Been holding off on this post since I didn't want to jump the gun and declare it fixed when it was just trying to get my hopes up (sadistic damned game); but I think it actually is fixed, and my purge was a success.
Logged twelve hours across five sessions in the last two days. Had one run 3.5 hours, one 2.5, then two bad plays, and tonight I got in just shy of four hours -- and didn't have to quit when I did; the game was beginning to get choppy, but I could have pushed on and stuck it out another thirty or forty minutes probably. That said, once it starts exhibiting choppy behavior, the game is going to crash -- it's just a matter of when. Since I was getting pretty needy for a break and get-up-and-walk-around anyway, I decided inside the store was a good spot to save and call it a day.
The two crashes were SOP for Skyrim. Once happened before I could get five steps after loading the game -- smacked me with a BSoD. I personally surmise that the "new" scripting engine is a piece of shit. Every now and again it'll get wires crossed, and something in the game ends up in a hell of an infinite loop; and just runs the computer flat out of memory until the system will stands no mo'. No way to test if it is scripts, but scripts and quests are about the only things that run everywhere, in every cell in the game, so...
Other crash was a less catastrophic CTD from a SNAFU in changing cells.
The rate of both has gone down drastically since the purge; but obviously no matter how optimized, shit is still shit. That said, the 'ol sewage tank leaks infrequently enough now that I'm willing to put up with the occasional whiff.
I still have no idea whether Jaysus Swords was actually screwing anything up or not; but Wrye never failed to bitch at me that it was an invalid master, so there must have been something up. What I can say is that without the JS custom loading screens, my average cell-change load time has dropped from over three minutes to around thirty seconds -- even after three hours of play, changing cells rarely results in a loading screen long enough for me to go take a leak.
Deadly Dragons seems to have been the big bastard of the bunch. Since getting rid of it, I haven't had a single random crash in the wilderness; nor on coming out of a fast travel. Wilderness FPS are improved, as well. I guess there's no longer a script running every frame I'm outdoors to decide whether I need to be ambushed by four retextured dragons. No? How about this frame? What about now? How about now? Are you sure? Check the random number again...
Anyway, I've also seen references that DD causes save bloat. This I have to agree with -- my 'Skadi' save is at 25.5 hours, and sits at a whopping 5.37mb. I started a new 'Nos' (male) game since the previous me game was one of several lost to corruption. That game sits at about eleven and a half hours, and less than 5mb.
While I don't like what push-overs the vanilla Skyrim dragons are, I daresay it isn't worth the trouble to try these mods that claim to fix it. Is a shame, since the first version of DD I used was great -- it just made the existing dragons tougher and made them hit harder; no new types, no new powers, no "events". Just a ramping of difficulty. I guess that wasn't enough for most folks, though.
The only part of the purge I'm actively missing are the cloaks. I deactivated (but didn't remove) the Winter is Coming fur cloaks mod because it seemed to be a huge drain on the system and exacerbated existing problems. With the game apparently unfucked, I may have to switch WiC back on. Not only does it provide another enchantable item; but I can't imagine going around an environ like Skyrim without something like that on.
(Plus, the bear cloaks can be used as skimpy boob-covers on female characters -- oh so sexy)
Want to give it another shot... but kind of afraid to. I seem to have hit a sweet spot on the game. My companions work, the clothing/armor mods I actually use work, my house mods work; and all at a playable FPS no less. I'm kind of leery about messing with anything; lest the rickety tower of reliability I've managed to build come crashing down like a careless Jenga play.
People may wonder: "Nos, why do you put up with this shit? Just go play a different game!"
Oh sure, you can do it that way... but other games don't have stuff like this:
That was the view from the porch of my house on the White River. I tell ya, Kiddies, if there ever was a game that makes me want to blow my savings on a 24" widescreen monitor and enough computer to push it... it's Skyrim. The default textures may be shit on most objects... but Gods, that scenery...
And speaking of scenery: I'm pretty pleased with how my girls came out of the last batch of edits.
You can see Princess in the background of Natasha's shot. That damned ghost wolf is always smiling at me. It's fucking creepy, I tells ya.
And I have to say, I do like the 'companion comments' Beth added to Skyrim. Much nicer than previous attempts; mostly considering that they can work on custom companions...
Mystery-chan is more terse (as she usually is), and usually only makes warning comments when we're coming up on something nasty. When I hear: "I smell blood." I make sure my bow is poisoned, 'cuz shit be about to go down, yo.
For some reason, we almost never hear a peep out of Natasha. Not sure why. Doesn't seem to have anything to do with her position in the stack, either. Though she's hardly slacking. On the female save, we were clearing out Hillgrund's Tomb. Dipshit McBeardy or whatever the guy's name is wanted to be protected while getting the necromancer out of his family crypt, but did the typical idiocy of blasting past me and charging the enemy anytime a fight broke out. At one point, I was leveling my bow and about to valiantly and skillfully place an arrow mere inches from my charge to take out the Draugr attacking him...
...When a lightning bolt blasts past me; so close that I swear it scorched the shoulder of my armor -- smacking down the undead like a thunderbolt from Olympus itself and reducing the poor cursed sod to ash without touching the moronic quest NPC. I turn around, and see this:
Fire in one hand, shock in the other. The normally timid little girl has become an engine of death. She took a dragon out of the air on another occasion; nailing it with three lightning bolt body-shots as it flew overhead and doing enough damage that the beast felt the need to land.
Only thing it's still missing (other than the individual bodies that I just can not get the game to accept) is a house. I've been using Leveler's Tower and Build Your Own Home; and I like them both okay.
Leveler's has plenty of space for all the eyecandy you care to have living in... but it's a cheat mod, big time -- and the 'living area' seems to have a high instance of bugging the game on loading, at least for me.
Build Your Own Home is nice for just me and the girls. It's expandable to have most amenities; but can be a serious pain to fully upgrade. I went through with a post-it and added it all up, and full upgrading minus the Stormcloak or Empire decorations requires 220 firewood, 151 iron ingots, 56 steel ingots, 12 iron ore, 14 elk hides (must be elk -- not deer), and three horse hides. The horse hides are the real pain. I've been through every store, tavern, house, palace, and stable in Solitude, Whiterun, Riften, and Windhelm; as well as most of the wilderness in Whiterun Hold and still only managed to come up with two of the three required horse hides. Two of the three are required for adding furniture to the living areas of the house, so it's not really something you can just skip. I don't know, maybe everybody but me is running some overhaul that makes them common as dirt? Wouldn't be the first time.
I've already checked into it, and Skyrim still uses the same navmesh I already know how to work; so as long as I don't delve into scripting, creating my own home would be a pretty small learning curve for me. I just can't decide what kind. None of the tilesets I looked at really jumped out at me. Dwemer probably has the most varied pieces and thus potential... but I dunno. I usually prefer something in marble. Still, an underground ruin; with a nice tower sticking out of the ground someplace scenic for a proper parapet... the idea has potential...