Morrowind Expanded

A 12 step-guide to reinstalling a better Morrowind

Step 7: Install the Extenders and Managers 20 December 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Haden @ 8:32 pm

7.

Morrowind Script Extender (MWSE) is required by certain mods. Although is included within Morrowind Graphics Extender (see above). If you opt for the standalone version for some reason, make sure you get the latest version from SourceForge.

You may want to use the Morrowind Mod Manager to install mods, from now on. It will save hours of fuss and error, although it can be quite dumb at times (extracting .exe files as if they were mods). But it only works with .RAR and .ZIP files. Mods also come packaged/compressed in .ACE and .7z formats, which you will need to know how to open.

 

Step 8: download the important patches

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Haden @ 8:30 pm

8. Now you will need to gather a very fat folder of major graphics mods and unofficial patches, most of which are linked below…

The Major Unofficial Patches (install in this order):-

Unofficial Morrowind Patch and Bug Fixes. If you use this, then you won’t need ‘Text Patch for Morrowind with Tribunal & Bloodmoon’ in stage 11 of this guide. You will also be able to use the excellent VGreetings mod, enabling speech audio that shipped with the Tribunal expansion but which was not heard).

Unofficial Morrowind code patch (also needed for the major Tamriel Rebuilt mod, so make sure you check the Tamriel Rebuilt maps box when installing). Unzip it into the Morrowind folder, and install from there. It will directly patch the Morrowind.exe file.

codepatch
Remember to scroll down and tick the bottom box, when installing the Unofficial Morrowind code patch. It’s NOT ticked by default.

Test that the game still launches, after installing each of these.

While the game is launched — now would be a good time to set your sliders for in-game difficulty settings, keyboard key-bindings, the balance of sound fx and music, footsteps, etc. Don’t mess with the in-game settings for “video”, as all that is now handled by the Morrowind Graphics Extender.

(There is also an experimental .exe optimiser. Not tested by me, so use at your own risk… “It works by disassembling Morrowind, searching for vector calculations and recoding them to use to use SSE instructions instead of the FPU.” Apparently it may only give you a boost if you run on an Intel CPU?)

 

Step 9: add the major texture/landscape packs

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Haden @ 8:27 pm

9. Obtain and add the major landscape textures packs (and install in this order):-

Morrowind Visual Pack v.3.0 (info, but Filefront link to mvp30rc1.rar is dead — get it here or direct download here). Massive hi-res texture pack that incorporates/combines the old Khalazza MW Visual Pack 2.11, Khalazza MW Visual Pack 2.2 (Nature), and Quarl’s Visual Pack XT.

Texture Fix (Texture_Fix_18.7z and Texture_Fix__Bloodmoon_11.7z — but don’t bother with Texture_Fix__TR…_v12.7z as it’s for Tamriel Rebuilt and seems to cause conflicts with your more up-to-date version of TR). Fixes thousands of seams that become more visible when using better textures. You really want this.

Bloodmoon Landscape Overhaul.

Now test that your outdoors frame rate is still acceptable at your chosen resolution. I run fine at 1920 x 1200px widescreen.

 

Step 10: add major new lands

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Haden @ 8:25 pm

10. Obtain and add major new lands and places:-

Tamriel Rebuilt: Map 1: Telvannis.

Tamriel Rebuilt: Map 2: Antediluvian Secrets.

Tamriel Rebuilt: Map 3: Sacred East. (Includes Maps 1 & 2 : “Sacred East includes an updated version of Telvannis & Antediluvian Secrets, as well as TR_Data – the data files required to play our content!”)

Tamriel Rebuilt: Census and Excise Travel Links at Seyda Neen.

Silgrad Tower (high-quality, adds a large new territory) and patch. This will also add some possibly-unwanted loading screens. To restore the game’s default loading screens, simply delete the new Silgrad Tower screens from C:/Morrowind/Data Files/Splash using the free Thumb Plug TGA for Vista or the WIC Codec Pack for Windows 7 — either of these enables viewing of .tga graphics thumbnails in Windows Explorer.

(After installing these you may see that you can start a new character as one of the Water Seraph race. For this to work you will need the Water Seraphs mod.)

You may also want to look at Annastia v3.3 (high-quality, adds a large new territory) and patch, although it seems to prefer running on a powerful PC.

Now is a good time to learn about double-clicking to load mods in the game’s launcher, and working out which mods actually need to be loaded and which are actually conflicting ‘variants’ of the same mod. Also, study each mod’s structure inside its .zip file, to understand how the textures, icons, .esp files etc should be placed into Morrowind’s Data Files directory.

 

Step 11: refine the graphics, text, models, and sounds

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Haden @ 8:23 pm

11. Refine the graphics, text, models, and sounds:-

 

All of these have been tested together, and with the items in previous steps. Be aware that many mods package themselves in several different versions: one for Morrowind alone, one for people with Tribunal and Morrowind, one for those who have the GOTY edition. There are also sometimes versions for Tamriel. Some mods have ‘lite’ versions alongside the full version. So if you’ve just dumped the mod .zip into the data directory, sorting out which version you want can take quite some time. Such ‘double mods loaded’ conflicts are the likely cause of many game crashes. If there are multiple versions of a mod inside a zip file, it’s best to select only the version you know you need – and copy it manually to the Data Files directory. Or carefully weed out the variant mods from your Data Files directory after installing each batch of mods.

 

Heads and bodies:

Better Bodies + Tribunal Better Clothes (for Better Bodies)

Better Beasts + neck fix (included).

Better Heads v2 + Dunmer texture fix for Better Heads AND/OR Vvardenfell Visages Vol. 1 + Ren’s Oblivion Hair for Morrowind.

Clothes:

Better Clothes + patch. Better Clothes does not replace the robes — for better robes, add Robe Replacer Using Hurdy Gurdy’s Meshes.

Weapons:

Weapon replacer, simply using sharpened textures. Should not conflict with levelling mods.

Monsters:

Classical Monster Replacer. Replaces the textures of various common monsters such as the Nix Hound, with better (sharper/clearer) versions.

Skies:

Enhanced Sky. A daytime higher-resolution texture replacer, very similar to the originals. It doesn’t touch Morrowind’s lovely stars or moons.

If you also have a copy of Oblivion installed, you may want to experiment with Oblivion Skies for Morrowind. A Windows .bat file finds and converts the Oblivion sky textures, and places them into your Morrowind directory. But the .bat file doesn’t seem to work on Vista, for me.

Sundry items:

Misc Items Replacer. Makes plates, bowls, baskets, crates etc look so much better.

Weathered Signs.

Better Books and (they don’t conflict) Daleth’s Book Jackets (plus Book Jackets for Tribunal and Bloodmoon)

Trees and grass:

Vality’s Bitter Coast Mod v4 and Vality’s Ascadian Isles Mod v2 adds incredible SpeedTree-like forests, where they should be in the game, and nowhere else. Superb.

Vality’s Morrowind Grass Mod adds excellent Oblivion-style grass. And with no noticable frame-rate hit. Superb.

OR Vurt’s Groundcover 1.0 for MGE, an advanced animated alternative to Vality’s Grass (see above). Excellent. However… as with all MGE-dependent stuff it’s rather tricky to set up, and runs only when you enable the Distant Lands function of the Morrowind Graphics Extender — so I’d be very reluctant to recommend it to those who are new to applying mods to Morrowind. This is really only for advanced users only — those who know how to generate Distant Lands from the proper .esp files, and can then dial down their MGE Distant Lands view to a sensible 1 or 2 cells.

Text and dialogue:

Text Patch for Morrowind with Tribunal & Bloodmoon. Fixes thousands of typing errors in the dialogue and books. (Not required if you use Morrowind Patch v1.6.4.esm instead).

Reduced (Passing) Commentary mod will very usefully limit the number of spoken greetings you hear from NPCs. This can add greatly to immersion in the game. Vital.

Less Lore. Removes generic heard-it-all-before dialogue, through complex scripting.

Population:

Morrowind Comes Alive and Tamriel Rebuilt Comes Alive v.2. You might want to get the “Lite” version of MCA, if you have frame-rate problems.

Living Cities of Vvardenfell. Puts NPCs on a schedule, they lock their doors at night. And much more. A major mod.

Illuminated Windows, with Bloodmoon expansion mod. People’s windows glow at night, flicker with candlelight. Comes with two additional mods that serve as Tribunal and Bloodmoon addons to the Atmospheric Sound Effects mod (see below). Requires simple .ini file tweaking (use Notepad, and don’t forget to backup first).

Ecology:

Sabregirl’s Ecology of Morrowind. Also causes healthy wild animals to be far less aggressive — stops constant cliff-racer attacks! Diseased and injured animals still attack.

Where Are All The Birds Going? 1.15. Adds beautifully-animated birds and flying creatures. Superb. Consider also adding A Flock of Seagulls for coastal birds. They don’t conflict.

Water Life 1.18. Adds new beautifully-animated water creatures in and around bodies of water. Excellent. (If it causes errors, you may need to also install the Water Seraphs mod).

Important gameplay tweaks:

Nymeria’s Faster Walk. Increase walking speed by 10%. Also seems to increase the frame-rate on a fast modern PC, and generally makes for a far better experience.

Water Life v1.18 (see above) comes with a Tempus Fugit ring (to be easily found in your inventory) which when worn allows you to set how much you want the game to slow down the passage of days (i.e.: to a more realistic level such as x2). If for some reason you can’t run Water Life, then use the alternative 2x Time Mod — but this can only be used when you start a brand new game (i.e.: starting from scratch, getting off the ship).

Sounds:

Kirel’s Interior Weather.

Atmospheric Sound Effects 3. Adds 200 new sounds from 13,000 emission points. Some are controlled by weather effects and night/day cycles. Also works in Tribunal and Bloodmoon, but the main ACE mod must be selected for those to work. You will also need to manually edit morrowind.ini (use Notepad) from….

[Weather Blight]
Ambient Loop Sound ID=Blight

to

[Weather Blight]
Ambient Loop Sound ID=_ase_blight loop01

While you’re editing the .ini file, if you’re using a 2x time mod, you may also want to change:

Hours Between Weather Changes=20

to

Hours Between Weather Changes=4

 

Phew! You’ve now installed all of the above. Does everything work? Load Morrowind and double-click on the mods you want to load at start-up. If it all works (praise Fargoth!), now would be a good time to archive your whole C:/Morrowind folder to a DVD-R or external hard-drive. At the end of the install process described on this website I have more than 3.7Gb (!) in my Morrowind directory.

Other retexturing mods can be found and installed as you happen to notice parts of the game that are lacking. The Stilt Rider textures may look a little low-res now, for instance. Or you may feel the Telvanni architecture needs a coat of paint.

 

Step 12: final bugtest, and change the default Field-of-View

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Haden @ 8:16 pm

Step 12.

Now check your C:/Morrowind directory for mods that have dumped their stuff in the wrong directory, or been extracted as .exe files by the dumb Mod Manager. Usually you find things like textures in the Data directory, and a duplicate Data directory within the Data directory…

straydatas
Argh! A dumb mod has unloaded itself in the wrong place. You should not have a Data Files folder inside the main Data Files directory.

If so, extract or move the files back to where they belong by hand. Test Morrowind again.

You may just have to live with a few non-critical mod-related bugs on load, such as…

morrowind-2008-12-26-15-10-52-94

morrowind-2008-12-26-15-12-04-48

Changing the FOV:

If you’re running Morrowind on a widescreen monitor, then you will probably want to change the “field-of-view” (FOV). This is set by default to 75, which can cause some motion-sickness in some people, and was more suited to an old square-ish cathode-ray-tube monitor. You will want it at 90 or higher. The best setting for a 1920 x 1200px widescreen monitor seems to be 100.389. If that seems a little too ‘fish-eye’ at the edges for you, then try 90 or 95. How do you change FOV? The Morrowind FPS Optimizer can help expand your FOV. Download it, load it, and switch to “expert mode”. Clear all the tick boxes on all the tabs. Now look in the Misc 2 tab, and set 16:9 ratio and 100.389.

morrofps

It’s tedious, but also clear all the n-patch tickboxes. You may then want to try setting Morrowind Process Priority to “High”, and activate the “Activate Run in combats” option. FPS Optimizer then doesn’t seem to conflict with the Morrowind Graphics Extender (as I have the Extender set up, see above). Just have FPS Optimizer running when you start Morrowind, and it’ll do the FOV magic.

When everything is playing fine, and you feel the game is settled and you’re not likely to add any more major mods, archive the entire C:/Morrowind directory again to a DVD-r.

Enjoy your new Morrowind, now made fit to play in 2010!

muzgob-comparison
Sharn gra-Muzgob in the ‘vanilla’ and ‘modded’ versions. Now a better-looking NPC than Oblivion? Quite possibly. He could have looked even better if I’d modded the robes when I took this screenshot.

arcadian-traders
Travelling merchant on the road. Here you see Vality’s Oblivion-style speed-trees and grass at work.

 

Additional mods I use

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Haden @ 8:00 pm

These are the additional mods I use. These are optional, unlike the mods and fixes above:

 


  WIDESCREEN:

Morrowind ‘splash’/loading screens in widescreen.


  COMBAT TWEAKS: Major levelling / balancing mods:

Levelling is a very personal choice in an RPG, and I leave the choice of levelling / balancing mods up to you and your taste in RPG play/character styles.


  COMBAT TWEAKS: Small enhancement mods:

Ticking a certain box in the Morrowind Graphics Extender enables you to engage in combat in the style of the earlier The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall, which some prefer.

For realism in areas around a combat, Fleeing Fetchers will cause non-combatants to run away when a fight breaks out near them. Protective Guards will cause guards to come to your aid, if you are the subject of unprovoked attacks in towns. I cannot recommend ‘Pursuit Enhanced’ since it caused multiple crashes for me.

Miscast. If you fail to cast a spell, there’ll be a 20% chance of some unexpected effect instead. A nice touch of realism.


  COMBAT TWEAKS: Archery:

Archers have some choice mods such as Marksman Mod and Particle Arrow Replacer 3.0 (better particle effects on enchanted arrows). Rideable Guars will also let you ride a guar, and fire a bow and arrow at the same time.


  MAIN QUEST: Enhanced ending (!) & main-quest companion NPC:

Darknuts’s Greater Dwemer Ruins Volume 1 (Warning; Darknut’s has plot-spoilers in the description of his mod! Download it with your eyes shut!). This seriously expands and improves the final stages of the main quest, and adds audio dialogue. A very polished and well thought-out mod, tested by a squad of beta-testers. You now need to be at Level 25 or above to tackle the latter stages of the main quest. You may want to have a high-quality NPC companion (again, this has plot-spoilers in the readme.txt) come along with you, one specifically designed to integrate with the main quest.


  NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS: More/less lively NPCs:

Less Generic NPCs: combined pack, and Less Generic NPCs: Bloodmoon will give you less boring non-player characters. Also highly recommended is meeting Travelling Merchants and their guars on the roads, and Light The Way which causes transportation NPCs to hold torches or lanterns at night.

Healers. Adds healers in temples, as suggested in the game’s official dialogue.

Morrowind Inhabitants: Freeform! (Volume 1). Now you’ll never run out of quests, since this mod generates them on the fly, like The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall. (Requires Morrowind Script Extender — which you already have if you’ve been following my instructions).


  GRAPHICS TWEAKS: More hi-res / improved-but-similar textures and meshes packs:

New! Jan 2011. Rock Replacer. A work in progress, but maturing rapidly. Currently only for Bitter Coast, Azura’s Coast, and the Grazelands.

New! Jan 2011. Road Marker retexture. No more blurry stone road-markers looking out of place among your hi-res textures.

Retextured Architecture of Morrowind: Imperial Textures. Similar to the originals, just higher-resolution.

Connary’s Rich wood textures. Beautiful carved woodwork in the houses of rich Imperial citizens.

Hi-res Telvanni textures. Telvanni buildings are retextured. Very similar to the originals.

Alan’s Stilt Strider retexture. Sharper-looking stilt-striders.

Alan’s Wild Guar retexture.

Slaughterfish retexture. You’ll be meeting a lot of these, so it’s best they look as good as they can while they chew your legs off.

Sailcloth retexture. Hi-res, faithful to the originals.

Flora Glow adds genuine glow-mapping for the luminous plants.

AST Redware texture replacer. Enhances the plain red pottery. Can be used with Connary’s Mixed Pottery textures which also replaces pewter, green glass, yellow glass, peach glass, mottled and bug design bowls – by adding AST’s Redware texture replacer textures after Connary’s.

Bottle replacer and Flask replacer.

Silverware enhancer.

AST Comberry texture replacer. Enhances the comberry plants. If you’re a mage, you’ll be seeing a lot of this bush, up-close.

Small chest replacer and tomb-urns replacer.

Paper retexture.

Better Deadric Armour, an add-on for use with the Better Bodies mod (which you have if you’ve been following this guide).

Sir Luthor’s Tools. Better textures and 3D meshes for hammers, lockpicks, etc.

Mesh Updater 1.6. Better 3D meshes on minor objects AND/OR Mesh Improvements. Simple mesh replacer for a lot of clutter items.

Souly Soulgems. Just enhances the soulgems without doing any weird hippy-dippy stuff to them.

New! Jan 2011. More Detailed Places compilation 8.0. Just adds clutter in otherwise empty places.

The above have been carefully selected. I can’t recommend the scroll replacer called ‘Scroll Upgrade’, which seems to be the only one available and which is old and has bugs. Nor can I recommend any of the many bedspreads / curtain / rugs / lantern / tapestries / inn-signs replacers, since I feel Bethesda did very well in this area. Coin and keys and ring retexture packs can also be found, but I find these items are too small to really notice much difference.


  GRAPHICS TWEAKS: Lighting:

Getting the lighting is right is so important. Some people go crazy adding new fiendishly complex fan-made shader systems, “god-rays”, fake HDR/bloom etc. I’m more cautious, and am still experimenting with lighting. At the moment I’m experimenting with / happy with using TLM Modular, using just the following mods from it…

TLM – Ambient Light + Fog Update
TLM – Light Sources (Clearer Lighting)
TLM – Light Sources (Lanterns)
TLM – NPC Light Sources

… and a custom .ini file setting…

[LightAttenuation]

UseConstant=1
ConstantValue=0.382

UseLinear=1
LinearMethod=1
LinearValue=1
LinearRadiusMult=1

UseQuadratic=1
QuadraticMethod=2
QuadraticValue=2.619
QuadraticRadiusMult=1

This gives darker nights, and more atmospheric interior lighting. These TLM Modular mods work very well with the light mods you’ve already installed above, which were Light The Way and Illuminated Windows.

I am also experimenting with Spuzzam’s Interior Daylight and the patch mod for it (the ‘TLM – AdjMod – Spuzzum’s Interior Daylight.esp’) from the TLM Modular pack.


  PLACES: Solstheim (the island in Bloodmoon) tweaks:

Wanderers of Solstheim. Just adds some friendly wanderers, whereas before they were all hostile. Adds variation, and the need for caution unless you want a price on your head.

Sol-Weather Tweak for Bloodmoon (in Mini-Mods by ManaUser). Makes southern Solstheim get snow now and then.

Better Solsthiem Creatures.


  PLACES: Sedya Neen (the small port you first arrive at) tweaks:

Sedya Neen docks v.7. Adds a proper small docks area to Sedya Neen, thus justifying the customs house and the guards. Does not conflict with Ships of the Imperial Navy.

Immersive Chargen also boosts the impact of the opening scenes in Sedya Neen, by adding stormy weather and other prisoners in the ship. Lots of NPCs can reduce your FPS, of course — don’t try it on an underpowered PC.


  PLACES: Mournhold (the city in Tribunal) tweaks:

Mournhold Great Bazaar. Now it really is a Great Bazaar.

Ald Indoril (adds a new section of Mournhold).


  PLACES: Vivec (the large city in Morrowind) tweaks:

Vivec canton signs. Just gives each Vivec canton sign its own colour, to make the city more navigable.

Vivec character replacer. Replaces the textures and meshes for one of the main characters you’ll eventually meet in Vivec. Minor plot-spoilers in the description and screenshots.


  Other very minor mods:

Water Seraphs adds a new playable race (I have this simply because another mod, I think it was Water Life, required it).

Bones. Just adds a cool creaking sound to skeletons.

Barabus Fireplaces 2. Beautiful new roaring fireplaces.

Clocks & Watches 1.25. Clocks and watches in the game.

Waterfall. Adds a small waterfall next to the bridge on the road north from Balmora.

Morrowind Public Library v1.5. You don’t get immediate access to all books, of course.

Vanished from the web at July 2010, still missing May 2012: Connary’s Bull Netch (Bull Netch.7z) and Betty Netch (Betty Netch Retex (blue).7z) retextures. And Connary’s Cobwebs.

 


  About the official plugins: At least one of Bethesda’s official quest plugins, Master Index quest, conflicts badly with the lovely Barabus’ Orcs mod. Barabus spent a lot of time getting fabulous Orc faces and creating new faces for key main-quest Orc characters such as Sharn gra-Muzgob. Bethesda’s Master Index quest removes these new Orc faces, and adds rather scrappy hair. I strongly suggest you install the four official downloadable quest mods (Firemoth, Adamantium, Master Index, and Helm of Tohan) only after you’ve finished the main quests.

 

Morrowind Xbox 360 Wired Gamepad mod

 

TESNexus and Planet Elder Scrolls will supply you with most of what you need. Be aware that there may be a more up-to-date version of the mod on the author’s home-page.



You may also be interested in my guide to re-installing Oblivion and my new guide to installing Skyrim on older PCs.