Tag Archives: Elder Scrolls Online

ESO player housing: Moon Sugar Meadow

I completed this house some time ago, but my video capturing and editing skills have only just caught up. This video includes a number of new features, including a soundtrack:

I still have a lot to learn but I now know how to use the ESO in-game camera a bit better. It doesn’t matter how good your editing skills may be if the raw footage is poor quality.

On the video editing front, I’ve learned how to:

  • Cut and splice the video footage with still images to create a smooth flowing visual narrative,
  • Focus on important images using freeze frame,
  • Narrate the important ‘bits’,
  • Add a ‘soundtrack’ to help tie the whole thing together.

I’m particularly proud of the soundtrack as I was just experimenting, and it worked. lol

For anyone who’s interested, I recorded roughly ten minutes of video just for the background music. Then I took the video into VideoStudio Pro 2021 [the software I use for editing] and ‘split’ the audio out of the video. This left me with just an audio track. I then added the audio track to the completed video.

What all that means is that the video is made up of three layers:

  • the edited video [complete with sound effects like bird calls and footsteps],
  • the voice over narration, and
  • the music soundtrack.

Once my skills improve a bit more, I hope to be able to create how-to videos and maybe, one day, a trailer for my books. That’s all in the future though. For now, I’m still on a massive learning curve. Thanks for coming along for the ride. 🙂

cheers,
Meeks


New toys, new skills

Some months back, I invested in Corel VideoStudio Pro, as well the Action! video capture program. One helps me take good quality video footage, the other helps me turn that raw footage into something a great deal more professional. Unfortunately, both have required quite a steep learning curve, but I’m proud to say I can now do a proper ‘voice over’[1].

In time, I hope to make short how-to videos to complement my how-to posts. You saw a tiny snippet of that in my last post. For now though, I’m doing player housing walkthroughs while I learn the ropes. This is my latest walkthrough:

A narrated walkthrough of the Undercity

This particular housing project is set in an area that looks like a real wasteland, so I tried to reproduce some of the things I visualised in The Vintage Egg, in particular the story about the Christmas Roast. I think I managed to fudge the grim feel of the Undercity, but I couldn’t quite re-create the high tech architecture. Still, I had a lot of fun. 🙂

I’m off to practise some more new skills.

cheers,
Meeks

[1] My first efforts saw me recording the ‘narration’ at the same time as I was trying to film the video. Okay for simple things, next to impossible for more complex things. Now I can focus on the video first, then record the narration over the top of the video. Still need a script but it’s miles easier.]


Dieselpunk House – Anpire

I love building things in ESO, and I think I’m pretty good at it, but this house – built by Anpire – is beyond exceptional:

Not only is the building itself incredible, but the ‘cinematography’ is brilliant as well, and the laid back, jazzy music suits the build perfectly.

cheers,
Meeks


Seeing red over autorenewals

This is going to be a very angry post, so be warned.

Some time ago I posted about being caught out by an autorenewal from a pet supply site [online]. Well, it seems that the latest money making scam is to make a lot of online purchases ‘subscriptions’. Then, those subscriptions are set to autorenew…BY DEFAULT. You are forced to opt-in whether you want to or not, and the information is often hidden way down in the fine-fine-fine print.

The reason I’m frothing at the mouth today is because I’ve been stung, again.

Until November, 2021, I was using BitDefender Antivirus. I thought I’d bought a standalone product the same as I’d done for many years. I thought I’d paid for a one year licence, and that if I wanted updates after that, I would have to buy the product again after it expired.

Nope. Apparently BitDefender is now a subscription ‘service’ that’s set to renew automatically. To renew manually, you have to consciously opt-out.

Despite being a literate computer/internet user, I had no idea I’d ‘agreed’ to an autorenewal, and I had absolute not idea the product I’d bought was being administered by a company called 2Checkout. In fact, I switched to Kaspersky Anti Virus about a month before the BitDefender licence was due to expire… -hollow laughter-

When I demanded a refund I was offered sweeteners I did not want. I’m still waiting for a full refund.

Then today I thought I’d do a post on how renewals should be done. I thought I’d take some screenshots of how Kaspersky does it. Imagine my horror when I discovered that Kaspersky is now doing exactly the same thing. But at least it’s being more upfront about it….

The link circled in red above says ‘Subscription 321 days remaining’. Clicking on the link took me to:

Ah hah! Manage subscription. Just what I wanted…

Or not. Hmm… what the heck does ‘Initialize your credentials’ mean?

I tried using the id and password I had for kaspersky.com but it didn’t work. What followed was a LOT of frustration as I tried to work out how to cancel my autorenewal. In the end I found this:

When I clicked on the blue ‘How to disable license auto-renewal for Kaspersky solutions for home’ I was taken to this screen:

What the? Where did I buy it? Why, I bought it from Kaspersky…didn’t I?

The following is a close-up:

Dear god…had I kept the confirmation email??? Panic!

I did find the confirmation email, and this is what the ‘bottom’ looks like:

To get to the bottom, I had to scroll quite a long way down, way past the point you see when you open an email normally. Apparently, a company called Nexway handled my purchase. News to me:

Excuse me? Method of payment??? What the bloody fuck? How can buying something online with a credit card constitute an acceptance of autorenewal????? But, of course, it’s all there in black and white at the bottom of a very long email where NO ONE ever looks….

By this stage I have to tell you that I was getting very anxious, but at least there was a ‘hassle free cancellation’ link to use…

<<cue screaming and rending of hair>>

The ‘hassle free’ link took me to a page that seemed to require a login…but the only login I had did not work. That left me searching for technical support from Kaspersky… This is what I wrote in the online contact form that took forever to find:

I still have almost a year to go before my Kaspersky Anti Virus autorenews, and I may choose to stay with Kaspersky, but I will not be forced into doing so.

More importantly, I will not allow my credit card details to remain with a company I know nothing about [Nexway]. Those credit card details are an open door to my bank account, and I have no idea whether Nexway will be the next global company to be hacked. Fear of hacking is one reason I’m so very careful with direct debits.

Oh? You didn’t realise that autorenewals were direct debits? They are, but direct debits require a formal acceptance. Funny how a name can change things…

And just for the record, I am very familiar with the subscription model and the concept of autorenewal:

  • I have a domain name with Godaddy, and I choose to autorenew every year. Despite that, Godaddy sends me an email notification well ahead of time. It does not send the notification and take my money on the same day, the way the company out-sourced by BitDefender did. Yup, 2Checkout, another company I know nothing about has my credit card details.
  • Elder Scrolls Online has a subscription option that I use once or twice a year. It autorenews as well, but cancelling the subscription is so easy you could do it in your sleep:

After clicking ‘Manage Membership’ I get:

And that’s it. Easy. Maybe it has to be easy because by and large, gamers are very computer savvy. If Elder Scrolls Online tried to make it hard for gamers to cancel their subscriptions, they’d lose gamers by the thousands. Plus gamers are a very vocal lot.

Getting back to anti virus autorenewals, I have no idea yet how Kaspersky handles notifications when a subscription is getting close to autorenewal. I hope they do it better than BitDefender, but given how much time I’ve already wasted trying to opt-OUT of this bloody autorenewal, I’m not feeling very sanguine.

Autorenewals can be very convenient. They can also be a very expensive trap. As for this new thing of making customers accept autorenewal by default – without any formal acceptance! – and then forcing them to jump through hoops to opt-out, that is just a fraud.

Let me repeat that. Autorenewal by default, often without the customer being aware of it should not be legal. Why companies are allowed to get away with it I do not know.

Why is no one complaining?

Why are consumer rights groups not jumping up and down like me?

We have always lived in a buyer beware world, but when the corporates keep changing the goal posts to hoodwink us out of our money, that skirts right on the edge of the criminal. If you have subscriptions, check them now, otherwise you could find yourself out of pocket.

Whatever you do, do not chalk any losses up to experience. We are Davids in a world full of Goliaths. Get angry. Fight back, if not for yourself, then do it for all those people who are more vulnerable than you…the elderly, young kids, teens who never read the small print…

The abuse we ignore is the abuse we condone.

Meeks


Meeka’s Youtube Channel

I wasn’t game to say anything until I had a reasonable number of videos up, but I think I’m finally there, so…this is the link to my channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHW0WF_RtBjPLBA0ervswtA/featured

Down the bottom you can see a number of playlists. They’re just categories of videos. The how-to playlist only contains one video, but in time, I intend to create videos for all of the relevant sections of the free ‘How to print your novel with Kindle Direct Publishing’ book.

I’m not there yet in terms of skill, but the video below is my first attempt to do a how-to for the ESO housing editor:

This video will be the first in a series, but boy was it hard to do. Having a chatty narration ‘style’ is one thing, waffling on is another.

Lesson number 1: boring viewers is a cardinal sin!

Lesson number 2: waffling on is boring, especially when the viewer only wants information. 😦

As my narration style is naturally, um, ‘chatty’, I’ve had to do a lot of cutting and splicing to get rid of the waffle. Great practice in editing, not so great for the sound quality which waxed and waned with each splice. In the end, I was forced to do one long take with deliberate pauses so I could edit out the worst of the gaffs without affecting the sound quality too much.

Those hiccups aside, I’m really enjoying this learning curve. If any of you are already experienced in creating videos or have recommendations for tools to use, I’d love to hear them. I’m currently using RecMaster which is a great entry level video recorder, but maybe not quite powerful enough for my ambitious projects.

I also have a favour to ask – could you please subscribe to my channel? Youtube will allow me to have a customised URL for my channel – i.e. something with my name in it instead of hieroglyphics – but only after I reach the magic number of 100 subscribers. At the moment I have 4. It’s a big ask, I know, but I would really appreciate your help on this one.

Have a wonderful weekend, me lovelies. 🙂

Hugs,
Meeks


ESO housing – Lion’s Cradle

This is another video walkthrough that I’m posting, partly for posterity and partly because I’m proud of the level of editing I was able to achieve. Still not ‘professional’ by a very long country mile, but getting there.

I’ve turned comments off as these posts are mostly for gamers.

cheers,
Meeks


Housing in ESO – Oops…Lucky Cat Landing in Southern Elsweyr

Apologies! I mixed up the names of two of the houses, both of which are getting videos. The first video is of ‘LUCKY CAT LANDING’, not Cat’s Cradle. -sigh- It’s the second one that’s called ‘Lion’s Cradle’.

I’ve updated the subtitles etc but otherwise the video is exactly the same as before. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend watching it on Youtube as it’s much bigger than what you’ll see here on WordPress:

My cinematography is still a bit too fast and ‘jerky’, but I’m getting pretty good at the editing. The finished video is at least a third smaller than the raw video I shot. Ums, ahs, stammers and oopsies all gone. 😀 Oh, and I learned how to put in subtitles!

cheers,
Meeks


ESO, Lion’s Cradle and Bandicam

The video above is the first part of an ongoing walkthrough of a house I built in Elder Scrolls Online, ESO for short. This house is probably the most ambitious thing I’ve built in-game, and you’ll see why when I show you what the original looks like:

Thank god a friend hadn’t built anything on her version of the house yet so I could get a ‘before’ video.

As you can see, the estate appears to be quite small, with just a single room house, a below deck area and a wide deck out front. But…this house has the best view of any house in ESO. So I built out [from the fence] and down as far as the envelope would allow.

In coming videos I’ll show views from the new areas so you can see how much extra space you can make by building out. For my money, Lion’s Cradle is an unsung gem.

And now a bit about the process of creating these videos in the first place. Let’s just say it’s been fraught. In the last three days I’ve tried out:

  • Shadowplay video capture [nVidia GEForce Experience]
  • Democreator [Wondershare]
  • Movavi Gecata
  • OBS
  • Bandicam
  • and Ease-Fab video converter

Shadowplay uses the nVidia graphics card [if you have one] to create great videos, but because they’re created with variable framerates, I couldn’t upload them to anything. It may be possible to make them compatible with Vimeo etc, but I couldn’t work out how, so, no go.

Democreator I couldn’t get to work, can’t remember why. Again a no.

Movavi was okay but I simply don’t have the money to buy software that I may only use once in a blue moon. So, no.

OBS…this is open source software and the most popular app around at the moment, but I had major problems with it. For starters, my operating system [Win 7] is not supported by the app, but I read that I could still use it. So I tried. I could get a screen capture going, of sorts, but the hotkeys didn’t work so I had to record manually from within the app. As a result, I had junk at the beginning and the end. Also I couldn’t get it to record in mp4. So then I tried Ease-Fab to convert it to mp4 but the result was…ick.

And finally, I tried Bandicam. Almost fell off my chair when it worked first time, straight away. I had to experiment with different resolutions, but I think the ones in the videos above are a reasonable trade-off between quality and size. Plus my pc is oldish so it’s not that great with super high resolution.

If you’re using Windows 10 you’ll probably find that most of these apps work better simply because your pc is likely to be more powerful. But…if you use Win 7 like me, it’s nice to know that we still have options.

And finally, to salve my conscience, I have to say that learning how to do all this will come in handy as I try to create video tutorials. That, however, is still some way off as I need equipment and a video editor, none of which I currently have. But knowledge never goes astray, right?

Have a great weekend,

Meeks


ESO and my digital house

I’m trying hard not to think about what’s happening in the US at the moment so here’s my version of a distraction – in-game house building, with pics!

But first, a bit of info. about what I mean by ‘in-game housing’. Probably the best way to describe it is to say it’s like playing with a 3D dolls house except that your digital character is the ‘doll’.

The motivation for wanting such a 3D house is similar to what drives us to buy houses in the real world. My character may not be able to ‘live’ in this house, but she can still enjoy it. Plus, let’s be honest, having a house is a bit of a status symbol because you have to work for it. The same applies to in-game housing. You have to pay for it by performing ‘work’ in the game. The house can also be filled with ‘special’ things that can only be gained by performing some hard-to-do task or event. And finally, players like me who love crafting can also do a lot of DIY to personalise their ‘home’.

My in-game character[s] aren’t rich by player standards, but because I’m a Master Crafter and gather most of the materials I need, I can ‘build’ things I would otherwise not be able to afford. So think of me as a DIY-er. 🙂

So, on to that house! First up is a ‘before’ pic of the base housing I’ve been working on:

Click the image to get the fullscreen view. Click the ‘back’ arrow to return to the post.

As you can see, it’s just a tiny little house on a smallish block with a big fence all around it. What you can’t see is the beautiful view on the other side of that fence. It was that view which kickstarted my design for the house and block.

This next pic is of the same place, from much the same angle, but this time there’s a ground floor extension on one side of the original house, and a three storey extension on the other:

Same house with a radical make-over

I literally built all of that new stuff with my own two, digital hands. Well, I did use the available components but in rather unexpected ways. The secret is to see objects as shapes rather than as ‘functions’. Thus, for example, I used two ‘leant-to sheds’ to create a peaked roof on the three storey extension. And when I couldn’t find wall components of a certain size, I fudged them by using stone ‘tables’ instead.

I won’t bore you with how I made everything, but I will use the block editor’s slideshow feature to take you through the house, room by room. This is going to be pretty graphics heavy so if the pics take an age to load…I’m sorry!

I like this slideshow feature, but it would be even nicer if you could click on one of the pics to get a full screen view, as you can with ‘normal’ pics. Next time I’ll experiment with the ‘gallery’ display.

And because my favourite view is hard to see, I’ll repeat it here so you can click on it:

which leads to the roof…

Hope you enjoyed my little tour. If anyone wants to know how to create a similar slideshow, please mention it in comments, and I’ll put a how-to post together for you.

cheers,
Meeks


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