The week in review 2012-09-02 - sir_herrbatka

Have you tried the new version of OpenMW? Did you liked it?

There wasn’t much in terms of shiny new features, but as usual a lot of work on engine basics took place and that paves the way for version 0.18.0. There are a lot of really cool tasks open on the roadmap, something for everyone. We can implement long awaited features (or prerequisites that are necessary for those features).

If progress remained stable, then we could bring large chunks of gameplay with each new version. The project’s at an amazing point. Want to implement a new skill? Go for it. The code is ready. We may need the formulas first, but Hrnchamd (famous for making the Morrowind Code Patch) is helping discover them. You can look on wiki page to see what formulas he and those other reverse engineers have figured out.

Maybe you’d prefer to implement level-up? Sure get on it, skills (the ones we’ve implemented) can now improve.

Would you rather implement sleeping and resting? OK, they are ready to be worked on.

GUI tasks are often neglected, so maybe take the trainer window or spell buying window tasks?

We can finally we can support the walking animation. It “just” needs to be finished first.

Developers solved a number of smaller issues this week.

For example Scrawl fixed many bugs, added the ability to hide GUI elements by pressing F12, and added a new GUI window for quick keys.

Greye is our AI specialist, but since we weren’t ready to implement it he worked on other features. This week, Greye started to loading AI packages into the engine. We can’t do anything with them yet, but that’s another first step that’s been taken.

Dgdiniz is a new developer who recently finished his first task (moved Sounds into Action). It was a typical beginner refactoring task and he behaved like a gentleman on the forums. 😉 Dgdiniz praised our clean and readable code. He is not the first person to notice it. This is due in part to zini’s endless struggle to refactor and control things like a general in battle. It makes quite a lot of difference!

Now Dgidiniz has moved on to working on getting the training window to work. MyGUI does not have the best documentation, but we have some experts in our team that have worked with it before, including scrawl, gus.

Zini currently is merging branches and making sure that everything works as it should. While also solving bugs.

jhooks1 wants to merge collision shapes into the master branch. Before that can happen the old kinematic controller and actor physics code needs to be removed so he is focusing on making all stairs climbable with the current system.

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The week in review 2012-08-19 - sir_herrbatka

Guess what, 0.17.0 is very close to release.

Zini completed the mw-refactoring task. This Herculean work improves the readability of the source code for new developers. This week Zini changed his Linux distribution from Ubuntu to Mint, we don’t know if he changed his desktop wallpaper from Ubuntu-orange to Mint-green, but speculation is rampant.

You will be finally able to see your character! The 0.17.0 release  for the finishing touches on player control. This includes the new camera which allows not only “First Person Perspective” and “Third Person Perspective” view, but “Vanity Mode” will turn on automatically when the player is idle. I couldn’t find a nice link about vanity mode, but it allows you to (or the game to automatically) rotate the camera while moving or stationary. You have _greye to thank for this awesome new feature!

That’s all for 0.17.0. Let’s move on to the OpenMW Example Suite.

OpenMW is getting close to playable and the OpenMW team needs the help of modding community to creating the OpenMW Example Suite. This suite will allow anyone, including those who don’t not yet own Morrowind, to test OpenMW. Therefore it cannot contain any Bethesda/ZeniMax owned art assets. We believe this suite will boost our user and developer base, resulting in people purchasing Morrowind and putting OpenMW to the test of running the original game. Our engine will provide greater modding capabilities to the mod community once completed, bring native support to Linux and Mac OS X, help out the project will be mutually beneficial.

Location and Setting
The suite will take place on a small island with a fishing village. There will be a dungeon and a crypt (which is already built, and has been the entirety of this project up till now). In addition, there will be a few wilderness areas like a pine forest and some small fields. The player will be a resident of the tiny island village who goes off to kill some monster, fetch some pretty object from the dungeon, or escort someone from the crypt.

It’s called OpenMW Example Suite as opposed to OpenMW Tech Demo, because we don’t want a jumble of unrelated rooms strung together to display all of the engine’s abilities, like some tech demoes. Instead, it will be a micro-game that, aside from exhibiting the engine’s functionalities, is aesthetically pleasing and coherent. Through our small island, with its basic kill and fetch quests, we’ll be able to display the functionality of a tech demo. Additional quests and dialogue can be implemented until we have exhausted the feature showcase. Once each feature has been demonstrated at least once, we can consider the OpenMW Example Suite complete, with any future additions to it as icing on the cake.

Getting Involved
If you are willing to help, please visit this forum thread and acquaint yourself with the task, what’s already done, who can be of help to you. Thanks for your time. Cheers to keeping Morrowind alive! Below is a description of the tasks that need to be completed.

Up next is news on 0.18.0, which has already begun development.

Scrawl is making progress on the GUI and input system rewrite. We now have mouse sensitivity sliders: one for the GUI mode and one for the game itself (there is only one, but x and y axis can be adjusted through editing a file). Warning! The GUI sensitivity is updated in real time (meaning it does not need OpenMW to restart) so think twice before pulling slider to the very far left…

jhooks1’s work enables the use of set angle instructions for NPCs. He also fixed the jittery animations bug in 0.17.0 making them smooth as butter. You’ll have to wait until 0.18.0 to try it out.

Eli2’s work on editor has past the experimental phase. We want more developers to get involved, because it’s currently a one man project, but there is no need to rush… yet. We won’t really need the editor before OpenMW 1.0.0, because it’s only at that point that we will add new script instructions. However, a better designed editor would be an invaluable tool to the modding community even now

And thanks to all the users who reported bugs. Your help is invaluable to us making a superior and stable engine. If you find something wonky in OpenMW check our bugtracker to see if it’s been reported. If it hasn’t, either register on our bug tracker or let us know on the forum that something is going wrong.


The week in review 2012-08-11 - sir_herrbatka

Hi all.

We’re celebrating an anniversary on the site. It was exactly one year ago today, that we moved to our current forums. The forum migration involved moving all the archives from google cache and amazon to the new forum “archive section”, but we had no choice. Thanks go to Lgro, our website admin! You gave OpenMW something essential to its current progress. The old website and forum had been left without any administrator, were invaded by spam bots and suffering from frequent periods of down time. In fact, we still can’t close the old forum properly; it’s still out there somewhere, dark and gloomy. Like the inside of a dead snail’s shell… or the city of Moria. Readers, if you decide to go looking in the old forums… remember not to dig too deep.

Despite the departure of the creator and lead developer of OpenMW, the remaining team members decided not to give up. They started this new website, the new forums, and reorganized the project. And here we are, in what will hopefully prove the most productive year yet for OpenMW. So raise some glasses, “To new life… to our phoenix! Santé! Mazel tov! Prost! Skål! Na zdorovie! Salud! And cheers!”

Speaking of new life, here’s what’s happened since we last talked:

Edmondo, the maintainer of OpenMW for gentoo, fixed a few recent problems that were preventing OpenMW from running on Gentoo (We are once again using submodules). Gentoo users can once again install OpenMW.

There’s been progress on our editor, thanks to Eli2. Auto completion was added and filters can now be imported from files. Lgro also pushed some bugfixes and added support for different types of encoding.

_greye is halfway finished with the player control task (a rather large task composed of five sub tasks). He’s got movement and turning working, but camera nodes still need to be completed. Right now _greye is working on fixing bugs related to objects crossing cell borders.

Corristo implemented the correct Ogre main loop for OS X, so Mac’s enjoy the speed of the cursor being freed from the tyranny of FPS.

Gus is working on moving and creating objects.

Scrawl added the basic features of the main menu. It has Return, Options, and Exit buttons.

Jhooks1 got the new capsule box shapes collision method working on creatures.

Zini is working on yet another refactoring task, this time in the mw-subsystem. Refactoring code helps make it more organized, readable, and even efficient.

We are merging all the finished 0.17.0 features and fixes into the main branch of the engine and beginning preparations for our next release. Though thin in terms of new gameplay features, 0.17.0 includes major changes under the hood. For instance, the Shiny shader library makes shader development easier by allowing the same shaders to be run regardless of a user’s choice of the OpenGL or Direct3d rendering subsystems, graphics card, and OS. While, the new animations system that’s now in place improves performance.

If you have been following OpenMW, then you know what a picture like this means.


Here’s a link to the blog post the picture references that explains its meaning

We need a lot of testing this version. You can help out OpenMW by reporting bugs.


Week in Review 2012-07-22 - sir_herrbatka

Another week, another post for you, dear readers. This summary includes the most significant changes by our veteran developers, but there are some folks doing important work that is not credited here. So thank you to all our contributors.

Last week, I wrote about the shaders used in terrain rendering. This week scrawl, using shaders, reduced the amount of code for terrain implementation by 75%. THREE CHEERS FOR EFFICIENCY!!!

OpenMW employs shaders for our skybox, water, and soft shadows. Scrawl has worked on refining the first two, resulting in marked visual improvements over the original Morrowind. The process of refining shaders will continue, so expect many perty pictures and videos. Great work Scrawl!

Speaking of great work, Chris pushed a large number of code revisions (50!) towards integrating .nif animations into Ogre3d’s animation system. Once complete, this will prove to be a more efficient method for animations and boost OpenMW’s frames per second. It works… to some extent. Currently, animations are lacking integration with the physics system, some meshes (for unknown reasons) are not animated, and other meshes occasionally ( and seemingly randomly) are not animated. However, clothes (including robes) are working, as well as the majority of creatures. We cannot give you an exact date when it will be finished, but what needs to be done to get physics integration working is mostly understood. The other issues are cryptic and it is difficult to tease out their causes.

Meanwhile Zini, our fearless leader, finished the magical effects drain and fortify. Also, the bug in the auto-equip logic was fixed, as well as a few other bugs in various areas. Zini also refactored the code for dynamic statistics and merged a lot of branches into the main development branch.

Reverse engineering formulas is going well.  The ingredient eating formula appears close to completion (some things still need to checked and verified) thanks to Lazaroth. The acrobatics task is also progressing nicely, BrotherBrick is using his powerful server to calculate data points and Epsilon is a very dedicated worker, designing formulas to test. It may be finished as early as next week.

The Week in Review 2012-07-09 - sir_herrbatka

As you probably noticed, the site was down. This was due to a sudden and sharp increase in page views that occurred when OpenMW made the news aggregating website A veritable horde of readers clicked on the story, passed to our site, and soon all I could do as an admin was log into the server and watch with shock and awe as the heart of apache processes was torn out. Normally we get 10,000 page views a month, and because of slashdot we had 25,000 in one day.


However, we benefited as many new developers and contributors have discovered us and are now joining. So we’d like to say, Thank You Slashdot! And despite the setback of the site being down, the development team continued their work as usual.

Zini was working on the refactoring task when he found many unnecessary “includes” in the source code. Don’t worry readers about what includes are, all you need to know is that many were unnecessary and that translated to slow downs in compile times. Many users complain that it takes forever to compile and build OpenMW and while users could perhaps view compiling OpenMW as exercise in patience, they won’t have to as removing these “includes” improved build times by nearly half.

He also worked on proper skill development implementation. As of now, the only skill that can be seen in game is Alchemy (and even it’s not finished), but that will soon change.

Scrawl has been tinkering with shaders. Interestingly, he found that using GLSL shaders caused build time improvements twenty-one times. Since the number and complexity of shaders OpenMW uses can be described as “modest”, the impact on the total compile time is negligible, but it’s still intriguing.

jhooks1 is still working with animations.

Figuring out Morrowind’s formulas has finally gained momentum. Myckel is bravely working on alchemy, and he has a couple new colleagues on the forums which include Epsilon. Epsilon is developing scripts to speed up the testing phase exponentially. It’s great work and we welcome them to the team.