And here’s the last update we owe you. Below you’ll find two more videos. The first one will handle OpenMW, and the other will spend some time on OpenMW-CS.
Phew, now that that is out of the way, we can move on to 0.39.0. The next version is still cooking, but if you want to go check it out, you can always try the nightlies for Windows and Linux. They already include support for those fancy new shaders too!
Welcome back. It seems we still owe you some videos. So let’s get right down to it. First, we have a video that shows off the updates for OpenMW. The second video shows off changes for OpenMW-CS.
Oh, hey there. How nice of you to pop in. It’s been a while. Sit down, we’ve got something really cool for you. You know how WeirdSexy has been busy and stuff, and our last few releases didn’t have any release videos? Well, we’ve got a surprise for you. No, WeirdSexy isn’t back just yet, but we do have a video for you. It’s a retrospective of the past few releases. So though WeirdSexy may be missing, sit back and let Atahualpa take you through our past few releases in these Forgotten Release Commentaries.
Those were some sixteen minutes well spent. Speaking of time well spent, Scrawl has a bit of a surprise for you too. We’ve had this feature back in Ogre3D, and now – after a bit of a hiatus – it’s back: normal maps! Scrawl still had some of PeterBitt’s old normal maps lying around, so he figured he’d try them out and lo and behold:
Subtle, but gorgeous. As an added bonus, OpenMW can now automatically use normal maps if it answers to the naming scheme. As Scrawl explains it: “This is now implemented. For example, for the color texture foo.dds, the game will automatically use foo_n.dds as a normal map (if it exists). The benefit is that you don’t have to go around modifying (and distributing) all the .nif files / mesh files.”
But normal maps are not everything. OpenMW now supports specular maps too, and both specular and normal maps can be used with the terrain shader.
For example, lysol (who has worked in the past on Warcraft III and Rome: Total War re-textures), has put his expertise at work and made some new textures for Vivec with specular and normal mapping, while still trying to stick close to the original:
For more information on this, check out the wiki page on texture modding. It has instructions on how to enable mapping right there, and might be a good starting point for anyone thinking of making graphical mods for Morrowind.
There’s also been some significant progress on the OpenMW-CS side of things. For one, we’ve got the cell markers and cell borders visible now. Also, you can now drag-and-drop stuff from the Objects table into the 3D view of a cell, and it will appear, right there. So if you have made a really cool item, and you want to drop an instance of it somewhere in the world, now you can. Next up: in-scene instance editing. Ooooh. Can’t wait to see what Zini is doing with that.
Oh yes, speaking of Zini, Morrowind Modding Showcases has done a follow-up interview with him. So bathe with me in his Germanic glory and check out the video!
Well, see you next time when we have more cool stuff to show!
Hello again. Small update since it’s been a while since the last one. The move to OSG has called for a lot of work left and right. Most of it is not exciting enough to get into in a newspost (interesting enough if you want to delve deeper into the development of this project, though!), but there are a couple of things worth noting. First is the object selection via the scene view in OpenMW-CS. Scenes may contain a lot of stuff, and finding the exact item you need may be a hassle. Scrawl and Zini have been working on a way to use the scene window to select objects. Next up is selecting terrain and stuff that isn’t rendered in the scene (such as pathgrids and cell markers). You can’t move them around yet, though, that’s all for a different update.
If you’re not a modder, but only play the game, you will enjoy this second bit of news: Scrawl has restored sun flares! Check out the before and after pics:
Rather than being a flat disk in the sky, light blooms now. Pretties.
Every step in the direction of beautifying the game is a good one and the team (especially OSG/shader magician Scrawl) is planning to do much more! There’s the water shaders, and there are object shaders. The latter may be a bit more difficult than just using an already existing implementation, as performance might be negatively impacted too severely to just plop it in and go, so some work on that is required. After the object shaders are done, work on object shadows can start, something that doesn’t seem all that significant, but it’s one of those touches that makes a ton of difference once you see it. Definitely more on that in a later version.
Disposing of bugs is, of course, also a staple of Morrowind releases. Counting only the bugs on the tracker – so not including all the bugs that have been fixed as soon as they were encountered – 149 bugs have been fixed so far for this release. The other 40 issues on the tracker that have been closed are things such as small optimizations, a scaleable GUI, and several OpenMW-CS features.
Doing so has left OpenMW with less than 100 issues until 1.0. Of course this amount fluctuates wildly and some issues are relatively small while others are huge. Still, it’s great to see the finish line drawing nearer and nearer.
I’m not going to lie to you, though: porting is a toughie and OpenMW-CS has come to that point where nearly all basic functionalities are in place. That means that the next version won’t be released next week or even the week after that. But still, the team is working hard: they are committed to pushing out the next release with terrain optimizations and a basic water shader for your enjoyment.
Troubling as the time since our last release may seem, know that the team is still busy and that the work put in the next version brings one of the most significant changes for players since the implementation of terrain and physics. Thanks for your patience and see you next time.
Those who have the ability to build OpenMW from the OpenSceneGraph branch have probably already tried it. The new OpenMW is streamlined, fast and of course, most importantly, very functional. It’s not very pretty yet, though. The Ogre version has a bunch of shaders, including Scrawl’s own gorgeous “Shiny” shader which makes the water look incredibly good, but they couldn’t be easily ported to the OSG version. But that’s just eyecandy, and though that is one step back, it’s only temporary. Add to that the fact that with its huge progress in terms of speed and the many fixes that it brings, the whole OSG port represents three steps forward. In fact, it’s far along enough to be included in the next release. So get ready, 0.37.0 will be the version that brings OpenMW-OSG to the world!
At the time of writing, 0.37.0 closes a whopping 138 issues on our tracker. As mentioned in the last post by Scrawl, NPCs are finally the right size. Raindrops won’t make fire see-through anymore and fire no longer make stuff look black. Your followers also won’t be squealing when you touch something the wrong way, so no more “friends” ratting you out to the popo just because you took something that is technically not entirely yours.
Newcomer Kunesj has created a fun little extra that has been integrated already: the crosshair and tooltips can now show if something is owned or not. It doesn’t work as well as it should yet, so for now it requires editing some configuration files to enable and configure this feature, but it’s a good start to something that a lot of players will welcome.
There’s been some work on OpenMW-CS. NPCs should now have a whole lot more stuff for you to edit, including faction rank, level, skills, and the like. UI nags such as the starting size of the main window and a cancel button closing OpenMW-CS rather than returning to the last screen have been resolved. You can now also sort your search results, which should make the global search function even more useful than before. And, oh, bonus! – we also have a pretty colour picker now!
So as you can see, the team is marching on, but besides the engine and the CS, two other projects have seen the light of day.
For the first one we should give a shout-out to TravDark, the creator of Ashes of the Apocalypse mod, and Envy123, the creator of an unofficial expansion to AoA called Desert Region 2. These two creators have generously allowed their work to be expanded and revamped so that they can be run as stand-alone games on the OpenMW engine. To this end, content in these mods needs to be replaced, and such an effort has already started. In order to be stand-alone, however, it requires replacement of all assets made by Bethesda and work from other modders. That’s a ton of work and a solution needs to be found.
Which brings us to the other project: a bare minimum package for game developers. As OpenMW is merely an engine, it doesn’t only run Morrowind. To have a working game on OpenMW, you need some bare minimum files, such as a sky and some animations. Enter the OpenMW Game Template project, a project which aims to provide a minimum package to run OpenMW. Aside from being a good foundation for game developers to work off of, it’s also a fantastic test run for OpenMW. When people try to create their own game, they could run into all sorts of issues and with the tight connections the Game Template project has to the development team, these basic issues can be documented and/or resolved before they can get in the way of the developers of full-fledged games.
So there it is. Two new projects on the side, the CS getting expanded, and OpenMW proper switching to a whole new graphical engine with major fixes and speed as a bonus. Plenty to be excited about, even in this late stage of development!