Modder's Interview: Stripes
How did you discover Morrowind?
I played Morrowind on Xbox at a friend's house and was amazed, it wasn't long before I bought a copy for my PC and discovered it came with a construction set and there was a whole online modding community and many many mods.
How long have you been modding?
I think I started back in 2004, 2005? I'm not exactly sure. I started an account at the Bethesda forums under the random name Trey Leavens. I don't know why that name it's just something I typed in, I didn't plan to become a modder. When I published my first mod I used the name Wildman which I then used for all my published mods and forum accounts. I was only Trey Leavens on the Bethesda Forums, but that was the main place so that's what most people knew me by.
When I could I spent my time tinkering with mods and chatting on forums, learning all I could and sharing what I had learned with others. I had a few big mod projects that never got anywhere. Like many others in the community, I helped with other modders' projects whether it was an idea, a script, a model, or whatever.
Sometime around 2008 I think, I was just busy with real life and didn't touch a computer for almost a decade. When I finally did, almost all the old websites were gone, even the Bethesda forums were gone. Great House Fliggerty was still up but basically abandoned, and Morrowind Modding History was still working(ish). TesFiles(now nexus) was still alive and lots of mods were released and still being released. Tamriel Rebuilt was still going and about to release an update. Morrowind modding was not only still alive after all these years but better than ever.
In fact, it was TR that pulled me back into modding, I was lurking at the discord and it made me miss my old hobby.
What was your first complete mod?
I don't really remember. I started out with making a cheat crate in Seyda Neen with my favorite items with custom enchantments. I made a house mod in Balmora, an imperial castle on the hill behind the temple. I did some (awful) retextures using Niftexture and Photoshop. And I grew from there.
My first published mod was a companion. Kumiko, a ninja! I hadn't really planned on going too far with it I was just having fun. I posted some screenshots and some ideas and got encouraged to roll with it.
During development, I learned a lot about scripting and game engine behaviors. I was scripting everything from scratch and was running into all of the annoying engine behaviour and scripting limitations. Someone suggested I stop trying to reinvent the wheel and use Grumpy's Companion Project as a base. After looking into it I realized how much time and effort Grumpy and the community had put into it. I was wasting my time trying to come up with work arounds that had already been worked out, by people smarter than me :D
How do you approach modding?
My workflow is all over the place, I just work on things when I'm in the mood, maybe it's a gameplay tweak, or house mod, or a model, or animation, whatever I feel is the thing to do at the time.
Sometimes I get ideas from talking to other modders and mod users online. Someone makes a request or has an idea and I think "Hey I can do that". Sometimes stuff just pops in my head. My birthsign mod for example just popped in my head while I was at work so I typed up a design and the script on my phone then when I got home I put it together in the construction set. Oh and during May Modathon I might get an idea from an achievement, like my steam centurion mod was totally made specifically for the achievement.
I try to stick to smaller mods that I can actually finish, I learned from my past that big long-term projects will never get done.
Welcome to Morrowind is an example of a mod I requested on the Morrowind Modding Discord and Stripes made it happen :)
What’s your favourite thing about modding?
I think it's the community. People of all ages from all over the world with their own unique experiences, interests, and skillsets, coming together to add a piece of themselves to this game world we all love. Not every mod may be everyone's cup of tea but I still find it fascinating what people come up with.
What’s your favourite mod that you’ve made so far?
I've made so many it's hard to pick one, someday I'll take all my experiences from making them and create the bestest mod ever lol
All right, then I'll tell you some of my favourite mods by Stripes:
- Swit Out of Luck: every day, your luck attribute can change a bit
- MWSE Morag Tong Helmets: all Morag Tong NPCs will have a suitable helmet, work with Ruffin's helmets, and with modded npcs.
- Safety in Numbers: as long as you have a companion with you, your sleep will not be interrupted by creatures. (I may have requested that one as well :) )
- Hold Your Breath: the more endurance you have, the longer you can stay underwater. Simple.
- Companions mods: Ashlander Huntress Companion (she harvest ingredients), MWSE Enhanced Healer Companion (he heals you, duh), ULF (he's cute and grows up).
Is there a mod you are especially proud of?
I think maybe Regional Mana, it's not lore-friendly and not a must have for every play through, but I had a fun playthrough of the Bloodmoon expansion as a battlemage using it. I look at it now and wonder how I managed to make it all work.
Are you working on a mod these days?
I'm doing a remake of the Shulk egg mine and I have several updates and addons planned for some of my released mods, it's just hard to find time. I hope to catch up on my backlog and do some more work with Tamriel Rebuilt soon as well.
How much do you play Morrowind, not counting play testing?
Not a whole lot. I play more on my phone because it won't run the construction set so I actually play instead of mod lol.
I have a mostly vanilla install with Tamriel Rebuilt. My character has finished the main quest, Tribunal, and a lot of TR content.
What makes Morrowind special for you?
The freedom to go and do whatever you want, your actions, and choices shape your character and their story. You can replay it indefinitely.
What are the mods you simply cannot play without?
I can play Morrowind without any mods.
Do you play other games?
Not really anymore I barely have time to work on my morrowind mods.
Do you mod other games?
No, but I did a couple of Oblivion mods when it first came out. I made a simple script to let you move furniture around in the game via a popup menu, it was moddy and didn't function as a game feature but did the job. And I did the mesh edits for the Daedric figurines for the Black Cat Jewelry Store by Cinnamon.
And by the way, what's the story behind your user name?
It's kinda silly. I was creating an account, I don't remember what for but everything I put in kept coming back as already taken by another user. I even tried adding numbers at the end to no avail. Completely out of ideas I was like "what should I try next?" At that moment a cat ran up to me and went "mweow?" He was a grey tabby named Stripes. So I typed it in and it took. I then started using that for all my accounts, except Nexus it was already taken :(