Monthly Archives: December 2013

Civilization 4 Basic Tips

Civilization 4 is a very good game, and a lot of time was put into building and testing it. I have recently been putting a lot of time into it and I have all of the expansions (Beyond the Sword and Warlords).  I have been playing one specific game for awhile, and during the time I have been playing, I have learned several tricks of the trade. Some of them are listed below.

Civilization 4 – A Small Checklist

Civilization 4

1. Don’t use Nukes unless you really know what you are doing. They are not as good as in Civilization 5, and they cause permanent relationship damage. In civilization 4 For every nuke you drop on someone, that person gets a -2 to their relationship rating. Anybody that considers them “good friend” will also take a relationship hit.  It’s OK early game, but once you get late game it becomes very hard to retain your game. After several nukes, it starts to affect how often the enemy goes to war with you. On top of that, after nukes are dropped several times, random areas are started to get affected by Global Warming, which causes a lot of damage to cities and surrounding tiles. Basically the minor affect that you get from nuking enemies, is nowhere near worth it for dealing with end-game attacks and relationship issues. There are times when you just need to buckle down and build up because you are unable to get out of war. The more nukes you drop early game, the harder it is to stay out of war late game when it is critical (sometimes) to be able to get built up with units and so forth. Civilization 4 specifically was intended with these mechanics in mind.

2. Accept Vassals early on, when the situation allows you to (assuming they are not enemies with every person on the map).  During my big game, I was refusing vassals throughout the entire game. At least 10 different times I had every small power asking me to become my vassal.  I kept refusing.  Then, late game there were two major civilizations, mine and one other. Somehow those civilizations that asked me to vassal, all suddenly asked him. So I had one civilization that had almost as many cities as me, and a huge military, suddenly obtain almost every civilization on the map as a vassal. So I had myself, another huge civilization that had about 5-6 vassals, and 3 other civilizations on the map. The other 3 never went to war with me, but the other large one constantly started wars because I had mistakenly nuked them two times early game, and treated them like crap. So basically I am up against about 70% of the total map all attacking me at once ,and every time the major civilization starts war, they all start war since they are vassals.  This is making it very hard to build up enough military to expand at this point since all my resources are spent trying to defend.

That’s about it for now. As I get other advice, or thoughts on Civilization 4 I will add them to this blog post.

Skyrim Mods – A collection of some of the better mods out there.

I play a lot of games, obviously..I make it a  habit of writing blog posts about topics that might help others. Generally they are things that take me a lot of time to figure out so it saves other people some time.  I have started Skyrim and I am well over 100 hours into the game. I have collected various mods that I have been using since I started playing. Some I added early, some were added later in the game..but I have played extensively (for the most part) with them and some of the ones that I use come highly recommended.

So the current mods I have installed are listed below, each in their own section with respective links…as well as my thoughts and personal notes about each one.

Before we start, please note that currently I am using NMM to download and install ALL of my mods for Skyrim. They recently had some issues and went down for a few days, they are still working on ironing out some of the issues but for the most part they are all ironed out.

Let’s begin, the NMM you want to download is located here: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/modmanager/?

I am starting to use this site as my main modding site for both downloading mods and building/uploading mods. The NMM only works with certain games, but they are working on adding more game support on a regular and consistent basis.

The mods I recommend below were all installed and managed via NMM, which is highly recommended. I have had nothing but a wonderful experience using the program so far.

Official Patches and DLC

1. Dawnguard
2. Hearthfire
3. Dragonborn
4. High Resolution Texture Pack

These are simply the official released content (I did not list Fall of the space core because I don’t personally use it..but you can if you want).  These are simple included in the Steam legendary edition anyway…So not hard to get, I don’t remember if the texture pack came installed or you had to install it separate..I don’t remember that.

Unofficial Patches and Fixes

The following mods are for misc patches and fixes:

1. Skyrim Misc Patches Collection – SMPC – SMPC http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23833/?
2. Unofficial Dawnguard Patch – Unofficial Dawnguard Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23491/?
3. Unofficial Dragonborn Patch – Unofficial Dragonborn Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/31083/?
4. Unofficial Hearthfire Patch – Unofficial Hearthfire Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/25127/?
5. Unofficial High Resolution Patch – Unofficial High Resolution Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/31255/?
6. Unofficial Skyrim Patch – Unofficial Skyrim Patch http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/19/?

The game is VERY buggy by itself. All of these patches help to fix the crap out of Skyrim and that’s all they do..fix errors, issues, bad references, messed up conversations, broken questions and so forth. If you don’t use ANY other mods whatsoever, I still highly recommend these..it will greatly improve your Skyrim experience.

UI Overall and options configuration menu

Before downloading ANY other mod, download SkyUI here: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/3863/?

This actually redoes the UI in a nice way, but more importantly this has the only mod management mod built into it that allows other mod configuration options to tap into it. Almost all major mods are supported and almost every mod on this list has all of it’s configuration options built into this small mod that is built into SkyUI. From what I can tell the mod configuration feature is not standalone and is ONLY found within the SKyUI mod. Highly recommended.

Misc Mods

1. Run for your lives – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/23906/? Very basic mod. NPC’s run and hide in their houses when dragons come, helps to keep the NPC’s from dying. I think this one is glitchy or having trouble working though…I recall it not really working, but I still haven’t uninstalled it..I may check later and make sure, and perhaps tweak it to work if it doesn’t.

2. Realistic Needs and Diseases – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/26228/?– Highly recommended. I am running it out of the box settings.  The only setting I changed was the sound affects of the yawning and so forth..but this makes the game much more realistic without being overly annoying.

3. Dynamic Time Scale – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10594/? – High recommended especially with the Realistic Needs and Diseases…it slows down time at intervals and makes the game MUCH more realistic.

4. A Matter of Time – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/44091/? – Just simply shows what time/date it is in game in a nicely laid out UI added to your HUD. Very simple and easy to use/configure.

5. Smart Cast – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/43123/? – Redoes a lot of the casting systems and works very well. High recommended and also has several multi-cast options and presets as well.

Bigger and Higher End Mods

1. The Dawnspire – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/20751/? – One of the best housing mods in the game. I use it all the time. It allows void storage features which let’s you dump ALL your items into one place, then it auto sorts them throughout the house..even has a spell so you can link up to void storage anytime you want..I never have to run back anymore I just throw my stuff all into Void Storage via the spell and sort it out back at my house when I am ready. It auto-sorts everything and has more features than it knows what to do with.

2. Vilja in Skyrim – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/26393/? A companion, and one of the best ones on the market from what I can tell. This is the one I have used the entire game, and it was very well put together. The voice acting is weak at times but it is still a VERY good mod.

3. Blaze of Eventide – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/25097/? One of the best mount mods I have found and the mod has a lot of great features. I ride him everywhere and have not ran into any problems with it so far.

4. Phenderix Magic Evolved – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/5898/? Adds a guy in various cities that allows you to buy a lot of really cool spells. Pretty good spells at that. Definitely worth getting.

5. Falskaar – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/37994/? – A college student who tried to get the developers attention..he finally got hired by Bungie. He created this continent/quest mod and it is one of the best and highest rated content mods created. He even got hired by Bungie because of making this mod, which was his sole reason for making it. Very good mod and definitely worth the download. This is content I would even pay for it’s so good.

6. Halls of Dovahndor – http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/25448/? – A house. A very large house with good features. You cannot access it until much later in the game. I haven’t been to it yet, but It had a lot of endorsements and seems like a very good mod. I am definitely going to use the house as a secondary living area when I get to that point in the game (nowhere near that point in my current save file).

In Closing

As I come up with other mods that I download/use I will post about them here, and continue to leave feedback about mods that I consider must haves for Skyrim. Thanks for reading. Any questions, concerns or recommendations feel free to throw them in the comments. I always respond and will even update the blog post with contributions.

Thanks!