E3 12: More Elder Scrolls -- Skyrim Expansion, Dawnguard

June 5, 2012 - 10:46 PM |
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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is getting an expansion pack known as “Dawnguard”. The expansion explores vampirism and to a lesser extent, lycanthropy. Extra content includes new quests related to those vile blood-suckers as well as new abilities and two new skill trees.

Todd Howard spoke at DICE conference and played a video of his team’s GameJam: one week of passion projects.

The Skyrim GameJam sizzle video highlighted several of those projects with many already included in recent patches. A fairly decent period of the video was focused on Vampirism and Lycanthropy and forms the basis of the newly announced Skyrim: Dawnguard expansion pack.

G4 has forwarded some further details from Bethesda as a part of their E3 coverage.

Hopefully the Werebear has also made the cut.

This DLC seems to be a homecoming of the typical expansion packs that we PC gamers remember.

The extra campaign appears to be fairly lengthy for an update with a decently engrossing story. The trailer suggests that you will have a different series of quests depending on whether you support the vampire cult or wish to destroy it. In addition we will also receive two separate skill trees: vampirism will be advanced by feeding on the living and lycanthropy will be advanced by feeding on the dead.

The expansion will launch on (editor's note: Forgot to write the 360 release date) June 26th for the Xbox 360 first with the PS3 and PC to follow at an unspecified date. There is no mention of price. (editor's note: Apparently it'll be ~$20 and was briefly mentioned in the video I linked -- must have missed it.)

Source: G4TV

The NVIDIA Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Tweak Guide Is Now Live

December 8, 2011 - 11:45 AM |
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NVIDIA has put together a comprehensive tweak guide for getting the most from Skyrim. The tweaks themselves also apply to AMD GPUs so just because you aren't running an NVIDIA GPU right now doesn't mean you should skip checking out the information they've posted. Much of the information deals with the settings you find under the options menu, from choosing how you want autosaves to work to how far you should set your draw distance to.

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They focus on the effects of the graphical settings for the majority of the article as it will be there that most of the tweaking will be done. Results of combining FXAA and MSAA are covered, both in terms of visual quality and performance impact at several different resolutions. As well, textures and shadow quality are examined in depth, including object detail. There are settings which seem to give you improved visual quality with little to no impact on your frame rate, options such as reflections, anisotropic filtering and actor fade can be turned up without crippling your system.

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From there they get into the real tweaks, requiring you to edit .ini files (make a copy first) and become acquainted with the console. The steps to disable V-Sync to uncap your frame rates and ditch the annoying mouse stuttering, increase your field of view and fine tune the shadows of Skyrim are revealed. They also cover the console commands in the game, not just how to turn god mode on and off but also how to teleport, turn off grass and other effects for troubleshooting, setting up batch files that can be run during the game and even the 'triple q' quick quit to desktop.

Source: NVIDIA

Mid-range cards take on snow and fire in Skyrim

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 25, 2011 - 12:55 PM |
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The Tech Report, who hasn't been having a problem with Skyrim on their i5-750 system, tried out six mid-range cards to determine the best settings to provide decent performance.  Following their new practice they do not measure frame rate but rather frame time, to find a level of performance where the frames are drawn in a consistent manner instead of varying from 100ms for one frame to 5ms for the next.  Take a look and see how well these mid-range cards can manage the latest Elder Scrolls game.

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"We've followed up our look at Battlefield 3 performance with a similar comparison of mid-range graphics cards in The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

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The best console port I've played yet ... at least when Skyrim feels like letting me play

November 23, 2011 - 01:08 PM |
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Starting Skyrim for the first time was an interesting experience, obviously you once again start as a prisoner but perhaps one with some serious brain damage as reality seems to move in starts and jerks as if your eyes had a stuttering problem.  Eventually the stuttering cleared up, providing a weekends worth of gaming but by Tuesday the stuttering had returned.  It became clear that it was time to embark on every PC gamers favourite pastime; troubleshooting the game you just bought in the hopes of some day playing it.

Some troubleshooting revealed a serious case of consolitis, the game was not Large Address Aware and limited its self to a maximum serving of 2GB; the adoption of 64bit versions of Windows being very limited by the end of 2011.  Even more damning was what happened when Intel's SpeedStep technology was enabled in the BIOS, the CPU would dip to about 60% of its maximum frequency when you played the game and the process would use under 10% of a core, maybe two if you were lucky.  GPU usage was variable and was sometimes actually sitting at or above 90% usage, but for the most part varied widely. 

A little research showed that SandyBridge owners and those with the previous generation of chips who overclocked above 4GHz were not having many problems, proving that the brute force method of overcoming consolitis could work.   For those who haven't upgraded yet and are waiting for the new year to do so, they must either wait or find a more elegant solution.  To the intarwebs!

INI file tweaks are always popular and Gamefront has a few, the most notable are bMouseAcceleration=0 and iPresentInterval=0 which disable mouse acceleration and V-Sync respectively.  As well, over at Skyrim Nexus is a modified TESV.exe that makes the game LAA and more importantly does not need to replace the main executable in your Skyrim folder so that you won't need to worry about having a modified executable.  As well adding the string +fullproc to the end of the path in your executable should help Skyrim utilize a bit more of your processor.  In the end though, more tweaking is needed for some PC gamers to fully appreciate the latest Elder Scrolls game and more time needs to be spent researching general tweaks as well as Bethesda specific ones.

If you are experiencing no issues with Skyrim, but would like to tweak it to look better then [H]ard|OCP offers a guide for a variety of tweaks and you can grab a variety of game mods from GameFront.

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Now if only BF3 multiplayer would stop locking with a loud noise that sounds suspiciously like a raspberry.

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Need For Speed: The (30fps) Run

November 16, 2011 - 01:13 PM |
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[H]ard|OCP has been having a hard go of it with recent game releases.  CoD Modern Warfare 3 was described as being useless for benchmarking as any mid range GPU can play at maxed settings even at high resolutions.  That discovery came after the Rage incident, when benchmarked it hit 60fps and refused to move, no matter what hardware was thrown at it.  Picture the expression on the reviewers face when they fired up Need For Speed: The Run expecting the Frostbite 2 engine of Battlefield 3 fame to torture their test bench only to find a similar result to Rage, except locked at 30fps.

Thankfully for the continued sanity of their review team, [H] also got hold of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to benchmark.  Benchmarking this game was much more productive, especially in multi-GPU setups and it also revealed a small oddity with the games auto-detection of graphics settings.

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"Need for Speed: The Run was released today, utilizing the Frostbite 2 engine, same as Battlefield 3, it should have some pretty good graphics. However, after we dove into this game this morning, we found that it falls rather flat for a PC game. We'll talk about performance and image quality in this article."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP