Posts about gaming (old posts, page 2)

Bioshock Infinite might finally convince me to by an Xbox

I just read Jeremy Parish’s interview with Ken Levine of Irrational Games where they discuss the AI of the non–player characters in Bioshock Infinite. The original Bioshock was the first game that made me want a 360, but I eventually played it on Steam. I bet my poor iMac couldn’t handle this, though… maybe I’ll have to purchase a 360 after all.

The AIs are constantly watching each other, too. There’s a part where a guy runs into another guy and knocks him over and starts beating on him. The way that works is, that’s not a script, it’s an A.I. going, “Hey, I’m available for something cool.” And another A.I. goes, “You know what I can do? I can come over and beat the shit out of you.” And the other A.I. says, “OK, cool, let’s do that.” But they can only do that in the right situation. Are they being shot at? OK, then no, they can’t do that. Is something else going on? No, they can’t do that. We have this whole library of content – that library, for instance, or Elizabeth saying this or doing that – but the system is constantly monitoring the playing and saying, “Is this the right time? Is this the right time?” And that’s the most challenging thing we’re doing with this game.

~ Ken Levine

session nine | Oblivion

I decided to check out Fort Carmala. There are zombies nailed outside the door, so the thought of what may be inside is chillind indeed--but I'm feeling adventurous. I found a dead treasure hunter inside the door, which cannot have been a good sign. Alas, upon entering I was set up on by zombies and vampires. There were so many I could not hope to fight them off and fled.

I returned to Skingrad where I was warned about that strange fellow who wanted me to meet him behind the chapel. I also talked to many in the mage's guild about that recommendation to the University. It seems I need to look in a cave to the northwest to find the man I need.

I turned the creepy man named Glarthir down and left for Bleak Flats cave. I found the cave infested with zombies. No wonder this man has not been in town for awhile! I hate those stupid things. They are so quick and hard to take down. He's most likely been trapped in this cave for awhile now. I can't even keep track of how many I have killed.

I found Erthor hiding in a corner of the cave. I wanted to steal his things and leave, stupid man hiding in a zombie cave and not even being able to take care of himself! I doubt he could have stopped me, but I seem to have gained an aversion to such things since I've started this quest. If I get arrested, the entire world could fall down around my ears and then where would I be? I best leave thieving for after the Deadre are taken care of. For now I shall be honest in only looting abandoned things and dead men. I returned to Skingrad with Erthor and gained my recommendation. Too bad there are so many left to get.

I continued on to Imperial City. I found Baurus, who told me that someone was following him. He led me to a private store room where he was attacked by his follower! I quickly killed the man which left Baurus free to talk. He directed me to the Arcane University to talk to Far- Meena about the Mystic Dawn cult. She told me to find more of the books about the cult (I had taken the first edition off the man I had killed). I went to the bookstore in town. The shop keeper told me they had the book, but that it had been promised to another. When that man showed up to claim the book, I followed him quietly out of the store. Unfortunately, he became aware of me; however, that did not damage my intimidation skills at all.

Gwinas gave up the book as soon as I told him the cult was behind the murder of the Emperor. I went back to to Baurus who led me to the secret meeting Gwinas had set up with the cult. After a long trek through sewers and killing a whole host of vermin and several goblins, we came to the place. I promised Baurus I would see him out alive, but he did not seem so certain.

I hid around a corner to watch the cult members show up, but they came from an unexpected place! Seeing that I would be quickly discovered, I took a shot at the leader and a skirmish began. Baurus and I managed to kill the cult members with both of our necks intact, but the battle was fierce. I can see why Baurus had been worried for his life as he took the worst of it. I found the 4th book and Baurus ran off without so much as a thank you. It was strange, after the way I had saved him... I made my way out of the sewers and back into the light of the Emperial City.

session eight | Oblivion

I dropped off more equipment at the castle and took the time and safety afforded by its walls (despite its history) to make use of the many herbs and other ingredients that I had collected thus far. With the alchemical equipment I had just plundered from the small ruin held by Diedre cultists. I prepared not a few potions for myself, and poisons for my arrows.

Wandering about outside for the remainder of the day, I happened upon another nirnroot. Perhaps I will satisfy the Skingrad alchemist after all!


Andi wanted to play Oblivion ever since she heard someone mention it on Loading Ready Run. I've wanted to play it, too; but neither of us wanted to put the isolated time required into finishing such a long, in-depth game. (Especially since I got it on Steam, so it's not something you can just sit down and play in the living room.)

Our solution has been to play together, on the same character. We're taking turns alternating playing and taking notes, and we're posting the results (for better or for worse) here.

session six | Oblivion

I was almost out of arrows as we entered Kvatch; but there was no time to resupply: it's time to drive out the stragglers! I downed a few potions to recover from my brief delve into Oblivion, while we ran up the hill.

We prevailed against initial forces, besting a few scamps and a daedre. Savlian Matius led us into the chapel to search for survivors; hopefully also the heir.

Amidst the few huddled survivors I found brother Martin. I pulled him aside and tried to explain the situation, but he was noticeably shaken by recent events, and mostly heard a vague indication that the horror that had befallen him and his might be on his account. Before he knew what was happening, I'm sure, I had dragged him behind me, and headed out the door toward Weynon Priory.

Martius stopped me before I left, requesting further aid in retaking Kvatch; but how could I drop this task with Martius at my side? Not when I was so close to putting this whole mess behind me. No: I must head to the Priory.

On the way down the hill, we met a patrolman heading our way. I didn't dare to share with him the real purpose of our journey, but he had already heard of me time spent in Oblivion: how I had close the gate at Kvatch. He stayed with us for a time, and for once, I was glad of the presence of the guard. If only he knew that he may be escorting the future emperor... but no: we cannot risk exposure at this stage.

On the journey, Martin displayed considerable proficiency through a few minor skirmishes with beasts and the like. Nothing too threatening, but it was enough to redeem his display in Kvatch. I suppose the gates of Oblivion opening into your home would disturb most: he should not be judged on that alone.

Ernor met us on the road to Weynon Priory to inform us of an attack that was underway! Though the incumbents appeared as heavily armored soldiers, as they were struck down (as they were wont to do under our force) their armor and weapons vanished, revealing more of the same men that I had fought with the emperor!

We found Jaufree in the chapel, fighting of a band of assassins that had surrounded him. He led us to a safe house where he had stored the amulet of kings; but it had been stolen!

The Priory was no longer safe: we took mounts (I that of the fallen Prior Maborel) and headed to Cloud ruler Temple, where Jaufree hoped Martin might be safe.

session four | Oblivion

I headed toward Battlehorn castle where I assisted in defense from a pack of marauding bandits. For my troubles, I was given ownership of the fortification. How troubled must these people be, that they would turn their livelihood over to me for so small a thing? Of course, ownership comes not as a boon, but as an implied responsibility: now they expect me to restore this heap to its alleged once greatness, all by the weight of my own coin. And for what? To provide a cushy home for men that couldn't even defend themselves in battle?

And to top it all off, my horse rode off (taking my new armor with it) during the fight.

I spent some time examining my acquisition, but nothing changed my first impression. There is a blacksmith here, but he presumes to still charge for his services? Are his rates even any better than those in the market?

Back on foot once again, I headed back to Chorral to unload some of the spoils of the conflict on the market. On the way, I discovered a fallen mage in the road, his horse standing by the presumably fresh kill. He had a tome on him... a spell called "burdening touch" seemed interesting enough... but not much else. Typical enough for a mage, I suppose. The guard at Chorral didn't take too kindly to me riding into town on the mage's horse, though. The way I see it, he didn't need it any longer; but I still find little use arguing with the soldiers: they have their uses, too.

Rumors throughout the town seemed to be centered on this woman named Bruiant. I tracked her down, but her demeanor didn't mesh well with mine. By the end of it, it took some coin for her to quiet down. No matter: I don't see what all the fuss was about.

Twice robbed of my horse, I checked at the stables to see what was available; but all available were far beyond my means. I wonder if they'll take a money pit of a castle in trade?

Back in Weynon Priory, Brother Piner gave me a copy of "The warp in the West" and told me of the close relationship between his order and the Blades. Mundane stuff, really: it's not as though this wasn't already apparent.

By his father's request, I met up with Rallus Odiil to defend their settlement from marauding goblins or some other such monster. Though they fought valiantly, the brothers fell in battle: I alone survived to bring the news of the fight to their father. Valius took the news hard, and left to prepare for his sons' burial.

session five | Oblivion

I have decided to head to Kvatch to continue with my most important quest. I seem to be side tracked very easily. This could not have been illustrated any more clearly to me than in a cave I found on the WAY to Kvatch. The spoils were quite good, but the creatures inside were almost not worth the trouble. I believe the cave is known as the Wind Cave. It was absolutely crawling with Imps! Fearsome little creatures. I got into such a tizzy trying to rid the cave of them that they had me horribly exhausted and bleeding beyond a state I should have let myself get into in such a cave. Clean forgot about my healing potions! Oh well, I made off with some money and jewels and left. I also got some very nice new magical clothing which I believe will come in handy.

I left the cave and scouted across the wilderness trying to work on my potions ingredients store. I thought it would be a quiet trip, but no less than 3 bears pursued me in one afternoon! Not long after, I found a farmer who said the bears had been terrorizing his flock. He offered mea reward to kill at least 3 more and present him with evidence. I did that and more. Stupid things. Even after I'd killed six 2 or 3 more sill managed to find me. If I didn't thin the bear population enough after that, there's no hope because they are magical bears sprouting from the fields like daisies and will soon over run us all. Stupid beasts. The farmer only gave me a book, but I suppose knowledge is power and it wasn't much trouble at that. Blasted beasts were hunting me anyway.

I went on and found all sorts of ruins in the country side. Also, a few alters that gave me a sort of chilled, but good feeling. I stopped and prayed. I don't know if anyone was listening, but I guess it couldn't hurt and any extra aid, even the possibility of it, is appreciated. After a stretch of peace, I happened upon a large ruin of a chapel. It looked to be the sort of place that could hold some real value, so I thought I'd explore it a bit. I found some goblins outside frying fish. People in this part of the country call them "bitter-fish goblins." They smelled it too. I dispatched them without too much trouble and took some small trinkets from their stores. Then I went to explore the building beneath the ruins. Nothing could have convinced me to give up treasure hunting for awhile more effectively than what I found. ZOMBIES! I whole horde! It was awful! I always thought zombies would be hulking and slow, but these were lightening fast and stronger than anything I had encountered before them. I turned around and ran as fast as I could. I shook most of them off, but one followed me! It took forever to kill and hurt me something awful. I will have revenge one day! But for now, I think I shall leave the zombies to adventurers stronger than I.

I continued on to the plateaued city of Kvatch. Just down the main road leading up to the city, I found a man nearly out of his mind in terror! He grabbed me and told me of a terrifying tale of gateways opening into Oblivion. OBLIVION! It gave me shivers just thinking about the possibilities. Apparently there are already those who would stop Martin from reaching the throne. I was hoping it had not been discovered so soon. I ran up the road to find more frightened refugees, and at the top a smoldering window into Oblivion itself! Soldiers were doing everything they could to kill anything coming out, but the troops looked ragged and exhausted. In a moment of insanity I agreed to go into the portal to look for lost soldiers and to close the gate. I don't know what possessed me...

Inside, I found one lone soldier and a pit of hell every bit as bad as anything I'd ever imagined. The soldier agreed to help me as we were set upon by the devilish creatures within. The Daedre themselves were more frightening still! Huge beasts with bows and war hammers. It was a blessing to find out that my cold touch had particular effect on them. I don't know what I would have done otherwise. I spent most of my arrows getting through that nightmare and I feared my magic and sword skills would not be enough. At one point, I faced so many enemies that I jumped from a bridge to a small ledge over a terrifying height jut to get away. It was madness! I should have died! Remarkably, the stupid creatures tried to follow me and fell to the terrifying depths below. It was a miracle. I could never have defeated them all. Unfortunately, I lost the soldier who followed me (who I think also fell) and was unable to lead anyone out. But, I did close the gate. I more heroic feat I have never attempted. I can't believe I did it. I tried to take some of the fearsome weapons and armor I found on the Daedre within, but they were far too heavy. I did however, bring some of their hearts. A gruesome thing, but they must be invaluable in potions. Right?

The soldiers were glad to see my victory and led me to fight any straggling enemies in the city... I don't know how much help I'll be with so few arrows. I'll look to the cold touch again.

session three | Oblivion

I went to another local shopkeeper to sell off the plate armor I'd found. I made 80 gold! I was about to sell the sword I found as well, but upon further examination I realized it was truly a sword of rare make. Fine craftsmanship, and magical qualities were instilled in this blade! I may sell it later, but for now I shall see how it feels to use it in my own hands. I visited a few more merchants and then decided it was finally time to leave Imperial City.

Just outside the city, I used the letter I had about horse armor to earn not only armor, but also a free horse! It's an old nag and not very quick, but I'll take anything if it's free. Besides, I can always use the armor on a better horse if I decide the old nag isn't for me. I little ways down the road, I decided to stop at an inn to rest up from my grave robbing adventures. I had an awful dream about getting chased down by an Imperial soldier. All I had done was examine a worthless broom and he chased after me with his sword calling me a thief! Over a broom! I was very glad to wake up from THAT dream indeed. The next morning I talked to the Inn keeper again who convinced me to look for some rare wine for her collection. She said she'd pay me well. I always like to be paid, but I'm not sure how excited I am about searching old forts for it.

I headed out on my horse and ran across Fort Ash pretty quickly. I decided it could be interesting for a look and that I had the wine on my mind anyway, so I got out to look around. It went much deeper than I thought! Full of goblins too, and no wine that I could find. Ah well. I picked up a little gold and some more wares to sell. The stupid place was booby trapped well, and had a tricky series of gates that I had to sort out to get through. I really hadn't meant to spend much time there. I DID manage to find some jewels that might be very worth my time, so I'll cling to that.

On my way out of the fort some idiot bandits tried to hold me up! Imagine, making your living that way. I'll take gold off someone stupid enough to give it to me, but thieving is not the way. It requires so little cunning. Even pick pockets are more clever than these road side thieves. I didn't bother with them. Even my old nag out ran them without any trouble. I made it to Waynan Priory without seeing them again.

I was greeted at the Priory by a Shepherd named Eronor who pointed me to Jauffree. Jauffree was glad to see the Amulet, but told some spooky stories about what it could mean for the Empire. He seemed to think that we might be under threat from Oblivion if a new heir isn't found to relight the Dragon Fires. Oblivion! That's something I do without when I try to sleep at night. He told me about an unknown heir named Martin in another town. I certainly hope no more of the Emperors enemies know about him. I must find him quickly so that I can rest easy and get out of this foolish royal mess. Now that I'm out of prison it would be nice to be out for my own adventures and profit once more. Right now, escaping prison seems meaningless with this weight on my shoulders.

Jauffree provided me with some free armor and weaponry to help me on my way. I should think it's the least he owes me if I am taking the safety of the Empire, maybe the world, upon my shoulders. If this was planned by the Nine, I have some thoughts for the foolish gods who thought it was a good idea to use me in their plans. I guess all I can do is continue with the quest.

session two | Oblivion

I paid my fine (an annoying five gold pieces) and returned to the city. Wandering around the city yielded little gossip... mostly chatter about the emperor and the dark brotherhood... but nothing about Thorimir. I found him in the city, talking with someone that a local told me was named Agramir, but their demeanor was closed and I was unable to discern anything about their relationship (beyond the very fact of a clandestine midnight meeting).

I spent another day in town, lounging about shops and again listening to local gossip... nothing new. This time, when Agramir noticed me following them he shouted, "Thief!" Before I knew it, I was in irons on my way back to the prison. Another trip, another fine.

It worked out to my advantage, though. Agramir was apparently satisfied that I would be occupied for longer than I was: neither he nor Thorimir noticed as I caught the end of their conversation: they argued over shipping and the diversity of goods available between them.

I followed Agramir hack to his house in the Talos district. I waited for him to leave, then entered his house to find evidence of grave-robbing: bones, dirt, shovels... even a manifest of what he had exhumed.

I took this evidence to Thorimir, who was agast at the thought. Eager to help, he directed me to the cemetery, where he believed Agramir would be plying his trade at that very hour.

I found Agramir in the Tirentius family mosoleum, but I had not evaded his notice: he was waiting for me, and with an armed guard. It was a harsh fight, but I prevailed, recovering proof of his deeds.

When I returned, Thorimir had donated his profits and the remainder of his inventory to the temple, and had joined the merchant society. He even gave me a ring of elemental resistance in thanks.

Jensine acknowledged and appreciated my involvement. My reward was 100 gold pieces.

Now to sell that plate armor...

session one | Oblivion

Lion with a Jeweled Headress


"Hey kitty kitty"

After my fellow prisoner teased me and offered some rat treats I was met with a surprise. The emperor showed up blathering about some secret passage. I better follow. It may be my only chance for escape. It looks kind of creepy.

Our party was attacked and I ran for cover. The crazy emperor can fend for himself. He was fine anyway and I got this sweet cloak. The guards are jerks. If more fall maybe I can get more loot.

I've grabbed some stuff from the passage. It sure is creepy down here. And cold. the rats are huge!

I was right about the loot - but I'm al title worried about how it all got here…there have been bones and bodies. I also met a man down here. He didn't seem right. He was groaning and smelled terrible. Almost as if his very flesh was rotting away. I killed him quickly, but now I can't help but look behind me every now and then…I better drop some stuff. It's slowing me down.

I found some goblins cooking rats. Blech. How did so many get down here? I keep picking up all their rusty weapons, but I need something more suitable. The little goblins have a mage! Well, had one. I wonder what happened to the emperor?

I found the emperor again. He spoke again of gods and the mysteries of the heavens. He speaks of his own death and treats me as a trusted friend. He must be mad!

More attacks! The Emperor may not be wrong about his emending death, but I won't be part of it.

The Emperor gave me the Amulet of Kings, and then he was killed. Why would he trust me so? Even I don't trust me, but somehow I'm compelled to do as he asks. He was kind…and such an adventure is bound to be profitable. Besides, the Amulet is heavy, a strange burden. Only a fool would sell it or abandonit. Best be rid of it properly…

Finally! Fresh Air! Maybe I should fill out my provisions a bit before I do anything serious-perhaps some shopping with my new found gold. These shop keepers are suck up! They have a thing against the cheapest store in town. They've asked me to spy on him. What a silly squabble! However, there has been an offer of gold shish I might be interested in. I suppose follow the guy couldn't be too hard.

Aaaand arrested.