Morrowind Mod UIX – landscape, story and music release – history of the mod and the team.

Home / News / Morrowind Mod UIX – landscape, story and music release – history of the mod and the team.

This is the release of a Morrowind mod the team did before Corven. So for all of you who are here for “Corven – Path of Redemption”, don’t be confused, this is not part of that game and it has nothing to do with the Unreal Engine. You can ignore this post without missing anything.

For all of you who ARE here because of the Morrowind mod UIX Redemption:

This is the 1,8 GB file with all of Britannia, all our models, all our music, the story file and a readme with instructions.

I also left the game start in (gypsy character creation and starting quest) and a few other NPCs and features. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s everything anyone needs to continue UIX development or create your own Ultima in Morrowind. If you do not try to create features Morrowind did not have you will have no problem finishing the game within a year. Everything beyond that is deleted because it would confuse most people (half implemented features/quests or features only present in the CS but not in the game…).

This however IS the promised landscape release and more!

You can use all our files without further permission. Continue to create UIX, use them in your own mod, whatever you like. This is our present to you. (more about the files in the readme).


Also for those who are interested, here is the history of the mod, the reason why we cancelled it and why we started with something new, in 3 parts:

Part 1: History

In 2004 I started my own Ultima fan project called “Ultima X – The New King”. Back then there were no full “free” game engines like Unity, all there was for people like me were mod tools some games provided. Mod tools are NOT as powerful as full game engines. You can only modify the files of the original game the tool came with and you have varying access to core game mechanics. In general however doing anything the original game did not deliver was (almost) not possible.

I looked at some games and found the Morrowind Construction Set (MW CS) to be the most powerful at the time, because at least I was able to script some sort of interactive items. I created the “Ultimate Ranger Mod” with it and decided to use it for my real project, Ultima X.

Shortly after I started I noticed that there was another Ultima project, called Ultima IX Redemption, also using the MW CS.

I thought, why not combine forces and work together on a common goal, new Ultima games. My first idea was to simply share know-how and maybe some scripts to help each other get Ultima IX and X done faster, but after I talked to them I quickly realized that they were in big trouble.

I will make this part as short as possible, but here is a summary of what Direhaggis and Chlortos Dragon told me in our first online meetings. I cannot confirm that this is exactly what happened, but this is exactly what I have been told by them:

After working with other engines they moved to MW CS and started anew. They made some good progress, but Avatus Kingsman, the team leader back then, was suddenly gone and no contact was possible anymore from one day to the other. Even worse: at the same time he disappeared he also deleted all their files. They managed to collect some files from various members, but it was far from what they actually had before. When I contacted them they were in the process of getting back on their feet, but it was extremely difficult for them, understandably.

We agreed to merge our teams, call ourselves “Titans of Ether” and work on Ultima IX first because there was already some work done, like the basic landscape and some dialogue etc…

However once I got the files I saw that the MW CS master file (the game file) was damaged and not really usable and I had to start over and create a new basic Britannia in it. So all we really had from the old Redemption team were dialogue files, a few concept art drawings and a nice banner. I decided we work on Redemption first anyway.

However only ONE active member of the old team actually made the jump to the new team: Direhaggis.

All in all, it is fair to say that we started completely new with UIX Redemption.

 

Part 2: So what were the problems with UIX Redemption’s development?

  • First of all, like mentioned above, we started new. So everyone who thinks we just continued a project which was already going on for several years is wrong.
  • In all the years of development there were only 2 people who were constantly there, Direhaggis and Zini… (and me). Yes we had many contributors, but always just for a short period of time and it is extremely difficult to keep a steady workflow up when people constantly leave and you have to start new with another person.
  • We were ambitious and MW CS is just a mod tool, not a real engine. We didn’t just want to create a mod like so many other fan projects, where we put a new storyline in the untouched framework of the game the mod tool came with. If we would have done it this way I can honestly say that UIX Redemption would have been done in 2006.

    But we wanted to create real Ultima gameplay… in Morrowind, which is a very static game compared to Ultima VI or VII. However creating item interaction etc is very difficult in a game that was not made for it and creating things like movable objects not possible at all. I could list many features that were difficult or not possible, but the 2 examples will have to do. Because the MW CS is not only just a mod tool, but a very very “difficult” one to use as well, every feature that Morrowind did not have and we created on our own, was not a matter of a few weeks of development but months. There were so many hurdles along the way.

    Now some cynical folks might ask (well one actually did) “why did you not plan this better and use a tool that would allow you to do what you wanted to do?” and my answer to that is: First of all, this was not a professional project in any way shape or form, this was, from the start, a project of some fans that wanted to create something in their spare time that they liked. There was no business plan for the love of god. Even more important: for a private fan project there was NO tool available beside those mod tools. Licensing a commercial engine back then was something only companies could afford. And anyway, paying for a commercial engine for a project that can never be a commercial one because we do not own the IP (Electronic Arts does), is pure stupidity. So dear cynical fellow: be real, thanks. So we just took the one that looked the best (MW CS) and started.

  • It was just a fun project on the side. Nobody involved ever earned a penny with it. We did it because we love Ultima. But after the first 2 extremely productive years we lost our drive. Constantly having to deal with members leaving and things not working in MW CS was extremely frustrating. About the leaving members: I blame not one of them. It was a LOT of work without any reward (beside my “well done”). Even the fans did not have the patience to be on the forum anymore and give words of encouragement, the only real currency we would have been allowed to accept. Put yourself in those shoes, a lot of frustrating work without payment in your little spare time. Doesn’t sound so great I guess. But DH, Zini and me didn’t want to just give up, so we kept working whenever we could. After a while getting people (well Ultima fans) who are familiar with or willing to work in MW CS could not be found anymore. So we did what we could. But progress with this tool (MW CS) that seems to work against you, not with and for you, was very slow. Zini even started to work on openMW, an amazing project that tries to create an engine which can run Morrowind files. OpenMW would in the end allow us to do what we could not do in MW CS, but it took (and still takes) time to develop. We worked on UIX on and off till 2015. But we all have families, careers and lives outside of a non-profit project that requires a lot of time to get any little thing done.

 

Part 3: And now?

Then came Unity, a real game engine, affordable by folks like us. Unity started the trend and Unreal Engine 4, Cryengine,… continued it. Testing Unity was the nail in the coffin of UIX Redemption in MW CS. Seeing that you can do something in a day in Unity which would have taken weeks or even months in MW CS was enlightening and frustrating at the same time. It was clear that continuing to work on UIX in MW CS was no option anymore. We would just have fooled ourselves. OpenMW was still not done, we all won’t get younger and so we had to decide: start Redemption, a project that was not ours from the start, a game which we do not own the IP of, new OR finally actually create our own game without any creative or technical restrictions.

We decided to plan out the development of a new game which is roughly based on “The New King”, the game we actually wanted to develop back in 2004. We won’t just do this a little on the side like UIX, but we planned out how to consistently use spare time to work on it and in the near future hopefully work on it exclusively. I am telling the truth when I tell you that since we started I worked every day at least from 9 pm till 1 am and more often than not from 7 pm till 2 am. We all collected a lot of experience over the years. MW CS was the toughest school you can imagine and in our professional lives we learned planning as a CIO, how to program a new game engine, how to write by writing a published book etc. (just a few accomplishments of our team members). So we started to create “Corven – Path of Redemption”, our own IP but with the soul of Richard Garriot’s Ultima series.

Please follow us on this new path. If you are an Ultima fan you won’t regret it. If you are a single-player RPG fan who loves good stories you won’t get bored either.

UIX DOWNLOAD LINK

Here is a trailer done with the prototype of Corven:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL8-UVa7MF8&

Thank you for reading, have fun with Britannia and thank you for following us on http://www.titansofether.com/

Florian Kasper

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Showing 6 comments
  • Sslaxx

    Wonder how much work it’d be to replace the heightmap with one styled more on Ascension.

    • Corv

      well, a hightmap you use to create the initial landscape AND you can export a heightmap from an existing landscape. But with an existing landscape you can not change it via a heightmap anymore. You’d mess everything up.

      BUT changing the landscape IS still possible, but only manually within the CS. moving the models around and reforming the landscape would of course be some work, but definitely possible.

  • Xelasarg

    Wow, you even included all the music. That’s nice. 🙂

  • GypsyAngie

    I am loving all of this so much, and look forward to your new game! I’ve been working on a D&D campaign based off Bob White’s Ultima 9 plot and I’ve been trying to create or find maps that I can use. I’ve been playing around with this one (which is amazing and perfect for what I need!) But even after a few days of googling, I can’t figure out if or how to export or view the entire map. Is this possible, do you know?

    • Corv

      Hi!
      The map you see in this post was done by using MGE (Morrowind Graphics Enxtender) and a flying cheat (you can do it by opening the console and entering the code – you’ll need to look it up). This is actually ingame just from very very high above. Maybe you can do the same and get the results you need.

  • Bret Curtis

    For those interested, I’m maintaining a version of the UIX:R assets which are under the CC0 (and other free licenses). This way you can use them in your projects. 🙂

    Available here: https://github.com/OpenMW/UIX-R

    We’ve tracked down a few developers who have given their permission to re-license their work, but we are still on the hunt to find and track down others who would also be willing to open up their work.

    If anyone has any information about the developers, please either comment here, make an issue on our github page or fill out the contact form on my website.

    Cheers,
    Bret

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