Before you TL;DR, please read this!
There are some very important questions and feedback we want you to give. Tamriel Rebuilt is often seen as unapproachable, and this is most often because people think we don't want or see feedback.
Tamriel Rebuilt's last two releases, 1612 and the 1706 patch were bugfixes, dealing both with a host of long-running problems as well as additional bugs that occured due to moving data and identifier structures.
1609, the last content release, saw additional exterior and interior work, and a region and city name revamp that reconciled TR's release with the names and borders that had been used internally for planning. Both these and the move to the unified data structure of Tamriel Data have allowed us to progress in a more organized fashion than before as less time is spent adjusting planning and implementation against each other.
1612 saw the first public testing period for a TR release. Due to the good results on all sides, we are looking into another 2 week public testing period for 1709. As the release window is somewhat fluid, this is unfortunately not guaranteed.
Two new Section Files were created during this time. Internally, all landmass that is not part of TR_Mainland is held in an TR_Indev ESP. When a part of TR_Indev is about to move beyond exterior and (some) interior work, it is cut out into a new Section File, to allow for NPC placement, dialogue and quest editing, and finishing touches to its exterior and interior cells.
For each release, TR_Indev and the Section Files are merged back into TR_Preview.
Meanwhile, asset creation has sped up considerably, but unfortunately there are still not enough of them to start working on the Deshaan as of yet.
Development is currently focused on several areas, all emphasizing different skillsets:
From left to right the sections are: Roryn's Bluff, Hlaalu-Thirr, Old Ebonheart, Indoril-Thir, the southern section is Lake Andaram.
- Old Ebonheart, Indoril-Thirr, and Hlaalu-Thirr - Interior Developers, Reviewers, Quest Writers
- Roryn's Bluff - Interior Developers, Reviewers, NPCers, Quest Writers
- Lake Andaram - Exterior Developers
- Deshaan Plains - Concept Artists, Writers, Modelers, Texturers, Animators
- TR_Mainland - Quest Developers
Hlaalu-Thirr and Indoril-Thirr, two Section Files covering the Aanthirin region are also nearing completion, albeit at a slower pace. Indoril-Thirr (the eastern bank of the river) is slightly farther ahead and major interior and NPCing work is underway in Almas Thirr, the temple canton settlement in the middle of the river, including an all-new canton interior.
It is possible that a land connection from TR_Mainland's landmass to Old Ebonheart will be cut out of Indoril-Thirr, should the city be finished first.
Additionally to the NPCing and questing progress, the Aanthirin region itself is receiving a graphical update. Where it was pretty much just a green region like many others before, it will now receive an orange/green tint, to give it a new, unique look and feel.
Lake Andaram, one of the central conflict areas in the budding Thirr conflict, has been opened for the first few exterior claims. Moving from north to south, new exterior cells will eventually extend first the Aanthirin region, then start development of exteriors for the Thirr Valley and the Deshaan Plains. Dres Horak, the city port intended for trading with non-Dres Dunmer and is planned to be the last claim finished for Lake Andaram and the first step into the Deshaan proper.
In TR_Mainland news, planning for a questpack has finished and implementation is being worked on. This questpack includes, among other things, both Legion questlines for Firewatch and a post-game questline for the Nerevarine.
As the additional (or fixes to existing) textures, meshes, etc. are contributed by TR to Tamriel Data, some of our development has already been released with Tamriel Data v3. Our current work focuses on a new TR-internal addon, which is planned on being included in Tamriel Data v4, which should see release during early to mid August.
Examples include an overhaul to the roadsign IDs, fixes to armor, a wider selection of Daedric helmets, additional heads for Bretons and Bosmer, items displayed in Old Ebonheart that relate to (or were made of) Naafalilargus of Redguard fame, new flora for several regions, as well as several new books such as the Peryiton (a 1st Era Breton Demonomicon) and revised Ordinators-in-Mourning.
Progress doesn't stop here, however. Although unlikely to be included until Tamriel Data v4, the first exterior meshes for Dres cantons have been created, as well as several new creatures for the southern and western lands.
The controversial stuff
In 2014, the TR team realized that the worldbuilding and practical implementation had hit an unrecoverable roadblock by keeping Vvardenfell and the Mainland separate. Looking back, it seemed that quite a bit of the reasons for the seperation were originally conceived by TR itself.
After the reversal of the previous isolation policy, TR_Travels was created to help develop integrated travel lines that both worked and felt as if they had been intended that way. As a separate ESP, it was intended to be in active design and undergo editing according to feedback, until the travel connections were reasonably finalized and accepted.
Now, two years after the first version of it saw public release, we believe that time has come. Since TR_Mainland itself is not yet finished, integrating the travel networks will be a gradual process, with the parts affecting TR_Preview remaining as a separate ESP.
Most of the edits are fairly straightforward.
Change of incompatibility: Moving the travel line changes from an independent ESP into TR_Mainland will ensure that ESPs that override travel lines will always override TR's inclusive edits. Currently, whatever mod loads last wins.
Since TR_Travels is fairly recent, it overrides the old or deliberately incompatible plugins (such as Goblin Island or graphical NPC replacers that edit every single NPC). This will no longer happen.
There are two changes, however, that are likely to create irritation:
- To emphasize the isolation of the Imperials from the Telvanni (and vice versa), the ship and Silt Strider links from Bal Oyra to the east have been deleted. That includes the deletion of the Silt Strider port and travel NPC. An additional ESP with those will be provided separately, as a compatibility patch.
- With these changes, Ebonheart will be a dead end unless you load the travel line edits incorporating TR_Preview. The eastern part of Vvardenfell had vast, long-lasting travel links, and Ebonheart will supplement its deleted links with those to Teyn and Old Ebonheart. The other option would be to have all of Ebonheart's connections be one-way if only TR_Mainland is loaded.
- If you are okay with TR moving the travel changes into TR_Mainland instead of keeping it separate and optional,
- If agreeing with moving it into TR_Mainland, do you know a mod that is incompatible with the new changes? It's not certain we can provide patches for active mods, but old and abandoned mods can be supported,
- If agreeing with moving it into TR_Mainland, do you prefer Ebonheart to be a dead end until Old Ebonheart and Teyn are moved into TR_Mainland or would you prefer to have Ebonheart's travel connections be one-way? Assuming in both cases that you can play only with TR_Mainland.
Similar to TR_Travels, the Faction Integration plugin was created as a testbed first and foremost. It is currently an independent plugin, available here.
As with the travel connections, mainland and Vvardenfell factions were artificially kept separate. Faction integration means nothing more or less that all Mainland factions will be moved to Vvardenfell factions, which allows for a believeable political and questing landscape without artificial barriers.
Merging this will TR_Mainland will enable TR's seamless integration. By default, the faction quests TR adds are just boni for the Vvardenfell-based adventurer. Mods such as Antares' Big Mod would affect Mainland NPCs as they do Vvardenfell's. Dialogue filters would be simplified, and the questline changes wouldl be relegated to another plugin, TR_Integration.
Incoming incompatibility: TR_Integration would override mods that dabble in editing the faction questlines. There are only a handful that actively seek out to do that, with only Less Generic NPCs Pax Redoran currently incompatible. Stuporstar's "Quest Tweaks and Alternatives" is in active development, which will make future patches considerably more timely as soon as their changes start interfering with each other.
Additionally, TR_Integration would need to change faction rank gains to take account of the additional low-level quests, which means it would be incompatible with all hardcore faction mods (such as the higher requirements part of Wakim's Game Improvements and new versions or patches for these would have to be created.
Faction rank changes in TR_Integration may not apply in older savegames. Other issues may occur in old savegames if TR factions have already been played, and some of these issues can be resolved by a patch. Some players may need to start a new game after factions are unified!
As we are asking for your feedback, among other things:
- Do you want this to happen at all?
- If agreeing that you want it to happen, would you want to see this kind of integration now or later, at a time when TR can add its own faction questline?
As always, work continues slowly but surely, but not behind closed doors. If you want to give us feedback, either reply here, or go to our status update feedback thread.
Far from being an exclusive group of modders, Tamriel Rebuilt is open for everyone! If you know your way around the Construction Set, GIMP or Blender, and want to contribute, you are welcome.
But even if you don’t have those skills yet, you are welcome to talk about Tamriel Rebuilt, Morrowind, or lore in general. Tamriel Rebuilt not only has its own website and forum for you to post in, it also has its own IRC channel and Discord server! Access information can be found here. We hold weekly, public development meetings on Discord, 5PM GMT (6PM GMT during Daylight Savings Time/Summer time) on Sundays.
If you are interested, don’t be afraid to just hang around and listen, or jump in when you feel like saying something.