January 2022 Progress Update

Tamriel Rebuilt is a massive, two-decades-old mod for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind that adds the mainland of the Morrowind province to the original game in accordance with the latter’s lore and vision. The mod is developed as a series of fully realized expansions complete with quests. As such, players can already enjoy our released content, which currently covers roughly half of Morrowind’s mainland and includes more than 360 quests, making for many dozens of hours of gameplay.

Welcome back to our scheduled progress update for the month of January. This month, we will repeat the formula of November and give you a line-by-line breakdown of the progress that happened in November, December and the first half of January. Remember, development in Tamriel Rebuilt is split into several informal departments – concepts, assets, exteriors, interiors and quests. Depending on which type of progress is needed when, these departments work on different expansion areas in a staggered manner (at least ideally). In addition, after a claim is finished by the author, an experienced developer will review it, prior to the claim getting merged into one of our development plugins. Let’s start again with quests, which are the last item to be done before an expansion release, and work our way towards the lead items, such as assets and concepts.

Roth Roryn is littered with the remains of its varied history, some more dangerous than others. These particularly unhappy Hlaalu miners happened upon a cursed Indoril shrine, buried since time immemorial. Can you help them? Quest by Sultan of Rum and Denis418.

Quests are always the most time-consuming item to be worked on. Still, progress on this front picked up significantly compared to the Fall. The hardest part of Dominions of Dust is slowly getting done. The first quests for Embers of Empire are being worked on, too.

  • In just the last week, abby conceptualized and implemented an entire Morag Tong questline in Andothren (with scripting help from Evil Eye). Granted, Morag Tong writs are quite simple in nature, but they have been chosen to take you on a tour of interesting sights across the entire Dominions of Dust as well as the Hlaalu side of Aanthirin. This is the first fully finished questline for Dominions of Dust!
  • After many years in the making, our long-time quest developer 6+ has now fully implemented Foul Murder, a high-level questline to take place in Necrom. Only debugging is still left to do.
  • Dead in the Water by Jackimoff Wackimoff, a new quest for the Old Ebonheart Fighters Guild, was finalized, tested and improved.
  • Guar Sabotage, an adventure which will continue Bol Salvani’s antics in Gol Mok, was completed by jonado and is now ready for review.
  • Seven more quests and a ton of polishing work were done by Dillon241 on our elaborate Baluath Vampire questline.
  • Progress finally picked up on the Orlukh Vampire Clan questline – Mortimer has now implemented fully five out of the total nine quests and a further two are in progress.
  • The Firewatch Imperial Legion questline by abby and Kevaar, part of the upcoming Embers of Empire release, got expanded and is close to being finished. Darnell, a TR darling NPC from 2005, left stranded in Firewatch for nearly 17 years, will finally get his time in the limelight.
  • The two initial quests of the Andothren House Hlaalu questline were completed by jonado (preliminary work by Mark). Since the questline serves as a centerpiece for Dominions of Dust, Jackimoff Wackimoff and jonado then reconceptualized the later parts to better tie together the important characters and locales of the new expansion.
  • The second quest of the Andothren Thieves Guild Questline was finished by Rats.
  • The Book of Worms, a quest for a new Telvanni lord on the island of Althoa, was partially implemented by SACarrow.
  • The Statue, involving a conflict between the Tribunal Temple and the small Roth Roryn town of Omaynis received development bug fixes and further testing (Nats482, Sultan of Rum).
  • Playtesting was also done on the first six already completed quests in the Andothren Fighters Guild Questline (Rats), the Remnants of Resdayn quest, where you help a group of hapless miners deal with a nasty bit of Indoril legacy (Sultan of Rum, Denis418), a quest involving the Old Ebonheart Khajiit ambassador's abducted brother (Dunmerius), and the Proud Redoran, where you help a son aid his prideful father through hard times (rockbiter68, Dunmerius).
  • More initial planning was done on the later half of the Andothren Mages Guild questline (Taniquetil, initial quests by Dev Shah), the Ancestral Guidance quest (Jackimoff Wackimoff), which is a Hortator task for the new Obainat Ashlander tribe, the Battle of the Bards (randonaut), being a fun side quest for Andothren, and a variety of Daedric quests in the theme of Battlespire (Cicero; look forward to a news post regarding these).

The Firewatch Imperial Legion questline by abby and Kevaar starts off with relatively menial tasks, as these things tend to do. However, something about the Dustmoth Legion smells off from the start.

As always, our interior department was the busiest. This type of work is bite-sized and easy for new developers to pick up, but also plentiful – every exterior claim always requires many interiors to fill it out.

  • Dominions of Dust. Most interiors in our next expansion area are long complete, but some stragglers still crop up now and then. A new storage shack was created for the Llaram Plantation to replace a fisherman’s hut that had no place on the plantation (Fremennik) and a new inn was created, which will be built in Omaynis over the course of the House Hlaalu questline (PeterFargoth). Work was also done on a refit for the seaside Fort Ancylis on the northern rim of the Roth Roryn region (Rats, Mark).

Construction Set view of the Zafirbel Bay Company vault by Mark.

  • Embers of Empire. Interiors form the bulk of the work required for this expansion; accordingly, quite a lot was done for Firewatch, Helnim and the island of Althoa.
    • Firewatch: the Navy base (Vern), the East Empire Company building (Denis418), a manor (Taniquetil), two taverns (Jackimoff Wackimoff, DarkKnightComes), three poor shops (Taniquetil) and a painter’s house (Jackimoff Wackimoff) were merged into our development plugin, whereas seven out of the eleven city towers were reviewed, but not yet merged (Vern, Denis418). The Antoni Manor (Taniquetil) and another city tower (Vern) received progress, but are not yet finished.
    • Helnim: merged interiors include the town’s centerpiece, the Zafirbel Bay Company (Denis418, Mark), but also the Imperial Archaeological Society (Taniquetil), the town keep (PeterFargoth), a Fighters Guild hall (Taniquetil) and the Census and Excise Office (DarkKnightComes).
    • Island of Althoa: The Black Ogre Tavern (Taniquetil) in the town of Nivalis and a wilderness ancestral tomb (Fremennik) were merged, whereas Nivalis’ Icebreaker Keep was finished and is currently under review (Vern).

The Zenithar temple in Hlan Oek by Phenoix12, using the new Dunmer temple of the Divines architecture by MwGek.

  • Thirr Valley. Interiors in this region, containing mostly Hlaalu settlements, advanced by leaps and bounds in the past months. Among the merged claims were several buildings in the fishing town of Sadrathim – a tavern (Ataemus), guard tower (DarkKnightComes) and a couple of homes (Moyglass, Frun1987). In the town of Othmura on the other side of the river, a tollhouse and a Hlaalu boardhouse (DarkKnightComes) were merged. Some of the most impressive interiors in Thirr Valley were reviewed, but not yet merged. These include the main tower in the once proud, now tottering Redoran stronghold of Ald Iuval (Jackimoff Wackimoff), and Hlan Oek’s native Zenithar chapel (Phenoix12), which is TR’s first native Dunmer temple for the Nine Divines.

    Thanks to the exterior department, new interior claims were opened up in the prosperous Thirr Valley town of Ud Hleryn where a ton of buildings were quickly finalized and even reviewed, including the Musty Mudcrab Inn (PeterFargoth), a Hlaalu garrison and guard tower (christixn), an apartment block (Fremennik) and a Camonna Tong warehouse (PeterFargoth). Finished, but not yet reviewed are a Tribunal chapel and another manor (christixn), three shops (Sliced Bread, Fremennik, RandomPal), a tollhouse (christixn), a cutter ship (Fremennik) and two houses (christixn), all in Ud Hleryn, as well as two wilderness Ancestral Tombs (Ataemus, Tiefling) and a shipwreck (christixn). Even more interiors have received progress, including the opulent Hleryn Hall (Mark) and an Ud Hleryn apartment building (Exovian).

A well-off manor house in Ud Hleryn by christixn.

  • Shipal-Shin. This area is still waiting on the completion of regional cave interior assets, but some work could, nevertheless, be done. Reviewed claims include another side building for the wealthy Adavrin Netch Ranch (Fremennik) and three ancestral tombs (Myxinidae, christixn, Khazar). Also completed were the remaining part of the Stormgate Pass to Black Marsh (Phenoix12) and some tents for Shipal-Shin nomads (PeterFargoth). Work is underway on the opulent manor house for the Adavrin Ranch (PeterFargoth), a velothi tower (PeterFargoth) and a farmer’s house (Nats482).
  • Lastly, a special scripted interior was made for the far-off Velothis District, to host a future quest for the Imperial Archaeological Society (Tyrant).

Despite a delay in opening up Othereleth Woods claims, a lot of exciting progress nevertheless took place in the exterior department.

A view down the slopes of the Velothis as the Pryai river descends into the Roth Roryn region. Landscape work by Nemon and Phenoix12.

  • Dominions of Dust. The exterior touch-up of the Roth Roryn region is progressing steadily. The central part of the region (mojo187) and the area around the town of Omaynis were finalized (Chef). The northeastern part around Andothren was also worked on (mojo187). Currently, Rats has the surroundings of the southern-central town of Menaan in the crosshairs. On the northwestern rim of the Dominions of Dust, Nemon overhauled a substantial chunk of the Velothi Mountains adding a beautiful series of cascading waterfalls that form the source of the Pryai river.

The gently meandering Thirr river. The town of Othmura is in the foreground and the twin Redoran fortresses of Ald Marak and Ald Iuval in the background. Landscape work by Chef, MinerMan60101 and Nemon.

  • Thirr Valley. Gnomey finalized the layout of the trade town of Ud Hleryn (claim number 6), which taxes the entrance to the Kanit river and therefore prospers from Kragenmoor trade. This allowed for the burst of activity seen in the interiors section above. Many of the surrounding plantations also received touch-ups.

A view over the canyons of Shipal-Shin.

  • Shipal-Shin. Both claims 2 and 6 were finished and sent into review. In claim 2, the southeastern part of the region, Nemon added a major Velothi palace complex overrun by the minions of a mysterious crime boss. The palace still needs a unique model, but is already an imposing location. Claim 6 by Phenoix12 includes the run-down caravan town of Shipal-Sharai. Only two out of ten Shipal-Shin claims remain to be finalized: the area surrounding the Septim’s Gate Pass to Cyrodiil, of which only the southern third remains incomplete, and Narsis itself, which is about halfway there. Recently, Chef finalized Narsis’ Market Quarter to beautiful results, whereas the St. Veloth's and Foreign quarters are receiving their final bits.

The docks of Narsis by Chef, using Hlaalu waterfront assets by MwGek – much of Morrowind’s trade passes through here.

Early work on the Hlaalu trade center of Kragenmoor by Nemon, to be featured in our Othereleth Woods expansion.

Brand new 3D models and other assets, as well as numerous improvements to our existing assets, just kept pouring in throughout November and December:

  • Flora and landscape assets form the main building blocks of Morrowind’s regions:
    • Riverstrider eggs – these floating egg sacks on Lake Andaram represent the beginning of the Riverstrider life cycle (VenuSprout).
    • New textures and meshes for mangrove mushrooms – a major improvement to the ubiquitous mangroves that define the Thirr Valley (10Kaziem, Leyawynn, MwGek, Kynesifnar).
    • Thirr Valley road texture – helps make the region more unique (Gnomey).
    • Unique road and dried riverbed textures for the Aanthirin region will replace the current Ascadian Isles textures (Cicero).
    • Improved meshes for the Terras Tree – a better look for a staple of the Roth Roryn region (Wolli).
    • A bespoke rock alcove for the St. Aralor shrine in Omaynis, Roth Roryn region (MwGek).
    • Hemaris and Kynesifnar, together with Greatness7 and Remiros from the Morrowind Optimization Patch team and AnyOldName3 from the OpenMW team, managed to crack a long-standing issue regarding distant meshes in the Morrowind Graphics Extender XE. This allowed Hemaris, Remiros and Greatness7 to bulk edit all tree meshes in vanilla Morrowind and TR to eliminate issue of leaves disappearing at distance! You will be able to see the results in the next Tamriel_Data and Morrowind Optimization Patch releases.

Riverstrider eggs sacks by VenuSprout.

  • Architecture pieces, too, have been rolling in for our new release areas:
    • Dunmer shrines for the Divines – unlike the rest of Morrowind, the Narsis district hosts a native population of Imperial pantheon worshippers who deserve their own, dunmerized take on shrines of the Divines (Kynesifnar, Feivelyn, UncarvedWood).
    • A big Tribunal Temple building for major cities like Narsis (Kynesifnar).
    • Ruined Azura, Mephala and Sheogorath statues for more dilapidated Daedric shrines (revenorror).
    • Shrines for Sanguine and Hircine – despite being of minor influence in Morrowind, we do have plans for special adventures featuring these Daedric princes (Ashtaar, Melchior Dahrk, Cicero).
    • A variety of asset replacements to improve visuals and performance in the minor Oblivion realm of Khalaan (Cicero, MwGek).
    • Redoran house affiliation pillars – as seen in Morrowind concept art, these will spruce up the many Redoran settlements in the Velothis District (Leyawynn, revenorror).
    • A new Hlaalu city wall piece for Narsis (Chef).
    • New unique buildings for the Thirr Valley trade town of Ud Hleryn and a small tower for Narsis (Chef, based on Wolli's modular Hlaalu exterior assets).
    • Flat-floored poor Dunmer shacks – much like the poor Dunmer furniture, Bethesda’s take on these shack interiors had uneven floors, causing no end of grief for our interior developers during clutter placement (FloorBelow).
    • A previously overlooked railing for Velothi ceilings (Sandaron).
    • Diagonal pieces useful in crafting “common” Imperial interiors (Vern).
    • More architecture pieces are in the works, such as a unique arena building for Narsis (MwGek).

Kynesifnar’s altar for the Dunmer temples of the divines, featuring Feivelyn's and UncarvedWood's beautiful art on the sides. Clutter added by Phenoix12.

  • These pieces of clutter help make TR’s interiors shine:
    • A Dunmer potter's wheel (revenorror).
    • Fighters Guild tapestries – inspired by Oblivion, these tapestries will feature in TR’s many Fighters Guild halls (Shadow_Mimicry).
    • Shield and crossed sword decorations – again inspired by Oblivion’s Fighters Guild (Shadow_Mimicry).
    • Hanging dunmer light – based on an unused vanilla Morrowind mesh (revenorror).
    • A Dark Elf lampstand without the candle (Vern).
    • Crates and urns containing corkbulb and tanna (Chef).
    • A variety of unique clutter for a goblin cave in the Velothis using existing models (Phenoix12).

Decorative shield and crossed swords by Shadow_Mimicry.

  • A few new pieces of equipment (including artifacts) were added or reworked:
    • Alandro Sul’s famous Wraith Mail, which allegedly captured his soul, is receiving final polish (Shadow_Mimicry).
    • A unique replacement for the Ward of Akavir shield added in the Siege of Firemoth plugin is in the works (Shadow_Mimicry).
    • A Dwemer great mace to provide additional loot in Dwemer ruins (Aleister, Cicero).
    • New darts from a variety of materials (revenorror).
    • Reworks of our old Dwemer weapon meshes make these additions to the vanilla set fit in much better (Aleister).
    • Several more reworks of old armor sets are underway.

Shadow_Mimicry’s take on the Ward of Akavir artifact shield.

The mysterious Maormer by Rats.

  • We got very lucky again with our haul of new creatures and NPCs, always the trickiest type of asset to make:
    • Maormer race – an entire new race of elves from Elder Scrolls lore! Though an earlier iteration was present in Tamriel_Data for a while, the new models and textures by Rats are a major improvement. Quite enigmatic and often engaged in piracy, a few Maormer will be variously found in Morrowind’s eastern ports.
    • Gremlin – a quirky goblinkin creature famous from Redguard, to keep the orcs of Marakh-Bazhul company (joanasc, Pickles).
    • Skylamp – a mysterious creature from concept art. Here, interpreted as a glowing cousin to the netches, often domesticated as floating mounts for Great House patrols (joanasc, Rats).
    • Xivilai – rare high-ranking daedra known from Battlespire and Oblivion (Cicero, Aleister, Rats).
    • Spiders – originally created for the TES III: Shadowkey project, these are big improvements over our old spider models (Asylum, Cicero).
    • A terrifying unique face for the Ancient of vampire clan Orlukh (Rats).
    • New Ashlander clothes – Dominions of Dust will include new Ashlander tribes and it would be a shame if they didn’t get something new to wear (Parker, Rats).
    • A “cook” class to provide profession-specific dialogue for Morrowind’s cooks (Taniquetil).
    • Other creatures and NPCs are in the works, including even more races from across the oceans and replacements for some of the jankiest old TR critters.

Gremlins by joanasc, voiced by Pickles.

  • A huge amount of sound work was recently done, including some new effects for the upcoming Deshaan Plains region, but one also for a hidden place in Necrom:
    • All sound files in Tamriel_Data were optimized by Aleister, significantly reducing the file size!
    • Spindlewort howling (Mannaz230).
    • Skyrender nest exterior sounds (Mannaz230).
    • Acid and chlorine pool sounds (Mannaz230).
    • Ghostfence Machine sounds (Falasmaryon).
  • Scripts make the world of Morrowind tick:
    • Fixed door for Arquebald’s office in Old Ebonheart’s Mages Guild (Evil Eye).
    • A warning for users of outdated variants of Tamriel_Data (Evil Eye).
    • A disguise script attached to Namira’s Shroud – an artifact for the Orlukh Vampire clan questline (Mortimer).
  • Finally, there have been innumerable other optimizations to our existing assets, such as combining shapes, adding bespoke collision and LOD meshes, fixing UV maps, reducing poly count, compressing textures and much more. This is the tireless work of revenorror, Hemaris, Aleister and Chef and will pay off in droves in a better-performing and more consistent-looking game.

Our concept artists, too, produced some lovely designs over the past few months. These focused largely on armor, but also included other topics.

Redoran bonemold armors by Pickles and DharmaPR. Inset on the Redoran Elite armor is from Morrowind concept art.

Hlaalu bonemold armors by Pickles. Inset on the Canyon Watch armor is from Morrowind concept art.

Assorted other armors by Pickles. He sure was on a roll this time around! Buttom-right inset on the Dres armor is made by Nalin.

Atteigaer's concepts for Argonian turtle shell armor, copper armor and an Argonian war priest (left to right).

VenuSprout’s take on the Hlaalu Canyon Watch armor.

Gnomey’s concepts for Dragonscale armor, the vampire Ancient of the Orlukh clan and a palette test for Dres architecture.

Feivelyn’s ZBrush sculpts of Telvanni architecture for an eventual overhaul of the Telvannis District.

DharmaPR’s varied concepts for crustaceous sea life.

Nirvayn’s Feathered Cliff Racer.

That’s all for this month – hopefully the pace of our work will have satisfied you! The next newsletter or two will, again, focus on more specific topics. To make even more progress happen in the next months, consider joining our project as a developer or tester – modding Morrowind is easy even with no prior experience! Regardless, come learn more about our doings on our Discord server.

Further credit: Denis418 for helping collect the information.



emc's picture

Progress is really impressive! You guys are awesome!