Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Oblivion Screen Shots

 These are screen shots not in the slideshow at the bottom of the blog page.  I may or may not leave it there in future, so I'm adding some different pictures here.

Meili Lin.   An old favourite character resurrected and given new hair and eyes and an updated look. 

Goth Style

A friend

Lonely Assassin

Solomon Thorn.   Waiting in the rain

Blade Master

Morning Ritual

Friday, 22 April 2011

My Oblivion Mods Two

UPDATE: This file is now fixed and will work for all users.  Also adds glowing eyes.  Just overwrite as no changes have been made to the esp.

Uploaded at the same links below and now at TES Alliance.

This is my latest mod.  Another creature companion mod featuring two blue Pixies called Zee and Dee.   One is male and the other female and unlike my other small companions like the House Cats, are fighting companions.

A brief story of how they came to be at the Arcane University.

"Zee (Female) and Dee (Male) are blue Pixie twins and can be found at the Arcane University.  They were previously owned by an apprentice mage who found them in a cave being bullied by their greater cousins, the common Imp.  She took pity on them after dispatching the offenders and returned to the Arcane University with them thinking to keep them as pets.

However, she lost control of them as they were very naughty Pixies and would zap other mages with shock spells for fun causing a riot within the ranks of the other mages.  The apprentice was punished and forbidden to leave the Inner University until she learned to be more careful.

But, the pixies remained on the loose and despite their best efforts the Senior Mages were unable to capture them for study without killing them.  Since the Pixies became bored with their games and appeared to behave themselves they were allowed to remain until someone of sufficient skill came along to take them away. "

Click to enlarge images

Glowy eyes - new

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Waalx Animals And Creatures

I decided that since Waalx Animals and Creatures (WAC) is one of the main reasons I still play Oblivion I'd make a post outlining some of the features and showing some screen shots.  

The mod, which is really an overhaul can be found here and in the sidebar under links.  Registration is required to view and download.  However, as I've mentioned elsewhere there is an open screen shot thread which is why I'm only going to add a few pictures here.
Realswords Workshop

UPDATE:  Forgot to mention there is a fix for possible crashes at Gnoll camps, particularly one near Skingrad.  It involves a skeleton not being assigned to the right creature.  The fix was originally uploaded by another user, but the link is now invalid so I uploaded it to my Mediafire account where many people have downloaded it.  I'll leave it there until it's no longer needed after the next update of WAC.

WAC  is in Beta stage at the moment, but don't let that worry you.  It is fully functional, has very little if any load on your system despite the number of added creatures and NPC's and has never caused my game to CTD.  Some of the items need re-balancing, but in my opinion that, at the moment is a minor issue.
It is not compatible with other overhauls like Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, Martigen's Monster Mod and FCOM etc unless you choose not to use the full package and personally I find it a bit pointless not to have the full WAC experience.  

I do miss OOO and MMM at times for the specially placed loot and extra danger element, but I've passed the stage of being attacked at every corner and I like to be able to go into the wilderness feeling at least a little safer.  I have separate profiles though for all of my characters as they use different mods besides the main ones according to their background stories, so there's no reason not to have an alternate profile using these mods as well.

I give huge kudos though to the teams who created OOO, MMM and FCOM etc as they provided me with years of excellent game play and gave me a reason to keep playing the game.

That's not to say this isn't a dangerous world with WAC, because it is, but one of the big things I like is most creatures will leave you be unless you get too close which is more realistic.  Some people will say realism in a fantasy game doesn't exist, but maybe I should call it more believable rather than realism where magic and beast races exist.  For example, I hate it when wolves, which are shy creatures in reality and will avoid humans unless provoked, will come from miles away just to take you down.  This seems to be a staple in most rpg's though and I find it annoying.

Despite the name WAC adds much more than animals and other creatures.  It features the well known Realswords mods which add weapons to the default races and depending on the race those weapons have scripts adding enchantments and abilities while equipped.   They can be used by other races of course, but you won't get the abilities.  There are also specialized weapon stores and merchants.

There is a very large addition of custom armour and clothing suited to the medieval style on which this mod is based which is much like the world of Conan.  A conversion of the armours and clothing for HGEC which is the female body replacer I use can be found here:

There is a complete overhaul of the Arena which makes it more like a real Gladiator Arena of ancient times.  No more just "go in, kill something, come out and repeat."  Now it's actually worth playing and as well as your opponent there will be other fights happening at the same time with creatures and other fighters.

There are creatures that will help you.  For example, at the shrines are found white lions and lionesses who are friends.  They are scripted to help in a nearby fight, but also if you have a certain item in your inventory will follow you and fight at your side.  If they die they will respawn.

Some creatures can be found that are Mythic and are also friends, as well as others that are not.

There are merchants who sell spells to add other temporary companions.  Druids can be found in lots of places who will heal you if needed.

If using all of the WAC esps, there are additions to dungeons and undead.  Female zombies, as well as skeletons of beast races are also included.

Anyway, that's a very basic outline of what WAC adds, so here are a few screen shots.   Click to enlarge for a better view.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

My Favourite Smiley Site is (was) Gone

Best Smileys, my favourite site for emoticons and smileys has gone.  Hopefully not permanently as the domain is up for renewal, but it has been since the 8th of this month.    I\'ll leave the link in the sidebar for the time being in hopes it will return.

For all I know this has happened before as I don't frequent the site that often, but it's always been there until now.   Everything costs these days so maybe its a consequence of economics.

I love smileys and emoticons..."sob" and they were some of the best with a large variety.  Oh, well I guess I search for another site.

UPDATE:  WooHoo!  They're back.  I never did learn patience and wait until something happens.

I still can't add them as a link but I can save them an upload as an image.  To be clear it says on the site this is OK.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Gates To Aesgaard Episode One Walkthrough

UPDATE:  Just to clarify a few things.

I wrote this walk through when I was part of the mod team during development.  I also wrote all the texts and notes, provided support and was a Beta tester.  The walk through is also posted at Mods Reloaded but this version has had a few minor corrections made.  Nothing major and it shouldn't affect much.

I had nothing to do with Gates to Aesgaard Episode Two except at the very beginning, and due to circumstances it took another direction than originally intended.
However, the almost completed very large world space called The Lost Province of Zedar is available as a modder's resource.  One of these days I'm going to do something with it as I have the authors permission to do what I like with it.

I wrote a few stories relating to the NPC's but I don't have them handy since I lost a lot of things to a hard drive crash awhile back.  They are probably in the resource so I can retrieve them from there if I ever get around to installing it and doing something with it.

It's already populated with creatures (custom and vanilla) and NPC's, cities and villages and farms.  It just needs some work on building interiors and some other things.  The original quest however is in stasis and it not likely I'll be doing anything with that.  My least favourite thing is quest creation and I don't have resources for the enemies and other things needed.


**Please install the 1.1 patch. It fixes some minor issues and some typos in the books and notes.**

ADDIT 2011: This includes any new patches since the mod was finalized as this was written a long time ago.

I'm not bothering to list the enemies you'll come across, so just deal with them as needed.  This quest is also best experienced without the use of Nighteye or other light enhancers, especially in the ruins.  There are plenty of torches scattered around.


May 7th 2011
**Another thing I forgot.  Once you enter the ruins you cannot go back to Tamriel until you finish the quest, so be prepared.   There are supplies to be found inside including potions, hammers and other items.  You can do this quest at any level, but if you use overhauls it can be very much harder.
See the bottom of this text for info about how to return to the ruins to pick up any loot you may have had to leave behind.

Also corrected some grammar and formatting mistakes I didn't notice before.  

You can read the books and notes or not as you like, but it won't make much sense if you don't.


To start the quest make sure you are not inside a city or other interior. Go for a walk in the wilderness.
You will get a message from an old friend. Follow the instructions to find the house behind Bruma. Search the house for a clue to the next step. There is a door in the bedroom downstairs leading to a basement. On the table are 4 books. One of them will give you the map marker and a quest message telling you where to go next.

Enter the ruin using the key and find the 1st room on the left. Make sure to get the key from the small Ayleid cask under the tree. Continue down stairs and you'll meet a Guardian. Kill it and take the key.

Take the door on the right to The Dark Path. On the right is a room with some zombies and loot. On the left is an Ayleid cask and a note.

Take the note and you will have a vision.

Continue down the long staircase to Silent Souls. Dispatch any enemies and enter the door to the prison. Check each room and take the key to Nowhere.
Go back to the room where you killed the boss and take the door to the left to Nowhere.

Jump across the platforms to the next door to the Monk Rooms.
** If you fall you will die. The water is NOT water**

There is a 2nd note on a desk. Take it.
Continue down the corridor passing the door to the Throne Room and turn right. Enter the door to the Prey Room.
There is a gate that needs a key so take the stone door to Nowhere on the left and follow the path to the Sacrificial Chamber.   It has a Very Hard Lock. Be very careful...keep your head down. You can kill the beast or run very fast past it to the door that it guards.

Once in the pit you can't get out so move quickly.

Follow the short corridor to the opposite door to the Treatment Rooms. You'll be on the other side of the locked gate. Find the 3rd note and key to the gate and the Throne Room.

Go through the gate and back to the Prey Room to the corridor with the Throne Room door. The cursed Knight has the key you need to go on. Search Ashen Rose's corpse for the 4th note and some info.  Exit through the door behind the throne.

You will see a blue portal guarded by a boss. Kill him and it will unlock.

Through the portal is a new land. It looks like Tamriel, but you're out of luck. It's not!

You can follow the little path around the lake or just jump in and find the door at the bottom to Stochan's Tomb. Enter the Portal and go back in time 800 years AFTER taking Stochan's Sword from the altar.

Exit the door to a deserted village called Talie. Search ALL the houses for a key to the Cursed Crypt.

Once inside carefully pass the blades and go down stairs to the right through the water and take the left passage.   Left again to long passage to the Sewers. Ignore the locked gate and take the ladder next to it to Nowhere.

You are at the door to Clathron's Chamber. BOSS. Kill him and take his key.
Go up the stairs to the right to Akhat's crypt.

Find the room to the right with a free standing door, a lecturn and a coffin leaning against the wall. Read the book for the next clue.

Go back to the entrance of the crypt and this time take the left passage. Exit the door and follow the path to the Castle.
**You cannot enter. DO NOT fall in the water. You will die**

Take the head and return to the room with the door. Put the head in the coffin and the door will unlock.

Go through and marvel at the fiery portal to the Abyss.


You will exit in front of a small broken tower with some supplies. DO NOT bother trying to kill the giant Gods of the Abyss as they are almost immortal. Sneak or run past them. They won't bother you unless you get too close.  There is a path to follow. Continue past the dead tree until you get to a small depression.

Go up the slope and you will see some ruins. As you get closer you will see the next portal. Get there quickly!!!

Exit the portal onto a platform. You will see steps going into the distance at the left. Follow them and don't fall - certain death.

Here you will find an altar with the Blade Key. Take It.

After the 2nd vision you are transported to the Axeman's Realm. You can go left and right for supplies.
Back in the area with the coffin in the center take the book AND the note from the desk. Get ready for a surprise.

Fight the Axeman....he will vanish when he's almost dead.  Head down the passage to the portal and finish him off.   The gate will open now, so enter the portal.

Exit the portal and go down the long stairway to a bridge...couple of enemies here.
Follow the green arrow until you see a small ruined tower and a tree in the distance to the right. Veer left. The green arrow is your objective, but you need to get there a different way.
You can go right up the incline, but will have to slide down the cliff or back track when you see where you need to go.   So, going slightly left check your map for a secret entrance among some rocks.

Go in and follow a door to the bottom of a ruined tower. Many enemies here. Run up the stairs to the top and battle 2 BOSSES.   Make absolutely sure to check the bodies for the Blade Key or you won't get out and back to Tamriel.

With the key go up the stairs to a platform with two gods by a blue portal. DO NOT try to kill them, they won't attack unless provoked.

Enter portal back to Tamriel. ALL keys will be taken from you......BUT...

If you want to go back anytime at a higher level for example or to collect loot you had to leave behind, there is a hidden jewellery box under the 3rd bush to the North of Cloud Ruler Temple. See screenshot for location. The box is well hidden under some rocks beneath the bush

NOTE 2: I don't know what happened to the screen shot. I lost it long ago, but it shouldn't be too hard to find the box.



Yesterday a family of noisy crows took up temporary residence in my yard and the few surrounding neighbours yards and trees.  Usually it's a multitude of warbling magpies, but they seem to have been outed by the crows, for the present anyway.  Sometimes it's cockatoos or galahs (Rose Breasted Cockatoo) or even a few seagulls and gray doves, all taking turns.

It's interesting listening to them "talk" as every bird has a different sound and they sound like they are having a conversation.   It's a bit like Alfred Hitchcock's - The Birds here at the moment, but even though they are noisy I like the sounds they make and watching their family interactions and squabbles.

My dog isn't so tolerant though...XD.    A crow was sitting on the clothes line the other day glaring down at her with it's beady eyes and she glared back at it for ages, out of reach as if it was taunting her which it probably was.   It was a Mexican Standoff there for awhile until the crow eventually flew off.


This is the fifth day without my LCD monitor.   "groan"

I'm getting eyestrain from the glare on the old CRT monitor screen as well as the low resolution and awful colours.  The worst thing is today is quite hot for April and the old monitor overheats and I have to turn it off periodically so it doesn't die as well.   Tomorrow and the next week it's supposed to be cool and raining so hopefully I can nurse it along until I get the LCD back. 

I've been playing a few old games as anything like Oblivion, Fallout or any other newer game looks like crap at such low resolution and I'm constantly concerned this monitor will take a big sigh and go into permanent retirement. 

Currently Reading

I'm currently reading a book called The Fifth Sorceress which is part one of a trilogy called The Chronicles of Blood and Stone written by Robert Newcomb.   I've had the three books for ages sitting in my spare room with a lot of others that I've gathered from various sources, ie sales and used book stores etc.  Most of them have never been opened because I frequent the public library as books are too expensive especially as I've mentioned I never read one twice.   I picked this one up out of the box and became instantly hooked.

It's the story of a prince who is about to become king on his 30th birthday when his father the current king abdicates by tradition and necessity.   Although it's the last thing he wants, circumstances dictate his future and his choices are taken from him by a prophecy and tragedy. 

Many fantasy novels have very similar premises and almost preset formulas, but this one surprised me with it's original story and depth of character.   It's very different and imaginative even though it does have the "prophecy" and the prince's life is predetermined by it, but I'd have to say this has a very nice sense of originality to it that immediately grabbed my attention.

This is the first novel by this author and a few things seem a bit inconsistent to me as far as the style of writing but the way the world and the people who inhabit it are described, as well as the horrors and tragedies that befall them lends an immersion into the story that keeps me reading.

Robert Newcomb has been compared to Terry Goodkind  in his style and development of a believable and engrossing world of magic and betrayal.

Since I found his website I see there are further volumes in the series which I'm going to see if I can locate when I finish the first trilogy.

Update: May 1st 2011:  Well, I've finished the second volume and am now half way through the third and already feeling a sense of loss that I won't be entering the lives and the vibrant, but dangerous world of the characters in this series.   That is unless I can get hold of the next three books featuring the same characters.
I feel lucky to have been able to read this trilogy because it's so different and imaginative.   I love how the author has brought the world alive with it's mysteries, magic and sometimes very violent reality.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Monitor R.I.P. Update

This isn't exactly a rant but it's an update to the previous dead monitor post.

This morning I was at the computer store at opening time, give or take 15 minutes with my beloved monitor in it's original box...sans receipt because I still can't find it.

Anyway, as I said before sometimes being something of a pessimist can bring nice surprises and there was no debate about proving my purchase etc and I should either have a replacement or a repairs done soon.  Not as soon as I'd like, but at least it's happening.

Since I live in the country the monitor has to be sent to the city, (not sure which State though since I didn't ask) and I'll possibly have it or a new one in something like 2 to 6 weeks.   It may not be that long, but the sales person had to give me some kind of estimate because I asked.   I think she just pulled that time frame out of her non existent hat, but is probably about right.

She also said that because monitors are considered low cost items it would be more likely I'll get a replacement rather than a repair job which will be nice.

So, I just hope old faithful, my old Mitsubishi Diamond View CRT monitor continues to function until then.   The colours are awful,  the display is slightly grainy and when it has to display a lot of dark colours it flickers briefly, but at least it works.   I think the colours and graininess are normal, but just more noticeable now after being used to a digital LCD monitor for several years.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Dead Monitor R.I.P.

Well, today my beautiful LG 22" Flatron LCD monitor died.    For the past fortnight or so Ive been having to leave it (and the computer) turned on, not just in standby, but on and working, because if I turned it off or even re-booted the computer there was a 99% chance it wouldn't come on again.

During that time I had to re-boot a few times, obviously due to installing something or updates, and with luck only had two incidents where the monitor wouldn't come on...no power light, no standby mode with the computer off...nothing.    The last time it did start up was the last time I turned it off...nearly 3 weeks ago.

Until today!  I had to re-boot after a program update and the monitor never came on again.  All cables are OK etc, etc, etc.  I "think" I heard a sound from the monitor as the computer re-booted, but I might have imagined it.  Anyway, if there was one, it was the death rattle...

Thankfully, it's still under warranty, but I can't find the receipt.  I have the receipts for everything else I've ever purchased and is still under warranty, except for the monitor.  No idea where it is and I've searched in places it couldn't possibly be in as well as where it should be.

However, I do have the original packaging and docs etc and the people at the only computer store we have know me, so, hopefully, I can either get a replacement (don't like my chances) or have it repaired.    They should have my purchase in their database if they keep records from 2 and 1/2years ago.

The question is...are they worth repairing?

I did some research when the first incident happened and it looks like there's probably a blown power capacitor(s) or a dead circuit board or whatever it's called in a monitor.   This unit is completely sealed (no screws or any way to get inside it) so I don't know how it can be opened to repair it.  Anyway, that's not my problem as long as something gets done...preferably ASAP.

At the moment I'm using my old 17" CRT monitor which surprised me when it worked straight away after 3 years sitting in my spare room.   The old thing gave me 10 good years of  perfect service and is now pulled out of retirement to work again.   Just as well I kept it because I was going to take it to the electrician to be disposed of 3 years ago as it was playing up a bit in the summer heat, especially when it was humid.  It's probably full of ten years of dust and the moisture from the humid weather stopped it from working properly until it warmed up...which is ironic since it was summer.    In winter or when the weather is cooler the poor old thing works perfectly.

It's pretty hard on the eyes though getting used to a much smaller screen and resolution.  Not to mention now having to scroll web pages horizontally as well as vertically, but at least it's better than nothing.  

Anyway, tomorrow, being Monday, I guess I'll find out.  I'll be at the shop at opening time with my monitor and warranty card and hoping that the old CRT keeps on going for awhile yet.    A long while.   I'm not in a position to buy a new monitor outright and that's unlikely to change for at least six months unless I have some stroke of luck.  

If worst comes to worst I can at least keep in contact with people via the public library computers and Yahoo email, but my computer is my only source of entertainment for music, movies, games, and Internet so I'll go nuts without it.