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CyanideExpress
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Blog post - August 2016

Skywind Cavemen

by CyanideExpress and Oppenheimer

 

Hello Everyone, and welcome back! Over the past few months much of the landscaping team has been busy making caves for Skywind, and we have made a great amount of progress. As you may know, caves made up a large portion of interior dungeons in Morrowind, and we are working to recreate them while still maintaining the original designs and ideas of the caves, while also expanding upon them. As such, we have designed four different types of caves depending on the region of Morrowind which the cave is in. Those include Mold for the west coast caves, Volcanic for Molag Amur and the Ashlands, Shale for the Sheogorad region, and Basalt for the East Coast. Each type should feel different, and be appropriate for the climate and design of the exterior world.

 

With Skywind, we have had to recreate caves from scratch as Morrowind used many different and unique room meshes for its cave system. It was not really feasible for our 3D artists to recreate all of these unique pieces, so instead a flexible tileset was designed and built by TwentyEngineRunner. This tileset is the basis for all of our caves in Skywind, while the different variants use different textures and clutter. Our process begins with the original cave from Morrowind. We look at the design of these old caves, and it’s up to the particular landscaper on how they want to recreate the old layout using our new tileset system.

 

An Example of a layout from Morrowind

Sometimes parts of the original design have to be changed or tweaked slightly to work with our tileset, or to play better within Skyrim’s engine, but in this instance it did not need to be altered since it is a simple cave. Sometimes less interesting caves are also expanded on, or made a bit grander to really show the enhanced abilities of our tileset and cluttering assets. But we always try our best to stay true to Morrowind.

 

Example of a finished Skywind cave

 

This is generally how a cave will begin, it starts with a basic layout with “Rooms” and hallways that connect them. Most of the time spent on caves is working to make these rooms unique and interesting, while still matching the general shapes of the original morrowind rooms. We do this by using rocks, cliffs, rock piles, and rock walls, and the end product is designed to feel organic and natural. And of course, we need to make sure the loot and enemy placement is balanced and matches Morrowind. But gameplay is still a big work in progress, and things are subject to change.

Examples of Cave Types

These are some examples of the different types of caves that will be present in Skywind, some elements are subject to change, such as lighting, image spaces, and textures of the tileset and cave clutter. The Shale cave type is still early in development as well as Basalt. Kwama Caves and Sixth House caves are coming soon as well, so stay tuned! We hope you enjoyed this highlight on caves, and we’ll be back to talk about other exciting new things our team is working on next month!

Until then...

Edited by: Cesare on 08/24/2016 - 19:16
Corpus X
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Keep up the most excellent

Keep up the most excellent work landscaping! However, once you're done, please come over to my house and trim my grass.

Mcloganator
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A big thank you to all the

A big thank you to all the landscapers for making Vvardenfell a wondrous place to explore again!

alysander
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Very nice. Most natural

Very nice. Most natural lighting is great part of awesomeness.
It would be wonderful to have no eternal torches and candles at all :)

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Yeah it would be cool to have

Yeah it would be cool to have at least some caves so dimly lit that carrying a torch is more of a necessity than a fashion choice, as opposed to how it's been in previous TES games. Makes it feel more dangerous and mysterious and generally cave-y and immersive.

Great work from what I've seen, these caves all look pretty unique and I can't wait to explore them!