Remastering Morrowind

Screenshot of OpenMW, modded extensively

Or: come see me play my favorite 20-year old video game, beautified for 2021 audiences!

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately modding The Elder Scrolls into completely unrelated games, like RimWorld. While there’s something magical about turning a science fictional game about building a colony on the rim of known space into a game about running a Dunmer cornerclub, it just wasn’t scratching That Elder Scrolls Itch ™.

We do have fun with our tiny murder elves, though…

So! I decided that since it had been ten years since I last played Morrowind, I was overdue for a replay. And this time, I was going to stream it on my Twitch channel.

Why? I want my friends to see Morrowind through my eyes. I wanted to show you Morrowind — but remastered for 2021. I want you to know why I love it so much; why I think it’s the finest iteration of the “venerable” series.

The nitty gritty details

This game will be running on OpenMW, “a free, open source, and modern engine which re-implements and extends the 2002 Gamebryo engine for the open-world role-playing game The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.”

The advantages to using OpenMW are many — it fixes many bugs with the original engine, and adds features that the original game didn’t have, like distant terrain. It also makes modding cleaner and more, well… modular.

And mod it I sure would! Not knowing where else to start, I Googled “modding OpenMW” and came upon a site of the same name. Modding OpenMW features a number of different modlists, as well as detailed instructions for implementing them.

I started by implementing the massive Total Overhaul list. But I ended up stopping after the first few items, and implementing a modlist that was best summarized as “Graphics Overhaul plus some bug fixes.”

Why? Well, after putting more thought into it, I’d realized I wanted to (mostly) leave the vanilla gameplay untouched. My goal was for folks like you, dear reader, to see Morrowind through my eyes, right? How could I do that if all the rough edges had been smoothed off? Some of what I love about is those rough edges!

So ultimately: I modded the graphics out completely and fixed the obvious bugs, but I didn’t, say, add in a poison system, or rebalance the economy, or fix the messy leveling system.

(As it turns out, “graphics overhaul” and “obvious bugs” are more subjective than I thought! But that’s something I can talk about more on my stream).

Is this ready to play?

It sure is! It took me about a hundred hours, and many emails with the (very responsive and helpful) author of Modding OpenMW, but I now have my 250+ modlist working smoothly. I’m a dozen or so hours into a test game, and so far it’s been rock solid!

… not gonna lie, there were moments where I was like “I’m never following a modlist again,” but I’m glad I stuck with it. The end result is lovely. (See: the featured image for this post).

So where do I sign up?

I’ll be starting “Morrowind Remastered” on my Twitch channel on Weds, December 1 at 7pm EST (UTC-5). I will aim to stream Wednesday and Sunday nights at the same time — or more or less frequently, as I feel like it. Because I’m a rebel, and nothing makes me want to do something less than scheduling it 😉

Your best bet to find out when I’ll be going live is to click the big purple follow button on Twitch; that should email you when I go live.

If you are more asynchronously inclined, you can also subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I plan to upload the VODs.

I’m also posting occasionally on Twitter about the process of setting up the game. Sometimes I use my liseplays Twitter account for this, but more often it’s threads like this on my main lisefrac account:

And that’s it! I hope to see you in the stream!

ETA: I also published a Google Calendar with the dates, if that’s helpful to you:

Author: Lise

Hi, I'm Lise Fracalossi, a web developer and writer. I live in Central Massachusetts with my husband, three Maine coon cats, and a collection of ridiculous hats.

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