The Doors of Oblivion

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worsas's picture
worsas
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A few days ago Ashstaar released his “The Doors of Oblivion” – mod, which introduces several realms of Oblivion and a number of new types of daedra creatures.
http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/44398/?

At SHOTN and P:C we are currently considering asking for permission for some of the creatures, in particular the Aurorans, but it probably should be best coordinated with you, since the daedra are an even more central topic for Morrowind as a province.

I have looked at the above mod within the cs and I can say, at least, that it’s an expression of enormous effort and creativity and that it’s trying to portray the daedric realms in a lore-friendly way.

What I noticed, however, is that Ashstaar seemingly wanted to stick with the old version of the Vermai. Not sure what I’m thinking about that. I kinda prefer its newer version, we have. But I came across a spider daedra, I liked better than the one TR currently has.

On another aspect of this all. I keep hearing about the daedra and their appearance being tied to beliefs of the people (or rather the presentation mode of the different ES-games?) so that a spider daedra, for example, would mirror the picture of Mephala Dunmers have. There are all kinds of complicated philosophies connected to this kind of thing and some of them would probably speak against even trying to portray a different province but Morrowind in TES III. Though, that will not keep me or anyone on the other teams from doing what we do, so… :P

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Ashstaar is pretty amazing, thats for sure. Im all for using any new models we can ever find, personally.

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Generically speaking, the more models the better.

Edit: Especially if they’re animated, lore-friendly creatures, too.
 

Does: concepts, textures, youtube vids, admin stuff e.g. PR, handbook, assets, small website things. Activity level: wildly unpredictable. Still active. Find me on Discord.

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Rats
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Ashstaar is extremely prolific and really talented. I just love his style. I took a look at the Doors of Oblivion on the CS – the amount of work put into it is mind-boggling.

For TR, I think, the new Daedric creatures pertaining to either the Good or the Bad Daedra are the most relevant. For example the new Dremora variants (the Dremora butler is awesome!), the Dark Seducerm and the armored version of the Winged Twilight are something I think we’d be glad to use. The Harvester is based on a creature from TESO, and I’m bit on the fence whether or not it fits the Morrowind aesthetic, but I kinda like it. As for the new Spider Daedra (or Dridrea): it’s obviously very good. It has some cool idle animations (hanging from the ceiling upside-down) and it’s, IMO, more disturbing and scarier than the Dridrea model we currently have. I for one would welcome this as a replacement. As for the non-Daedric creatures, the Sload model is something that could be featured in the Dres district. I also like the Land Dreugh.

The mod also has a ton of new armor, clothing, misc items, and other stuff. Some of them Ashstaar has previously offered for TR. There are more than a few must-have things there.

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if the merge of the data files is still a thing, you won’t have to include the sload from that mod. We already have it in PC_Data.

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That Winged Twilight is one of Westly’s mods, and I think the Land Dreugh was a third-party model as well. Besides these, there are a lot of quality resources here (as well as the mod itself, of course).

On another aspect of this all. I keep hearing about the daedra and their appearance being tied to beliefs of the people (or rather the presentation mode of the different ES-games?) so that a spider daedra, for example, would mirror the picture of Mephala Dunmers have.

This shouldn’t be a big problem. In cases where a Daedra assumes another shape due to the beliefs of the summoner, they would likely also have another name, so it would just appear to be a completely different creature. There’s also the chance of cultural infuences: for example, if the Dunmer pioneered the summoning of Spider Daedra, then the knowledge likely spread from them and others would summon Dunmer-influenced Spider Daedra. Another example is Azura: in every culture (save the Khajiit) she is depicted as a Dunmer woman, because her involvment with the Dunmer is what most people associate her with.

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I don’t recall Azura being represented as a Dunmer woman outside of Morrowind; Daggerfall’s Azura is certainly not a Dunmer, and I don’t recall the Oblivion and Skyrim statues being Dunmer either.
That being said, I personally don’t put too much stock into the whole ‘Daedra and their appearance being tied to belief’ thing. I tend to assume the Daedric princes can assume whatever form they want and some, like Azura, make themselves appear like those they’re interacting with, but that ‘normal’ Daedra just appear as they are. Frankly, as long as they look good, I don’t really care if they look Dunmeri or not, though I do agree with Rats that the Daedra linked to the seven princes traditionally worshipped in Morrowind are the most relevant for us.
Incidentally, the spider Daedra seems inspired by Battlespire’s design.

I must admit to having certain reservations as to the quality of Ashtaar’s models. I feel a lot of his past contributions to TR have looked visibly cobbled together from a mixture of vanilla and new assets and that some of the texture – and sometimes model – work has been rather rough. The intent behind the models is good, the execution has been mixed though. I know that a lot of the other then-leads of TR had similar concerns, which we failed to adequately communicate due largely to a general lack of modellers within our ranks, as well as the general breakdown in communication between leads and developers at that time. I feel a lot of those concerns apply to the above images, whether they’re Ashtaar’s or not: to me the land dreugh looks a bit cobbled together with rough texture work, the textures on the spider Daedra aside from the cuirass look low resolution and I see some minor clipping on the pauldron of the winged twilight.

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Daggerfall’s Dunmer did not have grey skin yet. Even Barenziah looked like a breton in that game. And Skyrim’s statue was built by Dunmer refugees.

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No, Dunmer character sprite correct in daggerfall and arena. Barenziah just mistake of artist.

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I honestly feel that Ashstaar’s style is mostly in keeping with the vanilla style. I mean:

The intent behind the models is good, the execution has been mixed though.

This can be said of many vanilla models. If the models for the Kwama Queen or the Mudrab, for example, were shown to us now for the first time we’d be saying that the UV mapping was subpar and that the texture was too low-res. In most vanilla creatures there are parts of the creature which aren’t very detailed.

Often times what looks iffy or even bad in screenshots, works really well in the game.

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Well, the same argument could be made about object placement: that having floaters, bleeders and caspers is in keeping with the vanilla style, and that players won’t necessarily notice them and it won’t necessarily detract from the overall impression. As TR has decided to try and hold itself to a stricter standard long ago and has if anything only gotten stricter over time, I’m not too eagre to suddenly change tack again, again, even if the argument has merits. A lot of objects have been removed over the years from TR_Data which I did not necessarily dislike, and which I often feel have not been any worse than Ashtaar’s models in quality. As the goal was to establish and maintain a partity with the many excellent models – like the hoom and swamp troll – that have been contributed to TR, and as TR has gained a reputation for polish over the years which many fan projects lack, I have considered it ultimately worthwhile.
If TR had a functioning modelling department, Ashtaar’s models would not get him through the showcase in their current state. I certainly think people would have been eagre to help him through the process, and I certainly do recognize the potential in his models, but at least for my part I feel they often come short of meeting that potential due to quality issues I do not have the expertise to adequately critique. As it is, TR’s modelling department is long dead, but we still aim for the same standards, and I think it would be a pity to scale them back now that we have actually gathered a lot of models that meet those standards.

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  1. Since you mentioned the swamptroll, you reminded me of the fact that I have been wanting to fix its current walking animation for a while and add missing swim-fighting animations. Now I finally did it.

When it comes to creatures, there are a couple of creatures I would probably overhaul in TR_Data or remove them, not because of the 3D-model (in my opinion this is often more a matter of style and taste than anything) but because of flawed animation. With that I don’t want to imply that my own creatures would be that great. I have only recently done some much-needed animation improvements on another creature of mine, for example.

To me the humanoid daedra from Ashstaars mod look fine, but I have no idea how they perform ingame so far. But as long as they don’t move like roboters they will be within an acceptable range of quality for me.

Newer TR – creatures follow a more modern artstyle and not necessarily the segmented, contrast-heavy (and sometimes toyish) look of the original creatures. The hoom and the sea crab would be prime-example of that direction. Velk, Swamptroll and Vermai, as far as I can tell, are in a middle ground between a modern style and the contrasted look of the original creatures. I actually think that the lack of this contrasted look makes hoom and sea crab appear offstyle in the game and that it would be better to try to reconcile the style differences instead of going completely disparate directions with everything. At least that’s something we are trying to achieve at the PT-projects lately, even if it is a stretch sometimes.