Category Archives: Games

EU4: A Relaxing Game of France – Results

So I ended the “Relaxing Game of France” last night in a mammoth stream. This is what the world looked like at the beginning of 1821:

I think it’s clear to say that the sun never sets on the French empire.

I finally did conquer Brittany. I’ll rationalize this by saying that the Ethiopian empress that ran France at the time didn’t care as much about the “historic bond” between the nations. Plus, by that time, we ended up in war a few times with them, because of Burgundy.

Speaking of Burgundy: I ended up in a Personal Union over them, so Burgundy is also part of the French Empire. The game ran out before we could assimilate them, of course.

Also part of the French empire: Frenice (where Venice used to be), Little Britain (Irlande), French Greece, and the Grand Duchy of Julie, centered around Constantinople.

French Colonial Holdings in Africa. The hearts of the French Emperors where never too much on Africa; they colonized South Africa as a spring board to get to Asia (and because of the rumors of gold), North Africa to stop the raids from the Berbers, and Madagascar to end the Slave Trade there. Everything else was taken to weaken Portugal and Castille and, later, to facilitate trade inside the Empire.

Much of North America was actually colonized by the Castillians, and taken over by France in an endless series of Colonial wars. The East Coast and Canada, as well as the Antilles, were colonized by France and Brittany. The English had some colonies here as well. Note that Brittany still exists – it got “exiled” to Greenland.

Again, much of South America – especially what is now Fra Plata – was originally colonized by Portugal. Parts of Northern Freezial were colonized by Bretons. The Andes were, for a long time, host to a proud and extended Inca nation, until it, too, was brought into the Empire in a series of quick wars.

In South-East Asia, France moved mostly into a vacuum – very few nations, either local or European – had colonies here. Many of the small islands and northern New Zealand were colonized by the Portuguese. Sumatra and the western tip of Java were conquered in the 18th Century.

In East Asia, Jin attempted to unify the Chinese nations and grew considerably. In Siberia, the French Empire set up a sizable colony with the goal of cutting Russia off from the Pacific. French East Siberia also served as a penal colony for undesirables.

France had owned a province in Wu for a long time, and in the late 18th Century, the Empire decided to expand these holdings, taking about two states from Wu in an extremely bloody war – the French leaders had underestimated the Chinese, leading to the annihilation of an entire Army of some 44,000 men in one battle.

Easy to miss is the French colony in India, Goa, taken from the Portuguese and used to control most of the trade in all of Asia.

Modlist for my current Skyrim Streams

I am using the following mods:

Compatibility patches have been omitted from the above list.

I removed these mods:

  • TrueStart: I like this in principle, but especially crafting is a chore unless the required levels are adjusted too. It may also be causing balance problems.
  • Removed 2016-11-11: Rivers for WATER – I experienced some odd green planes in waterfalls. Doubt it is caused by this, but wanted to simplify my Mod list.
  • Removed 2016-11-11: HQ Towns and Villages – Not sure I like it
  • Removed 2016-11-11: Detailed 2K Terrain – Detailed 2K Terrain – Not sure I like it
  • Removed 2016-11-11: Gecko’s 4k Mountain Texture – Trying out different texture
  • Removed 2016-11-11: WATER – Trying out different mods
  • Removed 2016-11-12: Falskaar – CTD issue I had was resolved in v2.0, but I won’t play this anytime soon. Hence I disabled it.
  • Removed 2016-11-12: The Forgotten City – I won’t play this anytime soon. Hence I disabled it.
  • Removed 2016-11-13: Ordinator Thieves Skill Rebalance – I want to see how gameplay changes
  • Removed 2016-11-15: Enhanced Candlelight
  • Removed 2016-11-15: TLE Recommended (Torchlight Extended)
  • Removed 2016-11-15: Real Mountains texture

 

GW2: World Completion

I finally made it – I completed all vistas and skill challenges, found all Points of Interests, viewed all Vistas, and got World Completion. Took me “only” three years, but to be fair I took extended breaks.

worldcompletion

The reward are two “Gifts of Exploration”, which allow me to craft Legendary weapons. Or would, if I had even remotely enough materials for it, or a precursor. (I did sell off Howl.)

wc-gifts

Doing this was actually a lot of fun. Some areas are pretty annoying – Orr, I am looking at you – but was actually quite satisfying to finally get it completed.

So, what’s next? I guess I really should complete the storyline as well. That, though, is a true exercise in patience.

Skyrim: Paid Mods on Steam

As you are probably aware – especially if you are a Skyrim player – Valve has dumped a big one on us. Mod authors are now able to menotize their mods for Skyrim, through the Steam Workshop.

At first glance, this might not seem like a big deal. Why shouldn’t a mod author receive some compensation for their time and effort?

That in itself wouldn’t be a problem, but there are so many other problems with this plan that turns what, at best, could perhaps be called a good intention (it’s not, as you will see) into a complete disaster.

  • It’s bait-and-switch: Mods were free, and were expected to be free, and in the case of Skyrim have been free for four years. Changing this now feels wrong, especially for the mods that already in use by people.
  • Future Dangers: Even if it’s voluntary now, there is nothing but a simple statement to the licensing terms missing from making mod payments mandatory. This will happen, sooner or later, have no doubts about it.
  • Copyright infringement and scams: Money is a great incentive for scammers. There are already cases of copyright infringement, and reports of people trying to scam others with useless mods, or uploading other people’s work.
  • It’s divisive: Just check the comments on Steam or Reddit. Did we really need another reason for a flame war? Well, we got one.
  • Important mods can abuse their power: SkyUI, for example, is an essential mod for Skyrim and needed by many other mods. It used to be free. It will require payment in the future. This essentially breaks the social contract that existed between the SkyUI authors and everybody else.
  • It destroys trust and cooperation: Suddenly, mod authors aren’t a community anymore – they are competitors. Already we are seeing people who disallow others to use their resources, because they feel strongly about the money-making scheme now afoot. Authors of commercial mods are incentivized not to help others, even authors of free mods, because doing so lowers their revenue potential.
  • Pricing is way off: The base game used to cost 60 Euro, and is now down to 30 Euro (for the legendary edition). The 17-mod “debut pack” has a list price of circa 37 Euro. This feels out of whack. For my install base, I’d have to estimate 100+ Euro additional cost just for the mods. No, really, this is way too much.
  • Worst of all – IT DOES NOT BENEFIT THE MOD AUTHORS: Valve tries to sell this as “supporting the mod authors”, while in truth the author gets only 25% of the revenue. Valve pockets 30%, and while you could argue they need to pay for infrastructure and administrative overhead, Bethesda grabs 45% of the revenue. Bethesda does nothing for that money. Skyrim is not even supported anymore.

There is some resistance forming – people who claim this will deter them from buying Fallout 4 or the next Elder Scrolls game, some who change their Skyrim review on Steam to negative. Some mod authors actively state that they will provide their mods free, forever. Some even hide their mods on the Steam Workshop in protest.

As for me, there is not much I can do. I can post about it, and raise awareness (to all of my two readers, haha). I will not buy another Bethesda game. I will continue my Skyrim series, but that’s out of respect for the three people who watch it. I will have to rethink my relationship with Valve/Steam – I am a fairly good customer, and I need to reduce this in the future, but there is pretty much no way for me to stop using Steam altogether unless I want to kiss the investment I made in it goodbye. (There is a lesson in DRM here, as well, and about platform lock-in.)

It’s a sad, bleak day.

Mountain Bay Map

I bought Cities:Skylines and am loving it. So much that it is the first game since Neverwinter Nights that I have considered creating content for. Here’s a quick early attempt, a map based on Morro Bay area:

cities-mountainbay-map
Mountain Bay Map Screenshot

You can subscribe to it (download it) via the Mountain Bay Steam Workshop Page. Constructive feedback is always appreciated, especially since this is my first map for Cities.

 

Let’s Play Skyrim: Mods Used

Here’s a list of all mods I am using for my Let’s Play Skyrim series, plus any extra comments on installation I might have – this is not a replacement for reading each mod’s documentation!

Note that while I own the game on Steam, I don’t use the Workshop at all – I download everything off of Nexus Mods using the Mod Organizer.

I own all Skyrim DLC and have the free High Resolution DLC installed as well.

I don’t use any ENB except for the speedboost ENB. And, just in case: The list below is not my load order, obviously…

 

Unofficial Skyrim Patches.

These are basically required for anybody who plays Skyrim on a PC. Download and install the ones you need based on the DLC you own:

SKSE

The SKSE is required by SkyUI and many other mods and is, for all intents and purposes, mandatory.

I do like OneTweak because I am a big fan of fullscreen window mode for games.

User Interface

Gameplay

In addition, I am using these “survival” mods:

See also “Real Shelter”, under Beautification.

Crafting

Weather

Landscape

Followers

  • Follower Trap Safety –This is a mod I actually don’t “like” to use; however, it’s hard to impossible to micro-manage followers and so I decided to include this mod.

Monsters and NPCs

Magic

Beautification

Equipment

I didn’t want to overload my game, but a few nice-looking weapons and armor never hurt anybody (except, hopefully, my enemies). Plus, cloaks should help with the harsh climate.

I did also install these two book mods:

Additional Content

Audio

 And that’s it…

…but I guess the list of mods will change as I play…