Indoril-Thirr - Updated Dialogue

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Parker's picture
Parker
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For some time, I've been sitting on updated dialogue for the Indoril-Thirr section. Namely, the settlements of Almas Thirr, Dondril, and Vhul. For the same amount of time, I've been hoping to replace the old dialogue I wrote for Almas Thirr and Dondril, since much of it is of a poor quality. When I was last working on the file, however, Rot told me the current dialogue couldn't be touched yet:

As to keeping the old dialogue, it will probably need to remain until replacement because the files are merged into Preview (which is released to the public) but you’d have to ask Atrayonis or in a meeting; also the Dondril dialogue more specifically can’t be *removed* entirely (references deleted) before looking into how it impacts the Dondril quests that are yet to be merged (they really should be merged before the changes are applied)

I just wanted to let everyone know what the situation was with the section's dialogue, in case it wasn't already known. I would love to help finish the Indoril-Thirr section, and I'd like to use this thread to find out what needs to happen before the dialogue can be updated. Besides merging the aforementioned Dondril quests, of course.

I apologize if my tone here comes across the wrong way. I fully admit I am frustrated by the circumstances holding back progress on this part of the mod, but no one here is to blame for the situation becoming so convoluted. The various roadblocks formed and rammed into each other beyond our control.

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No worries on merging the quests, done not long ago, their text will just need to be updated along with dialogue changes,

Besides that what you quote didn't refer to touching dialogue, IIRC it was in reply to your wanting to just delete all of it from the file because it was bugged and you were going to replace it later. Not sure what the status is on new claims that wanted to depend on it (@mort? @Kevaar?), of course it would still be preferable (and easier) when possible to replace the text on existing entries rather than delete and re-create all.

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I agree on replacing the text on existing entries, though I'm not sure if my new text lines up with the old stuff one-to-one. I would imagine it's pretty close. It seems I misinterpreted what you wrote, Rot, and I appreciate you clarifying this. I jumble things up in head and quoted you without really looking at what you had meant.

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I have no issues with dialogue being replaced, my quests tend to not use generic dialogue.

There are plenty of empty areas in Almas-Thirr and areas with dialogue that could use a another pass. Having the dialogue changed / finalized sooner and dealing with any consequences now would be preferable to us finishing 20 quests and realizing the dialogue changes can't be used.

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Ive got some spare time coming up and I'd be more than happy to get some dialogue done as well if needed.

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As far as Dondril dialogue and new quests, the bit about the hetman being an old witch hunter and everything referencing that should be left in, as I crafted a quest specifically around that bit of lore. However, I believe those quests haven't been implemented yet into the CS, so they can't be "merged"...if anything they are waiting for all the various placeholders for the region to go in so they can be made.

The only CS-implemented quest I'm aware of is my Bard's Tale quest (http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/claims/bards-tale). As far as merging, these changelog entries need to be checked to see if they were done correctly, as this was before I understood section files:

Changelog v1.4.0
--added rumors for Almas Thirr and Vhul regions. Random function is set to interact nicely with the other latest rumors, but still may need testing for whether it shows up properly in Almas Thirr.
--added BEGIN VHUL RUMORS and END VHUL RUMORS placeholders

Changelog v.1.3.0
--changed conditions for the latest rumors topic: these now only appear in the Vhul cell and before the quest has been completed. However, these topics still need to be integrated into TR’s special way of handling latest rumors at some point. They also do not have a Random function implemented, as there are no other Vhul rumors to compete with yet: this may eventually need implementation too.

Changelog (other)
--Greetings (5?) were added to an exisiting innkeeper in Almas Thirr and the existing Howling Hound owner in Vhul.
--I understand the Almas Thirr inn/tavern has been renamed a few times, so the dialogue may need checking to be sure it uses the finalized name.

EDIT, nevermind, there's two more implemented quests for the Dondril area:
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/claims/guar-and-dagger
http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/claims/play-meadows-malacath

I haven't looked at them, but the second at least also seems to need the old witch-hunter lore.

Beyond that, I'm not aware of anything else that would keep you from proceeding.

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If you have quests in Almas Thirr, Mortimer, I'd be happy to include latest rumors or little secrets related to them. That's why those topics exist: to direct players towards quests. Perhaps Templar Tribe could help with writing these? I also still would like unique dialogue for Almas Thirr's hetman, who represents the needs of the town's Velothi underclass. She should be down-to-earth and pious, mindful of her role, but unwilling to challenge the priestly upper class who have the real power in Almas Thirr.

Hetman Llothro

Greeting
 

Background

I am %Name, %Class. As hetman, I ____

Almas Thirr
 

Of course, people are free to read through my drafts and suggest areas where more dialogue could be needed. I only ask that writers take into account the content, style, and tone of the dialogue I've already written. New topics should blend in with the current ones.

On the topic of Dondril's hetman, the village's Velothi building was specifically added to serve as the hetman's house, and that happened after those two quests were made. I believe the NPC you're referring to, Kevaar, lives in one of the shacks, and yes, he is tied to the Hadrumnibibi quest.

Someone saw a pair of Orcs heading towards Hadrumnibibi. No one but cultists or conjurers would ever visit that evil place. The hetman is looking to ask our lord’s guards to burn them out, but the witchhunter Galor Sothro might scout out the old shrine himself.

Of course, the hetman can also be a former witch hunter, though it depends on how incompatible her background and personality are with your quest. Does it specifically need to involve the village hetman, or can the existing witch hunter character fill the role? He's probably on equal footing with the hetman when it comes to being respected by the villagers.

Nalis Varo

Greeting

An outlander in my home? What’s this village coming to?

With humblest blessings, I welcome you to Dondril, Serjo %PCName, %Rank of the House Indoril.

Background

I am Nalis Varo, hetman of Dondril. I represent its needs to Lord Indoril Draler Ilvi and offer lodgings to his guards as they tirelessly patrol the Aanthirin.

Dondril

As an itinerant priest of the Temple, I roamed from village to village, preaching the Tribune’s sermons. Yet I never saw many outlanders until I settled here. They wander in, peddlers, sellswords, abolitionists and the like. Nothing but nuisances.

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Here's the quest in question: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/claims/may-she-rest-peace

Summarized, the questgiver's daughter and wife got involved in the witches from Hadrumnibibi at some point in the past. While the mother has since died, the questgiver is now trying to cover up his daughter's heresy. When she did not repent, he was forced to kill her, and is now trying to get her remains interred. The quest goes through the hetman to try and get the rights to inter the daughter at the village ashpit. Finally, the shrine-thing near Dondril is referenced--the quest suggests it has Daedric ties, but I really have no idea what its for. The questgiver and daughter are Garvs and Fedura who already exist in the village, may need to be checked that they are not already involved in other quests.

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Oh, I remember that quest now. Based on your (excellent) outline, I don't see why the hetman needs to be a former witch hunter. Am I missing something?

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regarding latest rumors for my quests, it's an ordinator in mourning from necrom who gives high level temple quests, so something like "I heard an Ordinator from Necrom arrived recently, he's at the Monastery  looking for devoted temple curates to help out" <- a really bad example lol but more or less how I would write it

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You're not--I think it was me who missed that it wasn't the hetman who was the witch hunter, but that other guy (what is the name for him? So I can correct the quest outline..)

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Hey, I saw that you are waiting for a go-ahead on this. Updating the dialogue is quite frankly rather problematic because you made such a high-impact edit on the Indoril-Thirr file after nearly a year of communication blackout.

We have full-on new interiors in the cantons, pretty much all interior cells have been renamed (including such as [TOWNHOUSE #5] where an NPC is already present, necessiating a second renaming), there was a large-scale dialogue problem thanks to the renamed NPCs, and nobody but you has any idea what precisely your idea was in turning Almas-Thirr into its current state or what your plan is next. There is no documentation as far as I can see.

So, dialogue edits aside, what precisely do you want to do to Almas Thirr? Is it good enough for one last round, with final NPC and interior cell names so that the questers can have a go at it next? Will you provide a changelog?

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Just to reiterate dialogue problems came from changes in Data placeholders and my careless fixing and there's otherwise nothing wrong with renaming NPCs in WIP files (so long as no claims are using them of course), but yes changelogs are needed please!

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Atrayonis

Hey, I saw that you are waiting for a go-ahead on this. Updating the dialogue is quite frankly rather problematic because you made such a high-impact edit on the Indoril-Thirr file after nearly a year of communication blackout.

We have full-on new interiors in the cantons, pretty much all interior cells have been renamed (including such as [TOWNHOUSE #5] where an NPC is already present, necessiating a second renaming), there was a large-scale dialogue problem thanks to the renamed NPCs, and nobody but you has any idea what precisely your idea was in turning Almas-Thirr into its current state or what your plan is next. There is no documentation as far as I can see.

So, dialogue edits aside, what precisely do you want to do to Almas Thirr? Is it good enough for one last round, with final NPC and interior cell names so that the questers can have a go at it next? Will you provide a changelog?

 

This is a summary of the Skype meeting that took place on Saturday, March 7, 2015 based on my notes. The topic was Almas Thirr. The next meeting will probably take place on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 6:00 PM GMT/UTC. Its topic is to be determined. 

A few issues have come up relating to our current version of Almas Thirr, but the topic of fixing them has been rather hard to approach, hence the meeting. The main issues that were brought up were roughly as follows: 
Almas Thirr has a lot of ideas going for it, (nexus for land and river trade, pilgrimage site of some sort with monastery, Temple stronghold, town, mediation between House Hlaalu and House Indoril...), but to the extent that its core identity is unclear. 
It's also effectively a Tier II city without guilds and with more than a dozen services. 
Its Office of the Dispensary and Botanical Gardens, two interiors located in the canalworks, the former devoted to research into the corprus disease and the latter being a botanical garden, don't really fit any of the above concepts for Almas Thirr, the former arguably conflicting with them. 
The purpose of the meeting, as such, was to establish a coherent identity for Almas Thirr and put together a rough plan on how to implement any necessary changes. Our results are as follows: 

Background
The establishing moment of Almas Thirr was the crossing of the Thirr by Veloth. That is not to say a settlement sprang up immediately, but simply that the site only gained significance through that event. While there is probably a story relating to Veloth's crossing, it need not be explored in depth; for an event so far in the past, any telling of the story we might bother to give could just as well be apocryphal in nature or tailored to suit -- for example -- Temple canon. 
With that being said, the current story is as follows, and there's nothing more to it than what is written in this shrine text: 
"Upon this stone, Sharai the Herder willingly gave herself to the Star-Wound, mending the path for Veloth and his followers. From her shattered womb came a thousand stars, the first seeds of our Garden. Her waters are a testament of our shared resolve, and that no force, mortal or otherwise may sunder Resdayn from her children." 
All of the above does not rule out the possibility that Almalexia also did something important at Almas Thirr at some point, likely before it became a proper stronghold (more on that later): Almas Thirr currently has two shrines in its monastery complex on the eastern bank, one more prominent than the other; either one could be a Veloth shrine and the other a unique Sharai shrine, or one could be an Alma shrine and the other either a Veloth or Sharai shrine. That being said, the general sentiment in the meeting seemed to be that giving Almalexia a story relating to Almas Thirr wouldn't really add anything to the settlement, and that we can give Almalexia interesting stories in all the rest of Morrowind while Almas Thirr is a key stop on the pilgrimage of Veloth and should probably focus on that instead. 

History
Almas Thirr probably began its life as a (broadly defined) settlement as the Bloodstone shrine; either a small shrine or already as the monastery still located on the eastern bank. There may have also been some form of housing and a ferry or something providing passage across the Thirr, but nothing permanent and, as such, relevant to our Almas Thirr. The origin of the town part of the settlement is, in general, unimportant; there is no real history attached to it, and most of its current population probably moved in over the course of the third era. 
As such, as far as our Almas Thirr is concerned, the next important development after the construction of the monastery is the construction of the canton stronghold. (We didn't directly discuss when the bridge spanning the Thirr itself was built; some form of bridge may have existed before the stronghold, but the current bridge was probably built alongside the stronghold). The stronghold was built early in the third era for the express purpose of keeping an eye on the newly established boundary between Houses Hlaalu and Indoril. 
Concurrently with the construction of the stronghold came an influx of Dunmer refugees from Hlaalu's newly acquired territories as well as the start of a steady but small trickle of mostly transient outlanders. These two groups form the majority of the current town's population. 

Layout: 
A rough map for orientation: 
 
The monastery (green) is on the east bank. Either all the rest of the east bank or, at least, the garrison (2) is technically owned by House Indoril (light blue). The east bank is the most significant location for pilgrims, housing the Bloodstone shrine in the monastery as well as the smaller shrine in the garrison, and has little else going for it. (At least for non-Indoril). 
The central canton structure forms the Temple stronghold (gold); probably only really the levels above the Canalworks. The Ordinator Order of the Watch -- and perhaps to a lesser extent the Order of Doctrine and Ordination -- basically runs the place. A lot of the Ordinators would be Indoril. Aside from general prevention of open hostilities and mediation, a lot of administrative tasks would be performed in the stronghold, such as the regulation of both land and riverbourne trade. The focus of this area is, as such, on Temple politics and administration. 
The town (brown) exists around the above core, both literally and figuratively. It should not be presented as the focus of Almas Thirr; it simply exists as a satellite of the core settlement. This is doubly true for its services, most of which will be outdoor services which are supposed to represent the flow of goods through Almas Thirr, rather than Almas Thirr being a market town. A lot of NPCs are only passing through, especially the sailors, pilgrims and merchants. 
All of that being said, though, as far as the reality of gameplay is concerned players will probably spend most of their time in the town area due to its wealth of services and travel connections. (The latter still have to be added; the most popular plan appeared to be to add a small dock on the north side of the canton, where the water is of sufficient depth to allow both for a ship and a siltstrider. I've very roughly given an idea of how such a dock could look in the above image, though I may have drawn it too large). 
The town somewhat extends into the canalworks, which should feature a temple, an expanded public tomb, and perhaps other public services such as soup kitchens for the poor and perhaps some sort of school. 

Broad Themes: 
As an important, centrally placed location, Almas Thirr is somewhat of a meeting place of people and ideas, and provides ripe opportunity for exploring several complex faction and faction trope interactions, notably: 
-the Temple and House Indoril. House Indoril has established a garrison on the east bank of the Thirr, ostensibly as a show of support to the Temple stronghold. They also naturally provide the stronghold with much of its manpower and leadership, and likely provide for the settlement in other ways as well. 
Whether well-meaning or not, however, all of that support undermines the stronghold's mission to act as impartial mediator between House Indoril and House Hlaalu. As such, between the seemingly mutually supportive factions there will be a subtle tug-of-war between cronyism and principals. 
-the Temple and House Hlaalu: not explicitly discussed in the meeting, the natural interest of House Hlaalu is in gaining influence over Almas Thirr, whether through trying to make Almas Thirr economically dependent on House Hlaalu, in some way damaging the relationship between the local Indoril and Almas Thirr, etc. 
-House Hlaalu and House Indoril: in this case explored more or less through a proxy war, with the Temple getting most of the flak. 
-Velothi and the Temple/Ordinators: in the interactions between the town and stronghold. The town -- being on the Thirr rather than on either bank -- is probably controlled by neither House, and interacts directly with the Temple through Almas Thirr. The Temple, in turn, provides many services for the locals, especially in the canalworks, while at the same time regulating a lot of what goes on there. 
-outlanders and Velothi/traditionalist Dunmer: showcasing the difficulties outlanders face in gaining a foothold -- let alone acceptance -- in eastern Morrowind. 

Role in the Tribunal Temple: 
Almas Thirr will probably mainly be featured in the Temple questline as a location on the pilgrimage route of Saint Veloth. The relationship between the Temple and House Indoril and, more broadly, the Temple's role in House politics may also be explored. 

Role in Thirr River Conflict: 
The Temple attempts to perform its role in Tribunal society of protecting the peace and stability of Morrowind and insuring civility in House relations through Almas Thirr. It will collosally fail, likely as much due to the actions of House Indoril as of House Hlaalu; rather than regulating the Houses, Almas Thirr essentially becomes a pawn in their conflict. This will demonstrate the weakening of the Temple, as well as give an idea of how House Indoril and House Hlaalu are not only contributing to their own eventual downfall, but to the downfall of Tribunal society as a whole. 

Major Characters: 
Majordomo of the Crossing Sandor Ormero -> leader of the local Ordinators and, effectively, of Almas Thirr. May be related to Ilvi in some way, but attempts to maintain neutrality. 
Raransi Silveth -> leader of local Indoril guard; essentially acts as an Indoril lobbyist. 
Avon Hlaalu -> visiting Almas Thirr over a trade disagreement to negotiate with the Temple; effectively represents House Hlaalu's interests in Almas Thirr. 
Celdora -> Altmer service provider who more-or-less acts as spokesperson for the outlander minority in Almas Thirr. 
Dadas Blarvam -> Dunmer ascetic located in the Bloodstone shrine. 
Hetman -> elected representative of the townspeople to the Temple authorities, and effectively the leader and spokesperson of the local Velothi. 
Important Temple fellow -> leader of the monastery and neither an Ordinator nor especially involved in the politics of Almas Thirr; mostly significant for Temple members. 

Services: 
While Almas Thirr will have a lot of merchants, the majority will either operate outdoor stalls or work in craftmer halls or tradehouses. As such, they'll have a limited selection of wares and a limited amount of barter gold. 
Temple and Indoril players will probably have access to additional services of some form as well; at least beds. 
Almas Thirr will have a siltstrider and boat, each with the maximum amount of destinations. (Four each). It also has a lot of shrines around the place. It does not, however, have much in the way of guilds. There will be at least one inn as well as a pilgrim's hostel, and perhaps a cornerclub or two if there's space. 

Implementation: 
Almas Thirr's planning document needs to be brought up to speed. We sorted out a rough plan on what needs to happen to the interiors which could use some tidying up and then implementation. The same goes for exterior adjustments, though I think only adding the small dock with siltstrider and ship access is really necessary. Once the interior and exterior have been altered to fit our vision, we can perhaps revisit NPCing. The list of interiors, for those whom it may interest: 

Althrom Manor -> fine; high-ranking Indoril Temple member 
Aynor Surav: Healer -> move outside or use elsewhere 
Bloodstone Shrine -> St. Veloth crosses the Thirr 
Botanical Gardens -> repurpose as Craftmer hall for some village dedicated to St. Meris. 
Celdora's Assorted Texts and Tomes -> keep concept, move interior outside or use elsewhere. 
Clepitus Mados: Cartographer -> maybe Ordinator or Temple interior? 
Contraband Warehouse -> doesn't fit the exterior as well as it could, but otherwise fine. 
Darane Soms: General Trader -> tradehouse 
Dockyard Trade Office -> fine 
Dralosa Sathram: Fine Clothier -> craftmer's hall for textiles? 
Dram Badryon: Trader -> tradehouse 
Emmoleth: Pawnbroker -> fine 
Garrison -> Indoril guards working with the Ordinators 
Garrison, Lower Quarters 
Hideout -> Hlaalu smugglers; add additional access route to exterior. 
Hospice of the Crossing -> fine 
Ildos Badryon's Tower -> part of Dram Badryon: Trader 
Ilmyna Adas: Alchemist -> repurpose if there's a place for it, otherwise use elsewhere. 
Indrea Avorn: Ship Outfitter -> rename to seem less like a shop. 
Ivolen Manor -> Temple + maybe Indoril official. 
Jalor Indorn’s House -> keep as is. 
Llandora Falavel’s House -> fine 
Llevas Forothram: Clothier -> use elsewhere 
Llunela Savel’s House -> fine 
Merchant Warehouse -> maybe switch location with a different interior, but works in Almas Thirr. 
Nalor Relvs’ House -> use elsewhere? 
Northeast Lighthouse -> fine 
Office of the Dispensary -> maybe use elsewhere; not in Almas Thirr 
Plaza -> replace the two small buildings with grander buildings; Ordinator barracks and armoury? 
Plaza Sanctum -> fine 
Public Tomb -> expand 
Raleth Hlasur’s House -> fine 
Samsi Adranibaal’s House -> fine 
Satheri Dralam: Plaza Trader -> maybe use elsewhere; rather boring, too many traders. 
Shrine of St. Meris -> Representing Almas Thirr's role as mediator. 
Sovos Ramalor: Pawnbroker -> maybe use elsewhere 
The Glinting Moth -> fine 
The Limping Scrib -> use elsewhere? 
The Tipped Pitcher -> main inn; rename The Limping Scrib 
Tribunal Monastery -> leave as is 
Tribunal Monastery, Dome 
Underworks -> do more with it? 
Vavs Barayn’s House -> fine as is 
Waistworks -> redo as most of the interiors will be pulled. Perhaps expand actual waistworks interior -- for instance by adding more small interior plazas -- to limit the amount of interior space we need to fill with barracks and administration stuff. Re-route lower western access to waistworks from town to instead link the town to the canalworks. 

To be implemented: 
-hetman 
-cornerclub(s)? 
-travel service ship interior 
-new or expanded canalworks interiors like tomb, temple. 
-new upper canton interiors such as Ordinator barracks, armoury, administrative building, perhaps higher class Ordinator dormitories, such as for certain Indoril and such...

Source

All changes to Almas Thirr were approved and decided upon two years ago, through the project's official channels. I simply decided to finally implement them after a delay. Having been part of the discussion around Almas Thirr for some time (under my previous username, Yeti), I believed I had the necessary working knowledge to do so. Granted, I should have been clearer about my intentions, but I did cover what I was going to do when I took over the file:

Claiming to work on Almas Thirr. Reorganize interiors in accordance to February 22, 2015 Skype meeting plan. Add silt stride port.

Seems I was off by a month...

Any alterations to NPC names were made in the mind of improving the city, with no knowledge that the edits would cause any problems, since that had never been the case before. The interior placeholder names were only going to be temporary, and for my own organization, before the unanticipated error with working on the file without the seperate TR_Mainland.esp grounded the city's reorganization to a halt. Any new interiors added were developed as claims on the old forums, and sanctioned by project leadership.

Absolutely, there should never be a technical problem with making changes to a WIP file. These files exist to be altered, tweaked, reviewed, and finalized. Not having the freedom to make reasonable edits to a claimed file is, with all due respect, unacceptable. It can only limit progress where progress is desired.

In terms of exterior and interior work, Almas Thirr is finished. No further changes on those fronts. The interior cells do need final names, but otherwise only dialogue changes are needed.

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Alright. There is probably only one person from March 2015 still around, which would be Gnomey. Everyone else I know for sure were around then have left. However, that still is not a changelog.

I fundamentally disagree with editing section files to this degree, as it flies in the face of the sort of top-down planning which we rebuilt TR around. But I guess it can't be helped anymore, since the new master plan and workflow wasn't established until early 2016. We'll see how this works with Lake Andaram and the Deshaan, or if it works at all.

With NPCs, I assume this is because Indoril-Thirr is being done essentially backwards. Dialogue should only be done after NPCs are finalized, not the other way around. Spilt milk, decisions made before my time, etc.

That said, you have my go-ahead signal for dialogue implementation and what else goes with it. Just, please make sure that what you implement is something that is decisive enough so it will not need to be revised again. TR has done too much of that already.

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Our project's retention of veteran members is not nearly as dire as that. 6PlusAeven, Asylumcookie16 (who I assume is the same modder as Cookiemonster16?), Matin SanguineMortimerRats, Rot, RyanS and Gnomey were all members of the project prior to 2015, and they are all (as far as I can tell) still active to some extent today. Keevar joined the forums in 2003, but he admittedly didn't post a showcase until late 2015, it seems. There are probably others I am forgetting, and others who changed their usernames when we moved forums, like I did.

Of course, not all of them were active in the Almas Thirr discussion, but I believe this shows that the redesign plans were not from an antediluvian period of the project's history. But even if there were only two of us left, that's still no good reason to abandon a settlement plan as exceptional as the one for Almas Thirr. And for what it's worth, there had been steady work on the new interiors during the course of 2016. Work on this hadn't been tucked away entirely.

To my eyes, the section files are very much works in progress. I cannot see how they can be anything else. The Old Ebonheart section has an entire castle that requires interiors. Hlaalu-Thirr has unfinished quests scattered around, here and there. Almas Thirr's current dialogue is crap. And I should know. I wrote it back in 2013. I was very much a novice at writing dialogue, and the proper standards were not in place to catch the inadequacies of my work. 

Obviously, with our current work flow, changing dialogue after it's implemented isn't acceptable. I agree. Remaking content is painful, and tiresome. But we still need to accommodate changes to content that is blatantly outdated. Our top-down planning process only works in its ideal form with lands that haven't been made yet. Lands that were created beforehand should be revised to some extent. Otherwise, our version of Morrowind will become a hodgepodge of drastically differant quality standards.

Atrayonis, you know far more about the current state of our files than I do. I need to know why editing dialogue is problematic. What errors does it introduce? Wherever possible, I want to avoid causing them. 

How thorough should the change logs be? Should I list every NPC or dialogue entry that is touched? Or is it alright to summarize things? I admit my communication around here has been sporadic, which I regret. From now on, logs will be posted with every file I upload.

The modder formerly known as Yeti.
Head of NPCs - Skyrim: Home of the Nords

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Templar Tribe
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Ahem I've been with y'all since like 2003 as well.

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Atrayonis
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You misunderstand me, probably because I wasn't typing clearly. I meant to say that about the people who were at the discussion in March 2015 is still around. I mean, I've been around since 2005 and I was "there" by the same criterium. Much like the people you have listed I wasn't around for a lot of stuff. TR for a long time in late 2015 and early 2016 was maybe half a dozen people in total, for example.
I can't quantify what people were still around in March, but it was like later it can't have been that many. From what else went on at that time it was the "decide on a revamp and then bugger off, someone else can deal with it" faction.

For me, the section files are when exteriors and some interiors are done and borders can be smoothed out, NPCs and quests implemented. Assuming encompassing reworks on a section file level smacks of deeply flawed planning and terrible project management that was surprised by what it had assembled. Fully agree with that it's only working with new lands (if at all, we haven't actually finished anything with the new workflow). Spilt milk.

Dialogue is fickle. If you change a cell name, it carries over. If you change exterior cell names, the first cell in the CS list with that name carries the trigger condition with it. If you change NPCs it seems to break (deleting the NPC id trigger). I don't know how it deals with journals changing. Errors in the scripts attached to the "reply" box (as opposed to dedicated scripts) can only be found out in an obscure way, and if you do it it will screw up the file, so do not save after hitting "Error Check Results" in the dialogue window.
The way Morrowind dialogue is structured (it includes before/current/next ids) is inherently incapable of dealing with new entries without errors. TR_Mainland contains "block" begin and ending entries to deal with other mods or section files overriding our ids, keep your dialogue inbetween them at all times.
They used to be in TR_Data, but because I didn't know about the problems it would cause, I agreed with removing them from Tamriel_Data when we moved structures. Do not edit a section file without also loading TR_Mainland.esp or .esm.

Changelogs - at least part of what changelogs are supposed to cover can now be done by linking to the release file. Changelog files are meant for assembling the changelog for the next release, so they should be summaries.

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Parker
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Ah, I see. My apologies for misunderstanding what you meant. Truthfully, I don't remember for certain who was part of the original Skype meeting. It may have just been Gnomey, me, and a few others. Ideally, this all would have been dealt with in the same year it was discussed. But then, a lot of our lead developers disappeared around the same time, and a number of things fell to the wayside.

Moving forward, your description of section files sounds reasonable. I don't foresee a similar rework arising from the other ones. This is more a unique situation, since the Indoril-Thirr area wasn't planned out properly. Like, at all. Work on its dialogue was done long before we had a workable concept for House Indoril, for instance. Gnomey redid Roa Dyr, the village of Vhul was added, and there were notable changes to the wilderness. After all of that, it was decided (somewhat informally) to rework the older dialogue for Almas Thirr and Dondril to match. Clearly, this is not how we want things to be done now. Thankfully, we had a much better idea of what we wanted on the other side of the river.

Not too long ago, I oversaw significant revising of old dialogue and npcs over at Skyrim: Home of the Nords. Many IDs and topics were altered and I didn't notice the issues you mention. Granted, that may be due to our differing file structures. Or perhaps we haven't noticed the problems yet. It will be worth looking into.

The modder formerly known as Yeti.
Head of NPCs - Skyrim: Home of the Nords