OpenMW: my thoughts on the way forward

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DassiD
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OpenMW: my thoughts on the way forward

Post by DassiD » 05 Mar 2019, 19:14

As we all can tell, the OpenMW engine is near reaching the stated goals for version 1.0
So before going into what’s on my mind, I want to thank everyone involved in this great undertaking.

One of the biggest discussions for what OpenMW actually is supposed to be, has been:
Should OpenMW be an engine for Morrowind, or be a RPG FOSS engine?
I’ve read what both sides has to say on the matter, and I think there’s merit to most of the arguments presented.
I haven’t actually been very concerned what way it goes, because Morrowind will benefit anyway.
That is until recently: Because now I'm convinced it should be neither.

OpenMW needs a new name and vision

Huh? Didn’t you just say OpenMW is almost done and will be great?
Yeah, and while that’s true, I’ve come to the realization that there’s an even bigger task ahead.
The reason OpenMW even got to be a thing, is that Skyrim and Oblivion got serious upgrades to their engine
which made Morrowind look lacking in comparison. While Morrowind fans agree that it beats the other
titles in storytelling and world-building, one still wouldn’t mind better AI, scripting and graphics.
I also think that’s why we’re seeing Skywind and Skyblivion gaining so much support,
because we want the games we love to evolve with the technology as it arises.

My idea for a new vision is not an engine for either Morrowind or indie RPGs, but an engine for all elder scrolls games.
Anyone who’s taken a closer look at the creation engine knows how Bethesda actually incrementally upgrades their engine,
often with bugs remaining generation ahead. Some changes come just to force in paid mods and resell an old game as new,
I’m looking at you Skyrim SE. All that while support for the creation kit and external tools gets decimated.
That is exactly why OpenMW needs become OpenES, because then we would be free from Bethesda’s whims,
and we could guarantee that free and open modding continues. That does not mean work on OpenMW must be halted,
but rather that support for newer games gets implemented in parallel.

As Bethesda releases new games, the community could quickly implement the necessary framework to make them run on the engine, while rejecting the bugs and anti-consumes changes that might come with. Graphical updates would no longer need to come from hack-like tools such as ENB and reshade, instead they could be implemented natively with much less performance loss. Ports of older games into the newer iteration of the creation engine would be negated by OpenES, as you could simply plug the advanced features into the new game with much less work than porting a whole game into a new engine. As a matter of fact, OpenMW has already limited support for ESMs and assets from later games.

To sum it all up

OpenMW has been a massive success and now that it’s near 1.0, we need to bring the same advantages to the rest of the series.
Transforming OpenMW into OpenES will make sure to community has an engine it can trust for great graphics, convenience and proper mod support.
Last edited by DassiD on 05 Mar 2019, 19:23, edited 1 time in total.

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psi29a
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by psi29a » 05 Mar 2019, 19:20

Who said that OpenMW was 'done', let alone 'almost done'?

It's FOSS, there is no done. :)

OpenMW doesn't stand for Open Morrowind.

OpenMW is an FOSS open world game engine, it was never the goal to be just for Morrowind. Morrowind was just a focus to get the engine along. It's been that way since the beginning when OpenMW was just an 'app' in the OpenEngine framework. (Seriously, that was the name of the abstraction layer that was later removed to focus more on Morrowind.)

The question is, do we adapt openmw to support additional games and keeping the OpenMW brand that we've had for the past 10+ years, or do we create a new app per game? openob, opensky, openfo... etc.

Anyway, we're jumping the gun here. We have a roadmap and design document and we should keep our nose to the grindstone making sure we can pull off the important bits: Morrowind, Lua/newscript, merging tes3mp.

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lysol
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by lysol » 05 Mar 2019, 19:33

To me, an OpenES-engine already is an indie RPG engine. An engine that could support TES III-V could of course be used for indie RPG's as well, as long as people make the assets required for a game. You could already make TC's in Morrowind which basically results in a new game, but it's kind of stupid at the same time because you don't have access to the source code and because people need to own Morrowind to play your game. An OpenES engine will not have these issues. In other words, the discussion "Morrowind engine vs Indie RPG engine" is kind of irrelevant if you ask me, since you'll get the Indie RPG engine for free anyway (provided you don't hard code stuff too much for Morrowind only)

So basically yes, I agree that working towards supporting the newer TES games would rock and would very much benefit Morrowind and whatever game you want to make in the engine too.
Normal mapped texture replacers, exclusive for OpenMW:
My Nexus page

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kust
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by kust » 05 Mar 2019, 19:44

Let's just reach 1.0 first.
Followin' OpenMW's progress everyday since 2011.

DassiD
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by DassiD » 05 Mar 2019, 20:39

psi29a wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 19:20
Who said that OpenMW was 'done', let alone 'almost done'?

It's FOSS, there is no done. :)

OpenMW doesn't stand for Open Morrowind.

OpenMW is an FOSS open world game engine, it was never the goal to be just for Morrowind. Morrowind was just a focus to get the engine along. It's been that way since the beginning when OpenMW was just an 'app' in the OpenEngine framework. (Seriously, that was the name of the abstraction layer that was later removed to focus more on Morrowind.)

The question is, do we adapt openmw to support additional games and keeping the OpenMW brand that we've had for the past 10+ years, or do we create a new app per game? openob, opensky, openfo... etc.

Anyway, we're jumping the gun here. We have a roadmap and design document and we should keep our nose to the grindstone making sure we can pull off the important bits: Morrowind, Lua/newscript, merging tes3mp.
There's set goals for 1.0, which constitutes "done" in a general sense -I do understand you could keep developing it forever.
As for the name, that's the only implied meaning of the name I've seen.

What's interesting is the actual workflow for this, because I think expanding OpenMW is a better way as there should only one exe to rule them all.
In my mind you'd have everything at one place, mods and multiplayer included. That necessitates a lot of flexibility in the program, but it also gathers the playerbase around a hub. I don't think we're jumping the gun discussing this now, seeing that you have members working on this as we speak.
The community should make up it's mind if such endeavours are within focus or not.

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psi29a
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by psi29a » 05 Mar 2019, 20:57

kust wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 19:44
Let's just reach 1.0 first.
100 agree
DassiD wrote: The community should make up it's mind if such endeavours are within focus or not.
This is not how FOSS development works. FOSS developers may ask for input, but they will not be dictated to by a community. Design by committee is the absolute worse thing you could do. Read more here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_by_committee

Developers of OpenMW work on what they want, when they want to work on it, which utterly frustrating to some people who 'want it now'. So the community's role in this is to ask for features, help test OpenMW and also ultimately step up to help implement them under the guidance who have worked on OpenMW through the years.

silentthief
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by silentthief » 05 Mar 2019, 21:41

psi29a wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 20:57
kust wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 19:44
Let's just reach 1.0 first.
100 agree
I also agree and would add that the 1.0 goalpost is NOT the end. It is simply the first major goal to reach. Also, there has been discussion for putting out our own resources (the example suite), or expanding to allow assets that are not NIF - the file type used by Bethesda games, as well as breaking away from hardcoded MW-only gameplay.

ST the goalie
(edited for clarity)
"Hurry, hurry! Last boat to Solstheim! Until the next one. Hah-ha-hah."

DassiD
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by DassiD » 05 Mar 2019, 22:12

psi29a wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 20:57
kust wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 19:44
Let's just reach 1.0 first.
100 agree
I want to clarify that I don’t want you to stop working on OpenMW, but it might be wise to have this discussed when there’s actual work being done to handle Oblivion/Skyrim assets. At one point you have to say this is/this is not a part of the official project. It is my view that it should be.

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AnyOldName3
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by AnyOldName3 » 05 Mar 2019, 23:40

I think we're likely to be quite a while after the 1.0 release when we start supporting the ESM files of later games. Loading newer Nifs, though, is much less scary - supporting more model formats is a good way of adding features to the engine that don't impede other systems, and it means you're not stuck with just the tools that can edit Morrowind Nifs. The ability to then load meshes from Skyrim is just an added bonus, and the lack of it wouldn't stop us implementing support for something else, like GLTF.
AnyOldName3, Master of Shadows

DassiD
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Re: OpenMW: The way forward

Post by DassiD » 06 Mar 2019, 01:34

AnyOldName3 wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 23:40
I think we're likely to be quite a while after the 1.0 release when we start supporting the ESM files of later games. Loading newer Nifs, though, is much less scary - supporting more model formats is a good way of adding features to the engine that don't impede other systems, and it means you're not stuck with just the tools that can edit Morrowind Nifs. The ability to then load meshes from Skyrim is just an added bonus, and the lack of it wouldn't stop us implementing support for something else, like GLTF.
We’re absolutely talking talking long-term here. It is interesting that OpenMW
has better shadows than Skyrim IMO. I’m curious what improvements for shaders/rendering that’ll show up in the future!

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