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Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



Okay, so last Skype meeting we decided that New Ebonheart on Vvardenfell couldn't be changed.

The recap, the technical issues - explicitely excluding all other reasons for not changing the name - are as following (assuming Ebonheart to be changed to Yscadia):



0) Morrowind has no distinction between cell name and cell id. This is an absolute quantification and the basis for all the problems.

1) You cannot change Ebonheart's interior cells to the new name, since those were declared in another master file. So you could have Yscadia, Grand Council Chamber, which would be a copy of Ebonheart, Grand Council Chamber. The old cells would still get a DELETED flag.

2) That means that mods which make changes to interior cells will make those changes to cells which are deleted. This makes those mods sort of incompatible with TR and in need of compatility plugins to properly work. This affects pars pro toto Rise of House Telvanni, LGNPC Nerevarine, and the Unofficial Morrowind Patch.

3) Dialogue filters which filter for the cell "Ebonheart" will sort of 'cling' to the first cell with that name. The cell filters will update themselves to the new cell name and forcibly add the dialogue entries to the file that changed them. Note that this does not apply to interiors since the interiors technically are not deleted. Any mod that loads with the "Ebonheart" filter after the mod that changed it will default to the new Ebonheart, as they recognize these as the first cell (and will start showing up on the mainland with inappropriate dialogue, possibly overriding TR dialogue). This applies to LGNPC NoLore at least.

4) As soon as another mod changes the same cell (statics/landscape), the name will change back. As TR_Mainland is an esm, this is basically every single mod that adds anything to Ebonheart. That means the dialogue filtered for (Old) Ebonheart will show up in Yscadia again.

5) Depending on which cell gets sorted first in the CS, simply renaming the exterior cells back to Yscadia will not help, as the dialogue topics for (Old) Ebonheart now 'cling' to it. That means that all dialogue filters for Ebonheart are now in Yscadia and need to be manually changed in the plugin (or the compatibility plugin), meaning the entire dialogue entries are saved there again.




So we are back at the issue that "Old Ebonheart" is not an unusal name for a settlement. There's several ideas been tossed around:

1) Keep it as it is and blame it more explicitely on something (bureocracy? Varus Vatinius' vanity?). How would we do this?
2) Rename Old Ebonheart to Ebonheart and let Almsivi sort them out.
3) Rename Old Ebonheart to Greater Ebonheart/Grand Ebonheart/Xanth Ebonheart (for the dragon) and spin a tale more explicitely. Which name sounds better?

While techincally part of the Name Dedefication, I feel this needs to be discussed at length because it's been such a contentious issue in the past and it's the first time TR is discussing about intruding on the Mainland in a technically big way.

Edited some clarification about dialogue filters.


Last edited by Anonytroll on Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:03 pm; edited 3 times in total
Post Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:27 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
ihavefivehat
Member
20 Oct 2014



Here is my random lurker's take:

1) Xanth Ebonheart sounds too obviously made-up. Not a fan at all.

2) Greater Ebonheart sounds like you're talking about the Ebonheart urban area; i.e. the 'greater New York area'.

3) Grand Ebonheart sounds... okay I guess.

4) None of these names are meaningfully different from Old Ebonheart anyway. There would still be two cities named Ebonheart! Nothing would have been solved. Even if you name both cities 'Ebonheart', you will still have to explain it in lore. So you may as well stick with the name 'Old Ebonheart'.

I'm trying to think of reasons for the similar names. What does existing TR lore say about mainland Ebonheart? When did it go from being a Dunmer city to the Imperial-built capital?

---

edit:

Never mind, I found the [url="http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=24360"]timeline of Old Ebonheart thread[/url].

Here's an idea, or at least the start of one:

It is reasonable to assume that the Hlaalu (and specifically the Drens) were a significant influence in the building of Castle Ebonheart on Vvardenfell. Because it is essentially their ciy, Hlaalu would ideally like to see the Vvardenfell Ebonheart become the new locus of Imperial power in Morrowind. This would allow them to further tighten their grasp on the Imperial bureaucracy. Thus they had the Imperial Proconsul push through a decree changing the names of the cities. Maybe they plan on eventually migrating other Imperial government bodies to the new city as well?
Post Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:03 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Ebonheart-on-Thirr was also suggested during the meeting, paired with the idea that NPCs could commonly refer to the newer Ebonheart as Ebonheart-on-Vvardenfell in dialogue.

I don't think any of the other suggestions are much of an improvement over Old Ebonheart. If we can't rename it to simply Ebonheart, to highlight its importance, then it might not even be worth replacing.

In light of that, How much trouble would it be to use the same cell name for both locations, and treat Ebonheart as a single settlement that happens to be divided by the Inner Sea? To accomplish this we could filter our dialogue using local variables in the scripts we assign NPCs. Our entries would go above all the dialogue filtered to Bethesda's cells, leaving the original topics untouched. Of course, we'd likely want to update their content to reflect the new lore situation.

If NPC scripts prove too cumbersome, we could name our exterior cells Ebonheart Castle and Ebonheart City as an alternative solution. Within the game, these would simply serve as overarching district names for different parts of a city referred to in dialogue as "Ebonheart" collectively. Our interior cells would then be sorted under those filters, giving us "Ebonheart City, Joe Imperial's House" instead of "Ebonheart, Joe Imperial's House" and so on. Now that I've thought it out, I might actually prefer this approach.

I think combining the two Ebonhearts could add a nice layer of arrogant weirdness to the city. Citizens could even claim Ebonheart is so great, not even geography could hinder its expansion to cover both sides of the Inner Sea strait. Call it an illogical symbol of Imperial dominance, showing the administration staking a powerful claim on Vvardenfell after it was opened to outlander colonists. We could keep Ebonheart-on-Thirr and Ebonheart-on-Vvardenfell as dialogue-only nicknames when we need to refer to a specific "district" of the city.

Do my suggestions pose any difficulties, Anonytroll? By now, you've proven to have a much better grasp of Morrowind's technical systems than I do, and I will defer to you for judging the practicalities of implementing them.

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Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:01 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



I don't see much reason for a name change at all. I think the 'Old' lends a rather characterful air of venerability to Old Ebonheart.
The argument was made earlier that when New York was founded, York didn't turn into Old York, which is a valid argument. But such conventions needn't necessarily apply in Tamriel. Also, while few real-world cities carry the 'old'-prefix, plenty of cities have an older city core, which usually go by the name of 'old town' or 'old [city name]'. If you think of Ebonheart as being one and the same city divided by the inner sea, I think this holds up perfectly.

Also, there are at least several examples of Dunmer towns or cities carrying the 'Ald-' prefix, isn't that generally taken as meaning 'old'?
Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:25 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Seneca37
Lead Developer
10 Feb 2014



I have no problem with the name Old Ebonheart.

The town that was there before the start of the 3rd Era was called Ebonheart. When the armistice was signed and the city burnt to the ground, I can see Vivec giving that area to the Imperials. The Imperials, trying to be recognizant of the losses the Dunmer endured, named the new city "Old Ebonheart".
Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:44 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

The main criticism of Ebonheart-on-Thirr, which I think is quite fair, is that Ebonheart is not actually on the Thirr.

An issue I hadn't considered (there are probably several) about naming both settlements simply 'Ebonheart' is travel; even if the two have a teleport link or something, I don't think it's good design for players not to know where they'll end up when they choose to travel to 'Ebonheart'.

My only issue with Seneca's suggestion is that Ebonheart doesn't sound like a Dunmer place name; it's otherwise the best reason I've heard for Ebonheart to be referred to as 'old'.
Of course, Ebonheart could be an old Imperial name for the original Dunmer settlement and I think the idea would work just as well, only making the Imperials seem more out of touch. So even better.

I do also like Yeti's idea, though; except that the castle in Vvardenfell-Ebonheart is already called Castle Ebonheart, (though it bears mentioning: only in dialogue and two books), so Old Ebonheart Castle would have to be called something different, or we rename Castle Ebonheart.

Now that good (at least in my opinion) arguments exist for both sides of the argument, I'd really be fine with either. The main things that this discussion has confirmed for me are: 1. changing Ebonheart-on-Vvardenfell's name would be far more trouble than it's worth, and 2. Ebonheart-on-Vvardenfell needs a more specific name than just 'Ebonheart' in dialogue, whether that name is Ebonheart-on-Vvardenfell or maybe Castle Ebonheart (ideally Old Ebonheart Castle would be given a different name in this case) or something else unambiguous with 'Ebonheart' in it.
To that end, if we ever use 'Ebonheart' by itself in dialogue, I think it should refer to both Ebonhearts; maybe just use 'Ebonhearts' instead.
Edit: and the 'Ebonheart' topic should probably have a line to clear up the issue, at the very least for savants.

On which note I am in favour of linking the settlements via dialogue; some NPCs might treat them as two settlements, others as one, though always making it clear that it's geographically divided.
Actually, I'd find it interesting if Vvardenfell-Ebonheart were named Ebonheart to exploit some sort of loophole in establishing the settlement; perhaps the Imperials wouldn't have normally been allowed to build a castle in that location (not surprising as it's next to Vivec), but by calling it a legal extension of the city of Ebonheart under articles so-and-so of the Armistice itself, (or perhaps a separate sub-agreement dealing specifically with details pertaining to Imperial control of Ebonheart), they managed to get away with it.

Edit: As I feel the above was a little disorganized, I basically think we need to set a clear stance for three specific place names:

Ebonheart, called Castle Ebonheart in vanilla dialogue, which is on Vvardenfell: "Castle Ebonheart is a pair of forts on adjacent islands on the Systata Lagoon west of Vivec City."
Old Ebonheart, or going with Yeti's proposal Ebonheart City.
Old Ebonheart Castle, which I personally think is a rather bland name too similar to Castle Ebonheart, but not the end of the world either; or going with Yeti's proposal Ebonheart Castle.

Either alternative, Old Ebonheart or Ebonheart City, is fine as far as I'm concerned. I think I prefer Ebonheart City at the moment, but not by much.
Castle Ebonheart and Old Ebonheart Castle, or even worse Ebonheart Castle, I'm currently a good deal less comfortable with.
And, as I state above, I think Ebonheart on its own is just confusing and inconvenient at this point, and should probably be avoided in dialogue.


Last edited by Gnomey on Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:17 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



Quote:
Do my suggestions pose any difficulties, Anonytroll? By now, you've proven to have a much better grasp of Morrowind's technical systems than I do, and I will defer to you for judging the practicalities of implementing them.
You overstate my expertise. I just ran into basically the same issue when I made Anthology Solstheim - all of the dialogue screwed up because the cities were at new cells and nothing but manually overriding the filters back could change that. And I wasn't even trying to replace the dialogue with anything new as TR would have done. It's certainly an exotic problem that I'd think abot is intimately familiar with but few other people ever do anything which would cause these sort of issues.

I'm rather partial to just changing "Old Ebonheart" to "Ebonheart", and do the dialogue filtering with the scripts TR always attaches to NPCs for map filtering. So probably same as Yeti.
This could still possibly run into issues with new dialogue for "Ebonheart" overriding TR's (i.e. LGNPC NoLore and possibly others), but it gets rid of the worst problems of dialogue filters clinging to the wrong cells.

In-game I think Gnomey pointed out that the two Ebonhearts are really far away. I find that to be a surmountable problem (the Imperial City from one end to the other is still wider than this distance, and it's by sea where travel is faster) and it's sensical that this confuses the hell out of people - it did confuse the guys who make the maps in the Empire, at least.

It's still a headache that will have to be carried forward, so no matter how much I'd prefer it, I think it's only worth it if there's a really good payoff and I just don't see it. So I suggest blaming everything on Varus Vatinius and keeping Old Ebonheart as it is (Ebonheart on Vvardenfell is at best 12 years old after all and he's a pretty massive douche).

EJRS is right, too: Ald is tossed around quite a bit (Ald Daedroth, Ald-ruhn, Ald Velothi, Ald Sotha), so maybe it could be Imperial attempt to make the name Old/Ald Ebonheart sound a bit less foreign to the natives. Maybe use Elder Ebonheart instead, for a more literal translation? And then blame plain Ebonheart on Vatinius still?


Edit: Now I see that I've been ninja'd. Shame.
Edit 2: Just felt that I need to add that since dialogue cell filters are always wildcards there's no functional difference between using "Ebonheart" or "Ebonheart City" when the filter is for "Ebonheart". It will still create headaches.


Last edited by Anonytroll on Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:29 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

The reasons I prefer Ebonheart City over Ebonheart for Old Ebonheart (ugh that sentence) have to do with fast travel and as I think it will be the less confusing alternative for players in the long run.
Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:45 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



That's why I prefer keeping Old Ebonheart, using Ald Ebonheart or Ald Baan Fell for the sheer cringe factor, or switching to Greater Ebonheart - it's altogether the least work with the least technical issues in the medium term (until OpenMW makes cell id and cell name distinct entities or miracles up something for cell dialogue filtering, if ever).
Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:57 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

I support keeping the name "Old Ebonheart," not because the name is great, but because all the other solutions come off as rather confusing or unappealing. Also, changing the name just doesn't seem to be worth the effort, seeing that "Old Ebonheart," despite not relating to real-life city names, really isn't all that bad.

As a last note, I find that "Ebonheart City" is much too similar to vanilla "Ebonheart" and would surely confuse players.

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Post Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:58 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



In my opinion, this is one of those things that doesn't really need an explanation. As long as it doesn't make obvious un-sense, not everything needs to make perfect sense.

Explain everything down to the last and tiniest detail and you take away the immersion and fun of filling in the blanks for future players of the mod.
Post Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:58 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Quote:
Edit 2: Just felt that I need to add that since dialogue cell filters are always wildcards there's no functional difference between using "Ebonheart" or "Ebonheart City" when the filter is for "Ebonheart". It will still create headaches.
Wow, I didn't realize Morrowind's dialogue filtering system was that borked. Ugh, what a headache. Since there's apparently no easy way to improve upon it, I support keeping the name Old Ebonheart.
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Post Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:09 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Ok, so what we have:

Ebonheart was the Imperial name for the major non-Imperial settlement that existed at the site of current Old Ebonheart before the Armistice.
By the time the Imperials got control of the territory, that settlement had been destroyed, and the Imperials built a new settlement on top of the ruins which they called Old Ebonheart in reference to that older settlement. The official name of Old Ebonheart might still just be Ebonheart, however.
As the Empire became increasingly interested in Vvardenfell, they exploited a loophole in the mandate through which they were granted control of Old Ebonheart to 'expand' it to the other side of the Inner Sea. Legally, that expansion is still a part of Ebonheart, and is as such marked as 'Ebonheart' on maps and such.

Now having 'Ebonheart' be -- in practice -- two separate settlements that aren't even especially close to each other proved impractical, and no doubt has lead to all sorts of administrative and everyday mix-ups. As such, in common parlance, the expansion on Vvardenfell is called neither Ebonheart nor Old Ebonheart. 'Old Ebonheart' only ever refers to the main city on the mainland, so that's fine.

As above, however, certain issues remain:
In vanilla Morrowind, it's already the case that Ebonheart is often not referred to as such in dialogue, but rather as 'Castle Ebonheart'. Which is all well and good, except that I think it's too similar to Old Ebonheart Castle.

So the city of Old Ebonheart is just called Old Ebonheart.
What is Ebonheart on Vvardenfell called? Castle Ebonheart?
What is Old Ebonheart Castle called? Perhaps it could get a fancy name of its own? (Though I suppose we'd want to keep the 'Old Ebonheart' bit for dialogue filtering...)

Edit: for example, perhaps we could try to capitalize on Old Ebonheart as the Imperial-City-in-Morrowind and draw a parallel between Old Ebonheart Castle and White-Gold Tower? 'Old Ebonheart, Ebon Tower', 'Old Ebonheart, Ebon Tower Archives', etc. or something?
Post Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:50 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
10Kaziem
Lead Developer
03 Apr 2015



I'll throw my 2 cents in: I support keeping the names as they are: "Old Ebonheart" for the mainland and not touching the Vvardenfell version.

This is why:
- I don't think the current name is an issue, it feels natural enough to me.

- I have an inclination towards "if it ain't broke don't fix it." The "fix" here seems to be an awful lot of work and headache for not much.

- If we feel the current name needs an explanation, I think "imperial bureaucracy/ego/out of touch-ness" works pretty well.

I also think that "Old Ebonheart Castle" is fine. The words are rearranged and it has old in front of it.
Post Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:49 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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