Tomorrowind? – Skywind Public Test ‘Coming Soon’

By Nathan Grayson on July 4th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

BUT NOT SOON ENOUGH, etc. Skywind, the total rebuild of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in Skyrim’s engine, continues to play sweet melodies on my heart strings. They’re nostalgic tunes that lull me like the most charming of snake charmers. There’s a new trailer out, and I can practically feel the Balmoran cliff racers pecking at my back, making me invent new deities just so I can use their names as curse words (There is a god named Fuckthulhu now. You’re welcome). Ahhh, happy memories. Watch below, and revel in the good news that a public test is right around the corner.

Well, right around the corner-ish. It’s coming “soon,” but that could mean a lot of things. Here’s what the dev team is saying:

“This version is NOT available for public use, but please stay until the end of the video for a special announcement. Lots of content has been added since the latest developer video, but there is MUCH MORE to be done.”

“Regarding the ending: Details will follow. Do NOT inquire about it in the comments or the website yet, it will be revealed in time exactly what a public developer release is.”

OK, OK, jeez. It’s not like I wanted to know or anything. Man, you know, whatever. I guess I just won’t talk about it, then. If you need me I’ll be in my room just, like, writing angsty poetry and listening to edgy modern rock music or whatever. If you even care, Skywind development team/dad. Ugh.

Huh, that was weird. Looks like this mod takes me back to my teenage years in more ways than one. Skywind continues to look great, though. Can it be [some unspecified time in the future] yet?

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31 Comments »

  1. ZippyDSMlee says:

    A shame Skyrim is so broken that you can not do a decent port of any TES game. A shame they left to many things hard coded……

    • TheFlyingBastard says:

      I agree with ZippyDSMlee. Nathan Grayson is obviously looking for a nostalgic moment, but I think he’s going to be sorely disappointed. Skywind will just be a cheap hack-and-slash imitation compared to the original, and I daresay that he’s better off just banking on OpenMW.

  2. Love Albatross says:

    Looks nice and all but I can’t imagine how they’ll be able to properly implement many of the Morrowind features which were a big part of its appeal. MW’s magic crafting, skills and extensive spells were really fun mechanics that gave it a lot of depth. Skyrim is far shallower in this regard. And how will it handle MW’s quests, which required you to actually talk to NPCs and read things to progress rather than just following a breadcrumb trail left by the devs?

    I’d rather just use some mods to pretty up Morrowind and live with its limp combat rather than experience a watered-down update.

    • Grygus says:

      You do realize that you can turn off quest markers in Skyrim, right? Don’t need a mod or anything. Doesn’t seem legitimate to complain about something that’s optional. There is no reason this feature has to spoil a mod; they can simply write good directions and you can disable the markers and that “problem” is solved. Meanwhile, people who don’t think exactly like you do can leave them on and also enjoy the mod. There is no downside to this.

      I think you underestimate the moddability of Skyrim and the cleverness of modders.

      The spell creation system is something I missed too, but I doubt it is impossible in Skyrim. Many mods add spells or spell-like effects for configuration/activation purposes, and there are multiple spell mods, so we can add/change spells; therefore, an (admittedly quite limited) spell creation system may be able to be created by adding every spell construction allowed, and then not adding them to drop/merchant lists. Once the spell is “crafted,” the player gets access to the existing spell. This sounds like a lot of work and the result might not be incredibly satisfying, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be done.

      Most of the skills I care about we actually lost in Oblivion. Medium Armor, Spear, and Unarmored were taken away in Oblivion, while Long and Short Blade were combined into Blade at the same time. Really, all we lost in Skyrim was Acrobatics and Athletics; Hand-to-Hand was turned into a brawling minigame, which you can certainly miss if you liked Monk-types, but I could never get one of those off the ground and all I ever used it for was brawling anyway. Anyway, crossbows have been added, we once got a short video clip of spears in-game, and new animations have already been added by modders, so modding in new weapons does not appear to be impossible.

      Skyrim’s skill system is a massive improvement on Oblivion’s, and as a system I think it’s an improvement on Morrowind’s, too. We have lost some fun things like jumping ridiculously high, running ridiculously fast, and armor/weapon options, but again I don’t find that ruinous, even if it is somewhat puzzling.

      Really, the main loss from Morrowind to Skyrim is vertical exploration. No levitate, no flying, no jumping up to the next storey. That’s moddable, too.

      There doesn’t appear to me to be anything inherently unworkable in this engine. And really, there’s no reason Morrowind would be ruined by losing any of those things, anyway. I once beat Morrowind and both expansions on a melee character. He never created a single spell or even bothered with the Mage Guild, used heavy armor, couldn’t fly, and used blunt weapons and a shield, primarily. Except for his ability to jump really high (and I think I got some levitation scrolls that came in handy now and then) Skyrim supports that character entirely, and I had a wonderful time playing him.

      Morrowind wasn’t made by the details of the game system; it was the world-building, the freedom, and the immersion that made it great. Those can be replicated. I think you’re worried about pinecones when you’ve got a forest to explore.

      • malkav11 says:

        Sure, the worldbuilding etc are what made Morrowind great, but you’re already getting that in Morrowind. As far as I can tell the only things gained by moving to Skyrim are a more optimized engine (to a point), a modestly better levelling system, more physics, and slightly less awful combat. To me that doesn’t make up for the many things discarded along the way that are also significant parts of the authentic Morrowind experience. Maybe they could be modded in, but that’s a whole lot of effort to arrive at a point that’s largely already achieved by just playing Morrowind with some graphical mods.

      • Love Albatross says:

        “You do realize that you can turn off quest markers in Skyrim, right? Don’t need a mod or anything. Doesn’t seem legitimate to complain about something that’s optional. ”

        You do realise that if you turn off the quest markers in Skyrim there are very often no alternative clues for getting around? The quest log is minimal and there’s precious little detail provided because they’ve relied on the lazier option of just directing you to exactly where you’re going. Switch off the markers and many quests turn into an exercise in tedium on a par with Morrowind’s propylon hunt. So yeah, it is a legit complaint.

        Maybe these guys will take the time to implement a diary system and type out all the information for Morrowind’s quests. Great. But I have my doubts, which is what I was expressing.

        “Morrowind wasn’t made by the details of the game system; it was the world-building, the freedom, and the immersion that made it great.”

        Yeah thanks for that, I’m well aware of what made it great. And I don’t recall ever saying that these things ‘made it’ either. You seem to fail to understand that an important part of the immersion and freedom is the breadth and depth of said gameplay mechanics. Every time they are forced to cut or compromise features just to get it to function in Skyrim’s engine it loses another piece of the puzzle and becomes a less compelling alternative to simply playing Morrowind with mods.

        It’s nice that you’re so passionate about an unfinished mod that’s the latest in a series of unfinished mods but these are perfectly sensible concerns about a project with such a lofty goal. Recreating the landscape is fine but without everything else it’s not Morrowind.

        • boundless08 says:

          I’m sticking with Grygus’ view on this breadcrumb/quest marker argument. I know you’re giving out about when it’s turned off in Skyrim but this is Morrowind. So it’ll have the same detailed instructions the previous game did.

          Since you need Morrowind installed on your computer it extracts certain files directly from the Morrowind game directory so I presume all text is something that can be imported. I’m not sure if it does text but from the site they say they use some resources, this just seems like an obvious one to me.

          • Love Albatross says:

            Okay. I don’t care about his opinion of Oblivion and Skyrim’s lazy lowest-common-denominator solution to quests and I wasn’t looking for a discussion about that. I was highlighting the challenge that is ahead to get this from being a nice map to walk around to an actual game with stuff to do, which is where other such attempts so often fall down.

        • efpies says:

          I’m getting real butthurt when someone says “MW was without compass and quest markers, porting MW on Skyrim is not MW anymore, because MW is not the world only blah blah blah Skyrim is a cheap hack-and-slash imitation blah blah blah Skyrim is casual, you don’t need to think, just follow breadcrumbs”.

          Well, back in 2004, when I played without TR and BM and without proper knowledge of English (English is not my native language), it was real pain. Quests were lost in depths of the journal, directions were unclear. I didn’t finish the main quest really, even didn’t get to Urshilaku camp.

          Then I played Oblivion and returned to MW (with TR and BM) only in 2008. Still didn’t finish the main quest. That time stopped on Holamayan.

          Now I’ve bought both MW and Skyrim via Steam and decided to finish MW.

          I’ve played MW (with max possible difficulty) for 80h, reached lvl 25. Marksman is on lvl 50 I suppose, Long Blade is on lvl 100. And… the game ends here. There are no single challenge for me: with Daedric Longsword (which I found in the random chest) and Daedric Bow all creatures (even Dagoth’s servants) and low level NPCs are dying by 3 hits (bow + sneak = instakill), if they don’t wear high level heavy armor. The only difficulty is to kill the infinite Cliff Racers while moving between the cities and find this freaking lost cave with bandits by unclear directions. And this leveling system? Press “auto-run” and go drink tea or have fun with GF? Find a rat and stay still to level the Block skill? Just jump instead of running to increase acrobatics? The half of the skills (Illusion, Medium and Light armor, Unarmored, Hand-to-hand) is just unused and I play with bow instead of sword just to increase the skill, not because that’s the good tactics for this case. And I can’t just believe what’s happening, because the NPCs are just ragdolls calling me s’wit, n’wah or outlander. All what is happening is a just randomness and formulae. Really, I lost the interest and still can’t finish the main quest because it’s – the gameplay – boring. MW is not even hardcore, as fanboys think.

          And then Skyrim. I set the Legendary difficulty, and even on lvl 54 the environment (lvl 25-45) still f* me, my follower and the 10th conjured Dremora Valkynaz in this battle. And the only daedric thing I have is the random loot arrow. The battle system is just the best I’ve seen in TES: I need to think quickly and use the appropriate weapon, not just stupid clicks. And I just can’t sacrifice a guy who believes me, because he talks and maybe have feelings. It’s the REAL ROLE-playing game. There IS a challenge. You should EARN the best armor/weapons, not just randomly find on low level. Skyrim is deep when Morrowind is shallow. If you think, that MW EXPERIENCE is just stupid 30 mins cave search/moving without even a horse (okay, you can find the Boots of Blinding Speed with guild guide/silt strider) with 5 min on stupid clicks (sorry, actions) in this cave, so be it. Just play OpenMW and don’t bother the other players with your hate and whinings.

      • bobbflocka says:

        From the 15ish hours I played Morrowind, I think is has MUCH MUCH more potential than skeerimm. For me the only thing Morrowind needs is better combat and a better journal, even though I had that dlc that “fixed” it. I would prefer no voice acting cause I was actually much more into the quests than I was with skyrims monotone voice acting. But forget skywind, yea it looks nice and stuff but check out openmw, they’re putting morrowind on a “open-source” engine, idk anything about that type of stuff, but I think that project would stay true to the real Morrowind, I rather find Skywind a disgusting imitation for Morrowind…..

      • Delicieuxz says:

        All quests in Skyrim are built around the quest-marker functionality – a player cannot simply turn them off. Turning them off leads to being butterly lind in quests, because directions are not given in other forms such as dialog and journal writing. Skyrim is crippled from the inside-out, and Todd Howard has rocks in his head. A nerd who cannot handle that he is a nerd, power-dumbing-down a series to the point that any pebble-brain can play it and imagine something special is going on – so long as they’ve never played an actual game in their lives.

    • 0positivo says:

      Modders, my friend. It’s the one underlying feature that makes Skyrim the success it still continues to be. Despite Bethesda’s attempts to dumb it down, despite the piss-poor engine that cannot even handle more than 500 MB of cache, despite the hard-coded mechanics that all but seem to deny any hope for moddability, the modding community of Skyrim is possibly the single most active one that I know of. It turns the game from a “eh, whatever” 20 hour dip into something you can spend thousand of hours, and still come back, because you haven’t even scratched the surface of what is offering you.

      Skyrim vanilla isn’t even worth the 10 bucks they ask you to pay every time it goes on sale. But add mods into the equation, and Skyrim becomes one of 3 games I even managed to spend more than 1000 hours into (according to steam)

      I have no doubt that all the features that made Morrowind, well, Morrowind can be modded in. Spell crafting already exists, and contextual text can’t be too difficult, especially considering all the skilled scripters out there

      If only other developers had the same luck and community dedication that Bethesda has.. there are quite a lot of other games, some even with PROPER mod support, that could become quite something when skillfully altered

      • Virtz says:

        Not really. Modders cannot do better than the developers in a TES game, and that is because while the tools provided are easier to use than most, they’re not powerful enough to do a drastically altering total conversion like a Half-Life mod. You just can’t do real gameplay changes in a Bethesda game without pulling at the already overly-visible seams so hard they become holes. There’s a reason things like the Script Extender exist, and even that makes things look dodgy.

        Like someone once added decapitations and stuff to Oblivion, but it was straining the capabilities of the modding tools so badly you had like 1-2 second delays between the hit landing and actual limb loss happening because of how the engine handled custom scripts. It just looks jank as all hell, and cannot replace a game made with those features in mind.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          They’ve added decapitation to Skyrim and it works beautifully.

          Done by a half decent modder you don’t see any jankiness in the scripts.
          Seriously, name a single thing you think they *can’t* do at least decently that’s required to make Morrowind in Skyrim, remembering you’re already mistaken about the decapitations.
          They’ve come a long way ,since Oblivion.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I agree.. OpenMW looks much more interesting than Skywind.

  3. Pemptus says:

    Eh. Each time I see this I can’t help but feel that all this energy and hard work could be put to better use by creating something original instead of recreating what we’ve known and played for years.

    • 0positivo says:

      It’s quite hard to channel creative effort into something you don’t have a passion about. Not everyone can do it. That’s the main difference between a modder and a designer, really

    • Turkey says:

      Yeah, good luck putting together a huge group of random internet people to work for free on your original Dark Cudgel of Xzantor project or whatever.

  4. Rizlar says:

    West Gash Landscaping is a hairdressers in Essex, right?

    … I’ll get my coat.

  5. Geebs says:

    Meh, this is still at the stage of “import map from nearly the same format, add bushes, make video, start new project to mod Arena into the Daggerfall engine, call it Daggarena”.

    Two years, if at all.

  6. HauntedQuiche says:

    This might sound like a petty complaint…. but the music choice in the trailer put me off. It’s too Big and Epic and Bombastic and…. none of those things describe Morrowind’s atmosphere.

    I expect them to do the same thing that a lot of the Morrowind Graphic-updating mods do…. and miss the point. They forget that the setting is a bleak setting, and forget that subtlety is a thing that exists and just turn it into yet another Big, Green Epic Fantasy-land.
    And I reckon this mod’ll do the same thing.

    I respect the effort going into it, but I don’t think it’ll be any good. I don;t think it’ll actually capture any of what made Morrowind a fun setting.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      You mean that it was a big, brownish-purple fantasy land?
      I fail to see how making the mountains reddish like real ones is a problem.

      And have you never heard the Morrowind theme all the way through? It’s just like that music.

  7. alsoran says:

    If this works, I for one will be so happy :o)

  8. Phier says:

    Just seeing this made me play Morrowinds theme song. Its melody etched into my brain.

  9. SashaWAYNE says:

    My boyfriend broke up with me a week ago. We dated about 4 months. I did everything for him whenever he needed help with something, I love him so much and cared about him a lot. I never asked anything from him. I have no kids and a good well paying job. Everything was so perfect and good between us. He told me he would take me ring shopping and we would settle down and have a baby together. Everything was great. We met each other families and everyone told us we were perfect for each other. Out of nowhere he surprisingly left me to be with another girl, so i met a friend who gave me this Phone number + 1 9 7 1 5 1 2 6 7 4 5 of this spell caster Robinson to contact him, i contacted him because i was so heartbroken and don’t know what to do with myself but after 3 days of contacting Mr Robinson , my lover came back to me

    • scatterbrainless says:

      Good for you Sasha! Although, it does sound like perhaps you’ve manipulated your way back into a relationship that had probably gone stale from adhering to such a narrow view of “perfect”, which may be why your boyfriend left you in the first place. Doesn’t every time you see your boyfriend now, whose name I assume is Boyfriend, hurt your conscience, knowing that without the manipulation of Dark Arts, he wouldn’t be with you? Personally I think that would be too much to bare. Maybe, instead of trying to get what you had thought was perfect, when it falls apart take the opportunity to learn that perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and that emotional honesty and integrity, whilst hard, is really what a person needs for nourishment in this life.

  10. sinister agent says:

    Is there any indication that they have, or will, make the world more than just an even prettier version of the same pretty but utterly dead and pointless world Morrowind had?

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