Modder's Interview: RandomPal

Modder's Interview: RandomPal

How long have you been modding and what was your first complete mod?

I think I started 6 years ago or so. I had found the infamous “pastebin Morrowind modding guide” and discovered so many great mods. When I realized I couldn’t use ALL OF THEM together, I started messing around with the Construction Set to fix compatibility issues for my personal install. We can say that my first mods were just patches between some town overhauls.

My first published mod is called “Scripted alchemy vendors restock rebalance”, which is essentially a finished Economy module from ST Alchemy by Stuporstar. Sounds like a tongue twister, eh?

Library of Vivec Enhanced

How do you approach modding?

I only recently started to see myself as a modder. For most of my modding journey, I saw myself as a Morrowind fan with some knowledge of various modding tools.

I always mod with the intention of making a version of Morrowind that’s closer to how I’d imagine the game would have been from the start if time, money, and resources had not been a limiting factor.

The idea is to pick up where Bethesda stopped and finish their work. Of course, I’m aware that you can’t really do such a thing, but that’s what I have in mind when modding.

The worldbuilding of Morrowind is what really interests me as a modder and my major source of inspiration comes from the original concept art material by Michael Kirkbride.

There are other artists that have created amazing artwork based on Morrowind and that I used as a reference when modding. To name a few: Dominik Zdenković, Belissa Minomi, Roman Dubina, Lukkar, Minttu Hynninen.

What’s your favourite mod that you’ve made so far?

Most of my work converged into Beautiful Cities of Morrowind, one way or another. There are a few other things I made and that I’m proud of, but the amount of time, love, and care that went into Beautiful Cities is far greater than all the others combined.

Concept Art Gnisis Temple

Are you working on a mod these days?

I’m always looking for opportunities to better characterize Morrowind. With the last updates of Beautiful Cities, I introduced middle-class Dunmer furniture and fancier rugs for upper-class interiors, for instance. They’re small details but I think they add a bit of realism and depth to the world.

I also recently worked with Vegetto on a Maar Gan shrine overhaul.

I’m not working on anything now but there are many interiors in Morrowind that Bethesda just copy-pasted from a template and I’d like to improve them in the future.

Apart from that, I’m also an interior developer for Tamriel Rebuilt and I’d like to spend some time on that too.

How much do you play Morrowind, not counting play testing?

I haven’t really played the game in – at least – 3 years. A typical instance of the “modder’s curse”, being destined to know the position of every barrel in Seyda Neen but never being able to play the game.

How did you discover Morrowind?

I was in middle school and a friend of mine mentioned he found a game called Morrowind, where you could grab everything from the game world, even mundane objects like forks and spoons, where you could steal everything, kill anyone, and even fly.

I didn’t believe him. I liked and played video games at the time, and I knew what you could expect from them, and that level of freedom and interactivity was unheard of.

My friend then gave me a copy of the game and it just blew my mind as it was even better than one could imagine.

What makes Morrowind special for you?

It was my first Elder Scrolls game, and the unlimited freedom is what really captured me at first.

In many ways, no other game is as ambitious as Morrowind was. I can’t recall another game that lets you put on a different type of right and left pauldron, a left, and right glove, for instance.

As years went by, I realized that the alien setting and deep lore were also a key component of its appeal, something I didn’t realize as a kid. Since everything is so weird and alien, it’s really like being transported into another world.

What are the mods you simply cannot play without?

The most essential mods, for me, are the ones I made. Not because I’m a megalomaniac, but because modding takes a lot of time and effort. And I only put time and effort in if I really want something in my game.

As I said previously, I mod for myself primarily. This is also the only way to keep your sanity in such a small community. If you’re modding for glory you’re probably modding the wrong game :P

Having said that, a mod I’d never play without is Tamriel Rebuilt. It’s such an ambitious project and the idea of creating a missing portion of the world so that it better matches the original vision Bethesda had for the game resonates with me.

Are there any underrated mods that you really enjoy?

The pig children by Petethegoat.

Another mod that brings Morrowind a little bit closer to how MK imagined it.

Another one that’s worth mentioning is Wanderers of Solstheim by Manauser. It’s a one-of-a-kind NPCs addition mod as there are a few scripted events and added functionality that are usually absent from this type of mod. When you think about the fact that it was made such a long time ago, you realize that Manauser was ahead as a modder.

His mod Rieckling knock off has also been a favourite of mine for a long time.

Do you play other games?

Not much. Maybe once or twice a year something that I like comes up. I play it for a few weeks and then stop until the next game. I’m a gamer for 3-4 weeks a year, we could say.

In general, I like games that truly take advantage of being a game. Gameplay-focused games.

I don’t like to sit with my controller and watch cut-scenes and scripted events.

To give you an example, my favourite game is Bloodborne, which I consider to be the best game of the last decade for its incredible gameplay, worldbuilding, and lore.

According to steam though, my most played game is a roguelike called Tales of Maj’Eyal. Deep lore, complex and interesting gameplay, and gigantic dungeons to explore that really give you a sense of wonder and fear.

Morrowind, having a weak gameplay loop, is an exception. Or maybe it’s not as I never play it :P

But really, Morrowind has a unique place in my heart.

Do you mod other games?

I made some mods for Tales of Maj'Eyal. Nothing big though, I just made a few sprites inspired by Berserk.

And by the way, what's the story behind your username?

Nothing special. I just identify as a random pal you might meet on the Internet.

Anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t talked about?

Just a shoutout to Vegetto. We’re both Italians and we met through the Nexus, thanks to Morrowind. I don’t think I would have kept modding Morrowind for such a long time without him.

Having a friend that’s also invested in the same hobby and being able to share ideas and thoughts about the game made it much more fun and interesting.