Sunday, September 16, 2012

Skyrim - Geological Tourism

Beautiful Mistwatch.
I love the world of Skyrim. There's a lot of unrealistic stuff in there of course. You know, like swimming in full plate armor, and the way you can basically walk down a cliff face...oh, and magic and monsters and shit, but the landscapes are epic, and as a geologist, I love landscapes.

I like the way game developers have incorporated mining metal for weapons and armor into this latest version. The mechanic is a but clunky, but in the end it's the thought that counts, isn't it? It does bother me a little however, that pretty models have been made for items, and clothing, and furniture, but the programmers couldn't really be bothered to produce realistic textures for the rocks - even in the mines.

The hot springs were magnificent to
behold. I began to wonder whether
a geothermal power station was
completely out of the question. 
Hear this Bethesda developers, we geologists want more interesting outcrops next time around. Most of the mountainous outcrops look like a dull, greyish dolerite, or perhaps limestone? The lowland outcrops are often a brownish, cruddy-looking...what? I dunno. (An aside: It would be great if I could make a mineral discovery of my own in Skyrim. Begin excavations myself, and have my own mine. Why can't that happen?)
Something they did get right however, and I loved this, were the geothermal springs at Mistwatch. Any geologist - or anyone who's seen the Champagne Pools in New Zealand, should get ye directly to Mistwatch and hunt around the sinters and geysers there for a while. I was well impressed when I stumbled upon this little gem.

I was forced to take time out from
my geological investigations to
slay a pesky dragon, who clearly
had no interest at all in furthering
scientific understanding of our natural

Wading through the pure, geothermal waters of Mistwatch was, again, a little unrealistic, as the water temperature would have been close to 80 degrees Celsius, but why quibble about such a small thing when someone has obviously gone to a lot of effort to produce something as close to geological reality as I've seen in a game.

Gasses hissing from fissures. Acidic, arsenic-rich, green waters. Boiling geysers. Terraced platforms. I could almost feel the rotten eggy H2S burning my nostrils. Well done whoever put that little piece of perfection into the game. More next time please!

Once I'd taught the evil  blighter an  important lesson regarding interupting a
geologist about her work, I was able to continue poking around.

The silica terraces were a nice, and much appreciated, touch. If only the rest of Skyrim was as anatomically correct!

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