Table of contents

What is OpenMW/OpenCS?

OpenMW is a new and modern engine based on the one that runs the 2002 open-world RPG Morrowind. The engine (OpenMW) will come with its own editor (OpenCS) which will allow the user to edit or create their own games. Both OpenCS and OpenMW are written from scratch and aren’t made to support any third party programs the original Morrowind engine uses to improve its functionality.
To give you a better idea of what this project is about, here are some of the aims for the future of the OpenMW engine:

NOTE: Playing Morrowind with this engine still requires one to own the Morrowind data files.

OpenCS will support the editing of all OpenMW features. We aim for the editor to stay fully up-to-date with the corresponding OpenMW version, allowing the user to edit any newly implemented features. Post v1.0 features are going to be the use of OpenCS as a debugging tool for OpenMW content and the support for editor plugins.
These are files that add to the editor code, improving its functionality to allow it to have some nice extras.
The OpenCS is not based on the editing tool which came with the original Morrowind game, it is a program made by modders for modders. Important properties of the OpenCS are:

We’ve made a video in which we try to explain the most common questions about the project:

OpenMW/OpenCS is released under the GNU General Public License version 3, and all source code has been written completely from scratch.

OpenMW objectives for v1.0

Let me quote Zini for this:

Since the 1.0 topic has come up recently a couple of times, I think I should elaborate on it a bit.

The goal for OpenMW 1.0 is be a complete replacement of Morrowind.exe. Nothing more, nothing less. That also means that improvements over the original game are mostly ruled out for now. I pushed for this direction, because it is the safest way to finish OpenMW 1.0 as quickly as possible.
We consider this a very important milestone, because with 1.0 OpenMW will change from a demo to an actually playable game. We hope OpenMW 1.0 will draw a lot of attention; in the form of new developers and even more importantly a massive amount of new testers.

There are situations where we can diverge from Morrowind, even prior to 1.0.

First I don’t feel any obligation to copy any non-functional behaviour. There is absolutely no point to mimic a crash or any other kind of failure mode. There is also no point in mimicing limits (like the if-then nesting depth limits in scripts), if an implementation without these limits isn’t more work.
Generally with anything that does not work at all in Morrowind we have complete freedom in deciding how to handle it. Note that this does not include any bad game mechanics. Bad is not equal disfunctional.

Second, we can change anything that is not part of the in-game experience, e.g. the commandline options and the configuration files for OpenMW look completely different from what Morrowind is using. The launcher is another example for this case.

Third, we are not obliged to choose the same implementation path as Morrowind (where we know or can guess what MW is doing). It still should look the same to the player, but what is under the hood can look completely different.

And finally fourth, there are a few edge cases where we actually might diverge slightly from Morrowind on purpose, when it makes the implementation a lot easier or a perfect copy is a clear no go, because something has absolutely no future and a perfect copy would mean we would have to rip out the whole thing after 1.0 and reimplement the part from scratch.


What can you expect from the current release?

OpenMW is pre-v1.0 and under active development. This means that the performance of the engine isn’t as it should be, that there are still multiple missing features and that bugs are to be expected. Can you hunt them all down?

Who is working on OpenMW/OpenCS?

See the “The Team”  page!

Do I need Morrowind?

You must legally own Morrowind before you can use OpenMW to play Morrowind. OpenMW is a game engine recreation and only replaces the program. OpenMW does not come with any “content” or “asset” – namely the art, game data, and other copyrighted material that you need to play the game as designed by Bethesda Softworks. You have to provide this content yourself by installing Morrowind and then configuring OpenMW to use the existing installation.

If you don’t currently own Morrowind, seriously consider buying it! It’s worth every penny, even if it’s no longer a “new” game. As of the last update of this FAQ, Morrowind (GOTY edition) is available from Steam for $20.

The above notwithstanding, OpenMW is a complete game engine. It is possible for other projects to use OpenMW as a base for a total conversion of the game. However, there are currently no known TC that does not require any asset from the original game.

What technologies does OpenMW/OpenCS use?

OpenMW is built with various open source tools and libraries:

OpenCS is written in Qt.

The ESM/ESP and BSA loading code was written from scratch, but with much help from available community-generated documentation.

Likewise, the NIF (proprietary 3D mesh) loading code was written with the help of available online information. Special thanks to the NIFLA / NifTools gang!

(For an additional list of the technologies in use, see Development Environment Setup: Third-Party Libraries and Tools.)

Will OpenMW support multiplayer?

The OpenMW team currently has no plans for developing this feature. There are probably some technical factors about OpenMW that would make it extremely complicated, messy, and painful to implement. However, sometime in the future, some sort of co-op feature for OpenMW could be a possibility. OpenMW will probably never support MMO style gameplay.

I can launch OpenMW and music plays, but I only see a black screen!

This can occur when you did not import the Morrowind.ini file when the launcher asked for it.
To fix it, you need to delete the launcher.cfg file from your configuration path (Path description on Wiki), then start the launcher, select your Morrowind installation, and when the launcher asks whether the Morrowind.ini file should be imported, make sure to select Yes.

Can I use the assets from the XBox or XBox 360 version of Morrowind with OpenMW?

Short answer: No.
Long answer: Bethesda has asked us not to mix platforms, that means no PC Morrowind on non-PC platforms, such as the XBox. This also means no XBox Morrowind on the PC or any other non-XBox platform, except for the XBox itself or the XBox360.

How do I Help?

If you have suggestions, ideas, comments, or if you want to contribute code, you are very welcome to join the official OpenMW forum, and visit our #openmw IRC channel at FreeNode.

You can also check out our Issue Tracker!

Do you accept donations? Where can I send the money?

No. We, as an OpenMW, don’t accept donations (except the ones for covering web server costs), but one or more individual developers who work on OpenMW do. Please note, those donations aren’t affiliated with OpenMW, nor come with any perks attached. Here are the links:

There are a few people there that would love to work on Ogre3d exclusively, so that would mean they would live on donations. Please, if you have money to burn… send it to them as it would benefit more people than just OpenMW users.

License and legal stuff

This website and its author, and OpenMW Team are not in any way associated with or supported by Bethesda Softworks or ZeniMax Media Inc. OpenMW is a completely unofficial hobbyist project.

This website does NOT distribute any game data or other copyrighted content not owned by the author. You MUST own a legal copy of Morrowind before you can use OpenMW. We absolutely do NOT support or condone pirated versions of the game. All source code is written from scratch and is released under the GNU General Public License version 3.

All fonts shipped with OpenMW are licensed under separate terms. Details can be found in the Readme file or in the Wiki.

Morrowind, Tribunal, Bloodmoon, The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax and their respective logos are registered trademarks of ZeniMax Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

All textures, models, designs, sounds and music reproduced in screenshots and videos are the property of ZeniMax Media Inc. unless otherwise specified.

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