Morrowind Modding
Sat Feb 7th 2004, 3:02pm
Morrowind has continued to be quite entertaining and demonstrated a surprising replay value. However shortly after I started a new game a short while ago I got interested in the game engine itself and its modding potential. Included with the game is a construction kit, which supposedly is everything the folks at Bethesda had when crafting exteriors, interiors, NPCs, monsters, quests, dialog, scripting, etc. What's interesting about this kit is that you have the ability to build your exteriors and interiors by dragging-and-dropping components, snapping the pieces together like legos, and viewing your progress in a live 3D rendering. The kit comes with hundreds of 3D objects and textures (the same as those used in the game) which you simply move, rotate, and piece together to form whatever buildings/structures/landscapes you can imagine.

I don't know, maybe all the games are coming out with mod kits this cool these days, I haven't tried to build levels for Dungeon Siege or Neverwinter Nights, but this is frickin' cool, and a giant leap over the crappy, hall-of-mirror-prone, draw-it-line-by-line, bound-to-look-like-crap-no-matter-what-you-do stuff I used to do when building levels for Doom. Yeah, I guess it's been a while :-).

It's not too hard to get started, while the construction kit isn't the greatest, most intuitive Windows app ever, the controls become easier to use with practice. The biggest hurdle is getting accustomed to the way in which you manipulate 3D objects with a 2D visual and mouse--you end up using key combinations like holding down 'z' to indicate you want the mouse gestures to translate to movement in the z-axis direction instead of x or y. There are plenty of components to build pretty complicated interiors and exteriors, although sometimes you find yourself wishing there was another component that had a higher ceiling, with stairs, with textured walls instead of plain, etc. I can envision the level designers at Bethesda shouting to each other in the halls, "hey Joe, make me another ex_com_corner_rich2a component, but with green walls instead of brown". You can certainly create and import these textures yourself if you have the appropriate 3D object creation and rendering software.

The scripting engine built into the game is perhaps the most exciting part, allowing the level designer to control objects and NPCs in the game, add intelligence to quests, perform actions dynamically based on certain criteria, etc, etc. The language reminds me of AppleScript (e.g. begin/end blocks, set foo to 1). The study of what you can do is so in-depth it has spawned various "Dummy's Guides" and "Scripting Bibles" available on the net. However it can be a bit frustrating when you have something in your mind that you want to do but eventually realize it is simply not possible given the limited function set. Also, you quickly realize while writing scripts that they tend to be error-prone and often do not do what you intend, due to the enormous complexities involved in the way the game works and objects interact. So as cool as the scripting engine is--and it truly is--I think it speaks a lot to its realistic potential when you realize most of the scripts Bethesda shipped with Morrowind were extremely simple--because anything more complicated didn't work well and couldn't make it past QA.

After a few practice mods, I decided to make a house for the player, as many first-time modders do. It's a natural choice because it's easy, quite practical (i.e. somewhere to store your extra junk), and for some reason the game never gives you one (not until the Bloodmoon expansion, that is) [correction 4/04: you can get a house by pursuing one of the House faction quests]. Groping for a name I picked "Hero's Hovel", liking the alliteration, and chuckling to myself over its cheesiness. The screenshots to the right show the exterior I created, using components from the "Nordic" theme (grey stone). I picked a mountainside area outside Pelegiad (a quiet, civilized area in the Southwest) which was otherwise unoccupied. You can see the extensive wooden platforms and stairs I added to give access from the area below. Inside I created a three-story structure, with a living area, an NPC to act as your personal assistant, a cellar, and a series of one-way magic portals to various key locations around the land (a la the Matrix). Fun, and practical.

I decided to post my mod to the Morrowind Summit, just for fun. I later found out about 450 other people have posted house mods (d'oh!), but despite the competition mine's managed to rack up over 1500 downloads so far, three "excellent" ratings, and quite a few positive responses via the site's comment system and direct emails. Unfortunately the one thing marring this otherwise enjoyable experience was the negative feedback and several rounds of emails from one certain user who, in retrospect, has managed to make something of a name for himself on the site by doing nothing more than trashing every uploaded mod, including mine. Internet users beware: Napoleon is alive and well, age 14, and posting on a forum near you.

You can find my mod here (hosted on gamespy, to download you'll need a fileplanet login) or here (direct). It's been fun, but surprisingly time consuming.








Final note: the construction kit is impressive but it's still easy to foresee even better tools for level designers, automating more of your tasks, further distancing you from the nitty gritty details, sanity checking more of your work, etc. The scripting engine is impressive but still could be so much cooler if it were more powerful. For both playing and modding purposes, I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment.



Visitor comments
On Sun Aug 14th 2005, 11:42am, Mycroft posted:
hey I need a hand on scripting for chars cause I can't figure out how to make it like in a conversation with the selected sentances u can say in red that u click as a permanent decision. How do you write those? SWAT_Shadow@hotmail.com


On Sun Aug 14th 2005, 1:26pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
Sorry, it's been a year and a half since I did any Morrowind modding, so I can't help you :-(. I would definitely check out the Morrowind Summit at http://www.rpgplanet.com/morrowind/index.asp to find manuals and tutorials on modding and conversations. I know there's more than enough info and examples out there. Good luck!


On Mon Apr 17th 2006, 7:33pm, Visitor posted:
nice!


On Thu Jul 13th 2006, 12:46am, Visitor posted:
Where Can i Download Mods to my morrowind


On Sat Jul 29th 2006, 10:19pm, Visitor posted:
ive got the tes construction kit but it doesentlook like that &it sucks for everything


On Sat Dec 16th 2006, 7:23pm, Eddie posted:
For a large list of MODS click here, http://www.mwmythicmods.com/telesphoros.htm#30. I personally recommend the Horse Ranch Mod, wonder why the game didn't come with this in the first place? Have fun!!


On Mon Jan 1st 2007, 1:42am, Steve Kehlet posted:
Thanks Eddie. It's amazing to me people are still playing and modding Morrowind, with Oblivion out and Morrowind being quite old by now, but I guess that speaks to just what a great game it was. Thanks for the link, that looks like a great resource.


On Wed Jan 10th 2007, 1:40pm, sean posted:
hello you look very good at modding i try but i get the bits in the wrong places how are you so acurate


On Fri Apr 6th 2007, 10:40am, Call me dick posted:
Everyone likes morrowind, but modding is fun and obnoxious. out of curiosity does anyone know about blender for mesh making. remember, call me dick.


On Fri Apr 6th 2007, 10:41am, Visitor posted:
khgvklgfodsugfkl;re i lkie morrind cause it stuff deos man just cause bd pople want to rium topics abut good tjings.


On Sun Apr 29th 2007, 3:52am, topdog posted:
i dont get the controls and when i put on monsters i cant lower them to the ground help wid controls plz!


On Sat Oct 27th 2007, 10:59am, TheGreatCthulhu posted:
an awesome mod (and the rost of the compliments you can think out) now for the important part, i have an idea of what i want to do with the construction set but can't figure out how to do it, i'm new to modding and morrowind has, as mentioned great potential, even i can see that.

My question is; if i where to give you some drawings of my idea, along with stats for weapons, NPCs and stuff, would you do a comeback in modding morrowind, if you think it's a good idea i have...

Should you accept this idea, please email me at tobbe_the_beast@hotmail.com


On Mon Oct 29th 2007, 5:29pm, Steve Kehlet posted:
Thanks TheGreatCthulhu for your interest in my site and for your post, however I'm way too involved in World of Warcraft to come back to Morrowind. Good luck though!



On Mon Jan 14th 2008, 9:33pm, GuyGuy posted:
The Construction set can also make the game ALOT easier. A katana that does 255 damage, 6,000,000 fire damage with infinate charge, and 1,000,000 charge? thatsjust unfair.... also slight awsome. To be able to 1-shot [spoiler block]? yes, yes you can.


On Sun Feb 10th 2008, 3:26am, JDog-_- posted:
i looked on the site where u said ur house was but theres like over 50 pages, would u by chance be able to give me the direct link?? if possible, thanks


On Sun Feb 10th 2008, 10:26am, Steve Kehlet posted:
JDog: I've update the link to my mod in my article, they've moved stuff around on the site. Thanks for the heads up.


On Tue Mar 11th 2008, 6:05am, Visitor posted:
This is sooooo cool, I just got morrowind for pc because I dint care for oblivion, and the constructions set is very,very confusting, is that somthing that go's away with more pactice or should i seek a help guid? also if i make a mod can i delete it, if i dont like it or it messes somthing up, if so how?? thx for your time.


On Thu Jun 26th 2008, 10:58pm, Xavior Thanatos posted:
Hey like the house just trying modding my self looking for a guide if anyone got a good site for tutorials let me know

Coaldust27@yahoo.com


On Thu Dec 18th 2008, 12:42am, king demon posted:
Hey i love the house its really cool but i cant download it cos its on stupid planetelderscrolls :( plzzzzzzzzzzzzz put it someware else



On Mon Dec 22nd 2008, 10:14am, Steve Kehlet posted:
Thanks for the interest! I see, to download the mod you need a fileplanet login now, how annoying. I added another link to a download directly off my site. Search for the text "You can find my mod" above.


On Thu Mar 25th 2010, 7:55am, Visitor posted:
Where are all of the MODS!!!???


On Wed Mar 23rd 2011, 11:18pm, Josp posted:
Hah. I just just sitting here looking for old morrowind mods, for some reason.
Hero's hovel was def in my top ten back in the day, on the mwsummit :)


On Thu Mar 24th 2011, 3:57am, Steve Kehlet posted:
Josp, that's great! Thanks for letting me know!


On Sun May 8th 2011, 1:56pm, Hannah posted:
Hey can help me with two things?
1: I downloaded your house and the better bodies mod, but how do I get them to work in the game?
2: How do built a house? I mean, I know how to make an interior, but I don't know how to make walls and stuff. =/
could you contact me on meizsmartXD@gmail.com
much appreciated, thanks.