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Forward with 2016

This blog has been silent for awhile. I am sorry about that: my RL has been keeping me busy. I am still very active in gaming forums and we have been doing a lot. This blog will soon get updates about what we have been up to and few new tutorial posts about modding games with Mod Organizer.

Political situation in Finland has also been quite messy. It seems that every post that I plan to write gets responded several times in social media, before I even have time to finish my work. I dislike writing about my opinions and views in a short notice: that does not serve the purpose. I have plenty of planned articles in my hard drive and will soon be publishing them here.

Same goes with my bird watcher hobby and gym lifestyle. There is plenty of things to share and spring is “almost” here (he says, after South Finland only got it’s first snow few days ago.)

Thank you for visiting. I will get back with blogging soon.

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Finnish Twitter reactions to Greece financial talks

EuroGreece
While meetings about Greece continue, Finland stands in strange position. The government representatives have been very silent about negotiations, but social media is running around the clock. Country seems divided between peoples who understand the situation of Greece and peoples wishing that Greece would exit from Euro.

Alexi Norman from The Left Youth of Finland tweeted:

Jos USA:n legitimiteetti menetettiin Abu Graibhissa ja Irakissa, tänään taisi mennä EU:n #Kreikka’ssa. #ThisIsACoup http://bit.ly/1GgnO43

If USA’s legitimacy was lost in Abu Graibhissa and Iraq, it seems that today EU lost it in Greece.

By sharing this comic strip, Mikko Laakso from Coalition Party Youth League seemed to blame the Greece government about current situation.

Anssi Kekkonen from Centre Party sent his own greetings to Greece with this picture of mämmi on plate.

Chairperson of Left Alliance Paavo Arhinmäki seems frustrated about the confidentiality obligation. He asks a question that many peoples may ponder around Europe.

Tekisi kovasti mieli kommentoida, ilmeisesti vasta maanantaina voi. Herää myös kysymys, kuinka kestävä juridisesti vaiteliaisuusvaade on. http://bit.ly/1ShMEaN

I would really like to comment, (but) apparentely (I can do that) as late as Monday. Question wakes up, how juridically strong the confidentiality obligation is.

Mikael Junger from Social Democratic party has his own opinion about the situation.

Nuo Kreikan velat euromaille kannattaisi siirtää EKPn taseeseen. Ja pitää siellä seuraavat tuhat vuotta. Kukaan ei menettäisi euroakaan. http://bit.ly/1Jd4KWC

Those Greek debts to euro countries would be be worth to move ECB’s balance. And keep them there next thousand years. No one would lost a single euro.

And Ville Niinistö from the Greens picks our Minister of finance, Alexander Stubb.

Viime päivien palaute EU-maista ollut hurjaa. En tiennyt @alexstubb:n #brändi:ä “Finland – even cooler than you think” lanseerattavan näin. http://bit.ly/1MoRYqV

Feedback from EU-countries have been wild during last days. I did not knew that (Alexander Stubb’s) brand “Finland – even cooler than you think” would be launched this way.

What about main representatives of Finland? Last few days have been completely silent. Prime minister Juha Sipilä has not tweeted a thing since 5th of July.

Minister of finance Alexander Stubb has been known to be a heavy weight user of Twitter, but his only comments have been about entering to meetings and exiting from them.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini does not even have a Twitter of his own. In his homepage Soini says that he will not give any comments about meetings and bases his decision to obligation to observe secrecy around these meetings.

Journalist Matti Virtanen goes with the music that combines Finland and Greece, posting a YouTube video from the performance of Arja Saijonmaa and Mikis Theodorakis.

Arja Saijonmaa and Mikis Theodorakis – Tuska (1972) Translation: Tuska means Pain. #Greece #Finland (Link to video.) http://bit.ly/1Ggoo1F

But in the end, it is likely that chief editor Matti Linnanahde sums the feelings of most Finns and Greeks.

Aikanaan kysytään, missä olit, kun Kreikka-ongelmaa ratkottiin. Tällä tiedolla sanoisin, että aivan pihalla. #kreikanvelkakriisi http://bit.ly/1HzqVVD

In time they will ask you where you were, when problem with Greece was getting solved. With this information I would say that completely out.

(Author note: English is not my first language. Translations should be mostly accurate and I will take full responsibility for any mistakes I may have made.)

Farewell to SimPeg4

Our beloved SimCity 4 modding site SimPeg4 is gone. Pegasus has conformed that site is damaged beyond repair.

Most mods posted to the site are still available, because they got posted to Simtropolis Lot Exchange (STEX). The original work of Pegasus and members of the site still remain. The loss is still hard, because we lost all attachment mods, tutorials and guide, and also a good bunch of city journals posted to that site.

Community still remains. The unity of SC4 players never ends to amaze me. Simtropolis and City-Builders gave shelter to refugee simpegians and have been very helpful toward attempts to save what is left to be saved from SimPeg4 resources.

I started playing the game in 2003. Deluxe edition brought me fun that has lasted almost 12 years. It is true that I haven’t touched to game for a some time now. I have been busy with Skyrim modding community, replying to questions and writing guides in Steam discussions and other sites. I have still been following the community closely and I also have been slowly working with my custom SC4 map that I intend to play in the future.

It is sad to see SimPeg4 go. My own old CJ, tutorial posts and other forum threads went down with it. I am still very glad to see that the simpegian community seems determined to survive and how helpful others are in that.

My thanks to Pegasus for all the work he put to SC4 and Pegprod team that held the lights on, after Pegasus retired from modding. SimPeg4 has now moved in to gaming history, but story of the SC4 simpegian community seems far from done, thanks to active members and helpful hands.

Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear expansion announced

Baldur’s Gate Enchanted Edition is getting a new expansion. Beamdog has finally revealed that their Adventure Y is now known as Siege of Dragonspear. Developer has released an announcement trailer for upcoming expansion.

I am personally very excited. Original Baldur’s Gate saga that started back in 2008 was the game that dragged me in to PCRPG games. Despite that it has been about 17 years, my affection for the story and characters has never managed to fade. It has been a long time since I last played the game, but every time I do so it feels like old friends are jumping out of the box.

I am anxious to see where this “lost chapter” between Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition and Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition leads us. Developer is promising around 25 extra hours to gameplay.

You can follow the progress of this project from the project homepage at http://www.siegeofdragonspear.com/.

European Parliament said “No” to axe freedom of panorama

Sense and reason have gained an important round win today, when European Parliament decided to stand against the proposal that would have required commercial use of images about public buildings and art to require authorisation from the right-holders.

Concerning the right to create and publish images and photographs of public buildings and art works, MEPs prefer to retain the current situation by rejecting the proposal in the draft resolution that commercial use of such images should require authorisation from the right-holders.

Several groups and NGOs had protested against the proposal. One of them was the Wikimedia project that feared images currently used by free license would loose their status and require license from copyright holders of buildings and popular tourist attractions. This would have forced them to remove an estimated 40,000 images from Wikipedia.

Counter proposal had requested that Freedom of Panorama would extend to all EU countries, but that did not pass.

Reacting to today’s vote, Stevie Benton, head of external relations at Wikimedia UK, said: ‘While I would have liked Freedom of Panorama to have been extended to all member states of the EU, I’m pleased that the amendment to introduce a non-commercial exception was deleted.

What does this mean to you? Well, you can safely take a pictures from yourself and publish them, despite that one of famous buildings stands behind you. Yes, that is indeed what was threatened. Lucky for us, this absurd law did not pass trough the parliament. It is hard to imagine that 40 MEPs were actually voting in favor of the proposal.

State of Skyrim Workshop

It is worth to point out that Skyrim Workshop in Steam is still having problems. Mod subscription data is still disappearing from the game, as it has done almost trough the spring and summer 2015. Our support thread in Steam Skyrim Discussions was started as 22 March, when problem had already been going on for a while. No solid solution has been found to this date.

What happened?
Bethesda updated their Creation Kit and Workshop support to following changes.
– Size cap for the mods was lifted. Skyrim Workshop can now manage larger files than before.
– Managing of Workshop mods was changed from Skyrm launcher to Steam.
– CK now supports master files (.ESM) and they can now be uploaded to Workshop.

At the same time, Valve and Bethesda were planning on staring curated Workshop, bringing paid mods for Skyrim to Steam. As we know, this experiment was short lived, due to several reasons. For technical point of view, the Workshop was not considered as a proper platform for paid mods. The ongoing problem with subscriptions contributed to this, because how Skyrim manages script data.

What is the problem?
Skyrim Workshop looses data about mod subscriptions. You may have properly subscribed to a mod, but not able to get any data from it to your game. As if Worksop would remember that user has subscribed to a mod, but is unable to locate and provide data to the game itself.

Subscription doe not need to be a new one. This problem can appear with old mods that user has been subscribed to a long time, or it may be a completely new mod that user has just subscribed to. So far problem does not seem to be related to which version of CK were used when creating the mod, or even when it was uploaded to Skryim Workshop.

Problem is not persistent to all users, but may become persistent for any user experiencing it. It is especially troubling, because Skyrim stores script data to character save files and this data can not be properly cleaned away from them. Community has tools to help the problem, but none of the solutions can make save 100% clean. More importantly, if bugged file acts as a master file for other mods, then you will experience persistent Crashing after Bethesda screen, leading saves for that character to become permanently unplayable.

What can you try?
We do not have any solid solution for this. The most helpful process seems to be the following, although it may not always work.

  1. Favorite your mods, so you can easily find them later on.
  2. Unsubscribe from all mods causing trouble.
  3. Open the Data Files view from your default launcher and delete all mods that you have just unsubscribed from.
  4. Close your computer. Let it shut down, before starting it again (Not required, but recommended.)
  5. Use your Favorites list to subscribe mods you had previously unsubscribed from.

And as always: run LOOT to sort your load order. It does not matter what platform you used to mod your game. Game itself does not know where your mods came from.

More recommendations and discussion about this problem can be found from our support thread linked above.

Conclusion
Problem remains unsolved, until Valve and/or Bethesda takes steps to fix it. So far this has not happened. My recommendation is to avoid all scripted mods from Steam Skyrim Workshop for now. Rely on locally stored mods instead, like ones installed from Skyrim Nexus.

I also hope that problem with the Workshop does not scare away potential new players. We have plenty of peoples helping you to mod and fix your games in Steam Skyrim Discussions, Skyrim Nexus and other sites devoted to mod and troubleshoot your games. You can also check out our New player Spreadsheet aimed to help new players to get familiar with Skyrim and mod the game.

Skyrim technical and modding guides

These are my Steam guides and main posts for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I am trying to keep them up to date and add new information, when ever something new comes up.

Steam guides

Checklist: CTD after Bethesda screen
Guide deals with common problem, where Skyrim closes to desktop immediately after Bethesda screen. Problem is usually related to missing master file data.1
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=375836621

SkyBC Dictionary
Guide attempts to open terms and acronyms related to Skyrim and modding. Co-author: Nazenn.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=400267363

Forum posts

Small list of little big mods for Skyrim
Post about bug fixing mods and tools for Skyrim. Recommended Adjustments are also worth to check out. Several of them fix buglike behavior that was apparently intentionally left in by Bethesda Game Studios, but makes little sense for most players.
http://steamcommunity.com/app/72850/discussions/0/34094415774892758/

SKSE, memory and skse.ini
I made this post to make it easier for peoples to deal with custom SKSE.ini file and settings for Skyrim Script Extender. I was actually surprised how popular it became. I do not have any direct contact to SKSE team. If you experience any real problems with the script extender, then I recommend contacting directly to them.
http://steamcommunity.com/app/72850/discussions/0/540740500921363665/

1 It is relevant to know that Skyrim Workshop is currently having problems. Users may (or may not) experience problems with mods they have subscribed to. Most common problem is that they do not appear at all in Data Files, despite having proper subscriptions and having Elder Scroll Plugin (ESP) files associated with them. More about the matter here: Help thread: CK\Workshop update problem