Monthly Archives: November 2011

Horse tales in Skyrim

I’ve been spending way too much time in this game… hehe but it’s fun…

There is one thing that really annoys me – no not the damn dragons or other enemies – the horses! Every time I leave my horse some place or enter a battle with the horse near by it disappears (like running away)! Then afterwards it’s a pain to find it again! hehe If it’s an open area then finding it isn’t that hard but inside the woods or cliffs I’ve lost my horse more than once – to the point that I had to go back to a stable and buy a new damn one! 😉

If I can make just one request to the creators of Skyrim – please provide a way to find your horse again! Like a marker on the map, have a hot key so you (the character) can whistle and your horse will come get you (provided you are outside and not in danger or something). I’ve lost count how many horses I’ve bought and lost… (yes some died trying to help me fight a dragon or two…)

Then there is the issue that your companions can’t have a horse… shame. I feel so bad that poor Lydia has to run the whole time while I ride comfortably on my (disappearing) horse. How about having a passenger on my horse?

Please Bethesda give a horse rider a little slack! 😉

Update: just have to add this bit: a day or so ago my latest horse ‘Frost’ got into a fight with me against a dragon. Somehow it managed to get op top of the dragon during all the excitement and I couldn’t help start laughing – It looked like it was trying to stomp the dragon to death! Fortunately we managed to kill the bastard… I mean dragon… There will be no flying horses in the sequel…

Update2: I’m sad to announce that Frost is no more… He bravely fought a dragon along-side me and… {snip} gave his life in the process. I didn’t immediately realized it as the dragon flew a short distance to its final resting place where I gave it the last blow. At first I was cross because that ‘damn’ horse ‘ran away again’. Then I found the remains of poor old Frost… I gave him a moment of silence, took his meat and gave a salute. Damn he was a good horse! Oh well, I’ll just have to go get another one…

Update3: Seeing how many people read this post after doing a google search on missing horses it seems the disappearing horse problem is really an issue. It is a pity they (Bethesda) hasn’t fixed this issue yet. Please guys help us out a bit!

Skyrim progress (or not)

Seems like a number of people visited my blog concerning Skyrim. This is probably more an indication how popular the game is – and less about my great writing skills hehe.

As for progress in the game, I’ve lost count how many dragons I’ve killed – but I could probably look it up somewhere under achievements somewhere. I do have a few possible funny experiences that is in-game related – like the dog, the fiance (hu?) and a weird abduction experience I still haven’t figured out…

The dog, yes that damn dog! Brutes or something. It was annoying and constantly getting in the way of everything so I tool it back to its ‘master’ – but now I feel a bit bad for the poor thing – being turned into stone… forever…

Looking at the locked achievements on Steam one of them list ‘Getting married’. During the investigation into the whole abduction thingy some girl mention you bought/got a ring from her for your ‘fiance’. Somehow I must have chosen wrong dialog option there and the option for the rest of that conversation disappeared.

And then yes, that abduction thing still confuse me. What happened? Hu? From the reactions of some other characters it seems during that ‘missing’ time you did some weird and questionable things all over the place… When finally meeting the guy who instrumented the whole thing things happen so fast that I could not understand what he was talking about. Next thing you are back in some town with the whole ‘episode’ over.

Seems like the game is causing a whole life of its own to develop… hehe

Skyrim – another small update

I almost can’t believe that I somehow have already spent 24hours of playing Skyrim! Addiction perhaps… hehe

I’m still relatively satisfied with the game and haven’t had any major issues with it other than… One crash where the game just stopped running and I was back at the desktop. I restarted and played the same scene again without further issues. Must have been a glitch.

I have killed my third dragon – plus 2 giants, some trolls, a bear and a number of wolves. Got 3 dragon shouts already, bought a house, a horse and got a companion (named Lydia).

And have I mentioned it is addictive?…

Update: I had a dog for a while but he was so damn annoying – getting in the way of everything, that I returned him to his previous master (almost felt sorry for him then…)

Skyrim – my thoughts

I’m no professional reviewer – or even professional gamer so I have only a few words to say about this game – mostly good.

Having played Morrowind and Oblivion it is easy to get into the game play straight on. My first impressions was that the graphics wasn’t ‘that’ much more fantastic than its predecessors, but it probably depends on how you judge it. Close-by objects are difficult to improve on and this is the only real negative thing I can say for this game. Some objects and textures seen from up close still looks like low detail compare to other more recent games. However, when it comes to nature scenes and particular large viewing distances all I can say is ‘wow’!

Initially when I installed the game there were some hick-ups but it wasn’t because of the game itself – rather Steam acting up because of the overload of people trying to activate all the newly released games – plus the hacking issue they’ve been dealing with… I had to download 5GB+ of updates because Steam could not ‘validate’ the files on the physical game DVD I bought – not nice!

I am lucky enough to have a machine that can play the game on ‘Ultra-high’ settings (I7 860 with Radeon 5770). So far I haven’t seen any real performance issues and it appears the machine is handling it fine. At times I can hear the fans spin up bit. Load times are fairly quick and saving happens so fast it appears there is no interruption in game play.

There are a few things around interacting with objects or even the environment that still does not look and feel ‘real’. Characters walking or climbing up a ladder or stairs still does it with straight legs. Looks really ‘unreal’ and silly. Horses can run up almost impossibly steep hills and even when you turn sideways it does it – you guessed it – with straight legs – i.e. one side’s legs in the air and the other inside the ground.

I hope this is not a spoiler but I like the idea of you having companions that walks with you – helping defend you etc. I was just wondering, can’t I buy/get a horse for them too? Seems so cruel that I ride on my horse while they have to run around after you. Just an idea.

Weather is a great effect – like the snowstorms you see when you are high up in a mountain. It really makes you feel cold and wanting to get to a safe warm place. Thunder sounds good – but I suspect my old speaker system is not as good as it use to be so I might be missing some parts of the whole ‘effect’.

This is a ‘slow’ game unlike some other shoot and run games released recently. It is easy to get drawn into it and spend hours of game play – you just can’t seem to say ‘stop, I had enough’ easily 🙂 I’ve basically just started playing the game and already have something like 8 hours worth of it (but I don’t know where all 8 hours have gone… hehe). I probably still have to get to the really ‘exciting’ parts of the main quest so there are still some good game play ahead.

All in all I like this game. It isn’t the totally awhsum game some people might have expected – graphics wise, but it really isn’t bad at all.

QPerfMon 1.8.0

I created an updated version of my little quick performance monitoring tool. It is now possible to add multiple performance counters based on counters and/or instances at the same time. This makes it useful if you need to select several counters plus some/all instances in one go.

Additionally, I made an improvement in the way the colors automatically gets assigned to new performance counters as you add them. This will help avoid duplicate (default) colors as you add them.

QuickMon 2.5.2

Sometimes keeping track of version numbers is a job all on its own. I released an update to QuickMon to include the syntax highlighting component I found on Code Project (‘Fast Colored TextBox’ from Pavel Torgashov) for the manual xml editing and SQLQuery collector editing. After some initial issues with the control due to a bug in the .Net framework (Regex classes with Compiled option on x64) it is now working nicely.

Happy monitoring

RegexOptions.Compiled and x64 are not friends

As part of my attempt to use the FastColoredTextBox control I stumble across one of those undocumented .Net bugs that has been laying around for some time without being fixed – The Regex class with RegexOptions.Compiled option compiled under x64 or (Any CPU) that executes extremely slowly. In fact, it performs so slowly that it appears the whole application is frozen for a few minutes while the memory usage slowly climbs to ridiculous levels.

There are only 2 solutions to this issue for now: (1) compile all assemblies with x86 option only (not great if you are running on 64-bit) or (2) do not use the RegexOptions.Compiled option. For me the latter is a better choice since there is hardly a different between compiled and not compiled regular expression processing times – that I can see and certainly better than waiting minutes for a frozen app to start reacting again.

Thanks Microsoft for this one. Great way to waste time trying to look for problems in you own app while it is their crap breaking stuff.

 

Syntax high-lighting

I came across a cool control for syntax high-lighting based on a language (programming languages like C#, TSql etc.) created by  Pavel Torgashov. It provides a customizable way to configure syntax high-lighting based on configuration and you can even provide custom high-lighting based on a simple xml file.

I plan on using it in the QuickMon SQL Query collector’s editor so it  is easier to edit tsql statements. Seeing your code (sql) in different colors make it easier to spot editing problems and also to get a picture of what/where you are doing stuff. Of course, this control is not a compiler so it doesn’t actually do syntax or error checking but it helps with spotting problems if there are simple ones.

 

QuickMon 2.5

I recently made a big update to QuickMon. Since the start of version 2 I added the the concept of registering ‘agents’ in a separate ‘Agent Registration List’ file. The idea was that this could be reusable and allow more flexibility. But like some good ideas it was just too much for what the whole tool was intended for.

So I decided to simplify the whole way ‘agents’ are used in the application. From version 2.5 a ‘Monitor Pack’ will simply have a property that stores the path (a single path) where all agent assemblies/dll’s are stored. When opening a monitor pack to edit the default path will simple be the installation directory for the whole tool – which also contains all the agents anyway. This still allows you to make a copy of only some or even different version agents to another directory it you like. The default scenario however will be the simplest so that most users won’t even have to worry about possible complex things around this issue.

Then I added another thing. When launching a detail view of an agent’s state the window title will also display the collector name. This helps to identify which window is which if you have multiple similar windows open.

One negative point of all this is that it breaks compatibility with any previous version assemblies – since the some core interface changes were required. The new version editor can happily open previous version monitor pack files and save them in the new version format. The opposite is not possible though…

Anyway, happy monitoring

Real books

For the first time in many years I started reading a real book – well actually a paperback, and I really can’t remember why I stopped doing it. There is just something different about holding a real physical book in your hands – with paper, ink, paper bookmarks etc. Oh the nostalgia…

The book I’m reading now is a real sci-fi classic – ‘Ringworld’ by Larry Niven

Back then (1970) some of the concepts in this book must have been really weird. Instant teleportation, no ‘borders’ between countries, people not aging anymore, extremely strict birth controls, aliens living among humans, personal spacecraft, Hyper-drives etc. Some of these may/are almost becoming real soon. The ideas behind birth controls is something that ‘we’ at this point of time must be starting to look at. Personal spacecraft is something I for one, would really like. But I guess it will still take a few decades/centuries before that could happen. In the mean while they must fix the ‘aging problem’. hehe

Wow!