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Close. Read the books and you know how much magic there will be. It's far more subtle in Tolkien's works than in TES. Far less visual too, it's more spiritual than elemental, if that makes any sense.
A realism mode is planned, we have a good number of hardcore RPers in our team (including me) who love that kind of thing. We're not going to force such features though, so we plan to make the game's features heavily customizable from within the game Options menu.
Right now we have 47 people at Developer rank, but about 10 of them are rather inactive. So let's say we have 35 Developers. We actively recruit new modders.
The main difference between Skyrim-MERP and Oblivion-MERP is that we don't develop it all at once this time. We focus on getting Rohan done first, including a good amount of quests and action. We then release that as a fully playable MERP 0.1 release, and only then go to the next region. So even if we don't get all of Middle Earth done, we will at least get playable releases of some countries for sure.
Re-creating from scratch and copying are two very different things. The model of Gondorian armour is original work inspired by an existing armour in the real world. Copying Howard Shore's music would be a blatant copyright violation.
Yes we will have voice acting.
Some parts of the CK are easy, some are hard. For beginners it's best to start with interior or exterior design.
I wrote a short guide on the L3DT forums: Bundysoft.com
Yes, we need concept art! Preferably of anything Rohan or Isengard themed. Armour would be great, but architecture and weapons would be nice as well!
Playable evil races are not on the agenda. A lot of the things you mentioned are against the lore, so we won't implement them.
We are going to develop region by region, so yes it will be a full release, with cities, NPC's, quests... But note that the time-frame of regional releases will be set right before the War of the Ring, so in this 0.1 release you won't see the open war between Rohan and Isengard. It will be the calm before the storm, though there will be some problems with Mordor Orcs and most likely Dunlendings. Saruman is plotting his war in secret as well.
The mountains in Skyrim-MERP are less high than in Oblivion-MERP, but they'll still be bigger than Skyrim's. I'd say about 60% higher on average.
We don't make estimates, it's impossible to know and it disappoints people if we don't make it. We show our progress, that way everyone can guess themselves if they wish.
The first playable release will feature Rohan and Isengard. I'm not yet sure if we're going to release the heightmap as a standalone preview. There are some proponents and opponents in our team to such a standalone release, and I myself haven't made up my mind yet.
Yes, we're making far faster progress than in Oblivion. This time we are a big and experienced team right from the start. We know what we want and how best to do it.
One sentence that should have been at least three, which lacks any punctuation and proper capital letters hardly helps convincing me that you're a good writer. Really good writers find lack of punctuation horrific and would never do that, even not when they are in a hurry.
Thanks for the offer though.
Immersion is of great importance to us. You're overestimating the amount of NPC's in cities, but battles will be very big. We aim to make Middle Earth very interactive, and that includes the war. Roaming and fighting armies will be simulated even when you're not there, the war will feel very real. The timescale is dynamic, in cities it will be relatively slow, when travelling relatively fast.
Aragorn technically wasn't a Gondorian, but a Dúnedain Ranger. They will be a separate group, and they will be allied to Elves.
If we don't show screenshots here yet, it's because they are WIP and we expect to get better ones soon. For example, the Helms Deep screenshots were taken with the model placed in Tamriel. For ModDB we wait until they are taken with the model placed in our MiddleEarth worldspace.
1. Yes and yes.
2. Edoras will have about 120-130 NPC's I think. Minas Tirith will be similar or more.
We'll have lots of that, because Middle Earth is more focussed on the war rather than guilds, magic, thieving, assassinations and the typical stuff you find in the Elder Scrolls series.
Not much chance of that, we're going to hit the 32-bit RAM limit at the end of MERP's development. Anything new would need to be stand-alone.
We will once this page is complete, it's still under construction.
The landscapes aren't being ported. We have a brand new finished heightmap for Skyrim and we're going to design it from scratch, region generation already started. The only files we port are custom models, textures, music, and ofcourse all our ideas. Those don't have to be ported all at once.
Start here: Creationkit.com
And then see what you like, and get good at it. Then come to apply and show us what you can do, and we might accept you in the team. Age doesn't matter; attitude, skill and dedication does.
We didn't port because we were like "Ooh new TES, let's port!".
The main reason we ported was because some thing went horribly wrong which caused us to lose a lot of valuable time due to repairs. So we hadn't progressed far enough to make a port a taboo. In Skyrim we will definitely get far enough that Skyrim-MERP won't get abandoned when the next TES comes out.
By the time MERP is released you will probably have a new laptop/PC. It's not like you'll be playing MERP in a few months, it takes time to develop.
Compared to surrounding ground level, our highest mountains are 700-800 meters high. In Skyrim the Throat of the World is the highest at 550 meters. Our average mountain height lies between 400-600 meters. Mount Mindoluin, currently shown in the third screenshot which is the mountain right behind Minas Tirith, is about 530 meters high compared to ground level, so comparable to Throat of the World.
Almost right, it's in the Morgul Vale, Minas Morgul itself lies into the small valley you see to the left side in the foreground. Glad it's recognizable!
Oh yes, cause Gondorian soldiers had plate armour... And the outer wall of Minas Tirith is not black at all. And Elven soldiers look like Samurai...
Peter Jackson's representation is hardly accurate.
I made it exceptionally hard on purpose for that demo. Don't worry, we'll give you a pleasant and customizable gaming experience with MERP.
It's not one big battle, he recorded it in multiple parts and was very creative with putting the scenes together.