Elder Scrolls Morrowind Construction Set Housemod Tutorial 1
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Dave Foster's Morrowind Construction Set Tutorials

The Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind Construction Set Housemod Tutorial 1

Page updated 25th March, 2010

After seeing how popular the construction set tutorials have been from the number of emails I have received and the number of messages on the newbie tutorial page, I have decided to create a blog where I can answer your questions in full and where other modders can provide feedback on how they are progressing. This blog is called the Morrowind and Oblivion Blog. If you feel that you need help with a more personal touch, then why not try posting your questions, suggestions and useful tips in the open post that I have called 'Please use this post for CS help and general chitchat'. I would like to hear your problems and ideas, so come along and check out the blog. Dave.

The first tutorial will begin with the construction of another house on the banks of Lake Moonlight, in Moonrest. I'll keep this as simple as I can, whilst guiding you through the basics of the Morrowind Construction Set.

  • Step 1

Open up the CS and arrange it to suit your needs.

The Elder Scrolls Morrowind CS Tutorial

As you can see, you have the main window with the main menu at the top, the Object window on the left with the Cell View window below it, and the Render window on the right. There is nothing in these windows just yet; we'll load the mod shortly, but first let's go into the File|Preferences menu and set the autosave option to save every ten minutes, then close the preferences screen.

The Elder Scrolls Morrowind CS Tutorial

This is to ensure that if the CS crashes, the most you will lose is 10 minutes.

  • Step 2

We should now load the mod. See the image below for how to do this. We click on the Open Folder icon on the main toolbar to open up the loading screen. All your mods ( in the Datafiles folder ) should now be visible in the left pane. Double-click in the box next to the fkoa.esp mod; a cross will indicate that it has been selected. The Parent Masters block on the right will show that the fkoa mod has it's parents as Morrowind.esm and Tribunal.esm. You don't need to click on these in the left pane since, as masters to the fkoa mod, they will automatically be loaded. Now, ensure that you click the Set As Active button to make the fkoa the active mod. This means that all modifications that you make from now on will be saved into the fkoa.esp file. It might be a good idea to make a backup of the original file before starting, just in case anything goes wrong, and you have to restart from the beginning.

The Elder Scrolls Morrowind CS Tutorial

Click on the OK button to start loading the mod into the CS. Once it has finished, you will see something like the screen below, with the Object and Cell View windows populated, and the Render window blank ( but not in my screenshot :). In the right side of the status bar you will see the message 'Loading Files...Done!'. This confirms that the mod and it's parents have been fully loaded into the CS, and that you are ready to begin modding.

The Elder Scrolls Morrowind CS Tutorial
  • Step 3

We're going to put our new house in the town of Moonrest, the second city of the Northlands. This cell is identified by the value 'Northlands, Moonrest' along with two other cells of the same name. We need to get this cell into the render window before we can modify anything in it, so, scroll down the list in the Cell View window until you find the string value. Now, single click on one of these values and check the coordinates in the top of the right hand pane. We are looking for a value of 45,36. When you find the right one, double-click to get it into the render window. It will be a distant view, from above, and now is a good opportunity to investigate some of the keyboard shortcuts for zooming-in, setting borders etc. Here's the initial view.

The Elder Scrolls Morrowind CS Tutorial

The cell that we are interested in is in the centre of the window. To see the cell borders, ensure the render window is the current window then press the B key. It has four houses in it already, and the cell is identified at the top of the window. Pressing the B key a second time will remove the borders - try it. Select the borders again. We are not going to put our house in this cell, but in the cell below - cell 45,35 - just to the right of the single house which backs onto Lake Moonlight. We need to get in a lot closer to do this so, click once on the house, and use the T key to zoom into a top-down view of the house. Image below.

Before we move on, it might be a good idea to explain the co-ordinate system in the CS. The first number, 45, refers to the 'easting' direction. All increasing values increase the easting value. Decreasing the value moves you to the west. Similarly with the second value, 35. This is the northing value which increases as you move to the north, and decreases as you move towards the south.

The Elder Scrolls Morrowind CS Tutorial
  • Step 4

So, we are now over the top of the only house in cell 45, 35. What if we want to take a view of the house from ground-level? Well, that's the C key - try it. Did you remember to ensure that the window was selected first? I usually forget, then wonder why my view is not changing - the bane of my life! Right, they're the keyboard shortcuts for now.

Make sure the house is still selected, and lets now take a spin around this house. With your left hand, hold down the shift key, then whilst holding it down, move the mouse forward and back to change your forward/backward view. Move the mouse left or right to spin around the house. The mouse must remain within the confines of the CS window, otherwise the motion stops. Push the mousewheel forward to zoom-in, and backward to zoom-out. Now, take your finger off the shift key, hold the mouse pointer on the house and press the right mouse button to grab the house. Keeping the left button pressed, move the house around by moving the mouse. If you move the house far enough, you will see that the chimney and the doorstep have been left behind - thats beacause the house is made-up of a set of objects. The windows are separate as well. When creating a house you need to place all the components of it manually, and in the correct positions. Finally, to raise and lower the house, hold down the left mouse button whilst pressing the Z key, and move the mouse forward and backwards.

OK, at this point you may have messed-up the house a bit, so make sure you don't save the mod. If the autosave has already saved it and the house has moved, then it's best if you re-load the prior save.

Just a couple more keyboard shortcuts before we move on. The CTRL-C, CTRL_V and CTRL-X keys all work as they do in Microsoft Word or Notepad. They allow you to Copy, Paste and Cut in the render window - very handy for selecting all the objects that make up the house, copying them, then repasting them next door!

  • Step 5

So, we should still be looking down on the house from above. If we're not, then press the T key again. The reason for taking this view is to do with cutting and pasting. We want to select all the objects that make up the house, and nothing else. I cannot stress this more strongly; if our view of the objects we intend cutting and pasting is such that other, more distant objects might be in the field of view, then we risk capturing those objects at the same time. And sometimes, you might not realise that you've just copied and pasted 200 trees from the background as well! So, from the top-down view, hold down the left mouse button whilst simultaneously drawing a rectangle around the house i.e. move the cursor to the top left corner of the house and pull the mouse both south and east until all the house objects are selected. Don't worry too much about the small plants at the rear of the house. When everything is selected, let go of the mouse button, and everything will be outlined. Now, press CTRL-C to copy the objects. We now need to move our field of view to the right of the original house so, click and hold down the mouse wheel button and drag the mouse left. Your view will move to the right. Move the view far enough to the right so that there is enough room to paste your house on the bank. Paste it with the CTRL-V combination. Don't go beyond the yellow eastern boundary. As you can see from the second screenshot, the house is well in the air and will need to be moved down with the mouse/Z key combination. Also note that the pink teleport markers do not move with the house - that's normal - and that they appear to look white in the screenshot - don't know why?

The Elder Scrolls Morrowind CS Tutorial

Let's now go back and drop the house into place. As always, ensure the window is selected, then spin your view around by holding the left shift key and spinning with the mouse. Spin it around until you are looking at the front of the house, and make sure that all the objects remain highlighted. Now, hold the mouse crosshairs over the objects and hold down the left mouse button, press and hold the Z key, then move the whole lot down towards the ground. Take your fingers off the buttons, then adjust your view by holding down the mouse-wheel button whilst dragging the view down. Zoom-in a bit by rotating the mouse-wheel button. Drag the house into position so the doorstep just remains visible. Ensure that no part of the house crosses the northern yellow boundary.

And, that's it for now. You have created a new house in Moonrest. You can now save the mod, then load it up in Morrowind, use the console to go there - coe 45, 36 - and view your new house. You won't be able to go in it yet, since it is just an empty shell. In the next tutorial, we'll create the interior and link it to the exterior with a teleport door and marker.

  • Conclusion

In this tutorial, you have learnt how to open and setup the Morrowind Construction Set, how to set the preferences for Autosave and how to load your mod. You then learnt how to move around in the CS, the co-ordinate system and the key shortcuts. You created your own house from an original, and placed it in Moonrest. Here's a short list of the keyboard shortcuts that you have learnt.

The Elder Scrolls Morrowind CS Tutorial

  • Keyboard Shortcuts

    • B --------------------------------------------- Borders
      T --------------------------------------------- Zoom to Top View
      C --------------------------------------------- Zoom to Ground Level View
      LShift/Mouse ------------------------------ Move object/s around
      MouseWheel/Move mouse ---------- Move your viewpoint or zoom-in/zoom-out
      Z/LeftMouse ------------------------------- Move object up/down
      CTRL-C, CTRL_V and CTRL-X ------ Copy, Paste, Cut

    In the next tutorial, we'll create an interior for the house and link the interior to the exterior with a door and a teleport marker.

    You can contact me here if you wish to make any comments or suggestions for further tutorials. Or try the Morrowind-Oblivion Forum. I'm always on-hand to answer your questions.

    Here are the other Morrowind Construction Set Tutorials :

    Morrowind House Mod Tutorial 2

    Morrowind House Mod Tutorial 3 & NPC Tutorial

    Morrowind Landscape & Region Tutorial

    Morrowind Faction Tutorial

    Morrowind Faction Dialog Tutorial

    You can find the Oblivion Tutorials here :

    Oblivion Quest Tutorial

    Oblivion Scenery Tutorial

    Oblivion House Mod Tutorial

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