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gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

Let’s talk about creatures in Morrowind. This is something concept artists like to contribute and one of the big draws for players, because a new monster is a fundamentally new sight and experience. Without some sort of style guide (if that’s the right term), new enthusiastic modders will generally suggest things that are completely unsuitable for the world we’re creating **coughcoughchaosdragoncough**.

So what kind of creatures do we want in Morrowind? A good place to start is to look at what already exists. Most ‘natural’ creatures (we’ll get on to ‘supernatural’ beasts another time) fall in to one of three categories:

1. Crustaceans. The Mudcrab, Molecrab and Ald Skar are the most obvious examples. TR has added some more, most notably the Hoom. These are thick-shelled, many-limbed creatures, hardened against the hostile environments of parts of Morrowind.

2. Reptiles. The Nix Hound is one of these, but there seems to be a whole order of two-limbed large reptiles in the Guar, the Kagouti and the Alit. We also have Cliffracers.

3. Insects. Oversized insects are probably the first thing people think of when it comes to Morrowind fauna. The Shalk, the Scrib, the Silt Strider. A key thing to note is that none of these are simply ‘giant’ versions of ordinary insects- they are all unique creatures in their own right. TR has added the Muskfly amongst others.

4. Quite a few creatures have the characteristics of more than one of the above. Kwama seem to combine elements of all three. TR’s Velk is part insect, part reptile.

5. The oddities. Jellyfish are represented by the Netch (I’d be interested in expanding this category with more animals), while rats are the sole non-sapient mammal species. There are fish too but they’re perhaps less of a priority.

While I don’t want to railroad the creativity of creature designers, I feel like we should largely stick to the categories already laid out. Repeated themes make for a believable ecosystem.

A neat trick for coming up with ideas is to adapt one of the above ‘types’ to an ecological niche it doesn’t fill in the real world. What would a crustacean look like if it had evolved to fit the role of the wolf- a fast moving, forest dwelling pack hunter? What about a reptilian creature that’s farmed for its meat like a pig? Remember that we’re not just looking for apex predators- domesticated beasts, scavengers etc are all part of this ecosystem.

Another tip would be to research these different types of creatures. Use wikipedia or whatever is handy. Find the most unusual examples of things that really exist in nature and use them for inspiration.

To sum up:

- Focus on Crustaceans, Reptiles, Insects and maybe Jellyfish.
- Don't just make 'giant' versions of Earth animals.
- Not every creature should be an apex predator.

A lot of this will seem like common sense, especially to people who've been with TR for a long time.

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Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 5:11 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Nice post gro-Dhal.

I personally have always considered Nix Hounds to be of the insect variety, though even excluding them I think Morrowind already has an abundance of large reptilian creatures. I would encourage concept artists and modelers to focus more on the other categories in the future. I especeilly agree with expanding the number jellyfish creatures -the Skylamp would be a clear contender

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Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:27 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



ecologically speaking, we need to take the climates into account too. why not have some netch that have adapted to the colder climate? ice netch, or frost hounds, simple variations of the model and texture. it can't be over-done, because having a poison or ice variation of every creature is slap-stick.

but having a few different creatures that have adapted to different climates would be aesthetically sound and it would make sense.

i imagine there would still be new creatures we could make, too. different swamp creatures, dwarven ruin creatures, even water creatures around TRV and in dres-lands rivers
Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:50 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



Wolves , walrus and bear seem to have adapted nicely.
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Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:02 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



yeah but those are common-place creatures. fauna like that is fine and all, but im thinking more around the area of bizarre/alien types of fauna to offer the players a new challenge and new eye-candy as well
Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:06 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



I think you said it well yourself. Not every creature needs to be a bizare apex predator. I would like to see some more variety ie mother spriggan (higher level) and bristleback (lower). These could be simple retexture or slightly modified model. Some of the stats for bloodmoon seem low too. I think grizzley should be 15 or 20 if used on TR landmass. More creature variety is certainly needed but it will require modelers. We need a couple new ghost or undead variety IMO. More high tier bosses for dungeons are especially lacking.
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Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:19 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Spriggans could be modified to have different types of branches, and honestly i'd like to see an adaptation of skyrim spriggans too, maybe as a high-leved spriggan. same with the ESO creatures. there's a LOT there to take inspiration from.


http://www.uesp.net/wiki/File:ON-prerelease-Wamasu.jpg

for example
Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:28 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



I'd like more passive creatures too. Rabbit and deer in particular.
http://www.sabregirl.com/mods/creature.html
Of these only the rabbit model looks alright IMO.
http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Rabbit_(Skyrim)

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Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:54 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

I think we can do without mammals altogether. Rats are rats- they get everywhere and are a deliberate RPG cliché. A big no to anything else.

Spriggans are creatures associated with Kyne. They belong in Skyrim and Cyrodiil (and Solstheim).

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Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:00 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



eh, there's already a rabbit model available, but why not have passive creatures that could still whoop your ass if you attacked it? like a rabbit with long claws? or a lizard type creature.

they'd be passive but that doesn't mean they couldn't be really powerful, much like elephants in the real world.
Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:10 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

gro-Dhal wrote:
Spriggans are creatures associated with Kyne. They belong in Skyrim and Cyrodiil (and Solstheim).

I doubt it would hurt to put a few spriggans in the Uld Vraech area.

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Post Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:28 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



I would like to add rabbit because there are no small prey animals. They should be placed in same areas as wolves. More berry bushes should be made for areas with bears. I'd also like to see animated fish statics. One to show several fish jumping up stream or small falls. Could be made as container or just be visual. These should appear in areas with the alpha grizzly.

http://www.findmeahunt.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Saddle-Hills-Bear_4.jpg

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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:17 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

No real world animals in Morrowind. No mammals in Morrowind. This is a precedent established by Bethesda and it's a good one. If we add generic fish we'd need to add them to Vvardenfell too to avoid obvious moddishness- there are third party mods like abot's that are better placed to handle that.
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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:37 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Yeah normal fauna is boring, skyrim and oblivion did it kind of wrong. BUT, like I said, a more ferral looking/ fantasy looking adaptation of regular fauna that is still passive but can be quite a tough battle if you try to mess with it would be really cool.
Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:43 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

It would have to be a solid concept not to come off as cartoonish.
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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:49 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



what kind of ideas would you personally perpetuate for any type of new fauna? maybe we can brainstorm.
Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:54 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



I disagree about his. For one there are wolves, bears and boars up in the Bloodmoon island. Those are mammals. I'd consider guar a mammal, What is wrong with mammals? Rabbits would be nice in NW region near Skyrim boarder along with the wolves bears and boars. Those 4 creatures are would add great variety and are already part of the Elderscrolls world. Maybe deer are slightly bland, but I think a modest # in a small area would be a nice addition too.
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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:58 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



If we're doing boars, the only thing I'd see as feasible would be armored boards, like how the reiklings in Bloodmoon were domesticated for battle purposes. idk if we're doing goblins as creatures that would be found out in the wild, but it would be expected that they would try and train boars or even types of reptilians (much like they did with the durzog)and armor them.
Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:28 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

sasquatch2o wrote:
I disagree about his. For one there are wolves, bears and boars up in the Bloodmoon island. Those are mammals. I'd consider guar a mammal, What is wrong with mammals? Rabbits would be nice in NW region near Skyrim boarder along with the wolves bears and boars. Those 4 creatures are would add great variety and are already part of the Elderscrolls world. Maybe deer are slightly bland, but I think a modest # in a small area would be a nice addition too.
Guars are not mammals -not even remotely. They are giant, scaly lizards.

We will almost certainly place the Bloodmoon bears and wolves close to the border with Skyrim. I don't we need to have more mammals than that. Weird Morrowind-specific fauna should receive our focus.

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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:40 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



furry guar.
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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:42 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Having reptilian creatures with fur might actually be an interesting concept to pursue, but guars don't, and probably shouldn't, have any.
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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:45 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Dormichigan64
Developer
26 Dec 2013

Location: Stop trying to see where I live, you creepy bastard! (Kingston, Ontario)

What about giant floating insectoid reptilian furry crustaceans? O.o
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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:19 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

sasquatch: Solstheim isn't Morrowind. Morrowind is cut off from Tamriel by mountains, and the mutating effect of ash from Red Mountain has created a completely unique ecosystem. This is one of the cooler things about the game so i'd like to preserve it.

Dormichigan: if you can do the CA and make it awesome, then sure.

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Post Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:58 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
6plus
Developer
24 Apr 2011



We shouldn't forget symbiotic or parasitic life forms.

I'm thinking fungus/mammal or plant/jellyfish creatures.



and of course...

Ironed Maidens wrote:
eh, there's already a rabbit model available, but why not have passive creatures that could still whoop your ass if you attacked it? like a rabbit with long claws?

It IS the rabbit!
Post Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:43 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

6plus wrote:
We shouldn't forget symbiotic or parasitic life forms.

I'm thinking fungus/mammal or plant/jellyfish creatures


Something like a big crab with fungus growing from its shell would be cool. They farm the animal for the growths.

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Post Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:43 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



Parasect?

Make sure it doesn't look TOO much like Pokémon, or else it will feel "not Morrowind."
Post Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:46 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

Luckily I am almost 30 and have been spared any experience of Pokemon, so I don't know what you're talking about.
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Miraclestone
Developer
05 Aug 2014



It wouldn't be too hard to make something like what Marandahir suggested without it looking like one of these. What was suggested was one with presumably multiple growths where as parasect only has one big mushroom in place of a shell. Plus Pokemon are most notably seen for their toony cartoon appearance, making a realistic version with a different color scheme would probably be enough of a distinction.

Last edited by Miraclestone on Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:47 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:26 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Dormichigan64
Developer
26 Dec 2013

Location: Stop trying to see where I live, you creepy bastard! (Kingston, Ontario)

6plus wrote:
It IS the rabbit!


Run away!!!!!

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Post Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:23 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1


Fixed the embed for you.
Though what Gro-Dahl described sounds more like Paras.


Damn Pokemon stealing all the good design ideas.
Post Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:27 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



not really mushrooms, but i could see some type of domesticated clinker (from the creatures mod) with big bunches of moss on them that could be farmed. same with river serpents, i could see the dres cultivating them for paralysis poisons to use in their slave hunting.
Post Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:44 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



My point was more that Pokémon did it first, and while Morrowind has made references to Pokémon (Weepinbell, Pikachu, Kakuna, and Marowak specifically), you'd have to be very careful not to evoke Pokémon with it because the really awesome thing about Morrowind original creatures, and why we're having this discussion in the first place, is because the creators thought up things that WEREN'T done before.

So insect with mushrooms coming out of it is cool. But it's ultimately been done before, and actually there are such creatures in real life (Paras was based on certain ants that are controlled by the mushrooms they carry on their backs), you have to tread carefully.

That ant inspiration is a good inspiration. But that alone doesn't make it alien enough to fit into Morrowind; there needs to be another catch. Otherwise you might as well have bunnies and deer in Morrowind. And we don't want that (at least not outside the border mountains, Solstheim, and border areas of Uld Vraech).
Post Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:04 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Miraclestone
Developer
05 Aug 2014



Sorry bout the link, I'll use the message body command next time to make sure it works. That's a good point Mara, I guess it wouldn't be alien enough but that doesn't mean we can't look into it. Simple concept drafts wont hurt. I rather like the idea of another type of creature that lives in caves and produces a resource, that way we can have variety and curve away from Kwama a bit in the south.
Post Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:47 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



Yo. Being reminiscent of pokemon would ever be the least of my concerns
Post Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:48 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Miraclestone
Developer
05 Aug 2014



Very nice, as I said a realistic version would be enough of a distinction. This isn't what I had in mind but I like it none the less. It looks like a relative of the 'TR_hoom' in the shell and head area. A little too big for a cave but that is just something I throw out there; no reason they can't live outside.
Post Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:06 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
6plus
Developer
24 Apr 2011



We also shouldn't forget that there are different kinds of fungi, I was more thinking about such:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sparassis_crispa_JPG1.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sparassis_brevipes.jpg
Post Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:14 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



I like the idea of hostile plants and fungi. They could have hp, cause poison damage if static or physical damage if animated. Melee and range plants and passive barriers of vines could be made. Barrier plants large or wide enough could prevent low level characters from entering high level swamps or endgame locations. This would make swaps in the SE especially interesting since the environment itself would be hostile and very unique. Hostile plant and fungi would also open a range of possibilities for new item abilities. A machete for instance, gaining 20% dmg bonus vs plant.
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Post Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:28 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



sasquatch2o wrote:
I like the idea of hostile plants and fungi. They could have hp, cause poison damage if static or physical damage if animated. Melee and range plants and passive barriers of vines could be made. Barrier plants large or wide enough could prevent low level characters from entering high level swamps or endgame locations. This would make swaps in the SE especially interesting since the environment itself would be hostile and very unique. Hostile plant and fungi would also open a range of possibilities for new item abilities. A machete for instance, gaining 20% dmg bonus vs plant.


I am not in favor of this idea. Too limiting. Low lvl characters don't need to be prevented from going anywhere, but if they want to venture out and get killed that's their own fault. And no machete = more damage bs, it's gimmicky. Like wtf does a machete have that my DAEDRIC CLAYMORE doesn't?
Post Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:58 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



Why does silver damage ghost but not steel? Nothing wrong with giving a tool optimized for clearing brush a dmg bonus vs the hypothetical plants. It adds variety. Also, the barrier plants would prevent low level characters from entering certain areas by being too strong. I'm not suggesting paths be literally locked out until a certain level. They would have to be killed first to pass through them like any other creature. but their size would prevent player from going around them. Similar method could be used in cave. maybe they release a cloud or there could vines over the ground trip a reflex to cause jaws of plant to bite.

http://www.coolfactsforkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/venus-flytrap-facts-for-kids.jpg

I'm just throwing ideas here.

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Post Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:45 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Miraclestone
Developer
05 Aug 2014



I don't think plants should be labeled as creatures unless they are such. That being said, I like the idea of some plants having scripts that allow them to be hostile but actually having combat with the plants seems a little silly. If we want hostile plant creatures that's fine but they should be able to move at that point. As for plants that can't move but are still hostile, let them be activators and containers with scripts that simulate an attack of some sort. We have precedence for this, in Elder Scrolls IV on the planes of Oblivion many plants lashed out at the player; Now I'm not saying that the fact that there are hostile plants on Oblivion means that there should be hostile plants in Morrowind but if we are interested in them then we already have a perfect example of how it can be done. Perhaps harvesting from the plant stops the attack or starts it, like picking a mushroom causes a poison cloud to appear or picking a flytrap causes it to become harmless.

And I agree with Iron, the machete seems kind of out of place. I know that Crossbows in Skyrim has increased damage verses armored but I don't think that idea is very Morrowind. As for Silver, that is only the starting point of the anti-ghost/daedra material types; a relic from Daggerfall's system. What you are suggesting is a weapon type having an advantage and I don't think there is such a thing in Morrowind.

Lastly, there aren't any bad ideas just some that 'might' not fit well. Keep firing Sasquatch Very Happy
Post Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:43 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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