Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 4: Texture packs, Tribunal

Okay, someone lied. I was testing out my own replacement for an ugly cobblestone texture that Morrowind Visual Pack installed (with strong shadows that only look good from one angle), and repeatedly waited a couple of hours to let the sun come up to properly illuminate the texture, and suddenly I was attacked by the Dark Brotherhood! I had read that shouldn't happen until level 5 or 6, but I'm still at level 2! Not that I'm complaining, though. I was able to kill the assassin anyway (no thanks to the two town guards who were standing right there at the time), and I needed to get to Mournhold as part of a quest to earn a more mage-appropriate house in a mod.

Speaking of the Visual Pack and its occasional poor choice of textures, I visited Thepal's excellent page full of screenshots comparing 5 different texture replacement packs to the vanilla textures, and found that the one I liked best was one called "Mixed Textures", which appears to be a mix of the best textures from the other available packs. But the download link currently gives a "500 Internal Error", and it doesn't seem to be hosted anywhere else. However, in light of my later discovery, that's not important.

Edit: "Mixed Textures" has since been uploaded to TES Nexus.

One issue I have with the MVP is most obvious between this screenshot of the vanilla textures, and this corresponding screenshot of the MVP textures. You can see that the Bethesda texture artists painted darkened areas of what looks like rainwater runoff stains (or maybe just shadows) near the top, and mold near the bottom, which gives it a nice sense of solidity. The MVP textures, while they may be higher resolution, have no such environmental detail, hence making it look like a toy model of a castle rather than one that's been standing out in the weather for years. Since Morrowind apparently has no bump mapping, normal mapping, or specular mapping, these details are all the more important. Mainly important on built structures, not so much on landscape textures.

I've found another series of texture replacers that look superior to the MVP. Connary is a texturerer of skill whose textures I think I'll be using from now on. According to the date of the forum link, he released his Balmora "Hlaalu" textures this very month, and he's still working on more! This is a good sign.

His Balmora set didn't include replacements for that aforementioned ugly cobblestone, which is apparently more generic. Not sure which set I might find them in.

To Mournhold, with a purpose

In any case, I made it to Mournhold, finally. I had my mage guide port me to what looked like the closest area, Vivec, but I had a hell of a time finding my way out of that bloody pyramid (tried going downstairs from inside, and ended up running through some ghost- and rat-infested tombs trying to find my way back out!), and from there I couldn't find any boat to take me across the lake to Ebonheart, so I had to waterwalk across it (avoiding the slaughterfish). From there I had to find Apelles Matius, which was a chore, and while looking at him I got stuck on a rooftop surrounded by high ridges I couldn't jump over. Got a good test of the Levitation spell out of it, to get myself down from there.

Mournhold was another chore to navigate. The whole reason I went there was because the Mournhold magic shop is where Korana, the author of Magus Realm Tower, required me to go to get access to the tower home. (Thumbnail pic takes you to the author's image gallery.) After acquiring the teleport crystal and exploring it, I can say this is just about perfect for a mage like me. Not too thrilled about the Imperial textures in it, but I'll be replacing those soon anyway (with more of Connary's). It's just what I needed. Compact, but perfectly spacious enough for my needs, with plenty of storage. It also has its own alchemy lab with an ingredient sorter, but I don't care for the "necromancer" style of using skulls as ingredient jars, and having a little dragon walking around in the middle of the room that you activate to sort the ingredients (for one thing, he gets in the way). The Purchasable Alchemy Laboratory has more features (like the ability to automatically retrieve ingredients by their effects, the alchemy apparatus is static (the ones here you have to pick up to use), and the activator is an open book, not a creature. So, when I can afford the alchemy lab equipment, I'll move out of the Mages' Guild basement, clear out the necromancer gear in the Magus Tower, install my new equipment in the lab, and move in.


  1. A tip for quickly getting from Vivec to Eboheart: after using the guild guide or silt strider to arrive in Vivec cast Almsivi Intervention to teleport yourself to the High Fane temple and the n cast Divine Intervention to teleport yourself to Ebonheart. It may also be possible to use Divine Intervention imemdiately, but I'm not sure whether that brings you to Ebonheart or Pelagiad.


  2. Heh, that unpredictability of where you might end up is pretty much the reason I've never actually used those intervention spells. :) But that seems like a useful trick.