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Update: In May of 2014, Giskard restructured his entire website. Again. When he did so, he posted another very long rant full of a whole bunch of lies and deceitful posts where he's whitewashed the truth of pretty much everything going back 7 years now. You can read his accounting of things here: http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/featured-stories/15-why-i-quit-the-elder-scrolls-modding-scene [NOTE: All links to Giskard's site went dark about 3 months after this update was posted because he was told we referenced it. The information can still be pulled up on archive.org by pasting the desired URL into their lookup system.] In short, it's BS, and while the quotes in the original article here have long since been removed from his own site (because, hypocritically, he's hiding his own trolling that he accuses others of doing) the actual substance of the quoted material and the rebuttals to them all remain true to this day. Original Post Follows: Alright. I said I wasn't going to get into this before, but this has gone far enough and needs to be responded to so that the record can be set straight. Wall of text to follow, if you don't give a crap, you have nobody to blame but yourself for reading. In order for this all to make some bit of sense, I'm going to need to go over the history of things as I recall them. Due to the nature of the Bethesda Softworks forum system, linking to specific threads will be impossible. With that in mind, here we go. I'm heavily into RPGs. In fact, they're practically all I play. My shelf in the closet is packed with stuff going clear back to 1986. I've played every game in the Ultima series, every game in the Bard's Tale series, most of the old gold box D&D games, and of course, every Elder Scrolls title that's been released (except Redguard and Battlespire). I took a particular liking to Morrowind because it was so advanced for its time and no matter how much you played, you could always find something you hadn't seen before. Then there were mods, and I had plenty. I even made two of my own. I've been an avid player of Oblivion since the day it was released in 2006. I picked it up as soon as it was available and as soon as I could get to the store after work. My box is one of the original collector's edition retail packages that still has the T rating instead of the M rating. I played through 90% of my first character without knowing a whole lot about mods and what they do, and beat the main quest with only a small handful of things that I'd found which I liked. The most ambitious of which at the time was the Open Cities mod, which I picked up because I missed the Morrowind way of doing things so much. Like many gamers, I shelved Oblivion for awhile and returned to other stuff. Mostly relating to MUDs at the time, and maintaining the several project sites I was a part of. I played other stuff, bounced around a few forums here and there, grew more and more agitated by the actions of our government, launched this very blog, and was generally busy with projects at work as well. Around March 2008 or so, I got bored with various offerings, wasn't finding any decent RPGs to play, and had pulled Oblivion back down from the shelf. After dusting off the disc and making sure the DVD drive was in good shape, I decided to go poke around on the Bethesda forums to see if any cool mods had been created. I honestly expected there to be a pretty poor selection of ill-maintained stuff, as was the norm for other games. I was quite surprised to see a vibrant and healthy modding community. I decided to see what was what and downloaded a few things. A new series of mods dubbed "Unique Landscapes" was making the rounds. They looked cool, so I grabbed them. I saw Open Cities had been updated, so I grabbed that. I picked up some weapon mods, but later dropped them because they weren't all that great. I also decided to dive into the world of texture replacers. Now, because I'd had experience with needing to clean mods in Morrowind due to the CS making messes, I was already conscious of the fact that it was probably necessary for Oblivion too. So I looked around for awhile and ran across just what I was looking for: TES4Edit. It was around the same time I found it that I was also trying to get in touch with Texian and Godhugh to see about releasing an update to Open Cities to fix some of the nagging bugs. Of which there were plenty. The mod also had its fair share of dirty edits caused by the CS. I plugged away at that for a couple of months as I relearned how to maneuver in the CS, since it was different enough from Morrowind's to be a bother. I learned quite a bit about how TES4Edit worked, and studied several mods in detail with it to get familiar with how it did things. I grabbed stuff at random from Nexus and when I found a particularly bad one, I'd fire of a quiet PM to the author to let them know what I'd found. Most of them were thrilled their mods were even getting attention, let alone that someone was offering to help fix them. This is where my first encounter with Giskard came up. During a discussion with Elminster about a mod he'd cleaned called Kvatch Aftermath, Giskard showed up on the forum raising hell about how Elminster had released a clean version of the mod. If Giskard had simply asked him politely not to do that, I suspect the issue would have died right there. It didn't go down that way. Giskard flew into a ginormous rage about how TES4Edit had corrupted his mod, broken several things, and made a general mess out of everything. Silly me, I came along and backed up Elminster's claim, and provided logs and screenshots to back it up. Eventually the thread this happened in got so hot the mods locked it and told everyone to chill. Things appeared to have settled, but somewhere in his hole, Giskard was seething. During the course of the remainder of 2008 and well into 2009, he made several regular appearances on the Bethesda forums to decry trolls, toss firebombs at anyone who claimed TES4Edit was useful, and generally just make a huge ass out of himself whenever possible. Anyone who was around at the time can attest to this, including at least one semi-regular reader right here on this very blog. The monkey poo really hit the fan though the day Giskard called Wrye out in a discussion of the CUO - Cyrodiil Upgrade Overhaul. You see, Wrye is the genius behind the critically essential tool: Wrye Bash. No modder who delves into overhauls should be without it. So if anyone knows the ins and outs of how the game engine behaves with things like leveled lists, it's Wrye. You can imagine the results when Giskard comes along and declares Wrye Bash is a busted piece of junk and using it will crash your game. Oh, and CUO is compatible with all overhauls, without needing a patch. Wrye proceeded to very soundly prove him dead wrong. With a bit of help from yours truly, along with Vorians, Elminster, and many of the other big names in Oblivion modding who absolutely know their stuff. This made Giskard an angry kitty, and he tossed a large enough firebomb that the mods finally got tired of his crap and banned him. Following this, the mods made it clear that all talk about Giskard, his mods, his sites, and pretty much anything relating to them was off limits. It got to where people began talking about him as "He who shall not be named". People who missed the controversy or joined after it all happened sometimes ask, and are quickly told it's best to just let it go - those who don't soon find the threads locked. The official BGS forums were not the only place this happened either. Which leads us to somewhere around December of 2009. The All Natural mod was looking for mirror locations. Clocking in at 125MB at the time, PES was impractical. ElricM as well. Several other mod sites also had insanely small size restrictions. Except for one. They have a 250MB file size limit. So I registered an account and uploaded All Natural. I'll let them remain nameless here, they're not hard to find, but Giskard's goons aren't smart enough to know where it is without being told. Well, imagine my surprise as I return toward the end of the month to find I've been banned, accused of uploading mods without permission. I badgered the admins about it for weeks until one of them finally told me Giskard had reported me for uploading "cleaned" copies of every last one of his mods to the site. This admin (who shall remain anonymous to protect them) would not tell me the name of the user account that was tied to the uploads, and had to be pushed fairly hard into even revealing it was Giskard who had made the accusation. This admin, probably wanting to avoid responsibility, claimed their "boss" said Giskard had "proof" of what I'd done. I made my case and proved to them it wasn't me who had uploaded anything of the sort. My account was reinstated. With that behind us, I figured it was over. I made a passing comment about it in February 2010. I was wrong. It wasn't over. Not by a long shot apparently. Early last month, one of Giskard's administrators went on a fishing expedition here and found my passing comment from February. He reported it to Giskard. Giskard posted a series of rants about it all throughout July. http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/blog/589-better-cities-people-behind-attacks-on-me-last-year - In this one I've suddenly been made a member of the Better Cities team. This is the post where he flat out lies AGAIN and repeats the accusation he tried to slide past the mod site that banned me. He claims it was his own curiosity that drove him to look for where the "unusual search term" came from and that he magically ended up on this blog. I know who actually did the leg-work and who actually took the screenshots. I also know when I was and wasn't banned from the mod site. Giskard: You aren't really hiding much even though you thought you were protecting your fellow forum admin from being found out. He hasn't covered his tracks at all. Also, as you probably realized by now, there's been no effort to hide my identity here. Anyone could have found me a long time ago if they wanted to. BTW, it's libel, not slander. Trust me when I tell you, if I'd been in the same room as you to be able to slander you, I'd have punched you in the face instead. Suffice it to say, that long winded rant of his is nothing but one twisting of fact after another. My talking about being banned does not prove I did anything. It merely proves I knew who GOT me banned and why the site claims it happened. It's not the only place he's tried to ban me from though, because I was informed by Nexus moderators that he tried to have me banned there too. http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/blog/590-when-a-modder-prepares-for-war - One of his delusional rants about quality, compatibility, and oh yeah, crushing the BC team. Supposedly by making the best set of city mods the world has ever seen. I say more power to him. Competition breeds better mods for everyone. He just shouldn't be surprised if people don't consider his the best. http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/blog/592-modding-code-of-effics - This one is more of a general rant about ethics, despite the URL being spelled wrong. Of course, it's filled with backhanded slaps against the entire Oblivion modding community and how we're all vicious trolls and only want to beat each other within an inch of our lives so our mods will be the only ones out there. Uh huh. Someone needs to look in the mirror. Since someone launched an all out tirade against an entire community. One need only look as far as the public portions of the forum at his site to see he runs it as an iron-handed dictator. He'd surely fit right in with the MUD community. http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/blog/598-a-question-of-compatibility - Where Giskard professes to know how to perform miracles. To hear him talk about compatibility is enough to make anyone with an ounce of mod knowledge double over in laughter. This is not how you make compatible mods. 5227 dirty edits - records that are absolutely identical to one of the mod's master files. In this case, absolutely identical to Oblivion.esm records. This is from Kvatch Aftermath 7.7, which you can download from his site. You can verify these findings by following the mod cleaning guide at the CS Wiki. Well over 90% of these edits are landscape, which you can probably guess is going to make a mess of everything. http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/blog/600-planning-is-a-wonderful-thing-d - That quote alone should tip you off - because it's totally untrue. Someone who is polite and friendly to other modders doesn't go around flinging libelous accusations against other modders and doesn't get themselves permanently banned from the largest Oblivion modding community on the internet. http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/blog/626-the-moral-of-the-story-is - This post he dives right in to a boatload of revisionist history. I can't tell if this is his warped accounting of the Kvatch Aftermath incident or of the CUO incident. Likely CUO, because I doubt he'd dare to call Wrye out even from his own blog. http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/blog/631-sorry-but-i-cannot-let-this-slip-by-without-comment - Another post that's filled with revisionist history. This one dealing directly with the Kvatch Aftermath incident. This is probably one of the more insidious posts he makes because anyone who wasn't around in 2008 isn't going to know the real truth of what happened and WHY dev_akm and Vorians were both involved. Which I explained earlier, it was because Elminster and I had already laid down a solid case. That tidbit I dropped in with the 5200+ dirty edits? KA has had those all its life, and that was the topic of discussion 2 years ago. I don't know where he gets this stuff, but if you tell the CS to ignore a record, buggy as it is, it will do precisely that once you save it. The records in question are *NOT* CS ignore records. And even if they were, the addition of an ignore flag makes them by definition not identical to their master file. TES4Edit will therefore not remove them. Elminster, myself, Vorians, and dev_akm all rightly pointed out what was really going on and were trying to tell Giskard how to resolve it. Actually, he did, which resulted in the thread getting locked and warnings being issued. No doubt one of the several that eventually led to him being banned. BTW, mid-March 2008 doesn't sound exactly right, but who knows. I'll defer to others who may respond here on that one. I'm thinking more like mid-April, not that it matters, because Giskard is still dead wrong either way. My recollection is that this is utter crap. Every "real" modder that saw the exchange agreed with us, not Giskard. If memory serves, Corepc, bg2048, Vacuity, Wrye, and a host of others all popped in, saw the results, and agreed that Elminster was right. No. Elminster ran a tried and true cleaning utility on the mod and posted the results. There was no need then and there is no need now to test "side effects" of pulling identical records out of the mod. If a mod says the sky is green, but Oblivion.esm has already told you it's green, then pulling the record that's duplicating it won't break a damn thing. If Elminster actually said that, he was right. At least in this instance. His tool analyzed the mod, found 5200+ records that were absolutely safe to remove, and did so. If other people agreed, it's because they too got the same results. I recall that some folks also verified the findings with TES Gecko, which produced the same results. When several true expert modders all agree that a mod has issues, then it has issues. Period. Given the preponderance of evidence at the time, and to this day, I would wager anyone who can work TES4Edit and see the same results also knows more about the inner workings of Giskard's mods than he does. The CS is a high level development tool. TES4Edit is a low level record editor. In the IT world, low level editors win out over the fancy IDE's any day since they can spot things the high level tools won't even tell you about. This would be where the bit about calling people wankers and telling them to fuck off came in. The only one who proved himself a raving egomaniac that day was Giskard, by refusing to admit that his mod has problems. He still refuses to this day to admit it. Vorians' role in the entire exchange, as I recall, really wasn't that involved. Frankly I have to wonder how I managed to escape the whole thing entirely unnoticed, because Giskard never even mentions me. I was far more central in pointing things out than he was. There's nothing sudden about it. Vorians has a solid track record on testing mods. He's been a knowledgeable help with the UL Council since we both joined in early 2009. He was making patch mods long before I had crawled out of modding diapers for Oblivion. His work on the BC project is solid. Does he make mistakes? Yes. We all do. Not a single one of us is perfect. Not me, not Vorians, not Giskard. The CS is also very good at throwing curve balls, and it will turn and bite you in the ass at some point, and despite all the testing you can do, you *WILL* need to fix your mod after release unless you're a negligent asshole of an author. I doubt I need to point out who in all this is an asshole of an author. Now if that wasn't enough - he's gone off and posted a guide: http://www.theengineeringguild.co.uk/beth-games-the-secret-of-a-crash-free-game I'll save you the trouble. Don't read any further than that. For someone who claims to be as much of an expert at modding as Giskard does to so casually dismiss the power of Wrye Bash, TES4Edit, and every other trick in the book just proves his complete lack of knowledge. Following advice given by clueless retards is never a good idea. That it will. The truth inevitably finds that those people who report the scads of crash threads have gone and done one of: * Improperly installing mods. * Properly installing mods, but not properly configuring a Bashed Patch to go with them. * Failing to follow directions that are clearly laid out in the readmes. * Installing too many mods for their hardware to handle. Full disclosure here, because you all know I've bitched about it enough in the past, I was in the 4th category for a long ass time. I have so many graphic replacers that I don't need a large mod load to cause trouble. Yet, I have a moderately large mod load as well. Despite that mod load being pristine and free of bugs, the game would crash randomly every 20-40 minutes generating a massive amount of frustration. That is, until I upgraded to Windows 7 64-bit, put 8GB of RAM in the box, applied the LAA patch to Oblivion, and configured Oblivion Stutter Remover with a larger memory heap size. My game is now rock solid stable with 160+ mods in tow and several works in progress lying in wait. Barring the oddities around Kvatch, my game has not crashed once at all this week, or last week, and I can only recall a small handful in all of April, May, June, or July. So yes, you can get a stable game if you try. You just won't be getting it by following the advice of a raving lunatic narcissist who thinks the world revolves around him and his mods and his refusal to use modern mod making aids to help himself. (Bonus points to MUD folk who could draw a comparison to someone else here, makes you wonder, doesn't it?) You can also make perfectly working mod patches if you're so inclined. It's not quantum physics, but you do need to know what you're doing. My guess is Giskard has no clue what he's doing and is firing blind. Which would explain why he fears mod patches. Oh really? Files tab. Tell me with a straight face that I've never made any real mods. Yes, I know that statement was directed at me because I said it's perfectly safe to produce AND use tools to help make working mods. I use these tools all the time on every mod I make, and I think I can safely say that the quality those tools produce shines through in the form of endorsements and votes for file of the month. BTW, that's just the stuff that's uploaded under my account. I've also got UL Brena River and All Natural as well. Vorians also makes plenty of mods. He's been doing most of the work on the Better Cities additions for well over a year, and he completed well over 50% of the Skingrad Outskirts UL mod. Not to mention the man is a walking patch making machine. This isn't necessarily true at all. Oblivion can be unstable for a variety of reasons, including inadequate hardware to play the game. That doesn't mean the CS won't run perfectly fine since it doesn't need to do constant rendering work to update the scene. Yes, you'll have trouble testing it, but you can build away happily until you can either correct your hardware woes or find a more capable machine at a buddy's house to test with. Some generous souls have even been known to do that testing for you and report back on the results so you can tweak. Rather than following the advice of a delusional madman and obliterating a perfectly good game and set of saves, go to the official forums, ask for help, learn the correct way to solve problems. Any objective observer will be able to tell you the BGS forum is the most friendly community you're likely to find anywhere on the internet. I've seen far worse, and administered communities of actual flamers and trolls, and even Giskard pales in comparison to what those people are capable of in terms of rudeness and cruelty. So there it is. If you're still reading at this point, I commend you. You have the whole story now. The real story. Feel free to comment, or just gape in drooling awe that someone could write so much stuff. Unlike Giskard's forum, you won't be banned here if you should decide to call me a liar - just expect to be brutally challenged on it if you do. Keep in mind Giskard has an entirely closed blog platform that denies the people he's accusing a way to refute the claims he's making. So I'm going to allow the floor to open up for those people to do so right here. Brian High, I know you're watching, and you know I'm right.