Hello and welcome back for another look at new and upcoming features in OpenMW! There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s dive in!
Perry Hugh has continued his work on better gamepad support. You may have heard about OpenMW’s keyboard navigation feature which makes it possible to navigate (at least parts of) the GUI with the keyboard. This feature is used by gamepads as well. Perry Hugh’s plan is to expand on the keyboard navigation to make it work in all the UI windows it didn’t before. He is also adding in more convenient controller-specific ways to navigate in the character generation window and resting window. Many of those of you who use gamepads may read this and ask: “but gamepad keyboard GUI when”? Well, Perry is considering adding that too and more! Read about it here.
So wish him good luck, or even contribute to his endeavour and our project by testing out his additions!
unelsson has kept on working on the OpenMW-CS. His latest big thing is the long-awaited terrain shape editing feature. With that finally merged into the OpenMW-CS, you’ll be much closer to never even having to touch the old tools intended for a certain game from 2002 to create gorgeous landscapes for your modification or your Starfield killer. See for yourself:
akortunov has made a huge refactor of the weapon types handling. Among otherwise mostly technical improvements, it allows content creators to add unique animations and attachment bones for every weapon type in the game (crossbows, short swords, spears etc.). This means that it will be possible for modders to make previously ambidextrous characters now purely right-handed like you can see on these images. Once OpenMW reaches 1.0 and the de-hardcoding phase begins, weapon types are planned to get their own records in the updated ESM format, which will make modding the weapon types possible directly through the OpenMW-CS.
Our favourite hammer-equipped penguin also updated his old shield holstering support branch so that it could finally get merged. In other words, that heavy shield you’re constantly carrying? You’ll finally be able to rest it on your back!
If you read the interview with Capostrophic (you did, right?), you should already know that he has been working on extending the NetImmerse (NIF) file format support to work with the models from other Gamebryo games: games like Oblivion, Fallout 3/New Vegas, Skyrim but also Civilization IV for example. Capostrophic’s work on this is still in very early stages, but a few (mostly under-the-hood) additions have already made it into the master branch. Stay tuned for more really interesting things to come out of this.
bzzt and AnyOldName3 are both figuring out the last bits and pieces to make shadows more ready for a stable release. This is one of the few things holding 0.46.0 back right now. Yes, you may read this as “0.46.0 is just around the corner”. Stay tuned!
A lot more activity has been going on since the last update, but you will hear about that, and much more, in the upcoming release post!
It is time for another interview. This time, I (again, Lysol) had a chat with Capostrophic, a guy many of you might already know of, him being one of the most active developers we have these days. Let’s get to the interview!
Who are you?
I’m Alexei, a high school student from Central Russia, planning to study and work in the software engineering field. I’m best known as “Capo”.
When and how did you discover the project?
My chat logs say this happened in mid-2015, shortly after I first had the joy of really discovering The Elder Scrolls series. Discovering OpenMW was a sudden thing, but I quickly became intrigued with it. I never had any contact with Ogre versions until much later and immediately started using 0.37.0 nightly builds. I was rather impressed by OpenMW’s functionality by then – albeit I was disappointed by the lack of the water shader which became a thing again some months later, and it was beautiful. Following GitHub development of OpenMW was a rather enjoyable experience, and although I couldn’t participate in it, I wished I could, to get some coding experience for the future’s sake and to help bring about 1.0.
Sounds like you’re saying you didn’t really do much coding before OpenMW. How much experience did you have back when you discovered the project?
In 2015 zero, hello world coding proficiency doesn’t count.
In 2017-2018, when I attempted to contribute in some way apart from disappointing Atahualpa with intense procrastination regarding Russian translation for release trailers, still zero, but at least I could read C++.
I must say it is really impressive to go from subtitle translator with zero experience to one of the most active developers we have around. So tell us, what are you working on right now?
In general I try to do bug fixes and implement minor features in parts of the code base I have a certain knowledge of. You may notice that my changesets are rarely large, but rather short and probably sweet. This may stop being the case in time.
Right now my long term project is extending the NIF loader to support meshes from later Bethesda games. No, I’m not cc9cii, this is a separate effort, not based on a revision of OpenMW from 2015. It will take a lot of time, but it’s fun.
No particular short term project apart from trying to get 0.46.0 to release sooner but not be too unfinished.
Has OpenMW lived up to what you expected when you became involved with the project?
Yes. Psych. No, or I wouldn’t have tried to contribute.
I mean, yes, it’s not difficult to tell it has gone long ways to be what it is now (or what it was back then), but it still has long ways to go – or infinite ways, given that it has limitless potential – and you can’t judge something as a complete project if it isn’t finished.
Indeed. So what kind of cool stuff do you expect OpenMW will give us in the future?
We’ll finally get a multiplayer implementation for Fallout 76.
But really, it’s having a cool free as in speech cross platform framework for Bethesda-like sandbox-with-RPG-elements games for which even non-programmers can make their own game without any coding knowledge. That somehow allows you to run Skyrim on Raspberry Pi.
Any cool stuff you plan to implement in the future that you haven’t already started working on?
A game for OpenMW. VulkanSceneGraph port. Extended ESM reader. Not in a particular order and it’s not the matter of coming years.
More realistically, some NIF features that we’re currently missing.
Also Morrowind-like bumpmapping, actually, with either MCP and vanilla behavior available. Lots of legacy assets require it even if we have normalmapping, I found it weird that someone would say everyone will just continue to make assets for Morrowind’s [modded fake] bumpmapping and nobody will care about [real native] normalmapping. That’s far-fetched and not true and also it didn’t happen.
I don’t want to deal with the editor just yet.
[Note to readers: That someone being yours truly, Lysol the speculator. I was wrong, I know. With legacy assets, Capo means the old bump mapped texture packs we’ve come to refer to “fake bump maps”, that currently appear shiny in OpenMW. When normal mapping was a new thing for OpenMW, Me and a few others were convinced that if we support the old, bad way of doing it, people will just continue to do bad normal maps and no one will bother to convert old mods to the newer native way of doing it. Capo did not believe this theory. Time eventually proved him right.]
Thanks for allowing me to take some of your time!
So as we stated last time, there has been a lot going on at Git, so we will try to provide you with a news post later. Hopefully sooner than later.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.