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Found 12 results

  1. Cleaning Mods with TESxEdit

    TESxEdit Cleaning Guide There have been many cleaning guides written over the years, with the main one being on the Construction Set Wiki, but recent updates to TESxEdit have made most of those guides obsolete. I also thought I would collect the different aspects of cleaning mods into a single guide. What is a "Dirty" Mod? While some would consider it's a mod that uses foul language or has scenes of a sexual nature, that's not what we mean by a "dirty" mod. Dirty mods are mods that modify records in a master file, like Oblivion.esm, that are not necessary for the mod to function. They can encompass records that have been flagged as modified, but not actually changed, and records that have actually been modified with what are called "wild" edits. The Construction Set (CS) itself is part of the problem in that records can be flagged as modified even if the mod author was just looking at a cell or viewing a dialogue record. "Wild" edits can occur when you accidentally hit a key when looking at a landscape cell, for example. Mod authors often don't even realize these changes have occurred, so as a mod author, it is important that you clean your mod before releasing it. There are also changes that inexperienced mod authors make, like deleting content from a cell that they don't want. They don't realize that these deleted records will crash peoples' games. Why? Because you don't know if another mod is going to reference that record you deleted. If it does, boom! There is no authority that checks every mod that has ever been produced to ensure that they are all going to be compatible with each other, so it's incumbent on each mod author to restrict their changes to only the content they need to change and they never ever delete records from the game master plugins, like Oblivion.esm. I'll explain the proper way to handle stuff you don't want later in this guide. Why are Dirty Edits a Problem? Basically as I just described above. Obviously deleted content is a serious problem, but even unintentional edits are a problem because they can prevent another mod from functioning properly. The last mod in a load order always wins, so if that mod has a dirty edit, that dirty edit will override the intentional edit of another mod and the other mod won't work. Ok, so what happens when two mods make intentional changes to the same record? That's what the Bashed Patch is for. The Bashed Patch collects all the changes that mods make and combines those changes into a single patch that's loaded last in your load order. Cool, eh? You use Wrye Bash to create a Bashed Patch. See the Wrye Bash documentation for instructions, at least until I get my guide posted for doing that. If the Bashed Patch can't handle the compatibility issues, then one of the mod authors involved usually creates a custom compatibility patch to resolve the issue. Cleaning Mods In this guide, I will explain simple cleaning, cleaning mods with explicit dependencies, cleaning mods with implicit dependencies and manual cleaning. Simple Cleaning Level: Beginner This is always the first step in cleaning a mod. It will remove what TESxEdit calls "Identical to master" records. These are records that have been flagged as modified, but haven't actually changed. Run TESxEdit. When it opens, you will be presented with a dialog box to select the plugins you wish to work with. When cleaning a mod, it is vital that you only load the plugin that needs cleaning. In this simple case, the plugin has no other dependencies than the game master file(s). Right-click on the dialog and click Select None from the menu. Then scroll through the list and select the plugin you wish to clean. Click in the box to the left of the plugin to select it for loading. Click OK. Now TESxEdit will proceed to load the plugin. You will see a bunch of messages scroll by in the right pane. Once it's done loading the plugin, the last message will say "Background Loader: finished". Right-click on the plugin name in the left pane and select Apply Filter for Cleaning from the menu. TESxEdit will pause for a few moments while it applies the filter. When it's done, the message at the bottom of the right pane will say "[Filtering done] Processed Records: xxxxxxx Elapsed Time: xx:xx" where the x's represent the number of records and the time it took. Now right-click on the plugin name in the left pane again and select Remove "Identical to Master" records from the menu. Why doesn't it just say "Clean Plugin"? Because "cleaning" involves several steps. Removing the records with the false changed flag, or identical to master records, is just the first step. Once TESxEdit is done, it will display the results in the right pane, like this: The first step is complete. You can press CTRL+S to save the plugin at this point if you wish. Click OK in the dialog that pops up if you do. Simple Cleaning Step 2: Undelete and Disable This is the second step in the simple cleaning process. If you've been reading from the beginning, you'll recall that I said that you should never delete anything from the game master files and that I would tell you how to handle content that you don't want in your mod. You have two options: disable the content yourself, or delete the content and then use TESxEdit to handle the deleted content properly. This is my recommendation. Yes, go ahead and delete the content in your mod, but clean it with TESxEdit and then perform the Undelete and Disable process as I will explain now. Even if you're just running mods, it's a good idea to clean them and that includes this step. You never know if the mod author deleted something. It may not have even been intentional. If you closed TESxEdit after the first step, open it again, deselect all mods and then select the mod that needs cleaning. Click OK to load the mod. Right-click on the plugin name in the left pane and select Undelete and Disable References from the menu. After a few seconds, you'll see the results at the bottom of the right pane: All done! Now you can close TESxEdit. If it prompts you to save, click OK in the dialog that pops up. If you're cleaning plugins for mods that you use, I suggest creating a folder somewhere called Cleaned Mods and keep a copy of the plugin in that folder. Then you know which mods need cleaning if you return to playing after being away for a while. BOSS and LOOT will also tell you if a mod needs cleaning, providing someone has told them about it. If you find a mod needs cleaning and BOSS or LOOT don't have a message about that, then please let them know. Last note: Bethesda isn't innocent when it comes to dirty mods. The official DLC's for Oblivion and Skyrim need cleaning! Cleaning the official DLC's for Skyrim is a bit more work that I'll discuss later.
  2. This game is hard. No, this game is bloody hard! Seriously. I have a severe love-hate relationship with this game. I have gotten so frustrated with this game that I have literally thrown my iPad in frustration. Not far, but I did throw it. So why do I keep playing? No, I'm not a masochist. It's because the game has a unique play dynamic that's incredibly addictive. This is another game from G5 Games. They don't say who the developer is, so it might be developed by G5 as well. It's not one of their typical hidden object games, though. Premise I tried typing up a premise, but I'm terrible at summarizing plots, so I will quote G5's synopsis: Basically your character contacts the Paranormal Society for help and they testily respond that they aren't ghost hunters. Your character says that she is willing to help if they will help her and it turns out that they are short-handed, so they agree to her terms. Gameplay As I said earlier, this isn't a typical hidden object game. In fact, the "typical" hidden object game is a puzzle in this game. The main game consists of locations in the city of Victorian London, but you have to find the tools needed to progress in the scene. You aren't given a list. Instead, you click on a container and an icon pops up with an image of the container that has the tool you need, or if you have the tool in your inventory already, it pops up an image of the tool. "Containers" can be a variety of items, including birds sitting on a nest that need seed to take flight and expose the nest, in which you can find a key or tool. You proceed through the scene by finding the tools and keys you need to access all the containers and ultimately find the data about the phantom or the tools to dispel phantoms. The locations are in two modes. There's either a phantom in the scene that you need to dispel or the scene doesn't have a phantom and you're exploring it to get the tools and collection items you need. The real challenge in this game are the mini puzzles and all the running around you need to do to collect the items to finish the scene. There is no set list of items to find. Instead you need to determine the items you need by clicking on the active areas in the scene and finding the active areas is one of the major challenges in the game. If you just start clicking on everything you will incur time penalties which can lead to failure in completing the scene. I will post screenshots for all scenes with the active areas marked. You will not succeed in exploring locations within the time limit all the time. Failing to complete a location is normal in this game. You will spend a lot of real money on this game if you want to purchase all the tools you would need to finish all the time. I really do not recommend that. It would be hundreds of dollars or Euros. I started this game once, spent a couple of dollars on consumables and used them all up very quickly. When I got to the point where I could no longer proceed, I deleted the game and started over. I have only spent $1.57 on my new game and won't spend any more real money. I am doing better on my second play-through and have earned enough consumables within the game to keep going. Phantoms Locations Granny Faulery's This is the first location that you explore in the game. It's an easy location with the lowest energy cost. Joey's Food Store Mr. Kipple's Fiesta Inn Samuel Dodgeton's The Sheep Tavern Bank of Britain Grey Horse Pinkerton's Pies This is the hardest location and the second most expensive in terms of energy cost to explore. Seren Bowen's This is the newest location that was introduced in the Christmas 2016 update. Unfortunately it was part of a Christmas challenge that was impossible to complete. It had a very short timeline and it needed bulbs to play, which you could only get by playing a location with no phantom present. I complained to G5 and Apple about this, but I have no idea if anything will be done until we get a new challenge. This location has the highest energy cost to explore. Puzzles Hidden Object Puzzles I will post pictures with all the objects highlighted. Tangled Strings Puzzle Combination Lock Puzzle Rotating Lock Puzzle I call this one the puzzle from hell. This is the puzzle that will usually cause you to fail the location as you struggle to solve it. I will post pictures and tips on how to solve it. Quests Collections Friends and Gifting The friends system in Paranormal Society uses the new format for G5 games. A friend in one game is automatically a friend in every G5 game that you play. I don't like this system for a couple of reasons. The main issue is that you can't delete an application permanently on Apple mobile devices, so I have people sending me gifts on games I no longer play. This doesn't affect me, but I'm sure I have a lot of friends who would love to delete me from those games and can't because they would be deleting me from all games. I have the same problem with friends in Paranormal Society. I would like to delete a couple but can't because they are also friends in Twin Moons. The new friend format does have a chat feature, but players rarely use it. I have tried using it, but have never gotten a reply. The main reason for having friends is to trade gifts. In Paranormal Society ALL gifts are FREE. This means that items that you send to your friends do NOT come out of your inventory. You can't gift collection items in Paranormal Society at this time. You can add items that you need to your wish list and if your friend is at a high enough level, they can send one item per day. In Paranormal Society you can also send tea, which restores energy. This is very handy gift since energy restoratives are in short supply. Paranormal Society doesn't have any achievements or trophies so you can't visit your friends. It would be nice if locations could be "charged" so that you get more rewards or it's easier to find a collection item, but none of that structure exists. Bugs There are some bugs in this game, as usual. G5 seems to have fixed a couple that I had previously, so I'll only list the bugs I regularly encounter. Game doesn't remember collection sorting setting. If you sort your collections, the collections nearest completion are listed first. There's a mouse hole in the Bank of Britain that needs cheese to access even though no mouse is present. There used to be a mouse in the hole, but he went missing as of the latest update.
  3. Twin Moons Society: Hidden Mystery Game Guide Twin Moons is yet another hidden object game published by G5 Games. This one is developed by Cateia. Game page for Twin Moons Twin Moons is only available for iPad, Google Play and Kindle Fire. When it was first released, Twin Moons had nine locations to visit. As of the latest update, it now has 14. The game page claims they are 18, but that's not true, not yet anyway. It also has three puzzles to play: Entanglement, Match 3 and Memory. In general I find the locations harder than the scenes from Secret Society, G5's most popular game. As with their other games, there is a story behind the game, so you have a journal to read and there are characters to give you quests. I particularly like the mechanism for opening new locations. You have to complete a series of tasks for a character that is trapped in the location. The tasks themselves are little puzzles that you have to figure out. Once you complete the tasks, the location is open for exploration, at which point it will cost energy and possibly require access items. Twin Moons is still pretty new. The first release had some nasty bugs. G5 just released an update that fixed most of the bugs, but there are still a few issues. None of the issues are game breaking, however. The second release also introduced a Friends system. The News feed is rather annoying, but the Friends system itself will be very handy as it allows you to send (and receive) items that you'll need to combine into collections. Once you have found the items for a collection, you combine them into an item that will reward you with something. You can obtain tools, talismans, energy items and coins by combining collections. Some collection items can also be combined into artifacts, which are strong talismans. Currently Twin Moons does not have a wiki. I will post more information here as time permits. Feel free to post any questions you have about the game in this thread. Game Play Portals (Locations) Puzzles Collections Chargers Collection Items Friends You'll find the game easier to play if you have some friends. You make friends by using the Invite Friends button from the Friends screen. If you now the login name of another player, you can type it into the box and click the Invite button to send them an invite. Otherwise you can click on the Other Players button at the top of the Friends screen to get a list of random players. Click on the ones you wish to send an invitation to and click on Invite at the bottom of the screen. Sending Gifts The main reason for getting friends is to exchange gifts. Gifts come in two types: Chargers, which are free to give, and Collection Items, which will come out of your inventory. Free items don't have a number next to the item icon, whereas Collection Items will have a number next to the item icon which tells you how many of those items you have. You can put both kinds of items on your Wish List, which tells your friends which items you need. Chargers are fairly hard to come by in the game, so having a good group of friends who will send you the items you need is very helpful. When you send a Charger to a friend, you won't get anything in return unless your friend reciprocates. You should regularly go through and send gifts to all your friends. You can click on an item in your friend's Wish List to send that item to them. You'll likely find yourself "un-friended" if you just accept your friends' gifts and don't send them something in return. When you send a Collection Item to a friend, your friend will thank you for your gift and that will send a Charger back to you. Since Chargers are hard to come by and you can only put five items on your Wish List, we often send Collection Items to each other. Once you've played for a while, you'll likely have hundreds of items from some collections, like Baby Play, so there's a group of us who regularly send five items from this collection to each friend in the group. Limits Your gift inbox holds 50 gifts. If your friends try to send you a gift once your inbox is full, the item won't be sent. I have had some gifts trickle in after I emptied my inbox, so the game may hold on to the extra gifts on the server. I'm not sure about that. I'm not sure what the limit is for sending free gifts each day. It used to be 50 gifts, but I have more than 50 friends and I can send a free gift to everybody. I'll update this once I find out what the limit is. You can send ten Collection Items to each friend each day. You can send a total of 50 Collection Items per day altogether.
  4. Secret Society is a game developed by MyTona and published by G5. It's a hidden object game that's available on a variety of platforms. I have been playing it on iPad (iOS). There is a story behind the game, but that's incidental. The main point of the game is to explore a variety of scenes and find a list of objects. The scenes are beautifully detailed. There are also four puzzles that you'll need to solve on a regular basis. MyTona's Secret Society Page G5's Secret Society Page Both pages have download links for the game. Wiki Secret Society has a very detailed wiki. This guide is not meant to replace the wiki, rather I'll offer some tips and direct readers to the wiki for more information. The wiki explains the game and provides details on all the scenes, or pictures, you can explore. Hints These hints apply to all pictures. Your first challenge is figuring out what the game developers mean with their terms. The developers are from Eastern Europe, so they use terms that will be odd to some people for some items. For example, I found the Japanese House challenging at first because I had no idea what a "Garden Item", "Onamori", "Japanese Symbol" or "Jug" were. That's where the wiki can help. The wiki has a picture of all the items you can find. Here's the wiki page for the Japanese House. If you can't access the wiki, then the Compass tool is very useful for highlighting items. You can zoom the screen and drag the compass around. The compass will highlight the item when it gets close to the target. Scan the list of objects that you need to find before you start searching. Some objects will stick with you. Use the compass or seeker's eye to help find objects. See next hint. Objects have a limited number of locations where they will appear! After playing the pictures for a while, you'll discover that there are only about four locations where a particular object will appear. This makes finding items much easier, obviously. You'll also discover the game's tricks when it comes to hiding items. And finding hidden objects is a practised skill, so you will get better at finding stuff as you play. Tips for Playing Gem Match First, practice with other free apps like Bejeweled Classic and Gem Match 2. These games are quite similar and will help with seeing the patterns. Second, this is another puzzle that you'll get better at with practice. You can say that for all the puzzles, actually. Ignore the automatic matches. Use that time to find other matches. I have complained to G5 about not allowing player moves during automatic matches and they said they would pass my comments along. The other match games I mentioned allow you to move while the game is completing automatic matches. Try to find four and five piece matches and then combine them. This really helps with some of the arrangements - especially the ones with locked squares. The wiki explains the various combinations. Don't rush. Relax and try to find the four and five piece matches. Practising with the other match apps will help with this.
  5. TES4Gecko is the tool to use when you want to merge mods. It also has a variety of other functions, including Moving Worldspaces so that your new worldspace mod will be load order independent. Even though Gecko has a cleaning option, I don't recommend using it. It hasn't been updated in a long time and you should use TES4Edit instead. Installation Install TES4Gecko to any directory of your choosing. Personally I have an OblivionUtilities folder that I use for various utilitiies and I install Gecko to its own folder under that, so its OblivionUtilities\TES4Gecko. You will also need Java, so install the latest version of the Java 32 bit runtime. Running TES4Gecko If you are running a 64 bit OS, then you may find that Gecko doesn't work. That's because Gecko has the registry key for Oblivion hard-coded and the key is different for 32 bit applications running under 64 bit. You have two options: create a desktop shortcut with the target set to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_60\bin\javaw.exe" -DOblivion.install.path=D:\Games\Oblivion - Xmx1200m -jar "D:\OblivionUtilities\TES4Gecko\TES4Gecko.jar" where D:\Games\Oblivion is the path to your Oblivion game directory and D:\OblivionUtilities\TES4Gecko is the path to TES4Gecko. OR create a desktop shortcut with the target set to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_60\bin\javaw.exe" -Xmx1200m -jar "D:\OblivionUtilities\TES4Gecko\TES4Gecko.jar" go to your C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Oblivion directory and create a TES4Gecko.properties file. I believe Gecko will create this file if you try to run the program once, so try running it and then exit when it doesn't find your Oblivion installation. Open the properties file in a text editor and change the install.directory and plugin.directory parameters to match your Oblivion installation directory and Data directory. Merge to Master I will provide detailed instructions on using the Merge to Master function to demonstrate that you can use it with regular plugins, not just master plugins. If you are working on a modding project with a team, you should have a plugin that you designate as the "master" and have your team create patches. The easiest way to do this is to use the Construction Set Extender as it will create patches based on a regular plugin without any need to flip the master bit on the plugin. So here's how to merge those patches back into your "master" plugin. Back up your "master" plugin in case things go wrong. I would keep a copy of the patch files in a project directory and copy the patch you want to merge to your Oblivion\Data directory. Both the "master" and the patch have to be in your Oblivion Data directory. Start TES4Gecko and click on the Merge to Master button. TES4Gecko will default to selecting master plugins: Click on the Files of type: drop-down and change the selection to All Files. Then select your "master" plugin and click Open: Now a second dialogue box will open. Select the patch file you want to merge: Gecko will ask if you want to manage the merge. Click on No: Gecko will work for a bit and then report its progress when done: Unfortunately Gecko will flip the master flag on your "master" plugin. You can use Gecko's Convert to Plugin function to flip it back, but Gecko creates a new file when it flips the flag. I prefer to use Wrye Bash to flip the master flag. Open Wrye Bash and you'll find your "master" coloured in blue text at the bottom of your load order: Right-click on your "master" plugin and select Espify Self from the context menu to flip the flag and return your plugin to a regular plugin: All done!
  6. Recording with Audacity

    Recording with Audacity I've written this guide to supplement Audacity's Recording guide, so I recommend reading Audacity's guide first to get started. Recording Levels The most common issue I've run into while processing actors' recordings is that the level is too low. If your recording level is too low, then I can't get a good enough sample of your voice and the recording will have poor quality when I amplify it. You must set the recording level, or gain, so that the maximum peak is between -3 and -6 dB on the recording meter. The peaks will be around 0.5 in the waveform. Here is a screenshot showing a recording that is too low and two waveforms with the correct levels: The recording levels are too low in the first waveform. The second and third waveforms are examples of the correct recording levels. In the third waveform, the positive and negative levels are different. It's the maximum amplitude that dictates the correct recording level. Opposite End of the Spectrum - Clipping When your recording levels are too high, the tops of the waveforms will be lopped off at 0 dB. This is called clipping. You can attempt to repair clipping in Audacity, but it's better to redo the recording since clip fixing involves interpolating the lost signal - basically a best guess. Here's a track with clipping: When you're recording, you need to monitor the waveform and adjust the recording levels appropriately. Setting the Recording Level In Windows, set the recording volume to 50% in the Sound control panel or in the control panel for your sound card. Open Audacity and configure it as instructed in the Recording manual page, linked above. In the recording levels meter at the top of your screen, click the link to turn on monitoring. Now create a test track. While you are talking into your microphone, the meter should peak between -3 and -6 dB and the waveform should be around 0.5 if you have it set to display the linear waveform, which is the default. If the levels are too low, then move the recording level slider towards the plus sign to increase the gain. If the levels are too high, then move the slider down towards the minus sign. You'll have to monitor the recording levels continuously as you record. If you have to yell, laugh or scream, then you'll probably have to lower the gain. You should turn on Show Clipping (View - Show Clipping) so that you can see when your recording is getting clipped. A clipped recording will have red vertical lines showing the clipped sections with Show Clipping turned on. Clipping means the gain is too high and you'll have to lower it and re-record the line. Recording Channels One last little detail, for the games that we're currently working with, you need to do your recordings in Mono. Select Mono from the Recording Channels drop-down.
  7. Our Terms of Use Important: The following summary is only a simplified overview of our Terms of Use, provided for your reading convenience, and is not itself binding either on you or us. If you are in any doubt about any of the points mentioned, please consult our full Terms of Use, which is the actual document that governs our relationship with our Users. Please be aware that by registering an account or posting on our site, you will be deemed to have read and agreed to be bound by our full Terms of Use. Although we hope it will not be necessary, we reserve the right to suspend or remove accounts which violate our full Terms of Use. What You Can Expect From Us Content posted on our site will be moderated, in accordance with our Forum Rules, in the interests of promoting the wellbeing and harmony of the community. We shall not intervene in the internal affairs or creative decisions of our hosted projects, unless such activities directly contravene our Forum Rules or Terms of Use. Neither will we ask any of our hosted projects to relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property rights to the mods which they create whilst hosted on our site. We will endeavour, to the best of our ability, to screen and monitor the Content which is posted on our site in order to ensure quality and maintain a harmonious and pleasant community atmosphere. Inevitably, however, some things will slip through, and we expect our members to take a proactive role in bringing these to our attention. Please understand that whilst we will try to rectify any such problems, we do not have a legal obligation to do so. Any information that we obtain about you during your registration or your activities on the site, will be dealt with only in ways permitted by our Privacy Policy. We may sometimes need to contact you, using the information that you provide us by registering on the site. We may, occasionally, need to update our full Terms of Use, and by agreeing to it at the time you register, we also expect you to abide by these later changes. Our site is hosted in the US, but it is controlled from Canada, and is governed by Canadian law. We cannot accept responsibility for the content of third party sites to which our members link or suggest visits. What We Will Expect From You All of our Members should be at least sixteen years of age in jurisdictions that use the PEGI ratings system, or at least seventeen years of age in jurisdictions that use the ESRB system. Our site is made for, and intended to be used by, mature audiences only. Members are expected to abide by our Forum Rules, and by the actions of our Moderators and Administrators enforcing them. Our Members are allowed to use the site for their own personal, non-commercial purposes only. We hold Members who contribute to our site responsible for their own conduct and for the Content that they contribute. As a result, we cannot make any guarantees about the quality or accuracy of user-generated content. Use your own judgment! We will not permit our site to host or link to any content that is threatening, abusive, fraudulent, defamatory or otherwise illegal; or which is obscene, hateful, or otherwise detrimental to the wellbeing of our community. Members are strictly forbidden from hosting or linking to content which contains malicious software or code. We take a firm stance against Intellectual Property violations (including, but not limited to, software piracy and unauthorised porting), and will remove any such content which is linked or uploaded to our site. We also expect members to adhere to modding etiquette: always correctly attribute other people’s work when you use it, ask permission where it is required, and never pass other people’s work off as your own. Members who upload or link to any of the prohibited categories of content mentioned above will face sanctions from Moderators, up to and including the suspension or banning of accounts. Credit: A hearty thank you goes out to Deeza, who translated the legal language of the full Terms of Use into these simplified Terms.
  8. This is my guide for getting started with voice acting. It has some information on microphones, recording environment and software. All prices are US Dollars and are listed for comparison purposes only. Microphones Professional - I'm not qualified to comment. Looking at $250 - $5000. Mid Level - USB mics are the best option since they have their own preamplifier and an analog-to-digital converter (A/D converter). The microphones listed below are all condenser mics, which are ideal for low to medium level sound sources, like you would have with voice acting. Dynamic microphones typically have a limited frequency response, so they are more suited to live vocals (singing) and loud guitar amps. Having said that, there are some dynamic mics that are suitable for voice over work and I list one below. USB Condenser Microphones Blue Yeti $129 - $150 Audio Technica AT2020 $100 - $169 Samson CO1U $80 - $130 Samson Meteor $60 - $70 Blue Snowball $50 - $70 CAD U37 $50 - $70 USB Dynamic Microphones Samson Q1U $50 Headset Microphones Headset microphones are really only suited for chatting on Skype or chatting with your friends while playing games. They just don't have the range to reproduce your voice accurately. You'll find that normal talking is fine, but as soon as you need to inject some emotion into your acting, your poor mic will be overloaded and you'll get clipping. You'll also find that your voice just isn't all the clear - it will have a muddy quality to it. I have heard some recordings from headset mics that have surprised me, but I usually have to amplify the recordings because the gain just isn't high enough and once I do that, the recording is pretty noisy. Pop Filters In addition to a microphone, you'll need a pop filter. Condenser mics are very sensitive, so they'll pick up sibilant and plosive sounds from S's and P's. A pop filter will prevent these issues. I've had to ask many an actor to redo their recordings due to the hissing sound of S's and the popping of P's. Pop filters also help reduce the noise of your breathing. Microphone Settings If your microphone has noise reduction or automatic gain control (AGC), disable those settings. If there is a quality setting, set to the highest. If it's labelled as CD or DVD quality, set it to DVD. Recording Environment It's extremely important that your recording environment be as quiet as possible, with no effects from the room like echo. Using a laptop to record is usually a better option because the fans are quieter. If the room you're recording in echoes, then hanging drapes or blankets on the walls may help. There are even acoustic sound blankets and wall panels available if you can afford to outfit your room with them. Another option is an Isolation or Reflection Filter. They can be pricey and are mounted on the microphone stand. I did find some nice desktop microphone stands that including a reflection filter for about $80 USD. Removing noise from a recording will alter the recording, sometimes damaging it to the point where it's unusable, so it's vital to set yourself up with a good recording environment if you wish to pursue voice acting work. Software Fortunately you don't need to shell out a bunch of cash for recording software. You can get started with Audacity just fine and if this turns into a serious undertaking, then you can upgrade to one of the professional editing options. Audacity - free Goldwave - free up to 2500 commands, then you must purchase a license. $19/yr or $59 lifetime. Goldwave has a few more features than Audacity, but I'm not as familiar with it. Adobe Audition CS6 - $350. Lots more features than Audacity. Sound Forge 10 - $500. Cubase 7 - $500.
  9. If you've ever tried to modify the disposition of an NPC, you'll know that it's not as easy as it seems. Let's say that you want to change an NPC's disposition towards the player so that it's 25. Well this seems easy enough. Get the NPC's current disposition, subtract 25 and modify the disposition by the negative of that value, like this: let claneeDisp := DBCClaneeRef.getDisposition Player let dispMod := -1 * (claneeDisp - 25) DBCClaneeRef.modDisposition Player dispMod Note that I'm using OBSE syntax here. You can use Set... to... if you prefer. If you test the NPC's disposition after this, you'll likely find that it's still 100. What gives? The problem is that the GetDisposition function is capped at 100. If you have played the game for a while, you've probably earned lots of fame and infamy, so the NPC's just love your character. As a result, their disposition is actually a LOT higher than 100. In order to see what it really is, let's go into the game and open the console. With the console open, click on the NPC. Now modify their disposition. When you modify their disposition in the console, it will immediately report what their new disposition is. I'm running Conscribe, so I was able to capture the results of this process with the NPC called Cla'nee: Remember: you must click on the NPC so their name is displayed at the top of the screen while the console is open. So, when I started, Cla'nee's disposition was actually something like 473 and I had to drop it by 448 to get it down to the value of 25, which is what I wanted. Unfortunately we only have a ModDisposition function and not a SetDisposition function. This would be much easier if we did. Solution The solution is to use a quest script that will automatically loop every five seconds, unless you have changed the interval. The script needs to run its course and then return to run again at a later interval - you can't modify an NPC's disposition and then query the new value in the same pass of the script. In the sample code below, there are some conversation pieces that also advance the quest stages, but this part of the script will keep running until the disposition of the NPC's is lowered to the desired value. It executes during a wait time, so once the wait is over, the rest of the quest kicks in and it's complete. if (anorielDisp > 25 || claneeDisp > 25 || keeranDisp > 25) if (anorielDisp > 25) let dispMod := -1 * (anorielDisp - 25) DBCAnorielRef.modDisposition Player dispMod endif if (claneeDisp > 25) let dispMod := -1 * (claneeDisp - 25) DBCClaneeRef.modDisposition Player dispMod endif if (keeranDisp > 25) let dispMod := -1 * (keeranDisp - 25) DBCKeeranRef.modDisposition Player dispMod endif endif Voilà , our little Cla'nee doesn't love the player anymore. Now she can be as snarky as she's supposed to be.
  10. Level: Beginner This is the second in a series of guides on TESxEdit, which is the name I use to refer to the utilities TES4Edit, TES5Edit, FO3Edit and FNVEdit. As I explained in my introduction, these are all the same program customized for the file format of each game. Previously I explained how to install and run TESxEdit. I also explained some aspects of the interface and how to compare plugins. In this instalment, I will show you how to compare plugins using TESxEdit's Compare function. The examples will use TES4Edit, but the process is the same for the other versions of the program. Getting Started Comparing plugins is very similar to simply loading multiple plugins when you open TESxEdit, except that the Compare function will highlight the similarities and differences for you. Open TESxEdit. Right-click on the plugin selection dialog and select None, then scroll through the list and click the box next to the first plugin you want to compare to check it off and load it. Then click OK. Once the plugin has finished loading, right-click on the name of the plugin and select Compare to... from the context menu. Select the second plugin you wish to compare. Have a look at the mod index number next to the name of each plugin. The mod index is the same for both plugins, so the Form ID's will be identical. Now if you go through and expand each of the nodes, you can easily see the similarities and differences between the two plugins. Tip: Hold down the ALT key when you click the plus sign next to a node and it will expand all the nodes under the one you clicked on. A quick ALT+click on the Cell node opens all the cell records and shows that the second plugin adds a lot of new cells in this example: The green background means the cells are identical. The white background shows the new records. Expanding the Creature node shows our first set of modified records. If we click on one of the modified records, we don't see any difference in the first page of fields. However, scrolling down a bit reveals the difference quite clearly: In this case, a script has been added to the creature and its aggression has been set to 100. Now let's look at a conflict. When there is a conflicting change, the background will be red and the text will be a darker red. A conflict is when both plugins change a record in Oblivion.esm and the changes conflict. Here is an example: Both plugins alter the landscape in cell 42,-16. Since you won't be loading both plugins at once, this is not an issue. If you were loading both plugins, then you would determine which plugin's changes you see by placing it later in your load order. Lastly, I would like to draw your attention to the Messages tab. As I mentioned in my Introduction to TESxEdit, the Messages tab is where you'll see various messages as the plugins are being loaded. Usually these are just informational messages showing the progress, but you should take note of warning messages. Here are the warning messages for the two plugins I compared: Those messages are warning you that the Form ID refers to a different kind of record in the first plugin than it does in the second plugin. Indeed if we take a look at one of those EYES records it's complaining about, we can see those don't look like Eye records: The solution to this is to simply load the second plugin on its own and have a look at the changes. This is only an issue because the Form ID's are identical; in a normal load order, the second plugin would have a different mod index so the Form ID's wouldn't be identical. Conclusion TESxEdit's Compare function allows you to quickly scan a couple of plugins and see the differences between them. The green background means the records are identical and the yellow background shows the changes. TESxEdit will display conflicts with a red background and deeper red text colour.
  11. Level: Beginner This guide is a brief introduction to the series of utilities created by ElminsterAU. There is TES4Edit, TES5Edit, FO3Edit and FNVEdit. All the versions offer the same functionality; each is tailored to the plugin file structure for the game it supports. I will focus on TES4Edit, but all the information will apply to the other versions. I will use the term TESxEdit to refer to the program in general. What is it? TES4Edit is a supplementary editor that is used by mod authors and players alike to work with plugins, or mod files. It has a ton of features, but is used most often to view the contents of plugins, edit them and to clean them. It does not replace the Construction Set. Where can I download it? The main version of the utility is the Skyrim version, which can be downloaded from Nexus. You can rename the executable to make it work with the other games, but I recommend searching Nexus for the specific version to match your game so that you get the custom data files. Installation Simply unzip the archive in a directory of your choice. I like to create a Utilities directory for each game and then I unzip the archive to an appropriate directory in there. So I install TES4Edit to D:\OblivionUtilities\TES4Edit and TES5Edit to D:\SkyrimUtilities\TES5Edit. I have many other utilities in addition to TESxEdit, so that structure suits my set up. I don't recommend installing TESxEdit in your game directory. Create a shortcut to the program on your desktop or Start Menu. Running the Program Technically it's still an experimental version, so backup your plugins before loading them into TESxEdit. When you run TESxEdit, you will be presented with the plugin selection dialog. All the plugins in your Data directory will be listed, with the plugins that are active in your load order checked off for you. At this point, just click Ok to load all your plugins. While TESxEdit is loading your plugins, you'll see lots of Background Loader messages in the pane on the right side. Wait until you see the Background Loader: finished message. Your plugins are displayed in the left pane. If you click on the + symbol next to a plugin, you'll see all the records that have been modified or added by that plugin. At a glance, this is the easiest way to see what a plugin changes. All plugins are actually patches to the original game master, like Oblivion.esm, so you will see that some records override the original game records. Here's an example from the Unofficial Oblivion Patch.esp to illustrate: In the left pane, the Form ID, Editor ID and Name are listed. The Form ID is the unique identifier that the Construction Set assigns to every record. The first two digits of the Form ID will be 00 if it is an original game record that is being modified, as is the case in the image above. The Form ID on new records added by a plugin is dynamic; the first two digits will change to reflect the position of the plugin in your load order. That's how the game ensures that all Form ID's are unique. The Editor ID is a unique name that the modder assigns to the object. That is the ID that we work with when we are creating or editing a mod. The Name is also assigned by the modder and it's the name you see in-game when you place your mouse cursor over an object that you can interact with. The right pane is where all the details are displayed when you click on a specific record. In the screen shot above, I have selected the Strong Poison of Burden record. Since I have loaded all my plugins, the right pane displays the same record from all the plugins that modify that record. The first version of that record is from Oblivion.esm and you can see that all the text is a reddish purple. That means that it's the master record that has been modified. The next column shows the record from the Unofficial Oblivion Patch.esp, which is the mod I'm looking at. However, in this case, this record has been overridden a second time by my Bashed Patch. The mod that is listed in the last column is the "winner" and that version of the record is what I will see in-game. Now, let's take a closer look at what was changed. The fields that have been changed will have a yellow background. The first field that's been changed is the FULL - Name, which is the Name of the object. The object is called Strong Poison of Burden in the original game and the Unofficial Oblivion Patch (UOP) does not change this, so the text is grey. I have a mod that changes all the potion names and I have imported that into my Bashed Patch, so the Name is different in my Bashed Patch. The next field that has been changed is the ENIT, which is the internal label for the value of the potion. Further down you can see that the UOP changes the magnitude of this potion. We'll finish this section off by opening the Container branch in the UOP. Now you'll see lots of different colours. First, I've clicked on the DungNecroCoffin01 record to show you what a conflict looks like. A conflict is when you have two mods that change the same record in very different ways. If you look at the first two changes, you'll see there is no conflict. The background colour is yellow and the text is green. However if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll see the conflict. The UOP changes the open and close sounds, but I have the Harvest Containers mod loaded and that removes the sounds altogether. Even though it is a conflict, there is no problem. TES4Edit is just highlighting the fact that the sounds have been modified. At the bottom of the container record list, you can see what new records look like. The background colour is white and the text is black. The Form ID starts with 08 because the UOP is the ninth mod in my load order. If we click on one of the new records, we'll see that we just see the details of a single record in the right pane. Once you're done perusing the plugin, close TESxEdit. If it pops up a dialog about saving the plugins, deselect all the plugins by clearing the check mark next to the names and click OK. If you would like more information on how the records and fields are named internally, the UESP has a full list of those details. Here is the listing for Skyrim. Conclusion This completes my introduction to TESxEdit. I will explain how to edit plugins, clean plugins, compare plugins and how to add a missing master to a plugin in future instalments.
  12. Introduction shadeMe has created an OBSE plugin that greatly enhances the Construction Set, called the Construction Set Extender (CSE). The CSE not only fixes a ton of bugs in the Construction Set, it also adds a ton of enhancements. You can use the CSE to create your mod even if you don't plan on using the OBSE for your mod - it does NOT make your mod dependent on OBSE. In this guide, I will explain how to create patches with the CSE. One of the features of the CSE is that it will automatically flip the master flag on a plugin so that any plugin can be used as a master file. This makes the process of creating patches much easier. There is no need to use other tools to flip the master flag or fussing with mod de-isolation techniques. Installing the CSE If you aren't using OBSE already, you will need to download and install that first. Details on the most recent version of OBSE and download links can be found in the discussion thread on the Bethesda official forums. You can download the current release of the CSE from here. Once you've downloaded the package, unzip the archive to the Oblivion game directory. The newer versions of the CSE have a batch file for starting it called Launch CSE.bat. I suggest creating a shortcut to that batch file and putting it on your desktop or taskbar. Creating a Patch Creating a patch on a regular plugin with the CSE is exactly the same as creating a patch on a master with the CS. Open the CSE. Double-click on the plugin that you are patching. Do NOT click on the Select as Active File button. Click Ok. Click Yes when prompted to continue without selecting an active file. Make your desired changes. When you save your file, a new plugin will be created. To continue working on your patch, just double-click it from the Data dialogue and click on Set As Active File, then click Ok. The CSE will automatically load all required plugins. Brief Overview of the CSE First, when you open the CS with OBSE after installing the CSE, your CS should look something like this: You may not see the Console Window as it might be hidden behind the other windows. Try pulling the Object Window aside - the Console Window often winds up under the Object window. I recommend you keep the Console Window open while you are working, even if you need to make it tiny. Errors and messages don't pop up any more with the CSE - they are displayed in the Console Window instead. Here's a close-up of the Console Window: You can right-click on the Console Window to display the context menu. If you select Open Log, you will open a text file with all output written to the Console window. The Console Window will only display the last batch of messages, so you may need to open the log from time-to-time to see all the messages. The Change Log shows you everything you have modified in your current session - whether you intended those changes or not... The CSE helps reduce unintentional edits by offering a Cancel button on many of the dialogue boxes. If you are just looking something up, get in the habit of clicking Cancel to ensure you don't inadvertently modify a record. Unfortunately there is no Cancel button on the Quest window, so save your plugin before opening the Quest window. If the plugin shows an unintended change, close down the CS, telling it that you don't want to save your changes. Or clean your plugin with TES4Edit before submitting it for merging or releasing it to the community.
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