A Brief History of Skywind
Earlier this month, we marked the third anniversary of Skywind’s first working build. While everyone, as always, continues to look toward the ultimate completion of the project, sometimes it is important to step back and remember what came before, and to celebrate the hard work that enabled us to get this far. Therefore, in commemoration, I have compiled a brief history of Skywind.
Morroblivion Roots and the Conversions
Much like its predecessor Morroblivion, Skywind began life as a fan-made port of Morrowind, meant to be playable in Skyrim’s engine with Skyrim’s mechanics. Skywind is actually a direct descendent of Morroblivion, since it was that mod’s files that formed the basis of the conversion. Initial attempts to port Morroblivion began in November 2011 following Skyrim’s release. After a number of failures, a working build was finally created in May 2012, employing a conversion tool originally used to port the Oblivion mod Andoran Prologue to Skyrim.
There were a number of issues with this version, many of which continued to plague the developers in the following months. In November 2012, zilav, a contributor to the development of mod utility program TES5Edit, reconverted Morroblivion using that application, a process he completed in early December. The resulting file was much more stable, and continues to provide the base for current versions of Skywind. Zilav himself is still an active member of the TESRenewal community, working primarily on Skyblivion.
The Redefinition of Skywind
Work continued on Skywind following zilav’s conversion, since there were certain things that could not be transferred due to incompatibilities between the engines of Skyrim and Oblivion (creature spawns, factions, and certain dialogue functions, for example). Had the project ended with these additions, it would have essentially become an updated version of Morroblivion. Several months before zilav’s conversion, however, a new idea was formulated, one that would transform Skywind into what it is today.
In September 2012, while the team was still struggling with buggy files, a developer named eloth, who had been working with models and textures for the project, suggested that the team take Skywind in a different direction. Rather than use Morrowind assets, as had been the case with Morroblivion, they should instead focus on remaking or replacing everything: new models, new textures, new voices, music, landscaping, etc. This was a mammoth undertaking compared to the creation of a simple port, and there was much discussion surrounding the idea. The plan eventually took off, though the transition was not an easy one, and it was many months before significant progress was made in any area. Eloth still oversees the implementation of his vision, acting as something akin to an overall project director for Skywind.
As the scope of Skywind expanded, so did the need for talented individuals to turn the ambitious plans into a reality. The project attracted professionals, aspiring professionals, and amateurs alike, and standards continually rose until many of Skywind’s new assets began to outshine those created by Bethesda themselves. I could not possibility attempt to list everyone who has made a meaningful contribution to the project, but the fruits of their labors are evident in the myriad progress threads, monthly update posts, and development videos. Some have dedicated thousands of hours to the project, and will probably dedicate thousands more. It is with them that the future of Skywind rests. Progress may seem slow at times, but with every model added, every line recorded, every rock or tree carefully placed on the reimagined island of Vvardenfell, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of recreating Morrowind. So, as we remember the past, we continue looking to the future. Rest assured, that future is bright.