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About this blog

Greetings everyone! This page contains my various Bethesda blogs. At the time of this update, it contains my troubleshooting playthrough series, my Skyrim modding diary, my mod cleanup case study series, and my Shout Like a Virgin beta test blog. You can access all the entries from the sidebar on the right side of your screen.

 

Playthroughs

I've recently exceeded the 1000 mod threshold, and it's time to start periodically doing brief playthroughs to ferret out hidden conflicts and other bugs. In this series, we'll do shorter, more focused adventures where we try to tell an interesting story and also talk about what problems we ran into them and how we addressed them.

 

  • Charley's Story: Charlotte Ellison survived a nuclear war by spending more than two hundred years in stasis. Now she has to survive in a very new world, facing very new threats. A Fallout 4 playthrough.
  • The Spider's Web: Kirstia's search for answers has taken her to the island of Solstheim. Now she must uncover the secret of The Teacher - also known as Mephala - and continue the journey to master her powerful magical heritage. But can she survive as her enemies, new and old, close in? 
  • The Curious Case of Forrien Hlaalu: A year after she returned to Northpoint, Kirstia is back in Skyrim and looking for answers. The strange events that occured during her search for Sybil Fjotra continue to trouble her, as does the ongoing influence of the strange gods of the Forsworn. After a chance encounter over drinks, a wizard from the College of Winterhold sets her on the trail of a scholar who may have the answers she needs...
  • The Search for the Sybil: Exiled from Skyrim to the remote land of Northpoint, Kirstia Bjissen has fallen on hard times. Just as she hits rock bottom, a voice speaks to her and charges her with a sacred quest that will take her back to her native land - and likely into danger. Can Kirstia find the new Sybil of Dibella before her past catches up with her?
  • Shout Like a Virgin: Miraculously saved from death, Monilee of High Rock finds herself in Skyrim, a land riven by civil war and harboring dark secrets. While she tries to build a new life in this foreign land, she's haunted by half-remembered dreams, and in chasing them she discovers her role in the turning of the ages. However, Monilee has not gone unnoticed by powers outside the mortal realm. Used as a pawn in the struggle between Nocturnal and Dibella, it will take all her wits, endurance, bravery, and stubbornness to reclaim sovereignty over her body and her soul.

 

Modding Diary

This series tracks my modding projects in-between playthroughs and case studies. The main focus will be on the technical processes of cleaning, editing, and integrating mods into a large load order configuration, including managing emergent multi-mod interactions. 

 

Modding Case Studies

This blog reviews the tools and techniques that authors and end users can apply to make their mods as stable and compatible as possible, as well as how end users can integrate complicated mods into a large load order setup. In addition to coverage of well known techniques such as automatic mod cleaning, this blog delves into more complicated issues such as navmesh repair. 

 

Entries in this blog

Mob Trouble (Charley's Story, Chapter 46)

I spent the night on Piper's couch. As shacks go, the Wright place was warm and dry, and it stayed that way even when rain started pounding on the corrugated roof. When morning came, the rain was still pounding down and we took our time enjoying a breakfast of beans and venison sausage along with some half decent coffee.    While we ate, we talked through our options. I'd seen and heard enough the day before to know that Diamond City security wasn't going to help us with searching for

Fourth Estate (Charley's Story, Chapter 45)

"Danny, please, we're friends! Let me in! Nat's waiting for me!"   The woman, wearing a dull red leather coat and a matching hat, seemed to be getting increasingly anxious as she pleaded with the intercom. Before long, it crackled back. "Sorry, Piper, but Mayor McDonough says you can't come in. I think you really got him heated up with that last story."    She let out a little screech then, before blasting back, "Daniel Sullivan, you---"   Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up,

Vacation Time (Charley's Story, Chapter 44)

"You need a vacation, Charley."      Leave it to Trashcan Carla to state the obvious when I wasn't ready to admit it. I'd come back to Sanctuary after leaving things in Preston's hands back at Concord. I wanted to supervise finishing the buildings in town that we'd left incomplete after all the focus shifted to encircling Concord. Certainly we had the materials to do it now, since the ruins of Concord were a literal treasure trove of every sort of rare salvage you could imag

Punishment Suit (Charley's Story, Chapter 43)

If you'd posed a hypothetical - you capture a soldier and a raider, which one do you execute? I'd have said that raider, for sure. But in the end, it was the other way around. I let Preston handle the trial... a dark cloud had fallen over my mood after the torture session and I found myself questioning, well, everything.    To his credit, Preston did things right. He gave prisoner a chance to testify, he laid out the facts of what we knew about their offenses, and he made sure everyone

Shock Therapy (Charley's Adventure, Chapter 42)

By now we'd learned through long experience that the grip we wanted for Concord started with walls. After a rather lively debate, where I had to throw cold water on the idea of fortifying all of Concord - and even building an Athenian style long wall down Route 62 all the way to the Red Rocket or even to Sanctuary - we settled on starting by walling off the city blocks immediately adjoining Route 62. This would give us more than enough space to start our work in, and ensure we controlled the cit

Concord Hymn (Charley's Story, Chapter 41)

In the end, taking over Concord was an anticlimax. A week had passed since we seized the quarry, and our outposts did their job well: they intercepted several raider groups of different sizes, all making their way towards the city. I'm told that nowadays the historians call it Operation Concord Hymn and make it sound like a well-oiled military operation, but the reality is we just walked in and set up shop. True, Preston and his folks had to go through some of the buildings to clear out feral Gh

Anxiety Relief (Charley's Story, Chapter 40)

The next morning, the heat of the moment had worn off and I felt like crap. In the time since I'd escaped the vault, I'd killed people, sure. But it was always in self-defense. Even when Jake and I attacked the raiders in Concord, there was no question that it was us or them. But this time, I'd killed three helpless people. And I'd done it in a way that was designed to humiliate them. I'd stripped them naked, tied them up, and made them watch as I hanged them one by one. I even made sure to kill

Rough Justice (Charley's Story, Chapter 39)

The process of building up Drumlin Diner into a more defensible position proceeded at a good pace. Seth pretty quickly concluded that the pond out back wasn't a good candidate for a full-scale water purifier, but he did manage to run a pipe down to the pond that he hooked up to a mechanical pump to draw water back up to the Diner for purification on site. When he was done, we buried the pipe and finished walling up that side of the Diner's parking lot.   Two days later, Preston's guard

Hard Sell (Charley's Story, Chapter 38)

The next morning, I made my way back to Sanctuary to get ready for my meeting with Trudy. On the way, I ran into Preston, who was wearing some body armor I hadn't seen before. Or rather, body armor that I hadn't seen in a long time.   "Last time I saw that was on the security at the vault," I said.   He nodded, "that's exactly what it is - genuine Vault-Tec security armor. It's not quite as good as I'd like, but it'll give us an extra edge against any raiders we encounter. At

Security Concerns (Charley's Story, Chapter 37)

"I hope your trip went well, Charley," Connie said, "because we're going to need those defenses you've been talking about. We've got problems."   "I can see that," I admitted. "Any idea who those shooters were?"   She nodded slowly. "I'm almost certain those are the Rust Devils. They're a raider gang that operates out of the old army base a ways south of here. We never really had much trouble with them before, but your run-in with them is the second time we've seen them scout

Metal Shop (Charley's Story, Chapter 36)

"What... is that?" I asked, pointing at the huge metal armature that perched on a concrete pad near the town gate.   Sturges laughed at that. "That's what I said when I saw it too. This is what your robot friend's been building since she showed up. Apparently it's basically a robot factory. I've never seen anything like it."     The sound of clanking metal feet against the pavement gave away Ada's approach, and I turned to wave towards her.   "Ada, this i

Big Box Store (Charley's Story, Chapter 35)

Nate would have laughed and laughed. He loved Wattz, and I gave him shit about it every time he shopped there. I mean, I'm not blind. I understood why he liked it. There's something relaxing about walking the aisles in a big department store, maybe daydreaming a little about all the fun gadgets and all the fancy appliances. And Nate was definitely the kind of guy who liked fun gadgets. I get it.   But the Wattz Consumer Electronics company was a bunch of dirty, union busting, worker ex

Home Improvement (Charley's Story, Chapter 34)

Getting the Abernathy family to put on the vault suits was just the start of the project, of course. Putting aside the fact that I promised Connie to make immediate improvements to their fort, realistically we had to make those improvements anyway. It was only a matter of time before the raiders in the area came to see Sanctuary as their enemy - not jus potential prey, but a genuine threat to them. And because of that, anyone aligned with Sanctuary would become a target.    So I had ba

Green Thumb (Charley's Story, Chapter 33)

After we raised the flags, the day passed with a heady, celebratory mien. None of us quite had the words to explain what we felt at the time, but I think looking back on it, it was the sense that we'd been the lucky few to witness something historic with our own eyes. And after, unplanned but somehow feeling like we were all coordinated - like we knew exactly what we needed to do, there was a day of rest and leisure. Home-cooked meals were made and shared, small parties and get-togethers were ha

Flag Day (Charley's Story, Chapter 32)

That meeting left me feeling like I had a thousand pounds on my back. The settlers - my settlers - my people, they wanted a lot from me, and part of me felt doubt about achieving it. They wanted me to, at risk of putting too fine a point on it, to take over Drumlin Diner. To get Trudy to pledge allegiance to Sanctuary, to me, when the act of doing so entirely favors me. They wanted me to take the community at Ridge and make them a part of ours. They wanted me to oversee the process of Sanctuary

Town Meeting (Charley's Story, Chapter 31)

I ended up spending the night on the Ridge (in my mind, it had gone from 'the ridge' to 'the Ridge' now that, under the guidance of the ASAM sensors, a small town was practically bursting out of the ground). Before the sun failed entirely, I helped plan out good spots for a few more ASAM sensors, then I shut off the radio beacon and made sure that Bart had made a decision about Lily and her family. I was pleased to hear that he'd agreed with my solution, and with my work done I borrowed a sleepi

Squatter's Rights (Charley's Story, Chapter 30)

As it happened, it was Jake who found me, and not vice versa. He was just outside the gate, scrutinizing the sign by the trading post.    "Disrobe completely, huh?" he asked, "Sounds like you've got an interesting place running here."   I shrugged, "if you're curious, come on in - I'll introduce you to everyone."   "No, no, I think my love handles need some work before I go skinny dipping. But listen, Charley, have you been up to the radio tower since we cleared out

Body Issues (Charley's Story, Chapter 29)

"Disrobe... completely?" Preston asked.   Hidden behind the faceplate of my helmet, I was sure I looked very amused. Evidently in my absence, some of the settlers (I suspected Winter) had taken it upon themselves to move forward with some ideas that I had only half thought through. Still, it seemed they grasped the core of my vision for Sanctuary.   "We'll decontaminate your equipment and issue new clothing. All the housing units have showers with clean water, so you can wash

The Last Minuteman (Charley's Story, Chapter 28)

We passed through Sanctuary on the way to Concord. I didn't have time to really stay and chat, but I smiled when I saw what Winter and the gang had been up to in my absence - they'd taken the Sanctuary Hills sign from near the Old North Bridge, cleaned all the vines and overgrowth off it, and remounted it above the main gate. I made a mental note to put some spotlights on it so its visible at night, but that would have to wait for some other time.      As we got closer to Co

Radio Tower (Charley's Story, Chapter 27)

I dreamed about Nate. About the good times we'd had before the war, about the trip to Acadia National Park we'd been planning for the next summer, about our dreams for the future. And then I woke up, with Seth next to me in my bed, snoring away. I felt like crap. Slipping out of bed, I took a long shower and thought about my life. Intellectually, I knew that Nate was gone; I knew that spending a night with a man was healthy and that I needed to carry on with my life. But emotionally? I felt like

Introductions and Intruders (Charley's Story, Chapter 26)

An unseasonably warm rain was just rolling in as I caught up with Seth and Lila, and it didn't take long before their clothes were plastered to their skin. Still, no one was shivering, and after removing my helmet - I'd been practicing at removing the air filter without help and managed it pretty smoothly - I called the other members of the settlement over to make the introductions. I could see both of their eyes widening a little as they surveyed the group.   "This is... you're the va

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