Original Concepts for Morrowind

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austen1000
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Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by austen1000 » 27 Jun 2018, 04:46

I watched a documentary on the history of the Elder Scrolls franchise today. It mentioned when it was talking about Morrowind how grand the original concept was. This documentary was inspired by the video author's interview with Julian Jensen, the "Father of the Elder Scrolls" (interview linked below the text in this post, time stamped at 2 hours 49 seconds in, though there are alot of potentially interesting points in this 3 hour interview). In the past, I've only garned snippets of info on the original concept, namely to take place in the entire province, rather than just Vvardanfell, from Tamriel Rebuilt's description. Some things that stood out to me include the larger scale and the mixture of procedural generation & hand-crafted environments. I honestly wish this version of Morrowind came out, though it is understandable why it never saw the light of day. I wonder if some of these concepts could potentially be restored (not necessarily just what I've mentioned, and mainland is already being handled through mods).

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IGLGi5RK8V8&t=7249s

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Thunderforge
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by Thunderforge » 27 Jun 2018, 05:04

As cool as it is to hear about all the things that Morrowind might have had, it's also good to remember that it was already massively delayed and needed to be cut in order to prevent becoming the next Duke Nukem Forever. Heck, anybody who opened their copy of Battlespire found a letter with this tidbit in it:
And to answer those of you who are always asking how it is progressing, the next tour-de-force chapter in the Classic Series, TES III: Morrowind, is on track for late 1998 to break the barriers of role playing yet again and reward the player with a vast world beyond imagination.
Morrowind in 1998 would have been a considerably different game than the one we got four years later.

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drummyfish
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by drummyfish » 27 Jun 2018, 07:29

Thanks for the link.
austen1000 wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 04:46
In the past, I've only garned snippets of info on the original concept, namely to take place in the entire province, rather than just Vvardanfell, from Tamriel Rebuilt's description. Some things that stood out to me include the larger scale and the mixture of procedural generation & hand-crafted environments.
I personally don't fancy the environment procedural generation, it lacks the quality, the "feel", the cleverness of small added references, gets repetitive... even with the recent steep raise of AI I can't see computers being good at it in the near future. I really prefer smaller hand-crafted environments and am glad Morrowind ended up like this. Nevertheless procedural generation can be a good starting point for human work to build upon.

CMAugust
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by CMAugust » 27 Jun 2018, 10:11

We'll never know what Julian Jensen could have achieved with procedural generation in Morrowind, but it would have certainly been an an improvement over Daggerfall's, and continue to evolve over subsequent games. Maybe it wouldn't have been as good as the Morrowind we got - or maybe it would have surpassed it and given us something even better. It's impossible to know for sure. I do find it sad that Jensen's involvement ended how it did, and that he was unable to lead the series in his intended direction.

A true restoration of his philosophy by the community would require the development of a robust procedural framework and tools. At the moment I think the only active project to do anything like this is Daggerfall Unity, for obvious reasons.

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Capostrophic
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by Capostrophic » 27 Jun 2018, 10:56

Procedural generation was used for Oblivion's map. It didn't work that well.
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lysol
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by lysol » 27 Jun 2018, 12:24

Capostrophic wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 10:56
Procedural generation was used for Oblivion's map. It didn't work that well.
This.

As drummyfish said, a generated map might be a good start to build upon, but not a good final product.
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Atahualpa
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by Atahualpa » 27 Jun 2018, 12:36

I think that a large map with hand-crafted locations (cities, dungeons, other landmarks) and bigger spaces of procedurally generated landscape between those locations could create a really nice experience. Assuming, of course, that your algorithm is capable of creating nice landscape transitions.

austen1000
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by austen1000 » 27 Jun 2018, 14:15

lysol wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 12:24
Capostrophic wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 10:56
Procedural generation was used for Oblivion's map. It didn't work that well.
This.

As drummyfish said, a generated map might be a good start to build upon, but not a good final product.
I thought the only think that was procedurally generated in Oblivion was small things like grass, and everything else is handcrafted.

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wareya
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by wareya » 27 Jun 2018, 14:16

Oblivion's overworld started procedurally generated and was carved into shape by the designers.
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CMAugust
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Re: Original Concepts for Morrowind

Post by CMAugust » 27 Jun 2018, 14:52

We have Bethesda's word that their initial generated terrain didn't look great, and I believe it. To my knowledge we don't know what tool they used, or how they used it. We do know Oblivion received wide acclaim for its lush forests - all thanks to another procedural tool, Speedtree.

When it comes to hand-crafting and procedural generation, it isn't a matter of one or the other. All tools are ultimately artist-driven, even in the case of Daggerfall; the wilderness of the Iliac Bay was simply painted with a very broad brush (heightmap, climate zones, noise algorithm).

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