Draco Torre

David G Shrock

Skyrim Life

Life in Skyrim

Non-player characters (NPCs) have jobs to go to during the day and homes to rest in at night along with other places to visit such as the tavern. However, these NPCs don’t do much else besides crunch on a bread loaf or sleep fully clothed. A few NPCs never move waiting for the PC to ask a question, standing at their post all hours day and night. In my post on environment immersion, we found how “Wet and Cold” altered NPC behavior by donning cloaks or going indoors during bad weather. It would be nice to see NPCs show more life and variety.

Keep in mind this is an RPG with random and significant encounters. The player’s character (PC) will never meet all citizens, and may ignore much of the ordinary wildlife. Town and wildlife populations are bigger than it might seem in the landscape compressed by space and time. Still, it may seem odd the PC doesn’t randomly encounter more variety. “Velexia’s Animals are not Monsters” addresses the wildlife issue. I haven’t tried it due to my concerns over random encounters and game balance. My initial thought would be a need for increased encounters, or keeping the animal encounters at a mininum so the PC mostly deals with significant encounters. Many predators may simply hide in the woods going unnoticed.

The PC should be able to do some ordinary life needs. I’ve always wanted to join the skinny-dipping hunters in hot springs, but my character could only just stand there. Bathing might be nice, too, and meaningful if getting dirty lowers speechcraft.

Not every life detail needs included. Some things can be left to imagination.

Several of my selected mods are primarily for immersion bordering on cosmetic, but a few may alter gameplay. I try to keep close to the original game balance, so my selections do not include mods that may alter combat. As always, trying mods come with risk. Start a new game or back up a save point before testing a mod. If you’re new to adding mods, see my first post in this series.

iTunes tip: Manage Data on Multiple Drives

As a media collection grows larger using more storage drives becomes more beneficial. Picking a point to begin adding new iTunes media to a new drive is simple: just update the destination to the new drive and don’t let iTunes move all existing media. Picking specific media to move now is less intuitive. Let’s review.

In iTunes, select iTunes from the menubar and pick “Preferences…” which opens the preferences window. Select the last tab “Advanced” which should look similar to the screenshot below.


You may leave the checkmarks as shown. Paste in your new destination for your media folder in the box (drag-drop or copy-paste from Finder on OS X) and click the Change… button. Click OK. Answer “No” to moving all your media.

Now go to your media to select which files you wish to move. I recommend viewing by list instead of icons. Multi-select the files you wish to move. Then right-click (or control-click) and select Consolidate files. Wait for all the media to copy to the new folder. Repeat as necessary.

If you’d like your media to continue adding to the original folder, go back to the advanced preferences and click the Reset button and OK. Again, answer “No” to moving all files. Alternatively, paste in the drive folder you wish to add new content to into the box and click Change….

Now your media is organized over multiple drives.

Respect Contracts

Sometimes developers will break NDAs to release inside information ahead of release which has happened a number of times with iOS over the years. Recently Apple offered developers the opportunity to order limited new Apple TV units early by request into a lottery selection. The purpose of the unit is to test their tvOS apps on a real device before release. As reported by Macrumors, iFixit released a teardown on 4th generation Apple TV using the developer unit. iFixit has since been banned by Apple for breaking NDA resulting in the iFixit app being pulled from the App Store. Banning developer accounts for breaking NDA isn’t unusual, and is the standard response from Apple.

Why couldn’t iFixit wait a few more weeks to post their teardown? I hope it isn’t just for web traffic. Worse is if another developer has been denied a unit for testing an app. In a blog post, iFixit mentions that they “weighed the risks” and decided to ignore their contract anyway. Disregarding business contracts and NDAs is bad business, and shows their web visitors that doing business with them is risky. The post doesn’t mention how iFixit obtained their developer unit, but I assume it was through the lottery request order available to developers in early September.

I’ve mentioned co-founder of iFixit, Kyle Wiens, before about his hiring methods using grammar. He asserts that “good grammar is credibility” and people who make fewer mistakes in writing also make fewer mistakes in other work. Too bad the iFixit team made a doozy of a mistake here. I feel bad for any developer that may have been unable to obtain a developer unit having lost lottery selection to iFixit.

Sorry, iFixit has lost my respect and my business.

Please, respect your contracts and agreements.

Pretty Skyrim: Elements

I covered environmental immersion in my previous post. This time we’ll look into improving the beauty for Skyrim. One could go very realistic, ultra-fantasy art visuals, or cartoon-ish even. Since this is a fantasy game, and I’m going for immersion, my goal leans towards a realistic look maintaining the fantasy feel. Besides my picks, I’ll share a few alternatives. I wasn’t completely happy with any of the ENB preset choices so I’ll go over my adjustments.

In general, install new weather and landscape mods followed by lighting before installing and adjusting ENB. Since ENB replaces anti-aliasing, go ahead and disable antialiasing (AA) in Skyrim Settings anisotropic filtering. I play at 2056 x 1440 resolution (1440p) so more pixels compared to 1080p affect my decisions on mods I add. Pretty and playable.

When I went looking for mods, I started with the post, “15 mods that make Skyrim look beautiful” on IGN. There you’ll find some alternative ideas to mine. All the mods I list here link to Nexusmods and some are also available on Steam Workshop. If you’re new to installing mods, see my intro post for an overview.


Lunar Eclipse 2015-09


The Harvest Super Moon total lunar eclipse last night I captured with a Canon Rebel attached to a Celestron C8 telescope used like a big telephoto lens. The shutter was held open for approximately five seconds. In the past I’ve counted the seconds, but this time I let the Canon Rebel decide calculated on the light using the standard P setting. It did a nice job. So as not to shake the camera, I used a wired shutter button.