Fork me on GitLab
Interview with unelsson 2019-09-05 - lysol

Hello again!

Today we have a different kind of a news post for you – namely an interview with one of our developers, unelsson. I, Lysol that is, had a nice short chat with him the other day. He has been working on our content file editor OpenMW-CS, both on features that have been added already and also on more experimental features that are yet to be introduced


Who are you?

My name is Uoti Huotari, I’m a circus instructor and performer from Finland, as well as a rpg designer, physical therapist and robotics hobbyist. Oh yeah, I do code stuff to OpenMW-CS too

Not to get too off-topic, but a circus instructor that is into robotics? This sounds really interesting. Anything to show us?

Well, I’m really proud of my snapuswipe, posted that at my Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/p/BrAnag9HUdS/

So to move on, when and how did you discover the project?

I think I saw a release video in Youtube some years ago, and as a fan of Morrowind decided to give OpenMW a try. I got hooked by the stability and performance of the engine, no crashes, and the usability too

You’ve mostly been working with OpenMW-CS while most developers always found it more interesting to work with the engine instead. Why?

It doesn’t really matter what I work on, as long as I am doing something interesting and useful. My goals have been not only to develop OpenMW, but also to develop my coding skills, and get some good feedback and guidance from people who know better than me.

My secret plan always was to fit in by listening to project lead and other developers, and do whatever is required to push the project forwards. By doing that, I hope to gain better feedback, which will in turn help me to gain personal coding skills. It’s also nice to just contribute with something useful, coding is nonetheless a hobby for me, and it’s just inherently rewarding to participate by being useful in the ways I can

Yes, speaking of developing your coding skills, how much experience did you have when you began coding for the CS then? Do you feel you have evolved as a developer since then?

My dad taught me to code BASICA when I was five years old, and I coded kazillion small games and personal projects with various languages, like QBASIC, Turbo Pascal and C/C++ until I was a teenager. Later I got interested in robotics, which got me learning some Python, rpg design drew me into writing web apps with Javascript, and html seems to be everywhere.

OpenMW is written mostly with C++, and frankly, I couldn’t remember how to write a Hello World -program when I started. Participating has developed my understanding of C++ enormously… Just insanely much

Has OpenMW lived up to what you expected when you became involved with the project?

It’s always been more than I ever expected, a stable and easy way to play Morrowind on modern Linux computer, not to mention that you can easily use mods, there are shadows (omg!), and me too, with zero coding education, I’ve actually been able to learn and contribute. It’s really more than I could ever ask for.

But I did expect faster development, especially on the OpenMW-CS side. There have however been some unexpected delays and things in-between that require solving before more features can be added. I don’t feel like OpenMW is failing though, it’s nonetheless a remarkable project, and it kind of keeps going forward even when it seems like nothing is happening

What kind of cool stuff do you expect (or hope) OpenMW will give us in the future?

I think the various missing edit modes should be added to OpenMW-CS, but improved versions from vanilla. I hope to contribute so that OpenMW-CS can be better than the vanilla CS. On the engine side, I really hope that some sort of batching is developed, as that will improve performance, and might allow things like procedurally generated grass, but I really have no idea how that can be done, or when it will happen

Do you plan to do any of the OpenMW-CS things in the near future?

Uhh.. Yes? No? I really want to complete the rest of the edit modes, but it’s probably not the best idea to rush things. I’m quite busy with other stuff in my life right now, but it’s not like I have no time at all, coding is after all a place to rest in between all the flipping around, hanging from the trapeze and throwing stuff in the air

Thanks!


I have also interviewed Capostrophic, and that interview is more or less ready to be published. But we’ll save that for another time. Also, there is a lot going on on GitLab/GitHub right now, so hopefully we can tell you more about that soon. Until then, thank you for reading.

Want to leave a comment?
Long time no see! 2019-06-20 - lysol

Hello everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Apologies for the long silence since the last release. That silence does not mean nothing has happened, however – quite the contrary actually! The upcoming OpenMW version 0.46.0 is already a huge release with many major differences compared to the current stable OpenMW release of 0.45.0. This news post is going to briefly sum up everything that has been going on behind the scenes. Quite a challenge when there is so much to talk about!

First off, akortunov got a really nice feature merged into OpenMW a while ago: native graphic herbalism. He had already finished a first draft of that feature when Stuporstar and Greatness7 started working on their MWSE-Lua mod, and they eventually decided to work together to make sure the meshes would be compatible between Morrowind+MWSE-Lua and OpenMW. When the release of the mod got closer, akortunov focused on finishing the pull request for OpenMW. As a result, players have been enjoying graphic herbalism without any performance penalties for quite a while now. Great work, guys!

Capostrophic has been working on many things, big and small, but among the more important things is improved compatibility with Sotha Sil Expanded. Of course, more testing is always appreciated to squash the last remaining bugs. Capo has also fixed another mod-related issue in that teleportation caused problems with companion mods, such as Julan. A big thank you to our coding champion!

Improving gamepad support has always been tricky for a development team consisting of zero gamepad users. But thankfully, Perry Hugh, a new face in our corner of GitLab, came along and added – among other things – several great improvements to the joystick movement. You can now lean back on your sofa and enjoy proper analogue-stick movement in OpenMW.

Last time, we mentioned that Bzzt had included some cool optimisations in a huge merge request on GitLab. Most of these have now been merged with the help of Capostrophic and akortunov who split the – quite large – merge request into smaller pieces for easier review. This has resulted in improved performance, lower memory usage, and a better visual look of the distant-land feature. This is not the end, however, as Bzzt has some more aces up his sleeve on GitLab. We will see what improvements can be squeezed out of this guy in the future.

A guy we haven’t talked about before in a news post is Stomy. He came to our forums a while ago, presenting some interesting long-term ideas he wanted to develop for the engine. But while it is way too early to talk about those, he also has some other interesting merge requests in the pipeline. The most important ones are optional head-bobbing and a radial viewing distance, which uses a clipping circle instead of a clipping plane to avoid things popping up when looking around, both of which will add a more modern feeling to the game.

But what about TES3MP? Well, one interesting thing is that since TES3MP already supports Lua scripting, the user Johnnyhostile (the man behind www.modding-openmw.com) was able to start porting the mod Natural Character Growth and Decay to Lua in order to make it compatible with TES3MP!

Let’s leave it at that and talk about other recent and future changes in a later news post. Until next time, and thanks for reading.

Want to leave a comment?

OpenMW 0.45.0 Released! 2019-03-28 - lysol

The OpenMW team is proud to announce the release of version 0.45.0! Grab it from our Downloads Page for all operating systems. This release brings yet another horde of bug fixes and several new features, including support for per-group KF animation replacers, 360° screenshots, and the ability to brew a whole stack of a potion at once.

If you haven’t tried OpenMW out already, now is the big chance! Bethesda’s free giveaway of Morrowind got extended, so you are still able to get Morrowind for free until March 31st!

Check out the release video and the OpenMW-CS release video by the illustrious Atahualpa, and see below for the full list of changes.

Known Issues:

New Features:

New Editor Features:

Bug Fixes:

Editor Bug Fixes:

Other:

Want to leave a comment?

We’re a bit late to the party now, but there’s still a few hours left to go: Bethesda gives away Morrowind for free today (March 25th), and only today. You need a Bethesda.net account to get the code, otherwise it’s fully free!

Get it here before it’s too late!

Remember that you need a copy of Morrowind to be able to play Morrowind through the OpenMW and/or TES3MP engine, so if you don’t own Morrowind yet, this is a perfect chance to get it for, well, nothing. 🙂

Two weeks ago, we wrote about OpenMW’s offical multiplayer fork, TES3MP. Missed that? Read it here.

This week, however, we want to talk more about the main project: the OpenMW engine. A lot of things have happened since the last news post on that topic.

So, what’s the news?

Let’s begin with a recently merged feature which might seem like a small change at first, but rather is part of bigger project. OpenMW is now able to read the BSA files of Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3 and New Vegas – thanks to the hard work of both cc9cii, who first wrote the code for OpenMW 0.36, and Azdul, who ported the code to the current OpenMW master. This brings us one step closer to actually running assets from later TES and Fallout games in OpenMW. However, a lot of work lies ahead of us – next on our list is support for newer versions of NIF, ESM, and ESP files. We’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of features regarding later Bethesda games: Skyrim uses a nif-ty feature in the NIF files called NiSwitchNode to make plants harvestable. The mod Glow In The Dahrk by MelchiorDahrk uses the same property – with the help of some Lua code from MWSE-Lua – to create glowing windows during night time. We are very pleased that our sedulous developer akortunov submitted this pull request, which makes it possible to use the assets from Glow in the Dahrk in our engine too.

A new contributor, bzzt, has recently started working on large-scale optimisations of our engine, focusing on terrain rendering in order to prepare adding in his vision of a future distant-objects feature. Among many other things, his changes – should they be merged – will improve both the look and the performance of distant terrain in OpenMW. The latter was a major cause of concern for players, and we hope his additions will be well received by the Morrowind community.

Capostrophic has been working a lot to make OpenMW compatible with the popular (and huge) mod Sotha Sil Expanded. There are still a few nuts to crack before the mod is fully compatible with OpenMW, but Capostrophic is on it and we’ll let you know when everything works as intended. Sometimes you have to go to other content than vanilla Morrowind to find bugs in the engine, so big mods like these offer great opportunities to find unknown bugs and spot differences between OpenMW and vanilla Morrowind.

This post was supposed to be about OpenMW, but we have to mention one small thing about TES3MP: The macOS client is now released! Download it here.

Shadows are back!

And now the time has come for us to announce a quite big feature that got merged into master today. A feature many have told us is the one thing stopping them from switching to OpenMW for good. This feature was actually present in OpenMW when it, up until version 0.36.0, still used the rendering engine Ogre3D. After the switch to OpenSceneGraph, the feature had to be reimplemented again.

AnyOldName3 has been working on the implementation of shadows in OpenMW for over a year. It has been a long road to get there though. A couple of shadow techniques are included in the OpenSceneGraph library, but they needed to be modified quite a bit to fit our specific needs. A year and a couple of months later, through hard work and a lot of bugs and technical issues to master, he has now finished implementing his own technique, based on one of OpenSceneGraph’s methods.

But while the shadows are merged and ready to enhance the immersion of your next adventure in Vvardenfell, there will always be room to improve them in the future. AnyOldName3 already has some ideas what could be added to make them look even better. We might address that in detail in a future post.

So from this day, the first builds with shadows implemented will be built. Grab the latest nightly builds for the operating system of your choice here while they are still hot, or build OpenMW yourself by following the instructions here. Important note though: the Windows nightlies are built at 3:00 AM, UTC. Nightlies for Ubuntu PPA are down at the moment.

Until next time!

Want to leave a comment?