Quest Developer for the Middle Earth Roleplaying Project for Skyrim
@Guest: Porting all of our work to a new engine is not a simple solution:
1. Learning a new engine will take a long time.
2. We'd have to find a suitable engine that can support the single Middle Earth heightmap we've created (not many engines looking to support large open-world RPGs). And if we do use copyright names and hope we're not found again ... well, there's no guarantee they wouldn't find us again (and we'd be in bigger trouble for sure).
And many of us on the team don't want to have to work on a Middle Earth mod without the names and languages Tolkien has created. Also, WB probably doesn't look at LOTR RTS mods as a threat since 1. The ones already made are already released, 2. I don't think they want to make LOTR RTSs (RPGs on the other hand ...).
@Mackey18: What everyone needs to understand is that its not this simple. The C&D that was sent is ceasing ALL development (as well as whats already been developed). We would have to have their permission to continue in anyway with the current resources (years in the making). We are currently talking about our next move (negotiations haven't gone well). Trust me, we've been discussing every option; you will probably hear more from the team soon.
@STELIOS155: Its never been an issue of visuals, but of the use of copyright words (Frodo, Middle Earth, etc). At least not that we're aware of.
@Mmarksp: Actually I believe "gnome" was what Tolkien called High (Noldor) Elves in early drafts of his mythology. I could be wrong about that however.
@gjohnson540: Actually, I would argue my computer can run Skyrim better then it can Oblivion (Oblivion never had a great reputation for running well). Also MERP for Skyrim has A LOT more potential then it ever had with Oblivion. Believe me, we discussed it in length long ago before we made the move.
Doesn't matter right now of course, since the C&D letter applies to us whichever game we'd move the mod to.
@plyuto518: That indeed was the reason why at the time (doesn't really matter now though, what with the C&D).
Hate to be a downer, but ...
"To receive a response a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days."
That petition did not receive 25,000 votes in just 30 days, more like almost half a year.
@Arzka7: That would be breaking the C&D, so no. We are plenty aware the development time being lost, but its kind of useless to think about if the C&D isn't lifted.
@OpC.Davis: I couldn't see them going after the whole team either, no, but some of the MERP team members do live in the U.S. I imagine WB would go after them if they wanted to sue the team. Also that petition is nowhere near 1 million (its only over 20,000); I've probably stated this but I doubt WB will change their mind based off 20,000 online signatures (especially with how aggressive the petition is worded).
I admit I haven't been following the dispute between WB and Tolkien Estate. Please fans, if you learn anything new about the case, do not be afraid to post it.
@deathteam15: Any of our work for MERP that breaks copyright would be breaking the C&D. Sorry but we can't release weapons and armors from MERP.
@Isnbold: From what I understand, they don't own any of our work, all they did was ask us to cease development. And no, we can't release anything, that would be breaking the C&D (or even if it doesn't, I don't think anything good would come of it).
@The_Great_Mungulor: Or that he simply won't. He might not really care, or simply wants to be able to stay on WB's good side (he does work under them). He could just simply agree with WB, or perhaps he never even read the letter, we really don't know.
1. I think Blood in the West mod was released before WB got LOTR/Hobbit game rights, but I could be wrong
2. It seems like major developers generally overlook the Total War and Mount&Blade games. I'm gonna guess they don't see them as a threat because these games are not selling as well as juggernauts like Skyrim (although I think they fail to realize that the modding culture keeps many of these games, like M2TW and the Mount&Blade, alive).
3. I'm pretty sure MERP is far more well known then Blood in the West is (for all we know WB may not have learned of them yet).
4. They probably think that MERP is a threat to them. My guess is not only because Skyrim is a popular game, and because MERP is high-quality, but they might want to get in the RPG market again with LOTR (War in the North is proof enough in my mind). I'm going to guess they aren't as interested in the RTS genre (a genre that only major developers like Blizzard are able to make A LOT of money off).
tl;dr MERP could lose WB money while Blood in the West wouldn't
@DracoDestroy: I think most of the LOTR fanfilms and mods were all created and released BEFORE WB bought the rights to LOTR/The Hobbit movie rights from New Line (or did they buy up New Line?) and game rigts from EA. It seems to me that WB is simply FAR stricter about copyright then New Line/EA ever was. They've sued a pub called"The Hobbit" and they've even sued a guy with a Superman tatoo (they own DC Comics)!
I strongly believe MERP would still be going strong if WB didn't buy the rights to LOTR/The Hobbit films/games. Tolkien fans are simply going to have to be A LOT more careful when creating LOTR and Hobbit fanworks then in the past :(
@Lithuania: I figured they brought them in case of a cavalry charge (we are talking about Rohan here).
Beorning at least had a son called Grimbeorn the Old by the time of the War of the Ring. I suspect that there must have been other Beornings ;)
@Lithuania: Yeah, skin-changing into a bear will most likely be a Beornings racial spell. Partly why I pushed for Beornings to be playable :D
The planned playable races are: Beorning, Dunadan, Dwarf, Gondorian, Hobbit, Man of Eriador, Northman, Rohirrim, Sindarin, and Sylvan
@Lithuania: One thing to note: Unlike TLD, there probably won't be many orcs riding Wargs. In the books, Tolkien mentions "orc wolf-riders", so we'll probably have orcs riding large wolves (and probably only a couple strong orcs riding Wargs). And yes, Uruks should be tough.
Hopefully in MERP, as the timeline moves forward and the War of the Ring progresses, orcs will become more plentiful and stronger.
@TheLastSilmaril: Yes, Beornings are 1 of the 10 planned playable races. Mind you, MERP v0.1 is focused on Rohan, so probably only Rohirrim will be playable in this early release.
@Lithuania: Nope, orcs still have no free will. It still feels silly allowing an Orc player to do as he please (picking daffodils and frolicking in the woods). And btw, the Free Peoples races as playable will be enough work as it is, believe me.
@Miste3aAmbidextrous: Optional download is the plan (but who knows, it when't been developed yet).
@Lithuania: Right now, I think its planned to be an option (but much more limited, where you can only fast travel to places nearby to you). There is planned to be a "Realism submod" which will add hunger/thirst/sleep, no gps map, as well as probably no fast travel at all (but its planned to be be an entirely optional submod for now)
@neronix17: I imagine an interior, but then we need to implement the ability to ride a horse into certain interiors (not something you can do in Skyrim right now).
@MarySvIlle: No, that would be plagiarizing. We mean the general gist of the plot and events from the books (well, at least the War of the Ring period), along with all the known people, places, races, etc. Mind you, that's what we're striving for, we may end up missing an event or two (due to unconsciously not knowing about it as opposed to consciously leaving it out). Hopefully you, our fans, will let us know where we got something wrong/missed something ;)
Whoever said Sam was gonna be homosexual in MERP? He married Rosey Cotton, and Tolkien was trying to represent the friendship between a soldier and his servant as Tolkien experienced when fighting in WWI. Also, considering that Tolkien was a devout Catholic, I don't think it'd be appropriate including homosexual relationships in MERP.
@vukgamer: Big battles are planned, yes. Keep in mind that we're brainstorming ways to lessen lag during them (the cause in heavy lag with lots of NPCs on screen in Skyrim is usually due to the AI scripts believe it or not, not necessarily the polys on your screen).
@ElfFriend: The idea here is that you won't be able to command Fellowship members as Frodo. Yes, you're the Ringbearer, but Gandalf or Aragorn were usually leading the party (the scene of Frodo deciding they'd take the Mines of Moria wasn't in the books, I believe Gandalf came to this decision on his own). The scenario you suggested of taking the High Pass would be possible ... IF you abandoned the Fellowship!
The idea here is that you can follow a linear Fellowship or go off on your own (although the plan is that Sam would be a proper NPC companion and follow you anywhere). Both choices have pros and con.
I like your thinking ElfFriend on the unique path you'll take to destroy the Ring. That is partly why I'm so excited when writing the script: the unique paths that players will choose to take, and their effects on the story :) (will be a nightmare to write, hopefully story restrictions won't be too bad). Mind you the Ringbearer questline is in no way a near-future feature you'll be seeing in MERP: most likely one of the last, when everything else is done (if we get that far, hopefully :().
@Delta64: That's a very good question and one we haven't decided upon.
- Realistically, if you happen to defeat an entire host of orcs sent to intercept the Fellowship, then in the game that would mean the entire shape of the LOTR story should change (no breaking of the Fellowship, no Boromir death, no kidnapped Merry and Pippin, etc).
- Game-wise, some actions can cause WAY too much change that it'd be insane to try to script (this probably being one of those, since SO MUCH of the story due to the Fellowship being attacked at Amon Hen).
Please understand: I think as a team we're generally quite open to the idea that the player should be able to change certain things, but within reason (not because we hate what-ifs, I personally love them, but for our own sanity's sake in the writing department :S).
@ElfFriend: Yes, gear durability has been a proposed feature to MERP.
@TJZ23: There is a White Council questline planned, as well as a main questline for our first MERP v0.1 release of Rohan. There will definitely be others ;)
I've seen the Games Workshop fellbeast model in-person. GW can be a bit cheap sometimes, especially with the wings, which they reused from their Balrog model which I own (although still unpainted :().
Hooray for the new Moddb entry! :D
Hope more screenshots from the Landscapers will be put up ;)