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[wip/recruitment] The Changing Seasons of Skyrim


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#1
snapmoderator

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This thread is intended for modders to extend ideas for a dynamically changing environment of Skyrim in accordance with the calendar seasons. Essentially transitioning between Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.

 

The idea is to build a team of developers to create this and brain storm using this thread. Please no requests unless you intend to join the team and help with any possible implementations.

 

So far the team is snapmoderator, joshezzel and soolie.

 

But we (above) can only spend short amount of time on it each week and such a mod requires a number of people ranging from all sorts of talent, including Creation Kit, Scripting and Modelling/Texturing. You can almost never be finished with such a mod as well, so expanding it and a team will be key.

 

I personally do not propose to be a project organizer, as I already have a number of modding commitments. The idea is that like minded modders will be able to get this technically thought out and implemented together.

 

I believe the scope of the project should be divided into a major first phase which is aesthetic environmental changes only.
Further ideas and development for other aspects of changing seasons can be done after the first phase is complete. This will be things like creature seasonal looks and behaviors. NPCs content to be correct, including dialog, behavior, clothing, etc. Just generally make content correct for a given season. The full scope is huge, so these can/should be discussed at a later stage. Unless of course a modder specifically wants to work on these, then discussion can be open.

 

Bethesda during their Game Jam in 2011 had a team create a seasonal foliage “mod”, but was never released.
If you look at 1:45 I believe we want to do something similar, as one aspect of this mod.

 

I believe that the aim of the seasons is to be realistic, not over the top with extremes of each season. I’m happy to be out voted on this, but I find some of the environmental overhauls are too much. I think making default Skyrim basically beginning of autumn is a good base to work off.

 

The idea of this thread is to plan exactly what we want. Technically how we are going to achieve it with research and then development.

 

I’m going to break it down into aspects that I think we want:

  • Ground textures having varying levels of foliage and/or snow to reflect seasons. This includes changing colour of leaves.
  • Trees to have varying amount of leaves and changing colours. Amount of snow coverage also changes.
  • Objects to have varying levels of snow. Possible different snow and ice, like soft to icy.
  • Weather and lighting to reflect seasons. Don’t want to re-invent anything here, so adapt for vanilla and CoT.
  • Changing levels of fog and clouds. Again look to existing mods.
  • Grasses to change, from almost dead brown grass to full bloom flowers.
  • Possible models changes. Like glaciers “melting”. Ice and snow object removed or added.
  • Distant terrain to be correct, mainly trees and mountains.

Some questions and thoughts I want to raise initially:

 

How do the transitions actually happens period wise? Do we see a change every day? Does this only happen when a load happens, like fast travel or moving into an interior or exterior? I think seeing transitions happen before the player eyes is a recipe for glitches. However the whole idea of this got me started when I thought about varying snow levels during snow falls. So let us discuss this.

 

Skyrim uses directional shaders for snow on objects, so changing these levels dynamically is something that would really need a solution to make this mod truly successful. I’ve already done a lot of work with the snow directional shaders, so this will be my main task. I’ll try and figure out what can be done. I would be very appreciative if anybody has ideas on this however.

 

As far as textures or models go, looking at overhauls like “Season of Skyrim – Summer and Winter”, and the resources created by modders, we will have all that is needed in my opinion. No need to reinvent the wheel on this one. Hopefully these modders will actually become part of the collaboration, but certainly will seek to use them with permission.

 

So far snapmoderator and tinymight are investigating methods for possible texture changes and other dynamically altering methods to achieve some of the above goals. But both of us have little experience with scripting at the moment, so members with know how will be greatly appreciated.

 

joshezzel is the mod author of Unique Grasses so he will be looking at what to use and potential transitions of grasses.

 

Roles that we want people to take ownership of at the moment include:

  • Any modding experience :-P
  • SKSE coding
  • Creation Kit Scripting
  • Texturing of ground textures for transitions. Adding leafs and snow to ground textures to show gradually changes between seasons. Number of different textures to be determined as yet.
  • Somebody to take ownership of aesthetic of trees and/or plants. A tree changing through the seasons includes textures going from more/less leaves, more/less snow cover, and changing colours. We might be able to change the colour of the textures via model manipulation so this might save time and number of textures. Although we want to remain faithful to Skyrim, being as that its mostly Aspens and Pines, it would be nice to have at least one set of trees that blossoms flowers.
  • Somebody who has worked with weathers before. We don't want to reinvent anything here, so more of a case of tying up existing mods to best use weather patterns. I'd say Climates of Tamriel would be best to incorporate, rather than rewriting the default weathers to better suit seasons.

 

I’m sure I’ve missed a lot. As ideas for aesthetic environmental changes come in I’ll add them to this top thread. But again I'll emphasize that we are looking for help with the collaboration, rather than a lot of ideas.


Edited by snapmoderator, 28 February 2014 - 09:46 AM.


#2
gokuGX

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keep it up :)



#3
Tinywars

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Hello chap. I am going to learn to script cos this is one idea i want to work so much. You should try and contact other modders for idea's. I will post something on Facebook and try and gather support.:)



#4
gokuGX

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whats your facebook id Tinywars ? :)



#5
snapmoderator

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Great Tinywars. We have thought about a few ideas on how to do aspects of this but we haven't actually done anything yet. joshezzel is the mod author of Unique Grasses so he will be handling most of the grass variation types.

 

tinymight (related at all :-P) is going to try out some methods to texture swapping. Using either SKSE or some other means.



#6
snapmoderator

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I've contacted ianpatt author of SKSE on the Bethesda forums for the possibility of writing some low level functions to the game data.

 

So for example if we can get a call to changing the "Directional Material" and "Max Angle" on Statics for snow, then we can alter this according to the season and even weather. Or alternative change the Material Objects themselves to have new values.

 

Other low level calls I think would help us are:

 

Miscellaneous->LandTexture: change the Texture Set, Material Type and Grass

--or--

Miscellaneous->TextureSet: change the Texture via Map and Filename.

 

WorldObjects->Tree: change Tree Model, Leaf Amplitude, Leaf Frequency

 

WorldObjects->Grass: change Density, Min Slope, Max Slope, Position Range, Height Range, Colour Range, Wave Period

 

Potentially changing model paths on these Groups; Flora, Static, Moveable Static, Tree.

 

There is already a mod called NetImmerse Override (http://skyrim.nexusm...om/mods/37481/?) which can change Shader properties of models, but at the moment it might just be specifically for armour, although author thinks it might be general. We need to do some testing to see if it can be extended to any model type. If its not I'm positive that something can be written to extend it to other groups. Being able to change textures, and other shader properties at runtime will give more flexibility to being able to get results we want.

 

Interestingly there are two main ways we an approach this. Either we look at changing the model paths, or we look at changing the textures. We could have a set of models which all point at the transitional textures that we create. This would obviously require more meshes to complete the mod, but allows manipulation at the Group levels. A more elegant solution would be to change the textures within the models themselves, as you can in theory just have the one model, but obviously you need to manipulate the model itself.


Edited by snapmoderator, 14 November 2013 - 03:07 AM.


#7
James4832

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Why don't you use a particle system kind of thing (i think) like the snow in game, for the leaves ect. or you could use decals. Or would that not work?

 

EDIT: Also, instead of meshes changing over time, why don't you just make them change whenever a) a new cell is loaded, or b) whenever you encounter a load screen

Surely that would be easier?


Edited by James4832, 14 November 2013 - 12:45 AM.


#8
snapmoderator

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Decals could be used, we discussed that briefly. I'm starting to investigate now. The advantage of having a set of decals for say leaves on ground for example is that you can apply that to many ground textures. It just means less textures to download, so actually just creating textures during these transitions is also very legit.

 

Particles are not quite the right system to use. There are particle effects like rain, snowing, and falling leaves, but these are not permanent changes to the environment.



#9
Soolie

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I actually had a go at this a few months ago, I was able to change terrain textures in game on demand. But hen real life caught up with me, and here I am studying for exams :P

But the good news is that Exams will be over at the end of next week, so I may be able to bring some things to the table :) . I also had the idea of contacting ianpatt, although I never got around to it :\  Please let me know what his reply is :D



#10
snapmoderator

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Hey Soolie, will let you know what he says. Would love for you to help, or think of it this way, we'll help you :)

 

Can you quickly tell me how you change terrain textures? Like is it via LandTexture or the TextureSet, or something else? The reason is that I want to know if we can just use changes in LandTextures to also change the grasses at will.






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