Ruts vs. Battlespire CH24: The Most Daedraous Game

By Rutskarn
on Aug 31, 2016
Filed under:
Lets Play

I’m going to be seeing a lot of whatever’s going on in this next screenshot, because as of the next hundred hours of gameplay it’ll be the first thing I see when I load my “New Zone” slot. Which, in defiance of my convention, isn’t a New Zone at all. It’s just my last chance to save before the New Zone where I can’t save my game.

Fuck you for making me a liar, Battlespire.

I`m a writer, dammit! I take my savenames extremely seriously as works of individual--what? No, I refuse to explain ``farrrttt`` to an ENEMY OF ART.
I'm a writer, dammit! I take my savenames extremely seriously as works of individual--what? No, I refuse to explain ''farrrttt'' to an ENEMY OF ART.

We’re coming up on level 5. I’ve thought of it as the Impossible Isle so far, but after poking around I’ve determined its real name is the The Chimera of Desolation–which, groaning purple prose though it is, also seems pretty appropriate.

This was Bethesda’s attempt to create a vast many-roomed self-contained level with running battles, towns full of buildings, and no loading screens. After four and a half levels of veiny cramped dungeonscapes, something like this should–briefly does–feel awe-inspiring. The first glimpse of the village of Trybador makes you think, “Wow, it’s amazing the engine could handle something this big without needing all sorts of ugly hacks and compromises.”

Picture presented without comment.
Picture presented without comment.

The story pitch is that we’ve been thrown into a standard Wild Hunt situation; some big bad daedric daddies have put us in their personal mortal-murdering grounds, and everyone’s going to follow a set of rules and regulations re: murdering me, the mortal. There’s a lady just outside the starting pier waiting to explain things. Sort of.

I can tell you right now that the instructions for the mortal end of this game boil down to `eat shit and die, Lifespan McGee.`
I can tell you right now that the instructions for the mortal end of this game boil down to 'eat shit and die, Lifespan McGee.'

It’s a raw deal, and the fact that it’s delivered in rhyming couplets doesn’t particularly help. What might to the untrained eye look like a simple humans-vs-daedra shirts-vs-gratuitous-nudity killing match is compromised by the facts that firstly, some of the daedra hunting me are unkillable, and secondly, they know where all the stuff I need to find is hidden and have in some cases built literal forts around it. Seems against the spirit of a hunt, which generally does not incorporate masonry, but whatever.  I’m not one to be petty.

I guess the daedric logic is that by the time you’re on the island, the complaining party consists of one scared mortal and the complaints department consists of a pack of hungry monsters. “What, are you mad, mortal? You worried you’re going to die and not come back or something crazy like that? You gonna write something mean about us in your Dead Guy Speech and everybody’s gonna hear it at the Dead Guy Party? You want us to lay off? Here, let’s all take a break. We’ll put you in a box for twenty years or so, let you catch your breath. We’ll just be timelessly watching cable and eating cheesesteaks over here in our personal pocket dimension.”

Now let’s talk about those unkillable daedra. That’s the part that really worries me, frankly. Apparently the head of this hunt, the daedra Herne, has a pack of “hounds”–actually intelligent two-legged monsters. There’s not many of them, but they’re fast, they’re strong, and they’re everybody’s inside bet for who’s going to end up killing me. Ravenous, cunning, single-minded, intimate with every shortcut and hiding place, absolutely fearless and tireless, they’ll be two steps behind me and happy to snap my neck the very first time I slip up. Take a look.

Hm? Hold on. Oh, okay–there.

You want to know something? I could have dug this level. I still do, a little bit. The idea of being hunted by genuinely scary and overpowering monsters adds a desperately needed thrill to item-collecting and even makes something as banal and sighworthy as finding six keys, which is about six times as fascinating as getting ready for work on Monday morning, seem like a cool challenge. The spooky pseudo-Black Forest theme of the environment is not only unique, it jives well with the limits of the graphics. I respect how ambitiously large the island is and how much detail was put into it–I like the executioner’s block in town square, the big waterfall with a hidden door in it, the sailing ship, the fact that you can go into several of the buildings in town…

…although, you probably shouldn’t. Apparently one of them crashes the game every time you enter.

That jag of positivity didn’t last long, did it.

The good news is that I found my first key. The bad news is everything else forever.
The good news is that I found my first key. The bad news is everything else forever.

NEXT WEEK: STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE

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2020201070 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.

From the Archives:

  1. Da Mage says:

    You can do it Rutskarn, I believe in you!

    And hey….at least the ‘Dark Seducer’ has some clothes on for a change.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait!Is…Is that succubus wearing a….a BRAAAA?!!!!!

  3. Content Consumer says:

    After seeing the sign, I have to say that I’d be more worried about burnination than daedra.

  4. I am genuinely baffled why they put so much effort into rendering out items in 3d like that key, when a simple sprite would’ve been perfectly acceptable and offer up some clearly much needed processing power.

    • MichaelGC says:

      Are the daedra in the gameworld just sprites, or are they also 3D? (Genuine question: I’m no expert, and it’s hard for me to tell when they’re cottoneye-joeing like that.)

      • Echo Tango says:

        They look like pre-rendered 3D sprites to me. You can tell because it looks kinda plastic-y, and shiny, but doesn’t have the detail and clean-looking-ness we got once we moved past low-poly real-time models and started having high-res textures and bump-maps.

        EDIT:
        I’m not so sure anymore. The ones in the talk/cutscene places definitely look like pre-rendered 3D, but the ones in game could maybe be either hand-drawn sprites or pre-rendered 3D. They’re just too low-res for me to tell.

        • MichaelGC says:

          Oh well – glad it’s not just me! And now I’ve been married a long time ago. I mean I’ve been staring at them for too long time ago. Dammit!

          • Matt Downie says:

            The most common evidence of pre-rendered 3D is that they can only render a finite number of camera angles. So you often get characters turning 45 or 90 degrees in a single frame of animation.

        • Tektotherriggen says:

          They’re definitely pre-rendered sprites. Back in Ep. 23, Ruts mentioned Bethesda’s official FAQ, which says:

          Q: Why does Battlespire use sprites?
          A: A lot of concern has been expressed over the usage of sprites in Battlespire. While there are mixed views on doing this, the one advantage we have in doing so is matching the detail quality of the creatures and NPC’s you’ll encounter with their surroundings. The sheer amount of detail a sprite allows visually is the primary factor in our decision to use sprites. Sure, they may not move and behave as realisticly as their polygonal counterparts but it was a decision also made to allow us more time to devote attention to things such as multiplayer capabilities and 3dfx support. Rest assured that this will be the last title Bethesda produces to utilize sprites however.

          Bear in mind that this is the same year (1997) that Jedi Knight and Goldeneye came out – 3D characters could just about manage to render an elbow and looked like this (and that was probably one of the better ones!).

    • Matt Downie says:

      Why have they bothered with any of this, given that not one player in a hundred would make it this far?

  5. Gilfareth says:

    It’s interesting that they so love this trope in the Elder Scrolls series. I fondly remember doing the Hircine mission in Bloodmoon playing Morrowind, or the Caught in the Hunt quest in Oblivion where you go looking for a guy who’s been signed up for a manhunt.

  6. MichaelGC says:

    I once took a trip to Trybador
    And met there a tryhard troubadour
    His aim: to tryout for Trabzonspor
    But he got stuck on the corner of a building so it didn’t happen

    • Content Consumer says:

      Ah heck, you’re right, that’s a “b” and not a “g” there. I was trying to make a Trogdor joke. Oops.

      • MichaelGC says:

        Worked for me! Well, I had to search for ‘burnination’. So that took some of the immediate impact out of it. But once I’d edumacated myself it worked for me!

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          You had to search for it?Go to the corner with Chris,and dont come back until you have watched at least 103% of strongbads emails!

          EDIT:And thats not an exaggeration.You actually CAN watch more than 100% of them.

  7. Dev Null says:

    should–briefly does–feel awe-inspiring

    Am I alone in parsing this as:
    should-briefly
    does-feel
    awe-inspiring

    …and wondering what that means? Whatever it means, it seems to capture the barely-coherent randomness of the game perfectly.

    • Viktor says:

      The proper reading translates to:
      It should feel awe-inspiring, and briefly succeeds.

    • Syal says:

      Attempt — Execution.

      What it should do, it does for a brief moment.
      What it attempts to do, it only gives the barest hint, strictly at an emotional level.
      The awe it tries to evoke, an O Fortuna rail against your fate, instead ends up as an inspirational rendition of Cotton-Eyed Joe.

    • Primogenitor says:

      This is a good excuse (?) to learn the difference between a hyphen, an en dash and an em dash. Something you will never need in real life, but will then be able to bore people you don’t like at parties.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Hey,dont leave us hanging,start typing that explanation.

      • The Seed Bismuth says:

        Elaborate please.

      • Philadelphus says:

        Ooh! Punctuation! I’ll bite.

        A hyphen (-) has several different functions, but for our purposes here it mainly goes between the multiple parts of a compound word or phrase, like awe-inspiring, well-educated, happy-go-lucky, well-to-do, etc.

        An en-dash (–) is commonly used to denote ranges of values, such as 1–8, June 7–July 2, John 1:1–10 (among other things, it can also substitute for an em-dash in certain styles, so see below).

        An em-dash (—) can be used—and is, in this case—in pairs to set off a phrase roughly in place of parentheses. (A single one can also substitute for a colon.) Wikipedia offers the following example:

        The food, which was delicious, reminded me of home.
        The food—which was delicious—reminded me of home.
        The food (which was delicious) reminded me of home.

        So the phrase “should–briefly does–feel awe-inspiring” could also be written as “should (briefly does) feel awe-inspiring.” Note the hyphen in awe-inspiring, indicating it’s a compound word, while the dashes set off “briefly does” as a parenthetical aside relating to the phrase “feel awe-inspiring,” though I think Rustkarn might have used en-dashes instead of em-dashes there, which does make them a bit harder to distinguish from hyphens. Some styles use en-dashes with a space on each side instead of em-dashes, see:

        should – briefly does – feel awe-inspiring (offest en-dashes)
        should—briefly does—feel awe-inspiring (em-dashes)

        Another possible wording to communicate the meaning would be “should feel awe-inspiring, and briefly does.” Or “should feel awe-inspiring. Briefly does” if you like your sentences short and curt.

        The point is, knowing the nuances of punctuation allows you more nuances in your writing than simple periods, commas, and parentheses allow. And Rustkarn’s pretty good at using punctuation—re-reading the post I see a number of dashes that I didn’t notice at first because good punctuation, like good grammar, is meant to draw attention not to itself, but to the ideas it’s communicating.

        So, um, yeah, this has been your overly-analytical, exhaustive analysis of why Rutskarn is, in fact, a good writer for the day.

        P.S. For actually typing such characters, I refer you to Wikipedia, as it differs by operating system.

  8. Nixitur says:

    So, I’m not actually sure how the save game bug functions, but the description on the wiki makes it less severe than people have said in the comments on the last entry. Some have said that if you reload the same save over and over, the garbage objects will pile up, but I honestly don’t see how that is possible. That would mean that the game actually changes your save file when you die, even though you don’t explicitly save. I see no reason why this should be the case as that would be completely useless and far more work than just leaving the save file be. It should be easy to check if you look at the dates on your save files.

    No, I think the more reasonable interpretation is that it adds garbage objects to its memory that will only be stored if you then actually save. This also fits the warning to save (rather than load) as little as possible. Also, the wiki states that it adds 20 new entries “when you save again“, not to your current save. Furthermore, about the container objects, it states that “their number increases with each new save, which was previously loaded from a polluted save.”
    As an example, let’s say your save game in level 5 contains 100 objects. You load it and the game adds garbage objects to its memory, leaving you with 120 objects in memory. However, those extra objects aren’t stored anywhere unless you save. So, if you reload that same save over and over, you’ll always end up with 120 objects in memory, no more.
    However, if you then continue from that save file and save again, you’ll actually have stored the state of having 120 objects. If you then quit and reload that save, it’ll load the previous 120 objects and generate 20 more garbage objects, leaving you with 140 objects in memory. If you reload that save over and over, you’ll always have 140 objects. It is highly unlikely that they would continue to pile up.

    So, in my opinion, it’s not too destructive to actually save. If you limit yourself to, say, 15 saves throughout the entirety of level 5, you should be completely fine, regardless of how often you load.
    To test this, I recommend saving in level 5, quitting to DOS, checking the save’s file size (and/or “last changed” date), reload the save file, quit again and compare. If my idea is correct, there should be absolutely no change, indicating that loading does not affect your save file. If, however, there is a change, may God have mercy on your soul.
    Bear in mind, however, that I can’t be 100% sure unless someone tries it out. And let me tell you, I am not willing to play Battlespire just for that.

    • Primogenitor says:

      But wouldn’t the “pollution” continue and multiply for every save in every level afterwards as well? If so, a strategy of “never save” might be better depending how much longer you want to play afterwards — and courageous(*) Rutskarn is going to the end.

      (*) used in the British political sense that is a synonym of “suicidal”.

      • Nixitur says:

        Why would it do anything about saves in later levels? The “pollution” itself doesn’t do anything, it’s just that there’s a bug in the loading method that, as the wiki states, only affects level 5.
        From how I understood it, it’s not the existence of the garbage objects in your save file that produces more of them. It’s loading a save in level 5 that produces those objects.

        • Shamus says:

          Horrifying. I bet looking at this codebase is like looking through the portal to hell. I can’t imagine the incomprehensible spaghetti code required for a bug like this to emerge.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Theres a challenge for you!Stop reading code for doom,read the code for battlespire.Everyone can understand clean code,but this,you need to be special to understand this.

          • Nixitur says:

            What I find most baffling is that it’s apparently only a problem if you quit before reloading. So, if you save, go back to the main menu and reload your save, it won’t screw it up any further, unlike if you quit beforehand.
            This implies that it keeps some information on the game state while you’re in the main menu which is pretty ridiculous.

          • Raygereio says:

            Save files and Bethesda have had a troubled history.
            This is the same company that with a Skyrim patch (that was supposed to fix dragons occasionally not attacking) introduced a bug that could cause dragons to fly backwards when you loaded a save.

            @Nixitur above:

            This implies that it keeps some information on the game state while you’re in the main menu which is pretty ridiculous.

            If I recal right Oblivion also had issues with that. Specificallty with quicksave.
            If you quickloaded while in the same cell where you quicksaved, you could end up with an improper reset. So you could find doors unlocked that you hand’t reached before you saved. There were even reports of people saving, dropping an item, then loading that save and finding the item they dropped.
            And quicksaving in one cell and then loading from another cell could cause the game to CTD. Even going to the main menu and loading the quicksave from there could still produce those issues. Using manual saves appeared to be work correctly, but I recall the OBSE team saying that that could still produce errors in running scripts.
            So the best practice was the restart the game whenever you wanted to reload.

            It was pretty crazy. That and the corrupt-quicksave issues Morrowind had is why you’ll still see “veteran” Bethesda players not trusting quicksaves in Skyrim or FO4, even though they were fixed in FO3.

            • MichaelGC says:

              I keep having to use quicksave to open doors in Fallout 4. I don’t mean save-scumming to beat terminal lockouts or anything; there’s no loading involved in this particular bonkers instance. Procedure is:

              -Hack terminal
              -Select ‘open door’ from wherever it’s stupidly buried in a ‘menu’
              -Wait
              -More waiting
              -Terminal reports doors will now open
              -Tab out away from terminal
              -Nothing happens
              -Nothing continues to happen
              -Unbroken absence of things happening
              -Hit F5
              -Door pops open; Robert’s your mother’s brother

              So I assume this is somehow linked to the witchcraft you describe, but I wouldn’t want to be the one to work out how or why…

            • GDwarf says:

              Then there’s the Skyrim glitches and crashes caused by, last I heard, Bethesda mangling its save files such that if enough event flags got set in one it’d be too large to actually load, and would end up overwriting game logic and textures in memory.

              Bethesda has always had massive issues with their “infrastructure” code, the actual engines and program logic. Save files, memory leaks, collision detection, event flag tracking, ladders, AI…All have some pretty major issues in essentially every game they’ve ever made. Their games tend to look fairly good, and tend to be ambitious, but their actual programming is often a nightmare of kludges implemented in odd ways.

              • Raygereio says:

                Then there’s the Skyrim glitches and crashes caused by, last I heard, Bethesda mangling its save files such that if enough event flags got set in one it’d be too large to actually load, and would end up overwriting game logic and textures in memory.

                You’re confusing some stuff here. The save file becomming too large was a PS3 specific problem and was essentially the engine banging its head against the console’s hardware limitations. Also it caused crashing & performance issues and nothing else.

                Basically over time as you play and interact with the gameworld by opening doors, droping items, etc, the save file gradually becomes larger as it needs to remember everything the player has done. It also become smaller as cells reset and the savefile no longer needs to remember what the player did there, but mostly it just become bigger. During a playsession, the savefile is loaded in the RAM memory because the game constantly needs to update it with the player’s actions.
                A vanilla save file doesn’t even grow all that much. A fresh Skyrim savefile will be around 4mb and by the time you’re done with the game it will have grown to around 12 to 15mb. On a PC this isn’t an issue at all. We have more then enough RAM available. But games on the previous consoles generation were on a very tight memory budget, especially on the PS3. The PS3 had 512mb of memory available just like the 360. However on the PS3 (it being the special snowflake that it is) that 512 is split up in 256 RAM & 256 VRAM. And some of that system RAM was used by the PS3’s OS, so you had just a mere 200mb.
                Naturally the game’s memory footprint was balanced to leave some free space available for the savefile. But if not enough free space was left, then you’re going to run into problems such as slowdown & crashing. Which is what happened. If I recal right, your save going over 5mb would already cause problems.

            • WJS says:

              Allegedly fixed in FO3. Like the bug in Battlespire was allegedly fixed in patch 1.5. You’ll forgive me, I trust, if I don’t share your faith in just how good the coders at Bethesda really are. I have played FO3, you know. I know what a buggy piece of crap it was.

          • DGM says:

            That reminds me of something I came across recently: http://www.bobhobbs.com/files/kr_lovecraft.html

            Perhaps the programmers were driven to madness.

      • Anthony says:

        Nope, wiki says it only happens in level 5. Save would have some useless data permanently packed on, but as long as the saves are minimized it shouldn’t harm anything – at least according to the wiki. It never suggests not saving at all.

    • MrGuy says:

      I see no reason why this should be the case as that would be completely useless

      Battlespire, distilled.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Basically this.The description of the bug says that it corrupts saves,not the game itself.So having a backup “clean” file would make it only slightly polluted if you were to copy it back every time you get tossed out of the game.

        The only problem is if said pollution would spread to saves you make after that point.But even then,you could still have about 20 or so valid saves for that level.

        • Nixitur says:

          I’m not sure I understand what you mean, but I think you’re saying that quitting the game affects your save files?
          It honestly doesn’t sound like that at all from the description. It says “there will be about 20 new entries (58 kB) when you save again”. “Pollution” of future saves in that level is literally all it does.
          From the very beginning of the description, it says that it creates these objects “every time a saved game is loaded” in that level, not when you quit. Nowhere does it state that quitting the game does anything to your saves, so keeping a “clean” copy and copying it over every time it quits is really not necessary.

          Furthermore, this would require the game to remember which save file you last used specifically to mess it up when you quit the game. The only possible use I could imagine for affecting the save file after dying is for remembering where, when and how often you died. This does not fit Bethesda RPGs at all, was never a feature in any of them and is thus unlikely to have even been considered, let alone implemented for Battlespire.
          The simplest explanation which sticks closest to how the bug is described is simply that it adds garbage objects to memory if you load in level 5 and nothing else.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            No,it says that the game creates junk when you load after a game restarts.So either a fresh load or the crash is what is slowly corrupting the saves.

            Due some reasons the game creates useless object entries for containers every time a saved game is loaded after the game has been quit to DOS.

            • Nixitur says:

              Yes, I took that into account. The saves contain all relevant objects for the current level and if you load one, the game adds 20 more garbage objects on top of that in the memory. There is never talk of any crashes except for the point where the game literally can’t load all the objects anymore.
              When the bug description talks about the game creating “object entries”, that’s not talking about how those objects are stored in the files, but about the game’s memory where the objects have to be loaded to.
              Your idea of how the save files operate is overly and unnecessarily complex as that would mean that both quitting and loading affect your save files. Sure, it’s possible, but extremely unlikely.
              In any case, until someone can test it out (most likely Rutskarn), we won’t know for sure. And as I pointed out, it should be very easy to test.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                There is never talk of any crashes except for the point where the game literally can’t load all the objects anymore

                “after the game has been quit to DOS” includes the crashes.And considering that the game crashes when your health reaches zero,or when you touch a ceiling while jumping,or when you enter one of the buildings in this level,crashing would happen way more often than you regularly quitting.

                So the new objects are created either when you exit the game while on level 5(usually due to crash),or when you load a save of level 5 immediately after the game has been launched.Or at least those two options are the ones that make sense for the described behavior.But since this is battlespire,making sense has stopped happening long ago.

                • Michael says:

                  At the risk of sounding like I’ve lost my mind… the bug almost sounds like the game never stops writing to the save file.

                  I can’t even wrap my head around how badly you’d need to botch up your code to create a situation like this, though.

            • LCF says:

              “And the Battlespire Code Leader went from on high, and he gazed upon the paper board. And He said, ‘Let there be Saved Games’. And there was Saved Games. But in the malignant darkness crept the Corrupt Save Bug. And lo, the Bug crawled&crept into the Code. You shall recognise it by its work on Lvl5 whence the Corruption aggravate&accumulate to reduce the hopes of the righteous to ashes. You shall not try to Save, for the power of Save has no hold in these dreary lands. You shall tread on to suffer your fate as a true Gamer does. And know this: that if you set your save on high, to lay the Back-Up in another File, that the Demon shall surely follow and corrupt them too. And also if you put them to the remote Hard Drive. And also if you put theme to the Digital Cloud. For there is no bound to the malignity of the Corrupt Save Bug.”

  9. Hal says:

    Remind me, which team is Shirts and which is Gratuitous Nudity? Because I feel like Cahmel plays for both teams.

    *rimshot*

  10. King Marth says:

    I’m glad you didn’t let them get away with ‘rhyming’ isle with isle. Little sad about lack of hovertext for that, but I suppose it speaks for itself.

  11. The Rocketeer says:

    As soon as I read it, my fingers itched to comment, “Did you just rhyme ‘isle’ with ‘isle?'” But I knew Ruts would catch it, and held off. I can’t help myself, though.

    DID YOU JUST RHYME ‘ISLE’ WITH ‘ISLE?’ Who wrote this shit, Aerosmith? Next, you’ll find a daedra who promises to cut you like a knife, or burn you like fire. You can always count on the lowest rung of English literacy to be so awed by poetry that they force it on others as a sign of their own sophistication, but too clumsy and artless to help lowering their own esteem through their incompetence with the form. Who wrote this shit, Soulja Boy? You know, it takes some pretty heavy balls to pull this shit on people who have already made it to Level 5 of fucking Battlespire; that demonstrates either the luck, desperation, or technical prowess necessary to follow through on a bomb threat, and I wouldn’t push these people any harder than necessary. Who wrote this shit, Todd Howard?

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Wait, wait, I got one for you:

      There once was a game, Battlespire
      Which traps you within Battlespire
      The game is so bad
      It makes us feel so bad
      Like we’re trapped within Battlespire

      • MichaelGC says:

        That actually physically hurt a little. Just a little! But actual physical pain.

        • The Rocketeer says:

          For the record, I officially endorse onlytwo poems: The Wonderful One-hoss Shay, and this:

          Tedious counting
          Never meant for English verse
          This is not a haiku

          • MichaelGC says:

            Those are awesome! And Primogenitor’s primer on hyphens & dashes was certainly timely. Or will have been timely when it arrives. For the moment it’s going to would have been timely eventually, unless it’s late.

          • Matt Downie says:

            Have you heard of the wonderful Battlespire,
            That was built in such an illogical way
            It ran twenty years to the very day,
            And then, of a sudden, it — ah, but stay,
            I’ll tell you what happened without delay,
            Torturing Rutskarn into fits,
            Maddening people out of their wits, —
            Have you ever heard of that, I say?

            For the coder swore (as coders do,
            With an “I did my sums,” or an “I’ll tell you”)
            He would build one engine to beat them down
            The gamers and all the reviewers around
            It should be so built that it couldn’t break down:
            “For,” said the coder, “’tis mighty plain
            That the strongest part must take the strain;
            And the way to fix it, I maintain, no jest
            Is to make that part as weak as the rest.”

            1st of September, — the fateful day, —
            There are traces of age in Battlespire, eh?
            A general flavor of foul decay,
            But nothing local, as one may say.
            There couldn’t be, — for the coder’s art
            Had made it so bad in every part
            That there wasn’t a place for a fault to start.

            You see, of course, if you’re not a dunce,
            How it went to pieces all at once, —
            All at once, and nothing first, —
            Just as bubbles do when they burst.

          • swenson says:

            so much depends
            upon

            an iron cuirass of the craven knave and
            jackal

            unable to be
            equipped

            beside the shirtless
            spider daedra

      • Munkki says:

        That’s fantastic! :D

        I’ve got to have a go.

        O Battlespire, game of our hearts,
        populated by daedra, who have hearts,
        as we learned in other elder scrolls games,
        which are hearty offerings

        You may not be the best game, but still,
        reading about you is always
        a thrilling experience,
        because Rutskarn is good at writing,
        as he is a good writer and hence
        he writes good entertaining things
        about things that happen in the game.

        The game’s a bit like a flower, if a flower
        didn’t have the colour of a flower
        or the scent of a flower
        but crucially it still made seeds
        which are biologically almost all a flower
        has to have
        (but only if the flower is a female flower)

        Speaking of seeds, there are also the scenes
        of amusement and confusion
        when the NPC dialog choices mean
        our valiant hero must demean
        not only himself but every possible
        denizen of this profusion
        of unusual passages and angles
        and spikes and chains and bangles and glowy stuff
        and people with too few clothes for the environment
        navigated in an increasing state of being confused

        Still, for entertainment, it’s hardly second-rate
        there’s far more boring fare out there to find at any rate
        Even if our dear writer’s started showing signs that at this rate
        it may prove difficult to complete, sign off, and give a rating to

        There. I think I did my worst.

  12. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    This is the kind of story that in a just world would end with our host cheesing the hounds so that they all chase him into a building, and then he runs around a table and back out the door, and all the hounds get hung up on the furniture -after which he completes the level at leisure.

    And then realizes one of the keys he needs is in the room with the hounds…

  13. Paul says:

    “…boil down to ‘eat shit and die, Lifespan McGee.'”

    Am I the only one to wonder if there was a missing comma in this sentence? It works either way.

  14. Jarenth says:

    “Stop me if you’ve heard this one”? I’ve heard that one.

  15. Jack V says:

    WTF is going on? I realise it’s probably futile to try to follow the plot, but I have completely lost it.

    You were originally some sort of apprentice mage, teleported to a magic mage tower for some sort of ordeal. Then it was overrun by demons? Then you escaped into some sort of underworld? And demons randomly help you or hate you and are randomly spiders or naked? But now suddenly you’ve been captured and are being hunted through a town where you inexplicably ALSO scrupulously follow civic quarantine procedures?

    Right?

    • MichaelGC says:

      I’d say that’s an almost impossibly clear and straightforward summary. How on Earth did you manage that?

    • GDwarf says:

      Don’t forget that this floating fortress, used exclusively to train battlemages non-lethally is full of lava, and thousand-foot drops, and, oh yeah, has five buttons without so much as a mollyguard that, when pressed, begin a process that destroys the world.

      Also, you turned up to your final exam naked, no one has any worthwhile monitoring set up on the giant floating magical fortress, the invasion has so far only been opposed by two people, both of them apprentices taking their final exam, the invasion force seems to hate itself, and…and…

      Y’know, I’m beginning to think that maybe this game doesn’t make sense.

  16. Tektotherriggen says:

    Rutskarn, you improved the 640×480 -> 800×600 upscaling! The text is much easier to read now, thank you!

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