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Molerat's Day Continues

As my misadventures in Fallout 4 continue, I've had, not one, but two additional characters since the last blog entry.  My previous characters been as much of a waste of time as trying to get a perfectly preserved pie.
Which I did.
Fallout 4 Attempt #6: Reinvent Character Advancement.

Douglas was basically conceived with the notion it would be cool to change the way Fallout 4 advancement normally works.  He would start with only the lowest score across all his core attributes, nothing gets distributed during character generation, but he earns double the perk points.  As perk points can be invested in raising his attributes, it broadens the decision process made each level up from a choice of attribute or perk to a choice of two attributes, two perks, or one of both.  It also allows for even more emergent growth of the character, each attribute point investment done while the game was in progress.

I installed the creation kit and tried to make this mod myself, but discovered it's really quite a mess, thanks in part to Bethesda keeping a bunch of old global values from Skyrim in the Fallout 4 data files.  What a bunch of unnecessary bloat!  In the end, I found a global attribute that likely decides your starting points, but I simply could not find where the perk points per level were allocated.

I opted instead to forget about changing the starting points and just double my perk points with an already existing mod.  Turns out that mod had to use the script extender, so I guess there's no way to do it in the creation kit anyway!  Douglas was created with just 4s evenly distributed across the SPECIAL, and this might have been for the best as it gave him more choices to invest his double perk points into.  I also opted to play on modified survival mode again because of immersion.  Survival mode also increases experience gain for defeating foes so, between that and double perk points, advancement was quite fast indeed.

Oddly enough, despite having twice the perk points, and a self-imposed rule to split my perk points evenly between necessities and frivolities, I was not having a lot of fun.  I just ran through the usual new character chores of getting my first few settlements up while stoically enduring survival mode debuffs from hunger, thirst, sleep, and disease.  While the additional perk points gave me a greater sense of freedom with my character, I found myself utterly disinterested in them.  

What went wrong?  Perhaps my character just felt too generic with more perk points.  If so, maybe the real solution Fallout 4 needs to its advancement mechanics are more limitations, not less.  Like maybe only advance attributes (1 point per 5-10 levels) and have the perks unlock themselves automatically as the level prerequisites are met.  Perhaps I just needed some time away from the game.

A Spooky Alien Diversion.

As it happens, the majority of the first three days of this bizarro weekend were actually spent doing something I never did to great excess before: watching Dr. Who via the TwitchPresents stream.

Over those three days, I watched the latter half of Season Thirteen and pretty much the entirety of Season Fourteen.  It was a fun, campy watch.  Despite the fact that characters were being murdered constantly, it was an upbeat mix of British politeness and a certain optimism about futuristic things that I wish I could say we still had four decades later.

Meanwhile, in a window, I played the only game that successfully managed to entice me this Steam Summer Sale: Cryptark
As you can see from the gif above, Cryptark has excellent graphics.  What the gif cannot convey is that the gameplay is deeper than most, quite challenging, and with a good amount of replayability due to the procedural aspects.  More details can be found on my Steam review of it.

I enjoyed Cryptark a lot.  It was indeed quite difficult, but this is a game where your skills as a player actually make a difference, so it will become steadily easier as you get better at it.  No less than 14 hours were spent playing it this week, and I finally beat the "Rogue" mode, but not the more in-depth "Campaign" mode.

Fallout 4 Attempt #7: Standard Advancement, Don't Play In Survival, Better Mod Mix, Start Lucky.

When I returned to Fallout 4 Wednesday evening, I was in for a shock: Bethesda released a patch (mostly focused on providing more creation club content) and this neatly broke F4SE, the Fallout 4 script extender that some of the mods depended on to work.

I decided that, rather than roll back the Fallout 4 executable to one that F4SE supported, I would rather just make my installation no longer F4SE-dependent, which meant removing any dependent mods from my mod mix.  In reviewing what I had installed, there were surprisingly few affected by the removal of F4SE.

But Douglas was smothered in his cheaty crib, as his doubled perk points were the entire basis of the character, and the related mod did require F4SE.

This time, I decided I would rather play on the much-better-balanced "hard" mode than survival mode.  I was sick of enduring the constant debuffs from hunger, thirst, and lack of sleep, and the Survival Options mod was not preventing them from affecting my action point cap even when disabled.  I decided that there was just one thing I wanted to keep from survival mode: disabled fast travel.  Sort of; I wanted a compromise, the Immersive Fast Travel mod can disable fast travel, but this mod also allows you to build vehicles in your settlements that function by allowing fast travel to other settlements that you own.

My new character, Asher, had a high luck score and low everything else.  The luck tree has the lion's share of the "fun" perks, and I had a self-imposed rule to invest every second perk point into something fun, prioritizing the luck tree.  I had to suspend that rule for about five levels because it turns out the Local Leader perk and the related supply routes it unlocks are pretty much mandatory to a game without fast travel.  I had installed the Salvage Beacon mod to reduce my dependencies on close settlement proximity, but it turns out the mod maker opted to require the Local Leader perk for the beacons to work!

For something new, I installed the Scrap Zapper mod. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it includes some optional limiters on Scrap Everything to stop me from accidentally talking out the bits of Sanctuary and the Red Rocket station that I wanted to leave in tact.  A lot of the inconvenience I endured over the previous few characters had to do with limited access to quicksaves and being worried I would scrap something I wanted to keep.  Little by little, my mod mix improves.

So far, I am enjoying Asher, but we'll see if his high luck score can enable him to survive my fickleness.

Game Development Endeavors: Stymied.

Perhaps it was a mistake to buy Conan Exiles last month.  Not because the game was bad, but because it seems to have derailed the flow I had going with my attempted indie game development.  The plan was to work on something productive for a good 6 hours for every day off, but I can hardly even manage 10 minutes a day.  I need to figure out how to get over that making games is hard.
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