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Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Credit goes to Swiftoak for giving me ideas & inspiration. Obviously, all of the details below are open to discussion. Also, the painting below is not my own work, but I forget whether it was Swiftoak or Adanorcil who drew it.

Alt Orethan

…Upon crossing the Thirr’s consuming currents, Veloth’s wandering host climbed the valley’s foothills and gazed out over the desolate wasteland on the other side. An anguished cry rang out from the throngs of weary pilgrims, the lesser among them cursing the day they forsook the decadent shores of Aldmeris.

With prayers to the god-ancestors sweetening his lips, Veloth fell into deep meditation on the hillside. Prince of Plots Boethiah heard his herald’s rising thoughts, and sent guidance to Veloth. He threw his voice out of Oblivion into the Mundus, where it took hold of the prophet’s creed-brother, Orethan. Possessed with a divine will, the thrice-blessed disciple approached Veloth, and spoke these words:

“Wanderer of the Three paths in One, fear not where your forward footsteps shall lead. All mortals are but dust swept up on the path towards death. Let your spirit seek its manifest doom, and rejoice, for the ghost shall forever rise.”

With this, the voice of Boethiah departed Orethan, whose mortal frame was left shattered -broken under the weight of the Daedric Prince’s glory.

Holding back their grief, the followers of Veloth entombed their brother under a mound of mold. From there, they crossed the wasteland before them in a silent funeral procession. Midway through this march, sorrow overcame the Prophet Veloth’s pious gravity, wetting his gilded eyelids. Thrice did his silent tears strike the ground, and thrice did the ground shake from the daunting blows. Thus did Veloth consecrate the MOURNING HOLD, sacred seat of light and magic.

Awakened by the calls of Veloth’s tears, a great torrent burst from the western foothills, a pure stream that swept through the wastes, flooding it with lifeblood. All around, life sprung into being. Praising the sight, Veloth named the newborn river “Orethan” and his following raised prayers to the Snake-Faced Queen of the Three in One, though none of them could yet recognize her name.

Veloth continued his east-bound path along the banks of the river, leaving behind the Alt Orethan -heartland of the Velothi.


Identity

The Alt Orethan is the traditional hearth-territory of House Indoril, and by extension the religious heartland of Morrowind. The area emphasizes what it means to be a Dunmer in the eyes of Indoril cultural norms and philosophy.

Much like how the harsh terrain of the Velothi Mountains suits House Redoran's martial nature and the fate of House Dres is intimately tied with the salt flats of the Deshann, the Alt Orethan is a model of what it means to be Indoril. It is where the interaction between the Indoril ruling class and the Dunmer underclass is most prominent. It is where their strict hierarchy of social classes is strongest, with the city of Almalexia being its pinnacle. It is where the Indoril’s obsession with maintaining law, order and the millennia-old status quo is centered and where the structure and traditions of the Temple –the institution of religion- is literary worshiped itself.

The Orethan River serves as the spiritual lifeblood of the region, and has a prominent place in early Temple folklore. Almalexia’s Temple straddles the highest point in the valley, the stronghold of Mournhold.

The road from Almas Thirr to the west passes through the mountains and emerges at Othrensis, where a shrine of some significance marks the source of the Orethan River. The road continues east to Bosmora, where it joins with the road to Necrom. This route is heavily traversed by merchants and pilgrims from all walks of life. Likewise, the main roads have many way shrines, each one telling a portion of the area’s theocratic history.

The people of the valley are heavily steeped in ritual, and frequently sprinkle their everyday discourse with religious references. Their society and the land itself is modeled as a perfect image of Morrowind culture as canonized by the laws determined (interpreted by Great House Indoril, of course).

Geographic Characteristics

The Alt Orethan is an open valley of flat fields created by a ring of encircling low mountains and ridges. The terrain grows rockier around the capital of Almalexia, from which it opens up into the lower highlands surrounding the capital. The land is tame and heavily cultivated.

The Orethan River is an extensive feature of this region, creating a river basin separated from the Thirr River Valley. It flows from the foothills of the west, through Almalexia and into the Lan Orethan, where it flows southwest into the eastern sea, and north, where it gradually narrows and disappears into the Mephalain Mountains.

“Why am I naked? Because it’s too damned hot here!”

– Forstaag the Sweltering (Brindisi Dorom, Mournhold)

The climate of the region is somewhat sub-tropical, with a warm humid atmosphere. Here the vegetation is green, lush and not as dense as in the neighboring Lan Orethan. Spindlewort plants grow commonly on uncultivated patches of wilderness, and clumps of bamboo are spread close to the Orethan’s waterways. Scattered cypress Trees loom over the flat valley grasslands. This floral concept can likely be accomplished through a combination of existing MH trees and some custom flora (much of which is available from the jettisoned redo of the Nedothril Coast).

People

As the center of Indoril culture, the Alt Orethan is home to a significant number of Indoril aristocratic families and their peasant vassals. For the Dunmer of the Alt Orethan, religion is not merely an important aspect of their lives, but a driving cultural force that dictates almost every aspect of their lives. The Triunes and Saints of the Tribunal Temple are guiding role models. Lower-class Dunmer passively follow the strict tenants of Tribunal law.

Large numbers of non-house Dunmer farm the tilled grasslands of the valley, in a system of communal farming overseen and organized under a network of Indoril manor estates. Almalexia contains a more cosmopolitan population, though most foreign influence is contained in the city’s foreign quarters.

Settlements

Almalexia

Almalexia is the palace-seat of the Goddess Mother, capital of Morrowind, homestead of the Great House Indoril, and the most massive and majestic city of eastern Tamriel. As the heart of traditional Dunmer culture and politics, the city is home to many important characters, including Morrowind’s figurehead monarch, the Grand Ascendant of the House Indoril, and the Alma Rula. An overwhelming array of services can be found in the city, and the economic bloodline of the province flows through the bustling city. The Orethan River is the main artery of transportation, with passengers, foodstuff and goods constantly being unloaded at canl-side docks. Neighborhoods range from cosmopolitan to culturally homogeneous, with different areas dedicated to outlanders, native poor Dunmer and Indoril House-men.

Othrensis

Othrensis is a small Velothi religious farming hamlet built on a low ridge amidst the western fields of the Alt Orethan. The settlement is ancient, and has maintained its size and down-to-earth identity throughout its history. The village sits on the site of an important Temple pilgrimage site related to the Prophet Veloth and his first crossing of Morrowind’s central heartland. It’s a showcase for the lifestyle of traditional, rural Dunmer, whose daily routines are steeped in pious folklore traditions.

Wilderness Locations

Small Dunmer peasant farms and Indoril manors dot the countryside, which shows heavy signs of agriculture. Dunmer ancestral tombs are the main dungeons, and are highly concentrated in the area. They should generally be well-maintained, but accessible to low-level characters.

Gameplay

The Alt Orethan is a largely safe region that should cater to low-level characters. The city of Almalexia is a major quest hub that dominates local gameplay considerations.

_________________
-Head of NPCs: Skyrim: Home of the Nords
Post Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:23 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I definitely like the direction this has gone. Are the spindlewort and bamboo models fully operational? I was considering including TR's current bamboo models in my mockup, (I might still upload it when it's ready in case it has any usable ideas), but figured they would up the face count too much to be worth it. I do think that low poly large surface area shrubbery like TR_Flora_AJ_F02 would be ideal for the region.

My main concern with the region at this point is with gameplay. I really think we need to consider alternatives to fighting hostile fauna and flora in settled places like this and to a lesser extent the Thirr River Valley. The problem with ancestral tombs near Almalexia, for example, is that I'd think they would be very well-maintained, often high-level, and people ought to react very negatively to you looting them.
Daedric, Dwemer and Stronghold ruins, however, would probably be completely safe, same for most caves.

I do think Sasquatch may have been on to something with making Almalexia a more hostile environment, though not on the scale he was going for, but I suppose, especially as the outstanding issues with Almalexia have not been settled, the city and surrounding region are best handled separately.

_________________
"The "drunks" are hopefully leading the "sober" in the right direction. They're just not heading there in a straight line...." - Kovacius

"I have nothing to declare except my genius." - Oscar Wilde, border
Post Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:28 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



Neat! (I think it's "face-snaked", not snake-faced, for what it's worth)

The road from Almas Thirr to Othrensis->Almalexia->... should probably be treated together with this. Small wayshrines along the road, pilgrims... (can shrines be cobbled together just from existing trioliths and rocks? Maybe more weathered retextures?) ... with (physically unguarded) offerings from the local farms, etc.
Perhaps with the difference that the TRV side could show signs of being recently warded against Hlaalu intrusions?

On dungeons, an alternative for variety is having a couple smuggler/... caves that were just cleared by Indoril guards. Have a few with guards patrolling very widely and you've got a low-level 'dungeon' for thief types. Also, a related idea for elsewhere from Tondollari: hostile ascetics.
Post Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:20 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Does the lack of discussion here mean my plan has universal acceptance? I for one rather doubt that. Razz Any constructive criticism would be appreciated, especially concerning the religious story I put together. Feel free to comment on the plan in a section-by-section basis, if that's easier for you all.
_________________
-Head of NPCs: Skyrim: Home of the Nords
Post Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:22 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

In my case, the lack of comments aside from the notes above does pretty much indicate acceptance of the rest of the post. If so tasked, I could nitpick on minor points, though:

Geographic Characteristics:
-I'll probably get to that mockup ESP after the North Andothren Merge file and my Map 5 claim; hopefully this week. That being said, I completely agree on the description provided by your post and am only interested in elaborating on it.
-I wouldn't want actual cypress trees, but am quite fine with cypress-y trees.

People:
-upper class Dunmer also follow the strict tenants of Tribunal law, naturally.
-mostly slaves should be tilling the fields, in my opinion. I am not sure what role lower-class Dunmer would play in agriculture (they might simply farm alongside slaves), but I do think they would probably be associated with House Indoril. After all, they basically serve the owners of the estates. Just because they are part of House Indoril wouldn't mean that they are treated well, necessarily.
I'd imagine non-House Dunmer would mostly keep to Almalexia.
I could easily be wrong on this one, though.

Almalexia:
-"Morrowind’s formerly figurehead monarch"; a debatable and minor point.
-"the economic bloodline of the province flows through the bustling city." - I'd argue it flows along the Thirr, actually. Almalexia is a major artery, certainly, but by the time of 3E 427 its importance has probably fallen far behind the Thirr, not to mention its own reputation. Which is not to say Almalexia wouldn't be ridiculously affluent. Most of it, anyway.

I've already commented on Wilderness Locations and Gameplay.

Other than those minor points, though, I really am all in agreement. It's an excellent post.

_________________
"The "drunks" are hopefully leading the "sober" in the right direction. They're just not heading there in a straight line...." - Kovacius

"I have nothing to declare except my genius." - Oscar Wilde, border
Post Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:42 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Here's my rough take on Alt Orethan, for variety:



Of special note are the cliffs along the skirt of the bordering mountains. I imagined the region as having roughly 10% cliff, 10% water, 40% grassland and 40% farmland.

I've also attached the plugin, as I didn't want to spend too much more time working on it. I mostly edited the western Othrensis cell. The flora should naturally be considered more for its function than form.
I think the way I handled the tilled fields is a good way to have large expanses of agricultural land without a ridiculous face count. Even if the model I used to make the point looks rather ugly when used that way.

A few screenshots:




TR_M3A6-Ind_GnomeyTEST.esp
 Description:

Download
 Filename:  TR_M3A6-Ind_GnomeyTEST.esp
 Filesize:  13.79 MB
 Downloaded:  67 Time(s)


_________________
"The "drunks" are hopefully leading the "sober" in the right direction. They're just not heading there in a straight line...." - Kovacius

"I have nothing to declare except my genius." - Oscar Wilde, border
Post Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:11 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Swiftoak and I had a rather rambly conversation on the topic of Alt Orethan on IRC. The transcript, a few of the more egregious digressions omitted:

<Swiftoak> so i learned how to model the other day
<Gnomey> That's good.
<Swiftoak> i'd like to get to work fixing the alt orethan and finding a solid concept for the region
<Gnomey> Very good, in fact.
<Swiftoak> haha mostly my skills are still limited to basic things like rocks
<Swiftoak> maybe simple flora
<Swiftoak> i can uvmap decently and vertex paint
<Swiftoak> https://www.dropbox.com/s/i6wizm12azsqior/aoridge.jpg
<Swiftoak> my first model
<Swiftoak> and hand-made textures
<Gnomey> I personally have a penchant for shrubbery, if you hadn't noticed.
<Swiftoak> hmmm
<Gnomey> Tall grasses and the like; bushes.
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Swiftoak> we dont have those
<Swiftoak> idk how hard they would be on the engine though :P
<Gnomey> I'm thinking larger models used spartingly.
<Gnomey> Instead of rocks, mostly.
<Gnomey> *sparingly
<Gnomey> Something like TR's AJ shrubs.
<Swiftoak> yeah perhaps
<Swiftoak> idk
<Swiftoak> i think we need to get into what IS the orethan valley
<Swiftoak> like these regions sort of play a role in the stories of these houses
<Swiftoak> you have the deshaan salt and the dres
<Swiftoak> you have the cragginess of the velothis that informs the martial nature of house redoran
<Swiftoak> we'll come up with something weird to emphasize telvanni's isolation
<Swiftoak> for hlaalu, we show their ability to adapt to different landscapes harsh and not harsh. since we have them placed in harsh regions like the armun and roth roryn
<Swiftoak> and shipal
<Swiftoak> but also not so harsh regions like the TRV, ascadian isles, othrleth woods
<Gnomey> My first thought on Alt Orethan is heavy settlement; both farms and various shrines and tombs.
<Swiftoak> so the landscape there shows the hlaalu's ability to adapt
<Swiftoak> but what is the orethan to indoril
<Gnomey> (And I'm not talking about saint shrines).
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Gnomey> I think it is essentially the motherland to them. Probably the oldest Indoril lands.
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Swiftoak> but you sorta see what i mean about making that connectionb
<Gnomey> Yeah.
<Swiftoak> between the visual appearances of our exteriors and the character
<Swiftoak> hlaalu are very flexible and it shows because they can work all these various regions. it fits their character
<Swiftoak> etc. etc.
<Swiftoak> i think we sorta need to touch on that with the indoril
<Gnomey> But returning to that old idea of the different Indoril regions representing different facets of House Indoril,
<Gnomey> Alt Orethan has a fairly naturaly position to be Indoril at its best; in its golden age.
<Gnomey> The Mephalain Mountains are the harsh, almost tribal past, while the Thirr River Valley is the bleak, desperate present/future.
<Swiftoak> sorta yeah
<Gnomey> Lan Orethan is the weakness; the shortcomings of the Indoril.
<Swiftoak> i want to think of the orethan as a singular entitty
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Gnomey> And I have absolutely no clue on Inlet Bog.
[...]
<Swiftoak> idk if im fully sold on the idea each region needs to mean something specific to indoril :P
<Swiftoak> could be
<Gnomey> It doesn't.
[...]
<Gnomey> Regions need to have a purpose, and that's an easy way to approach giving them a purpose.
[...]
<Gnomey> But it would probably not be good to overdo regions having thematic purpsoes.
[...]
<Swiftoak> the orethan....i came up with something
<Swiftoak> like the orethan is sorta the ganges
[...]
<Swiftoak> you have the thirr which is pretty sacred, but it's more like the economical waterway, where as the orethan is the spiritual one sinc eit flows east and all
[...]
<Gnomey> On the topic of the Orethan, I do still like the idea of the locals using the waterways heavily.
[...]
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Swiftoak> but distinguish it from the thirr
<Gnomey> The Orethan may not be the most important traderoute, but it might see more travel.
<Swiftoak> it should be sacred.
<Swiftoak> yeah i picture river barges
<Gnomey> Yeah.
<Swiftoak> it's not a wide river by any means
<Gnomey> We could change that.
<Gnomey> It should be narrower than the Thirr, though.
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Swiftoak> maybe bathing in the orethan can be some sort of baptism ritual
<Swiftoak> in the temple
<Swiftoak> idk
<Gnomey> Hm, maybe.
<Swiftoak> im porbably putting too much weight on the spritual aspect though
<Gnomey> Considering the story we have for the Orethan so far, though, I don't see the symbolism.
<Gnomey> That seems more like it would be an Indoril ceremony,
<Swiftoak> what story
<Swiftoak> yeah maybe
<Swiftoak> we have nothing for the tmeple
<Gnomey> which sort of fits with the ritual bath before the arranged marriage.
<Gnomey> For the temple I was thinking whispering shrines, like those instruments I psoted in the Indoril Brainstorming thread.
<Gnomey> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7Vx16uhuoc
<Gnomey> those things.
<Gnomey> Then you have ancestral tombs and the occasional Velothi temple in or near a Velothi settlement.
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Swiftoak> ancestral tombs that are not dungeons?
<Swiftoak> better kept perhaps
<Gnomey> Better kept, and looting them has real, severe consequences if discovered.
<Gnomey> As in black-gloved consequences or something.
<Swiftoak> right
<Swiftoak> but make it manageable for low level players
<Gnomey> Then maybe pilgrimage hostels along Veloth's road.
<Swiftoak> this is still very much stomping ground for newbs en route to alma
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Swiftoak> maybe one OM ruin somewhere
<Gnomey> Nah, I think ancestral tombs wouldn't necessarily be manageable by low-level players.
<Swiftoak> yeah probably
<Gnomey> A low-level region doesn't always need low-level dungeons.
<Swiftoak> i mean there are tough dungeons near seyda neen
<Swiftoak> so long as they stick to the main road s'all okay
<Gnomey> Morrowind isn't always known for being noob-friendly, anyway.
<Swiftoak> what about flora
<Gnomey> Do you mean new assets?
<Swiftoak> like my idea is wide open plain a la whiterun
<Swiftoak> bu with moar flora
<Swiftoak> yeah but also vanilla stuff
<Gnomey> Yeah, but objects should be placed sparingly.
<Gnomey> Performance concerns.
<Swiftoak> exactly
<Gnomey> We need very good landscape textures, really.
<Swiftoak> i can make those
<Gnomey> Blue-green grasses and the like.
<Gnomey> Not sure how the dirt should look, or the rocks.
<Swiftoak> https://www.dropbox.com/s/jj52cj6wez9rxfk/aoagain.jpg
<Gnomey> If we aren't using GL rocks.
<Swiftoak> i made a new rock tex
<Swiftoak> similar to the stone of the IND buildings
<Swiftoak> a darker stone
<Gnomey> Yeah, that works a lot better.
<Gnomey> That stone colour is the natural way to go.
<Swiftoak> that grass is also new
<Swiftoak> i tried making it bluer and it seemed awkward
<Gnomey> Should the dirt be darker, though?
<Swiftoak> so i went a bit lighter
<Swiftoak> https://www.dropbox.com/s/5hzl43bem16h87d/aoparchedearth.jpg
<Swiftoak> problem is it's hard to make it not look like a vanilal texture
<Swiftoak> if i darken it it's really too similar to AI
<Swiftoak> unless i make it all brown
<Swiftoak> which doesn't work either
<Swiftoak> so a paler green is what i went with
<Gnomey> Yeah, I was thinking maybe really dark earth.
<Swiftoak> sorta in the same hue as the greenish stuff on the trims
<Gnomey> The grass looks fine to me.
<Swiftoak> yeah there will be variants
<Gnomey> Maybe reddish soil?
<Gnomey> A lot of Morrowind dirt is of the yellowish variety;
<Gnomey> we could give southwestern and central Morrowind in general a bit of a reddish flare, maybe.
<Swiftoak> we have reddishness in the othrleth and shipla
<Swiftoak> i kinda want to emphasize the orethan being this sorta utopia
<Swiftoak> garden
<Swiftoak> wide plains and bountiful fields for the alt orethan
<Gnomey> Yeah. But they would be distinct, I think.
<Swiftoak> and lushwarm forests in the lower orethan
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Swiftoak> idk it's hard for MW to find a good colour scheme
<Swiftoak> :P
<Swiftoak> it's all very garish
<Gnomey> Shipal-Shin might be red-desertish,
<Swiftoak> and when you lose the hue, you lose alot of variation oppurtuynities
<Gnomey> while Othreleth would have a lot of deep browns and oranges.
<Swiftoak> it's all different shades of grey :P
<Swiftoak> yeah
<Swiftoak> make it too saturated and iut's compeltely out of place
<Gnomey> Orethan could have deep, lush red and blue-green,
<Swiftoak> idk
<Gnomey> with maybe palish grass as you have it.
<Gnomey> Hm...
<Gnomey> Still a little bright: https://uffech.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/img_2764.jpg
<Swiftoak> hm
<Swiftoak> maybe post the ideas to the AO thread?
<Gnomey> Yeah, I'll look for a few good pictures and then do so.
<Swiftoak> idk what slaod feels
<Swiftoak> but i think it's a good time to broach the subject of redoing the alt orethan
<Swiftoak> because any redo of alma
<Swiftoak> will eventually mean significant rework of surrounding landscape anwyays
<Gnomey> The topic is sort of already broached, I think.
<Swiftoak> and we might as well hit it right
<Gnomey> Alt Orethan is already slated for some level of work.
<Swiftoak> yeah i took a look at it
<Swiftoak> it's MAJOR work
<Swiftoak> like the whole area
<Swiftoak> bleeding into meralag and the mainland
<Gnomey> Yeah, but it's unclear if it would be more search-and-replacing type work or something more.
<Swiftoak> i think in some areas (othrensis) it's easier
<Gnomey> Most major work would be around Almalexia, as people seem to want to flatten the hills there, which I am fine with.
<Swiftoak> since the heightmap lends itself to the concept already
<Gnomey> Yeah.
<Swiftoak> iut's the eastern areas around alma
<Swiftoak> they're too mountainous
<Swiftoak> even meralag
<Gnomey> Oh right! Agriculture.
<Swiftoak> really awkward smattering of GL/AI/WG
<Swiftoak> yes
<Swiftoak> i wanted to ask you
<Swiftoak> what's being farmed there
<Gnomey> Did you see the screenshots of my mock-up plugic?
<Gnomey> *plugin
<Swiftoak> i thinbk so
<Gnomey> Hm...
<Gnomey> http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g103/Gnomenator/Alt%20Orethan/AltOrethan03.jpg
<Swiftoak> yeah this works
<Gnomey> This one very barely shos how I handled the fields.
<Swiftoak> a little too flat, i would see more rolling hills
<Swiftoak> but you generally have the right idea
<Gnomey> Yeah, it is too flat.
<Swiftoak> rocks
<Gnomey> I did hardly any landscape work.
<Swiftoak> we need to talk about what types of rocks we want to use
<Gnomey> The lack of rocks was intentional, though, as I wanted them to be used sparingly in Alt Orethan.
<Gnomey> Rocks and agriculture do not mix.
<Gnomey> I think your sort of ledgy rocks are a good idea, though.
<Swiftoak> yeah thats wha i meant
<Swiftoak> it's not so rocky
<Swiftoak> thats sorta why i made them
<Swiftoak> could not evben be rocks
<Swiftoak> but dirt ledges
<Gnomey> And I do still like the idea of rare, scattered mini-mesas.
<Swiftoak> mesa?
<Swiftoak> i need a pic :P
<Gnomey> Hm...
<Gnomey> I'm thinking something like this without the massive slopes: http://www.sciencephoto.com/image/120283/350wm/C0056645-A_butte_or_small_mesa,_Australian_desert-SPL.jpg
<Gnomey> just the top rocky bit.
<Gnomey> Most mesa images are far too large in what they show.
<Gnomey> And too dry.
<Swiftoak> these work well in shipal shin
<Gnomey> But basically I mean small, low-ish cliff cylinders covered with vegetation.
<Swiftoak> http://www.lozere-tourisme.com/images/entites/PNA_PA/NIMES-LE-VIEUX-P03.jpg
<Swiftoak> semi-isopalted rock outcroppings
<Gnomey> Hm...
<Swiftoak> esp where the areas start transitioning to moutnainous areas
<Gnomey> I'm almost wondering whether those would work better in Telvannis, though.
<Swiftoak> the valley is ringed by low ridges and mountains
<Swiftoak> probably
<Swiftoak> to the south the salt cliffs of deshaan rise out from the scrubland
<Gnomey> http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Alexander_%28Iskandar%29_building_the_brazen_wall_against_the_people_of_Gog_and_Magog._Painted_on_paper.jpg
<Swiftoak> to the north and west mountains seperate it from the inlet bog and TRV
<Swiftoak> and to the east a low ridge drops into the lan orethan
<Gnomey> For central Morrowind, I generally think of Persian painting like that one, but lusher.
<Swiftoak> mm
<Gnomey> By the way, I would like to see your landscape textures with Adanorcil's Nedothril Coast flora.
<Swiftoak> https://www.dropbox.com/s/825o1325llnwjwo/altorethanwhatever.jpg
<Gnomey> Hm...
<Gnomey> Maybe a very bluish and lush scrub texture to match those?
<Gnomey> As it stands, there needs to be some sort of transition between the models and your grass texture
<Swiftoak> yeah thats why
<Swiftoak> i thought adjusting the bamboo
<Swiftoak> adan doesnt even want to use it
<Swiftoak> he thinks it would be better in the deshaan
<Gnomey> That would work too.
<Swiftoak> we can make something better
<Gnomey> I acually imagined the bamboo as being about 1/10 the size from the first picture I saw.
<Swiftoak> what we're gonna do for our regions from now on
<Swiftoak> is this
<Swiftoak> we're gonna make clearly defined "Asset Kits"
<Swiftoak> for each region
<Swiftoak> TR_AO
<Gnomey> Yeah.
<Gnomey> That is the way to go.
<Swiftoak> or TR_flora_AO_whatever_01
<Swiftoak> our exterior devs will know what to use
<Swiftoak> and where it is approproiate
<Swiftoak> alongside a sample region palette ESP
<Swiftoak> and design document
<Swiftoak> just like vanilla
<Gnomey> I just gathered five different examples of soil colour and am now left wondering whether anyone will care about it...
<Gnomey> Ooh, I hit the jackpot: http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/images/savanna.jpg
<Gnomey> http://www.beautiful-landscape.com/New%20Site.data/2005%20Images/Blue-grass.jpg
<Swiftoak> im not sure about the red
<Swiftoak> the red is for the othrelth shipal and southwest
<Gnomey> Though with the latter iamge the backdrop is too dry, while with the former there are too many trees.
<Gnomey> I'm not sure about it either, but I'm aiming for a deeper red, like this: http://www.ourochreway.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/IMG_1033.jpg
<Swiftoak> why red at all
<Gnomey> Brown looks too conventional, something greyish or yellowish generally too dry.
<Gnomey> Red often looks rich, but also, to most people, a little less familiar.
<Gnomey> I'm also considering yellow, but it's a hard sell for me: http://www.vandonkelaar.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/vanDonkelaar_ebyOchre-2.jpg
<Gnomey> Black doesn't really work for Alt Orethan, in my opinion.
<Swiftoak> it's hard to make contrasting colours look good in MW
<Swiftoak> why not just green
<Gnomey> I think it can be made to work. Green soil?
<Swiftoak> like pale green and stuff
<Swiftoak> well we can do brown soil too
<Swiftoak> or muddier green
<Gnomey> Hn...
<Swiftoak> red will be jarring
<Gnomey> That sounds even more difficult to get right to me.
<Swiftoak> idk we hsould discuss this
<Gnomey> Yeah, I'm working on a post.
<Gnomey> Much like the images I linked, though, the red would generally not be visible.
<Gnomey> The grass textures would be dense, and you wouldn't see any soil in them.
<Gnomey> Unpaved roads and riverbeds are the main thing we need to consider when it comes to soil colour, and farmland.
<Swiftoak> yeah



Here's a summary of a few of the things discussed, as well as some of my consequent extrapolations:

Assets:

-probably grey rocks matching the MH tileset. This seems like a no-brainer to me.
-rocks should be used sparingly, both to distinguish Alt Orethan from other Morrowind regions and because rocks and agriculture generally do not mix.
-possibly more of a focus on ledges than traditional dome-like rocks, both on a small and somewhat larger scale. (Though the latter landform is still a lot larger than it should be; I'm thinking something slimmer than the cliff the Velothi half of Othrensis is currently located on).

-bluish grass textures, though to what extent could use further discussing.
-I think the grass textures should generally look very dense and lush, though not necessarily very saturated.

-I'd like to see a lot of shrubs, personally, with few trees.
-whether the flora should be more greenish-blue or blue-ish green could also use some discussion.
-flora does not have to share the colour of (most) Alt Orethan grass textures, but if it doesn't we need to consider the transition between grass textures and thicker vegitation.
-using some of the MH plants seems like a good idea.
-I'd personally prefer avoiding moss, mushrooms, and possibly ferns.
-should we use bamboo? I am for it, though I'm not sure whether I prefer small riverside plants or much taller plants.
-for the farmlands, I think using long, low-poly plant models like the Tribunal grass I used in my example plugin above are a good way to limit any performance hit. I am not sure what the standard Indoril crop(s) should be, though, though I could talk about what it shouldn't be. (Saltrice, for one thing).

Soil could use some discussion. My thoughts:
-it should look fertile, at least to some extent, so it probably shouldn't be too pale or greyish.
-if, as I suggest, grass textures are dense, soil would mostly be seen on unpaved roads, riverbeds and tilled fields.
-I personally think deeper brown or black soils don't work well for Alt Orethan. If desired, I could try and elaborate.
-Between reddish and yellowish soil, I prefer deep reddish, as in my opinion yellow soil generally looks too nutrient-poor.
-here are some examples of the sort of colours I'd consider.
-as with all Morrowind textures the soil should not be too vibrant.

Landscape:

-these images, specifically the foregrounds, come pretty close to capturing my current impression of Alt Orethan. Their shortcomings: too flat, too dry, (especially the backdrop of the latter), too many trees (in the backdrop of the former). Also not enough flora diversity, where present at all, and too few rocks. (And those that there are are the wrong colour).

How should the borders of Alt Orethan look? Currently, they are the typical low ridges on basically every side.
It is clear that Alt Orethan should be divided from the Thirr River Valley by elevation, but what kind? Some form of mountain chain, as is currently the case, or maybe fertile hills, or maybe just a cliff rising up from the Thirr River Valley, with a slope descending to the source of the Orethan on the other side?
Edit: the Deshaan would not be part of the Orethan watershed, and as such one would expect some form of elevation between them.
What about Lan Orethan? I have heard the idea of a low cliff rising from Lan Orethan mentioned; no clear elevation division would also make sense, but the original concept for Alt Orethan was that it is the 'High' Orethan.
Any discussion on the transition to Inlet Bog should probably wait until we know what Inlet Bog will look like and what purpose it will serve, if it remains a distinct region at all.

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Post Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:24 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

I agree with matching the rocks with the MH set. I love the general shape of the ones Swiftoak included here. Ledges sound like a good direction to take. Bluish green grass could look cool.

We should avoid exaggerating the flatness of the ground. Flat terrain can look pretty moddy in-game.

Concerning the borders, I don't personally see anything wrong with the current foothill mountains separating the TRV from the AO. For the Inlet Bog border, I prefer extending the low Ashland hills near Old Eboheart, looping them around the AO's northern border. They would help break up central Morrowind's lush monotony without introducing too much bareness.

We need some kind of spiritual background for the Orethan River. I'm pretty sure my little contribution up top isn't quite what we want.

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Post Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:22 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nomadic1
Developer Emeritus
15 May 2004

Location: Adelaide, Australia

I've always thought that Alt Orethan would work best as a plateau.

To the north, I always thought it could descend into the bog kinda naturally, a gradual step down (remove the mountains between the regions). The ground gets swampier, the trees mix and get denser, the farming ceases, and before you realise it you find yourself in the swamp, unsure of when you really entered.

A plateau can also offer several benefits:
- For one they tend to be dry-ish, so the number of trees to be placed is reduced and the MH flora could be used appropriately.
- The population density should be high, so using mesas, cragginess and the like will at least keep the poly count comparitively low.
- The rivers can almost cut through the plateau, giving clearly defined routes and settlement patterns.

Anyways those are my thoughts on it.

*****

Swifty's rocks and textures are actually pretty good. Cool If a full set of textures, rocks and flora for the AO is created it would be absolutely perfect.

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Post Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:16 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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