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Galandil

06/11/2017

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4 hours ago, wrenik said:

^
This as Galandil said been a discussed topic, got some ideas I will post with merchants traveling on foot/horse, however, to get it looking right we need backpacks, do we have access to any such assets?

No but I don't think it'd be a problem to ask. In either case mods like Wet and Cold add backpacks to NPC's using the travel AI automaticly :)

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For Winterhold, a couple of things for consideration:

1) It appears that the cliff between the Winterhold area and the College spire wasn't there before the Great Collapse, so most of its ruins would be there (there are some right now, actually).

2) Unless the Sea swallowed what didn't collapse, making the Nords build the few buildings they have in the 4E , what remained of Winterhold should've its own distinct style and not the generic Nordic buildings they used in the game. Things to take into account for such distinct style.

     a) Ancient, Nordic and Magic: it was made by Shalidor's magic, so it is safe to assume that the rest of the city was similar to the College. Maybe the walls didn't need sentry towers or battlements at this point, so the wall could've been simple.

     b) Skyrim's capital under High King Borgas of Winterhold: he was a warrior, so he surely would fortified his walls.

     c) The Golden Age: During the third century of the Third Era, Baron Ulfe Gersen ruled over Winterhold. He "brought considerable wealth and influence" with Morihatha Septim when they married, which enabled them both to help Uriel Septim VI with his political struggles against the Elder Council. This Imperial influence could've also affected the city's architectural style. Maybe they could've added battlements to its walls, or maybe they didn't change the wall but they adorned the streets with Imperial style lamp posts, statues and buildings facades. 

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Hey Galandil, how is life goin'? How are you and how is the project going? Seems like no one was really active here soi decided to keep this a bit more alife. :D 

 

Any updates or busy with other things like e.g. studying. :P Any updates about Winterhold?

 

Your sincerely

Cailan 

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3 hours ago, Cailan said:

Hey Galandil, how is life goin'? How are you and how is the project going? Seems like no one was really active here soi decided to keep this a bit more alife. :D 

 

Any updates or busy with other things like e.g. studying. :P Any updates about Winterhold?

 

Your sincerely

Cailan 

Progress has been made to Holds, and the new meshes Galandil been hard at work on looks amazing, he usually shares more finished implemented screenshots that are further along in development, but if you wanna help give feedback or chat with us while the development is still on modeling your welcome to join our Discord :)

https://discord.gg/XnFvwzw

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On 9.5.2018 at 4:55 AM, Cailan said:

Hey Galandil, how is life goin'? How are you and how is the project going? Seems like no one was really active here soi decided to keep this a bit more alife. :D 

 

Any updates or busy with other things like e.g. studying. :P Any updates about Winterhold?

 

Your sincerely

Cailan 

Hey Cailan!

Development did slow down a bit in Feburary and March as I felt a bit stuck on the Winterhold design. In the end of march I decided to move development to Dawnstar and pause Winterhold for a while. I have as of right now finished the building set for Dawnstar and will begin implementing the new assets into the world-space. Once I am happy with the exterior leveldesign I'll start uploading screenshots. If your interested we do host a discord channel where I do upload WIP mesh development quite regularly as well as discuss lore and quest idea's.

I do intend to get back to Winterhold very soon as I've had some time to throw idea's back and forth and have come up with a way to make the interiors far more interesting then what we have now. First though I want to wrap up Dawnstar's exterior which shouldn't take more then a few days at most. :D

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Been a while since I've showcased some screenshots of the ongoing work so I thought I'd do it now. These are all very early work in progress leveldesign with some first-touch decorations, no new navmesh or marker placement and a few still enabled old references: Such as floating doors to the old towers. All of this will be fixed as the work continues.

For the past 1-2 months I've been working on Dawnstar. The two big criticisms people had of Dawnstar was:
1) Its too Medieval European looking, it doesn't feel like your in Skyrim. (This applies to Falkreath too for some people, but Falkreath has lore reasons for looking the way it does, Dawnstar does not).
2) The buildings mesh are too flat and their positioning makes the city feel very boxy.

I've addressed both of these criticisms, I hope successfully. The buildings have once again been reworked to have a much more shapely form, the former dark brick stone foundations have been tossed aside for the generic Riverwood stacked rock foundations. I was hesitant with this as we use this in Falkreath and Morthal as well, but at the same time it really does work well for making less flat corners and to make the city feel less refined. I've scaled down a few of the buildings in terms of size and floors, some have been completely remade to instead be log houses, a design I am hesitant with as it does clash a bit with the otherwise uniformity in the cities we've had in the project. They do still use the white plank walls on the second floor, so it could be written off as just a different foundation choice. Lorewise Dawnstar was a legionnaire retirement garrison and according to the lore Jarl Macalla of Dawnstar married High King Thian of Solitude which according to our project lore did give Dawnstar some expansive building permits to both restore the White Hall as well as restore proper defenses surrounding the town. This could account for some of the architectural differences but at the end of the day I hope people can shrug it off as just a different foundation.

I have done away with the amount of towers in Dawnstar. The towers I have kept are the two gate towers at the southern gate, two of the fort surrounding the White Hall's towers, and two towers, one on each side of Dawnstar. The Dark Tower has been completely removed and instead the White Hall has been expanded(By far the biggest single building I've ever created!).

I still have a lot of work ahead of me, there's some of the buildings I want to add some variations to so they don't feel re-used, add in a glow shader effect to the open windows to simulate light during night time and of course snow on roof. I am still on the fence about hay on roofs for Dawnstar, so comments about the roofs would be appreciated as I was criticized for having too flat roofs in previous iterations. 

Looking forward to hearing what you guys think! Cheers! ;)

 

 

 


The White Hall:


The City Proper:

 

 

 


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New mountainous cliffs surrounding the city, removing the need for fences clumsily climbing the hills. I am not 100% happy with this solution and will polish to make it blend better with the environment. Casing point though: You can't jump over a fence into the city, now there's a big mountain blocking your path, giving the city a proper natural defense.

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More City screenshots:

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The City looks like it is a Straight up improvement in my opinion, and it keeps the key elements of being a crapy traping city where the poor citizens are trapped while the upper-class warriors live in wealth. there are some minor issues like the palace feeling less defendable then before, it still have walls but they aren't as impressive and the removal of walkways is sad even tho it makes sense with the removal of the towers it was leading too, perhaps behind the Jarls Throne there could be an outside walkway leading to the back of the Whitehall and across to a bit of a lookout point. a turret instead of a tower. not to ruin the view of the palace but give it some more defensive feel. same with the main entrance it needs some form of a wall next to the stairs to cap of that area, perhaps a tower there at the end, this could be the "Dark Tower" and house the Jail only?

All other changes are straight up improvements, give the city a better feel as its truly a Nordic Port, full of Pirates bandits, Warriors, and lower-class citizens just trying to survive. new buildings look way better and the new layout works aswell.

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Hi there. :) Sorry didn't think you answer so quickly :blush: First of all really big thanks for the responses and the update! I do appreciate the idea about the Discord-thingy, but i never really used Discord before and i just know basics about the lore, so i doubt i could bring something new to the table :(

 

About Winterhold: every person needs a creative break from time to time, thats normal. I was just scared you broke up with it. :(

 

Looked through the mayn MANY screenshots and i personally want to point out a view things - which are ofc only subjective:  I liked old Dawnstar and his dark, medieval feeling, but i understand that many found it too medieval and not lorefriendly enough. I am against hay-roofs. They would suck the water out of the air and would maybe mold and the harsh wind speaks against it too, imo.

 

What i do like is the separate Jarl-house which keeps this stronghold thematic and the royal influence very good. I like you kept a bit of your old house models but improved them with a bit influence of Whiterun architecture. The places of the walls didnt really change as far as i could see, but i agree with wrenik about the fort part. Could be a bit more improved. the dock- area is okay, but i need to look up your old one, somehow i liked the old one more (but maybe i mess things up). The entrance withe e.g. the Khajit was a bit more cultivated before, right? And some cows and horses which stay on a small area on a slope do look neither healthy nor immersive. (a bit too much imo) The patch from the entrace to the centre could be a bit more cluttered, something which gives you the fell you entered a decent, dark town which goes step by step more and more dirty. 

 

Will the interior stay the same? I think it doenst need that much improvement (imo), but maybe you want to implement the Whiterun-theme there too. And ofc the roofs need a bit more improvement but how? Do you want to give them roof tiles or "just" improve the textures?

 

Nonetheless great work, great (and so many! <3) screenshots! Thank you, Galandil and team

Hi there. :) Sorry didn't think you answer so quickly :blush: First of all really big thanks for the responses and the update! I do appreciate the idea about the Discord-thingy, but i never really used Discord before and i just know basics about the lore, so i doubt i could bring something new to the table :(

 

About Winterhold: every person needs a creative break from time to time, thats normal. I was just scared you broke up with it. :(

 

Looked through the mayn MANY screenshots and i personally want to point out a view things - which are ofc only subjective:  I liked old Dawnstar and his dark, medieval feeling, but i understand that many found it too medieval and not lorefriendly enough. I am against hay-roofs. They would suck the water out of the air and would maybe mold and the harsh wind speaks against it too, imo.

 

What i do like is the separate Jarl-house which keeps this stronghold thematic and the royal influence very good. I like you kept a bit of your old house models but improved them with a bit influence of Whiterun architecture. The places of the walls didnt really change as far as i could see, but i agree with wrenik about the fort part. Could be a bit more improved. the dock- area is okay, but i need to look up your old one, somehow i liked the old one more (but maybe i mess things up). The entrance withe e.g. the Khajit was a bit more cultivated before, right? And some cows and horses which stay on a small area on a slope do look neither healthy nor immersive. (a bit too much imo) The patch from the entrace to the centre could be a bit more cluttered, something which gives you the fell you entered a decent, dark town which goes step by step more and more dirty. 

 

Will the interior stay the same? I think it doenst need that much improvement (imo), but maybe you want to implement the Whiterun-theme there too. And ofc the roofs need a bit more improvement but how? Do you want to give them roof tiles or "just" improve the textures?

 

Nonetheless great work, great (and so many! <3) screenshots! Thank you, Galandil and team ^_^

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@Cailan

Modding Skyrim has become a part of my daily routine, I have no intention of breaking from it. However there are times when I get stuck and I can't budge, a-kin to a writers-block. When that happens the best thing to do is to either work on something else or take a short break. I have every intention of finishing the project ;)

I liked the old Dawnstar too, but I agree with the criticism, it didn't feel like Skyrim. Now I was expecting Beyond Skyrim Illiac Bay to add snow-clad Breton cities in Northpoint, which I expected to look more or less like what I had... However upon looking at their map it does not appear to be the case, which is a bummer but I'm sure their project will be great either way. The problem with the flat-dark stone was that it was far too refined and made players feel like the edges were flat. I looked at many options to remedying this, even released an update to the meshes in the summer of 2017 to see if it improved the meshes with rounder corners and more detail- it did not really do much for the design. Dawnstar in the lore was a Nord port-city that rebelled against the Akaviri Potentate which caused the guild act, it later became a legionnaire retirement port, essentially you could argue that it would carry some Imperial influences, but there is also lore that points to Dawnstar forming itself as its own kingdom, ruling most of Northern Skyrim and trying to assert itself. I want to keep the Holds-lore-input for Dawnstar intact, however the design would also feel very similar to what we're doing in Winterhold. Essentially I decided that a very norse-looking port-town was appropriate considering all the other port towns had very refined designs. 

Hay roofs is a very convenient excuse to rid the buildings of flat-planked roofs. After discovering that the normal map was in fact upside down which made the snow shader overwrite the normal map, I managed to fix the issue. We have also discussed grass roofs, but a place in perma-frost wouldn't really have that...... Either way I agree that the plank roofs make it look unique and separates its design from places like Falkreath and Morthal.

The walls have changed drastically. We've cut the number of towers in half and instead of clumsy fences balancing itself against the cliff-face I've made the surrounding cliffs more of a natural defense which means I could make the walls cut as they reach the mountain cliffs, rather then surround the town.

Its hard to make a case for a fortification bridge that doesn't lead anywhere. I have added a gate there to fortify the area, but Wrenik argued there should be a door behind the Jarl's throne leading to a defensive level above the gate like in the old design. This design always bothered me in the old design, no Jarl would sit comfortably on his throne knowing at any moment someone could come at him from behind with a knife, or there isn't anything really there meaning its just a platform. A platform would then require some design changes as I wouldn't want the player to be able to jump down into the city, and invisible walls that make no sense, no objects that could seemingly be blamed for being in the way, will annoy people. 

The dock area looks the same as it did in the old version. :D there is a new sail-texture for one of the ships, and one of the buildings that used to be a boxy windowless eye-sore has been replaced by a log-house, but that's really it. 

Entrance with the Khajiit's is the same. You still have the stable, khajiit camp. However the Macalla gate has had a design change. I have added more detail since the screenshots were taken. We now have a lawstone near the slope-farmhouse and more rocks. 

Interiors will be changed slightly, buildings that now use log-houses will need to be changed, and the dark stone walls have to be changed for the stacked rocks. Otherwise I want to keep it as intact as I can. The White Hall will undergo some changes but I want to keep the drinking hall intact as much as possible.

Been thinking of changing the plank texture to something unique with a sharp normal map, however I do like the plank design and will keep it.

 

Cheers :beerchug:

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" Modding Skyrim has become a part of my daily routine, I have no intention of breaking from it. However there are times when I get stuck and I can't budge, a-kin to a writers-block. When that happens the best thing to do is to either work on something else or take a short break. I have every intention of finishing the project ;) "

Hi Galandil, I do feel the same - great thing :)

Nice to see you make good progress and don't loose the fun. Your screenshots look awesome. I have only a short comment to the flat plank roofs. They are pretty unrealistic because the water from rain and snow would simply run inside through such a roof. Ancient roofs in northern europe were made of reed. It's a very old tradition that is practiced until today in northern Germany, on the isles and Scandinavia as well. These thatched roofs resist storms like we have many at the coast of the north sea. I think that would fit for your Dawnstar. Greetings from Germany, Tasheni

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Sorry for the late response, I started a new job this week and have been very busy!

@Tasheni:

Hey Tasheni! I think perhaps a remodeling of the hay roofs to look more like proper Reed roofs would make them look perhaps a bit too refined. Dawnstar is supposed to feel very shabby and simple. The people thrive and seem to shrug off the cold, open windows, broken floors and  very likely- not entirely air-tight ceilings. However.. The people are also masters of boat-building so I'd assume they'd find a way to make the roofs durable, at least to a degree.

Honestly though: I'm kinda liking the plank-design and while adding hay would solve a lot of potential design-problems... It would also make the city look eerily similar to Morthal, and Falkreath.

 

@Cailan:

I've seen! Finally they are releasing a new Elder scrolls... In 2-3 years. :crash:
Really happy to see they are going for a tropical setting, though a part of me hopes this isn't going to be another human province. While Hammerfell could be fun, Elsweyr would be completely alien, and it'd be nice to see the Aldmeri Dominion's perspective.  
 

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Wonderful progress, i'm very impressed with how you have created and used custom assets to add subtle diversity to Morthal  and Dawnstar.  I have a few suggestions to the various locations that I hope you will find interesting and possibly consider incorporating if they fit with your artistic design.  Obviously everything must be 'LORE FRIENDLY' or at least make sense practically or aesthetically for each of the locations. I will try and include images where possible to illustrate my points.

N.b. A few of these suggestions will include images from existing mods on the nexus as they include some great ideas regarding level design. Sorry about the videos, hyperlinks turn into embedded videos on this forum.

Lets start with Morthal; apparently a hold 'capital'. I completely agree with the change in architectural design; the rounded building meshes and horizontal log walls helps distinguish the hold from other villages. I also agree with keeping the standard 'Riverwood' stone foundations and thatched roofs. I believe by keeping these two materials/textures the same it creates a feeling of cohesion between the villages (poor) and Morthal (poor) in comparison to the large cities. Additionally, an texture overhauls will affect both Morthal and the villages keeping this cohesion. The round houses are are lovely design and adds some desperately needed extra character to Morthal. The locations of the additional buildings is good and looks like a natural expansion of the city. However,  I would suggest moving the round house behind the inn closer to the town and space the two round houses on the northern shore apart by a few feet.  

 

Now for the many unreasonable requests.

-The stone bridge doesn't really fit the aesthetic of the town as other people have suggested. Wooden bridge 100%, yep yep yep. But which style? Static or 'drawbridge' ?Static example from Skyrim bridges (https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/38158/). Hidden ATM . Please see Ivarstead as an example, skip to 00:10 in the video below.

Drawbridge example (without pillars) from Expanded Towns and Cities (https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/13608).  Please skip to 03:20 in the video below.

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"The citizens of Morthal are known to be reclusive and cautious of outsiders". 

- Walls. Morthal is a hold capital, arguably it is one the poorest, but it should have some degree of defensive fortifications. Even Riverwood has a gate. Regarding location of the walls, they should enclose the entire city using the cliffs as natural barrier. They should not extend beyond the bridge. This should include a 'watergate/chain' across the harbour flanked by very small lookout posts. This city is located on the edge of a marsh, stalked by many creatures (*Pale Lady*) and probably bandits. You would not feel safe without a wall. The watergate/chain creates the possibility of closed world space; providing performance benefits etc. I know you are currently against the idea of a closed world space for Morthal; its added work, it creates compatibility issues and mainly you wish to keep the open feel of the city. But playing devils advocate, Morthal will be the only hold capital not placed in it own worldspace (excluding the ruined version of Winterhold). If all the hold capitals have their own world space, it helps create a feeling (i'm sorry to use the word again) of cohesion between them. As you walk into a new world space you know your in a hold capital as apposed to an outlying village/farmstead/mine. For the wall materials, I think palisade wall are way to go. The city is poor and wood is cheap; a wooded mash to the north and a forest to the south. This also fits with your new wooden log buildings and the suggest wooden bridge. 

Palisade wall example from Legendary Cities - Tes Arena - Skyrim Cities (https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/63523).  Please do download and walkabout around this, the mod creator has designed what I believe is the most appropriate defensive fortifications for the city.  Point of interest are the construction of the walk-able palisade walls, the gate placements (particularly behind the inn - great for the round house you have place here), the sea gate and incorporation of the covered jetty through the walls. 

This mod also include a covered walkway/1st floor which may provide inspiration for and expanded central section. The dual floor walkways may add some further character to Morthal IMO.

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 The final suggestion for Morthal are about clutter and general feel of the town. I won't touch on alchemy as you already covered this. Hjaalmarch isn't exactly prime farming land, therefore the majority of food in the town must be foraged, hunted or fished. With the added houses and residents, it is appropriate that these industries expand (a bit). Conveniently a succession of  modders have provided a wonderful reference for me illustrate.   

Example from Morthal Overhaul II (https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/17536).  This mod, in my opinion, has the best level design and choice of clutter objects/placement in the harbour area of Morthal.  Please see 00:30-01:30, 02:30-02:45 and 03:15-03:45 to illustrate this. 

 

I will stop here for now, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these topic and whether any of my rambling had been useful you.

Ciao for now (Edited due to grammatical errors)

 

 

Edited by valerxxn
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Really good suggestions all around I would say, Personally I'd like to see it all, its mainly a question if Galandil feels its worth the time and effort to go back and rework parts like the bridge, which I do remember he was a bit on the fence about. the changed made already make the town look more or less perfect in my humble opinion and I feel Galandil really hit the nail on the head with this one, but I agree that the bridge and some clutter could improve what we already have.

the only part I don't really agree with is the world space, I do see where you are coming from, however, I don't think the work, incompatibility, etc is justified by the small feeling of consistency and the small spike to performance. futher more Morthal isn't just the poorest hold, it is the poorest hold by far. and isn't really a city or town is a large village, or community for the tribes living in the area, walls could work however they aren't as necessary as its a shithole no one wants to attack, in a shitty place no one wish to live, the people living there are tribesmen who respect the religious parts of mortal too much.

that being said I do like your ideas and I hope Galandil agrees with me and you :)

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