This is a summary of the Skype meeting that took place on Saturday, January 10, 2015. The meeting was long, and we discussed a fairly wide variety of topics.
Goal for the Next Release:
For our next TR_Mainland release, we are aiming to release the Thirr River Valley Region. To reach that goal, the Indoril-Thirr section and Andothren-Thirr south merge need to be completed. The Old Ebonheart section, aside from its southernmost row of cells, is outside of the TRV in its strictest sense, but we are aiming to include it in the release as well. Ideally the Andothren-Thirr north merge will also be ready in time for the next release, but that is unlikely, and as such is outside of our current goal. (Though work on that file will naturally continue).
Outside of the sections, we discussed opening up the Map 6 cells around and including Nav Andaram for exterior work. These will be included in the release if they are finished in time.
Roadmap for Future Releases:
We also discussed a tentative roadmap for future TR releases:
-Three main things are needed before the Othreleth Woods sections can be opened up: Swiftoak was putting together an asset kit with all of the assets needed for the Othreleth Woods region (certain assets, such as creatures and perhaps some new sort of crop, can be added later); a heightmap needs to be created for the region; and the exterior claims need to be mapped out and have descriptions written for them. If all of that is done by the time we release the Thirr River Valley, we will be able to start CS work on the Othreleth Woods next.
-Should that occur, we would probably tackle Shipal-Shin and Narsis afterwards.
-If the Othreleth Woods are not ready, however, or alternatively after Shipal-Shin and Narsis are completed, we will work on the Armun Ashlands.
-For us to start work on (the rest of) Roth Roryn, we first need to have House Redoran planned out. Preferably House Hlaalu would be finished by then, so that we can properly focus our attention on the new House. From there, we would continue northwards, finishing up with Uld Vraech.
-As far as House Indoril is concerned, work on Alt Orethan and then Almalexia can technically commence as soon as we have all of the required assets (terrain for Alt Orethan, lower class doorjambs, windows and possibly doors for Almalexia; the interiors can come later) available.
-The same goes for Inlet Bog, which still requires a concept, but we should probably only worry about when we're ready to work on Alt Orethan.
-From there, we could move east to revisit the remaining Indoril lands.
-We could also, however, start opening up Dres sections instead.
-Telvannis, as before, will be (re)done last.
Roadmap for Interior Claims:
We ran through a rough plan for opening up future interior claims, to make sure our interior modders have stuff to work on:
-Old Ebonheart Castle's interiors should be ready to go up (some of the older members might have been keeping count; is this the fourth time? ) by the time the current interiors run out.
-Ideally Almas Thirr and Roa Dyr would also be ready for new interiors before too long.
-Depending on how quickly my work on the buffer zone progresses, there should be several new interiors -- probably mostly if not all dungeons, of various sizes -- coming up.
-Depending on how work on Andothren progresses, some new Hlaalu interior claims may go up as well.
-Aside from that, the occasional dungeon interior or the like might go up, to fill out any remaining irregularities with dungeon distribution.
That's already a lot to work off of; hopefully by the time all of those are done a new section will have opened up.
We discussed a few holes in our leadership:
Head of PR - TR has always struggled with PR, so someone good with public relations is always welcome. TR has accounts for diverse social media, (such as Youtube, Tumblr, the Bethesda Forums, Great House Fliggerty...), and maintaining presence on any of them would be helpful. (Some more so than others, naturally).
Lead Cartographer - rather than setting this up as a position, we figured it might be good to have a thread in which people can request and post maps.
Sound Director - as with cartography, we figured a thread in which specific sounds can be requested and posted might be a good approach, much like the old Models needed for Morrowind thread.
Web Master - I'm frankly rather ignorant when it comes to these matters, so suffice to say that we're looking for one of these too.
Another subject that often comes up in TR is drawing in new members. We didn't spend too much time discussing this; the general sentiment is that the most useful work us lead developers can generally do is to simply work on the project; work visibly being done tends to do a lot of good by itself.
Otherwise, in the same vein as with the Head of PR, maintaining presence on external sites -- especially the forums -- answering questions and ensuring that feedback comes to our attention is always encouraged, and is something everyone can do to the degree they're comfortable with.
We further discussed the idea of writing summaries for larger discussions, as they can be hard to follow, especially if a wide variety of ideas are developed and discarded over several pages or even threads.
It's not a new concept, of course; the intention behind the planning document threads, including the House brainstorming threads, was that the matters discussed would, in the end, be gathered into a single post or document, and among others Yeti has done a rather good job of that for Andothren, though as Andothren is still not complete his summary may require adjustment at a later date.
Klep has volunteered to provide summaries for some threads, but naturally others are encouraged to do so as well; for my own part, I'll try to provide summaries of the preceding thread more often when returning to an older topic, which is by no means a rare occurrence.
We shortly discussed the matter of generic dialogue, a distinction being made between flavour dialogue, such as Morrowind Lore, which is generally there to flesh out the world, and dialogue intended to directly help the player, such as a lot of scout and savant dialogue. The former is important but can be added at any time. The latter, however, should really be in place in time for releases, as its absence can inconvenience players, and as such make gameplay less enjoyable.
Other subjects touched upon -- which I'll just list with links where applicable -- are cleaning the Indoril-Thirr file, fixing placement errors in Andothren's exterior (except for the northwest, which still needs to be made), the government structure of Morrowind (focusing on the Empire), renaming Vul, the Additional Artifacts Project, and TR_Data as well as various meshes not currently in TR_Data which may or may not belong there.