Azura’s Watch: Alpha 03

CONTENTS: This version takes approximately 2GB HD space. The packed download is 709,72MB’s large. A BSA is included. LODSettings are included as well as a non-bsa’ed Sounds folder. If you’re updating from Alpha02, please make sure you’ve deleted all material from Alpha02 before installing this update.

INSTALLATION: Install manually. Get to Azura’s Watch by console warping onto the docks of Colonia (cow AzurasWatch -8,-4), or if you want a more interesting starting location, try cow AzurasWatch 1,-8. The file has not been cleaned. Only download if you have a true interest in the mod progress and/or want to give feedback, and if you know how to do the above mentioned things. Else wait for the proper Nexus beta release (planned next month).

REQUIREMENT: This version requires The XP32 Skeleton or similar (The second file in the Download list: XPMS 1-93a), otherwise it’ll crash. This is because of all the unique NPC’s, some with custom faces created in RaceMenu. It’s easy to install and remove later if need be.

FEEDBACK: Do provide feedback. You can comment on this blog. You can write me on SkyrimNexus or TesAlliance. You can E-Mail (Antiscamp[a]gmail.com) me. I’m on Twitter as well.

As always, this is an Alpha and glitches are to be expected. I’ve personally tested the mod on two systems with vanilla installs and it runs well, but I can’t guarantee anything. FPS and performance was noted to be adequate in a vanilla environment. Some areas are taxing especially in the heavily populated areas. Tamira has also tested the mod on her end.

KNOWN ISSUES: The Pirate Base in the east is buggy. I forgot to include some new stuff in the BSA I had gotten from Tamira. Doors are flying around weirdly and some floor textures are missing.

The mod contains adult references; you know – drugs, sex and rock n’ roll. If fun stuff like that ticks you off, go play Angry Lego Batman instead.

DOWNLOAD ALPHA 03 FROM MEDIAFIRE

Surprising Creativity

I’m just mind-blown by the creativity on display in this one. Wow! I did not even remotely imagine my mod being used for something like this, but the creativity of it all is just amazing! Good work, Shinji72! I love it.

Please press the thumb up on the video. I know how important thumbs ups are to YouTubers. There’s a thumbup icon on the embedded video as well, in the upper right corner.

Vanilla Screenshots

I just took these screenshots while spending a day in Azura’s Watch in totally vanilla state. I don’t even have SkyUI installed! I’m still amazed at how great it looks. There are some small problems with vanilla lighting though, but nothing serious. I’ll probably make Climates of Tamriel a recommended addition. That, and my favourite ENB, Seasons of Skyrim, along with ENBoost.

FPS is good throughout when in vanilla. Some areas are very heavy, though, notably in the colony as well as heavily forested terrain. The road east towards Gothar’s Logging Camp and the Larentius Farm is a real chokepoint as far as performance goes.

I’m good to go for Alpha 03 release tomorrow. I need to do another LOD update and fix some minor missing things, but yeah, watch this blog tomorrow.

Vanilla Screenshots

The Immediate Future

My Skyrim stabilization operations didn’t work. My game is crashing again. Just out of the blue after having been completely stable for a couple of days. So what I’m doing now is completely reinstalling the game.

This means I’ll be putting together Alpha 03 for release in the weekend because I’ll easily be able to see where stuff is amiss on a vanilla installation! I didn’t plan for an Alpha 03 before all the NPC’s were in place, but it’s kinda logical now, since work on the NPC update has taken longer than I expected (mostly due to me adding new areas, islands and resources). After Alpha 03, I’ll be working on the last missing pieces; like empty interiors, missing NPC’s and other stuff and hopefully get Beta 01 (for proper Nexus release) ready before Christmas.

All the quests will be added after Beta 01 on the Nexus as packages called “Episodes”.

That’s the Road Map. Watch this blog for the Alpha 03. I hope you’ll be mind-blown by it.

 

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And here we are in a vanilla game. I spent some time running around. It seems to work well. I’m really amazed at how great it looks even in vanilla. Here’s the first picture of a new location I’ve been working on. It’s the last of the planned important locations, the obligatory pirate base.

NavMesh Hell

NavMeshHell03

Take a good look at the picture above. It’s my definition of NavMesh Hell. It involves three cells and stairs on top of that. It took me half an hour to finish. With Oblivion’s Construction Set things like these took a couple of seconds. We had something called PathGrid, which specified where NPC’s could walk. Followers could still follow the player around wherever he went, even without PathGrid. Not so in Skyrim. If there’s no NavMesh, no NPC can walk on there, and that includes followers. Yay!

It’s my honest opinion that NavMesh doesn’t make NPC’s act more natural than in Oblivion either. They still walk into statics, stand on chairs and take weird routes. So what’s the gain really to move over to this beast of a system? Just time-consuming, completely non-understandable and unintuitive for new modders and generally irritating with error messages popping up even after you’ve done the “Check NavMesh” routine. It’s a real turn-off, I tell you.

So many things with modding this one have gotten so time-consuming and just plain no-fun.