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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I've decided to post this here, at least for the time being, as it's very much related to Project Organization. The topic of the next Skype Meeting will be Swiftoak's Tamriel Rebuilt Pipeline document, which I have attached below, but there's no reason we should wait before discussing it, hence this thread.

I should add a few disclaimers, however: as with a lot of Swiftoak's work, the document works off of the assumption that TR starts over from scratch, which we obviously won't be doing. As such, the idea is not for us to adopt it wholesale, but to mine it for ideas or, at most, establish it as an ideal we should strive towards but will never fully realize. In fact, a lot of what Swiftoak suggests isn't new; you'll find a lot of the same ideas here and here. We just haven't followed through with them.
There's also a lot of OpenMW and copywrite stuff I would personally like to see discussed, but which shouldn't draw all the focus away from the rest of the document, so consider ignoring those for now. They will certainly be discussed in due time, either way. Also, you can ignore the town and region bit at the end.
Above all, this document is intended to start a discussion, not end one. It's not currently in a state that we can use, and we're certainly not currently in a state to use it, but through discussing and adjusting the document we may be able to adjust and improve the project and certainly our workflow and creative direction.

Edit: I almost forgot the last obligatory disclaimer: the document is very long.

Edit: I have been working on updating the pipeline document to reflect the feedback from this thread, the Skype meetings and IRC. It's still in a rather rough shape, but I've cut out most of the excess stuff we've either discarded or will discuss elsewhere.

You can find the document here.
The attachment below is outdated and only included for context.



Tamriel Rebuilt Pipeline.pdf
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This version is outdated, and only left in to provide context to early discussion. Please use the link to the WIP above to see the current document.

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Last edited by Gnomey on Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:54 pm; edited 11 times in total
Post Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:39 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
DestinedToDie
Developer
22 Feb 2014



Interesting plan. However won't it bloat the download size if you decide to combine TR and Vanilla into 1 game?

I mean I already have Morrowind on Steam. Do I need to download Morrowind twice? What about my 30 mods that depend on Morrowind.esm and not MorrowindTamrielRebuilt.omwgame?

I understand future iterations of TR will require running the game on OpenMW engine, but why is it truly necessary for TR to not be a mod for Morrowind.esm?
Post Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:32 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sirrah
Developer
20 Feb 2012



From the pdf:
Quote:
Since there is still a dependency on vanilla assets, the asset file for Tamriel Rebuilt will be generated during the install process. A user must have a legally licensed copy of the original game (during install only), in order for the installer file to read the Morrowind/Tribunal/Bloodmoon BSA files, and extract the relevant assets. The installer will then combine the extracted assets alongside our own TR assets into a single archive file.
...
Since we do not change any major aspects of gameplay, it is also possible to backport other existing Morrowind plugins into Tamriel Rebuilt ... provided they do not conflict.


So, the installer will just need to be pointed to your vanilla install, as with OpenMW. With regards to other mods, it seems like most anything that works currently would still work under this proposal (though if we're ditching the vanilla BSAs this would definitely introduce additional problems).

I'm curious what the benefit to repacking the archives is, other than file-space, though.
Post Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:54 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Seneca37
Lead Developer
10 Feb 2014



One key thing not explicitly mentioned in the document is History. I'm sure it was implied somewhere but should be explicitly stated and discussed. This would include the overall history of Morrowind, and then the histories of each House.
Post Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:35 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Worsas
Developer
10 Sep 2005



The headache I have with this working scheme suggested is simply this:

How can you realistically elaborate detailled concepts in advance that will give you a 100% satisfactory result in the end?

Some things work well on the paper, but they need to be adapted sufficiently in the 3D space. This is an issue when implementing concept drawings for 3D models or adding locations that are just dots on a concept map and need to be turned into locations that look and feel right where they have been put.

Concepts sometimes look great in and for themselves, but they don't look just as good when implemented or they result in 3D models that look great individually, but don't mesh well with other environmental assets that are already in place.

Conceptualisation, creative freedom aswell as reviewing of finished work need to work alongside with each other and receive similar amount of attention. And there just need to be people that are talented and have a good idea of what the project is going for and how it can be achieved in a way satisfactory for most involved people.

In a very different environment (software development), the strictly formulaic top-to-bottom approach is being replaced by more dynamic, incremental working schemes, where specification and implementation are more interveaved and things can go back and forth between these two in the process.

Ultimately working on this all needs to be fun, too. This is something that can be endangered, if a preset plan leaves no freedom, on the other hand, it can be extremely satisfactory to implement a coherent vision, I imagine.
Post Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:33 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

After reading through Swiftoak's document, the top-down approach for production looks like the best fit for Tamriel Rebuilt. Our current piecemeal approach has caused too many complications, including discussions branching off into multiple directions without anything ever getting finalized. We need some incentive to complete these discussions in a timely manner. I for one would feel more motivated to contribute if we clearly defined the work order. Doing so would also give us a more accurate gauge of where we stand in terms of progress at any given time.

That being said, I would like to tentatively ask that direct CS work on the Old Ebonheart and Indoril-Thirr sections continue, for the benefit of those who are more inclined towards direct modding. They currently have the most momentum and are small enough comparatively that they wouldn't distract us too much from our overall production quota. They could also serve as a testing ground for how we implement our plans and content, giving us an idea of how the system will work.

As for the technical means for releasing our project, Swifttoak's proposal sounds intriguing on paper, but I'm not sure how feasible it is currently. We'd at least have to track down a competent programmer to pull it off, at least from my understanding.

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Post Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
ihavefivehat
Member
20 Oct 2014



This is the opinion of an outsider, of course, but in my experience it can be really valuable to pair planning with implementation. On projects with no deadline, planning can spiral into infinity. Putting something into the game can be a way of making yourself to commit to a particular vision rather than refining over and over. Implementation can also be a way of planning in itself.

I understand that to write the great house faction quests would probably require you to have the southern half of the mainland ironed out, at the very least. But maybe smaller faction quests, like local guild halls for instance, could be implemented before the grand plan is worked out. Doing so might help you to better understand what you want to see out of the game.

Like I said, I'm an outsider, but I've worked on projects with some similarities to TR. Then again, maybe I'm just being greedy about playing more of your awesome work. Smile
Post Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:25 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Biboran
Member
26 Sep 2014

Location: Russia

As a word of another outsider, I fully agree with the plan.
First work out completely, what to do, and then to start doing it. The idea to realize quests after the implementation of the landscape is also a good idea.
Post Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:59 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
aRenfrow
Member
28 Feb 2015



I would have to agree, there are more than certainly tweaks which must be made to the plan, but it sounds very solid as is, and I think it will improve not only the quality but the speed at which TR is created. The tweaks I aforementioned will come to surfaced as they are being worked on, and from there you will be able to realize the better answer.
Post Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:59 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
horus
Developer
06 Aug 2014

Location: Murica

I think that this proposal was definitely needed. All of the points in it seem pretty reasonable. Plan, then implement. Makes sense. Like others have stated, I am a little worried that we'll spend so much time planning everything out that we we'll lose momentum and everything will just fizzle out. That's an issue. Sure, it makes sense to have a solid blueprint as to what we want to accomplish and all, but there is the very real reality that we end up planning for the next oh, idk, five years. Or ten. I don't want that, and I really don't think that anyone else wants that, either. The only remedy to that that I can think of would be to create a deadline. Eek. Those are scary and a little unrealistic with this project. Perhaps we could have an open discussion period that lasts however long, then compile the results into something coherent? Idk. It could be an option.

I'd be really interested in seeing how the new CMS pans out. From the proposals description, it sounds very useful, what with having all the pertinent information about a claim right there. Of course, if we followed this plan, we wouldn't see it in actuality for quite a while. Once again, the planning issue. So there's that.

As Yeti said, the technical side of releasing content would be a little difficult to implement. But I have to say, it would be really cool if we could do releases every 90 days, just to show the greater Morrowind community that we're still kickin'. I was on reddit just the other day and someone had asked if TR was dead. To an outsider, we kinda look deadish. If they do any digging into our forums, they'll see that we are not dead, but certainly a little on the lethargic side.

These aren't proposals, just musings. I read the document late last night, so if I misread some stuff, please be sure to let me know lol
Post Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:15 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
aRenfrow
Member
28 Feb 2015



Just to give quick imput on one of the above mentioned points, releasing content every 90 or 120 days, would draw much more interest, and new modders here.
Post Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:41 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Mortimer
Developer
30 Jul 2010



One thing I haven't seen discussed is how far to either side TR wants to go between "Accurate representation of a realistic mainland morrowind" and "Area focused solely on fun experiences". On one hand you have simulator "games" designed to give users the impression they're actually in this land that could exist and is internally consistent. On the other hand we have games like Skyrim, where the gameplay and quest design is often entertaining albeit incoherent and muddled due to poor writing. TR should, in my unrequested opinion, be heavily towards the "simulator" side while still touching the "gameplay" side (this is a game after all!).

TR is wholly unique in its size and that leads to some unique predicaments such as TR's current lack of "end game" content, artifacts, etc. I realize that generating a living continent is at the top of the priority list but remembering to fill in some of that content with memorable items and enemies should be on that list too. Are all of these concerns and more already known and being covered? Probably! But as a Morrowind player (over modder) primarily, having fun experiences on top of an immersive world is what makes the game great, and I would love to use my meager skills to help accomplish that goal for TR.

[None of this should be read as "I know what's best" or "Stop what you're doing and focus on this instead". I'm just kinda mad I went through Kemel Ze expecting incredible gear only to find randomized loot.]
Post Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:30 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Cicero
Member
21 May 2012

Location: Earth

Mortimer wrote:
One thing I haven't seen discussed is how far to either side TR wants to go between "Accurate representation of a realistic mainland morrowind" and "Area focused solely on fun experiences". On one hand you have simulator "games" designed to give users the impression they're actually in this land that could exist and is internally consistent. On the other hand we have games like Skyrim, where the gameplay and quest design is often entertaining albeit incoherent and muddled due to poor writing. TR should, in my unrequested opinion, be heavily towards the "simulator" side while still touching the "gameplay" side (this is a game after all!).

TR is wholly unique in its size and that leads to some unique predicaments such as TR's current lack of "end game" content, artifacts, etc. I realize that generating a living continent is at the top of the priority list but remembering to fill in some of that content with memorable items and enemies should be on that list too. Are all of these concerns and more already known and being covered? Probably! But as a Morrowind player (over modder) primarily, having fun experiences on top of an immersive world is what makes the game great, and I would love to use my meager skills to help accomplish that goal for TR.

[None of this should be read as "I know what's best" or "Stop what you're doing and focus on this instead". I'm just kinda mad I went through Kemel Ze expecting incredible gear only to find randomized loot.]




I agree. Having a huge landmass such as TR is great. But non of it is memorable without anything interesting to find. Otherwise no one will want to go anywhere. The challenge here I guess is that TR landmass will need about 3X more artifacts/special characters/hidden areas, and possibly easter eggs than that of vvardenfell, because of it being 3X more landmass.

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Post Tue Aug 04, 2015 2:57 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1

I've only just read the document and I'm still figuring out my thoughts, but there is something I'd like to mention right away.
The list of Supplementary Documents already includes some lore on the various faction/locations/etc, whether that be their character, their story or their mere existance. This is something I really think we should avoid. If the Master Plan comes before all else, why do we already have the Supplementary Documents partially written?

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The death of vanilla Morrowind will end this prophecy and unite all Morrowind fans again under one mod, one faith, one rule by our divine project. The puppet Morrowind overhaul mods will lay down their arms and bow to our will. Those who do not yield will be destroyed.
Post Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:33 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



I get the impression from this document that Swiftoak is returning? I haven't been at all active on the IRC for a year or so, so this might not be news to others?

There was a ton of good stuff in the document. I'm gonna post just the concerns I have with it for the upcoming Skype meeting which --this time-- I'm hoping to join.

I like that we're aiming to be more efficient and do things better than before, but I wouldn't want to risk creativity and having fun whilst modding for the sake of efficiency. This is something that Worsas already pointed out. It's definitive statements like these that worry me:

"There will be a point [...] in which we will no longer accept any literature submissions.

and

"Once this step is complete, no more quest proposals will be accepted [...]"

I do admit that I unfairly just cherry picked the above sentences, took them out of the context and read them deliberately in the worst possible way. I just want to make sure that while I think solid planning is good we must be able to make exceptions in case of plans changing or someone having an awesome idea for a new quest or an NPC or a Temple shrine or something. Declaring "Absolutely more quests in town X!" or "No more books!", I think, is something that will deter people from participating in the first place. (Also, I can assure you that never in the history of the entire goddamn universe will we ever be in a situation where there's too many books)

The latest concept map looks neat, though I would like to have it settled once and for all: will OE be made an island on the Thirr delta, or will it remain as it currently is? We should make up our minds and not have two different versions (the actual in-game version and the concept map) floating around. Either way is really fine by me.


My only *real* concern is how will TR survive another major reorganization when we've just beginning to learn how to work under the new Sections and lead/senior developer hierarchies. 2014 was pretty silent due to it. If 2015/2016 is the same I fear we might lose a bunch of potential modders who would join if they saw us releasing new content (I believe there's a spike in new members after every new update). Planning is good and necessary, yes, but we're lacking the manpower to execute our plans. That's bitter; gods and fates are cruel. I'm fully agreeing with Yeti that the work on Old Ebonheart and the Indoril-Thirr (I'd even say that the whole lower Thirr region) should continue as normal, because that's where we've got some progress made. I'm hoping we could perhaps have an Indoril-Thirr--Old Ebonheart release sometime in late 2015/early 2016 to lure in a few new modders and show the community that the wheel's still spinning.

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stars are out tonight.
Post Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:22 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Lots of excellent feedback. Sorry that I have taken so long in replying to your posts. And sorry for replying now with such a long post; it might be more helpful to read it as a series of replies to individual posts, which is certainly how I've written it.

---
seneca37 wrote:
One key thing not explicitly mentioned in the document is History. I'm sure it was implied somewhere but should be explicitly stated and discussed. This would include the overall history of Morrowind, and then the histories of each House.
Good point. I think we should start figuring out the major history, loosely, from the very start, in the Master Plan (what Swiftoak calls the foundation document), and then fill out most of the relevant bits of history in the first phase when writing the documents, into the conceptualization phase. Minor details with little or no broader relevance can then be added later, pretty much all the way through to -- and including -- implementation.

---
Worsas wrote:
[...]
As discussed via IRC, the idea is to establish a rough plan to start with -- the Master Plan -- and then progressively focus in on details as we continue down the production line until we get to, say, an interior developer fleshing out a Redoran hut. So basically, rather than concentrate creative input at either end of the pipeline, we want to stretch it out almost the whole way through. I do agree that it's important we remain relatively flexible and give developers space to work with.
Putting that more generally, every document establishes the rough framework of its topic, which is to be further expanded on and elaborated on later on down the line. I don't think any of them should be treated as absolute. Prior documents should be followed closely enough to be broadly accurate; retroactively altering the documents should be avoided as far as possible, inasmuch as it may affect other aspects of the project that have already been worked on. However, those prior documents should be framed in broad enough terms to give us plenty of room to play around in.

---
Yeti wrote:
That being said, I would like to tentatively ask that direct CS work on the Old Ebonheart and Indoril-Thirr sections continue, for the benefit of those who are more inclined towards direct modding.
I agree these should be kept active for the reason you state. That being said, as I'll post more visibly elsewhere and as Swiftoak noted in the latest draft for the forum restructure here, I do think we should try to avoid planning in the sections in favour of using them for pure implementation. It may be unavoidable for the time being; planning in the section forums is certainly preferable to not planning at all. However, I've come to think that the initial reluctance to post anything in the Master Planning forums after the site restructure in favour of doing everything in the section forums is a large part of what lead to us adopting a more patchwork approach again as opposed to the very methodical top-down approach the project restructure was intended to introduce.

---
ihavefivehat wrote:
On projects with no deadline, planning can spiral into infinity.
This is certainly a risk. TR tends to teeter between hastily implementing stuff without proper planning and discussion and planning and discussing stuff at length without ever getting around to implementing it. Hopefully keeping the two sections active as above will provide enough of an outlet for implementation so that we can properly plan things out, though specifically keeping interior developers busy on those two sections might prove a challenge, to say the least.
While you are right that "[p]utting something into the game can be a way of making yourself to commit to a particular vision", from my observation this has not worked out for TR. It's not just a matter of us no longer being satisfied with earlier iterations as our standards increase; often, the new iterations don't even meet the standards of the time, as has in my opinion been the case with Almalexia. (And I don't see that shortcoming as being the fault of any individual or anything silly like that; it's the fault mainly of a lack of cohesive project-wide direction, which we are attempting to establish).
A more current issue -- without going too deeply into it for the time being, as I do plan to return to it in detail later in the appropriate thread -- is the Thirr River Valley, for instance, which -- in its original planning document which was never expanded on and is hard to find to this day -- is described as an alluvial plain, but on even cursory inspection does not resemble one at all. I don't think we need to change the TRV; rather, I think we should change the planning document at this point, as I see an -- in my opinion -- equally interesting way of handling the region without having to pretty much literally level it. But the point still stands: if you look closely at what we have been working on over the past year intermittently, while working on planning documents intermittently, you'll see a lot of inconsistencies and contradictions. It may be possible to plan and implement at the same time, but I don't think we're good at it, as much as we seem to favour the approach.

But, as I touch on above, the hope is that, through a long-overdue cleaning up and streamlining of the forums, as well as a bit of healthy reorientation through this discussion and others, we will have a clear set of goals and a clear approach to meeting those goals, and will be able to better avoid going in circles, which I think has been pretty hard to avoid with the forums in the current messy state. The Skype meetings have shown their ability to bring movement to discussions; once we've ironed out how to handle the summaries (I've been lax on that end to this day) and have agreed on a project pipeline, we will hopefully be able to just move along the pipeline through the Skype meetings (and naturally simultaneous forum discussion), taking as much time as needed on each topic.

Specifically, to bring this lengthy reply to an end, on the idea of doing the minor questlines earlier, that idea I very much disagree on. I actually think that, if anything, it would be preferable to implement the major questlines first, planning as we go, which is not to say I think that's a good idea either. At least as of this post, the plan is not for minor factions to be filler material disconnected from the rest of the world, as factions are in Oblivion and Skyrim. (At least in my opinion). Major factions, while we do want them to interact with each other and the broader world around them, are by and large monoliths, creating the foundations of Morrowind and supported almost only by their own weight. The minor factions build off of the major ones and further explore specific aspects of the major factions as well as Morrowind at large. As such, they need to work around what the major factions have already established, and need to come later.

---

As far as periodic releases are concerned, my personal vote goes for every 90 days to start with. We'll then have to see if that works out or whether we need to either lengthen or shorten the intervals between releases.

---
Mortimer wrote:
[...]
The issue of simulation versus gameplay has come up before, but we haven't really been able to have an in-depth discussion about it. I'm not sure what you specifically mean by a realistic mainland Morrowind; we do certainly want to focus on immersion and worldbuilding, and with it consistency, but not really on the level of simulation, as I understand the term. I would expect a simulation -- at least a thorough one -- to include children and toilets, for instance, which Morrowind has quite often been noted as lacking. Naturally they should exist, but we have no compelling reason to represent them, so we don't. Which could admittedly change.
As another example, I have advocated making (relative to Morrowind's scale) vast swathes of Indoril territory tilled fields, which naturally wouldn't contain dungeons or, in all likelihood (actually, I just gave myself a few ideas) aggressive creatures. However, I only advocate that because I think it is necessary to the representation both of House Indoril and Morrowind in general, enough so to make large areas with little for the player to do (though I think we should counteract this as much as possible through quests and the like) worthwhile. I do not advocate having large fields around Imperial settlements, as I think those are not significant enough to require representation even though they should probably exist, aside from perhaps token representation like the tiny farm plots in Pelagiad.
As for your other concerns, they are known, yes; artifacts have seen quite a bit of discussion, for instance. However, we haven't really been equipped to properly plan that sort of stuff out, among other things lacking a clear overview and framework with which to approach such issues. A large part of this discussion is trying to ensure every part of the project has space to be considered, discussed, worked on and implemented.

---
Theminimanx wrote:
The list of Supplementary Documents already includes some lore on the various faction/locations/etc, whether that be their character, their story or their mere existance. This is something I really think we should avoid. If the Master Plan comes before all else, why do we already have the Supplementary Documents partially written?
Yes, this is rather awkward. The supplementary documents are already written because we didn't fully follow through on the structure overhaul. We're trying to fix that, though I don't think the last year has gone to waste or need go to waste as a result. I think we'll just need to find a good way to integrate the ideas of the supplementary documents with the Master Plan, though it is possible we may need to adjust the supplementary documents a little as well. I do think we had a vague Master Plan in mind when designing the supplementary documents, so I don't think they'll be too hard or inconvenient to reconcile. I suppose we shall see, though.
I personally think we should first focus on the Master Plan, ignoring the supplementary documents as much as possible, and then compare the Master Plan to the documents and figure out how to reconcile them, adjusting either as necessary but giving preference to the Master Plan, keeping in mind that, as above, the Master Plan shouldn't be too restrictive in its language in the first place.

---
Rats wrote:
[...]
I actually mentioned a few of these points to Swiftoak via Skype. The limit to quests comes at the very end of the production stage before we move over to final testing and release, so in that context I do think it's reasonable, though we could certainly consider including content like new quests in later patches of TR. Basically, we only stop creating quests when we've finished TR and are ready to prepare it for its full release. I'll be very happy if we get that far, and we can discuss creating further quests then. Razz

With books, I'd add the caveat that general books one would expect to find anywhere are meant. Unique books for specific interiors, quests, etc. could and should still be added as long as quests are, so basically to the end and maybe past it, depending. So I think it's more of a practical limitation. If we add a broadly-circulated Imperial military manual for legionnaires serving in eastern Tamriel, for instance, we'd want to have it written before we create Imperial Legion interiors, so that we don't have to go back and add it in. Naturally to an extent this is already unavoidable at this juncture, (which is where the document describing an ideal comes in), and I don't think we should adhere to it too strictly either way, but I think that is the principal.

As to your last point, that's clearly a concern. One of several issues with the last restructure is that a lot of the old halfway group -- both newly-created lead and newly-created senior developers -- became inactive relatively soon after the restructure, especially people like Adanorcil who had planned the restructure and were perhaps most aware of how we needed to move forwards.
While I know most of us read the TR Structure Overhaul post and much of the discussion preceding it, and perhaps even took part in the prior Skype meetings, we certainly didn't follow it afterwards. And as a result of not following the plan, I think that, after an initial burst of progress in the section forums, we sort of lost our plot and got muddled entirely, only gradually reorienting ourselves.

So I don't think it's a problem as long as we pay attention to these discussions and documents and refer back to them later, and as long as half of us don't up and leave in the coming months. In short, largely a matter of chance. I am not planning to leave the project anytime soon, however, and intend to nag people extensively if they don't keep to the plan we agree on, and hopefully Swiftoak and everyone else will be around to do the same.

As far as Swiftoak is concerned, though, while he has been appearing in Skype meetings, is helping a lot with forum administration and in general has been helping the project along, he doesn't want to make a return to the forums (really he wants us to abandon the forums entirely) or get deeply involved in the project again. And yes, he's not seeing a lot of success with the latter...

Edit: I should stress that I see this less as another restructure and more as starting to pay attention to the last one. A lot of this stuff really isn't new.
Post Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:59 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

My eyes hurt.
I don't have much to add other than I think the proposal is great and that I agree with pretty much everything that has been written here. However, due to my lack of technical understanding, I only have an opinion about the steps 1 and 2. I look forward to the next Skype meeting and to start giving shape to the Master Plan Foundation.
Post Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:12 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Theo
Developer Emeritus
16 Dec 2004

Location: PRAGUE

This is just my 2 cents, but when I joined the project long ago I somehow expected that the ultimate goal of TR would to expand the experience of playing morrowind by extending it's main quest. After player defeats Dagoth Ur (and possibly Almalexia) what will be the further future for morrowind? Will there be an uprisal against Imperial usurpers? And what about disident priests etc.

Sadly worldbuilding (or worldspace building to be more specific) had always priority over narrative building in TR and the philosophy: let's do misc. quests first, than faction quests and then think about the main quest was only continuation of the flawed approach let's build exteriors first, then interiors etc. That is way too sandboxy.

I think that writing a sort of main quest, where player would interact with most factions and leaders of morrowind, choose his sides, forge alliances and create enemies and eventually has seen outcome of his works would be a great starting point.

Once mainquest would be written, the important characters and location designated and sketched out, it would be much easier to plan remaining content to flesh out those characters and setting in which this narrative takes place.

I believe a main quest would be a great starting point for an over-all masterplan.

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Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1

Theo wrote:
...Sadly worldbuilding (or worldspace building to be more specific) had always priority over narrative building in TR and the philosophy: let's do misc. quests first, than faction quests and then think about the main quest was only continuation of the flawed approach let's build exteriors first, then interiors etc...

While the implementation of questlines can only happen after the worldspace is complete, the story for those questlines will be written during Step 2. Dialogue will then be written during Step 3, long before anyone touches the CS. Though I will admit that this could be stated a bit more clearly.

_________________
The death of vanilla Morrowind will end this prophecy and unite all Morrowind fans again under one mod, one faith, one rule by our divine project. The puppet Morrowind overhaul mods will lay down their arms and bow to our will. Those who do not yield will be destroyed.
Post Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:42 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Theo
Developer Emeritus
16 Dec 2004

Location: PRAGUE

I know.

My main point is that quests also should be planned from top to bottom: Starting with main quest, following major faction quests to give more background on major institutions and characters and with misc quests serving as an icing on the cake, to help to characterize various regions better.

It is easier and safer to design minor quests, once it is clear who are the major players in the area, what is the big thing that is going on there etc. (For example, if you know that there is a struggle between hlaalu and telvanni for ownerships of eggmines, you may depict the influence of this struggle with a quest by eggminers going on strike, or being harassed by hired mercenaries etc.)

In parallel a design of the main quest will also determine major locations and places of interest to include and may spark creative process for worldbuilders.

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THEO
Post Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1

Okay, I can see your point there. I'm almost certain we'll end up writing stories in order of their importance (even if -again- it's not stated very clearly.)

As for starting the planning with a main quest: we don't know yet if we'll even have a main quest. But that's a discussion we'll have when we write the master plan, not while we're figuring out the new pipeline.

_________________
The death of vanilla Morrowind will end this prophecy and unite all Morrowind fans again under one mod, one faith, one rule by our divine project. The puppet Morrowind overhaul mods will lay down their arms and bow to our will. Those who do not yield will be destroyed.
Post Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:41 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Isn't there some old MW dev someone can PM or ask on Twitter or something how the planning/development went with Morrowind?
Post Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:22 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I don't think any of the active members of TR are in contact with any Morrowind devs, no; or any game devs in general, though that's just an assumption on my part. But either way we naturally wouldn't be able to adopt Bethesda's approach 1-to-1 even if we knew what it was, due to the different nature of our project and team. It would certainly be interesting knowledge, though.

As far as the mainquest is concerned, discussing it will indeed be done very early on, as part of the discussion of what the world we want to create even is and what story we want to tell. The first thing we will want to figure out is if we even want to touch the mainquest, which is by no means certain, but I'm personally in favour of expanding the mainquest, and have a pretty good idea of how we could go about it.
Post Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I've transferred over Swiftoak's TR Pipeline to google docs, and have started updating it; so far I've mostly fixed typos, cut out some of the appendices (I may remove the rest as well, but am in no great hurry) and have done a rough fix of the usage of 'Master Plan'. To go over the latter again: the Master Plan is a single document; our master plan. The planning documents are a set of documents including the Master Plan. The Master Plan Foundation was a draft of the Master Plan we are now phasing out.

Edit: as with Klep and the Master Plan doc, just tell me your e-mail address via PM or IRC private dialogue window if you want to be able to edit the document.
Post Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:08 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



Tamriel Rebuilt is dead and you are the carrion birds feasting on the corpse. Stop pretending otherwise. It's so terrible to see how you think you are doing good while picking at the glassed-over eyesballs.

The entire document is full of ivory tower nonsense of you will reorganise TR development to do it *perfectly right* this time around, which of course means a top-down developement and micromanagement. Because you are the first generation who can do it *perfectly right*, since those pesky people who were actually working on claims aren't around anymore. TR is a project of planners now, not one of doers. It does well to discuss with your equals, after all.

Who are you creating this plan for? An imaginary community that has largely moved on. Your own ego or delusions, I suppose. Certainly not anyone with a sense of perspective.

Throughout the entire document and the thread right here is the thought that somehow TR will benefit from top-down micromanagement, which a volunteer community effort does not excel on, instead of wondering how to get more benefit from the system you have in place *right now* (and had in place when I joined the TR IRC channel all those years ago).
Face it: the years of willing modders won't return, they are all doing Skyrim mods now and looking at Fallout 4. Any feasible plan will have to work with the assets you have right now (not that many) and aim to finish what is still feasible, eyeing a rework, pershaps a Tamriel Rebuilt: Gold edition way down the line. Tossing over the whole table in favor of doing it right will do jack shit.

Case in point: developement channels are not exclusive. TR would best benefit from a two-way approach: continue to create claims and storied at low levels (which are already demanded with the idea of "telling a story" when doing a single interior claim) and then weave those individual stories into a coherent whole.
This is TR's strenght: the little stories. This is also what Bethesda excels in - they did this right in Morrowind and did it well in Oblivion and Skyrim, but in those games the little stories were always overwhadowed by the all-consuming threats of Mehrunes Dagon and Alduin.

The niche for TR leadership would be to toss around a loosely defined set of "main and house storylines" and adapt them to the personas which pop up during the low-level developement. Or rework those personas if they don't fit into the loose story at all. The TR leaders need to be collectors and synthesizers first and foremost, after they delivered a weak and moldable framework.
You can even do this after all the cities and assets have been built - this is the difference between a game's v0.9 and v1.0. If you get to rework assets and cities during the process of forming your existing assets into a coherent story, all the better. That's progress!

TR developement beyond the current city boundaries would essentially be what real life is like: a story formed by the people in it, which are in turn defined by the guildelines set down by higher powers.

But TR is willing time and time again to just toss that developement model away in favor of a top-down master system which might work with paid or otherwise motivated developers - something TR at this time simply does not have anymore in sufficient numbers.

Rethink the entire approach. The assurance of how you will keep current in-developement areas around because of how much people who are currently modding them have invested in it should perhaps show you how divorced this entire thing is of common sense.

Also "Tamriel Rebuilt's final release will not be a plugin or mod that is attached to the vanilla game [...] It will be released as a game platform of its' own. as a completely indepent conversion".
You are so full of shit your eyes are brown. What the fuck happened to the TR I spent so much time in doing nothing productive (which I dearly regret now, however futile that is)? Has everyone been drinking Coca-Hybris lately?
Post Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:37 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I feel as though you're operating under a very large misconception. This is an ongoing discussion. This discussion was kicked off with the pipeline document at the top, but that document was never intended to be adopted by us. It was merely intended to start this discussion.
Both the pipeline discussion and the concept maps you might have seen floating around were more or less volunteered by a member for us to do with as we please, which includes discarding them. We are under no obligation to adopt them. They are not dogma in any way, shape or form.
While we're nowhere near properly discussing the concept maps yet, we are discussing the pipeline document, both here and in Skype meetings. And while the final decision on the pipeline document will probably be decided in the Skype meetings, (these forums are terrible for reaching conclusions), we will ensure that all of the points brought up here are properly considered, and that the results of the meetings will be communicated to the forums so that people who couldn't make it to the meeting can provide further feedback. If one thing is clear, it's that the document will not be adopted in its current state.
All of this is being done openly; we leads aren't really discussing anything behind the scenes, except idly in private Skype or IRC chats or something, and are certainly not making any decisions behind the scenes. That is no longer how we operate. Anyone can join the Skype meetings, anyone can post here -- as you have -- and anyone can influence our final decision.
Which also means that all of the decisions we have actually made in the past few months (someone correct me if I'm wrong) have been the result of open discussions in which non-leads have taken part and have influenced our final decisions.

Our membership is very small, and it very well may continue to shrink. It may disappear entirely as well. I think we're all aware of the possibility. But as it shrinks, that also means it becomes easier for the project to organize itself, for everyone to have a say in any given matter, and it becomes increasingly possible for us to try and please everyone still working on the project, and take their concerns and desires into consideration. And the goal is not necessarily so much completing the project -- I think most if not all of us are well aware that that may never happen, above all the fellow who wrote the document -- but to at least enjoy the process of working on it.

So, to shortly address your points:
-I actually -- at least insofar as it may apply to me -- find the carrion bird analogy pretty fair. While I do want to see the project move forward and make some progress, my primary interest is that I keep enjoying to work on the project and, ideally, that everyone else does as well. To me, actual progress is secondary to that. If we get our fill and abandon ship, as long as we enjoyed working on TR while it lasted, I wouldn't really consider that too bad of a result. Though I'm certainly not planning to go anywhere anytime soon.
-you're right that the document assumes we'd do everything perfectly right. A large part of this discussion is to make it more realistic. And the input of the remaining people who work on claims is very important to that end. Though a lot of the planners have themselves worked on and intend to continue to work on claims.
-the document does seem to imply top-down micromanagement, which I think was not intentional, but I don't see how you could think this thread advocates as much. Top-down macromanagement, sure. But even then, people have stated they want to continue working on sections as the planning is going on, which we are probably going to do as well, so we're not going to have a strict top-down structure either way.

-I also think you point to an issue: might TR have pushed away a lot of enthusiastic modders over the years? Certainly. But a lot have also been drawn away from the project for other reasons, such as the releases of Oblivion and Skyrim. And I believe that would have happened either way.
As a result, the people who are left tend to be people who see advantages in Morrowind that make continued work on a mod for it worthwhile; often people very deeply enthralled by its complex world and story, who want to see more of that, and in some cases might have big, ambitious visions they want TR to realize, at least in part. In short, the type of people who might want to emphasize planning and a top-down approach.
I think trying to act as though we were still in 2003 and using a pure bottom-up approach would be very unrealistic; there are much, much better projects for that. That crowd has gone elsewhere; perhaps, again, at least in part chased away by the planners, whether intentionally or not.
But that doesn't change the fact that a lot of the people who remain want to work on something more ambitious than a patchwork community project (no slight intended to such projects; they're a legitimate format, just not one I think works for us anymore). Certainly, those ambitions will likely never be realized, but I think it's better to enthusiastically work towards an unrealistic goal than unenthusiastically work towards a realistic goal.
At one point, TR was planning to use the Velothi set for House Dres, as that was more realistic than developing a new tileset, which we're really really bad at. Now, we intend to create a new set. Very unrealistic, but I think it's the right decision for this project. The people who are left would, I think, just not have the energy or desire to complete a Velothi-tileset House Dres, and if we're not going to complete it either way, we might as well at least work towards an interesting ideal.

-what if TR leads don't want to do what the department heads have done before them and try and collect and piece together an arbitrary patchwork of content into a halfway coherent whole? What if -- my subjective observation -- the very experienced and dedicated volunteers who became part of the core kept getting completely drained of energy and enthusiasm due to the thankless task of trying to clean up the mess left by the fundamental nature of a bottom-up approach, and the thankless task of continually telling modders to redo work to fit the halfway coherent whole they have constructed, and then uncovering issues in that coherent whole which make it a lot less coherent, going back, changing them, telling modders to redo work again, and on and on? What if a lot of the modders left -- often very good ones, and sometimes in a huff -- because they grew frustrated with the lack of clear vision and direction and mixed messages?
I do think the steady, ongoing process of switching from bottom-up to top-down planning has largely been pushed forward by TR leadership, often without the approval or even knowledge of content creators, and has no doubt chased off many good content creators.
But it has also been my impression that the core could not continue as it did, and as you suggest, and that it was slowly and steadily shrinking and falling apart, and that the leaders of the time came to the conclusion that TR's leadership was not sustainable as things were, and the structure needed to change. Because TR's leaders have also always been volunteers, and for a long time their task was not fun at all.
And a large result is that the core specifically decided against a hierarchical approach, which is why we're discussing this here now rather than in the hidden Administration forum or the bygone Halfway forum. (A forum that was hidden to all but a (rather large) group of regulars who were selected by common vote of the core and halfway members, and which, as the name suggests, was a transitional forum with the intention of making planning more open without making it completely public right away).
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:26 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
10Kaziem
Lead Developer
03 Apr 2015



+1 to Gnomey's comments.

Specifically: Yes, TR will probably never be finished, but you never know. We have Gog.com now, and OpenMW is continuing on. People who play Skyrim and Oblivion also go back and discover Morrowind.

Even if TR never gets finished: so what? Games aren't here because they are Serious Important Work; they're here for fun. So is modding.

Besides, in four billion years the sun will go red giant and envelop the earth, and everything you've ever known and loved will be incinerated. So have fun while you're here.

If you want to help Tamriel Rebuilt, awesome! If not, that's cool too.
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:35 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

After reading Anonytroll's post, I will admit to agreeing with most of what he has said.

The new pipeline system, unfortunately, seems impossible to me. Many of its ideas would have worked 10 years ago, but now I do not think they will. Morrowind is a 13 year-old game, and it can only get older, along with its modders and fans. Many sentences in the document are written as if our workforce is numbered in the dozens - but it is not. In the pipeline document, there are a few paragraphs on the topic of creating assets. They propose a new way for modelers to share their work. But think about the small amount of modelers we've actually had in the last two years. Have we seen any more than two or three full-time modelers? And how could these numbers get any higher in upcoming years?

Also, our current process of getting things done has not seemed to work amazingly, and an even stricter one won't do much better. This quote from the document is a pain to read: "A project like this requires an extraordinary amount of planning and preproduction before actual production can even begin". While resorting to the system from 3 years ago can only do harm, we shouldn't be focusing on planning as much as we are doing so right now, and we definitely shouldn't focus even more on planning. It has made very little physical progress for the project. Our numbers are shrinking, the showcase thread is not near as active as it used to be, and there are practically no claims up for willing developers. Is it really not possible to create a system capable of appeasing both modders and planners, AND creating quality work worthy for a release? We really should make one.

While the modders from 3 years ago didn't produce excellent work all the time, they still got great things done quickly. And an audience of over 50,000 ended up devouring the project's releases. By getting, quite literally, NO CS work done for extended periods of time, we will lose developers and followers who were once loyal to the project; and in return we will get a much smaller amount of people who might not have the required skills to accomplish the needs of TR.

Anonytroll wrote:

Also "Tamriel Rebuilt's final release will not be a plugin or mod that is attached to the vanilla game [...] It will be released as a game platform of its' own. as a completely indepent conversion".
You are so full of shit your eyes are brown. What the fuck happened to the TR I spent so much time in doing nothing productive (which I dearly regret now, however futile that is)? Has everyone been drinking Coca-Hybris lately?

I also very much agree with what Anonytroll has said here. (Although not as aggressively.) Why do this? How? Who do we think we are? We can never change the fact that we are just a group of modders. I don't know what we could possibly gain from making our final release a "game platform of its' own". It sounds ridiculous.

This project has been booming for over a decade. Over time, however, its developer count has become smaller and smaller, and overall it has attracted less attention. Could now possibly be the right time to begin acting as if we are better than a paid team of game developers? This is a team of modders (or planners), nothing else. We can dream, but I'm afraid our project will never have the time, people, and resources to pull through with this proposed pipeline. We may need another method if we ever want to think about finishing our project.

_________________
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. -Ayn Rand
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:39 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I've already addressed most of your points in my last post, but for the rest:
-yes, the pipeline as-is is likely impossible, which is why we're discussing and altering it.
-I think you misunderstood the bit about modellers; it directly addresses the fact that we can't rely on full-time modellers to create our assets. We no longer require modellers to go through the showcase process; they can just directly start working on asset claims, and if their work is good we will use it. The pipeline basically just advocates that we very clearly broadcast what assets need to be created so that any passing modeller will bite, as opposed to expecting modellers to scrounge around in our forums to figure out what needs doing.
-on the quote, I actually agree with it. A project like this does need an extraordinary amount of planning and preproduction before actual production can begin. That doesn't mean we're going to do it, that would be no fun, but we're not exactly making things easier for ourselves by doing production and planning at the same time. I think it will likely impede our progress in the long run, counter-intuitive as that may seem. But, again, enjoyment before progress.
-as for planning making very little physical progress, this is true, but the better planned something is the more quickly it can be carried out and -- generally -- the better the result. Again, there's no real drive for us to finish the mod; we have no deadline to meet, no budget to keep. There's no reason we can't plan as long as we like, except that quite a few of us like to mod, and like to see CS progress, which is why some of us will continue to mod as the planning goes on at whatever pace we find most comfortable.
-I think we're all very open for other proposals, especially if they can please modders and planners and as a bonus lead to quality content. But without a far more radical restructure of TR than anything that has been proposed in this thread, I personally can't think of a better idea.
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:55 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



gnomey wrote:
I feel as though you're operating under a very large misconception. This is an ongoing discussion. This discussion was kicked off with the pipeline document at the top, but that document was never intended to be adopted by us. It was merely intended to start this discussion.
You don't seem to understand me.
We are having this exact same kind of document at work (I work as a software engineer) - for the new software, written from scratch in an entirely new language (Java and HTML5 frontends).
This is not something you can in any way, shape or form implement in an existing software process. This is for something new. That you pretend that it isn't, maybe even to yourselves, does not make that any less obvious. You cannot do this without scrapping what you already have.

The fact that the bottoms-up approach drained people into quitting seems initially reasonable. I certainly understand that this was originally made by college-aged kids - ever since I've been here I've been a full time office worker and that's one of the reasons why I never really did much, personally, I'm usually sick of seeing code after word.

The problem to me would appear to be that it was too much work at once with the monolithic Maps. What could have been done (and was done to a degree later) would be to cut this into smaller releases, sometimes even just from one river to the next.
Cities should be the focus of an entire release. That way, there is tangible progress and not year-long processes with no end in sight. The lack of visible progress is, I think, what drains people most. Release often keeps people happy with TR and interested.

That's why this document and the thought process behind is the wrong thing, it's focused on keeping the heads happy and entertained enough to work by scrapping the entire developement process and replacing it with a new one. While there are not enough people around to organise anymore and those that could still work on claims spend their time getting their jollies in setting up a system of bureocracy.


As for the most absurd statements you made, once upon a time, TR was for making an actual mod, not keeping the people working on it entertained. This wasn't supposed to be occupation theory. That you and 10Kaziem apparently think that this is supposed to be TR's main focus and it doesn't matter if TR actually produces anything is too incredibly sad to put in words.


Actually, no I can put it in words:

A man and his friends come together one day. They take an old, broken down Citroen 2CV, defunct motor and all, and decide to build up their own chassis on top of it, repair the motor, and drive from Paris to Lissabon with it.

When all is said and done, the car begins moving slowly (they aren't exactly professionals after all, not even the guys who quit halfway through and tried to do the same rebuilding process with a Renault 4CV). Sure, the chassis fell off once due to shoddy work, but they implemented some changes and then they start to make good headway. The man is also not that bad of a driver. After a while, they need to refill gas. At a gas station in Creuse, the man suddenly has an idea: gas is too expensive, the car should be reworked to run on diesel instead. That's cheaper and runs better.

Everyone is enthusiastic (except for the guys who are sneaking off to work on the decript Fiat Lanta and the VW Beetle frame that the gas station owner is selling for cheap).

Some details are hashed out, but then suddently it turns out the missing rear window and the lack of working headlights is just indicative of a larger problem: the car designing process was wrong and needs to be redone.
In fact, buidling their chassis on top of a Citroen was a mistake that will not be repeated. Not that they will scrap this car (of course!), the man assures his friends, but when they get around to fitting in the missing rear window and new headlights (and patch up the flat tires they have developed in the mean time), the car will no longer have any parts of a 2CV.

And, ultimately, this car will be a hovercraft, the man decides, because then you can drive over water too and that's what a car producer would have done! He's also pondering about replacing the motor with a self-made wood gas generator, but keeps mum about it for now.

"We need to think like professional car producers. We must build the 2CV Citroen would have made," he says. Everyone agrees to this (or assents by keeping mum) and the design process begins.
Lacking a meaningful way of reaching consensus, they soon start quibbling over the proper silicon mixture for professional car tires and if Citroen should be written with e or ë. But that's okay, nothing has been decided yet, not even who gets to decide what.
It's an ongoing process, but that's okay because they don't really want to drive to Lissabon after all, they just want to keep themselves occupied, right? If the car is slowly falling to rust, they decide, that's just because they have not yet talked enough about the design process of their soon to be made 3CV (which is totally not going to be a new car but a reworking of their 2CV).

They are still standing there at that gas station in Creuse and it's getting dark.
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:12 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
horus
Developer
06 Aug 2014

Location: Murica

Well this has caused quite a stir, much more than I would've thought. To me, this is a simple proposal. Plan, then implement. But umm, here are more of my thoughts on the matter:

The pipeline document should not be implemented in its entirety. From a quick reading, I think everyone can see pretty quickly that that wouldn't be possible. A lot of the core ideas, however, could be very useful if they're paired with continuing section work on already started, incomplete areas. If our overall goal is to create a finished work, then that would be the best approach. It's less time consuming and wasteful to sketch up a blueprint before you try and build that skyscraper.

Like I've said in my earlier post, I think we do collectively want this to get finished, even if it isn't the primary goal. Otherwise we wouldn't be getting so worked up over it all. And not only that. We want this to be finished well. We want this to be enjoyable when we, the creators, play it. And in-depth, compelling, quality work can rarely come from a community effort like this without the proper planning.

As Kaziem said, this is for fun. Goodness, we really can't forget that. There is zero point for any of us to do this if we aren't having fun. Some of us have the most fun while working in the CS, some when planning, others when playing finished work. I think, though, that we all like doing all of the above. In varying degrees, of course, but even still. We want quality work in the fastest way possible, while still having fun. It's a hard balance to strike.

You're right, RyanS, we obviously aren't a paid group of game developers. But that isn't a bad thing. That means that we can do whatever we want with this game (within legal bounds, of course), so long as it suits our desires and vision of what a "fully landed" Morrowind is. I think that bit you were referring to was saying that if we are going to complete this thing, and we want to do it correctly, then we'll need to somehow incorporate Vvardenfell into our mod. He makes a good point by essentially saying that, if this does get done, it will be an entirely different game than vanilla Morrowind. And I think that is to be expected from such a massive mod like this. This really isn't just another landmass mod, but a hopeful realization of what Morrowind could have been if the developers had had the time.

Yes, we don't have the same resources as a game studio. We also don't have nearly as many modders as we did back in the day. People drift away and don't come back. It happens, and maybe that'll happen to everyone here. But I will say this: If we do want TR to get finished, we'll want it to be done in a way that realizes our collective vision of what Morrowind is. And the best way to do that is to first figure out what a complete Morrowind should be. And as far as I can tell, creating a blueprint first will help us do that.

Hopefully any of this made any sense.
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:20 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Just to run the car analogy into the ground, let's say the original man with friends actually wanted to drive from Paris to Beijing. Then various things happened, and the remaining group settles on driving as far as Moscow instead. But then as the group have driven past Berlin and are trundling merrily off to Moscow, and some people join the group and others leave, it begins to dawn on the group that hardly anyone left in the car actually wants to go to Moscow. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it mostly seems pointless. (My apology to any Russians reading this). They actually want to drive to Crete. And certainly, it's a long way off, and you need to go over water to get there, but all of them have always wanted to visit Crete, and completely gave up on Beijing long ago, and are not interested in driving to Moscow anymore.
Now should they keep driving to Moscow just because it's the most achievable or something, and even though they don't want to go there anymore? Who would that help? Moscow wasn't their original mission; at one point someone decided they should go there instead of Beijing, now they want to go to Crete instead of Moscow. Are they somehow now obligated to go to Moscow, even though they didn't feel obligated to go all the way to Beijing? If hardly any of them want to go to Moscow anymore, and the car will just sit there east of Berlin doing nothing, is there any harm in them tinkering around with it if that's what they enjoy? Should they give up on going anywhere entirely because it would require far too much work to overhaul their Citroen so that it can cross water, even though some of them really enjoy tinkering around with the Citroen and their grand motive fuels their enthusiasm, even if it is completely unrealistic?

Beyond that, you keep mentioning heads when we no longer have heads (silly as that sounds). The system was not to keep the heads happy, it was to do away with the heads altogether.
Have you read the Structural Overhaul thread? "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."
As I've said before a lot of the ideas in the document and in this thread are not new. We have, in fact, already attempted to replace the old structure with a new one without starting from scratch, and it's certainly a mess, and people at the time knew it would be a mess and decided it would be worth it anyway. We are just trying to bring the process we'd already started to something resembling completion.
TR was not doing fine before then; it may have appeared to be fine, as in practically dead, on the surface. But there was a deep divide between people with access to Halfway and those without it. Halfway was almost all planning, but disorganized planning; outside of Halfway was a mixture of discussion utterly disconnected from what was being discussed in Halfway and implementation following vague and sometimes shifting guidelines which popped up as if from thin air. Years passed between the decision that changing Vvardenfell would not be off limits and our announcing it; in fact, we only finally announced it after the structural overhaul, largely thanks to the burst of energy -- however short-lived -- that came with the overhaul. TR had already stopped properly functioning long ago.
It is functioning now, though, on a certain level. A lot of planning is being done, CS work is being done, Skype meetings are being held, and a lot of the members seem pretty enthusiastic. The mood is generally a good deal lighter than I remember it being before the overhaul. Does that mean we'll ever finish? Not necessarily, but at least it looks like we're not stopping now.
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:33 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

I see a community with plenty of active members having fun. Yes, we could use some more CS work so that everyone can have fun, and we're working towards that. On almost a weekly basis new members join the community, eager to contribute to the project in one way or another. It won't be long before we communally have set up a plan which will allow us all to do proper, efficient and fun work, including CS work.
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:15 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Worsas
Developer
10 Sep 2005



I think that it is great that discussions like these can be made at TR and that they are not authoritatively surpressed or that people are even harrassed about their ideas. It only matters that the discussion leads to somewhat reasonable conclusions. As already said by other members, the proposed plan is not being taken in its pure shape, it is used to spark this discussion and see what is practicable for TR.

I'm sometimes also worried that what I do ultimately only serves noone but my own development enjoyment and that the people that try it later will not really understand most of it and just be offput by the jerkiness of the game or things that maybe don't comply with bethesdas later lore. But to a degree modding is also learning and attaining of skills I may still use in other contextes and some people will probably still truly enjoy it when it is releaased. I hope so, at least.
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:26 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

I understand some of my points were addressed in your previous post. However, I still think that the points are relevant and can be further discussed.
Gnomey wrote:
-yes, the pipeline as-is is likely impossible, which is why we're discussing and altering it.

Yes. And I've been discussing the pipeline and suggesting we alter it...heavily. Or we can come up with another plan entirely.
Gnomey wrote:
-I think you misunderstood the bit about modellers; it directly addresses the fact that we can't rely on full-time modellers to create our assets. We no longer require modellers to go through the showcase process; they can just directly start working on asset claims, and if their work is good we will use it. The pipeline basically just advocates that we very clearly broadcast what assets need to be created so that any passing modeller will bite, as opposed to expecting modellers to scrounge around in our forums to figure out what needs doing.

My bit on modelling was actually meant to be an example on how we were running out of developers, though the example was used poorly. You can ignore that part of the post.
Gnomey wrote:
-on the quote, I actually agree with it. A project like this does need an extraordinary amount of planning and preproduction before actual production can begin. That doesn't mean we're going to do it, that would be no fun, but we're not exactly making things easier for ourselves by doing production and planning at the same time. I think it will likely impede our progress in the long run, counter-intuitive as that may seem. But, again, enjoyment before progress.

I don't understand how production in any shape or form could be bad for the project at this stage. Now I definitely don't think we should be creating entire cities or regions with no planning whatsoever - in fact those DO need very heavy planning. But smaller things don't need much attention. Cave claims? Tomb claims? Miscellaneous OE quests? These things can only attract new members, and do not, for any reason, need a pipeline system to push them around.
Gnomey wrote:
-as for planning making very little physical progress, this is true, but the better planned something is the more quickly it can be carried out and -- generally -- the better the result. Again, there's no real drive for us to finish the mod; we have no deadline to meet, no budget to keep. There's no reason we can't plan as long as we like, except that quite a few of us like to mod, and like to see CS progress, which is why some of us will continue to mod as the planning goes on at whatever pace we find most comfortable.

Yes, a better planned something can be carried out more quickly, as long as there are any developers left to actually do it. And while we have no set deadline to meet, someday we will run out of time one way or another. Some have pointed out that projects that get too attached to planning drift too deep into it until they disappear entirely. I'm afraid TR is at the early stages of this.
Gnomey wrote:
-I think we're all very open for other proposals, especially if they can please modders and planners and as a bonus lead to quality content. But without a far more radical restructure of TR than anything that has been proposed in this thread, I personally can't think of a better idea.

Then let's try to think of one.

Some people join in hopes of contributing to the planning of the project. But most people come hoping for a chance at making an interior or two, and the chance never rises. These people who could have contributed great things are pointlessly driven away from the project because they are not having a good time. When I first joined TR, I was put in front of dozens of interior claims. The time was a very exciting point for me, and was the only reason why I stuck around. Nowadays, developers will have to get excited over two or three claims, if they are ever put up.

This is a mod project. We don't have to be flawless. We're not better than other projects, or more talented. We ARE supposed to have fun, as others have said. However, not everyone finds months, or even years of straight planning fun. I, for one, do not. We do not need to put all CS work off to the side, as there are so many opportunities that do not need planning. I was told some yurt claims were to be put up a few weeks ago, yet I still don't see them. And I know they probably won't get put up, under the current system here at TR.

On the topic of old TR, I understand that it was a broken system back then, and that there was a line drawn between the heads and the developers. However, despite this, they managed to create amazing things. And they were always creating, which allowed for a larger, longer lasting team of developers. We absolutely should not go back to the old system. But if we allow for more than just planning to happen at once, this project will have a much larger chance of success.

Gnomey, can you share your thoughts on this apparent separate game platform? I'd like to hear more about it.

_________________
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. -Ayn Rand
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:47 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

I have the feeling that many forget that this has not been a year of planning, but rather a year of nothing. Just now we are starting to plan things so that we can actually get the ball rolling again, and with input (including all the input everyone is giving in this thread, don't get me wrong) we will get that ball rolling rather soon. Evidently things need to change, and what exactly that is, is what we are figuring out right here right now.
The assumptions that there will not be any CS work in the near future because of planning is an incorrect one. There are areas, such as the Indoril Thirr River Valley and OE which have most of their planning done, and on which we can continue working rather soon. How long ago was it when planning on these regions started and dropped dead, which resulted in there not being any work to do? A couple more weeks to pick that planning up again and actually get work done is in my opinion not too much asked.

EDIT: In reply to the many comments on "TR being a separate gaming platform", I don't see this happening, and I don't think anyone does, so let's just agree on that and drop the whole thing.
Post Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:47 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



horus wrote:
Well this has caused quite a stir, much more than I would've thought. To me, this is a simple proposal. Plan, then implement.
This is not an off-the-wall proposal. There's a context here where this (scratch everything, replan everything, make a full game) appeared to be an actual, practical solution from a Lead Designer.

And it got that oddly mild approval that is now part of TR board culture.

Gnomey wrote:
Just to run the car analogy into the ground, let's say the original man with friends actually wanted to drive from Paris to Beijing. Then various things happened, and the remaining group settles on driving as far as Moscow instead. But then as the group have driven past Berlin and are trundling merrily off to Moscow, and some people join the group and others leave, it begins to dawn on the group that hardly anyone left in the car actually wants to go to Moscow. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it mostly seems pointless. (My apology to any Russians reading this). They actually want to drive to Crete. And certainly, it's a long way off, and you need to go over water to get there, but all of them have always wanted to visit Crete, and completely gave up on Beijing long ago, and are not interested in driving to Moscow anymore.
Now should they keep driving to Moscow just because it's the most achievable or something, and even though they don't want to go there anymore? Who would that help? Moscow wasn't their original mission; at one point someone decided they should go there instead of Beijing, now they want to go to Crete instead of Moscow. Are they somehow now obligated to go to Moscow, even though they didn't feel obligated to go all the way to Beijing? If hardly any of them want to go to Moscow anymore, and the car will just sit there east of Berlin doing nothing, is there any harm in them tinkering around with it if that's what they enjoy? Should they give up on going anywhere entirely because it would require far too much work to overhaul their Citroen so that it can cross water, even though some of them really enjoy tinkering around with the Citroen and their grand motive fuels their enthusiasm, even if it is completely unrealistic?
That's basically reiterating the same thing I said (aside from switching mechanical failings with road trip goals) except you are somehow in favor of standing around and talking outside that gas station.
That Citroen is not going to Moscow, Bejing or Crete in any case anymore, it's standing there and rusting and the little momentum that it still has are squandered on people wondering how to get best back to Paris and start over. Somehow, people are forgetting that the main part is to keep driving.

Quote:
Beyond that, you keep mentioning heads when we no longer have heads (silly as that sounds). The system was not to keep the heads happy, it was to do away with the heads altogether.
Have you read the Structural Overhaul thread? "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."
Minor squibbling. Call them heads or leads or whatver, they are ultimately the compilers of the low-level claims.

And yes, I've read that thread. I also do read the Skype summaries on occassion, which basically are summaries of people talking endlessly about how to best scrap everything already made and rebuild it with something new and more exotic and no decisions being made. Nobody actually does anything anymore, it's just endless planning and here, now, a plan on how to best plan for The Elder Scrolls: Tamriel Rebuilt.
And I thought the thread with the imperial border fort where the discussion turned into what to replace it with when it was still in the process of being built was terrible.

I'd already gotten the very strong impression that not only Swiftoak wants to start from scratch, but pretty much everyone in the planning stage seems to. In essence, the Tamriel Rebuilt Skype meetings come across as inherently hostile to Tamriel Rebuilt as everyone there seems to see existing assets and works as liability. Sure, playing SimBureocracy can be fun, but when it revolves around how to be redo a decade of modding, then it's wrong.

This document though took the cake, it's so full of hybris it still boggles my mind.

I guess it motivated me to get my mic back out and install Skype (ew) so I'm curious what thse omnious meetings are like on the inside. Maybe I'll just cut my losses after that.

klep wrote:
I have the feeling that many forget that this has not been a year of planning, but rather a year of nothing.
Same point as above - the Skype meetings a symptomatic of a mindset where everything that exists is a liability and too much time is spent on waxing about how exotic and new everything could be if only that pesky TR mod didn't already exist and everyone had access to a clone facility.

I'll be interested to see if those few weeks you presume actually are a few weeks or if nothing happens in favor of more planning.
Post Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:34 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gringe
Member
05 Aug 2007



I'm formerly a regular follower of this project.

I myself have almost lost interest, and it's extremely disheartening to see what was once a beacon for the modding community covered by mainstream gaming media reduced to endlessly talking about redoing everything and making things more exotic and weird.

Opinion time:
The project doesn't need to be perfect your first time around. You aren't a game studio. You CAN tweak things indefinitely, and I'm sure people would love you even more if you do. But if there's nothing new being made, it will die.

Hopefully it's not too egotistical for me to say that I'm speaking from experience. I created a translation patch for one of the Fire Emblem games (mostly by myself at first). I got stuff done little by little and I set deadlines for myself. Eventually, people started to see that the project was active and came to help with the things I couldn't do myself because they saw it was getting done. I released more or less the final version with a few minor wrinkles. Nothing that couldn't be ironed out, though, and if I'd spent all my time worrying about that then nothing would have been done at all. I was enjoying it largely BECAUSE I was getting stuff done.

(Link to the translation patch project: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?s=e3b7a59b41c38d1f6cb5197f31bf5921&showtopic=41095&page=1 )

Now, Tamriel Rebuilt is on a much bigger scale, but the same principles still apply. Some planning is necessary, yes. My recommendation from experience is to set personal deadlines. This isn't a job, but the satisfaction of getting things done is very fulfilling. It also attracts new people, even if it isn't perfect.
Post Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I feel as though we're getting closer to the core of the misunderstanding. (I still think there's a misunderstanding here, even though even once it's cleared up our opinions will probably still starkly differ).

The idea of scratching our current work is, as far as I can tell, in no way related to the pipeline document; the document simply doesn't address that. Certainly we have discussed redoing Telvannis and Almalexia and such in the past, to varying extents, but that's not what the current discussion is about.
The pipeline does imply that, as a stage of planning, we would look at the work that has been done and reevaluate it in the context of our established vision and see whether anything is worth redoing and to what extent. But that by no means presupposes our redoing a bunch of stuff. Swiftoak's map does, but Swiftoak's map has nothing to do with the pipeline document or this discussion in general.
Also, again, the original pipeline document was not put forward as a practical solution for TR. Swiftoak made it for the heck of it, and it was posted in the hopes that it would start a discussion, which it has.
It has gotten that mild approval, but the approval has focused on the more grounded elements of the pipeline which largely were supposed to be part of our Structural Overhaul. Nobody voiced approval for, say, making TR its own platform.

On to the analogy, the difference is again that you say the people are trying to figure out how to get back to Paris to start over. They're not; they've pointed the car towards Crete and are trying to get it to go in that direction. Whether it will go in that direction or not is another matter, and whether it will ever reach Crete yet another, but the general intention is still to get further away from Paris.

As for nobody actually doing anything, I agree. I see the issue as a lack of organization and direction, to which I think a pipeline would be a very good solution. Skype Meetings have, in my opinion, shown their ability to advance discussion and perhaps more importantly reach conclusions, at least if enough people can make it to the meeting, but we haven't been able to adequately point the discussion in a good direction so far. So we're spending time -- one might argue wasting time -- trying to figure out how we can start pointing discussion in the right direction, so that we can start getting results from the discussions again, and can then properly advance implementation again rather than just continuously tweaking the section files without really knowing how we want them to look like at the end, which is what we've been doing for the last year, mostly. (Which I don't think has been futile, and I do think the sections have improved greatly, but at this rate I'm not sure if they'll ever get finished, as there's no real finish line).

As to RyanS' post, I'm certainly up for opening up more Ebonheart misc quests, though there are currently three up for claiming already. The issue with cave and tomb claims is a little more complex, and I'm not entirely sure whether I want to discuss it here in detail. I'm not completely against the idea, but not entirely convinced either. I basically think that, while the smaller dungeons need little planning, they still need to be planned to some extent.
I actually think some sort of top-down macromanagement structure will really help in the way of us -- if we wanted to -- opening up some interiors before their associated exterior areas are created or updated. We could, for instance, figure out the lowest number of Camonna Tong smuggler caves we will want in Hlaalu lands, and open up claims for them, adding northmarkers and linking them to the exteriors once the latter are done. That would be somewhat difficult and messy to do now, but think should be manageable with a bit of organiztion.

As for TR switching to a new platform, just to be completely clear, one of the 'ideal' circumstances assumed by the original document is that we have made the switch to OpenMW, which ought to show how the document wasn't intended to reflect the current realities of TR. I do not know how OpenCS handles plugins, so I have no idea how necessary or desirable the proposed structure would be. Nor do I care. We may discuss adopting it in future, for all I know. I'm not sure whether I would argue for or against it then. For the time being, it is irrelevant, and I don't really have much of a personal interest in the subject. Perhaps when I do get around to familiarizing myself with how OpenCS works I might form an opinion on the matter.
Post Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:21 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



Okay, for the record, after reading the revised document and the Skype meeting I'm mollified.
It certainly shook me into action, so I guess it was good for something. :V
Post Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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