Games

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.

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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/.

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