Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Archive for the tag “house tour”

Oh, yeah, I have a blog… hi! (plus Earthtear update)

@Zells - sepia stone - smallEvery once in a while I get busy or distracted and don’t think about posting for a week or two. Or three. Hi! I’m not dead!

Partly it happened this time because my urge to blog is usually motivated by things that happen in the game that I want to comment on. But for the last several weeks, my playtime can almost exclusively be described like this:

Me: Game time! I could do A, or B, or C, or D, or… so many fun things! Which will I choose?
Loading Screen: Earthtear exists; you’re standing in it. And it still isn’t finished. Just in case you forgot.
Me: Ooooh, look at all the shiny things rendering on my screen….
Me: Okay, Imma go play… but first I’ll just fix this one thing I didn’t place properly.
Me: ::”finishes” the one thing::
Me: ::starts something else::
Me: ::moves half the items in the cavern 3 pixels to the left::
Friend Message: Hey, Zells! Wanna come do (something that doesn’t involve Earthtear)?”
Me: ::doesn’t even see message::
Me: ::spends a half-hour watching the sun come up and the light rays explode through the cavern, hopes the lighting artists on the design team are paid well, considers the viability of half-hour YouTube vids called “Sunrise in Earthtear”::
Me: ::wanders around looking at view, making sure things look awesome from every angle, spins half the trees 10 degrees so the branches frame the object in the background juuuust so::
Me: ::switches out a half-dozen items for other items::
Me: ::removes three of those items entirely, while cursing our hated nemesis, the Dread Pirate Item Count, Pillager of Clutter::
Me: ::moves two-thirds of the items in the cavern 3 pixels to the right::
Me: So, that’s a good stopping point! Is it 11:00 o’clock yet? How much play time do I have left?
Clock: lol, it’s 2 am
Me: … I don’t understand “time”.
Clock: No, you really don’t. Go to bed.
Earthtear: But we were having so much fun! And… you don’t really want to leave that thing off center like that, do you? Do you?
Me: ::moves the thing, spends another hour spinning trees just so::

Repeat, ad infinitum.

At this point I have the living spaces 99% done, along with the treasure vault, trophy area, and the restricted section of the library. Kitchen/alchemy area and the “war room” are… 90% done. Ish. I think I’ve managed a good go at something that looks like a Psijic scrying portal. The library is… 80% done, and I have my little (non-functioning, darn it) wayshrine. The bar area is suitably decadent, but may still lose some bottles and pillows, as Item Count and I are, as usual, locked in a death match. (Spoiler: Item Count will win; it always does.) And my Earthtear project capstone will be a large’ish Magical Contraption that I need 200K in gold and another 350 masterwrit vouchers to finish.

I think it might be time for some screencaps next week. However, I also think I’m going to give video another go, as I’ve had requests for a video tour. I had some technical issues when I tried it before, but …maybe they’re resolved? Let’s try and see what happens.

In the meantime, if you’ve tried to message me and not gotten a response… Sorry! I’m not ignoring you, specifically, I’m just a housing junkie. ūüôā

Earthtear Cavern / housing plans

@Zells - sepia stone - smallWhen¬†making player-house mods for the solo games, I sometimes start from scratch and drop a new building into the environment, but usually not. My favorite kind of housing mod is¬†when the character¬†finds a place they like¬†while adventuring and “moves in” after they’ve cleared the place. I find the exact cell and make the changes; once installed the mod removes enemy spawn spots, cleans up any bad-guy messes, and adds in the character-specific¬†furnishings.

Sometimes those mods are in proper houses or other structures, but just as often I retro-fit¬†cool environments I find¬†into living spaces, as though the character had renovated them. My thief will bust a smuggling operation and then take over their cave system with its little cove and boats and tricked-out Smuggler Boss¬†Bedroom of Stolen Luxury Items. My city-hating¬†Bosmer¬†finds a beautiful wilderness cave with¬†trees and water and sun pouring in from a break in the cave’s ceiling,¬†and I mod out the¬†bears and skeevers¬†and mod in a treehouse.¬†And my mage Zellfire finds herself some Ayleid ruins with a¬†majestic view and¬†makes herself a library,¬†lab,¬†treasure vault,¬†trophy room, and a bedroom worthy of an Emperor.

The first time I walked into Earthtear Cavern, I got chills. It’s so much like a place I once mod’d that it’s a little creepy, tbh.¬†Except Earthtear is so, so¬†much better than mine¬†– the way the view extends out of the cave structure at the far end is glorious, and I’ve never¬†made an Ayleid-ruins house with waterfalls, which just seems like a huge oversight now, because waterfalls make everything better, always. D’uh, Zells.

I always¬†knew I was going to¬†buy Earthtear,¬†it was just a matter of¬†time. But Earthtear’s a challenge – the open space requires¬†a plan; a lot of big, expensive furnishings; and will take a mountain of gold and raw materials. There was no point in buying it¬†when it was first offered.¬†I couldn’t have done anything with it.

A year after I saw first saw it: it is finally time.

In the solo games I only run one mage, Zellfire, and I only build one magey house for her. In ESO I have a couple of mages I play a lot, and almost interchangeably – Fire & Umbra – they¬†pass gear back and forth so much I decided they¬†were friends.¬†For the last couple of months I’ve been wanting to start work on a house for Fire, and as I was thinking about what kinds of spaces she would use, I realized: a) putting together a proper library with massive amounts of books, papers, and library¬†flotsam is going to be an expensive, time-consuming¬†pain in the butt*, and b) Umbra¬†also wants a library in her house, and there’s no way I’m doing all that twice.¬†At that point¬†they went from being friends to deciding to share a home.

*(It’s possible I am still traumatized from the Morrowind library I mod’d more than ten years ago, with Every. Single. Book. in the TES3¬†game present and organized by subject matter (yeah, really), then¬†alphabetized (oh yeah, I’m nuts) and¬†perfectly aligned¬†on three dozen bookshelves in 2 different rooms,¬†all with¬†no working snap-to-edge feature in the mod’ing software. (Seriously: nuts.)¬†But it looked great when I was done. :p )

So I started re-evaluating all the houses, looking for a place that fit both¬†Fire & Umbra. Was more of¬†a challenge than I expected,¬†tho’¬†– they want to share a library and lab, and they both want a trophy¬†space and a serious vault w/treasures, but Umbra also¬†wants an Azura shrine (and Sithis shrine) and Fire is not a huge fan of¬†religious devotion, so it¬†needs to be out of the way.¬†Fire, who is my main crafter, wants big, well-laid out crafting areas, but Umbra doesn’t craft and doesn’t care, so that also needs a somewhat-segregated space.

Neither of these characters would consider an Argonian or Bosmer house, and the Nord/Orc houses were also too… “rustic” for them. The Amaya Lake Lodge could have worked, but I really hate loading doors, and that place is full of them. Quondam Indorilia is… okay, but I don’t like the garden. The Velothi Reverie house has a great backyard where the Azura shrine could have gone, but it was too small overall, and the backyard is behind a loading door, so I wouldn’t have gone back there much (or at all) anyway.

Then I went back to look at¬†Earthtear again for the first time in months, and pretty immediately it all fell together in my head. Umbra’s bed here, Azura shrine there, Fire’s clothing crafting area in that spot, shooting range on that side, here’s the library area…

It’s going to take me weeks, possibly months, and¬†tens of¬†millions of gold. Earthtear can only be purchased with Crowns, so I’m going to hold off until Crowns go on sale again, then pick up enough to get both Earthtear and the Crown-store-only items I’ll need. I’ll also be buying patterns in-game¬†– many Ayleid, Dwemer, and Clockwork –¬†and those¬†will be tens or hundreds of thousands of gold each.

If I spend¬†300K on a pattern, make the thing, and then find it doesn’t fit in the space I need it to go, I will be a sad, sad Zells. Double my potential disappointment if I spend Crowns to buy furnishings and find they don’t fit. And I can’t move in right away anyhow, because I’m waiting on¬†a Crown sale.

So after more than two years of playing,¬†Earthtear is going to be the thing that gets me to finally log into the Play-Test Server, where I can get everything cheap & easy and figure out a shopping list. Until Crowns go on sale, I’ll be hanging out a lot in PTS!Earthtear, obsessively moving statues and Ayleid bookshelves around, figuring out exactly how many Jester’s trees and Gargoyles and which Clockwork patterns and trying desperately to precisely itemize the pricey pieces.

Drifted off to sleep last night¬†thinking about¬†which¬†objects I can use to simulate magickal wards on the treasure vault. ūüôā

Dear ZOS –
I need some environmental-special-furnishings like the Hag Fen¬†fog, but of¬†spell effects like the glowing sigils that appear in some AoE¬†areas,¬†and large, glowing, red/blue Daedric script that can be placed on walls & floors. Beams of flickering, colored light would also be nifty. Could you please add those within the next few weeks so they’ll be¬†available when I’m ready?¬†


I will, of course, post pics when I have them, but we’re a long, long ways off from that.¬†I have been poking away at a couple of smaller homes – the Mournhold¬†Flaming Nix apartment, mostly –¬†and¬†I’ll probably¬†get that done and have those¬†screencaps up first. Have also¬†been amusing myself with Sleek Creek, but I’ve decided I want a Dwemer airship tied at an air dock on that house, so I need more Dwemer & Clockwork patterns and that means that’s another long-term project.

Once I start developing a shopping list, I’ll be pestering everyone I know to find if they can make this thing or that thing, and what mats are needed. So y’all can look forward to that – thanks in advance. ūüôā

‘Fire’s Workshop (Black Vine Villa tour) part 2: Interior

@Zells - sepia stone - smallI had everything perfectly under control as of Thanksgiving.¬† Then December happened.¬† Now it’s mid-January, almost 2 months since my last post, and I honestly feel like it been simultaneously 6 years and about a week.¬†Whew.

I was in the middle of a two-part post giving a tour of one of my houses.¬† Let’s finish that.¬† The tour of Zellfire’s Black Vine Villa workshop begins with part 1: the Garden.

Post begins after the cut.
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‘Fire’s Workshop (Black Vine Villa tour) pt. 1: The Garden

@Zells - sepia stone - smallBlack Vine was actually the first player home I bought – it’s relatively cheap, has¬†indoor & outdoor space, and it allowed me to jump in and start playing with the housing editor.¬† But it took me months to figure out how I wanted to use it, and months more¬†to find the right ways to do it after I knew what I wanted.¬† Then additional weeks to pick away at the list of expensive, shiny¬†achievement furnishings.¬† And then Icy put up her preview of the Clockwork City furnishings, and I waited a couple more weeks until CWC hit so I could include those shinies.

Black Vine Villa is Zellfire’s magical workshop.¬† It isn’t her home; it’s the secluded place where she tinkers with things that might explode or¬†create portals or gain sentience and start eating people.¬†¬†Which is¬†really exceptionally considerate of her, given that she’s a product of Divayth Fyr and Telvanni ethics. ūüôā

(Y’know, now that I think about it, she probably just moved there to keep nosey¬†people from poking through her stuff.¬† Yeah… that sounds more Telvanni.)

It’s also the place where¬†‘Fire stores shiny things she picks up while adventuring.¬† If you’ve ever had an art studio, or builder’s shop, or if you do¬†any kind of crafts, then you know how items that “might be useful some day”¬†end up shoved¬†into¬†corners.¬† That’s how ‘Fire uses Black Vine – she sees something that might be useful (or just strikes her fancy) and has it shipped back to the workshop to play with later.

Because of that, I wanted the place to be half storage area / half mad scientist studio, packed to bursting with bits and bobbles shoved into every corner, but I also wanted it to be ridiculously pretty, with aesthetically-pleasing clutter.

This post’s pictures (after the cut) are of the garden; interior shots will be in part 2.
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Hunding’s Oasis: Pt 5, Back Patio

Zells note ‚Äď This will be the last post of the house tour for Hunding‚Äôs Oasis. This is an especially challenging area¬†to screencap because I deliberately placed the pieces so not everything can be seen at the same time – I wanted to give the sense that there was always something cool right around the corner to pull people along.¬† Also, I wanted to make good use of the huge space, so many¬†the pieces are¬†large, and often require a long shot to be seen properly.¬† Really, the best way to see the area is to port in – if you’ve read this far, consider yourself invited, it’s my primary residence. ūüôā

Previous posts in the tour can be found via these links:
Part 0: Prologue
Part 1: Entryway
Part 2: Courtyard
Part 3: Interior Downstairs
Part 4: Interior Upstairs

Thanks for everyone who has read and commented on this indulgent¬†series of posts!¬† (In game, I mean, but fyi, you are allowed to comment on the posts themselves. ūüôā )¬† I will now turn things over to your tour guide, Zellur‚Äôra, except for the picture captions. Read more…

Hunding’s Oasis: pt 4, Interior Upstairs

Zells note: The house tour begins with Part 0: Prologue, and continues in Part 1: Entryway, Part 2: Courtyard, Part 3: Interior Downstairs, and Part 5: Back Patio. I will now turn things over to your tour guide, Zellur’ra, except for the picture captions.

Although guests are never allowed upstairs without an escort, you are most fortunate to have come at a time when our lady Nyx is away from the Oasis,¬†which means this one is able to show you the master suite. Follow me upstairs and¬†we’ll explore. Read more…

Hunding’s Oasis: pt 3, Interior Downstairs

Zells note: The house tour begins with Part 0: Prologue and continues in Part 1: Entryway, and Part 2: Courtyard. It continues in Part 4: Interior Upstairs and Part 5: Back Patio. I will now turn things over to Zellur’ra, your tour guide, except for the captions on the pictures.

You¬†must be sun-dazzled and road-weary from¬†your journey to Hunding’s Oasis.¬† Come! Let us step into the¬†cool shade of the¬†house and enjoy its delights. Read more…

Hunding’s Oasis: pt 2, Courtyard

Zells note: The house tour begins with¬†the post ‚Äúpart 0: Prologue” and¬†in¬†Part 1: Entryway. From here it continues in¬†Part 3: Interior Downstairs,¬†Part 4: Interior Upstairs, and concludes in Part 5: Back Patio.¬†¬†I will now turn¬†things¬†over to Zellur‚Äôra, your tour guide, except for the captions on the pictures where I‚Äôll identify special furnishings and explain any game-mechanics behind the RP.

We are ready to proceed with our tour of Hunding’s Oasis, yes?¬† Zellur’ra is pleased.¬† Come, follow¬†her to the courtyard, the jewel of the Oasis.

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Hunding’s Oasis: pt 1, Entryway

Zells note: The house tour begins with¬†the post “part 0: Prologue“, and continues in Part 2: Courtyard¬†,¬†Part 3: Interior Downstairs, Part 4: Interior Upstairs,¬†and Part 5: Back Patio.¬†As I continue, I will update all posts to include links to the others.¬† (I’m anticipating 5-6 posts, each fairly short but picture-heavy.¬† I have to do it in pieces because it isn’t all finished yet.)¬† I will now turn¬†things¬†over to Zellur’ra, your tour guide, except for the captions on the pictures where I’ll identify special furnishings and explain any game-mechanics behind the RP.

Greetings, and welcome to Hunding’s Oasis!¬† This one is called Zellur’ra, and she¬†is honored to be the House Steward for the Oasis, home of our lady Zellusia Nyxian Cosades.¬†¬†Today Zellur’ra has the additional honor of being your personal tour guide, which pleases her greatly.¬† Come, come! Shake the road dust from your boots and relax in our shade.

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