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June 8th, 2011, 23:07
Our readers on the forum pointed out 14 minutes of Skyrim footage at G4TV, in case you don't check the forums.
The Examiner has a preview with extensive input from Todd Howard:
Skyrim is undeniably gorgeous regardless of which view (1st or 3rd person) you prefer to play from. The environments are rich, complex, and intricately detailed. And none of the environment is lifeless eye candy or textured backdrops. If you see an enticing forest, cave, city, or mountain peak just begging to be explored, you can travel to it and do exactly that. “Our view distances go all the way,” Howard tells us.
You can pick plants, cook meat, and craft potions and countless other items. “Any job you see an NPC doing such as blacksmithing, you can do too. And every NPC in the game has a life and skills that drive the local economy.”
“For example,” Howard continues, “in this town there are trees and a lumber mill. If you wanted to, you could sabotage the lumber mill and it would have an affect the local economy of the town.”
CVG has a video interview with lead producer Craig Lafferty.
IGN has a piece titled It's in the Details:
By details, I mean the finer points of the presentation. The way fish will jump up small waterfalls in swift streams, or the way clouds drift around the peaks of craggy, snow-clogged mountain peaks. I mean the way the horses animate with a noticeable sense of weight to each hoof step as you ride them up rocky passes into hostile territory. The way every spell you equip produces a different effect in your character's hand, like shards of light while the Circle of Protection spell is active and strips of electrical energy for your lightning spell.

I know these types of things may seem minor, but I've always felt detail like this does a lot to make the world more believable. If you get attacked by a frost dragon, for instance, its frigid breath will coat your equipped axe in ice. It's an effect that's so logical it can easily be overlooked, but one that lends even more of a sense of excitement to the battle.
The Bethblog has screens - I think we've already covered them but I'll link just in case - and also booth pics from E3.
More information.
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June 8th, 2011, 23:07
Ok so now we finally get to see the menu system in action for more than half a second. The iTunes comparison made my Todd earlier had me worried but it reminds me far more of the PS3 interface. It also appears far more scaleable (inventory does at least) since much of it is text and translucent background rather than less scaleable and ornate panels. It also appears that it will be or be able to be made very scroll wheel friendly.

The inventory interface looks like one of the better cross platform UI's I've seen to date. Not sure about the skill interface - whether it will be good or annoying with a mouse and keyboard. The skill/perk trees do look rather cool so I finally somewhat understand their enthusiasm over the constellation system.

The actual character progression in terms of skills and abilities very much reminds me of the Withcer 2 except with 4+ the number of ability trees. The few abilities/perks we saw on the contellations did seem somewhat non-trivial. "Disarm bash" as a shield ability sounds pretty darn useful.

I'm a little worried that random dragon encounters may get somewhat frustrating when trying to simply explore or play it as a sandbox though. Most of the encounters we've seen do seem to be ones you could bypass if you were sick of dragon fights though.

Oh yeah, and ride-able horses in action. I'm glad the hosts did at least take the opportunity to rib him about horse armor. The idea of horse barding is not a terrible one though so I wouldn't mind if it was included, but I'm glad they seem to appreciate how universality mocked that DLC was. Being able to perform archer or attacks while on horseback would be nice, no word on that yet though and I wouldn't hold out too much hope.
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June 8th, 2011, 23:18
The most interesting - and worrying - news today was that Bethesda explicitly confirmed Skyrim is a console game and the PC version will only be a port.
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June 8th, 2011, 23:25
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
The most interesting - and worrying - news today was that Bethesda explicitly confirmed Skyrim is a console game and the PC version will only be a port.
Sad but not surprising. X360 has been lead platform on Oblivion and Fallout 3. The most one can expect is them changing the lead platform to another console.

As long as it's a good port it shouldn't be a problem but at some point during the game you'll always be reminded that it was not made with PC primarily in mind.
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June 8th, 2011, 23:34
As long as the PC version's editing tools are as powerful as their other games tools then it makes no difference. The mod community will turn it into a proper PC game within a couple weeks anyway. Just like they did with Oblivion except now all they have to do is port those ideas/mods over to Skyrim.
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June 8th, 2011, 23:34
I really disliked Oblivion's vanilla UI. Even mods that made it a lot better were still just 'meh.' I'm not sure if I'm in the minority on this, but a great UI is really important to me. And games played on a PC must take advantage of keyboard/mouse and resolutions supported by the PC.

That said, I really do like how each inventory object is rendered in 3d. It just adds a sort of cool fun factor to the game… and probably gives back some of the time to render the objects nicely that would otherwise be spent on creating 2d counterparts.

I hope they will add some gameplay to how well you observe your inventory. Such as closely looking at something provides hints to a quest or even starts a quest would be cool.

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June 8th, 2011, 23:35
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
The most interesting - and worrying - news today was that Bethesda explicitly confirmed Skyrim is a console game and the PC version will only be a port.
"Only a port" is a little misleading. Multiplatform development generally requires you to pick a primary platform. Based on their previous sales, the Xbox360 makes the most sense as the primary platform though the murky nature of PC sales figures makes saying which should be the second priority a little hard to nail down. Hopefully we will get to see some PC game-play footage or screenshots over the next couple of months but until then it is impossible to guess how scalable it will be and whether it takes advantage of the PC's unique capabilities.

It makes sense to develop a game so that all the main and requisite features are able to scale to your primary platform. Elements like graphics quality can be made to scale above and below this, but NPC behavior, object population, and the fluidity of the gameplay have to all fit and work well on that platform or you're screwing your largest source of revenue. I do hope the art resources such as textures have been created such that there will in-fact be significant room to scale settings up with noticeable improvements on a high end PC. Screenshots would help determine whether or not they intend to utilize the generally higher-res textures resources created in most development processes (which are then adapted to the capabilities and needs of the platform and game.)

That being said, the engine is very scalable - orders of magnitude more than their previous offerings. This is very clearly demonstrated when the video above shows the map screen - which rather than a wholly separate screen is merely a camera pulling out to extreme altitude with map markers superimposed. Also, if the primary dev platform is the Xbox 360 (which the heavy focus on it in demonstrations suggest) then "porting" to the PC is not nearly as problematic if it were primarily developed for a cell based system like the PS3.

It is a little depressing to constantly be reminded though that the game marketplace is pretty much dominated by the consoles and PC users are most often the lower priority as they usually represent the smallest or second smallest audience for multiplatform AAA titles.

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
That said, I really do like how each inventory object is rendered in 3d. It just adds a sort of cool fun factor to the game… and probably gives back some of the time to render the objects nicely that would otherwise be spent on creating 2d counterparts.

I hope they will add some gameplay to how well you observe your inventory. Such as closely looking at something provides hints to a quest or even starts a quest would be cool.
Oh now that's a brilliant idea. My first goal (after familiarizing myself with the latest incarnation of their tools) is now to create a detective/investigation quest where insight can be gained by examining clues in inventory just as you suggest. Thanks.
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June 8th, 2011, 23:49
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
Oh now that's a brilliant idea. My first goal (after familiarizing myself with the latest incarnation of their tools) is now to create a detective/investigation quest where insight can be gained by examining clues in inventory just as you suggest. Thanks.
Be sure to post here to tell us when your mod is finished!

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June 9th, 2011, 01:30
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
The most interesting - and worrying - news today was that Bethesda explicitly confirmed Skyrim is a console game and the PC version will only be a port.
This is inherently true of every game released simultaneously for console and PC, whether they say it or not.
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June 9th, 2011, 04:41
Imagine how gorgeous and huge Skyrim could be if it was created for PC .
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June 9th, 2011, 07:37
Unfortunatly PC gamers have something to worry about if the game is announced as an "Port from consoles", specialy in this days when PC surrpres consoles in every posible way.

But as with any Beth games the modding community will fix all for them … unfortunatly thats actualy sad that its me, you, or someone else who will be fixing a game to "look and work" on the PC the way it should …

English is not my Home language so excuse me if i make some gramer mistakes or write sometimes bit conffusing
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June 9th, 2011, 08:12
Developped for consoles, so the reviews angle shows.

As a PC player, hard to focus on the esthetics as it will be the part the most likely to be open to betterment by the modding community.

Other features like a subpar AI will not be that easily mended by the modding communauty.

Combat shows to be highly static (even if Oblivion came with an alternate solution)
There is no much about dictating terms of combat, it looks so far as exploiting shallow IA (coming with no sword passes and all), mostly frontal, ducking behind shield, expecting blows, retaliate. No dodging, no terrain control, no group strategy as you butcher members of a group in order as they come.

Not much if you wish to play an archer or a light armoured character.

Reading picked information on this topic before viewing videos gave me light expectations. It was supposed to be less straightforward than Oblivion. So far, well, so forgotten.

Weird that so called action 'RPGs', heavily turned onto action, can not even get their act together when it comes to offer satisfying combat action suiting a role and specificities of fighting techniques for that role.

Even mage combat, while it looks as being given special attention, probably for the FX associated to spells and the look good effect, is not satisfying. Looks much more like a juggernaut on spelloids than a mage keeping distance to spell adversity down.
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June 9th, 2011, 10:56
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
The most interesting - and worrying - news today was that Bethesda explicitly confirmed Skyrim is a console game and the PC version will only be a port.
I am not particularly shocked I must admit. A bit sad and should have been obvious etc…

But hey this is Bethesda, if anything they should have been quicker on the mark than Bioware (DA2 was not a port you say ?! oh Ok /trolling )
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June 9th, 2011, 11:40
“So we develop towards the consoles and then porting to PC is usually not too bad actually .”

“… We still have the complexity behind the scenes, but we wanted to make it so that you could pick up the controller and play and it was easy; the average person could get into it.

“We knew we wanted to make the user interface a little bit more open and available … get away from the stats and things like that.


That about tells me enough of this game. Not going to buy, or even warez.
http://www.vg247.com/2011/06/08/cons…sdas-lead-sku/
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June 9th, 2011, 11:44
Stats, accessibility are not criteria.
If they deliver a RPG with no visible stats or a limited set of stats, why not?
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June 9th, 2011, 18:14
Originally Posted by bagelobo View Post
This is inherently true of every game released simultaneously for console and PC, whether they say it or not.
Of course it has been like this for years for most AAA games. But the difference is this time they're not even trying to hide it. Graphics and interface are made for the consoles and then ported over. This means consolitis can be expected.

Anyway, the reviews will be as always: 9.8/10 on average. 1 point for every hour they've played it.
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June 9th, 2011, 22:24
so it looks like level scaling is in but lot less than Oblivion?
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June 9th, 2011, 22:47
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Of course it has been like this for years for most AAA games. But the difference is this time they're not even trying to hide it. Graphics and interface are made for the consoles and then ported over. This means consolitis can be expected.

Anyway, the reviews will be as always: 9.8/10 on average. 1 point for every hour they've played it.
Forgive the length and tone-shift in between first and second halves. I made up my mind more or less as I wrote this.

So far the consolification seems fairly similar to that in the witcher 2 at least in terms of interface. The difference was they played it close to the vest about the (at the time) obviously console-centric aspects of the game such as the button mashing minigames and the interface/menus. Of course their very different games - though they do have in-common the fact that they can't be summed up by calling them "action-rpgs."

The interface in this case - the inventory and ability selection parts in particular - don't seem to have been designed in a way that ignores PCs. Yes it, like the witcher 2, has an interface designed to work well on consoles with a simple controller. In the case of Skyrim though the inventory and ability selection interface is a horizontal tree menu - one that every single pc program you use with few exceptions has. Navigating it with WASD keys will be intuitive and far quicker than any of the menu systems in their previous game. If you're worried about scaling it to different display areas and resolutions; it contains little that could prevent scaling and easy customization. It's a font on a rendered translucent background with a pane for 3d objects to be pulled up.

Yeah the fact that all tripple AAA RPG releases lately have either been designed with console users being the primary expected audience (all bethesda games from oblivion and on) or were designed with subsequent console releases bearing on major UI and gameplay mechanic decisions (witcher 2) incurs contraints that a PC-only game might not have and it certainly changes how PC users would interact with it. Pretty much all of the annoyances, clumsyness, and time-sinks from The Witcher 2's interface come from the fact that it was designed to be fully and seemlesly used with the xbox360 controller (the PC version shipped with that capability). Still - The Witcher 2's interface and inventory system was far superior to that of the original game despite being infected with consolitis induced design contraints. Similarly, the inventory and ability/equipment selection menus for skyrim appear to be far more intuitive and navigable than that of any previous elder scrolls game.

This fear of consoles robbing the potential of a theoretical primarily-PC version of a game are not entirely unfounded if we focus on Oblivion. That was an annoying UI - but the core problems of the game and the most significant barriers to immersion had nothing to do with "consolitis" at all. Dialog, setting and story decisions (as in the rarity with which it seemed that anyone was acting like it was Armageddon despite the giant gate to Hell wreathed in fire and sittting in the middle of their potato field) and other similarly jarring lack of response from the world and its populace; these flaws were introduced in the storyboard phase.

I will agree, and I think it is a reasonable stance, that Bethesda needs to prove that it actually has created a game that will be enjoyable on ALL platforms and whose UI and game-play won't feel awkward because you're not using proprietary controllers A or B. To this end it would be very helpful if they would show us some PC screens or gameplay video a bit before launch. There is no reason it won't be able to look far better on a high end PC even if the Xbox360 was the primary development platform. The biggest thing is that they would have to include higher resolution textures based on the original base textures created during development. No gaurantee they will, but very little reason they wouldn't (except to keep it from spanning multiple DVDs - which PC exclusives often try to avoid as well.)

Could it have looked better if it was designed as a PC exclusive or for the PC first and consoles second? Well the more appropriate question is "would the PC-centric design process introduce improvements that would outweigh the effects of a lower budget due to the game being optimized for a smaller primary audience?" Any answer to that before the release of the game that is coming out, let alone a theoritcal alternative, would either be baseless speculation or a pretty looking bit of calculus draped over wild speculation.

All we know right now is that it will be different from all the previous incarnations of the franchise including Oblivion. The menu looks, to me at least, far less idiotic than Oblivion's for all platforms. The world is unarguably more animated - people do things for example. Will PC users feel shafted? I don't think so, but really there's no basis at this point for declaring they will and arguable reasons to suggest they might or might not.

The argument for predictions of dissapointment are primarily historic - the recent statement made is entirely irrelevent unless you consider Bethesda being candid for a change to be a negative as Oblivion and Fallout 3 had the same prioritization (hence the potential historic argument.) The arguments for optimism are similarly shallow I must admit; they are afterall similarly speculative and only different because the speculation is based on 30 minutes of someone else's gameplay on an xbox. That's why I think it is only fair that I qualify my optimism by calling it "cautious"; I'm hoping it will be as good as it looks like it might be but not about to be shocked if it is not.
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June 9th, 2011, 23:00
Originally Posted by rich ruffo View Post
Imagine how gorgeous and huge Skyrim could be if it was created for PC .
It'd be a 2d flash based browser game?
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June 9th, 2011, 23:05
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Of course it has been like this for years for most AAA games. But the difference is this time they're not even trying to hide it.
yeah shame on them for telling the truth. Personally I find it refreshing. I liked how Todd even said that most of their dungeons won't be particularly big.
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