How long have you been modding and what was your first complete mod?
I’ve been messing around with the CS around the time I started playing Morrowind when I was 14.
It was probably the worst thing to happen to my previous playthrough back then (any and probably all subsequent playthroughs to be honest) since I was too busy messing around with my own plugins to actually finish any quests. Inevitably, my first character was bricked as I repeatedly enabled and disabled various mods while playing.
My first mod was probably my refurbishment of Voya Manor, an old house mod that was my go-to player home. House mods are of course low hanging fruit for new modders, but I liked the original mod and wanted to put my own spin on it. It was nothing more than adding some different decor and some scattered notes to give the house some more background and give it a proper place in the world. It wasn’t particularly spectacular, but I liked the idea a lot and went back to make another retouch later.
How do you approach modding? (What inspires you? Do you have a specific workflow?)
Usually, I might get an idea while playing the game about how to improve a certain feature or location. It might be something jarring that I notice is out of place, or could just use with some attention.
Trying to make a mod while looking at a blank Construction Set is a lot like trying to draw looking at a blank page; having an objective before doing anything definitely helps.
A lot of the time, before touching any modding tools, I’ll crack open Google docs and write up a design document. To be honest, most of my mods stay in this conceptual state, but writing stuff down as it comes to me also gives me a repository of ideas that I can pull up whenever I’m just in the mood to mod, or need a quick idea for a timed competition or event.
"Timed competition event", that's the Modjam, 48 hours to make a mod based on a theme chosen by the community. The next one is this winter. Stay tuned!
What’s your favourite thing about modding?
Decorating and designing interiors probably. Writing characters is fun, but the setting is really what sells Morrowind. Morrowind has a wide range of decorations and furniture and books that can do a lot of subtle storytelling. Perhaps the presence of some nice silverware implies the person that works here is well off? Maybe that local manufacture pot says that the resident of this place has an affinity for native arts? What does the presence of foreign poetry books in this person’s house? Do they appreciate the classics, are they a scholar or enthusiast?
Putting these things into a location really tells the player where they are, even before they introduce themselves to whatever company they’ll encounter. When I design interiors, it’s always good to take Chekhov’s gun with me; everything in this room is here for a reason. Sure, I could stick any old clutter in here and call it a day, but it is much more fulfilling to have the correct furniture for this NPC, even if that subtle detail is often missed.
It’s something you notice when it’s not done properly, but something that you don’t when it’s done perfectly, which is exactly how it should be.
Endoran's Sarandas Family Hearth is a good example of that. It is also a Mojam mod.
What’s your favourite mod that you’ve made so far? Is there a mod you are especially proud of?
My Firemoth mod is probably my proudest accomplishment. While I have mods with more endorsements that seem more popular, my Legion at the Siege at Firemoth mod probably used more of my skills than any of my other mods.
I wanted to preserve the original high enemy volume and impossible odds feeling while giving it more lore consistency with the rest of Morrowind’s content.
I wanted to give the quest more purpose, where previously it was just a dungeon romp that had very little logic in its level design and pacing. It was also my first proper quest mod, where previously I had only done house mods, so I felt proud to have made it fully scripted and functional, as well as something story-orientated.
Are you working on a mod these days?
“Working” is a strong word, but my Legion expansion, Imperium, is on the top of my list for WIPs. My current stage with it is releasing planned content in separate mods for now (including mods like Legion at the Siege of Firemoth). It’s the biggest project I’ve planned so far, so I’m hoping that once I get some proper headway into it, other people can come and chip in if they want to. To be able to finish and make something as big as this would be a dream come true.
Legion Field Gear is another mod part of the ongoing project Imperium
You took part in the Morrowind Modding Madness competition for the first time last you, how was it?
I liked MMM, but it can be something of a slog. It's very easy to pull together an idea and to get into brainstorming, but after a while, you realise that you actually have to make a mod. It can also be frustrating if everyone is in a different timezone so you can't all be online at the same time to coordinate things. That being said, when you do get a mod together, it's a nice accomplishment, and not usually something that could have been made with an individual effort.
How much do you play Morrowind, not counting playtesting?
I’ll be honest, not a lot. Since I’ve started modding, most of my time has been taken up in the Construction Set. I suppose once you’ve gutted the game from the inside out changing things, picked apart the lore and characters from many perspectives, creating new mods just becomes more fulfilling than playing through the content that you already learned about in a wiki or saw in the CS.
How did you discover Morrowind?
My dad had a habit of buying PC games at charity shops (thrift stores for any Yankees reading) and sticking the discs in folders, discarding the cases to save space in the house.
He picked up a physical GOTY version of Morrowind one day and chucked it into one of these folders, throwing out the original case (something which pains me to this day; luckily, I still have the map of Vvardenfell that came with it). I think I must have been browsing the disc folder and thought it looked interesting, so I installed it on the attic PC and went ahead, not having played any Elder Scrolls games prior. It was an experience, but the real fun for me came from using the Construction Set.
What makes Morrowind special for you?
Morrowind is of course a flawed masterpiece. Once you gut it and examine its sum parts, you notice all the glaring flaws, both in gameplay and in the writing. But it’s easy to get tunnel vision, especially as a modder looking at everything from the top-down. At the end of the day, Morrowind is a great game with an interesting world, and once you start playing, you usually forget those old grievances (and if you can’t, the CS is always there for you to fix it yourself).
What are the mods you simply cannot play without?
There are the obvious contenders, like the code patch, MGE XE, MWSE etc. but the mods I always play with are probably ones that add unique visuals to previously generic items. Things like Unique Finery Replacer by Alaisiagae or Old Dwemer Books by Yar-Yulme are small in terms of what they add to the game but really makes the small things seem a bit more, getting a tiny bit closer to what Vvardenfell is like. Small immersive touches remind you that not every amulet is based on a handful of generic designs or that those books are too insignificant for the game to comprehend their contents for you.
Really, I’m a sucker for any mods that add unique variations of previously generic-looking items. They add a brand of immersion that is often forgotten about when considering immersion mods as a whole. It adds a new excitement of finding a nice item with a new model. Morrowind is a visual experience, having a tangible visual is a lot more fulfilling than just a unique name or enchantment.
Are there any underrated mods that you really enjoy?
Old Dwemer Books is definitely one of my favourite mods, but as I said, I’m a bit biased for those kinds of mods.
Dwemeri Gifts, another mod by Yar-Yulme, is another underrated mod that I like. Trueflame and Hopesfire are already technically unique artifacts, but I found that this take on them makes them truly unique in their style, making them feel like the artisan Dwemer blades they were described as. Of course, they’re maybe a bit too unique for some people’s taste, but I find they add some nice creative variation on how they felt before.
By and large, I think a lot of good Morrowind mods are appreciated well enough. Occasionally a hidden gem will get buried, but the good stuff does usually floats to the top, thanks to the active and tight community. It’s hard for a really good mod to go under the radar with the community always interested in what’s coming down the pipeline.
If you put the work in, people will notice pretty quick. There isn’t any particular dominance on the top mods, anyone can make it there with a good enough mod.
Do you play other games?
I dabble in a bit of classic and modern FPS. Red Faction, Team Fortress 2, Valorant and Splitgate are some of my current go-to shooters. I also enjoy a spot of Valheim with friends.
Do you mod other games?
I’ve been meaning to. God knows I have some documents for mod ideas, but all I’ve managed thus far is a retexture for Fallout 4. Maybe one day when I figure out the modding software for these various games will I get around to it.
I also want to get into modding OpenMW, specifically TES3MP. Having a multiplayer server centred around my Legion mod’s content and RPing a Legion soldier would be another dream come true. That being said, I’ve no idea how to handle that engine (I’ve got a basic enough understanding of vanilla Morrowind’s engine and programming).
Psst! Ashes of Sharmat is a solid role-play tes3mp server, we talked about it with Vidi Aquam here on YouTube.
And by the way, what's the story behind your user name?
My first Morrowind character was a kleptomaniac Breton warrior that needed a decidedly fantasy sounding name. I’m not sure where the exact syllables came from, but I suppose younger me thought that Endoran was a good enough name to fill that role. Later, I figured that it could work as a neat username, and the rest is history.
There you have it guys! Check back next week, Vidi_Aquam will be answering my questions.