image ©Maxim Nikolaev

Last week’s news of an asset replacement project was well received. A whole bunch of people reported in, offering not just their skills, but also their opinion on the exact nature of the project and any possible legal ramifications, what with OpenMW being around and all. In the end they settled on making this project (tentatively called Morrowind Original Asset Replacement, a.k.a. MOAR) a mod for Morrowind, but the OpenMW engine should be working fine with it too. If you want to contribute too, why don’t you check out their brand new project site or their guideline thread? Or just join the discussion thread and see what people are saying.

But back to OpenMW in particular. Some more work was done on the user interface. On the hardware side there has been some experimentation with support for gamepads. The experiment resulted in a semi-victory: Wireless 360 gamepads worked fine, but PS3 dualshock controllers did not. That means that support isn’t quite in yet and that more deliberation on how to handle joystick input is required.

On the software side, various fixes have been done, too. The centering of this and that line of text, resizing buttons here, tooltips there; stuff that’s pretty much in your face every time you play just needs to work well. Small niggles need to be ironed out. For example, you can now use the scroll wheel to leaf through the books and you can properly place tooltips on the local map, just like in vanilla Morrowind. Combat has also been expanded a bit. If an NPCs fatigue reaches zero, they will get knocked out. But not just that – you will be able to pick their pockets when they’re out cold.

All these little things add up and considering that MyGUI just released an update that fixes a memory leak in OpenMW, there is talk among the developers of pushing out OpenMW 0.32.0 soon. And that’s always good to hear.

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All according to script 2014-08-17 - Okulo

We’ve reached a new milestone in OpenMW development: We have 100% script functionality! Morrowind is a game that uses scripts for special events to take place. If one of these scripts does not run, these events would not take place and quests might not be finishable or magic effects might not work. Sometimes these scripts cannot be straight-up read by OpenMW, for example because it has these stray arguments that we have talked about a while ago. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. From now on, all 1204(!) scripts in Morrowind can be read and applied. This is a big leap towards feature completeness, so unsurprisingly, high fives were given all around.

For a while we have been looking at ways to optimize our codebase. One of the ways to do so is by fixing so-called memory leaks, which means that a program uses some of your computer’s memory, but doesn’t give it back when it’s done. As a result, such programs will usually start taking up more and more memory leading to performance degradation. A while ago Scrawl found one of these leaks in our code base, specifically in the part of our interface. We use MyGUI for our interface because it’s a fantastic piece of software. It speaks volumes about the quality of MyGUI that it has needed so little work on our part considering all the stuff we do with it. But still, this one thing should kinda be fixed.

And this is why open-source projects rock. Scrawl and the main MyGUI guy, Altren, have been talking. Altren has even graced us with his presence. It looks like Scrawl is going to be working a bit closer with MyGUI to improve it in a faster pace than would usually be the case. That should put a stop to any issues that crop up in not just OpenMW, but also other projects that try to do similar things. For this purpose, MyGUI has left SourceForge and is now on Github, so if you’re also a developer, and you want to keep an eye on it and possibly contribute, make sure to follow them, too!

Last week we were talking about fonts. Not the most action-packed thing about OpenMW, but it’s important as it’s the main way that you and the game communicate. Markelius has been working on a font called Open Magicka that will look nice and sharp at any size. First every character present in the original Magic Cards needs to be redone. The next step is support for international characters such as the Cyrillic alphabet. But Markelius needs some information – specifically which languages Morrowind has been translated to that don’t use the Roman or Cyrillic alphabets. (For example, if there was a Japanese version, OpenMW would need to support that as well and thus the Open Magicka font would need to include those characters.) If you happen to know this, please post in the relevant thread on the forums.

Final bit of news is a project that a fellow OpenMW fan has started. Deonsion has begun work on an asset replacement project. For now he’s working on 3d models of rocks and trees to start out with, but he also wants to tackle animations once he has learned how to work with the relevant software. We all know that Morrowind’s default animations and graphics are very 2002 and that makes this a majestic undertaking. If there are people who could help Deonsion out making the ultimate graphics pack for OpenMW, do get in touch! Post in the thread linked above and tell us what you can do. Every helping hand is one more. OpenMW is our best bet to play this timeless game with graphics that belong in this decade – and together, we can make that happen!

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Wake up call 2014-08-06 - Okulo

Okay, first off, a message from the voluminously voiced WeirdSexy.

Man, you gotta love that resolved bugs list. Makes me smile whenever I see it, at least. But let’s move on to what happened in the past week.

Well, last week some websites picked up on the Android port that one of our community members was doing as his own sideproject. The articles written on it mostly (incorrectly) claimed that the port was officially part of OpenMW – one even said that the Android port was OpenMW. All this attention caused some undue stress for the poor guy in question, so let’s explain what is happening here, just so everyone is clear on what this Android deal is.

OpenMW is an open-source project. This means that everyone can take the current code and do with it whatever they please. Think of it as if you’re writing a book and everyone is reading along as you’re writing. People are free to take the story you have written so far and create their own story or make some changes so that the story is more to their liking. In a way, you have your book (which is the “main story”) and the books of others (with their stories that have “branched off”). Suppose you would read someone else’s variation and you liked it. What you then could do is take these changed scenes and incorporate them into your own book (merging the two works, as it were), while still continuing on your own story.

That’s what happening with OpenMW too. SandStranger took the code of OpenMW and made some changes to be able to port it to Android. From time to time he will show the code to the maintainers of the OpenMW project, and they will incorporate it into the main branch. That doesn’t mean that OpenMW is officially working on the Android port, but there are people out there making an effort. The work is being done, so why not accept the work into the main project?

So in short, the Android port is not officially OpenMW, but the contributions to that end are very welcome.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on to other stuff.

A few new features have been added. If you have tried OpenMW, you will undoubtedly have noticed that in a stunning display of Bizarro ventriloquism, everyone in Vvardenfell is capable of talking with their mouths wide open, but without moving their lips. Well, that show is over. Everyone is now properly flapping their gums when they are talking. They also now understand that if they are your follower, you may accidentally hit them in combat. So rather than immediately turning hostile, they will let a certain amount of hits slide. There has been change on the enemy’s side of combat as well: If you’re already in combat with an NPC, they won’t (continuously) report you.

On the editor front, some headway has been made as well. Tooltips have been added to graphical buttons, so if you don’t know what a button does, you can just hover over it and a short description will be shown. Some discussion is now happening on the forums concerning icon design.

There’s also a discussion going on about the fonts we use in OpenMW. Markelius’s opening post in the thread should give you a nice and detailed overview on the subject matter, but the long and short of it is that we need a font that (1) has an open license, (2) looks properly like the font that Morrowind uses, (3) has support for international characters and probably some more stuff. Just check out the thread and weigh in if you think you know something useful that we don’t.

Well, that’s it for this week. Check back next week for the latest news on the project!

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