As I mentioned in my earlier post about starting Gyllerah on ESO, I filed a support ticket with Bethesda about how the ESO launcher crashed out on me as soon as I hit the Play button, when trying to run natively on my new Mac.
Unsurprisingly, their primary answer to this was “sorry, we don’t support the game on M1 Macs”. They likewise also had to tell me that they don’t support playing in VMs, either.
I was not surprised by this answer. There is an announcement Bethesda put up that basically says the same thing, and I’d already seen that announcement. And speaking as an SDET who’s had quite a bit of experience with software development, even if I haven’t worked on something as huge and complex as a worldwide MMO, I can see where they’re coming from when they say it’d be a huge deal for them to try to rework ESO’s code base to make it support ARM machines.
(Further extensive geekery about this behind the fold.)
This is a followup post to others I’ve been doing lately about getting Skyrim Together Reborn, a mod that allows you to play Skyrim as a group with friends, working on my Steam Deck.
Which has been a challenge. The mod is only officially supported on Windows, as I was advised outright on the STR Discord. And right now I’m not running Windows on the Deck. I’m not likely to change this any time soon, just because as I understand it, you can’t dual boot between operating systems directly on the device. And I’m not in a hurry to wipe SteamOS off the thing.
But since I’d gotten other Skyrim mods functional on the Deck, and since the Deck is currently my most powerful gaming device*, I wanted to see if I could make it work at all.
Deets behind the fold.
As of yesterday I figured out a couple more things with my mod setup, so here’s a few more notes about that. This is a followup to these previous posts:
More behind the fold.
This is a followup to last night’s post where I put out a call for help resolving problems I was having getting a modded Skyrim setup going on my Steam Deck.
I’m pleased to report that the situation has now been resolved! Many thanks to the user named Baguette on the Skyrim Together Discord server, who gave me some helpful tips.
So here’s a post about what those tips were, and what I had to do to get the Deck ready for modding.
I’ve begun my explorations with how to get Skyrim into a moddable state on the Steam Deck! But I’ve run into some challenges, and this post is a writeup of this, in the name of being able to share a single link of information in case I need to yell for help on Discord or Twitter, or wherever.
This is a post to compile my overall plans for how I’m going to mod Skyrim on my Steam Deck! This will include a compilation of the various recommendations for mods I’ve already gotten, as well as some stuff I’d like to see if I can find mods for.
This will be a long post, so here’s a More tag!
Doing this in a separate post just because playing around with my Steam Deck’s various buttons is really kind of parallel to actually playing the game, and there’s enough to discuss here that I want to give it direct attention in its own post.
This’ll be long, so details behind the fold!
Tried out my Morrowind playthrough on the Deck tonight, and this mostly went swimmingly (with a couple of minor exceptions which I’ll go into when I do the session post). This post, however, is me running into an unexpected hurdle that I didn’t run into with Skyrim: namely, that Morrowind actually makes you name your save files when you save your game.
Which you have to do often! Ten sessions in, and I am so far definitely saving more often than I do in Skyrim, just because Morrowind’s been prone to crashing on me a lot more often than Skyrim is.
And here’s the problem with doing that on the Steam Deck: I am still not comfortable with its on-screen keyboard, and this caused me to wind up creating bad save file names for most of tonight’s saves.
I’d been trying to maintain a pattern of “Tembriel” followed by simple increasing numbers. So tonight my last save was supposed to be “Tembriel 46”. But I fucked this up in various creative ways, which wound up getting me save file names like “46” and ” Tembriel 40 ” (with spaces on either side) and “Temm”.
I knew this was going to nag at me if I didn’t figure out how to fix it, so after I stopped actually playing Tembriel tonight, I dug into this problem. And found, once I located Morrowind’s save files, that I’d also fucked up a few earlier ones from the PC side, too, where I’d mistyped “Tembriel” as “Temtiel”. And I hadn’t figured it out at the time because the font that Morrowind uses for its text makes it very hard to tell a small r and a small t apart.
It ultimately had to be solved on my PC, just so that I could manipulate files without having to fight with the Deck’s on-screen keyboard, or try to manipulate files in its file explorer, Dolphin.
This is what I had to do, in two phases, first re-saving each impacted save file in-game to generate better in-game save names, and then renaming the actual physical save files outside the game itself. Like so:
- Open up Morrowind and load each save file in sequence, starting with the first one with a fucked up name, which happened to be “Temtiel 33”. I saved back out correctly as “Tembriel 33”. I had to start with the oldest one first, so that they’d still be in chronological order next time I actually played.
- Exit the game.
- Then re-load the launcher from Steam, to make a point of having it open, so that when I changed my files locally the changes would immediately go up to the cloud.
- Starting with the newest save file, I worked my way backwards to rename the actual files that had been badly named before, now that they had better save names inside the game data.
What made that process of renaming the physical save files a bit more interesting than I expected: I discovered they were named with hex numbering. So not just Tembriel0001, etc. They ran up through Tembriel001A, Tembriel001B, etc. So I had to rename files accordingly, which took me up through Tembriel002D.
And yes, this was absolutely fucking tedious, but I knew it was going to nag me if I didn’t do it, so I went ahead and did it.
Only afterwards did I also see that I’d missed a t in the save file for “Tembtiel 35”. That one I have decided to let stand, just because doing this once was enough. Wanted to write this up in a post, though, for the sake of Future Me in case I have to do this again. And also for any curious Morrowind players who might need to know what I did.
In the process of doing all this, it’s also worth noting that I did finally figure out a control combination on the Deck that let me properly double-click in its Dolphin: Steam button + Right Trigger, which is a Left Mouse action. So if I do it twice, it’s a double-click.
I was driven to look this up after repeatedly trying and failing to double-click via the right side trackpad. Which can work in theory, I guess? But I find it super awkward to do correctly. Steam + Right Trigger worked much better and will help me a lot in working in Dolphin when I need to.
As an addendum to the two posts I’ve already put up last night and this afternoon about the Steam Deck, here are some quick notes about things I still need to test out on it:
- It occurred to me that since I did make a successful connection to our house network’s NAS while in Desktop mode, I can just use that to retrieve screenshots, which would cut out several steps, so I need to try that out
- Playtesting my current Morrowind playthrough, and seeing if that’s significantly easier than playing on the PC or what, and what changes I might need to make to my controller mappings
- See whether those extra buttons on the back will in fact be useful in Morrowind
- How well it behaves when plugged into our TV via HDMI
- And by extension of previous, how well it’ll talk to my Nintendo Switch Pro controller
- Research recommended ways to get mods for Skyrim and possibly also Morrowind onto the thing
- Research how big a pain in the neck it may or may not be to get Elder Scrolls Online running on it, or whether ESO is going to have to wait till I upgrade my computer
Plenty more to try out here. Looking forward to this. <3
Anybody with recommendations for or experience in any of these things, let me know your thoughts!
To follow up on the post I made last night, here’s a more general post about my overall initial impressions of the Steam Deck. The super short form: this thing is amazing, with only a few things I’ve found a bumpy experience so far. <3
Longer form: I’m not going to review this thing in great technical depth. Lots of other sites, such as Ars Technica, have done that already. Go looking for your favorite gaming review site of choice and you’ll probably find they put up a review of this device months ago, with as much technical detail as you might want.
Me, I’m going to focus instead on my immediate impressions of it, and what this is going to mean for me in my gaming moving forward.