Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Fantasy Art of Computer Games #225 - Bizarre Graphics Bugs in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

In working on my website and blog to grab some great screenshots of fantasy computer games, I obviously play a lot of times. Sounds like pure fun, right? Not all the time, unfortunately.
From time to time, bugs and conflicts occur when using third-party addons (typically mods), and I have to figure it out. I spent over an hour tracking down this bizarre bug in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion:

tph bug (1) frostmourne and talos plaza home

It's one of the guardhouses in the Imperial City Market District. When I first enter the Market District, all appears fine. I can talk to the guards and people, etcetera.
When I go deeper in, however, I hear two "BONK" sounds, which Windows plays when there's a sudden error. From then on, menus don't show up. I can't press ESC to access the main menu, and I can't talk to people. It's more than just a hidden menu because Oblivion doesn't even pause the game and zoom up to the person's face for dialogue like it normally does when you talk to someone.

Anyway, some of the interior cells are fine, but others, like this guardhouse, show black for some textures.

I started unloading the new mods I added to the list of mods to load, and it came down to two mods: Talos Plaza Home and Frostmourne and Lich King's Armor

This is what the same guardhouse looks like with Talos Plaza Home loaded, but not Frostmourne:

tph bug (3) talos plaza home only

This is what the same guardhouse looks like with Frostmourne and Lich King, but not Talos Plaza Home.

tph bug (2) frostmourne only

With both taken out, everything *looks* fine. So far...
Also note the dancing lamp on the far side and the mis-placed food and other items. Not sure what that's about, but it's not game-stopping and looks isolated, so I'm going to let it go for now.

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