Modder's Interview: CiceroTR
How long have you been modding and what was your first complete mod?
I've been publishing mods since 2011. I started with Oblivion under a different user name (Ferretmyster); the first mod I published was I think a small one that uses the mania ring of lordship model to add the warlock's ring to a new vampire NPC in Fort Hastrel in the Colovian Highlands. Like many of my published mods, it no longer exists because I eventually made a mod that added a lot of artifacts from Morrowind which was released days before Skyrim launched. What kicked off "modding" for me was the map editor in Timesplitters 2/FP and Far Cry/Instincts/2 between 2004 and 2008. Having Cryengine on the disc of Far Cry with the assets and levels already available in the editor was a godsend. The editor was even advertised on the back of the box.
How do you approach modding?
I have a very random workflow. However, there are key things I always keep in mind. Artifacts, Daedra, design philosophy and what is canon for Morrowind. So when I am not working off of someone else's proposal, I'll be adding my own content into TR, always being mindful of the four things I listed as that is where my interest is. I do like making islands for TR and so will always snatch them up when they become available (aside from Firemoth). I like making islands because they don't have to worry about border matching. You can make the exterior from start to finish and ship it. Also, beaches are nice to look at as a bonus.
Vanilla Morrowind, Far Cry Instincts and Dark Souls are my main inspiration for level design. As all three games share many level design aspects. At least I think so.
What’s your favourite thing about modding?
Getting my ideas out of my brain and putting them into the Construction Set. People like quite a few things I've done so that is always a nice feeling.
What’s your favourite mod that you’ve made so far?
Either Oblivion Grass Overhaul (Ferretmyster on the nexus) or the Morrowind Cutting Room Floor (CiceroTR on the nexus). Oblivion Grass Overhaul allowed me to get familiar with memorizing the contents of BSA files and the structure. Cutting Room Floor because Morrowind is my favourite game, and I'm a sucker for cut content, so naturally, it's a must-do for me. there are a few cut content mods now for Morrowind but mine was the first big one (Morrowind Uncut) until I deleted it off of my old account and rebuilt it again on my current one 2 years later. The first rendition was in rough shape, but it taught me how to clean mods and how to accept criticism.
Is there a mod you are especially proud of?
Tamriel Rebuilt. It is the culmination of talented people from all walks of life held together by one goal. Create the mainland to live up to the game's name, and fulfil what Bethesda always wanted to do.
Are you working on a mod these days?
Off and on. There are two mods I'm working on. such as an update for Cutting Room Floor. But there is another mod which adds locations that are mentioned in the books you read in Morrowind. such examples are Gnisis Mages Guild or Vivecs Palace in Balmora. It's fun, but TR takes up most of my modding time so those personal projects are still quite far out.
Currently, I am working on overseeing that the sundered scar region redo actually happens and that assets are finished in time. There are several asset devs that helped with that such as Alist3r, C0dacan0n, chef, and revenorror. Claims will be opening in August.
How much do you play Morrowind, not counting play testing?
Recently not as much as I had hoped. But I think playing it religiously for 15 years prior more than makes up for it.
How did you discover Morrowind?
My cousin bought a copy in France in 2002, and after playing it for a month, showed my brother who then borrowed it, and my brother then showed me. This was on the Xbox, so I grew up with Morrowind. Played it from the beginning 20 years ago.
What makes Morrowind special for you?
Orcish armour, some of the soundtrack, Scamps, Hungers, Daedric ruins, ghost fence, Tamrielic lore and artifact hunting, cliff racers, how painted the landscapes look due to vertex paint, Daedric armour, Daedric longbow, Dagoth ur, pixel shaded water, the UI sound effects on Xbox, finding Umbra, Ashurninbibi, Azura's voice, Argonian and Dark elf death sounds, the map you get in the box, levitation, Orc and Nord taunts, spam jumping, the main menu screen, the Xbox loading screens, and the video that plays when you sit on the main menu for 60 seconds.
These things stick in my mind all the time when the word Morrowind is mentioned.
What are the mods you simply cannot play without?
I don't play with mods on serious playthroughs. If I was to give a mod setup for my answer, it is simply:
- Morrowind Code Patch
- MGE XE (resolution and fullscreen only)
- Morrowind Optimization Patch
- Patch for Purists
- Cutting Room Floor
Are there any underrated mods that you really enjoy?
I don't mod the game much, unfortunately. One that does come to mind however was a mod I downloaded in 2012 which added an island north of Dagon Fel which had a large Daedric ruin, and you start the quest in Shenk's Shovel in Caldera to find the Ebony Blade (sword of Boethiah mistakenly). The mod appears to be lost right now but it was on Planet Elder Scrolls. I hope to honour it in a way in TR with Vounoura, just minus the Boethiah aspect.
Do you play other games?
Yes. I'm a Halo fan and a Fromsoft fan. Halo 3 is almost tied with Morrowind for my favorite game. Love the first half of Dark Souls, liked Dark Souls 3, obsessed with Elden Ring. In TES I'm a fan of Battlespire and Morrowind only. Knights of the Nine for Oblivion is enjoyable, but since the modding scene died for it, I moved on from the game. Not a fan of Skyrim much aside from parts of Dawnguard. I used to obsess over Far Cry 1/Instincts/2. Same with Timesplitters. I like Fable 1 and 2. Love Forza Motorsport 3 and 6, excited for the new one coming out next spring. Dead Space 1 and Amnesia the Dark Descent are also favourites of mine. The first Killing Floor is the best co-op game and no one can change my mind.
Do you mod other games?
Oblivion and Far Cry are about it really outside of Morrowind. I did release a multiplayer map for Far Cry 3 in 2013 on the Nexus. I forgot all about it, might not be there anymore but it is on the Ubisoft servers.
And by the way, what's the story behind your username?
I have 3 people know of.
- Ferretmyster (my old account)
- Cicero (my current account)
- RaySipeSwaggDaddy (what I wish my account was)
Ferretmyster was the name of my first Xbox live profile on the 360 in 2008. nothing much to say about it, just random stuff used to make a word which I used for my Oblivion modding.
Cicero I want to keep a mystery as people think it is the Jester from Skyrim or the Roman philosopher. Only I know the answer and so will not confirm or deny it. It was the name I used to join TR in 2012.
RaySipeSwaggDaddy is just me copycatting a Youtuber called RaySipeLadyGaga. The guy is literally god.
Anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t talked about?
Sure. TR - Dominions of Dust is coming, and we need playtesters to find bugs and inconsistencies. Spread the word far and wide!