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Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

Over the many years of our existence, Tamriel Rebuilt has often found itself needing to re-evaluate how it works on a basic level. Our outdated development processes have always had their faults, and have often resulted in poor, incoherent work, which needs to be redone/overhauled multiple times. Naturally, this is inefficient and time-consuming, and, after some lengthy deliberations, it has been decided that our current methods of development are no longer sustainable, nor desirable in the context of our current goals and quality standards.

Therefore, Tamriel Rebuilt is overhauling its process to address these shortcomings, and facilitate the realization of our vision of making our content development more holistic and cohesive. Over the next few months, we will be restructuring ourselves to accommodate things like better planning, interdisciplinary development, and open communication. These changes will affect the project internally, as well as how the public interacts with it. The first of these changes is the implementation of our MASTER PLAN, and the introduction of SECTIONAL PLANNING, in which all aspects of the project are thoroughly planned on a province-wide and sectional level, prior to their implementation in the Construction Set.

To facilitate this kind of planning, the current Heads Of/Core you've come to love over the years is finally being phased out, replaced with a more functional, expanded group of Lead and Senior designers responsible for overseeing the Master Plan and co-ordination of "Sectional" planning. The TR Modder title will be re-branded to Developer, and re-ordered into disciplines for which modders were promoted. Lead Designers will oversee the maintenance of the Master Plan, while Senior Designers will oversee the same kind of planning on a "Sectional" level. Both Lead and Senior Designers will form into small teams of Section Leads that will co-ordinate specific areas of the project. New forums have been made to suit this purpose.

A Master Planning forum will be created to brainstorm, discuss, and draft the Master Plan. Four sections will also be created to focus our attention on the Almalexia & Heartland releases. These sections, and their lead & senior design teams, are:

1.) Almalexia (the city): The capital city of Morrowind. This section constitutes the remainder of the Almalexia Release, and is entirely self-contained.
Section Leads: Adanorcil, Aeven, Jule, Why

2.) Othrensis-Thirr: Focusing on the city of Othrensis and the Northeastern bank of the Thirr River, primarily Indoril territory.
Section Leads: Nomadic1, rot, Thrignar Fraxix, Yeti

3.) Old Ebonheart: Focusing on the Imperial city of Old Ebonheart on the Eastern Mouth of the Thirr River.
Section Leads: gro-Dhal, Haplo, Rats, Swiftoak

4.) Andothren-Thirr: Focusing on the Northwestern bank of the Thirr River, including the Hlaalu port of Andothren, Hlaalu territory.
Section Leads: arvisrend, Gnomey, immortal_pigs, Sload

In the spirit of openness, all planning/section forums will now be visible to everyone, although only Developers may post in planning threads. Hopefully this will allow the public a glimpse at how we work, and also let others know what we are working on. This will be the first of many changes over the next few months. More sections may be opened in other areas, not to mention myriad other structural changes in the future, so please keep an eye out for further announcements.

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Here is a definition of all these terms which should be helpful for understanding the changes.

Master Plan: The Master Plan is the collection of central planning documents for Tamriel Rebuilt. Its core is the foundational document describing how we make judgments about what different wilderness, settlements, & quests should be like. Each region, faction-trope, and major game-wide quest-line also has a master planning document outlining, in general terms, how it operates in the game.

Section: Our workload is divided into sections, each of which is responsible for producing some portion of the content. Exactly which slice of the content can differ, but the "normal" section is a geographic section of the mod equal to about 1/3 or 1/4 of a map. The section is responsible for actually overseeing the implementation of the master plan in that area: planning each city & other major landmark as well as overseeing claims.

Lead Designer: The lead designers are responsible for preparing the Master Plan (with the input of the rest of the project). Each section's planning documents are approved by the lead designers to be sure that it confirms to the Master Plan. They also appoint Asset Managers & Final Reviewers.

Senior Designer: The senior designers, along with the lead designers, serve on the teams which oversee each section. In addition to planning the section, they approve proposals for claims & check to make sure the claim matches the proposal before sending it to review.

Art Assets: Art assets are content produced outside of the Claims Browser, that usually can be found in TR_Data. This includes models, sounds, literature, and concept art for models. These are all produced under 1 section which receives requests for a particular art asset from the other sections.

Asset Manager: Asset here is different from art assets & refers to the major assets that TR has, each of which has an assigned person accountable for managing it. This includes the Website Manager, the File Manager (who manages TR_Data & TR_Mainland), & the people responsible for publicity.

Reviewing & Final Reviewer: Reviewing ensures that there are no technical errors in the claim (after it has been checked to make sure it conforms to the claim proposal by the section team). A claim is first reviewed by any reviewer and then by another reviewer who is a Final Reviewer. Final Reviewers are a subgroup of reviewers considered to be extremely competent; they both perform the second review of each claim & test/appoint other reviewers.

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What is the difference between "departments", "disciplines", and "sections'?

"Departments" is a term from our prior way of organizing. In the past, departments were strictly one-discipline groups, were largely insular, and did not lend themselves very well to a seamless finished product. There are no "departments" in the new organization.

"Disciplines" are different methods of modding that are needed to complete the Tamriel Rebuilt project. Many of these were formerly categorized as "departments" in the old system. They include exterior & interior level design, character creation, quest creation, and different kinds of artists - book writers, concept artists, 3D artists, musicians, and voice actors.

"Sections", on the other hand, are interdisciplinary chunks of the mod that have been created to plan and execute the production of some part of Tamriel Rebuilt. They are organized in a manner which crosses disciplines in order to ensure that all different aspects of the project work together cohesively.

The Master Plan? What is that?

To ensure that everything across the entire project is balanced, the Lead Designers will be responsible for creating a Master Plan which will balance all the different features of the game. This plan doesn't go into specific details of quests or characters or cities, but it does describe in broad strokes the identifying features of different regions, factions, et cetera.

Drafting this plan will require the input of the entire project. While the Lead Designers will produce the final document, everyone should be involved in brainstorming in the new Master Plan forum.

Why the change? How is it better than our old structure?

Throughout the years, TR has frequently had to re-do work several times in order to get it right. This has partly been because of our rising standards of quality, but it has also been because the work was done without proper planning.

Having no prior planning not only meant that some work was inadequate, but badly constrained certain disciplines because of the workflow. Quests, particularly, had to work with what they were given after the mod went through Exteriors, Interiors, and then NPCs, successively narrowing their options. By introducing a planning step before work begins on anything, all aspects of the project can be considered while making each component.

The Master Plan will make sure that all areas of the project make sense with each other when looking at the game world as a whole. It will make sure that each component is meeting the needs the project has and that nothing is overlooked. The sections will ensure that the master plan is properly implemented during production in a way that considers the needs of all the different disciplines at once.

Will I be able to claim things in multiple sections? Do I have to sign up for one section and work on it?

Absolutely! Sections are a way of planning and managing the production process; they do not affect the actual process of modding, which is currently still organized through the claims browser just as it has been since 2005. You will interact with different Senior and Lead Designers depending on which claim you are making, but no one is restricted from making claims in any section within a discipline for which they are promoted and have experience modding in.

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Nemon
Developer Emeritus
18 Oct 2003

Location: Bergen

*coughHonoraryDevelopercough*
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MorrowindShorts
Developer
27 Jan 2013



Sounds good!
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RelinQ
Member
01 Feb 2008

Location: Between Australia & Germany

This should be a welcome change, sounds pretty good! Very Happy

Will you be doing anything like sprints, or scrums to assist with keeping track & progress of claims?

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