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Adanorcil
Developer Emeritus
22 Jan 2006



The most defining feature of Tamriel Rebuilt's creative vision is no doubt it's striving for quality. We want to build Morrowind the way it was meant to be. Our understanding of how to do so has continuously evolved and increased over the years. As a result, we sometimes need to review existing work and ask ourselves whether it lives up to our standards.

The city of Almalexia is one such example. It was built years ago in an earlier era of the project, and has since awaited detailing for use in our Map 3 release. While the city in its current incarnation captures some of the grandeur inherent in the capital of Morrowind, it also has many flaws. It boasts an inelegant design, linearly arranged around an awkward lake, and squeezed into an unnatural grid lay-out. Further more, it shows some of the omnipresent pitfalls of choosing quantity and size over quality and detail.

For these, and many other reasons, we have decided to redesign Almalexia. Let it be clear straightaway that we do not simply intend to patch up some of the flaws of the original. This would not be sufficient, and would not bring us closer to the goal. The plan is to start with a blank canvas, to design the city of Almalexia from scratch, this time working upwards from the ideas, rather than giving meaning to an established city design afterwards. This does not mean that we will not be salvaging some of the better interiors, for example, but we will not be using them or any other part of the old design as a starting point.

This is where all of you come in. Almalexia is beyond compare the most important -and biggest- city in Morrowind. This is a lot of white canvas to fill, and by that we don't just mean the physical space. In this thread, all of you get the chance to make lore, because that is something everyone can do. However, you are not just going to make suggestions. Instead, we will be collaborating to build the story behind Almalexia in various ways. Read below for more information.




Almalexia: A collaborative world-building effort



Some time in the near future, TR will begin building Almalexia, the capital city of Morrowind. This is a massive undertaking and we need everyone's help to make sure the city becomes every inch as magnificent as it is meant to be: full of life and meaning. You can participate in various ways:

- Make a picture of what Almalexia looks like. Draw a specific street, square, location, citizen, scene etc. Tell us what there is to see in Almalexia. Don't occupy yourself with drawing complete city lay-outs; this is not what we're after (unless said lay-out carries a very deliberate meaning somehow). You are free to (and encouraged) to build upon ideas introduced by other people. Above all: make stuff up.

- Write a short piece of text (100-400 words) in which a denizen of/visitor to Almalexia describes the city (not necessarily in a direct way). Every piece should include at least one open reference. An open reference is a reference to an idea, person, location, event, etc. that a writer knows to be currently meaningless, so that someone else can elaborate upon it later. You are free to (and encouraged) to build upon ideas introduced by other people. Above all: make stuff up.

Suggestions for people (feel free to make someone else up) are:

    - Irapal-Du Ahhasibael, guar caravaner on his way back home along the Mamsu trail
    - Hloros Indavel, pauper at Tadur Gate
    - Serjo Indoril Serani Orophas, being carried through the street on a palanquin
    - Rosphat Oresmis, Imperial diplomat
    - Ulane Menaran, corkbulb seller at the floating market


- Participate in any other way you may think is useful.


Be forewarned, however, that none of the provided concepts will necessarily make it into the mod. Obviously, not all things can even be displayed in gameplay terms. The idea is rather to build a corpus of inspirational material upon which to base the city.


Come on, folks, show the world you can rock.


Last edited by Adanorcil on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:17 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
SamirA
Developer Emeritus
27 Apr 2010

Location: Somewhere in Tamriel

*groan*

These reworkings are killin me. While we're at it why don't we go back and redo our two released maps? At this rate we will literally never release anything else.

At least this gives me the chance to make interiors for the capital. Exactly what sort of suggestions are you looking for here though Ada?

EDIT: Ninja'd ok now I see.

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Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:26 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Katze
Developer Emeritus
26 Feb 2009

Location: Behind you!

This doesn't affect Sacred East, so we have plenty of time to get Almalexia in working order. I don't get why we act like we're in such a rush anyway.
_________________
"If a hermaphroditic, bug-armored, bipolar god-king existing in multiple universes who has his very own bible with *actual* magic strewn throughout it is your idea of a cliche, then I really would like to live in your world." -MK

"You say a lot of things. And how does that work? You're a bicycle"

Tea is important.
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:32 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Why
Lead Developer
04 Jul 2009

Location: Utrecht

Stuff!

Probably not a good thing to start with, as this city should be primarily about Dunmer. But hey, I had inspiration, so I wrote something. Also, blast, my layout got lost in this forum post. Blegh.

Also note, numbers of residence are for storytelling reasons. Should a place like this ever be built in-game, it should probably contain fewer ints. In-game population is a whole lot different than out-of-game population. See Adanorcil's post below-ish somewhere, he explains it way better than me. The "I will post one more time..." post.

The Float

Turm-Wei raised her head and inhaled long and deeply. She held her breath for a moment, letting the air roll around in her lungs and mouth, tasting every last bit of it as she did every morning. The air felt heavy and laden, much like in the marshes of Ruveil-Rakeesh, where it is shared by so many creatures it becomes a mindnumbing, depressing drug. Its taste told of freshly baked goods that were being distributed to the poor more fortunate than her, of the shipment of saltrice whose Dres owners had chased her away from yesterday, of the perfumes and oils used in last night's ceremonies at the Mother's Embrace, of the waste of the Imperial family that lived next to her, and, above all, of the thousands that made their home in the city. Turm-Wei looked to her right and saw that her neighbours were already up. She greeted the man, Dionius, when he too exited his shack onto the wooden platform that supported both their homes.

“What's new, Turm?”
“Nothing, friend. Life in the Float is as bad as ever.” Turm-Wei answered.
“I hear you. Got a job?”
“Yes. I’ll be heading out soon. Brolvaer said he needs carriers. Apparently another captain decided it’d be better to have us haul his cargo through the entire city rather than paying the ferries. Idiot. Brol’s insufferable too, thinks he runs the entire harbor, the Wood Elf bastard, but I’ll take his money. What are you doing today?”
“I’ve heard Hrogar say the Sevil family is offering a reward to anyone who can prove they’ve killed ten rats. Something about the vermin spreading disease in the poor areas. Phah! If they weren’t as pandered by the nobles, they wouldn’t catch an illness every time a rat walked by, if you ask me!”

Turm-Wei nodded. She shared the Float’s residents’ resentment towards the poor of the Indoril district. The elves were given food and housing by their richer masters, while non-Dunmer were left to fend for themselves.

“Typical darkskins,” Brol continued, “looking out only for their own kin. It’s only fair that me and Hrogar are planning to take advantage of the offer.”
“How?”
“He’ll take the tongues, I’ll take the tails. The Servil are too haughty to suspect anything. They think we’re animals, fighting each other for survival, while the only way we’ll survive is together.”

Smirking in approval, Turm-Wei said goodbye and started to make her way towards the edge of their little town. The Float wasn’t all that large, especially not compared to the rest of the city. Spanning only a few of the shorter canals and one larger intersection, its improvised shelters housed maybe sixty people of all sorts of backgrounds. At the head of their little society was Ayanealil, an Altmer with a skooma addiction, who had lived in the canals for the longest and acted as a village elder.

Turm-Wei crossed the walkways they had built to span the deeper canals, then jumped down and started swimming towards the docks. Some of the residents had built boats out of driftwood, but being an Argonian she had no problem being in the water. The people above ignored her, and that was how she liked it best.


Last edited by Why on Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:41 pm; edited 2 times in total
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:41 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
SamirA
Developer Emeritus
27 Apr 2010

Location: Somewhere in Tamriel

Cathartis wrote:
This doesn't affect Sacred East, so we have plenty of time to get Almalexia in working order. I don't get why we act like we're in such a rush anyway.


If we aren't "in a rush" then why don't we seriously redo maps one and two? If we are on a crusade to up the quality of previously built stuff then there are two prime examples of things we are capable of doing better. We redo everything else.

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Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:18 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nemon
Developer Emeritus
18 Oct 2003

Location: Bergen

SamirA wrote:
Cathartis wrote:
This doesn't affect Sacred East, so we have plenty of time to get Almalexia in working order. I don't get why we act like we're in such a rush anyway.


If we aren't "in a rush" then why don't we seriously redo maps one and two? If we are on a crusade to up the quality of previously built stuff then there are two prime examples of things we are capable of doing better. We redo everything else.


We might be detailing/improving stuff in the first two maps in the future, but those things are not debated in this thread. Also they're released, this isn't.

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Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:49 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Aeven
Lead Developer
17 Aug 2008

Location: Groningen

The Almalexia Bazaar

In the city of Almalexia, with all its grandeur, is perhaps one of the busiest markets you'll see in all of Morrowind. Between two of the residential ziggurats, between which span bridges, is a sprawling bazaar where goods from all across Morrowind are traded. Come one and all to the most colourful bazaar Morrowind has to offer.

One finds fresh produce from the Deshaan and Lan Orethan here, as well as many consumer products from the wealthy Thirr River Valley. All Houses can be found here, trading their products.
However, trade is not restricted to just these parties. Slavers from the south offer their finest slaves to the highest bidders here too, but in recent years there have been rumours of "products" disappearing, and some would believe the Twin Lamps to have set up base in one of the nearby sewers.

It's not just Houses and slavers that make their living off these markets however, and one can find a great number of private individuals trying to make a profit, each with varying success. Most offer products useful to commoners, though an adventurer may find something to his liking too.

Bazaar politics

The Bazaar is a complex entity in the city, and unique in how it's the main commercial faction in the otherwise religiously oriented city.

The Houses are all represented by a Kinsman of their House, who protects their commercial interests in the capital. In recent years, Redoran trade has reduced to a minimum, much due to Hlaalu and Indoril combining efforts to secure more trade rights. Telvanni has never been a major player in Almalexia's Bazaar, but they are known for specialising in alchemical products, in addition to the ever-popular Bug Musk. Dres as ever is present in the slave trade from Argonia (though they are not alone in this) and their vast agricultural realm.

A great number of independent market salespeople have combined their numbers to form a semi-organised guild organisation, so they can maintain their traditional position in Almalexian commerce. They call themselves the Commerce Chamber.

To maintain order in this complex organism that is the Bazaar, the Commerce Chamber votes on a Superintendent every 5 years. In theory the Superintendent is unaffiliated with any particular party, but for centuries the position was filled by a member of House Indoril. Recently, with the machinations of King Helseth in the background, the position has been given to a member of House Hlaalu. The Superintendent enforces the peace and (relatively) fair trade in the Bazaar, and is a powerful person. It would be naive to think he is above corruption and nepotism, but generally Superintendents have done their work well enough to be supported by the Houses as well as the Commerce Chamber.

The current Superintendent is a Hlaalu known as Endresl Llythis. He is well-suited for his function, and generally observes good relations with all parties. He is known to somewhat favour Hlaalu positions though, and has been accused of receiving stipends on occasion.

For the record this is merely an idea of mine, not some fact
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:42 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Tyrion
Reviewer
31 May 2006

Location: currently hiding in Pentos (aka Philadelphia)

Do we really need a storytelling/atmosphere step?

Get somebody with a good idea to redo the exterior. I don't know that writing "inspirational" pieces is really necessary, as we all probably already have an idea of what we want Almalexia to be in our heads. I'd much rather talk over some actual designs than have a Morrowind fanfic session.

Haplo Edit: Yes. Because while we are building Almalexia all at once, it wasn't created as it is in one day. Almalexia as a believable capital will have all sorts of stories and personalities that, while minor, are altogether integral to making it believable. The city has been built up over hundreds of years, right? It should reflect that. Just like Peter Jackson sending people to create Hobbiton and live in it, a whole two years before they even started shooting for the LoTR movies.

_________________
"Imagination and memory are but one thing which for diverse considerations have diverse names."

"How dare you question the colonnade!" - one of the Glorious Leaders

"Nemon + IKEA = creationism" - some guy

"The layout is awesome, the scale is awesome, the whole city is just awesome!" - Tyrion on Blacklight, circa 2007
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:53 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Adanorcil
Developer Emeritus
22 Jan 2006



Tyrion wrote:
I don't know that writing "inspirational" pieces is really necessary, as we all probably already have an idea of what we want Almalexia to be in our heads.

Good thing we're all such skilled mind readers, then.

The idea is also clearly not to have a fanfic session. The rules above make this clear. This will provide us with good material to work on Almalexia, while simultaneously not hampering the sacred Progress in any way. If you insist, we can have both discussions simultaneously, but I would not advice it. Either way, the place to discuss this particular thread is not here.


Last edited by Adanorcil on Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:44 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Tyrion
Reviewer
31 May 2006

Location: currently hiding in Pentos (aka Philadelphia)

Adanorcil wrote:
Tyrion wrote:
I don't know that writing "inspirational" pieces is really necessary, as we all probably already have an idea of what we want Almalexia to be in our heads.

Good thing we're all such skilled mind readers, then.

The idea is also clearly not to have a fanfic contest. The rules above make this clear. This will provide us with good material to work on Almalexia, while simultaneously not hampering the sacred Progress in any way. If you insist, we can have both discussions simultaneously, but I would not advice it. Either way, the place to discuss this particular thread is not here.


I think we would do better putting our ideas down into a form that could be used directly by a modder. I don't see how this gets us any closer to an Almalexia concept. If I were building Almalexia, I'd want actual plans, concepts, and directions, real input from the team so I'd know what I was wanted to do. Writing it down this way, I don't think it provides a very clear or concise picture of what exactly we want the place to look like, and that's what we should be most concerned with right now, because at the end of the day somebody is going to open up the CS and need a concept to work off of to build this fucking thing again. I'd much rather we agree on a coherent design for the city than write stories. Of course, we still need to have the discussion of what exactly is going to be in this city. Again, something that can be done through normal conversation.

I think this city can be redone better, and I think we have modders perfectly capable of taking on that task already.

_________________
"Imagination and memory are but one thing which for diverse considerations have diverse names."

"How dare you question the colonnade!" - one of the Glorious Leaders

"Nemon + IKEA = creationism" - some guy

"The layout is awesome, the scale is awesome, the whole city is just awesome!" - Tyrion on Blacklight, circa 2007
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:53 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

Just like there's a difference between atmospheric and functional concept art, there's a place for this sort of brainstorming. It's a creative exercise that can be whittled down into something useful. Coming up with an attractive and suitable layout in the CS is only half of the citybuilding process, after all.

Here's a rudimentary effort from me:

Quote:
"So it's the Brindisi Gate you're looking for, Serjo? Well that's halfway across the city so I hope you're not in a hurry. Look, you can duck down that alley if you're not afraid of being caught in a tight spot, or you can cross the steam gardens for a more scenic journey. Then when you're on Serynis Way, go left. You'll pass the Indoril Academy on the left, and the other government buildings. If you run into one of those yellow-robed mandarins, be sure to apologise. Those slave bracers are just ornamental and they can make your life as hard as they please if you cross one of them. Turn right at the fountain, then second left. It's another alley with a drinking den- if you get a moment stop in, it's run by one of the friendlier of the lesser Tongs. At the other end of the alley is the glass market- they sell all sorts of high end imported stuff there. Even horse meat sometimes.

Far end of the market, by the dragonfly shrine- that's not it's proper name, we all just call it that- there's the canal bridge. It's a good place to see the Sothists go by on their temple barge, but as you're in a rush you won't be stopping even for that minor miracle of ingenuity, I imagine. Once you're over the bridge, duck down the alley with the Green Kagouti sign (but don't go in to the gambling den. That's a less friendly Tong). When you emerge at the other end you'll see the Speaking Square with its podium. There might be a crowd if there are any good speeches being made- Llethan used to talk to the people sometimes up there. The gate is on the far side. I wouldn't cross into Mournhold though- it's a bit stale over that side, know what I mean Serjo?"
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:31 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Katze
Developer Emeritus
26 Feb 2009

Location: Behind you!

There's more to designing a city than just the architecture. We need things like this to determine the feel of areas, the little factions, the cults, clashes of interest, opportunities, power-struggles and other such events and goings-on that really define a city.

This in turn will help us define how the city should be laid-out, and how it should be detailed beyond basic layout.

_________________
"If a hermaphroditic, bug-armored, bipolar god-king existing in multiple universes who has his very own bible with *actual* magic strewn throughout it is your idea of a cliche, then I really would like to live in your world." -MK

"You say a lot of things. And how does that work? You're a bicycle"

Tea is important.
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:32 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nalin
Developer
31 May 2006





Just to get the ball rolling on the art side.

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Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:48 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Adanorcil
Developer Emeritus
22 Jan 2006



gro-Dhal wrote:
Just like there's a difference between atmospheric and functional concept art, there's a place for this sort of brainstorming. It's a creative exercise that can be whittled down into something useful. Coming up with an attractive and suitable layout in the CS is only half of the citybuilding process, after all.

Here's a rudimentary effort from me:

Quote:
"So it's the Brindisi Gate you're looking for, Serjo? Well that's halfway across the city so I hope you're not in a hurry. Look, you can duck down that alley if you're not afraid of being caught in a tight spot, or you can cross the steam gardens for a more scenic journey. Then when you're on Serynis Way, go left. You'll pass the Indoril Academy on the left, and the other government buildings. If you run into one of those yellow-robed mandarins, be sure to apologise. Those slave bracers are just ornamental and they can make your life as hard as they please if you cross one of them. Turn right at the fountain, then second left. It's another alley with a drinking den- if you get a moment stop in, it's run by one of the friendlier of the lesser Tongs. At the other end of the alley is the glass market- they sell all sorts of high end imported stuff there. Even horse meat sometimes.

Far end of the market, by the dragonfly shrine- that's not it's proper name, we all just call it that- there's the canal bridge. It's a good place to see the Sothists go by on their temple barge, but as you're in a rush you won't be stopping even for that minor miracle of ingenuity, I imagine. Once you're over the bridge, duck down the alley with the Green Kagouti sign (but don't go in to the gambling den. That's a less friendly Tong). When you emerge at the other end you'll see the Speaking Square with its podium. There might be a crowd if there are any good speeches being made- Llethan used to talk to the people sometimes up there. The gate is on the far side. I wouldn't cross into Mournhold though- it's a bit stale over that side, know what I mean Serjo?"


How on earth do you do it, gro-Dahl? You hardly ever show up, but every time you do, you're so goddamn spot-on it's not even funny anymore. I have nothing more to add; perfect.
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Tyrion
Reviewer
31 May 2006

Location: currently hiding in Pentos (aka Philadelphia)

I think you're all insane, but ok.
_________________
"Imagination and memory are but one thing which for diverse considerations have diverse names."

"How dare you question the colonnade!" - one of the Glorious Leaders

"Nemon + IKEA = creationism" - some guy

"The layout is awesome, the scale is awesome, the whole city is just awesome!" - Tyrion on Blacklight, circa 2007
Post Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:34 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Knots
Member
12 Jun 2011

Location: Pod 6 is jerks

Something that always surprised me about Almalexia was that Mournhold had no water spouts coming off the side, similar to the Vivec sewer grates.

Another thing that surprised me about Almalexia was how 'square' it was. In my mind, it makes sense for the city to resonate out in circles from Mournhold. I personally think it was a good idea to stick Mournhold in the middle of the city; when Mehrunes Dagon destroyed the city, Almalexia rebuilt it so it seems fitting that she would place her temple in the "center" to reflect her own vanity, though that assumes she rebuilt it to reflect her tastes I suppose.

I like the idea of using more water. Venice and Rome seem like excellent real-world locations to draw from for such a grand city, though Mer architecture is quite a bit more flamboyant than real-world antiquity.

One more thought: What about using a few Old Mourhold pieces for a district or something?

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:22 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Why
Lead Developer
04 Jul 2009

Location: Utrecht

Please no OM things unless they look really good and we can find a really good reason for them. They're ruins. This is a metropolis. Those things don't go well together.
Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:30 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Nerano
Developer
24 Jan 2011

Location: Krakow, Poland

IMHO the capital should preserve its current shape. An idea was to arrange the buildings in several increasing circles, with Mournhold in the center... Personally, I find this trivial and uninspired. Why to rebuild the whole thing, if we could use the time better to improve the existing city and maybe to expand it (the lack of any buildings outside the walls doesn't look very realistic)?

Quote:
It boasts an inelegant design, linearly arranged (...), and squeezed into an unnatural grid lay-out.


The grid lay-out gives Almalexia the "big city charm", and IMHO it should be kept.

My suggestion is to keep the city, and in the time, which would be needed to rebuild it, we'll be able not only to get rid of its numerous flaws, but even to make it one of the greatest cities ever seen in video games. Everybody has its own opinion, I think, the current shape of Almalexia is very good, only its widely understood "content" needs corrections.

Edit:
Quote:
These reworkings are killin me. While we're at it why don't we go back and redo our two released maps?


Good point, SamirA! Of course our highest priority is quality, but we should not forget, that the mainland has to fit into the world "as Bethesda would have done it", and not "as Bethesda would have done it, if Morrowind had to come out in 2020".


Last edited by Nerano on Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:01 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nemon
Developer Emeritus
18 Oct 2003

Location: Bergen

To some extent Almalexia will have to look structured, but nowhere near the static look as of today. Whether or not we redo all or parts of Almalexia we will not have it look the way it does today, because honestly speaking it's not good enough. Sure I honestly LOVE some of the detailing that has been done on street level throughout the city, but the overall feel of it is too blocky. We should also aim for more elevation. Just look at the cantons of Vivec, they are taaaall.

Thoughts:
I do hope everyone are aware of the limitations within the CS, and how hard it is to avoid having our work look "moddy" and/or plainly weird. Implementing art and concepts is a difficult task when you're working with our somewhat limited assets and don't want to clutterfuck the entire area. Our modeling department is somewhat limited and/or busy with other things, and I believe the most realistic way to have new items made are retextures of our current statics. For instance the huge stairs we have as hlaalu and redoran colors.

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:44 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nerano
Developer
24 Jan 2011

Location: Krakow, Poland

I've had a look at the capital, and now I'm sure: it looks great, needs fixes but there's absolutely no need for rebuilding it. It's still better than any of the vanilla towns. Artists sometimes say, that if one looks at his work too long, analyzing it and thinking about it too much, then it always looks worse in his eyes. I think that's also the case here Razz

And regarding the "weird" lake inside the city. Of course it's weird, as is every moat created artificially for defensive purposes!
Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:48 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
blackbird
Reviewer
01 Mar 2007

Location: Brugge (bruges), Flanders, Belgium

I have at this moment 2 questions:
1. Are we going to use the indoril towers and if yes how much will those towers be shrinked or sunken? I recall our Head of Lore saying the previous version of Almalexia looked to much like Manhattan.
2. What is going to happen with Mournhold? I presume almost nothig will happen, but the current Mournhold uses 9 cells(!). If we want to build a city around Mournhold, it will/could become very large. Yet I recall Mournhold is a walled city within a city. If we're going to design Almalexia, we can use some more information about this issue.

I think we should create a quarter based city, unlike the previous version. We should have at least a poor quarter, a quarter for the middle class, a quarter for merchants and traders (something like Aeven suggested), a quarter for the rich people of house indoril or indoril governement buildings, a quarter for imperial guilds and other related imperial services and maybe a small quarter for the other houses. Not every quarter needs to have at least one cell.
Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:18 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

Nerano wrote:
I've had a look at the capital, and now I'm sure: it looks great, needs fixes but there's absolutely no need for rebuilding it. It's still better than any of the vanilla towns. Artists sometimes say, that if one looks at his work too long, analyzing it and thinking about it too much, then it always looks worse in his eyes. I think that's also the case here Razz


All personal opinions aside, this thread is not about whether we will be redoing it, but rather how we will be redoing it. We have already discussed whether it can be fixed by keeping the existing design, and we came to the conclusion that in order to do it right, we need to do it over.

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:59 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Beave
Developer
02 Nov 2008



If we were to do quarters, perhaps we could design something similar to Vivec; that is, in the since that each Vivec canton housed a different social/political clique, not necessarily a different social class based on wealth, although sometimes that was implicitly the case (St. Delyn and Olms, for instance).

That being said, I would go for having each quarter represent either a different role of people (commercial, military, noble - perhaps separated by Great House, religious - if we were to have another temple). Aside from that we could have various residential districts with different names, and those may or may not imply different levels of wealth. As for the imperials, I don't think they should have a whole section of the city cut out for them, but rather have a minor presence of some sort throughout the city. I've never read anything at TIL regarding political struggles in Almalexia, aside from Dunmer church & state, but I doubt the Imperials would have much influence here at all beyond trade.
Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:21 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Adanorcil
Developer Emeritus
22 Jan 2006



I will post one more time on a topic that Haplo rightly asserts does not belong in this thread, because I feel the consternation about it rests entirely upon a misunderstanding.

The difference between an idea and its portrayal in the game appears to be a difficult distinction to put across, yet it is a very crucial one. In other words, there is a difference between Almalexia and our Almalexia. The latter is always a translation, a down-scaled, stylized version of a reality we made up, just as the Telvanni towers in the original game only begin to conjure images of the true power of the Telvanni, just as Vivec does not have its fabled steam gardens, just as Alandro Sul lives in references, rather than in earrings you can pick up in the game. The proper story is always infinitely greater than what we can be burned onto a CD. There are more facts about Morrowind outside of the game than in it.

However, that kind of reality naturally underpins the portrayal in the game. Without it, the whole thing becomes a flat facade and you loose the sense of depth and immersion you all profess to love so much. This is a discussion about Almalexia as it should be, not about what we're gonna do with it. To think that all the brainstorming in this thread should be a direct blueprint for our mod is ludicrous, and I think that much should be obvious.

Even so, I wonder if the people jumping into head first have even considered the following flaw in their argument. Say we immediately propose a look for the city, and construct it like that. At some point, we're going to have a discussion about what needs to be in it. And suddenly -surprise- we're asking the exact same questions as we are now.



That's the last I'll say on that. I promise some contributions after tomorrow, or perhaps tomorrow evening.
Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:29 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Terrifying Daedric Foe
Developer
26 Aug 2010

Location: England

Felix Loralio, EEC Agent

When I joined the company back in 419 I was full of Imperial patriotism. I was going to make my fortune in the land of the eastern barabarians. And then I was posted to Almalexia. If the Imperial City is the first city of Tamriel than surely Almalexia is a close second.

The city sits on the Meralag River, with concentric circles spreading out from Mournhold Island in the centre. The city in its current state has stood for over a thousand years and yet it appears to have sprung out of the minds of the gods fully formed. No piece is without purpose; every district slotting together to make something even greater than the sum of its parts.

The city oozes wealth and opulence, from the statues of saints that stand at every street corner to the fine gardens of the nobility to the luxury goods in the bazaar to the great temple of Almalexia herself. Dozens of Dunmer arrive every day: pilgrims and those seeking riches in the city of light and magic. Although the poor district is overcrowded, with several families sharing the same small house, you will not find the beggars of the Imperial City in the capital of Morrowind. The Indoril nobility regularly donate food, clothing and other essentials to the poor of the city. Whilst most do so out of religious piety they must remember the events of the Imperial Simulacram when the commoners rose up and slew King Symmachus. 40 years is but the blink of an eye to the long lived Dark Elves.

Even with this charity, these are troubled times for city. King Helseth is not as popular with the masses as his predecessor King Llethan or his mother Queen Barenziah. And even the High Ordinators cannot quell the rumours that the living goddess Almalexia has disappeared. I'll tell you this for nothing, if the poor of Almalexia decide to change the status quo, I for one would like to be as far away as possible.



If there's one thing I'd like to see in Almalexia it would be every street named after a different saint.
Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:02 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Knots
Member
12 Jun 2011

Location: Pod 6 is jerks

Terrifying Daedric Foe wrote:
Felix Loralio, EEC Agent
The city sits on the Meralag River, with concentric circles spreading out from Mournhold Island in the centre.
This made me picture a clever canal system used to get through the inner circles (or perhaps the entire city) where the river flow is directed to always flow in a certain direction to make moving through it easier. Sort of like a "roundabout" for gondliers where you always move in the same direction but since everything is circles, you always get where you want to go, and because of the flow of the water, taking the 'long way' is actually faster than trying to go against the flow.

Ideally, you'd have the river flow in one side of the city and out the other. This would be the kind of elegant solution to what would otherwise be a mess of gondoliers attempting to get by each-other in the way I would expect from the "City of Light/Magic".

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:17 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Andres Indoril
Senior Developer
13 Jan 2006

Location: Lost.... Somewhere?

Something in this thread reminded me of a vague memory about the temple feeding and sheltering the poor. Thus, I came up with this "concept art" for a large building that would contain the dunmer poor and "homeless". Due to the awesome racism of the dunmer, this would not eliminate the need for the Float which is an awesome concept.

Anyways, so called art: [1] [2] [3] & [4]

Each of the floors would be able to contain four apartments and whatnot. Of course, this construction would need new meshes. Mostly just combined columns and those railings, so that there would not be a >9000 reference building for the poor. Of course, this as everything else in the thread, is just an idea, so there is really no need for new meshes, but I believe this could both add a sense of the Temple caring for the people and remove slums other than the float from the city. Could be fun, maybe. Idk.

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:33 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Tyrion
Reviewer
31 May 2006

Location: currently hiding in Pentos (aka Philadelphia)

Sickle shaped islands that partially overlap, or rings cut through with canals and their component pieces staggered somewhat. Just rings will look weird due to the size they'll have to be. I would also prefer the city to be somewhat lopsided so that Mournhold isn't exactly in the middle.

Andres Indoril wrote:
Something in this thread reminded me of a vague memory about the temple feeding and sheltering the poor. Thus, I came up with this "concept art" for a large building that would contain the dunmer poor and "homeless". Due to the awesome racism of the dunmer, this would not eliminate the need for the Float which is an awesome concept.



Each of the floors would be able to contain four apartments and whatnot. Of course, this construction would need new meshes. Mostly just combined columns and those railings, so that there would not be a >9000 reference building for the poor. Of course, this as everything else in the thread, is just an idea, so there is really no need for new meshes, but I believe this could both add a sense of the Temple caring for the people and remove slums other than the float from the city. Could be fun, maybe. Idk.


Those look cool but its not exactly how I think of Morrowind slums. These are basically projects using really rich architecture and would, imo, look better for some sort of upper class purpose than housing poor people.

The two ideas I have in mind would be, if we went that way we'd probably have to make the whole city very dense, or in other words, no smaller structures. Or we could have the smallest houses along the perimeter areas of the city. Just throwing ideas out there.

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:54 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Xui'al
Developer Emeritus
29 Mar 2005

Location: Wastelands of Canada.

There are several things that we need to think about during the redesign of Almalexia. Does the layout have some sort of significance in the realm of propaganda or cosmology? Why was it built the way it was? The present layout is ridiculous when it comes to practical defenses: the glacis of the walls is a gentle slope as if designed to ward off early medieval artillery, and the river access contrasts very badly to some of the massive towers and gates. Additionally, we see mountains and large spires of rock tower above the walls. Again, this is all silly in terms of practical defences. If we want Almalexia to have practical defenses then they should at least make sense. However, Almalexia does not need to have practical defences, for it is deep in Morrowind and its previous sack was at the hands of Mehrunes Dagon, which walls and towers would have made no difference against.

However, if we are going to build a ceremonial instead of a fortress as a capital, then perhaps the layout should have some sort of significance. This is the grand capital of Morrowind and the home of one of the Dunmer living gods, and although I offer no suggestions on how it could be laid out, the squarish layout that we have right now is less than inspired. Think about real ancient cities for a moment. What was Almalexia before it was a capital? Why did anyone settle there? Did it become the central hub in Morrowind purely because it became an religious and administrative center?

Perhaps we should also consider the dichotomy between designed environment and built environment. What part of the city was laid out and organized centrally, and what part just grew up around it? What is the real hub of the city, or are there several? As Tyrion suggested, I think we need some denser, dirtier parts of the city that were not originally planned but grew up anyway due to the attraction of the wealth in the capital. Modern Istanbul (where I have recently returned from) is a fantastic example of this, as minor shanty villages built by people attracted to the allures of the capital sprang up even inside of the walls.

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:23 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Knots
Member
12 Jun 2011

Location: Pod 6 is jerks

Was going to write some fiction about this but I just can't seem to get into the flow, so instead here is a description of a possible situation, possibly a quest:

Lower class culture has a way of fascinating over privileged young adults who mistakenly romanticize a life of rebellion and crime. The city of almalexia is no exception; a small clique of young mer, the sons and daughters of Indoril Nobels, have gotten themselves caught up in the affairs of the cities undesirables. Slowly, it begins to sink in to each of them individually just how over their heads the situation has become, though not one of them is willing to put down their pride to admit that things are getting a little too "real" when the law starts to get hip to their deeds and their consciences begin to close in on them.

Between the law becoming dangerously close to discovering what they've been up to and the 'crime lord' blackmailing them into keeping their mouths shut, extortion, and an endless stream of increasingly scary 'favors', the group dynamics have become strained. The 'weakest link' is perceived as a threat to the group; what if he sells them out to save his own ass?

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Post Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:42 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Bloodthirsty Crustacean
Developer Emeritus
02 Feb 2007

Location: Elsewhere

Personally as a general principle I'd avoid a tacked on shack village element? It's one of those things that tends to take away from rather than add to creativity of exteriorers cos its such a limited set. Proper slums can exist in the real Almalexia; unless they become a defining part of our vision I'd just airbrush them from the mod version (like Vivec).

It's more interesting to think about variations in 'city' culture, like gro-dizzle has; i think, anyway.

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Post Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:13 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Worsas
Developer
10 Sep 2005



Message

Last edited by Worsas on Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:15 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:20 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Tyrion
Reviewer
31 May 2006

Location: currently hiding in Pentos (aka Philadelphia)

It would be nice if we didn't fixate on Almalexia's poor. This is Morrowind's capital after all, it needs to be grand and opulent as these will be the first things drawing the player's attention when they travel through the city. Think of any real major city: areas with a lot of traffic, attractions and such, usually look great, whereas areas with less outside traffic tend to look worse. Both need our attention, but I think for those grand areas we need to come up with suitably grand ideas. The old Almalexia had far too many "meh" spaces in it.
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"How dare you question the colonnade!" - one of the Glorious Leaders

"Nemon + IKEA = creationism" - some guy

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Post Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:09 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Jule
Reviewer
01 May 2007

Location: Wilderness

I hoped I could show the importance of canals in the everyday life of the people of Almalexia with this tale.


Quote:
Take me to the Flying Guar, grunted the fat Imperial as he lowered his gigantic body in Hlaren's gondola. Hlaren knew the tavern the Imperial was talking about; he knew every tavern, every building in Almalexia that could be reached by canal. The old mer was content.
The journey to the Flying Guar would be easy and uneventful, as it lay on the Canal of Merci, the main waterway of the capital, so he wouldn't have to travel any of the poorly lit secondary canals. He began cutting the water with his oar and the gondola took off.
The water in the canal was clean, almost pure, as the city's sewers drained mostly in those canals that were somewhat distant from the heart of the city. Underneath the Bridge of the Almsivi, which connected Mournhold with the rest of the capital, he met a barge. The vessel was familiar, as it belonged to one of the Cleaners. Although he didn't know the vessel's crew personally, he greeted them with a quiet nod. He respected their work, as their duty consisted in removing the larger pieces of junk from the canals. Many people didn't respect the canals, the veins of the ancient city, which were teeming with life; if it weren't for the Cleaners, he would never get anywhere.
He passed by the Square of Nerevar Indoril. The guildhalls that stood around it iluminated its semicircular shape. Fond memories of the square came to his mind: the Festivities of Rebirth, commemorating the rebuilding of Mournhold after its destruction, the victoirous parades of Indoril soldiers that poured through the gates of Symachus... It has been many years since he heard the sound of army boots, and many a month has passed since he has last seen the face of the godess in the square. He remembered she gave him a flower once during the festivities, when he was but a child. Her face was a blur now, but the overwhelming feeling of this encounter would never leave his heart.
The grunts of the drunken Imperial brought him back from his daydream. He has long passed the flower-lined promenade which lay between the square and the canal. The numerous canopies of the stalls in the Bazaar were easily visible in the dark. It was a place full of life, even at night. He wondered often if anyone ever slept in this city. The stalls closest to the river were the grandest ones, as many mer bought their groceries and everyday necessities here while taking a gondola home from work.
The Imperial was getting increasingly restless, as is the nature of the impatient Westerners.
He couldn't blame them; their lives were always too short for their liking. Still he was grateful, as his passenger's destination was a very public one. All sorts of things happened on the secondary canals. Over the decades, a few of his fellow gondoliers were found dead, floating in the water. The darker parts of the city were favoured by the less fortunate, who never hesitated to ambush a gondolier after he had completed his fares. The culprits were never Dunmer, always poor foreigners who came to the city in search of work. More often than not, they would end up disappointed, as work was regularly given to native cityfolk. Those Dunmer that couldn't find work would still receive shelter and food from the more fortunate Indoril Nobles who lived on the Canal of Merci; all other would have to resort to begging in the Bazaar or, more commonly, a criminal life in the quarters outside the inner city walls. Some of the nobles prefered to do their charity work in the peace of their homes, but there were also those who wanted to show off their good will in public. Those nobles had a special stand with food for poor Dunmer placed in the Baazar, and it was not uncommon to see a Indoril noble use this stand for his own political goals.
His short journey was coming to its end. The Flying Guar was already in sight, spilling its light and laughter on the calm waters of the canal. The gondola stopped and the Imperial, headed for the tavern, hurled some coins at Hlaren. Hlaren was happy; it was more than enough to call it a day. He pocketed the money and headed for the Dravel Island, a part of town surrounded by canals, where most of the gondoliers had their homes. After he had tied his gondola to his usual place on the quay, he would head for the Shrine of Safe Travels and pay his respect to Almsivi for yet another fruitful day in his life as a gondolier before finally heading home.

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Post Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nemon
Developer Emeritus
18 Oct 2003

Location: Bergen











This is the ideas I have for Almalexia, somehow roughly put together in the CS and taken with manipulating sun and shaders for your amusement.

Mournhold has been elevated for a couple of reasons (don't worry I've looked at the sewers and they match up).
1: It keeps it separated from the worldmap, more so than our current solution.
2: Mournhold becomes visible now, even from afar (MGEXE included in the equation). It looks better imo.

I've only done stuff to the northern part of Almalexia, and it includes several canals, bridges and areas of interest. All of these concepts are easily transferred to whoever gets the job of redoing this city.

I'm not much of a storyteller so someone else will have to come up with that stuff Smile . Esp included for lulz, somewhat smaller than the full file.



Somewhat Clean TR_Map_3_Detailing_A6_1.rar
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Post Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:06 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nomadic1
Developer Emeritus
15 May 2004

Location: Adelaide, Australia

Can those 6x6, 6 storey tower monstrosities never be used in the new Almalexia? They are one hell of a despressing cunt to interiorise. Unless there is some really great idea of what to put in them.
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Post Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:14 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Xui'al
Developer Emeritus
29 Mar 2005

Location: Wastelands of Canada.

Gorgeous work, Nemon. The akropolis Mournhold works much better than I thought it would.
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Post Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:16 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Aeven
Lead Developer
17 Aug 2008

Location: Groningen

Some things we could/should consider lore and fact:

The main commercial entry into the city over water is from the South; this is where the Lake meets the Orethan. The northern branch doesn't go farther than the suburb of Meralag (in A5). It would as such make sense to place (a) rich district of the city in the north.

The main commercial entry into the city over land is a strange one: one goes north to Meralag and from there on to Old Ebonheart. One can also go west to the town of Othrensis.
Post Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:40 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Osidian
Reviewer
18 Jul 2010

Location: Lisboa, Portugal

That's great Nemon. In your concept the city is really imposing, with Mournhold elevated. It would be certainly scary for a first time visitor to the city.
Post Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:45 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nemon
Developer Emeritus
18 Oct 2003

Location: Bergen

The idea was to have the diagonal rising avenues to the south west and south east as well. That would mean four similar areas, of course some buildings can be rearranged to avoid too many similarities.

Also, I don't think I'll be able to work properly on this city, so someone else will have to step up and let shit get real.

And it's not that much elevation, just have a look at Vivec's cantons. They are stupidly tall.

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Post Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:46 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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