I am a little cnofsued about TR's style of planning and doing things…

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oldChimer
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‘morning,

as a Morrowind player since the first release hit the shelves back in 2001 and a long-time TR:MWML user, I am a bit „cnofsued” about a few things, and I’d like to gather a few thoughts on this (as well as, perhaps, give you TR folks a little feedback and inspiration).

Don’t get me wrong, I admire and respect what you are building with Morrowind Mainland.  But you seem to do it a little cnofsuedly for more than a year now, with no advancement in the officially released part since the 15.12 release at all (except for the internal changes in the esm and bsa, the switching to the unified PT/TR standard, and a handful of twiddling and improving).

What I don’t understand is the following:

– while you claimed that „help was urgently needed” and you were seriously missing modders, you had nothing better to do than to drop the old website (which was good and working)  and –– twice –– put up a new one, each time wiping all accounts and archiving the forum.   Can’t see any logic or purpose in that, other than boredom and aimlessness and perhaps a complete idiot who thought it would be a necessity.

– When you announced that you wanted to drop the current Almalexia implementation and replace it, you raised hopes that work on that would start at once and it finally would come into a release in 2016 and would be playable seamlessly with Bethesda’s official Tribunal plug-in.  Nothing happened, Almalexia is still missing from the official release and the Mournhold interlinking nonexistant to broken.  I don’t mind you guys playing and planning about with the rest of Morrowind Mainland as you see fit, but at least Tribunal/Almalexia ought to be working by now, or as soon as possible –– not as the last and final thing in the whole Megamod, after everything else has been done.  That would, bluntly spoken, piss a lot of us players sorely off.

– the whole region from Bosmora to Thirr ought to have been completed already in the 16.04 release, according to the schedule you had set.  In 16.09, it still isn’t, asides from the Almalexia region which currently has special „being re-implemented” status.  Instead, aimless planning and re-working of parts where it isn’t necessary binds the modders who would have been able to make each release a new „officially released” land-mass enlargenment.

I must admit that all of those issues strongly remind me of the time when I wanted to join TR and was severely pissed off by some fool (Hapless or so was his name) so that I lost any interest in active modding.  Hence, I am not inclined to join TR, but to counsel and/or aid when I think it could be useful or necessary.  This is such an instance where I deem it strongly necessary.
Can’t you simply return to doing things and releasing them, instead of confused, aimless re-scheduling and completely re-designing areas, houses, cities, established backgrounds and lore, release cycles and work procedures?  As I already stated, nothing significant happened between 15.12 and 16.09, whereas there had been significant expansions in each release prior to the new release method.  The current method is taking the anticipation for and wanna-have of the next release completely out of play, at least for me.

 

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I agree with you on a lot of points, but (and I say this as a fan, not a dev) they have gotten a lot of work done in terms of conceptualizing House Dres and the southern regions of Morrowind. Over the last few years House Dres has gone from “um… they have a lot of slaves and they ride bees” to a very fleshed out and deep culture. The same goes for the conceptual landscape of the southern Morrowind.

Their current process came to be after a period when development was a kind of ‘free-for-all’ and a lot of content was created that didn’t fit together aesthetically or wasn’t part of a cohesive vision. A lot of work had to be thrown out and re-done and it left many people upset. So their current planning-heavy model is a response to that.

Now, in my personal experience as a game developer I have found that no matter how well planned out your ideas might seem, everything can change when you actually start to implement them. But since I don’t have time to contribute as a member of the team I try to resist being a ‘back-seat producer’.

And I should mention that they have made some progress ‘content-wise’, ie. in terms of adding interiors, dungeons, dialogue, quests and NPCs. Not a huge amount relative to what needs to be done, but also not insignificant.

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I agree to that.  Especially the „loosely plan ahead but flesh out as you go” part, which –– in any project –– is the only sensible way to come to terms and get something done which actually works and is worth the time put into and spent with.  Currently, TR is doing too much unimportant side stuff (like the web site) and planning and re-inventing at the cost of getting forward.  If it were me, I’d have, for example, made Almalexia work by copying the Tribunal „worldspace” and linking all actors and doors into TR, while announcing that it will be completely re-made in a later release when tere are time and resources free to do so.  Same goes for the landmasses which are still only in Preview but ought to have been released already (all from Bosmora west to Gol Mok).

Regards

 

The more I venture into the realms of wisdom, the more I realize that all wisdom is nothing but illusionary and theoretical.
So, in order to go completely illiterate and bogus, I need to know more about everything.

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Several of these matters are currently being discussed and debated behind the scenes. In particular, methods of gaining new membership and moving the project in a more productive direction are being tossed back and forth.

The new website is not far from finalization and is working out pretty good. For a time, the process of setting everything up held back progress, but currently there isn’t much of an issue. There are still a few more things to change and adjust, but nothing too large or hindering remains, as far as I’m aware. Please note, though, that I was largely absent through much of this process and don’t know everything on the subject.

oldChimer
Currently, TR is doing too much unimportant side stuff (like the web site) and planning and re-inventing at the cost of getting forward.

My personal view is that planning and side projects are perfectly fine only to the extent that they don’t obstruct the flow of available work for developers. Unfortunately, that has been the case for some time. The argument can be made that the aging community is the reason for our relatively slow pace. To a degree that is certainly true. At the same time, though, I believe our current methods are making things less productive than they can be. I’m sure that a middle ground between TR’s old ways and the new process exists, and hopefully we’ll be able to mend the situation soon.

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Nobody can object that the actual game world integration speed has slowed down tremendously. But I have to disagree that the new website and forum were unneeded. Especially the asset development section has turned out to be very productive so far and I think we’d all agree that it looks far better and more professional.

The fact that less claims were put up and worked on started long before the website and forum were even remade. I think one of the real reasons is that the lead devs no longer have specific functions. It’s hard to tell who is leading what right now. But we also have to acknowledge that simply less and less people show interest in modding Morrowind and that our high quality standards mean that of those few ones that show any interest in helping us out around 80 % or so drop out before they get their showcase approved.

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One thing I am curious about (and I apologize if I’ve just missed something very obvious) is exactly how much is done in terms of quests/NPCs/dialogue. Is there a checklist of this?

Going through the editor, it’s clear that the Tamriel Rebuilt team has done a tremendous amount of work creating the physical environment of Morrowind, so a lot has been done there. I’m just not sure how much of it is populated.

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Tamriel Rebuilt has a history of not implementing much in the way of quests. The scripting knowledge needed tends to be uncommon among devs, and it’s also the last thing done to a region, as we try to build quests around the worldspace instead of worldspace around the quests. So a good deal of TR_Preview has had its exteriors or interiors done, but not so much in the way of NPCs, dialogue, or quests.

As far as the main post, something to keep in mind is we’re a volunteer project, so what we have the manpower and skillsets to do is often quite a bit less than what we want to do. A good deal of the slow-down is also lack of active developers, but some of it is also a bit of a traffic-jam as we go back through guidelines and plans and get those straightened out. As someone else pointed out, the increased overhead is a response to the somewhat hodge-podge style of earlier TR development that led to some things being scrapped or overlooked, which is discouraging and something we want to avoid moving forward.

We’ve been putting a lot of creative effort into finalizing our vision of the Dres and their worldspace. I think once we get the latest organiational kinks worked out, we can start actually driving on the roads we’ve created and see more activity again. 

TR has also always been one of those things that you get out what you put into the project. I don’t know what it is that you want to work on or what challenges you’re facing in doing so, but I’d be glad to problem-solve with you or point you towards the things that need the most work, if you want to make a meaningful difference.

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dallicant

One thing I am curious about (and I apologize if I’ve just missed something very obvious) is exactly how much is done in terms of quests/NPCs/dialogue. Is there a checklist of this?

Going through the editor, it’s clear that the Tamriel Rebuilt team has done a tremendous amount of work creating the physical environment of Morrowind, so a lot has been done there. I’m just not sure how much of it is populated.

If you uncheck the TR_Preview esp, you’ll be left with the portion of the map that is fully populated. It’s a sizable chunk of the Mainland, covering the entire Telvanni penninsula, and most of Indoril lands excluding Almalexia and the Thirr River area.

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Ah, okay, thanks. I’d figured that might be the case, but I wasn’t sure.

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First of all, thanks to all of you for your kind responses (I feared that this forum might be as uncivilized as many others, and I am glad that we can discuss without getting personal here ;-).

RyanS, Ragox: after the recent site’s blackout (once again, update-related, I guess) I am not so sure about this „is performing well” ;-)  And I have to stinker a bit: the original website had a forum and resources section, too, which had worked, too.   And nowadays you even need help to find old data from the archives of both, which I find somewhat amusing and embarassing as well.  That is what I mean with „unnecessary” and „aimless”, since it brakes you down almost to a halt, especially with some of the old and experienced crew gone.

Kevaar: that TR is a volunteer based project is one of the main reasons why I posted the initial message in the first place.  When you say „hey, we have an outline, some lore to heed and certain standards, but you can quickly get up to speed and do stuff”, people are much more likely to flock to the project because they believe they can a) help out and b) do something fun and creative.  But as it is now, there is too much hefty discussion and archive-browsing and design review first to get anyone new quickly up to speed.  In other terms, it is highly discouraging.  The fact that TR switched to a 90-day rolling update release scheme actually worsens the load of pressure which is put onto the people working on it –– also, because the public wants to see something new and exciting with every release.  Of course, I’d generally like to help, for example with finalizing all of the currently stagnant, quite well developed regions (most of the current preview from Talotheran Quarry east to Silgrad Pass and north to the coast) ready for release.  If there is a sensible way to achieve this without disturbing the current „process/workflow overhauls” and the actual work, I am the first who wants to get informed and invited to join forces.

 

The more I venture into the realms of wisdom, the more I realize that all wisdom is nothing but illusionary and theoretical.
So, in order to go completely illiterate and bogus, I need to know more about everything.

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You need to know a few things about the project.

Thing the first: The old TR leadership basically abandoned the project about 2 years ago. The current project (which is maybe 10-15 people? None of whom have lots of time) is a mix of new and returned members. So, when asking why “YOU” did something, unfortunately, most of us here right now didn’t. The last leadership did. We’re working with what we have now. So some of these questions are hard to answer, because, well, we didn’t.

Thing the second: TR is running low on active hands. This makes it hard to accomplish things; but the lack of things accomplished discourages people. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg problem, unfortunately. If you’re interested in helping we would LOVE to have more help.

Thing the third: We have been busting our butts over here! I know it doesn’t look it. Where’s all that stuff we were working on? Well, we’re still working on it. It’s just that while we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress, unfortunately most of it isn’t visible at first glance. A lot of it is rather like clearing blockages from a pipe. The water won’t flow until we clear the last blockage; until then, no matter how many blockages we clear, the water still flows like it’s blocked.

Next, to answer your questions briefly:

  • We switched to a “new site” a few years ago (the public spaces). I don’t know why, I wasn’t there. The new forums we did in January because the old forums were weighted down with old threads. Also, the old claims browser was broken and we didn’t have an asset browser. The workflow there sucked. So the new site actually really helped because of that.
  • Almalexia: I wasn’t there. So I’m not sure what happened with that.
  • Bosmora/Thirr: yes, we were hoping it would get finished. But the problem is that we just don’t have enough people. It’s still in progress. Slowly.  You’re right that we ought to have finished Thirr/Bosmora. But progress is slow because everyone is so overworked. (This is why we want help!)

I have spent the last few years of my life working for nonprofit organizations. The single most important part of all of these organizations is their administration. TR spent years neglecting their administration. Right now there is very little tangible progress. Yes, there should be more! But the reason there is so little tangible progress is that many of us are spending our time cleaning up 10 years of administrative wreckage. Which is why we need help!

OldChimer, you sound like you’re interested and motivated, and we need people like that.

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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Count me in.

The more I venture into the realms of wisdom, the more I realize that all wisdom is nothing but illusionary and theoretical.
So, in order to go completely illiterate and bogus, I need to know more about everything.

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I just read this, and there are at least two (or three ;-) ) questions I have. What were the problems the old leadership had? And why did they abandon the project? Is there something like an official statement or a place where I can read about that?

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@Kaziem, @Nathan:
There were quite a handful of problems, one of them squabbling and quarreling inside the team, the other that each release took about 4–6 years, with a lot of fluctuation among the TR developers –– some were pissed because they felt their work was not approved enough or their egos not stroked enough, yet others were arrogant fools who thought they could dominate or play all the others, that sort of thing.
Almalexia: there were plans to do the same I suggested above, then suddenly they were dropped in order to completely re-do the city more in the style of TES:Online’s Almalexia, then nothing happened for felt-like-ages while everyone was trembling in anticipation first, with rage and disappointment later.
Why they abandoned the project, I am sure nobody will know the real reasons except for them folks.  About the official statement I am curious, too, anyone know something?

The more I venture into the realms of wisdom, the more I realize that all wisdom is nothing but illusionary and theoretical.
So, in order to go completely illiterate and bogus, I need to know more about everything.

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What kind of outreach does TR have? It’s well-known within the community, but maybe a lot of other Morrowind modders simply assume that it’s a closed shop, or is merrily plugging along. Do you think there might be benefit in calling for more modders, particularly quest designers?

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I don’t think there’s an official statement. From what I gather, it was internal drama, plus drama about reworking Almalexia, plus the team got reoganized, and a lot of motivation was lost.

OldChimer: shoot me a PM when you get back.

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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dallicant

What kind of outreach does TR have? It’s well-known within the community, but maybe a lot of other Morrowind modders simply assume that it’s a closed shop, or is merrily plugging along. Do you think there might be benefit in calling for more modders, particularly quest designers?

In order to get more people to assist, maybe we’re in a situation where we have to prove that we take the mod seriously rather than ego or any statement which was taken personally although there was no reason to, and that we are not likely to drop it because we realize it is very much work.  And, that ambitious but vain stuff like the Almalexia re-do-from-scratch won’t happen again, at least not within a mod of this scope, before the existing stuff is mostly complete and release-able.  I don’t know, really.

The more I venture into the realms of wisdom, the more I realize that all wisdom is nothing but illusionary and theoretical.
So, in order to go completely illiterate and bogus, I need to know more about everything.

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Right now TR has a few people that manage posts and interact with people on Facebook, Tumblr, Enjin, Reddit, and Instagram. We’re low on people to interact in the ES forums, Morrowind Nexus forums, Great House Flgigerty, and on tiwtter and Deviantart. Most of the job of a PR person is responding to questions, etc, and also posting new media, like new screenshots and artwork. I made packages for the PR people to use in posting screenshots and artwork.

We could really use someone who will create media to use for PR— meaning, someone besides me to take and watermark screenshots, and to take footage of TR (landscape flybys, etc) and to make videos and post them from said footage.

But also, we are still working on organizing ourselves, so we need help with that 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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I recently joined the TR forums, but I’ve been following this incredible project for a while now.  I hope my experiences might shed some light on what others might be going through as well.  

Before signing up and really digging into the resources and forums, I couldn’t really tell what progress had been made and where TR was in respect to its goals and in development of mainland Morrowind.  There are maps, true, but they do little to help explain the extent of TR.  For example, the two 16.09 maps that jump out to visitors upon visiting the main page show TR’s plans for a fully fleshed-out mainland, rather than highlighting the recent exterior changes.  One might even believe at first glance that TR is “complete.”

There’s a lot of great information surrounding TR, but, in my opinion, very few posts or YouTube videos that clearly and succinctly say “This what we have accomplished so far on the mainland, this is what has changed in 16.XX, and this is what is planned for the next release.”  Honestly, one could even limit these “TR in Review” videos to something like 1 or 2 minutes long with pictures of the TR map with highlights for each corresponding topic.  Each video could end with a call to modders explaining that TR is looking for content contributors in the specific areas of ____.  These smaller videos would be great for sharing on reddit, Nexus, Bethsoft, and other forums.

Additionally, I believe that almost every TR media release should start with a quick sentence or two describing TR, or even be entirely geared towards the person who has never heard of the project.  I might be completely off-base here, but at 15+(?) years old, TR can't really afford to continue to post simple changelog-esque updates as they mean almost nothing to potential modders out there who were possibly born after the project started.  If I've been following the project for a few years, I'll know how 16.09 differs from 16.03 which differs from... etc., but potential new contributors have very little basis for understanding the significant progress that has been made.

Edit: Here’s a rough example of boilerplate that could be added to every media release.  
”Tamriel Rebuilt is an ambitious project tasked with creating all of mainland Morrowind in TESIII.  The game world has been more than doubled in size with the addition of eastern Morrowind and development will begin soon on the southeastern region.  TR is an open development project and is always looking for more contributors.”

The statement could be anything, really, but it should quickly explain the project, attract the attention of Elder Scrolls players (doubled size of the gameworld), and get creators interested (open development, always looking for more).

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I’ll keep that in mind. One of the problems with making videos is that we have exactly one person who does that: me. And I have a lot of other things on my plate; I only really make videos for the most pressing things. That said, I’ll drop this on the list of “videos I should make eventually.” And I’ll add that boilerplate to our (currently being made) template copy for updates to TR.

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.