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Bellyaches HD Dragon Replacer Pack (by Bellyache)

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#16 Besidilo

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 04:54 AM

[quote name=''frihyland' pid='12422' dateline='1346662772']If this was a vanilla skin replacer sure' date=' but it requires DD, a mod that has been all over the map as far as quality, perhaps the author has finally calmed down and learned some discipline but its kinda hard to believe[/quote']

Indeed. I was sort of against using Deadly Dragons lately.
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#17 Korentin

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 06:51 AM

[quote name=''frihyland' pid='12422' dateline='1346662772']If this was a vanilla skin replacer sure' date=' but it requires DD, a mod that has been all over the map as far as quality, perhaps the author has finally calmed down and learned some discipline but its kinda hard to believe[/quote']
It is a vanilla replacer and doesn't require DD :)
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#18 frihyland

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 08:01 AM

I'm confused, why is this mod associated with Deadly Dragons, it needs its own page. The textures look good enough to include in the evaluation list for 2.3
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#19 rpsgc

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 09:03 AM

From the readme:

First off, ALL credit of this goes to Bellychache, she was and still is absolutely amazing.
This would never have happened without her. All I did was be incredibly annoying and point out every tinly little flaw I could find in the textures. Now, this package contains textures for the 7 various dragons that appear in vanilla Skyrim. To be even more specific, there are no Legendary, Revered, or Durneviir textures in this package. These textures are edits of Bethesdas' HD DLC texture package and are the same resolution.


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#20 I2edShift

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 10:57 AM

[quote name=''frihyland' pid='12430' dateline='1346677271']I'm confused' date=' why is this mod associated with Deadly Dragons, it needs its own page. The textures look good enough to include in the evaluation list for 2.3[/quote']
It's "associated" with Deadly Dragons because I don't feel comfortable uploading Bellyaches work to a Nexus page of my own, even though she gave me permission to do so... It just doesn't seem right to me. Nor has she uploaded the files herself as far as I know.

Also, it IS a vanilla texture replacement package. Excluding Dawnguard Dragons, which may or may not be added in the future. It is in no way directly related to the D.D. mod, it's just uploaded there.

[quote='frihyland Wrote']If this was a vanilla skin replacer sure, but it requires DD, a mod that has been all over the map as far as quality, perhaps the author has finally calmed down and learned some discipline but its kinda hard to believe
[/quote]
Seeing as I've worked on Deadly Dragons for at least 6 months now, I'm not sure how to take this comment without offense, to be honest. I'm well aware that everyone has there opinions and tastes when it comes to mods, and that Deadly Dragons falls outside of the style of mods that S.T.E.P. likes to include... But the "quality" has always been there. Sure there are revisions in design choice and balance changes, but everything in version 4.5 worked correctly, without issues, all the while remaining widely compatible with just about every other mod on the Nexus. Some of the textures aren't to my personal taste or the standard I would like to maintain, but neither I or 3jiou are texture artists, and it's difficult to find someone interested in retexturing +10 dragons.

Either way, there is a 100% lore friendly version in the works that also fixes a lot of minor quibbles with some of the unique dragons in the game. Details are in the posted article on the Deadly Dragons page.
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#21 frihyland

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 06:24 PM

[quote='I2edShift Wrote']It's "associated" with Deadly Dragons because I don't feel comfortable uploading Bellyaches work to a Nexus page of my own, even though she gave me permission to do so... It just doesn't seem right to me. Nor has she uploaded the files herself as far as I know.

Also, it IS a vanilla texture replacement package. Excluding Dawnguard Dragons, which may or may not be added in the future. It is in no way directly related to the D.D. mod, it's just uploaded there.[/quote]
First off welcome to the community (shoot me a PM on Nexus and I'll see to it that you get your Mod Author plaque here), we tend to be both extremely supportive and passionately critical of mods here and we have many back and forth constructive dialogues here with authors and the community, that have never once turned into flaming.

I'd like to see it uploaded as its own mod by wrig (bellyache) or yourself as its a good bet we'll put it in 2.3

[quote name=''I2edShift Wrote']Seeing as I've worked on Deadly Dragons for at least 6 months now' date=' I'm not sure how to take this comment without offense, to be honest. I'm well aware that everyone has there opinions and tastes when it comes to mods, and that Deadly Dragons falls outside of the style of mods that S.T.E.P. likes to include... But the "quality" has always been there. Sure there are revisions in design choice and balance changes, but everything in version 4.5 worked correctly, without issues, all the while remaining widely compatible with just about every other mod on the Nexus. Some of the textures aren't to my personal taste or the standard I would like to maintain, but neither I or 3jiou are texture artists, and it's difficult to find someone interested in retexturing +10 dragons.[/quote']

The comment was intended to convey that DD has gone from the highest possible standards to average Nexus standards and back again several times in my personal opinion.  Mostly coming from a lack of focus on the actual gameplay of dragons, which I see as the core function of DD.  I'm not really interested in the past though, just using it as a possible indicator of future activity, in the absence of insight into the design philosophy and plans for the mod going forward.

If you could flesh that out for us we would be most grateful. I do have high hopes that we can again include it in STEP because there is certainly no other dragon mod that is even close to as good.  I'm just looking for consistency and focus on gameplay.  Thank you so much for all your hard work, kindest regards.
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#22 I2edShift

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 10:27 PM

This is going to be a bit off topic now, but I'll keep this posted here, as I'll "submit" the lore-friendly version of Deadly Dragons for the next version of S.T.E.P. when it's ready... Now, this is going to be tremendously long winded, and some of it is probably even common knowledge, but I'm going to put voice to it anyway to show exactly what kind of considerations have gone into the mod, instead of just "Hey, this would be cool!"

*Ahem*

The overall purpose & design philosophy of Deadly Dragons includes a few things..

1) Make dragons a true "apex predator"

I'm of the opinion that nothing but the most powerful of creatures or NPC's should be able to compete with a dragon. Obviously there are exclusions to this such as low level dragons and such, but I'm fairly sure that we can all agree that a dragon should be able to wipe out an encampment of bandits or a group of giants & mammoths. The high level +65 creatures should be able to end an entire town if you let them. Some would argue that that having a ton of dead NPC's is not cool, but after playing the mod on actual characters, I've never had a problem with this. Even on the soul crushingly hard settings in the very old versions.

2) Dragons simply die to quickly.

I've found that doubling dragons effective health, be it directly through health or through a 400 armor value, is a good starting place for dragon health overall. This allows dragons to exhibit all of there A.I. behaviors and abilities. Also it prolongs the airborne phase of the fight, as once they land, most dragons are toast. Also, I'm against Dragonrend as it basically breaks all but the most difficult dragon encounters.

3) Variety

While Deadly Dragons is definitely a bit "out there" and pulls ideas from the entire phantasy genre, dragons need to be different. If only to break up the monotony of killing them. Keep them different, keep them unique, make it visually appealing, and make it FUN or at the very least interesting to fight against.

4) Avoid effects/abilities that annoy the player

The golden rule is this: Never take away the players control of there character. Ever. Having your controls impaired or temporarily interrupted during any sort of "Boss" encounter is never fun. Ever. In any game I've ever played in the last 20 years.

To expand on this, there have been a number of requests to allow dragons to use the very same shouts that are available to the player. While this sounds neat on paper, the reality of this is that it simply does not work in actual game-play. There are about 7 shouts that would actually work from a dragon. Unrelenting Force, Ice Form, Disarm, Marked for Death, Become Ethereal, Animal Allegiance, Slow Time, and Clear Skies. (The rest simply serve no function in the hands of an A.I. controlled NPC)

The first three all fall under the "annoying" category. Given the arduously long "get up" animation, being thrown around the world-space or shouted off a cliff (often to your death) is downright annoying. Ditto for being frozen in place. Having your favorite weapon ripped out of your hand?.... Yeah I don't think so. Marked for Death is bugged without the USKP, Become Ethereal just draws out the fight (more health/armor accomplishes the same thing, making it redundant), Slow Time won't work on NPC's unless it's a new spell made as a mod. Clear Skies would only be used when the player uses Storm Call, which would then piss people off given the incredibly long cool-down for that shout. So that leaves the situational "Animal Allegiance"? Right. As a side note, the new "Drain Vitality" works fine for a shout, but it's damage is to meager to be of any real threat.

This may seem like a big random tangent, but I want to explicitly explain WHY this was not done. It simply does not work well in actual game-play. It also explains why there are so many new custom effects.

5) Keep it customizable

Not everyone likes a certain setting. To accommodate this, the configuration menu & shrine system was introduced. Basically allowing people to make dragons as hard/easy as they want.

There is an upper limit to breath damage (200%), but the armor/health/melee damage settings can be increased to ridiculous amounts, to the point where it's game breaking for anyone who isn't abusing the hell out of Smithing/Enchanting/Alchemy, and is using a level uncapper. Which the mod is not designed for anyways.

6) The "End game"

Quite frankly, there is nothing in the vanilla game that remains challenging for the player once you hit level 60 or so. This isn't necessarily true if you don't invest in any of the player-crafting perk trees, or use a mod like ASIS with a high difficulty setting.. But overall, the game becomes very easy once you hit the upper levels. This "problem" just gets worse and worse as you approach the level cap (81). Now, this provides a good sense of progression, as by that time you're probably the Harbinger/Nightengale/Listener/Archmage/Chosen of every daedric lord/ AND the Dragonborn... But it's not a whole lot of fun to just steamroll everything, and it gets boring quickly.

THIS is why the higher level dragons could be perceived as "over the top" by some. They have to be. If they weren't they would still just be another dragon soul for you to collect in a ever increasing pile of relatively useless shouts. Now some people complain about the level +55 Dragons being to strong, as Alduin is, by default, pathetic. His maximum stats are actually worse than a Ancient Dragon. So the problem I see is that Bethesda made the demi-god "Boss" of the main quest to easy. Not the other way around. We specifically did not touch Alduin, as some people like to rush the main quest for whatever reason.

The last problem of D.D.'s end-game is that there has always been one type of dragon that was higher level than the rest.. This actually is bad, as the player will always encounter the same type of dragon at the level cap, or beyond it if you're using an uncapper. The solution, recently implemented, is to add several dragon types at the same level, making them similarly powerful in different ways.

The NPC & Creature editing functions of the config menu were implemented by 3jiou, for 3jiou. He wanted it in the mod so he made it. Ditto for the "Event's function.

EDIT: Fun fact, almost every one of the weather effect shouts that dragons use against you can be cancelled with "Clear Skies".
====================================================================================


Now... While I don't personally do the C.K. work on the mod itself, I've put in A LOT of time providing feedback, ideas, and, for lack of a better term, "Steering the mod" in the direction it's gone. I consider it first & foremost 3jiou's mod, but I've played no small roll in it's development and direction by any means. Also, the documentation is all done by me... As 3jiou is Russian and my command of the English language is a bit stronger than his.

So, now that I've explained what kind of considerations goes into the mod, I'll go onto the Lore-Friendly version... On a personal note, over time I've shifted my style of modding to a more "lore friendly" approach. I wanted mods to enhance & improve upon Bethesda's vision for Skyrim, not radically change it. For this reason and this reason alone, the lore friendly version of the mod exists, though the current one isn't a "proper" version, more of a half-assed edit of the primary 4.5 mod.

Now that Bethesda has properly introduced high level dragons, I felt comfortable with a version like this. But here is what is going to be changed from the main mod, once it's again finished it's development with the Dawnguard update.

Deadly Dragong "Loremonger Edition" v2.0
  • Keep the config menu and allow for a functional "Events" timer
  • Change the config shrine to a less conspicuous setup
  • Remove ALL elemental/magic resistances from dragons
  • Remove standard D.D. dragons
  • All dragons have the lingering fire/frost effects
  • Ohdahviing will have the same health/damage values as a Legendary Dragon
  • Alduin's stats will be static, regardless of player level. The same health/damage values as a Legendary Dragon, with 33% more health
  • Paarthurnax will have the same stats as a Ancient Dragon
  • Standard .esp/.bsa format
  • Include new retouched textures from Bellyache's package.
So, there you go. The final boss of the main quest is a boss, Ohdahviing fulfills his roll as one of the extremely rare "Red Dragons", the strongest type of them all excluding Alduin himself, while actually being useful as a player asset. Paarthurnax isn't pathetically weak, and there resistances are removed allowing magic users more free will, while also allowing the Dragonbane enchantment to work again.
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#23 frihyland

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 11:27 PM

Thanks for the wall of text :D Lot of stuff to look forward too.
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#24 I2edShift

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 11:29 PM

Thanks for the wall of text :D Lot of stuff to look forward too.

Hey now, there's sections & paragraphs in there!:><:
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#25 I2edShift

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:50 AM

I'm going to bump this thread to make sure you're all aware that this package is now a stand-alone download on the Nexus.

Nexus page linkage
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#26 JudgmentJay

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:52 AM

Any difference? I see it's considerably smaller in size despite having the same files. Optimized?

Nevermind!
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#27 I2edShift

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:57 AM

Not sure what you mean, file size is identical to the archive that's been posted over on the Deadly Dragons page (96 MB's). The uploaded file itself is identical, and is not actually compressed at all. Used the "store" option.
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#28 Korentin

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:01 AM

/Wherein I scribbled some nonsense...
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#29 I2edShift

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:05 AM

/Wherein I also scribbled some nonsense...
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#30 Korentin

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:21 AM

Was refering to the Loremonger edition of DD that had these textures bundled with it at first :) Didn't realize you had moved it to its own mod page... sorry only half awake ^^
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