Saturday, November 23, 2013


The Elder Scrolls Online beta that #2 Son is doing is pretty cool.  The challenge for Bethesda was to take their enormously successful Elder Scrolls franchise (Skyrim most recently, but Oblivion before that) and put it into an online, massively multi-player format.  The results show a great protection of their franchise - it looks, well, it looks like Skyrim.  The graphics are great, and the NPC interactions look like they should.  The question is what the Player Character interaction will be.

Interestingly, #2 Son is always on his headset, yakking with his online buddies while he plays.  My suspicion is that Bethesda will want to coopt this, to get the players off of Skype and put real time voice into the game.  If you say something, people within "hearing distance" should hear you, and be able to reply.

Quite frankly, this is just VOIP (Voice over IP), and is a well understood technology.  I'd think it would add to the game play, but that's just me.


R.K. Brumbelow said...

Don't forget Arena, Daggerfall, Redguard, Battlespire and Morrowind.

Still no beta key for me, which is both good and bad.

With regards to VOIP that comes at a substantial cost, and I don't mean monetary. Internal voip systems in games are monitored by tradition if not law and the govt has to be allowed to jack in if they have a warrant. Better to leave it to mumble or ventrilo or skype where such backdoors already exist.

Dave H said...

I have the client installed but I haven't signed in yet. (Busy the last 24 hours.) My son and I both were in the stress test beta a few months ago. I'm getting to where I'm not so much interested in MMOs though. I prefer soloing, but my game of choice (Lord of the Rings Online) has really been piling on the fellowship & raiding features. There's not much soloable content at my level, and apparently no more coming.

But Tamriel is a hard place to turn away from. One of the things I love about the Elder Scrolls games is the lack of the good guy / bad guy division in LotR. In Tamriel, we're all bad guys. (grin) Elves are no more noble or evil than men, or orcs. It's a hell of a world to inhabit.

R.K. Brumbelow said...

@Dave H All I read in your post was "Blah blah blah I suck blah" ;)

I have a bad habit of getting sucked into games, I guess I am fortunate to not have a key else I would be sucked in again.

Dave H said...

R.K.: It's not that I suck, I just know how to deal with game companies. When I registered for a chance at a beta key I pointed out two things about me that Zenimax would do well to remember:

1) I'm an experienced software developer and tester.

2) I'm the one who pays for my son's game subscription.

I just know how to play the game outside of the game.

R.K. Brumbelow said...

@Dave H Oh I am just harassing you. because you have something I want. Hense teh ;) at the end of the you suck like.

I really should not be playing anyways as I am starting a 501c3 and I need to start generating the cash I need for Gunsmithing school in troy, NC since I am number 31 on the list now.

Dave H said...

R.K.: No worries, I knew you were just jerking my chain a little bit - and deservedly so.

Good luck with the gunsmithing school. I've thought of doing that several times, but with my own kid in college it's not likely to happen for a while.

R.K. Brumbelow said...

@Dave H there are 6 NRA Affiliated Gunsmithing schools in the US. I think all 6 do short term (3 days -2 week) classes in the summers. You should look into them.

The full time schools are backlogged I started out 150 back in line, I am up to #31

Unknown said...

There are issues with doing in game voice, lots of issues.

Having spent most of my career as the director of server development for MMOs I have an appreciation of trade offs. I have to admit, when I got into it back in 91 letting the cops snoop was not a big concern. Bandwidth issues have been mostly dealt with, and from an operations point of view, letting them use teamspeak or something similar has appeal. Since it's not built into the game it's difficult for them to blame you for issues (they will anyway but at least you have a solid layer of deny-ability).

Controlling spatial relationships of speech are not difficult, but it does require some additional collision processing on the back end. Where the real issues arise is in social problems. Bad enough when they can only sent text at you, but to listen to the wining in your headphones? Arrrg!

Old NFO said...

At least VOIP would actually be good for something...

Borepatch said...

Richard, I hadn't thought about that.

Unknown said...


Yeah it's easy to overlook. At one point in my last start-up we looked pretty seriously at various voice options. Ultimately we found that a couple of channels is useful, Guild, Group, Friends, we toyed with both visual and audible notifiers of channel - I liked the audible - different 'ding' for each channel, right up until it got busy then it drove me nuts.
Visual turns out to be the way to go. if you're not sure which channel you're hearing, check the little tell-tail light in the corner.

It would have required the servers to do all the collision stuff for sound, inside/outside,edge of 1000' cliff, you know... Which I was fine with, I figured the benefits were worth the little extra processing cost. Better parental controls when it's built in. Easy to tie to guild lists, friends lists, group lists. But open chat really needs to be text or you just go crazy.

we were looking at doing a hardware option to do voice modification, changing timber, pitch, etc. you know, don't want my female elf to sound too butch :) never went anywhere before the company folded. Too bad would have been cool.