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November 10th, 2011, 01:56
A Big Mountain to Climb: Animating Skyrim is the latest dev diary at the Skyrim Community Site (thanks, CountChocula). Again, there's a podcast, video and screens on a topic that most people will have a passing interest in, given the criticism of Bethsoft's previous efforts in this area:
Learning to Walk Again
“We kind of reinvented the whole thing,” says lead animator Josh Jones, “and started with a brand new animation system. From there it was like, what do we do with this?
“We have a lot of flexibility in terms of NPCs interacting with the environment, with each other. We have much more complex combat [in this game] than we had before.”
Every area of animation was examined and marked for improvements, right down to the most basic motion “graphs” like walking and running.
“The whole [movement] system that we have now is pretty cool,” explains animator Jeremy Bryant. “We've got directional walks in all eight directions, as well as directional runs. I'd say the motion set is probably the best we've ever had, in terms of how fluid it is.”
I'll throw a couple more items in here. Wired has another interview snippet about the "infinite quests":
You’ll never have to stop questing in the upcoming open-world role-playing game, to be released November 11 for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3. Skyrim director Todd Howard told in a phone interview Monday that the game will feature a never-ending stream of procedurally generated content, giving players an infinite number of things to do.
“The vibe of the game is that it’s something that you can play forever,” Howard said.
…and GameSpy has a disappointing article with no real answers on the potential "concerns" players might have. On whether the PC version is consolised:
Preliminary Verdict: Bethesda has already confirmed that enhanced textures, better effects, programmable keyboard controls, a PC-friendly user-interface, and mod tools will be available at launch. That's all good news. What vexes me like Commodus is knowing how good Skyrim could look and play after experiencing the eye-watering graphical goodness of DICE's Battlefield 3 – a PC first title that provides a sneak peek at the next generation in gaming. Yes Skyrim looks good. Todd Howard has even gone so far to say the PC version looks "way" better, so our fingers are crossed on this one. But the bottom line is Skyrim's potential as a PC first game is off the charts, and it's potential that will never be fully realized.
More information.
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November 10th, 2011, 01:56
Ah GameSpy. Ok so a PC Gamer staff member got to play a PC build of the game and none of your staff did - that's no reason for a grumpy filler piece.

Does anyone else think "Preliminary Verdict" is a bit too pompous of a way to say "Our Guess"?

I really wish they had made preview builds and images of the PC version available to journalists - even if they had decided to have them agree not to release any copies of those images until launch. Pretty much every article specifically about the PC version - particularly how it will compare to the console versions - is either speculation dressed up as analysis, link/flame bait, or 3 pages elaborating on the dozen possible meanings of one or more vague phrases uttered by Todd Howard. That goes for articles speculating about the potential superiority of the PC version as well as the potential disappointment it could bring. Fine to put that stuff in your staff blog section, but its a little desperate to put it with your articles.

Even the December issue of PC Gamer - with information from a staffer who has played an earlier PC build of the game - is pretty vauge. I'm going to be lazy and repost the bullet points from this post about it (…er_Info%3F_Yes. ) but you can find the digital copy of the issue like I have and this is about all the clear-ish info in it:

-graphical quality was described as ‘impressive’, even though he was playing an early build and it will have been further tweaked
- trees, vegetation, rocks and plants look ‘near photorealistic’ and there was no discernible aliasing on the textures
- entering caves and dungeons ‘takes seconds’ (compare to some of the loading times in leaked footage of the 360 version)
- you press’F’ to favourite an item, this opens up a sub-menu where you can hotkey a favourite to a number
- you can set the autosave to between 5 and 15 minutes
Last edited by jhwisner; November 10th, 2011 at 02:14.
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November 10th, 2011, 02:17
I don't blame Beth for not letting anyone see the PC version of this game. Just take a look at the 6GB thread and see why.

I used to think that they cared more about the console version than the PC and that might be true in some ways. But lots of PC people are screaming bloody murder over the graphics. I have no idea what the hell they are talking about, but I can see why Beth hardly released any info for the PC version. No need to go on the defensive over a nonissue, imo, if they just release all the information and screenshots with the console.
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November 10th, 2011, 02:35
Considering the pirated leak came from a journalist's Xbox 360 review copy, maybe they were simply worried about piracy.

Also, I imagine they had to modify the build or somehow alert Steam servers so that PC Gamer could play on PC before release date.
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November 10th, 2011, 03:12
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
Considering the pirated leak came from a journalist's Xbox 360 review copy, maybe they were simply worried about piracy.

Also, I imagine they had to modify the build or somehow alert Steam servers so that PC Gamer could play on PC before release date.
They did it at a location Bethesda had prepared so I imagine they used the same system they do that allows them to distribute and test internally. Steamworks developer tools include packages that allow companies to run their own internal steam servers on their VPN.

And yeah a review copy of the Xbox360 version of a game is often out in the wild well before the PS3 version leaks and before release day while the Steamworks PC versions are far less out. I mean the retail PC disc image is floating around on sites now, about a week after the xbox360 version but all the people who have downloaded it so far just have a 5.1 gb iso reminding them that they don't have the game. Its funny but Steamworks success suggests that perhaps the PC might be a safer platform to develop AAA titles they anticipate huge day 1 sales for. Perhaps they should include an tool to help deploy demos at trade shows and then we'd actually see the PC version of some multi-platform games being shown.

I'm not a huge fan of Steam or Steamworks, but its relative success does at least give me hope that developers may see the PC market as something more desirable than a crowd of theives salivating at the chance to steal their products.
Last edited by jhwisner; November 10th, 2011 at 03:29.
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November 10th, 2011, 14:10
I found a chance to try Skyrim's Xbox 360 version. Before you turn your suspicious gazes on me, I admit it's that notorious leaked version. What can I say, curiosity killed the cat.

My biggest worry about the game was the level scaling system. If it would be another Oblivion disaster or not? Fortunately it seems Bethesda have learned from its past mistakes and delivered us a system more towards traditional approach. After I have reached the Riverwood village, I took a quest about finding a golden claw in a cave from the village trader. By the way, I set the dificulty level to Master, highest possible difficulty. The cave called Bleak Falls Barrow, a magnificient looking structure at the heart of a mountain. Bandits took refuge there. I took care of some bandits and enter the cave and killed some too. Then I thought "here we go again, same old Oblivion that everything must be equalled to your level for the newbies, ugh", then I came across a wounded frostbite spider and it killed me with mere two blows, I tried to hit but not a significiant change in the HP. I understood that there's nothing I can do at this level. So, there came my relief. Bethesda took more towards Fallout 3 approach in Skyrim than Oblivion. Even normal foes can hack you to pieces at lower levels in Skyrim's master difficulty (for ex the skeletons in Whiterun Catacombs). One problem still remains though. You level pretty fast, like in Oblivion and Fallout 3. But, I'm sure it won't be long that some modder will make a mod to slow leveling.

At graphics aspect, it's same as Oblivion. But this time with better art style. Oblivion's bloated faces are completely gone, NPCs look realistic, also there're some variety to their bodies. So, now there're skinny or stocky build characters. Also, the locations feels unique, not much copy paste locations like in Oblivion. I don't know the PC version, but in X360 version some textures looks pixelized. If that is the case for PC version, I'm sure some gamers will really piss off. But overall Bethesda was successful about delivering a unique looking world and giving the feeling that we're in a cold, bleak region. I also like the ability to look at the every object in my inventory closely, rotate them, etc.

Oblivion was a great disappointment to me when it was released in 2006 as a great Morrowing fan. But Skyrim have impressed me so far. Impressed me enough that I preordered my disc copy today.
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November 10th, 2011, 14:35

Well the leveling is fast only at low levels. But for example to level from lvl20 to lvl22 took about 10h
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