Modders' Interview:Arcimaestro Antares
How long have you been modding and what was your first complete mod?
I have been modding as I finished the first playthrough. And never stopped it. My first complete mod was "Tel Uvirith by Antares". When I first entered the tower, I saw an empty double room, and I supposed that it was for my apprentices that were to come in-game, but there weren't. So I reworked the whole tower and added hireable apprentices. This was my first step into Morrowind modding.
How do you approach modding? (What inspires you? Do you have a specific workflow?)
Basically, I explore the world, and find what is missing or should be changed, how things should have been already in the vanilla game, and try to make them. Or I may like what I see from other games, and try to create them in Morrowind.
Have you been influenced by modders?
I liked a lot the fact I could have my own tower as master of House Telvanni, but I was disappointed how the tower was in the original game... there were none else inside. So I looked for mods that implemented the tower itself and its inhabitants. There were many mods, Uvirith Unleashed, Uvirith Inside, Uvirith Awakened. Also, also I used Dracandros' Voice to improve the roleplaying of being the head of a faction and I liked how I could send the faction member on missions for me. Each of the mods had something that I liked, but something I would have changed. So, I decided to learn to mod to modify these mods that I used, and little by little, I made almost from scratch my own Tel Uvirith mod and ABM, which I have reworked over the years, countless times...
What’s your favourite thing about modding?
That I can shape the world as I please.
You have worked with most aspects of modding: scripts, models, animations... Which one do you prefer?
I enjoyed working on any aspect of the game. I worked a bit on sounds, textures too when I needed them. but I feel more satisfied (as well frustrated) working with scripts and modelling/animating. I would have liked to be able to build exteriors and furnish interiors too, but while I like watching well-built cities, I cannot do the same myself. so when I had to, I copied and modified cells from the original game.
Many players consider Animated Morrowind a must-have. Can you tell us more about the making of this mod?
At that time, I was mainly working on new creatures that have animations and models, so I thought, why not add new animations to the npcs? It was easier to work just on animations. I would have preferred to add animations to existing npcs, like Socucius Ergalla in Seyda Neen. But users suggested I not mess with them in order to avoid conflict with other mods, so I did new npcs for the new animations, with a few exceptions, like Granny Varis in Mournhold who says "I clean this Temple sera, mind you keep it that way"
What’s your favourite mod that you’ve made so far?
Surely, it is what I called "Antares' Big Mod" (ABM). but I will have called it differently now so that it gives a hint about what it does, something like "Privileges and Services".
Is there a mod you are especially proud of?
The forementioned ABM. It gives sense to the factions in my opinion. In Morrowind, I was excited while rising in the mages guild ranks, thinking that when I had finally reached the head of the faction, I would have been able to send my mages on quests as they did to me when I was an apprentice, but this doesn't happen. With ABM, once the master of a faction, you may act as a ruler of your faction and send members to do quests for you, teach them, reward them etc... you may send assassins to assassinate, thieves to steal etc...
EDIT: the very latest version of ABM, now called Privileges and Services is out on the Nexus. Arci and I explored a lot (but not all!) of the mods' feature during a livestream.
Are you working on a mod these days?
I work on a personal version of ABM, which is much more intrusive than the versions I have shared, and I am afraid it may be too much for many. I also use resources from other mods, and if I decide to share it, I will have to carefully check the authors to credit them properly, or I should recreate their contents myself.
You have collaborated with other modders, how was it and what did you work on?
I am very picky at modding. I have my own vision of the game world, and how it should be. Mods must change the world and make it as it should have already been in the original game. So I worked mostly alone on my own ideas. However, there are a few people I could work with.
- With Abot, for example, I worked on animations for his real-time travelling mods (silt strider, boats and gondoliers). He pays much attention to details, is a perfectionist, and everything made has absolutely sense. I remember when I first played the game and discovered the silt striders, I was excited at the idea I would have ridden one of them, around the world, but I was very disappointed discovering there was nothing of this at all. I tried to make a mod like this myself but was a bit beyond my scripting skills. Then Abot came with a perfectly working mod, and I just gave a small contribution.
Abot's real-time travelling mods are Silt Strider, Boats and Gondoliers.
- with Stuporstar, we shared the same passion for House Telvanni, and I supported with ideas and suggestions for the best and most used Telvanni mod, Uvirith's Legacy, while she was creating the mod.
- with Kalamestari_69 and his "Welcome to the Arena" mod. I contributed to it again with ideas and suggestions, and again I felt I was working on a mod that would have fitted the game world perfectly, as it was already in the original game.
- with Alaisiagae, I worked on a few models for her Unique Finery Replacer mod. She was looking for new models for unique enchanted items, and I remember she browsed the web in search of real jewels, I have then made the models for Morrowind. That was fun.
- with qqqbbb, I worked on a great part of the animated containers models. He did the scripting part and discovered how to work around an impossible bug that made the game crash when opening the animated containers. He then modified the animations, slowed the ones for the rusty metal containers, a thing I didn't think of, but I absolutely agree. and also he found very appropriate sounds for these animations. The mod was then reworked with master Abot, and improved again... look at this video, to see how the sounds and animations match each other
How much do you play Morrowind, not counting playtesting?
Most of the time, I test my mods. From time to time, I make a new character and test a faction from beginning to end.
How did you discover Morrowind?
I was looking for games to play in 2005, and in a store, I found a copy of the goty edition on sale, the price was lowered because the box was a bit broken.
What makes Morrowind special for you?
The presence of joinable ranked factions, and the fact that the game offers me the chance to modify it as I please :)
What are the mods you simply cannot play without?
I'd say Graphic Herbalism. I never liked the plants/rocks as containers.... then PluginlessNoGlow, and "Passive Healthy Wildlife" that changes the animals so that they will not attack me on sight.
There's also a lua version of Passive Wildlife called Less Aggressive Creatures by Merlord.
Are there any underrated mods that you really enjoy?
I loved a lot the quest mod The Underground, but it is not underrated :)
Huskobar and OperatorJack have both been working on an update for the Underground. The former concentrates on dialogues while the other focuses on models and lua implementation. tbc...
Do you play other games?
I use to play Neverwinter Nights 2 and Medieval 2 Total War.
Why did you enjoy those games? Are there any elements from these games you would like to see in MW?
NWN2 is a team roleplaying game, so I am the leader of a group of friends and makes me feel less lonely, compared to Morrowind where you are alone. I'd love to see the variety of spells of NWN2 in Morrowind.... in MW the attack spells are all the same. You cast a projectile that explodes in an area. And that is all. While NWN2 has cones of ice, walls of fire, earthquakes, just to name a few.
Medieval Total War, is too far from MW as a game, you rule a nation, but you are not a character, but I still imported elements from it, like send assassins to kill targets, and priests to execute heretics.
Ever wished you could have a proper party or companion in MW?
I use companion mods, and I use companions in my own mods as well, and I enjoyed it. However, still, the feeling is far from games that are made to be in the team.
There's also Elder Scrolls Online, have you tried it?
I watched videos of it, but what I like the most, is rising in a faction, and not be a lonely adventurer for all my life. So, if ESO gave me the chance to rule a faction, I'd try it.
Do you mod other games?
I have modded a lot the two games mentioned above. I have had a lot of fun with them. But I've never shared anything.
And by the way, what's the story behind your user name?
The first time I played the game, I tried to think of a name, and the word "Antares" came up to my mind. I knew this word existed, but I didn't know anything about it. Later, I discovered it is a name of a star. "Arcimaestro" is just "Archmaster" in my native language, and this is due to the ranks I got in the factions I joined in-game. And, about how to pronounce it, I hear it pronounced like "Ark-" but it should be "Arch-"
Anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t talked about?
I'd close with my motto... "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw. and I really mean it.
Not enough, you say? All right, all right, Arcimaestro Antares will be live with me this Sunday. The VOD will be on YouTube, of course. What about next week, you ask, Cyprinus, aka Istreddify will be answering my questions.