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Default Skyrim - What We're Working On - Updated

December 7th, 2011, 07:32
Bethsoft has updated their recent What We're Working On post on the Bethblog, responding specifically to criticism of the PS3 version. The takeaway for most of us is v1.3 is "in final testing":
Updated 12/6: While the 1.2 update fixed the long-term play issues for most PS3 users, we are aware that is not the case for some. Weíve been reaching out to a number of those users to collect save games, so we can take a look at their specific issues. Right now we know itís not one thing, but a combination of smaller ones that some folks are seeing, but others are not. Some seem to be the PS3 autosaving in the background (you can turn that off), some may be SPU AI updates, and some may relate to dynamic system memory allocation. These fixes are not in the current 1.3 update that is in final testing, but will be in future ones. We understand how frustrating it can be when your game is having issues, and we thank all of you for your continued feedback and patience. Rest assured we take your gameplay experience seriously and will continue working on this until itís resolved.
On the PS3 "lag" issue, Josh Sawyer recently made some comments that this was related to the engine design Obsidian observed when making Fallout: New Vegas. Eurogamer explores his comments here.
More information.
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December 7th, 2011, 07:32
That's why I like consoles you just put the game in and play. No problems like on that horrible pc platform.
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December 7th, 2011, 09:58
One thing i dont understand : its allready third patch + they are introducing construction kit. Yet there is no word of fixing Quick key / favorites swapping?!

I really dont understand why they dont even mention such gamebreaking bug ?
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December 7th, 2011, 10:00
I'm not sure they consider the hotkey thing a bug.
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December 7th, 2011, 10:40
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'm not sure they consider the hotkey thing a bug.
Its a feature !

Its adding difficulty to dual wielding. To be more realistic
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December 7th, 2011, 10:49
Very curious what the changelog is.
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December 7th, 2011, 11:39
Originally Posted by Twotricks View Post
I really dont understand why they dont even mention such gamebreaking bug ?
Game breaking? Yikes, I wonder what you call something that's more serious
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December 7th, 2011, 12:34
Originally Posted by Twotricks View Post
One thing i dont understand : its allready third patch + they are introducing construction kit. Yet there is no word of fixing Quick key / favorites swapping?!?
Because modders will fix that one.

Also: Completely rewritten new engine, eh? And yet somehow same bugs still there.
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December 7th, 2011, 12:55
I wonder what modders can and can't do w.r.t. the UI? I can see how they could easily display more info, for example. But how configurable is the UI? I have never tried my hand at TES modding so I have no idea. What I really want is fully customizable hot-keyed dual combo weapons and spells. Also, the (unsorted!?) pulldown quick list fails as, well, a 'quick' list. Would be nice to have a something more flexible. The UI mod(s) I've seen do not seem to do this - or have I missed something? They seem to be more about presentation.
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December 7th, 2011, 12:58
They have already said multiple times that only the renderer was rewritten and many of the other systems are updated versions of what they already had. The renderer is much better then it was in previous games but I hope next time they will redo some of the other systems.

There are already multiple UI mods like one that overhauls the inventory (QD Inventory) and one that adds a price relative to weight on the item card. There are some good font replacement mods also and I'm using 2 right now.
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December 7th, 2011, 13:37
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
T

There are already multiple UI mods like one that overhauls the inventory (QD Inventory) and one that adds a price relative to weight on the item card. There are some good font replacement mods also and I'm using 2 right now.
But do they address the dual wielding hot-key issue or allow configuration of the quick list? The otherstuff is simply not that much of a bother for me.

As for the engine - the fact that ity was effectively FO3/FO3:NV, even to the extent of having the same kinds of LOD arrtifacts, was disappointing. The words 'new engine' were used way too much for what they eventually provided.
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December 7th, 2011, 14:00
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
They have already said multiple times that only the renderer was rewritten and many of the other systems are updated versions of what they already had.
No. Quite the opposite: phrases "entirely new engine" and "completely rewritten" were often used. If they rephrased later, they have only confirmed talking crap earlier.

Regardless, the game (except the ui) is great, no real reasons for bitching.
As for the UI mods: QD inventory is currently the greatest (it's also the one displaying weight/value ratio), unfortunately it completely screws up enchanting UI.
The hotkeys: Oblivion had mods for that. But, until the tools are released, we cannot expect any "real" mods.
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December 7th, 2011, 14:16
There are no mods that fix hotkeys right now.

And I dont know much about TES modding, nor I know about construction kit.

But I can not imagine they give access to such engine related stuff , like hotkeys. It sounds like total internal game mechanic.


And again. I agree that there are other performance issues.

But hotkeys issue sounds like small fish to fix. Yet it impacts game enjoyment very much, because its "in your face" constantly bugging people that have otherwise good game performance.
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December 7th, 2011, 14:31
Originally Posted by booboo View Post
I wonder what modders can and can't do w.r.t. the UI? I can see how they could easily display more info, for example.
Yes, there are already some minor UI mods done without the Construction Kit that do just that. I've seen a beta version of a UI mod that revises the inventory by putting a lot more items and info about those items on screen. Once it's finalized, I'll most likely install it. (Can't be bothered to dig up any links to it now. Check Beth forums.)

BTW, changing the UI font is a breeze. The original font was too futuristic and sterile to my taste, so I changed it.

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December 7th, 2011, 20:59
That's some fast testing. 1.3 for all!
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December 7th, 2011, 21:58
LOL! Is there any evidence of testing?
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December 7th, 2011, 23:05
Originally Posted by Daddy32 View Post
No. Quite the opposite: phrases "entirely new engine" and "completely rewritten" were often used. If they rephrased later, they have only confirmed talking crap earlier.
.
See, this is the type of stuff I remember them saying:

Spoiler
http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/115/1158651p1.html

I remember a lot of articles using the phrase "completely rewritten from scratch" but that seems more to be bad reporting - which Tod Howard is clearly setting straight. They dropped a lot of the old middle ware and the things which were Gamebryo's technology provided with kits to developers and built on the tools and things they had created themselves. All the articles stating this though appear to be quoting Game Informer. I don't see Bethesda making quite such a statement and as far back as may Todd Howard gave a quite detailed explanation of what they had kept but modified of the things they had created themselves in developing previous games. If I'm just not finding it, please link me to it where they and not Game Informer are being sourced on that.

Also to be clear, it's not a specific section of the previous code base being carried would cause this while rewriting it would have somehow necessarily prevented this. The methodology is at fault when employed without particular attention payed to the more rigid allocation of 256mb RAM to non-rendering tasks. Except perhaps by happy accident, rewriting the code for this game function- even in ways which made it more computationally efficient - would have done nothing if the memory usage as a function of cumulative modifications was not addressed separately and specifically for the PS3.

Part of the problem was that's what Game Informer wrote in their own introduction to their scoop on the Creation Engine and that was the first thing a lot of people read about it. The other part of the problem is the misconception of what Gamebryo was and the attempts to explain that it was not being used got confused by that misconception getting inserted into the argument.

In the first week or so after launch I became so sick of hearing people say "see it still uses some of the same console codes and scripting methods, that means it still has pieces of Gamebryo in it." Nevermind that those elements were created by Bethesda and not Gamebryo. Never mind that incorperating them into the game no more makes them Gamebryo technology than putting groceries into a Hertz rental car makes your groceries part of the rental car or the property of Hertz. There was also the common "this bug happened in the previous games and that proves this is just an updated Gamebryro, wibble."

My favorite was "See, it still uses nifs - that requires a process patent formerly owned by NDL and now by NDTs lending/holding company and that means this is just updated Gamebryo." Any attempt, even a cursory and lazy one, would have immediately dispelled this notion. It would reveal that no such fundamental patent was ever applied for nor was one granted. It would also have revealed - via either the open-source projects related to nif format or through google's very helpful patent search feature - that third parties have regiestred numerous patents for processes relating to their own systems which utilized the nif format an specifically referenced Gamebryo as unpatented prior art.

That means that you can copyright your own code which makes use of this format - as long as it does not infringe on those other patents. This does require you to wholly write this code yourself. Its because of this that things like "it uses nifs" don't prove that it is "just updated gamebryo" but rather only because all things that were previously done by Gamebryo in their games are now done by new code entirely written by Bethesda that they are able to continue to utilize nif format. The renderer and core engine provided by Gamebryo has to be gone because although there are no patents on the fundamental processes they use, that previous code was copyrighted.

This is a high level design issue, not a simple coding issue. It may not have required a complete reworking of the high level design but it would have had to have been realized at that stage for this to be a simple matter to fix. They rewrote quite a bit of the code - all of the Gamebryo code which was the bare minimum, replaced speedtree with their own system and other third party plugins they used with Gamebryo with newer versions or alternatives. They rewrote more than they thought they would. This problem is not about what code was rewritten but what basic methods were rethought.

I'm putting this in spoiler tags because it was supposed to be a short analogy and turned into a ridiculous story.

It's a big mistake mind you and its an important lesson that to developers used to developing on the PC. It's not the result of a lie but its not something that they shouldn't have worked harder to figure out at the initial high-level design stage. They, like so many forum posters and game journalists, probably just assumed it was a code issue specific to Gamebryo. In this presumption they failed to consider that such a fundamental methodology they've used variations of since 1997 might run into situations where the PS3's particular and more rigid limits on RAM allocation could be the cause of the problem (not even just generally the total amount of shared RAM.)

Spoiler –


If you read that then you'll understand when I say claiming the engine is the same or not rewritten is like accusing the brilliant parent in the story of not using different toothpaste. Instead you should yell at them for not looking their adopted kid in the mouth; since new platforms and children are neither gifts nor anything approaching the usefulness of a horse it is perfectly fine to do this.
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December 7th, 2011, 23:48
But there are a whole lot of Fallout commands and stuff available in the console if you type <help>.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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December 8th, 2011, 02:42
Actually QD Inventory ( http://www.skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=667 ) doesn't have weight to value ratio and it is Relative Price ( http://www.skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=2262 ) that does that and it comes with a bat file which will allow you to temporarily replace the file so that you can enchant correctly and then put it back.

PS. The very first article where they mention rewriting the "engine" they specifically said the "graphics engine" which is pretty much what jhwisner quoted above except for animations since they used Havok for that instead of wtiting their own.
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December 8th, 2011, 10:30
jhwisner, that was quite a story
Now, I have to agree, it was most likely bad journalism and not Bethesda themselves claiming they made the completely new engine.
But still, as a programmer myself, I find it highly unlikely that bugs (except maybe memory allocation problems) get transferred to the new, rewritten code. Most bugs happen to be pretty low-level and not a results of an high-level design decisions taken during the software life-cycle. So, while same console commands or same file-structure may be re-implemented on purpose, bugs are pretty good indicator of old code.
But as you said, Bethesda didn't seem to use those bombastic phrases, so their shield is clean.
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