So, now we've gone through the basic screen, it's time to load Balmora West and
open it in the CS. Load the mod and ensure it's the latest version called
'balmora_west_v2.1.esp'. If you do not have this version then just download it again
from the Balmora West page. Now, open up the Dialog window - Character|Dialogue.
You should see something like the image below.
Notice in the left column that there are ten lines of greetings. Each greeting is
put into one of ten categories by the original game, but it doesn't really matter
where your mod's greetings go. I chose to put all my greetings into section 1 in order
to make debugging easier. You may wish to investigate the categorisation of greetings
further, then decide where to put your own greetings. As with the topics, greetings
go from bottom to top.
Let's take a little sidetrack here...you may be wondering to yourself about the
order for the dialog - being from bottom to top. Well, the reason is the Morrowind executable
parses the mod file from top to bottom. In fact, for the greetings section it parses the
greeting categories from top to bottom, and the dialog within each category from top
to bottom. So now you see why I put my greetings in section 1 - because the executable
will find my dialog lines quicker than if they were at the bottom in section 9.
The parsing machanism is looking for the next line of dialog to be presented to the
player based on the executable's local store of variables. It needs to find a matching
line for it's set of variables, and it does this by examining each line of dialog from
top to bottom looking for a set of conditions that match the variables e.g. say, the name of
the NPC that needs the dialog is Bob, and the quest id find_bobs_gold.
The local variable for the Journal Entry is currently set at 0, which indicates the start of the
quest. So, the parser must find a line of dialog where the speaker is Bob, and where
the condition is find_bobs_gold=0. There will be just one line of dialog that meets
this requirement. When the parser finds the line, it will return the dialog text to the
executable, which will print it on the screen.
You need to be extra careful with the order of dialog so as to ensure you do not create
a section that allows part of a quest to be skipped. Skipping parts of quests, or even
complete quests will not necessarily result in a broken game. But consider, one particular
quest might deliver an artifact or quest item to the player, and this item could very well
be vital to completing the game. You need to read your dialog lines from top to bottom, like
the parser, and ensure that a line is not read out of sequence. You need to check and double
check your lines of dialog that relate to vital game quests.
The first thing we are going to do is to create a new topic for our quest. We need
to give it a descriptive name that distinguishes our topic from the all the other topics
in the list. Let's call it 'Nasty Kagouti'. Right click in the Topics column and
select NEW topic. Call the topic Nasty Kagouti and save it. Notice how the list now
adjusts so that you see a new selection of the Topic List around the new topic. The
list is in alphabetical order as you might have guessed. There is nothing in any of
the fields on the right when you click on the topic. See the image below. Now it's time
to create a piece of dialog that will be used by the barkeep when you mention the name
'Nasty Kagouti' in conversation. But, first, let's give the barkeep the initial greeting
that will introduce this topic to the player.
Before the player can ask about a topic he must
have it in his list. So he must be given the topic through conversation, or directly
by you programming it into the game - more of that later. To give the barkeep the
greeting we need to select the Greeting tab at the top of the column. Then select the
Greeting 1 entry in the list. This is where the majority of modder greetings are
placed. You will see that the top greeting on the right is [You have failed your Oath of Silence].
This is the system greeting provided by the Morrowind team and it should always be
at the top. This greeting has an asterisk to show that it has been modified in some
way. The way it has been modified is that it has been pushed up from the bottom by
five greetings that I have provided for the Balmora West mod. And below those five is
a greeting 'Who's there?' which is another system greeting. We place all the greetings
for our mod in this list between the 'who's there' and the 'You have failed..' greetings.
The greetings are parsed from top to bottom, so newer greetings in the mods we create
are found earlier than those created for Morrowind, for example. The last Balmora West
greeting is 'Good day %PCName, it is good to see you again.', just below 'You have failed...'.
And the one below is 'Hello %PCRace, is there anything I can do for you?'. Both of these
greetings, provided by myself for the Balmora West mod, are general purpose greetings
inside the Balmora West Corner Club. Looking at the second 'Hello %PCRace, is there..'
greeeting, you will see that there is a conditon set on the right that determines whether
an NPC will say the greeting to the player, or not. It is a function called 'Talked to PC'
and is set to 0 which indicates that NPC has not yet spoken to the player. If the player
talks to this NPC, he/she will give the line of dialog. If the player has already spoken
to this NPC then the function will be set to 1 so that a second greeting is given, as per
the greeting above 'Good day %PCName..'.
So, the parsing works as follows. The player walks into the Corner Club and decides to
speak to one of the NPC's. The parser scans from the top of the greetings looking for
a greeting that matches the current status of the player and the NPC's. It looks for a
greeting that is a) inside the Balmora West Corner Club' and b) for an NPC. At this
stage it does not matter which NPC it is if they do not have a specific thing to say.
It's either one or the other - NPC has not spoken to player, or NPC has already spoken
In order the speak to the barkeep and get a specific greeting we would need to name
that person specifically by putting his 'ID' into the ID box. So we need to create a new
greeting that targets the barkeep directly. The greetings we have already spoken about are
general greetings to no specific person, so they should be lower in the list than greetings
that target a specific person. So it should be above the two greetings I have just spoken
about, but below the 'You have failed..' greeting. Lets give the barkeep the greeting that
will result in him giving the player the topic about the Kagouti. Go to the line
'Good day %PCName, it is good to see you again.' and right click on it. An empty line
will appear above, and you should type in the following:
Good day %PCRace, I've not seen you around here before. And, if it's not impolite of me,
I would like to ask whether you would be willing to do me a small favour. There's this
Nasty Kagouti that's been bothering the customers, and I see that you look like you could
handle yourself in a situation...
We then need to target this dialog to the barkeep. His id is 'bw philip brielle'. So,
go to the ID box and use the pulldown to find him and select him into the box. We now
have to ensure that once he's given this greeting he will not give it again. So we should
set the 'Talked to PC' function to 0. See the image below. When you talk to this NPC
again he will have the topic regarding the nasty kagouti that he wants you to kill.
We will create another piece of dialog for him where his 'Talked to PC' value is 1 and he
says something like 'Have you killed the Kagouti yet?'. 'Talked to PC' is the usual way
to ensure a greeting is only given once. But there are other ways, as you will see later.
Save the mod.
You will see that we have identified the barkeep with the alias 'bw philip brielle'.
It is important to give NPC's a unique id, and I do this by tagging the name with
'bw'. All my NPC's are named in this way. It makes listing your NPC's much easier, since
all characaters begining with the tag are listed one after the other in sequence.
Otherwise, you would find that you would lose your NPC in the horde of other NPC's
created by the system.
By putting Philip Brielle in the ID column this effectively makes him the owner of this
line of dialog. But, there are others that can be given dialog, and not just a single
person. There are further drop-downs that allow you to create dialog associated with
various groups of people in Morrowind e.g. Race, Class, Faction and Rank. Should you
wish to include a line of dialog that is spoken by all NPC's that are a particular race,
such as Dark Elf or Breton, then you would leave the ID box blank and put the name of the
race into the Race box. Thus, when you met someone that was a dark elf, he would have
the dialog topic in his list. Equally, putting a name in the Cell box would give the
topic to all NPC's within that cell. See the image again below for the Philip Brielle
PC Faction and PC Rank are further drop-downs for specifying the faction and
rank of the PC. Should the PC be in a particular faction, then putting the player's
faction in the PC Faction field will result in the player receiving the conversation
that relates to that faction i.e. the NPC will have the faction topic in his list. The
same holds true for PC Rank.
Sex and Disposition can also determine whether an NPC will have a topic for the
player. Use the appropriate boxes for this. The Dispostion is the minimum disposition
that the player must have before the NPC will reveal his topic. If the player does
not meet this minimum disposition then the NPC will not talk to the player about
the subject. This allows you, the game developer, to decide how much favour the player
must earn with an NPC, or group of NPC's, before they will deign to talk to you
about a particular topic in their repertoire. If your disposition is too low, or
if you are male rather than female, then the NPC will not show this topic in the
dialog pane of Morrowind.
The Function/Variable section of the Speaker Conditions is where most of the
decision making process takes place. There are four columns that allow up to six
decisions to be made for this piece of dialog. The first column relates to the
various system variables such as Function, or Journal etc. By setting this column
to one of the pre-defined functions, you are stating that values in the following
columns directly relate to this function. Thus, if you set column 1 to 'Journal',
you are stating that column 2 will hold the name of a valid Journal Entry as displayed
on the Journal tab in section 1. We will describe the journal entries later.
Columns 3 and 4 will state the values of this journal entry. Column 3 is the equality
selector and column 4 is the value. Other functions include Global, Local and Item.
This means that the conversation will be given should a global or local value be
set or not set to a particular value. Or, an item may or may not be in the possession
of the player etc.
All the Function/Variable conditions must be met before the NPC will make
this particular topic of conversation available to the player.
If the player speaks to an NPC in the game, and the NPC has a topic of conversation
that the player initiates, then there will be some kind of result set in the game.
This result can take many forms. It can be a result that gives the player an item,
or gives the player some disposition with this NPC. Or it can set a Journal Entry,
or it can result in a choice being given to the player. The choice function allows
for multi-part dialog to be initiated, whereby a number of choices pop-up in the
conversation window. The player selects one of these choices, and the dialog continues
onto the relevant line higher up the grid. To give the set of choices to the player,
you, the game author, will provide choice lines in the result box.
It's probably now a good time to discuss Journal Entries since we will need to use
one shortly when we click on the topic 'Nasty Kagouti' and Philip gives you the quest.
Look at the image below. It is still the dialog screen but we have now selected the
rightmost TAB on the list to display the Journal Entry screen. Notice that the Journals
are diplayed in the left-hand column in alphabetical order, and that the Morrowind
developers have named them with the first two letters of their type e.g. FG for Fighters
Guild etc. It is probably a good idea for you to also follow this naming convention so
that it makes it easier to find your Journals quickly. Note also that these Journals
relate to the quests in Morrowind, and that the Journal Entries are show in the
right-hand pane of the window. Each Journal Entry is given a unique Id and is usually
started at 10, then progressing up in steps of 10. The reasoning behind this scheme is
that you will almost certainly miss out a vital step of the quest line and have nowhere
to put it if the entries were numbered sequentially. I have had much experience of this
and it is quite a pain. I always put the name of the quest on line 1 of the right hand
pane, then number the rest of stages in increments of 10 e.g. 10,20,30 etc. but you do
not need to do the same if you would rather find your own style. So, stick to the naming
convention and the journal entry numbering scheme as much as you can. If there are three
stages in your quest, then you will have three journal entries numbered 10, 20, 30. This
fits in with the plan for this mod to have three stages; get quest, do quest, get payment.
So, let's consider our Journal and Journal Entries for the 'Nasty Kagouti' quest.
You can decide for yourself what you want to call it. But, for clarity, I have opted
to name the Journal 'BW_Nasty_Kagouti', BW being the initials of the name of
the mod, in this instance. Now we must give descriptions to the Journal Entries of our
Let's give them these descriptions, or descriptions of your choosing:
10 I have been asked by the barkeep of the Balmora West Corner Club to go and kill
a nasty kagouti that has been terrorizing his customers. It can be found to the
northwest of the inn.
20 I have successfully put down the kagouti that has been causing so much trouble
for the landlord of the corner club. I should now return and give him the good
news and collect my reward.
30 The barkeep was impressed with the speed at which I got the job done and has
rewarded me with 30 gold for efforts.
Enter these into the grid for the Kagouti journal ensuring you put them into the
grid in descending order. I have done them as per the image below. You should put
the Journal numbers into the Index box as you can see from the image.
The only other bits that are used here are the full line of dialog and the boxes at
right-top above the Function/Variable. These boxes are Quest Name, Finish, Restart and Index.
If Line 1 has the Quest Name box ticked then you can provide a quest name on the line. It
will not be parsed in-game. The Index is the value you see in the disp/index column,
and indicates the stage number. The Finished box is ticked for the last stage of the quest.
That's all I'm going to say about the Journal screen. It's quite simple and straightforward,
and you will get the hang of it very quickly. Save the mod.
The most difficult part of building a quest mod is getting the Greetings and Topics to
interweave correctly. They are both in their own sections on different tabs, but they must
co-operate with each other perfectly, otherwise the greeting you get will not relate to the
quest topic that you are about to start - and that is very distracting to the player.
So, let's take a step back now and revisit the time we talk to the barman and he gives
you the greeting 'Good day %PCRace, I've not seen you around here before...'. The Nasty
Kagouti is mentioned in the greeting, but at the moment, that won't show as a hyperlink that
the player can click on until we create a line of dialog for the topic. The line of dialog
given by the barman when the player clicks the hyperlink will be as follows:
Do you think you could go and get rid of it for me? I'd be very grateful, and there'd be
some gold in it for you. It's in the north-west corner of the swamp by the road.
You will also get a Journal Entry that we created for this line of dialog. The Journal Entry
will be as stated previously: I have been asked by the barkeep of the Balmora West Corner Club
to go and kill a nasty kagouti that has been terrorizing his customers. It can be found to the
northwest of the inn.
The question you're probably asking now is 'How do I write the Journal entry into the player's
Journal?'. Well, there is a specific format for the purpose, and in this case it will be as
Journal BW_Nasty_Kagouti 10
This goes into the results box at the bottom of the screen. 'Journal' is the keyword for writing
a Journal Entry; 'BW_Nasty_Kagouti' is the name of the topic; and '10' is the stage number. See
the image below. Notice that we have an entry in the right hand Function/Variable column that
says 'Journal; BW_Nasty_Kagouti; =0'. This is to ensure that we only get the result once. We test
to see if the first Journal Entry has been given, if it hasn't then we create the Journal.
We've been given the first greeting and asked about the topic for killing the Kagouti. We then received
the Journal Entry in the player's Journal. When we talk to the barman again, prior to us completing the task,
we want him to say something different since he is waiting for the player to complete his task. Let's create
a new greeting for the barman for this situation. Let's make it Hello again, %PCRace, have you killed that
Kagouti for me? We will also need some conditions for this greeting so that he only gives it in the right
circumstance. i.e. the Kagouti must NOT be dead, and, he must have asked us to kill it i.e Journal Entry is
currently set to 10. See the image below.
Notice the conditions for this greeting, in particular, the "Dead" function - Dead; bw_nasty_kagouti; =0
We only want him to say this greeting if the player speaks to him before killing the Kagouti. If the kagouti is
alive then the value of the Dead function will be zero. Also the Journal must equal 10. So, the parser reads
the conditions which say: if player has been asked to kill the kagouti and it is still not dead, then say the
following to the player as a greeting - Hello again, %PCRace, have you killed that Kagouti for me?'.
Save the mod.
So, it's now time for the player to go and kill the kagouti. You may be wondering how the game will
recognize when the player has killed the kagouti, and this is one of the trickiest parts of this quest.
We will need to use a small script on the kagouti that determines when it is dead, and which then writes
the Journal Entry for us. We'll leave this thorny issue until last, since scripting is not really a topic
for the novice modder. Let's just put it to one side for now.
Let's assume that the player has now killed the kagouti and the script has given the player the correct
Journal Entry. We now need the player to go back to the barman and tell him he's done the job; then collect
his reward. The Journal Entry 20 will have been given and will appear in the player's Journal i.e.
I have successfully put down the kagouti that has been causing so much trouble for the landlord of the
corner club. I should now return and give him the good news and collect my reward.
Ok, this screen needs something of an explanation of the results section.
You can see the dialog from the barkeep : Well, I'm mighty glad to hear
that %PCName, and so quick, too. And, as I promised, here's your reward for a
job well done. Thanks a lot, and pop in for a drink and a chat whenever you're in the area
- you're most welcome.
A check is made that the Journal has been set to 20 in the function column, and we have
the results, one per line, as follows:
- Journal BW_Nasty_Kagouti 30
- ModDisposition 10
- Player->AddItem Gold_001 30
The first line is just setting the Journal to 30 for killing the kagouti. The second line
is something of a reward for the player; an increase in the barkeep's disposition
to the player, an increment of 10. This means the barkeep will be a bit more
accommodating to the player from now on - may tell you things he would not divulge
to a complete stranger etc. The third line is the actual reward of 30 gold. Notice
the structure of this result. Add 30 of the item 'Gold_001' to the Player.
'Gold_001' is the object for one gold coin and you're giving the player 30 of them. Save the mod.
Ok, there's one last thing we need to do before creating the script on the kagouti;
that's the final greeting for the barkeep once the quest is complete. See the image
The player has killed the kagouti and has received his reward as indicated by the
Journal test being for 30 (quest complete). So the barkeep will now say the greeting to the player
whenever the player speaks to him.
Ok, so far, so good. We just need to create the script now on the kagouti to finish
the mod. Go to the menu item Gameplay|Edit Scripts and open the editor. In the script
editor window go to the menu Script|New to create a new script and type in the
following code :
if ( OnDeath == 1 )
Journal BW_Nasty_Kagouti 20
Then go to the menu Script|Save to save the script. Save as 'Kill_Nasty_Kagouti'. Now, we
need to attach this script to the Nasty Kagouti. So, go to the Object window and select
the Creature Tab. Scroll down the list until you find the 'bw_nasty_kagouti' then double
click on it to bring up it's properties screen. Locate the script box and use the pull
down to find and select the 'Kill_Nasty_Kagouti' script. Click on the Save button to
save the properties of the Nasty Kagouti. Save the mod. See the screen below. Finished!
This concludes the quest and dialog tutorial.
In this tutorial, you have learnt how to use the Dialog creation screen to create dialog,
greetings, topics and Journal Entries for a quest that you have created.
Here's an updated version of the keyboard shortcuts that you have learnt so far.
- Keyboard Shortcuts
Up, Down, Left, Right------------------- Landscape Editor - move to cell
H --------------------------------------------- Landscape Editor
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
You can contact me here if you wish
to make any comments or suggestions for further tutorials.
Here are the other Morrowind Construction Set Tutorials :
Morrowind House Mod Tutorial 1
Morrowind House Mod Tutorial 2
Morrowind House Mod Tutorial 3 & NPC Tutorial
Morrowind Landscape & Region Tutorial
Morrowind Faction Tutorial
Morrowind Faction and Dialog Tutorial
You can find the Oblivion Tutorials here :
Oblivion Quest Tutorial
Oblivion Scenery Tutorial
Oblivion House Mod Tutorial