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MORROWIND TOTAL CONVERSION: "HEART OF DARKNESS"
After a long time of dwelling in the shadows, a new Morrowind total conversion comes to light: "Heart Of Darkness", developed by the dynamic duo of Ex Machina Games, takes you into an all new part of the Elder Scrolls roleplaying world, the island realm of Talosia. With its immersive gaming world which has been carefully designed to be more lively and way less generic than "Morrowind", interesting characters, its epic story, tons of new and redesigned features, a revamped roleplaying system fitting its more story-based concept, and proudly presenting some of the best freely distributable plugins and artworks from the "Morrowind" modding community,"Heart Of Darkness" is an ambitious attempt to combine elements of "Morrowind" and "Gothic" to create a unique gaming experience.
There's sort of a principle: if you don't hear or read anything from us for a longer period of time, this means that we're working our asses off. It does *not* mean that another promising mod went down the drain. ;-) Indeed, we've been working nonstop during the past few weeks. What we'll cover briefly in this news will of course be part of a major HOD website update you can expect in the course of the next few days. Maybe it will steal our weekend away, but what the heck. What we've been doing lately was, among other things:
- Modeling Madness ;-)
During the last few weeks, we imported new models (buildings, items, plants, decorational objects, weapons - and new creatures, too) into the game, most of which were practically done and textured for quite some time, but haven't been made into NIF files. We have set up about 200 models for use in HOD - a huge bunch of work, but it definitely paid off. In addition, we revamped several of the original MW meshes and retextured them to give HOD an even more individual look. This part of artwork is done, as much as we as the "base team" are concerned. Okay, some of the creature animations will undoubtedly go through slight changes and tweaks and more importantly, Ian, of course, will throw in some of his maginificent pieces, but the major part of the 3D artwork thing is through. Rejoice! ;-) That's a major leap forward.
- Design decisions
We made some final decisions regarding the roleplaying system of HOD. Okay, there weren't too many people participating in the polls in our forums, but the discussions, especially in the German community, were enlightening. We would have loved to have more representative poll results, but we have reached a point in development where we simply have to come to decisions to be able to continue our work. For example, the guild system has been revised. We will stick to a number of eight guilds, but we cared for some player's wishes and suggestions. More will be in the site update. Regarding the "predefined player character" question, we believe to have come to a fair conclusion (or compromise), for the good of the players and our voice acting efforts.
- World revision
Until now, Talosia was, in terms of sheer landmass, approximately the size of trusty old Vvardenfell. After intense testing and serious consideration, the gaming world will be cut down in size a bit. In return, the regions of Talosia will be even more detailed and refined. And don't panic, Talos Fell is still a damn huge city. ;-) The screens of "new" Talos Fell we promised will be delayed though, we'll have to replace some of the buildings with new models to ensure visual diversity and variety as well as a believable overall image of the city. Talos Fell is now far from what you can see on the current screenshots. The city has proven to be the most complicated part of the entire world, not least due to the amount of detail. Whoever fears Talosia to be lacking diversity due to the "shrink-down": you're wrong. ;-) Actually, we cut down the landmass in its entirety, but we added a new main region. The (*drumroll*) Penumbra Woods create a serious jungle feeling in southern Talosia.
- "Operation Cleansweep"
The Data Files directory and the mile-long object lists in the Construction Set were pretty much messed up after a long period of work on HOD. There were lots of incomplete and redundant material and objects, preventing us from seeing the wood for the trees. We tracked all that unnecessary stuff down and threw it out. This "Operation Cleansweep" was long overdue to make working on HOD easier and safer again. In the course of this cleansweep, some standard MW weapons and items went down the drain as well, although we originally intended them to be in HOD. Well, mass had to make way for class and serious balancing. To top it off, we renamed all remaining custom objects and scripts following our own unique naming convention to make sure that working on HOD will be as fast and comfortable as possible. This line of work took us several days, but we're glad we actually did it - especially when thinking about the demo we put on schedule for Christmas 2004, which has to be cleansed of redundant material anyway to keep the filesize of the download reasonable. Well, I'd say we're better prepared than ever.
- We promise to do better ;-)
Means: as longs as we can't come up with new in-game screenshots, we'll at least post modelshots in the screenshot section, and post short news flashes more often than before to provide you with more (and more recent) info on HOD development. We shouldn't be all that stingy with news postings. :-)
Okay, that's it for today, we'll be preparing the website update now. Look forward to several modelshots (and even a handful of in-game screenies!) and "finalized" infos on the HOD roleplaying system!