How long have you been modding and what was your first complete mo?
My first completed mod was a single texture mod for Knights of the Old Republic in 2019. After that, I didn’t mod again until I started working on an Irish language translation for Chrono Trigger in mid/late 2021. I started working on Morrowind mods in December. I was browsing r/tes3mods and saw a post someone made requesting a mod that didn’t get much attention, so I decided to try to make one myself (Well Rested).
How do you approach modding? (What inspires you? Do you have a specific workflow?)
I really like mods that complement the world, lore, and art direction of the Vanilla game. So, a handful of ideas have started out just by playing and wishing for a particular option that isn’t in the game.
For example, I made a “Vanilla Style Hair Pack” for Breton Males. I really like Bretons as an option, but I am also the type of person that is incredibly picky in regards to my character’s appearance. I wasn’t content with any of the options, so I decided to create a handful. Before doing so, I tried to take a step back to think about what kind of hairstyles would be appropriate for a Breton to have. To determine this, I looked into what real-life cultures the Bretons take inspiration from (e.g., Norman, Brittonic, Gallic, etc.). This led me to look into the types of hairstyles that were popular in those cultures, several of which were included in the mod.
That may seem like a bit overkill for such a simple mod from a pragmatic view, but that process/workflow is precisely what I enjoy about modding. It not only allows me to satisfy particular niches within the game, but it also encourages me to observe the game’s world much more critically. It’s like an alternative way to explore it.
In the meantime, I have also learned a lot about things like texturing and free-form modelling in the process. I have a lot of experience with CAD programs like Autodesk Inventor, which are very deliberate and technical. The mod I described above was my first experience with a program like Blender, which I am still adjusting to.
What’s your favourite mod that you’ve made so far?
“Netch Scout Helm.” In general, I like mods that add variety to leveled lists more than unique equipment. That mod contains its own random list of each of the color variants, from which vendors, loot containers, etc. pull.
This means you won’t find all the variants in one, 'convenient' place. Certain vendors have a chance of selling one, which has a chance of being a particular variant. I didn’t do this because I want them to be difficult to find, but because I want the variety to feel candid and unintrusive.
Is there a mod you are especially proud of?
Not a particular mod, but I feel a bit prouder when creating custom textures that fit into the game well than I do with 3D models. There is a funny balance between making them look good enough to compensate for low-poly meshes, but not ‘too good.’ I also feel like there are a lot of little tricks and gimmicks for creating a sense of depth in a texture, and I really enjoy finding new ones.
Are you working on a mod these days?
I just completed the “Indoril Ronin” mod, which was my first attempt at creating an armor set. I have a handful of other ideas in mind at the moment for what I’d like to work on next. I would like to fill the gap between Chitin and Glass as light armor options. I would also like to work on a few vanilla-styled face and hair mods.
How much do you play Morrowind, not counting play testing
Not too much recently. I have primarily been play testing. Cumulatively, I imagine I have played well over 1,000 hrs since the game's original release (as a very conservative estimate). Tamriel Rebuilt makes me want to start a new, very long, playthrough though.
How did you discover Morrowind?
On the original Xbox. A friend’s older brother had a copy of the game. At the time, I was really into games like Final Fantasy X. I had never played a game that just lets you create your own character and just do whatever you want right from the beginning before.
What makes Morrowind special for you?
It’s worldbuilding and lore. The world feels alien and lived-in. The player does not have definitive, omniscient knowledge of certain events, leaving room for speculation, encouraging you to use your imagination. Its world does not cater to you, allowing you to make mistakes and explore places you aren’t entirely ready for.
Those things create a sense of a realized world full of independent actors. This, along with the sense of risk-reward that comes from allowing you to make your own mistakes, creates a sense of agency that I don’t feel is present in many games.
In my opinion, you’re not really making a choice unless there are consequences, and you’re not really “discovering” something unless it was possible for you to miss it as a result of your own actions (as opposed to chance/RNG).
What are the mods you simply cannot play without?
The Expansion Delay mod. Early Dark Brotherhood Attacks really disrupt the flow of the early game and break the economy.
Are there any underrated mods that you really enjoy?
Familiar Faces by Caleb.
Do you play other games?
Yes, a few of my favorites are Dark Souls (or any FromSoftware game), Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI-X, and Age of Empires II. I may go on a bit of a modding hiatus once Elden Ring releases...
And by the way, what's the story behind your user name?
It’s a portmanteau of “elucidate” (a word I really like) and “ace” (a nickname I have).
Anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t talked about
Regarding my mods, I’d like to say that any asset within them is 100% open-source. Anyone can feel free to use or repurpose them for whatever they’d like. Credit is appreciated, but not mandatory.