer to ten, for the simple fact that Obsidian railroaded us so hard that you can't go straight to the lake from Goodsprings. Short of installing some lame-o teleporting device or transport service, there's no way to go direct without it being tantamount to suicide. You pretty much have to take the long way south and around past Nipton.

While I realize that Goodsprings -- much like Springvale in FO3 -- is far and away overcrowded with house mods because it's the starting location, I'm nonetheless wondering if somewhere nearer there wouldn't be better for earlier access.

At the same time, though, easy(er) access to New Vegas and its surrounding areas would also be nice, since there's fuckall for merchants and amenities in the Goodsprings area.

With so much free space north of the Strip, it would be pretty easy to pull a Resident Evil, and claim that the NosCo Evil Corporate Headquarters are secreted beneath some farmhouse and fields.

Of course, there is also the lake. It would be equally easy to say the scavenger's platform is chained out there in the middle as a cover to keep anyone from noticing an observation bubble from the underground complex.

Decisions, decisions.

Although as I'm playing a more survival-oriented character in this game (and hardcore mode), I keep thinking it would be nice to have a hydroponic garden in the complex, as well as a water purifier of some sort.