10 Most popular posts of 2012


These are the most popular posts published in the past 12 months

1 Is it OK to think Skrillex is OK?

I didn’t put too much thought or time into an offhand musing as to the relative merits (or otherwise) of the wub-wub guy, so I was surprised by its popularity. Did the post’s 63,000 readers join Team Love or Team Hate?   Continue reading

How to write the rules of attraction

A poster on a video game forum sparked a very interesting debate. (Presumably, a) he initially complained about the lack of LGBT-focussed mods for Morrowind, which resulted in a few short list of recommendations, and he said that they weren’t really what he was looking for. I pointed out a few others, including my own, where gender simply wasn’t specified. I’m very much of the view that the player decides how the game goes, and I mentally award brownie points every time I’m allowed to follow my whims and scowl disapprovingly any time I can’t. Bethesda’s games are very much designed in that way, so it follows automatically that I should avoid restricting the player. Continue reading

ORE interview with Bethesda’s Gstaff

Matt at Arcane University

Matt at Arcane University

The following article appeared in the November 2007 issue of the Oblivion’s Real Estate newsletter (a game modding site). It was my first interview of any kind – and my first piece of journalistic writing – since 2001, and long before I was invited to moderate Beth’s forum. The questions were compiled from responses in an open forum thread, and there were many ‘hug’ requests in the thread which saw their way into the final interview.

It was all going horribly wrong for Bethesda. After effortlessly acquiring the “love brand” status other companies spend millions trying to manufacture, they’d grown too quickly to keep pace with their legion of adoring fans and were increasingly seen as an Aloof, Faceless Corporation that Didn’t Care. The forums were horrible, the DLCs a PR nightmare, and “we modders” were demanding – needing – to feel appreciated and supported. To be hugged a little bit.

Enter stage-right 27 year-old “GStaff”, chief fanwrangler for the past six months. The blog’s up, there’s a free DLC, the forums are friendlier than ever, but we still don’t really know who our CM really is. So, GStaff agreed to take questions from the ORE floor, starting with a proper introduction.  Continue reading

Skyrim Real Estate modding challenge – results are in

I didn’t win – dammit! – after busting my behind for six weeks. It doesn’t matter, though – I won a past competition for Oblivion and wouldn’t have entered at all except that I relished the challenge. Any innermost grumbling I might have entertained melted away the moment I saw the other entries – they were magnificent! The first one I looked at, I got shivers down my spine, and that wasn’t even the one that won!

These are the entries:  Continue reading

Tamriel Rebuilt for Morrowind’s huge new update

It’s now ten years since Morrowind came out, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that its loyal modding community would have given up on it by now. Tamriel Rebuilt aims to create the whole Morrowind landmass, rather than just the island of Vvardenfell that came with the game. When they first started and seemed to be making slow progress, I thought they’d give up before they were even a quarter of the way through. It’s taken them many years, but their achievement is outstanding – a fan-made expansion that’s now bigger than the (huge) game itself. This is what they’ve built so far.  Continue reading