OpenMW, a free, open-source engine that improves upon the engine used in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has just released version 0.47.0. With over 180 issues solved and plenty of new features, this release is on par with last year's major 0.46 release.
OpenMW, as the FAQ explains, is a modern engine that "re-implements and extends" the Gamebryo engine that was used in the 2002 game Morrowind. The OpenMW engine comes with its own editing program that let players edit or create their own mods or original games. A game titled 'OpenMW-Example-Suite' comes pre-packaged with the engine to act as a proof of concept and show content creators what can be done with the engine. In addition, users can simply opt to play the original Morrowind while using the new engine, which provides improvements such as quality of live UI improvements, the ability to use more mods, and virtually no engine bugs from the original game.
As for the major updates in version 0.47.0, some of them include:
- Object paging, which allows for higher frame rates by displaying distant objects with merged geometry.
- Ground cover mods can now be specified in your configuration file. These mods help improve frame rates and reduce collision issues by differentiating some objects as ground cover instead of regular objects. The team is planning on introducing a more modern and efficient ground cover system in the future.
- A new lighting system makes use of shaders instead of a fixed function pipeline, allowing the game to display many more light sources compared to the original limit of eight.
- Various improvements to the camera, actor movements, and physics.
OpenMW can be downloaded here. Owning the original game is not required to use the engine unless you want to play Morrowind in the new engine.