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Seneca37
Lead Developer
10 Feb 2014



Everyone, please look at rot's interior showcase http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/download.php?id=21916. It is a phenomenal cave interior. I've only been here a couple of months - but I have played all of MW and TR a few times, have reviewed dozens of interiors, and this is "The Best" cave interior I've ever seen.

I find that most of the minute rotation errors that we normally look for, and correct, are not really evident in-game. There are a couple of items here and there that should be fixed, but should we be trying to make our designers rotate everything so that there are no tiny bleeds or tiny floats?

Also, I'd like to start a new topic called "Hall-of-Fame Interiors". To showcase some of the best work being done in TR. This way new and old interior designers can look at what could be accomplished and hopefully get new ideas.
Post Sat May 31, 2014 12:51 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Aeven
Lead Developer
17 Aug 2008

Location: Groningen

I don't know about the placement, but I do like your idea of showcasing especially good interiors.

Maybe we could collect a list of interiors people consider especially good. This can be a combination of simple but well-made claims, but also extraordinary accomplishments. Things for the latter that pop to mind are cire's Hlaalu Grand Council Hall and the Bazaar in Narsis.
Post Sat May 31, 2014 12:59 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



I think most everyone will agree that reviewers shouldn't split hairs over what can't be seen ingame.
Post Sat May 31, 2014 2:50 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

First of all, that interior is indeed brilliant, and I move that we pressgang rot into making more interiors. Razz The interior is called "Baeshbanit", by the way, without a TR prefix.

As for the broader placement topic, my opinion on the matter is more-or-less stated in this thread, but I've put some more thought into the topic since. My opinion remains split, though.

There are two parts to the discussion: showcases and interior claims. In the case of showcases, I think strict standards, while a possible deterrent for new members, help instill good practices in developers that are not easily forgotten. Basically, by ensuring that, in one or two interiors, they get every object exactly right, developers quickly develop the skills to avoid most obvious errors in object placement.

In the old days of TR, where applicants were more plentiful and, as a result, lower standards were more prevalent, I read the argument that the harsh standards also serve to split those who actually have the dedication to mod for TR from those who never show up after finishing the showcase. Not sure how applicable that stance is now.

In short, I think that, overall, being fairly strict about item placement in showcases is worthwhile.

Claims are another matter, and there I think strict standards serve a different important function.
Basically, a lack-luster interior with excellent item placement and density is still an above-average interior, if only just. A lack-luster interior with sloppy item placement often tends to being below average, in only just. Basically, I think good item placement raises the baseline of interior (and exterior) quality slightly.
That increase in quality loses its importance if the claim already looks good through aesthetic qualities. With such interiors, I'd be fine with loosening the standards. (I certainly agree with the notion that testing an interior or exterior in-game should be an important part of the reviewing process, if not the most important part. And, of course, developers should test their claims in-game before submitting it to review).
An example would be bleeding plants together, for example in a planter. If done well, you get dense foliage you wouldn't be able to manage (at least easily) without bleeding that can give areas a very lush impression. When done badly, it looks just like what it is: a couple of plants mashed together unnaturally. When done in a lack-luster but correct way, you tend to get a fairly sparse and uninteresting planter that is, however, not hard on the eyes. If done in a lack-luster but incorrect way, it looks as it probably is: somebody pulled some plants out of the object window and plonked them into the planter without much thought.
The upshot of all that, I suppose, is that I think it can be left to the reviewer's aesthetic sense as to at what point errors do not need to be fixed, which means that a reviewer could spend less time on a really good interior. As lack-luster interiors often have less objects, (badly-done interiors with tons of objects often look terrible), they shouldn't take too long either, I'd hope.

To round off this post, here is an excerpt from a conversation about this topic on IRC, which started off discussing the thread linked above:

<Seneca37> So - I'm sure I know the answer to this but here goes - Were any final decisions made?
<arvisrend> ok now its fixed
<arvisrend> http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=24411&sid=e93e3d4e5dd464c5d63f54cc98f9a734
<arvisrend> and yeah as you can read in that thread, we are too picky about item placement imho
<Gnomey> I'll write a post in your thread, but the upshot of it is that we are too picky,
<Gnomey> but that pickiness does have a certain logic behind it.
<arvisrend> i only wish we could speed up NPCing like this
<Gnomey> I think continuing the discussion in your thread is a good idea; the four or so posts in the old thread were far from enough to reach a decision.
<arvisrend> we can afford to be less picky about quest bugs only if we make it normal to update TR every month publically
<Gnomey> Yeah, I can agree with that.
<Gnomey> We may still want to be a bit more careful for the 'official' releases, if we keep those, as opposed to the normal public releases,
<Gnomey> but in general I'm hoping that the new way of releasing content will take pressure off of creating 'official' releases.
<Gnomey> To answer the earlier question about final decisions, the final decision of that partcular thread appears to have been 'more final reviewers'.
<Gnomey> Which, I suppose, is why you're here. Wink
<arvisrend> the thing with finalling though is different
<arvisrend> i?
<Gnomey> Yeah, that's not really helpful for the topic Seneca raised.
<arvisrend> the point of finalling is to ensure that the big picture is accounted for
<Gnomey> Nah, I mean Seneca.
<arvisrend> ah
<Seneca37> But nothing about being anal?
<arvisrend> reviewers can pass 15 perfectly nice houses with slavepens; a finaller will be like, wait why does every house in this town have a slavepen, is this sparta or something?
<Gnomey> Nope, I'm afraid not.
<Gnomey> I'll post something in your thread, Seneca. Hopefully the topic will continue to be discussed, rather than fading again.
<Seneca37> My plan is to give it 1 week - see what happens - then post some new guidelines - if needed.
<Gnomey> I'd be for that.
<Seneca37> With TF out of the picture - I feel like Im in a vacuum here - any help is appreciated.
<arvisrend> are we talking about ints only?
<Seneca37> thats all i'm dealing with.
<Gnomey> I'd think exts are much the same.
<Gnomey> Focusing on interiors makes sense, though.
<Gnomey> I actually get the impression exterior reviews are more lax than interior reviews, but I might be wrong.
<arvisrend> yes because it's physically impossible to do it the anal way and so people are content with just running around ingame until the map is filled
<arvisrend> i've been suggested as a finaller at least once
<OG1FAD> Seneca37, I agree that the concern with tiny floaters and bleeders is really dumb
<Gnomey> Yes, in that very thread.
<OG1FAD> If you have to zoom in in the CS to see it it doesn't matter
<OG1FAD> Also I think we should stop pretending cookie cutting is an abominable sin
<arvisrend> i'd even advocate that finalling should be mainly testing it ingame and only going to the CS in case of doubt or errors
<arvisrend> OG1FAD: why is cookie cutting ok?
<OG1FAD> because it just is?
<arvisrend> the kind where you rearrange and modify should be ok
<arvisrend> but i don't think that falls under the rule
<OG1FAD> right
<arvisrend> and no cookie cutting from vanilla should be a real rule
<arvisrend> if only we pride ourselves to be better than them
<arvisrend> *if only because
<Gnomey> Yeah, I see no problem with rearranging.
<OG1FAD> Well I cookie cut (and then rearrange) in every single int I've ever made
<rot> always need to go CS to check ownerships
<OG1FAD> And obviously that's what the Todd's Clutter Warehouse was for
<Gnomey> I get the feeling the strict stance on cookie cutting mainly arose in a time where there were lots of new modders who did it badly and blatantly.
<Gnomey> It's not as applicable now.
<arvisrend> there should be a rule saying that this rearranging thing is OK unless an ingame observer would notice the similarity
<Gnomey> Yeah, that's pretty much my view of it.
<OG1FAD> That's probably true. I remember a post by Vegor that literally talked about it as a moral plagiarism issue.
<OG1FAD> but its not just okay, its something people should be doing to save time
<arvisrend> well yeah the morrowind modding community lost that kind of people
<arvisrend> they got older and the kids these days don't mod for mw
<Gnomey> Of course, dragging things from the object window should still be encouraged, just not the the exclusion of grabbing objects from other ints etc.
<Seneca37> These are all interesting ideas - please add your thoughts to the forum thread (I fear comments made in here will get lost).



Last edited by Gnomey on Sat May 31, 2014 5:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Sat May 31, 2014 3:35 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Seneca37
Lead Developer
10 Feb 2014



With the current comments - and the fact that this subject was broached before, as pointed out in Gnomey's comment, I plan on leaving this discussion open for 1 week. I'd like to hear from as many people as possible. At the end of the week, I'll come up with a plan of action to handle any and all concerns about Interior reviews/showcases/design.
Post Sat May 31, 2014 3:50 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

I disagree that we should not fix errors because they are hard to see in-game. If it is literally impossible to see in-game without using console commands (like floating between a rock formation to see some rock that's caspering with the ground), that is one thing, but an error is an error. A floater is a floater, and we shouldn't let our modders become lax in the placement of their references. I'm not expecting this to be an opening of the floodgates to a massive amount of errors, but it will see an increased trickle in more and more errors as time goes on (in part because modders will stop caring about making sure they are error-free, and in part because reviewers will just stop catching them/reporting them as errors).

Honestly this seems like a non-issue to me, that of course we should still hold ourselves to a high standard and fix any floater or casperer, because we can, we should, and it shouldn't be seen as an undue burden on someone who volunteered to do the job in the first place.

Re-iteration/clarification: I see this opinion applying to floater errors and caspering errors. If a floor lamp is resting (bleeding) .005 units into the floor instead of .001 units, I don't think that's really a problem.

Also Lud's Basilica of Almalexia's Grace should of course be in the "great interiors" showcase.

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[06/19/2012 04:15AM] +Cat table stabbing is apparently a really popular sport in morrowind

[August 29, 2014 04:05PM] <+Katze> I am writing an IRC bot! :O
[August 29, 2014 04:25PM] *** Katze has quit IRC: Z-Lined
Post Sat May 31, 2014 4:21 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Sload
Developer Emeritus
06 Feb 2005



I think the bottom line is that if it doesn't affect the player experience it doesn't matter. There should be a much greater emphasis on creating a good player experience than on creating, I don't even know - a good virtual diarama? Far too much attention at TR has been put into closely examining the artificial physics of de_p_table and far too little attention has been put into thinking about whether or not these ints are even pulling their weight in the game.
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Post Sat May 31, 2014 5:11 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

On the whole I agree, but I think the discussion of whether we are building a simulation or a game is a separate matter from allowing tangible errors in our product, and as such should be addressed separately.
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[06/19/2012 04:15AM] +Cat table stabbing is apparently a really popular sport in morrowind

[August 29, 2014 04:05PM] <+Katze> I am writing an IRC bot! :O
[August 29, 2014 04:25PM] *** Katze has quit IRC: Z-Lined
Post Sat May 31, 2014 5:45 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Sload
Developer Emeritus
06 Feb 2005



I think it is fundamental to understand the meaning of the word "tangible." I also don't think its a discussion?
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Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

Tangible in this sense meaning physical (world-building errors, as opposed to dialogue typos or quest snafus or item/monster balancing errors).


I think it's a discussion to be had since we have been moving away from the latter for some years now toward the former, and I think many people don't realize it. But this is something I want to have a Skype discussion about.

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[06/19/2012 04:15AM] +Cat table stabbing is apparently a really popular sport in morrowind

[August 29, 2014 04:05PM] <+Katze> I am writing an IRC bot! :O
[August 29, 2014 04:25PM] *** Katze has quit IRC: Z-Lined
Post Sat May 31, 2014 6:37 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Swiftoak
Developer Emeritus
02 Feb 2005

Location: Kah-nah-duh

I agree with Sload and seneca.

If we see it, we fix it, but we shouldn't bend heaven and earth and actively scope out each and every one. Chances are the major stuff has already been fixed by initial reviewers. I'd rather our reviews focus on things like plan compliance, and play experience, collision issues, etc. These issues (at least to me) have far more weight than say a few floaters. We shouldn't actively neglect them to be sure, but I sometimes feel our anality in finding each one can hold things up.

I also think 1 final reviewer is enough for an approval. Reviewing is tedious and I think our efforts should be spent on other things like planning and asset design.

(My word has little weight because I admit I'm by far probably the worst interior reviewer TR has ever had.)

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Post Sat May 31, 2014 6:57 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

I simply love the hall of fame interiors idea. I might even try to find some "honorary" interiors in a day or two. Concerning the pickiness on interiors, I agree that if something is not caught without extensive checking, it should be left alone. I believe people are spending too much time checking every single object, and not focusing on the interior's overall layout. There may be some exceptions on this opinion, though: to fully test new members, I think we should still enforce much of the full pickiness, to know for sure what they are capable of. Lastly, (like already said before), I think any error that is found, no matter the size, should be fixed. When an error is right in front of you, why not correct it?
Post Sat May 31, 2014 10:06 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

Swiftoak Woodwarrior wrote:
Chances are the major stuff has already been fixed by initial reviewers.
So you're saying we should still care about them, but put the onus squarely on the initial reviewer? Or...?

Swiftoak Woodwarrior wrote:

I also think 1 final reviewer is enough for an approval. Reviewing is tedious and I think our efforts should be spent on other things like planning and asset design.
This is how it already is; 1 initial review and 1 final review. I didn't see this up for discussion anywhere in the thread, though admittedly I didn't read every sentence in the thread.
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[06/19/2012 04:15AM] +Cat table stabbing is apparently a really popular sport in morrowind

[August 29, 2014 04:05PM] <+Katze> I am writing an IRC bot! :O
[August 29, 2014 04:25PM] *** Katze has quit IRC: Z-Lined
Post Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:46 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



Current situation: there's only one final reviewer (seneca), who up to now was also the only reviewer. RyanS is now a reviewer too, but many ints were made by him (and were already initial-reviewed by seneca anyway)
- meaning the final reviewer HAS to be doing the initial reviews. This isn't about the speed of reviews, but about being able to have finaled interiors at all so they don't bottleneck current work (as they are doing right now)
Post Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:43 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

We've faced the same problem at Skyrim: Home of the Nords recently. We don't have enough reviewers, leading to interiors piling up in reviewing that we need for our next release. Out of necessity, we've taken to skipping the final review stage.

With that said, I don't necessarily see the same problem here at TR, but maybe I just haven't paid enough attention to notice it.

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Aeven
Lead Developer
17 Aug 2008

Location: Groningen

We do actually have a fair number of reviewers, but most, including myself, are seldom actually reviewing.
Post Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:12 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



Ya by having reviewers I meant "people who are reviewing these days"
Post Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:27 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

Some interiors I find amazing (possibly for future 'hall of fame' thread):
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=22648
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=22620
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=19330
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=22767
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=23130

I have been inspired by these, so I thought it would be nice to put them up.
Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:32 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

So seneca, are you still up for starting the 'Hall-of-Fame Interiors' thread you were talking about? I think it would really inspire people here at TR.
Post Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:51 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Bero
Reviewer
26 Sep 2007

Location: Slovakia

I would really like to have hall of fame and i think it should contain all kinds of interiors (MH, redoran, hlaalu, caves, ruins and whatnot) so modders can get inspiration for any interior.
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Post Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:00 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Seneca37
Lead Developer
10 Feb 2014



I haven't forgotten about this - just a bit busy at the moment. Give me a couple of days for my full response.
Post Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:57 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Tes96
Reviewer
06 Sep 2009

Location: Armun Ashlands, Morrowind

I'd love to see a Hall of Fame because it gives me motivation and inspiration to see what some of the best work is.
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sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



Copy pasting is practice I have used for a long time and will continue to do so, sorry. Ownership is easy to remove. It saves so much time rather than using the find text function. I also believe focusing on extreme accuracy (.1-.5 rotation or bleeding) is excessive. Interiors could be completed in 1/3 the time if standards are eased. Devs also wont burn out as fast and would be more likely to add more detail and take more creative risks, which will result in better interiors and higher productivity overall.

Reviewers should be willing to make minor changes rather than send interiors back from review to the dev. Returning interiors slows progress, imo. All reviews should also be final reviews. The reviewers we have here are so extremely thorough that anything that passes through unnoticed probably doesnt need to be changed. If it does it will be found in-game or in later testing.

Reviewing should also be a top priority. I'd like to see all interiors currently in review merged on the next release.

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Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

sasquatch2o wrote:
Copy pasting is practice I have used for a long time and will continue to do so, sorry.
Then your interiors will likely get sent back. We do not tolerate plagiarism of any kind at Tamriel Rebuilt, both as a matter of principle and as a way to maintain quality.
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Swiftoak
Developer Emeritus
02 Feb 2005

Location: Kah-nah-duh

Ease up Yeti, it's not plagarism to copy & paste stuff and rearrange it. I personally have no issue with it, though I am not really an interior person. I myself have done this on many occasions. I've began to rely less on the practice, but as long as things are moved around (and not large groups of objects are being copied) IMO it's cool by me. Of course we like to encourage devs to pick objects from the object window, but unless it's a blatant cookie-cutter from other interiors, I see no reason to be so hard. I think he's just referring to copypasting a few objects here and there, not entire shelves or interior layouts.

As for a single final review, honestly Seneca37's thoroughness pretty much counts for two reviews, so I'm fine with this if it speeds things up.

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Post Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:26 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

I must have misunderstood what he meant. I was at work at the time, and my hectic schedule yesterday made me susceptible to hasty reading and posting. As long as modders limit themselves to copying individual items or small sets of items, from an interior, I'm fine with it, so long as they rearrange the items to an extent that obliterates any traces of their former arrangement. That said, I consider familiarizing oneself with the lists of items in the CS object windows a better habit to acquire.
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Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

sasquatch2o wrote:
I also believe focusing on extreme accuracy (.1-.5 rotation or bleeding) is excessive. Interiors could be completed in 1/3 the time if standards are eased. Devs also wont burn out as fast and would be more likely to add more detail and take more creative risks, which will result in better interiors and higher productivity overall.
Reducing quality standards would result in the opposite of better interiors. Let the reviewers worry about the quality of the reviews. It is kind of a conflicting interest for a non-reviewer to suggest that we lower our quality standards. We set stringent standards in 2007 for a reason; having to go back later and re-do interiors and have massive stages for purely bug-fixing reduces productivity and wears down modders' spirits. It may seem strange to you as a non-reviewer, but holding the work of our modders to a high level is one of the main sources of pride for this project, and one of the reasons we are as big a name as we are. When someone talks about TR, they know they're talking about work of the highest quality. I'm not about to see that change.

Quote:
Reviewers should be willing to make minor changes rather than send interiors back from review to the dev.
Reviews already make minor fixes where necessary. They only send interiors back if the changes needed are substantial.

Quote:
All reviews should also be final reviews. The reviewers we have here are so extremely thorough that anything that passes through unnoticed probably doesnt need to be changed. If it does it will be found in-game or in later testing.
This misses the entire point (in several ways) of having a discrete stage in the claims process for reviewing.

Quote:
Reviewing should also be a top priority. I'd like to see all interiors currently in review merged on the next release.

We would all like to see the interiors in review move on to the next stage. Such a platitude, while nice, is kind of useless to state; obviously no one at this project will disagree with such a sentiment.


Swiftoak Woodwarrior wrote:
As for a single final review, honestly Seneca37's thoroughness pretty much counts for two reviews

While his reviews may be adequately thorough, let's not start throwing out claims of demigod-like proportion; one review can't ever actually count for two Razz.

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[06/19/2012 04:15AM] +Cat table stabbing is apparently a really popular sport in morrowind

[August 29, 2014 04:05PM] <+Katze> I am writing an IRC bot! :O
[August 29, 2014 04:25PM] *** Katze has quit IRC: Z-Lined
Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:38 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



I think our current review standards are pretty insane really. The only thorough part of review is on perfect item rotation. This an the main mark of quality in a review assumes that other people care or will even be examining each table and under boxes for absolutely perfect leveling. Feedback also comes at the end rather during the creative process at a stage when the interior is locked.

Even if seneca is willing to uphold current item rotation standards he will burn out faster and not be able to review as many. I can understand the point of multiple reviews, but I still do not think it is necessary. Reviewing and merging interiors is important to me and I expect others as well because it gives an opportunity to preview them as they will exist ingame. It also allows NPCing to begin. Virtually no progress is being made in questing so to wait until NPCing or questing catches upto completed interiors and exteriors is a bad option. I may be willing to help with questing in the future if I am able to learn. I know for me personally exploring the exterior and attached interiors would help in stirring my imagination.

I cant speak as a reviewer, but as someone who has made a few interiors I can share from experience the dread I feel approaching the end of my interior and knowing I'll have to perfectly rotate hundreds of objects. Many of the objects are difficult to work with especially on uneven ground like in caves. Often decision for whether I will place something and where it will go is determined solely because perfectly rotating objects is such a time sink and a major hassle. Relaxing item placement standards and increasing focus on other more important aspects is one of the best and easiest decisions TR can make. Perhaps I am mostly speaking for myself but I doubt most people would miss it.

So, am I suggesting laying objects down with zero rotation? No. Should standards be relaxed? Yes, especially since the vast majority of errors are going to be so absolutely minimal that no sane person will even notice as they play the game.

Further reasons are available in this thread. Note that not all of it relates only to interiors. It could have been more thorough, but it is a long read:
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=24445&highlight=

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Tes96
Reviewer
06 Sep 2009

Location: Armun Ashlands, Morrowind

sasquatch2o wrote:
I think our current review standards are pretty insane really. The only thorough part of review is on perfect item rotation. This an the main mark of quality in a review assumes that other people care or will even be examining each table and under boxes for absolutely perfect leveling. Feedback also comes at the end rather during the creative process at a stage when the interior is locked.

Even if seneca is willing to uphold current item rotation standards he will burn out faster and not be able to review as many. I can understand the point of multiple reviews, but I still do not think it is necessary. Reviewing and merging interiors is important to me and I expect others as well because it gives an opportunity to preview them as they will exist ingame. It also allows NPCing to begin. Virtually no progress is being made in questing so to wait until NPCing or questing catches upto completed interiors and exteriors is a bad option. I may be willing to help with questing in the future if I am able to learn. I know for me personally exploring the exterior and attached interiors would help in stirring my imagination.

I cant speak as a reviewer, but as someone who has made a few interiors I can share from experience the dread I feel approaching the end of my interior and knowing I'll have to perfectly rotate hundreds of objects. Many of the objects are difficult to work with especially on uneven ground like in caves. Often decision for whether I will place something and where it will go is determined solely because perfectly rotating objects is such a time sink and a major hassle. Relaxing item placement standards and increasing focus on other more important aspects is one of the best and easiest decisions TR can make. Perhaps I am mostly speaking for myself but I doubt most people would miss it.

So, am I suggesting laying objects down with zero rotation? No. Should standards be relaxed? Yes, especially since the vast majority of errors are going to be so absolutely minimal that no sane person will even notice as they play the game.

Further reasons are available in this thread. Note that not all of it relates only to interiors. It could have been more thorough, but it is a long read:
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=24445&highlight=

Well, not to be a turd in the punch bowl, but I like Tamriel-Rebuilts insanely strict standards as far as designing interiors. It's something I've just grown used to doing; rotating objects to exactly match the surface of the object on which they are resting. It gets easier the more you do it and it doesn't bother me at all. I've seen some vanilla interiors where the Beth guys placed cups on the dunmer shelves and about twenty of them are floating in the air above the wood, and you can see this in-game. It's blatantly obvious.

Although, from what I've heard, TR has an 800 count limit on item placement in interior cells, which if true, is just stupid, especially for caves or large manors. I'm finishing a cave for Province:Cyrodiil that has 4,000 objects and my framerate is well into the hundreds without any crash-to-desktop issues, and my laptop is decent but not super rigged up. Can someone verify the object reference limit for me or did I just hear a rumor?

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Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:26 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

sasquatch2o wrote:
I cant speak as a reviewer, but as someone who has made a few interiors I can share from experience the dread I feel approaching the end of my interior and knowing I'll have to perfectly rotate hundreds of objects. Many of the objects are difficult to work with especially on uneven ground like in caves. Often decision for whether I will place something and where it will go is determined solely because perfectly rotating objects is such a time sink and a major hassle. Relaxing item placement standards and increasing focus on other more important aspects is one of the best and easiest decisions TR can make. Perhaps I am mostly speaking for myself but I doubt most people would miss it.
If you feel this way, why not pick out interiors that don't require much item rotation, such as houses that use de_r or TR_De_RM furniture. We even have TR variants of the de_p furniture now that come with flat surfaces, eliminating the need to rotate objects on tables and such. I too dislike having to rotate tons of items when making an interior. In the past, I have solved this issue by avoiding situations that would require heavy amounts of rotation.
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Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:31 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

sasquatch2o wrote:
I cant speak as a reviewer, but as someone who has made a few interiors I can share from experience the dread I feel approaching the end of my interior and knowing I'll have to perfectly rotate hundreds of objects.

What I do here is just rotate the objects as I place them. If you do that, things may be much better.

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Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:40 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



TES96, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you enjoy perfectly leveling hundreds or thousands of objects there would t be anything limiting you from doing so even with relaxed standards. About your interior though, do I correctly remember mention of it crashing in a room full of stal. When I last checked your cave it had no door or clutter either. The 800 I think is more of a suggestion and is IMO a good one. A better standard might be a rough ceiling of 350-400k faces. I have a cave interior with over 1.2k references and it does stutter even with good fps.

Yeti, making design choices solely to avoid the pain of perfectly rotating objects does not negate the issue. It doesn't even avoid it. In my experience item rotation standards are detrimental to productivity and creativity and morale.

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Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:42 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Interiors with 4,000 objects are completely unacceptable, in my opinion, no matter whether its at Skyrim: Home of the Nords, Province Cyrodiil or here. There's nothing wrong with splitting large caves into multiple cells. Whatever we can do to make the game more stable and consistent in terms of fps can only improve the player experience.
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Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:54 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Swiftoak
Developer Emeritus
02 Feb 2005

Location: Kah-nah-duh

I agree with easing up standards on placement. I'm sorry, but they're not even standards, they're asinine. We can afford to lax up, and nobody would even notice a decrease in quality. I'm not saying ignore any placement errors you find, just don't make that the primay focus/criterion for reviewing an interior. Things that almost never get looked at IMO are the creative aspects of the interior, or balance. Does this comply with the plan? What about the character of the place? Useful feedback.

Reviews need to be more balanced. I feel right now they're too skewed towards technical issues, that the creative aspect of things gets overlooked. The reason I don't do interiors or reviews anymore is because I get so burned out beacuse most of the time, I'm focusing on the technicals rather than the creative.

This also applies to exteriors in my opinion.

Also if we want to keep two reviews, then one of them should solely focus on a creative review. The second final review (seneca) can be the technical stuff. Right now most of the time it's just two technical reviews, and we almsot neever get the second one because nobody wants to spend hours looking for placement errors.

As for the ref count limits, I don't think we should put hard numbers/limits. While 4000 probably is stretching it, I think we should just put a blanket "witihin reason" limit, instead of hard numbers.

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Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:58 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

Tes96 wrote:
Although, from what I've heard, TR has an 800 count limit on item placement in interior cells, which if true, is just stupid, especially for caves or large manors. I'm finishing a cave for Province:Cyrodiil that has 4,000 objects and my framerate is well into the hundreds without any crash-to-desktop issues, and my laptop is decent but not super rigged up. Can someone verify the object reference limit for me or did I just hear a rumor?


This is per cell, not per interior, and it's only a general number used as a proxy for managing facecounts per cell. If you have 800 items that are all 3 to 4 faces... well, that's no problem, but you start using items that have facecounts in the triple digits... you can see how that adds up quickly. 4,000 objects is pretty absurd, though; that would be split up into multiple cells at TR. I'm also skeptical of the "framerate in the hundreds" claim; I don't think the ~2000 version of Gamebryo is even capable of such framerates, certainly not with 4,000 objects, and the fact that the Gamebryo engine doesn't have face culling (meaning it renders all faces of an object that is within view distance, rather than just the faces that are visible from the player's POV)

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Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:02 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Tes96
Reviewer
06 Sep 2009

Location: Armun Ashlands, Morrowind

Yeti wrote:
Interiors with 4,000 objects are completely unacceptable, in my opinion, no matter whether its at Skyrim: Home of the Nords, Province Cyrodiil or here. There's nothing wrong with splitting large caves into multiple cells. Whatever we can do to make the game more stable and consistent in terms of fps can only improve the player experience.
More stable, Yeti? Having a frame rate of approximately 143 frames per second is pretty stable I'd say, and without any crash-to-desktop issues either.

Making multiple cells destroys the illusion of just how large the cave is. Screenshot. Plus, having multiple cells gives the player a sense of direction, i.e. "okay, I'm in X cell so I know I'm closer to the entrance...", whereas being one cell, you have to go off of visual surroundings and unique landmarks to find your way. Trust me, the cell is perfectly stable, even in the deepest parts (which cannot be shown in the screenshot because it's too deep for the Construction Set to render in one field of view).


@ Swiftoak Woodwarrior, I can see that having these strict rules does affect a lot of the interior modders here so I agree with what you say and that the reviewers should be less anal retentive in reviewing. Again, I'm content with the reviewing rules but if they ease up on it, I'll be fine with that, too. It won't entice me to "slack off" in my object placement.

@ Haplo, the cave pieces are pretty easy on framerate, from what I can tell. I did an experiment with over 6,000 cave pieces in one cell and my frame rate was pretty high (around 100 FPS). For house interiors I don't go nearly that high, of course.

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Post Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:24 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Tes96 wrote:
Making multiple cells destroys the illusion of just how large the cave is.
Kemel-ze still feels huge, even though it's split into several cells. For me, having everything in one cell makes the interior seem smaller, due to the lack of loading transitions.
Tes96 wrote:
Plus, having multiple cells gives the player a sense of direction
Generally speaking, giving players a sense of direction is something we want to do. Getting lost in a cave or dungeon in a video game certainly isn't fun for me. It's frustrating.
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Post Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:23 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Tes96
Reviewer
06 Sep 2009

Location: Armun Ashlands, Morrowind

Yeti wrote:
Tes96 wrote:
Making multiple cells destroys the illusion of just how large the cave is.
Kemel-ze still feels huge, even though it's split into several cells. For me, having everything in one cell makes the interior seem smaller, due to the lack of loading transitions.
Tes96 wrote:
Plus, having multiple cells gives the player a sense of direction
Generally speaking, giving players a sense of direction is something we want to do. Getting lost in a cave or dungeon in a video game certainly isn't fun for me. It's frustrating.
I haven't been to Kemel-ze though I have seen the exterior of it in a youtube video and it looks extremely impressive.

Well, that's a personal preference. That's one of the things I loved about TESII Daggerfall was getting lost in the caves, although having buggy quests wasn't fun. I think the cave I'm designing will be quite different from all the other caves that are easy to navigate and locate quest targets or treasure, etc... all in all, personal preference when it comes down to it. Cheers.

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Post Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:40 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

My opinion hasn't really changed from my last post, so I will keep my comments pretty short. (The post will still be very long, though):

While I personally don't like to do it, I think that copying groups of objects from other interiors is fine as long as any ownership is removed and the objects are reconfigured. That being said, it should always be encouraged to drag objects directly out of the object menu. I would frankly rather that modders familiarize themselves with the objects available and drag them in from the object menu, as I think that leads to more original and interesting use of assets.
Direct cookie-cutting without reconfiguration of objects is a rather different and more complex issue. I think TR has been somewhat excessively vehement in condemning it in the past, but it was more of an issue in the past, and it does lead to unoriginal interiors, and, especially if larger parts of an interior are copied, one could argue that it enters the realm of plagiarism. In short, if only to keep things simple for everyone involved, this form of cookie-cutting should be avoided and discouraged, and all of this is really nothing new.

As far as number-of-objects-in-an-interior is involved, I believe Morrowind does have a certain limit before the overflow loot bag comes into play. Frankly, though, I always forget the particulars.
I can appreciate the aesthetic of a unified interior, and think it can lead both to more interesting interior layouts and a more satisfying experience for the player. (Which ties in to why I'm so bothered by the closed cities of Oblivion and Skyrim; I think it limits design possibilities, leading to an inferior product).
I have also noticed that Morrowind is able to handle most interiors -- at least on my computer -- with framerates in the triple digits. (Exteriors are mainly slower due to high view distance and such, which puts the number of references loaded at any one time well into the thousands).
Simply put, though, I am not familiar with the particulars here and don't really feel strongly either way. I think brilliant interiors can and have been made within the current limits, so I do not personally consider the limits very restrictive.
Also, as I pointed out in this claim, splitting an interior into cells can be used stylistically, either to make an interior easier to navigate or, as in that case, to make it harder to navigate. Generally, the more loaddoors there are the more confused the player will be, especially if there are redundant loaddoors.

As far as restrictive item placement is concerned, I haven't really changed my opinion. I personally have never considered TR's standard to be discouraging or demoralizing, but I did generally avoid claiming interiors that would require a lot of poor furniture. As my item placement has improved over the years, though, that reluctance has largely disappeared, and along with TR's flat de_p assets I do not personally see an issue any more, and this is speaking as an interior and exterior modder.
But, again, that's just me. I can see how others would find issue with it. I also think, though, that this is where showcases come in.
Showcases are supposed to instill good practices in developers, and from my observations, after the first one or two claims that require more extensive fixes, most new developers are able to make interiors with very few errors, which generally do not have to be sent back. I think this is largely why item placement has rarely been brought up as an issue in TR.

I also would personally strongly suggest rotating objects as they are placed, rather than afterwards in one go. Rotating objects really does not take very long at all once you get the hang of it, so it should not slow down initial placement too much, and compared to the ordeal of rotating potentially hundreds of objects one after the other I think rotating objects individually results in fewer errors and less burn-out.

Finally, on the issue of reviews being skewed towards technical issues, I think that there are various practical reasons for that. As a Lead Developer, I did put in an effort to review interiors for their compatibility with the master plan and such, but for the most part I noticed that my 'review' would consist of 'this seems fine'.
Usually, an interior will either be blatantly and flagrantly counter to the master plan, (such as an interior that was made far larger and more epic than intended), in which case the developer basically has to start from square one, or it is fine. It is rare, though it still happens from time to time, for there to be an interior where a creative reviewer would need to list a lot of suggestions as in a technical review, and even then the number of 'error's would probably be fewer. And those kinds of things can generally be weeded out by playtesters.

There is another factor here, of course, namely gameplay. I've mentioned several times that stuff like placing functional shrines arbitrarily bothers me, especially when you see something like six shrines in a random ancestral tomb, as they have a specific gameplay function which is lost by placing them too liberally. However, I think that these sort of errors could mostly be avoided by actually establishing standards. There are none at the moment, so doing stuff like sprinkling interiors with shrines is not technically an error, and as such developers have no reason to avoid doing so.
Post Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:33 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Tes96
Reviewer
06 Sep 2009

Location: Armun Ashlands, Morrowind

Gnomey wrote:
...splitting an interior into cells can be used stylistically, either to make an interior easier to navigate or, as in that case, to make it harder to navigate. Generally, the more loaddoors there are the more confused the player will be, especially if there are redundant loaddoors.
That's an interesting notion, Gnomey. I hadn't though of lots of load doors confusing the player. I like that idea. I'll try playing with many multiple cells another cave claim and see how it pans out. I still get lost in the cave I've been working on the past couple months, though.
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