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OpenMW: Porting Morrowind to an open source engine

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Arcane
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Followers of shadows, the day has come! 2019-02-20 - lysol
Two weeks ago, we wrote about OpenMW’s offical multiplayer fork, TES3MP. Missed that? Read it here.

This week, however, we want to talk more about the main project: the OpenMW engine. A lot of things have happened since the last news post on that topic.

So, what’s the news?
Let’s begin with a recently merged feature which might seem like a small change at first, but rather is part of bigger project. OpenMW is now able to read the BSA files of Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3 and New Vegas – thanks to the hard work of both cc9cii, who first wrote the code for OpenMW 0.36, and Azdul, who ported the code to the current OpenMW master. This brings us one step closer to actually running assets from later TES and Fallout games in OpenMW. However, a lot of work lies ahead of us – next on our list is support for newer versions of NIF, ESM, and ESP files. We’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of features regarding later Bethesda games: Skyrim uses a nif-ty feature in the NIF files called NiSwitchNode to make plants harvestable. The mod Glow In The Dahrk by MelchiorDahrk uses the same property – with the help of some Lua code from MWSE-Lua – to create glowing windows during night time. We are very pleased that our sedulous developer akortunov submitted this pull request, which makes it possible to use the assets from Glow in the Dahrk in our engine too.

A new contributor, bzzt, has recently started working on large-scale optimisations of our engine, focusing on terrain rendering in order to prepare adding in his vision of a future distant-objects feature. Among many other things, his changes – should they be merged – will improve both the look and the performance of distant terrain in OpenMW. The latter was a major cause of concern for players, and we hope his additions will be well received by the Morrowind community.

Capostrophic has been working a lot to make OpenMW compatible with the popular (and huge) mod Sotha Sil Expanded. There are still a few nuts to crack before the mod is fully compatible with OpenMW, but Capostrophic is on it and we’ll let you know when everything works as intended. Sometimes you have to go to other content than vanilla Morrowind to find bugs in the engine, so big mods like these offer great opportunities to find unknown bugs and spot differences between OpenMW and vanilla Morrowind.

This post was supposed to be about OpenMW, but we have to mention one small thing about TES3MP: The macOS client is now released! Download it here.

Shadows are back!
And now the time has come for us to announce a quite big feature that got merged into master today. A feature many have told us is the one thing stopping them from switching to OpenMW for good. This feature was actually present in OpenMW when it, up until version 0.36.0, still used the rendering engine Ogre3D. After the switch to OpenSceneGraph, the feature had to be reimplemented again.

AnyOldName3 has been working on the implementation of shadows in OpenMW for over a year. It has been a long road to get there though. A couple of shadow techniques are included in the OpenSceneGraph library, but they needed to be modified quite a bit to fit our specific needs. A year and a couple of months later, through hard work and a lot of bugs and technical issues to master, he has now finished implementing his own technique, based on one of OpenSceneGraph’s methods.

But while the shadows are merged and ready to enhance the immersion of your next adventure in Vvardenfell, there will always be room to improve them in the future. AnyOldName3 already has some ideas what could be added to make them look even better. We might address that in detail in a future post.

So from this day, the first builds with shadows implemented will be built. Grab the latest nightly builds for the operating system of your choice here while they are still hot, or build OpenMW yourself by following the instructions here. Important note though: the Windows nightlies are built at 3:00 AM, UTC. Linux nightlies are down at the moment.

Until next time!
 

ERYFKRAD

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Is this the same forum where people shat on Beamdog for offering people a Baldur's Gate that didn't need mods of any kind, which required far more work and thought to install than just a handful of really basic mods?
Yes, let's praise beamdog for fucking up the UI, adding more bugs, basically fixing what wasn't broken and making people pay for their version and getting the originals out of circulation.
 

laclongquan

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Is this the same forum where people shat on Beamdog for offering people a Baldur's Gate that didn't need mods of any kind, which required far more work and thought to install than just a handful of really basic mods?
Yes, let's praise beamdog for fucking up the UI, adding more bugs, basically fixing what wasn't broken and making people pay for their version and getting the originals out of circulation.
Or their terrible writings, or their extraneous characters~ AAA studios had been shat on for less, dawg~
 

Sigourn

uooh afficionado
Joined
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Yes, let's praise beamdog for fucking up the UI, adding more bugs, basically fixing what wasn't broken and making people pay for their version and getting the originals out of circulation.

The last point is the only one that holds any ground. Otherwise, if you don't like the EEs, don't buy them. There are people who very much like them. My point is that OpenMW is garbage and vanilla Morrowind + handful of mods is better. There's no doubt about that, and anyone who claims otherwise is delusional.
 

U-8D8

Savant
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Messages
168
The last point is the only one that holds any ground. Otherwise, if you don't like the EEs, don't buy them. There are people who very much like them.
That's illogical. The argument "Don't like 'em, don't buy 'em," would make sense only if the originals were still up for sale. Aside from piracy, the only two decisions the general populace can make if they want to get it digitally are to either fork over twenty bucks for a twenty year old game with some largely superficial fixes or simply don't play Baldur's Gate at all. This "my way or the highway" approach to remakes betrays how little confidence they have in their work.
 

Sigourn

uooh afficionado
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The last point is the only one that holds any ground. Otherwise, if you don't like the EEs, don't buy them. There are people who very much like them.
That's illogical.

It isn't. Hence why I said "otherwise", i.e. "if it wasn't because you can't buy the originals anymore, there would be nothing wrong with the EEs". Because they would be optional and only for those who actually like them.

My point is that OpenMW is garbage.
:retarded::retarded::retarded::retarded::retarded::retarded::retarded::retarded::retarded:

Si jugás OpenMW sos un boludo hermano, lisa y llanamente. No hay argumento alguno para jugarlo a menos que seas de esos que no usan Windows. OpenMW tiene poquísimos mods y bastante chotos si vamos al caso, así que a menos que tengas una PC de 1998 realmente no hay motivo para usar OpenMW. De hecho lo mejor que tiene, la performance, es al pedo cuando no podés usar shaders, que es básicamente lo que caga Morrowind. Y si usás mods de árboles y esas mierdas, tenés shit taste.

I keep hearing about these stupid glitches OpenMW keeps fixing and I lmao at the idea anyone would say that crap is the way to go. Not to mention the only people arguing for OpenMW are those who don't even make mods, as opposed to the cool kids developing lua mods and so on who unanimously agree: OpenMW is crap.

openmw 1.0 is "vanilla morrowind"
aka.....not....really anything exciting tbh
but supposedly when thats done they can add cool stuff maybe

lol
originally i only played openmw because i couldnt find how to use 1440x900 resolution with morrowind
then i found out about mge xe
and now i dont know why id use openmw

Linux, really

Just to be clear, because some Codexers are really stupid: I'm not saying it will forever be shit. But there's next to no reason to use it as is. Reminds me of the idiots who claim New Vegas won't stop crashing because they don't know about the handful of patches to stop crashes and how to properly mod their games. Same with Morrowind, it never crashes on me.
 
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Sigourn

uooh afficionado
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Do lua mods not work with OpenMW or something?

They don't.

I don't know the specifics, but I do know modders constantly complain in Discord about users bitching about making those mods compatible with OpenMW. The thing is, if I'm not mistaken, the OpenMW team is VERY set on finishing OpenMW as "vanilla" Morrowind before they will even bother with mod support. Or something along those lines.

That's a lot of "IIRC", "I understand that", etc., but that's how it goes. Which is why I seriously don't understand why people suck OpenMW's cock as if it was THE way to play Morrowind in 2019, because it isn't. By any stretch of the imagination. I'm inclined to believe these users don't play Morrowind at all or are paid shills, or bots.
 

Yosharian

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I'll say this much, original Morrowind ran like dogshit on modern systems. With Open MW I can go 140 FPS and the loading times are instant. That already is a huge improvement that I don't think I could live without now.

I can switch tabs easily enough and no crashes as of yet. Morrowind used to crash like crazy on exit, which was grating.
That sounds pretty dope, actually.
 

Drax

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Si jugás OpenMW sos un boludo hermano, lisa y llanamente. No hay argumento alguno para jugarlo a menos que seas de esos que no usan Windows. OpenMW tiene poquísimos mods y bastante chotos si vamos al caso, así que a menos que tengas una PC de 1998 realmente no hay motivo para usar OpenMW. De hecho lo mejor que tiene, la performance, es al pedo cuando no podés usar shaders, que es básicamente lo que caga Morrowind. Y si usás mods de árboles y esas mierdas, tenés shit taste.

Dentro de 20 años voy a estar jugando openmw en un holodeck, y reiré ultimo. JA!
 

Barbalos

Learned
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Messages
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I have a playthrough of Morrowind going on OpenMW and it's great. I don't use any non-Bethesda mods with it, though I did replace some textures. Vanilla Morrowind crashed on me dozens of times. I don't recall a single crash with OpenMW (maybe one after I was alt-tabbed out and forgot about it for a few hours), and I'm quite far into the game, ready to go to Red Mountain and currently doing Tribunal. The stability is the real benefit for me.
 

Sigourn

uooh afficionado
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Messages
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Dentro de 20 años voy a estar jugando openmw en un holodeck, y reiré ultimo. JA!

Cómo vas a decir eso, JUDÍO HIJO DE PUTA.
 

Yosharian

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I have a playthrough of Morrowind going on OpenMW and it's great. I don't use any non-Bethesda mods with it, though I did replace some textures. Vanilla Morrowind crashed on me dozens of times. I don't recall a single crash with OpenMW (maybe one after I was alt-tabbed out and forgot about it for a few hours), and I'm quite far into the game, ready to go to Red Mountain and currently doing Tribunal. The stability is the real benefit for me.
Is the game actually complete? Some other post stated that they're not working on mods because they're focused on finishing vanilla first
 
Unwanted
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Codex Year of the Donut
Reminds me of the idiots who claim New Vegas won't stop crashing because they don't know about the handful of patches to stop crashes and how to properly mod their games. Same with Morrowind, it never crashes on me.
You should disable the NVAC allocator when using it, fyi.
it doesn't hook the allocator until after main has been entered, but the game allocates memory during the MSVCRT initialization(which runs prior to main,) then later attempts to free said memory. NVAC will incorrectly assume its allocator allocated that memory when freeing it even though it was allocated prior to hooking.
I notified the author but it was never fixed to the best of my knowledge.
 

Barbalos

Learned
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Jun 14, 2018
Messages
199
I have a playthrough of Morrowind going on OpenMW and it's great. I don't use any non-Bethesda mods with it, though I did replace some textures. Vanilla Morrowind crashed on me dozens of times. I don't recall a single crash with OpenMW (maybe one after I was alt-tabbed out and forgot about it for a few hours), and I'm quite far into the game, ready to go to Red Mountain and currently doing Tribunal. The stability is the real benefit for me.
Is the game actually complete? Some other post stated that they're not working on mods because they're focused on finishing vanilla first

Yes it's complete as far as I'm aware. I haven't had any quests not completetable myself (and I've done tons of optional quests). There are or were some technical things missing, like shadows. Though it seems the latest update has re-added shadows. Most likely there are some other technical aspects not fully implemented yet, but I'm pretty sure the content of the game is complete.

Edit: and yes many mods for OG Morrowind do not work due to the nature of OpenMW. Some mods do work, and others have been designed for only OpenMW.
 

Gord

Arcane
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Feb 16, 2011
Messages
7,049
It's complete in the sense that you can finish it, yes. And that's been the case for some time.
On the other hand almost every new version actually had them "fix" some issue that deviated from expected vanilla behaviour.
Not only minor, exploitative or autist things, but in some cases quite fundamental stuff, like e.g. follower AI or stuff related to summons.

And if you absolutely insist in using extensive graphical mods, OpenMW isn't the way to go either (althoug it does support some things natively that are only possible in vanilla by using some hacks).
Otherwise it's quite stable and the Linux version in particular runs great.
 
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Drax

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Do tell why should anyone ever play Morrowind the OpenMW way unless they 1) have a carcass of a machine, or 2) want multiplayer
People can do whatever the fuck they want to.
How come we have to repeat over and over that having an open source engine implementation of a beloved game is a good thing for people that love that game.
 

luj1

You're all shills
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Drax you didn't answer my question and "people can do whatever they want to" is a banal reply merely stating the obvious.

Please tell me what good is OpenMW (besides multiplayer no one plays, ironically enough) knowing one must make a choice between it, and, on the other hand, MCP, MGE XE, Lua mods and virtually 90% of body of work relating to Morrowind?

OpenMW as it turns out is a painfully slow and divisive project whose main purpose (I'm calling it right now) will be the ability to read BSA files of Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
 

Drax

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I didn't specified because I already did several times before, but fair enough: What an opensource engine gives you is the security that you'll always be able to play morrowind. For ever. No matter the hardware or the OS, as long as you have the data files, you only need to have a port of that source code and you'll be able to play Morrowind.
For ever.
 

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