A kind of crazy idea

Not about OpenMW? Just about Morrowind in general? Have some random babble? Kindly direct it here.
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ArashiAganawa
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A kind of crazy idea

Post by ArashiAganawa » 10 Dec 2018, 00:09

So, I know you wonderful folks have been working hard on this engine. With that knowledge, I assume you have an "idea" of it's limitations. Now, I'm a completely crazy N'wah and often ponder ideas that, to many, seem like a waste of time or just down right weird. The other day I had an idea that I wanted to ask about. What I'm asking is two questions I shall pose prior to explaining the idea.
1. Can the engine handle it?
2. Can such a thing be done in the OpenCS?

The idea I've come up with I've dubbed Morrowind Amplification Project, or M.A.P. for short. That was done on purpose, because the idea behind it. If any of you are familiar with the early thoughts on Morrowind development, the original game was to be MUCH larger than what we ended up with. I'm talking landmass. I don't know the exact size, but I suppose that's irrelevant to this idea. The idea is to increase the size of the island of Vvardenfell, and thus make room for larger cities, more towns and inns, more wilderness, and so on.

However, one can't just simple make the island bigger by scaling everything up. Instead, what I'd like to see done (not by you folks of course, but modders and someone who shares my passion but has a clue as to how to make it happen)... ehm... what I'd like to see done is each "biome" of Morrowind be separated, and land be filled in between them. Basically, cut Morrowind up, leaving Read Mountain as the center and anchor point, spread each section far away, and fill in the land with randomly generated terrain, or just bland land that will be given to modders to work on (something I can actually do that's not code based).

The island could be expanded up to 10X, or more, and then filled in with all kinds of things. This makes distant land even better, and gives people the chance to make places like Balmora much larger. There could be forests, swamps etc. The issues arise in having to move, and resize Solstheim, and of course, Tamriel Rebuilt would have to be taken into consideration. The other issue is, would this cause far too much strain on the engine? Would it lag out the wazoo? Would the game even start? Am I stark raving mad? Those sorts of things. This would also be a great time for modders to raise the land to make higher mountains (Make Red Mountain Larger) and make valleys even deeper feeling by raising the sides. NPC directions would have to be updated, as would sign posts, and many other things. The shore line would have to be reworked I suppose, to match closely to the original game, if anyone cares for that sort of thing.

Now, these thoughts may seem jumbled, and possibly hit and miss, and I know I've forgotten to say something I probably took into account before... but I have been working 60 hours a week recently and getting very little sleep, so I'm not as focused as I'd like to be.

I look forward to all thoughts on this, and I hope that such a thing would be feasible without making the engine crash. Mind you, 10X bigger is just a placeholder idea. The increase could be any size that seems rational and workable. Also, please keep in mind, this is just an idea, a concept without any backing or someone to do the math bits to make the land appear where it must. Just a fan with some thoughts.

-Kind Regards,
The Crazy N'wah
Wisdom ,without love, is foolishness. Knowledge, without heart, is ignorance.

CoolthulhuMan
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by CoolthulhuMan » 10 Dec 2018, 07:43

I thought about a similar idea a while ago, and though it's certainly possible, my (not very qualified) guess is that in order to get any decent results you'd have to do most of the work by hand. 10x scale is ridiculous, but even 2x would make the game massive (4x the area vs 100x). OpenMW-CS is currently not complete enough to do this, but it'll get there. When OpenMW-CS has usable terrain editing, I'd say your best bet is to use TESAnnwyn to upscale the terrain heightmap. From there, you could clean up the terrain in the CS, and then you'd have to manually move all objects and NPC paths to the right place on the upscaled map. It's impossible for one person to do all of that landscaping by themselves and I doubt an algorithm could do it well. But what we could do is have a community-based project where people assign themselves to one / a few cells that they could place all the necessary objects in. While they're at it, they could also add in a bunch of extra copy/pasted foliage etc to make the game less barren. Anyways, it's a cool idea, but unfortunately, the amount of modders needed to make it possible makes it unlikely to happen. Also, the walking speed would have to be massively overhauled and fast travel would be needed.

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Jemolk
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by Jemolk » 10 Dec 2018, 08:47

10x might be overkill, but I've toyed with this idea myself from time to time, even speculating about scaling it up to the size of Daggerfall (definitely overkill, but so cool if we could manage it). To efficiently pull it off, we'd definitely need new third-party tools designed specifically for the purpose, as well as an executable patcher, and pre-made alterations of things like TR and P:T. As to whether the engine could handle it, I don't see why not, though of course having landscape and static rendering distance set high enough for all cells in the game would probably straight-up crash the game even on the most powerful of systems even without loading the cells fully and good LOD usage.

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wareya
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by wareya » 11 Dec 2018, 00:03

Scaling up to daggerfall's size is effectively impossible because it would take too much space to store all the overworld data. Most local details would have to be procedurally generated according to a fixed seed, just like daggerfall.
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Mistahtokyo
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by Mistahtokyo » 19 Dec 2018, 00:43

I recall a discussion regarding this (with vanilla Morrowind, not OpenMW), where it was concluded that scaling the map horizontally messes with the terrain's look unless you also scale the heights a bit as well. However the max terrain height was capped such that it wasn't feasible. Red Mountain would essentially become Red Mound. Does OpenMW suffer from these limitations? Would it be difficult to overcome if it does?

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lysol
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by lysol » 19 Dec 2018, 06:14

Mistahtokyo wrote:
19 Dec 2018, 00:43
Does OpenMW suffer from these limitations? Would it be difficult to overcome if it does?
Nope, it does not. It's just another one of those cool features that has always been present in OpenMW, but without any content to show it with.
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Chris
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by Chris » 19 Dec 2018, 09:57

lysol wrote:
19 Dec 2018, 06:14
Nope, it does not. It's just another one of those cool features that has always been present in OpenMW, but without any content to show it with.
Isn't the height of terrain fixed? The terrain is specified using 8-bit values, so it can only go so high in either vanilla or OpenMW. IIRC, there are plans to extend it with new formats (16-bit or something), but since the heightmap is in the esm/esp files and is interpreted the same as vanilla, the height limit of the terrain would be the same.

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lysol
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by lysol » 19 Dec 2018, 10:00

Huh, I was sure that limitation was never built into OpenMW. But of course, the esm format limits stuff too.
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silentthief
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by silentthief » 19 Dec 2018, 16:12

Chris wrote:
19 Dec 2018, 09:57
lysol wrote:
19 Dec 2018, 06:14
Nope, it does not. It's just another one of those cool features that has always been present in OpenMW, but without any content to show it with.
Isn't the height of terrain fixed? The terrain is specified using 8-bit values, so it can only go so high in either vanilla or OpenMW. IIRC, there are plans to extend it with new formats (16-bit or something), but since the heightmap is in the esm/esp files and is interpreted the same as vanilla, the height limit of the terrain would be the same.
Messing around with tesannwyn showed that in Morrowind, there was an upper level that the engine held for how high the land could get. Anything over this got flattened to the top level.
sjek wrote:
12 Jan 2015, 06:47
Edit: limit in vanilla comes from esp file 16 bit nature which only allows values up to that 32 657 or so.
(quote from the height discussion here -> viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2694&start=17)

I think it was like 30,000? Not sure, but it did top out below one of the "magic" power of two numbers.

Strangely enough, the CS didn't have the same exact limit. The land could go higher in the CS than the engine. I don't know but *I assume* that there is an upper limit to the land height in the CS, as well as an upper limit to the vertical height that the land can actually go regardless of the engine or CS, based upon the data structure for land point height.

Also, not a dev, but I assume that there is a limit to what can be represented by the data structures in openmw.

ST the assumer
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terabyte25
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Re: A kind of crazy idea

Post by terabyte25 » 19 Dec 2018, 22:12

silentthief wrote:
19 Dec 2018, 16:12
I think it was like 30,000? Not sure, but it did top out below one of the "magic" power of two numbers.
Wouldn't we be able to to shift the terrain to negative values or is the height limit from 0 - (insert whatever upper bound of the height limit is)

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