Morrowind Modding Interviews - Danae

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Originally produced by Darkelfguy, and published on YouTube.
Originally published on: 12 November 2014

Video Description

Welcome to the second episode of Morrowind Modding Interviews, a new podcast-like series interviewing modders from around the community! Have you ever wanted to hear your favorite mod authors answer your questions in a semi-conversational interview setting? Now's your chance!

Feel free to submit questions and suggestions for who to interview at our forum thread: http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1509481-the-new-morrowind-modding-interviews/

We also have a tumblr account here: http://darkelfguy.tumblr.com/
And a twitter account here: https://twitter.com/MMSMods

This week's interview is with Danae, author of such mods as Hold It, POTD Paintings, Staff Agency, Morrowind Trading Cards and A Bard's Life.

We'll be releasing a new interview every Wednesday, so check in every week to hear from your favorite modders!

A full list of Danae's projects and mods is included below:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDanae123

Projects:

Pegasus Estate - http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1508126-beta-pegasus-estate/
A Bard's Life v2.0 - http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1506392-wip-a-bards-life-2/
Adanumuran Reclaimed - http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1505899-beta-adanumuran-reclaimed/

Mods:

A Bard's Life - http://download.fliggerty.com/download--330
Adventurer's Backpacks - http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/43213/
Board Games - http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/43180/
Containers - http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/43182/
Farmers and Miners - http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/43325/
Hold It - http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/43181/
Morrowind Trading Cards - http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/43202/
POTD Paintings - http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/43244/
Staff Agency - http://www.nexusmods.com/morrowind/mods/43268/

Transcript

Darkelfguy: Greetings and salutations, and welcome to the second episode of Morrowind Modding Interviews. I'm your host Darkelfguy and with me today is Danae.

Danae: Hey there!

Darkelfguy: Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Danae: My pleasure!

Darkelfguy: We're going to start out with a few basic questions, and the first of which is when did you first start playing Morrowind and the Elder Scrolls in general?

Danae: Pretty much after the game came out. I did get quite obsessed with it, even managed to finish the main quest! Then I stopped for a little while, and then I discovered mods and then I never stopped really.

Darkelfguy: So you've been in the community for a pretty long while then?

Danae: Yeah, on and off. But always... I think that's the thing about Morrowind, you always come back to it.

Darkelfguy: Yeah, I would say that is very true. Being someone who's been around since 2002 to 2003 as well. Right, moving on. What was your first mod, and how did you get the idea for it?

Danae: That's easy! My first mod, which I'm fairly sure is going to be my last mod as well, is my house: Pegasus Estate. And the idea for it, originally I remember posting on the Planet Elder Scrolls forum where I was describing sort of the house I would like to see with a place for everything and NPCs that do things. Essentially I was asking if there was such a house or if anyone would make it. And the one answer I got was that if I wanted a house like that I should make it myself. That was a pretty good idea. So that's how I got started.

Darkelfguy: Speaking of that you just recently started that project back up again, didn't you?

Danae: Yes because I started with it and then I added things and when I was ready to release the first version, that was two-three years ago at least. Then it was more about, you know, fixing bugs and finding little mistakes, which is a lot less interesting. Then I moved, and then I changed computers. So I sort of moved onto other things and then one day, I don't know. Oh, yes I do know! I was playing Skyrim, I was super excited I got the Dragonborn DLC. Because finally I was going to go back to Solstheim. I got there and I was like a kid in a candy store! And after a short while I just stopped Skyrim and I had to play Morrowind again. So that's how I got back to it, but it's been, yes, an ongoing project for years.

Darkelfguy: Was it difficult to come back to such a detailed project and maintain the same level of enthusiasm as you did originally?

Danae: No, it really wasn't. The hardest bit was to realize that I did not have it on my computer anymore. I had to download one of my files from, I don't remember where, and I had to fix things that I know I had already fixed. That was very annoying! I went through all of my PMs from people who had sent me messages about problems. I went through the thread again. But I was very happy to do that. The second thing that was the hardest was to try and not add new features. I failed! I couldn't help it, I just had to add new things.

Darkelfguy: So you would say that Pegasus Estate has had a lot of feature creep with it?

Danae: Yes it does have... many things... It has a place for everything I wanted. First the NPcs were going to have, you know, the basic services. One would have barter and one would have enchanting services. Then I was like "Ooh, but they really should be holding things!" So that's how I created the first few items for Hold It. Then I wanted them to actually offer services. So that's when I got into creating dialogue. Then I wanted paintings so that's how I created another mod with paintings! Then I wanted containers! Like, everything I've made I think stems from Pegasus Estate. So from just wanting a house that looked pretty, and had a place for everything.

I think every room has a scripted feature. Some of them are fairly useless. Like a fireplace that you can start the fire, or douse the flames. So lots of features from the useless ones to the more useful ones like a scripted display for every weapon. The library I did not do that. It was a modders resource. There's lots of features, I think if I started telling you about it I just won't stop! So lots of things, yes. Modders resources as well because they're just too beautiful! Then I added my own. I got lots of help with the scripts. Especially at first because I knew nothing whatsoever. Lots of things, yep!

Darkelfguy: That all sounds very complicated and I was noticing as you were mentioning some of the things that you've added. I have a list of your mods here and it seems like quite a few of them are a result of this project?

Danae: Mhm, completely. Most of them to be honest. With the exception of A Bard's Life. That was just because I loved playing a bard and... and I felt there was not enough in the game for that. But otherwise, yeah, it's all because of the house.

Darkelfguy: Speaking of A Bard's Life, I remember you mentioned on the forums that you were working on a new version of that?

Danae: Yep! Adding yet new features to it. And at first I just wanted to do a few changes, make it prettier here and there. And... and then I got carried away again. So the last thing I'm doing... um... you get to choose to be a bard, but then you can specialize. This is... I took my inspiration from the Baldur's Gate game and D&D in general. So you have those kits. So depending on the type of bard you want to be, you have access to some songs and spell effects. And I also want to add quests because there's that thing that you keep building and add features to. So now the NPC's have a few quests. And the last thing I came up with... Aah yes! You have a songbook! As you find songs you add them to your songbook and those give you powers. So yeah, yet another project that just keeps growing.

Darkelfguy: I think a lot of modders have experience with these types of projects that just grow away out of proportion.

Danae: Mhm. Especially with A Bard's Life, all I wanted was to be able to hold a lute and that would inspire my companions like in the D&D games. And... and yeah, it blew out of proportions a little bit!

Darkelfguy: So I'm kinda curious, it sounds like you start a lot of large projects, so what draws you to modding video games in particular?

Danae: Um... I think like a lot of modders it's the endless possibilities. Especially with new resources being created and the tools that we have. There's very little that cannot be done as long as you have the drive and the skill, I guess. So, yeah and there's possibilities. And then the world of Morrowind is quite inspiring. So you put the two of them together and... voila!

Darkelfguy: This is just a bit of a random question, do you think you'll ever be completely free of modding? Or is this something you can see yourself doing off-and-on for many years to come?

Danae: Definitely, that's what I like Morrowind. I think you always come back to it, even if you stop modding it, even if you stop playing it... you get back to it eventually. If only to see what's new, what people are doing these days. So yes, I do see myself with Morrowind in my life for many years to come!

I don't think that any game, including other Elder Scrolls games, can ever be the same as Morrowind, simply.

Darkelfguy: So after Oblivion and Skyrim, have you done any mods for them? Or is it just Morrowind?

Danae: I did mod Oblivion, a house, surprisingly. But I didn't play Oblivion that much, I thought it was too... too... pretty... like colorful. It was not the same as Skyrim. I did not even try to mod simply because very quickly we had access to lots, and lots, and lots of mods. And... and I didn't think I could do better without learning a lot, and still I don't get that inspired with other games as I do with Morrowind.

Darkelfguy: You know it's funny that you should mention that because that's sort of been my experience with... Skyrim in particular as well.

Danae: Mhm. I'm really happy to see that a lot of new Morrowind modders come from Skyrim. And it sort of comforts me in the fact that I'm not crazy for liking, you know, a very old game while there's games that are in many respects better. And yet people come to Morrowind even after playing games like Skyrim, which I really liked, I really think my Steam account at like 900 hours for Skyrim! Which is... quite a bit. But, yep, Morrowind is special.

Darkelfguy: It truly is! It has probably the greatest lasting appeal of any RPG I've really seen in the last decade and a half.

Danae: I think so as well.

Darkelfguy: Now you mentioned Baldur's Gate earlier, have you been influenced by any other non-Elder Scrolls games when you mod?

Danae: Er, besides D&D games the only one that comes to mind is Magic: The Gathering. When I made my Morrowind Trading Card that's what I had in mind. I couldn't create something as complex as Magic: The Gathering, but... but that was the inspiration behind it.

Darkelfguy: Now speaking of Morrowind Trading Cards, I noticed after we did the Showcase episode of that... a er... I think that was a couple of months ago, that there was a Oblivion mod with a similar feature. Did you get any ideas from that?

Danae: I have... no no, I had my idea on my own, but then when I started the Oblivion one, I did play it. And... oh my god it was so beautiful! It made me feel a little ashamed of my mod and my textures that I just did very quickly. The Oblivion one is beautiful, the cards you get to zoom in and zoom out! Yeah, I've seen it, and I think it was really really quite amazing.

Darkelfguy: It almost sounds like you're tempted to add more features to it. If you don't mind my saying so.

Danae: Erm... I had ideas for more cards. Erm... the thing is... that you asked me if it was easy to get back to Pegasus Estate? No problem, I know it by heart. Morrowind Trading Cards is all about dialogs. When I look at the dialog I cannot... no I can't go back into it and simply every time you trade the card, there are so many random answers for every answer you make... it was quite the puzzle. I don't want to do it again. So even if I'm tempted I'm not going to do it. I have so many other projects I think I should concentrate on releasing the mods that I'm currently working on, and then maybe update some other mods.