So, got the SuCK last night; alas, had a sinus headache from Hell and wasn't in the mood to play with it. You know, one of those where you've already had your Soccermom-allowed dose of antihistamine for the day and it still hurts and you're down to hoping a convenient terrorist will pop by and shoot you in the head as some kind of political statement?
Feeling somewhat less death-seeking this morning, I decided to play with it a bit.
What was I greeted with? ERRORS!
Oh, look: an invalid navmesh -- I seem to remember someone resembling me complaining earlier the game played like there was at least one...
That's right, nine errors before it would even finish loading. And that's just Skyrim.esm -- none of my third-party-tool-created plugins.
Apparently, whoever worked on Skyrim? They were not good at doing doors. And why would they be? It's not like those are an important part of the game or anything...
As expected, the SuCK took forever to load; and ate so much memory in the process that it locked my system. Fortunately, said lock was not fatal; and it did come out of it... but this is one where I'll definitely have to go get a drink or something while it loads in the future.
Once into the SuCK; it's pretty familiar. The interface is all but identical to the GECK; save that there are a couple new options in the drop-down menus here.
First thing's first, I took at look at the combat styles. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to accomplish, here. They've been dumbed down pretty heavily, and now run on sliders rather than proper number fields -- as well as there being half or fewer as many options as their used to be. The 'ranged' tab consists of a lone option that controls strafing.
Imagine a sad Nos here. There will be no Operator style in this engine, apparently.
Melee is more a mixed bag. Options seem to revolve around multipliers rather than hard numbers -- I haven't read the wiki yet, but it appears that all NPCs have the same basic behavior; all you get to control is how likely they are to choose to do this or that. No choice of engagement ranges; range they'll switch from melee to ranged...
The 'close range' tab has a pair of options for behavior: "dueling" and "flanking" -- NPCs cannot be set to do both. There is at least an option to allow dual-wield, though; if you're into that sort of thing.
At this point, I can't make any assertions about being able to get the NPCs heads out of their asses where combat is concerned -- which sucks, as I was looking forward to doing for Iona what I did for my girls in Oblivion.
Looking over the follow package, I can see why they've been giving me so much trouble. Follow distance is no longer a set variable; it's now a radius; no closer than 128, no further than 256. For whatever reason, it seems to take the engine anywhere from several seconds to a few minutes to notice the NPC is outside the radius.
Further downside: they didn't reinstitute the 'armor removed' flag on packages from Oblivion. Slack bastards. Instead, we get "wear sleep outfit"; which is at least an alternative I suppose. Of course, since NPCs can only be flagged as having one sleep outfit, that limits choices rather severely...
We lost the 'always run' flag, as well; it being replaced with a 'preferred speed' setting.
On NPCs: there seem to be an abundance of "Nya nya you can't kill them!" options. Essential, of course; but also 'invulnerable' and 'doesn't bleed'. There's also one that appears to give them unlimited carry capacity.
NPCs also now have a potentially quite complex set of "relationships" that cover family, friends, allies, and even business partners.
Interestingly, the last update to the game seems to have modified several NPCs. I haven't played it since updating, but I've looked over Aela, Ingun, and Iona's settings, and there are definite changes from what I saw in the third-party NPC editor. Aela now allows no crime, Ingun has been removed from the potential marriage faction (possibly only until you complete her quest?) and Iona no longer reports any crimes at all.
I can also tell you why NPCs get more useless as you level: both Aela and Iona top out at level fifty; despite the player not topping out until what was it? 85 and a half or something stupidly specific?
Scripting I can't make much of. Result scripts in quests certainly look like a different language; but it won't let me actually edit a script from the "papyrus manager" -- it tries to load the script into an external editor. Microsoft Digital Image Suite; for some reason that's beyond me. Which naturally won't open since my free trial of said pile of shit has long since expired.
Ugh, my headache is coming back...
Two weeks late, error laden, and the very antithesis of intuitive -- all I can say is this whole mess is very Bethsoft.
I'm sure there's some convoluted and needlessly arcane way to make it work; but don't be expecting any sort of NosCo companions for this game in the near future.