Darknut: Modder of Morrowind

This week’s mod interview is with Morrowind modder, Mike Niccum (aka Darknut). Residing in Fayetteville, AR, Mike spends his days working as the boss of his graphic design company, Graphics By Mike, Inc. In his sparetime, Mike spends his time playing music (he played professionally for 14 years) and of course, working on projects for Morrowind. Above you’ll find the trailer to Mike’s latest project, Darknut’s Greater Dwemer Ruins, which will be available to modders this November.

You’re done quite a bit for the Morrowind community. What got you hooked on modding the game?

I really can’t pinpoint any one thing. Morrowind is one of my all-time favorite games & the open nature of it really lends itself to modding. The tools Bethesda & others have made available makes it pretty easy to boot.

What games had you modded prior to Morrowind?

I modded Duke Nukem 3D a ton & Unreal Tournament.

To date, what mods are you most proud?

Darknut’s Dagoth Ur 2007: This started out as a completely cosmetic mod & morphed into a complete revamp of the final battle with Dagoth Ur. This has since been heavily modified & is incorporated into DN’s GDR volume 1 . There’s also “Darknut’s 1st Person Helms.” This adds a 1st person view to all the helms Morrowind, Tribunal and Bloodmoon and was the first Morrowind mod that I released to the public. I knew so little about scripting at the time. I still can’t believe it actually works! Of course, Darknut’s Greater Dwemer Ruins (to be released very soon) I think is the best modding I’ve ever done.

How many weeks/days/hours do you think you’ve committed to mod work on Morrowind?

Do you want my version or my wife’s? :) You lose track, but probably hundreds of hours.

The video above is the trailer for the Greater Dwemer Ruins Volume 1. What makes it “greater”?

Well first I should say that this mod affects Dwemer ruins “Odrosal”,” Vemynal” & “Dagoth Ur” in Main Quest timeline, and it is my attempt to make the quest to find Kagrenac’s Tools and destroy Dagoth Ur a much more involved task.

Why do I think it’s greater? Well you can expect to find much larger ruins to explore as well as traps, puzzles, and a completely new final battle with Dagoth Ur featuring a new end sequence. Never a dull moment. Oh, and did I mention traps. :)

Additionally, I made well over a 100 brand new custom meshes for this including a new corridor tile set! I do need to say that I didn’t start the GDR project originally. I took up a dead project started by Nedius & Piratelord (with permission of course.) Nedius has since returned to the project and we are coordinating to keep everything compatible but are working separately.

Will there be new quests with this mod?

Yes and no. The main focus is still getting the tools & defeating Dagoth Ur, but now getting each tool is a major quest in itself. For example, in Vemynal, the place where you would normally find the end of the ruin and get Sunder in “vanilla Morrowind” is just where the fun starts in DN’s GDR!

You say the mod is coming out in November. Do you still think you’re on track? What pressures/concerns do you have as you
approach crunch time?

It’s pretty much done. I’m just tweaking & fixing a few bugs based on feedback I’m getting from beta testers.

How much assistance have you received from the community on your projects, including this current one?

The Morrowind community has been very helpful. There is always somebody willing to help out with what ever is needed.

You seem pretty content modding Morrowind, but are there other projects for other games you have on the horizon?

I’m sure I’ll mod Oblivion at some point, Oblivion didn’t grab me like Morrowind did but I have a few Ideas for mods and Princess Stomper keeps telling me to play Shivering Isles and I’ll be hooked. I picked up Oblivion Game of the Year Edition and will play SI over the holidays, and we’ll see if she’s right.

What would your dream game entail?

Probably a mixture of “Morrowind”, “Oblivion” & “F.E.A.R” with more focus on first person accuracy.

Have you ever considered working in game development?

Yes, I think I would rather enjoy being a level/quest designer.

Reader Comments

  1. In part it was Darknut’s work that made me reinstall Morrowind recently. He’s quite possibly the hardest working modder we have. :D

    Could you imagine how intense Morrowind mods like this would be if we were able to add Oblivion/HL2 styled physics?

    Can we say “bouncing dwemer archer-bots of doom?”.

    Maybe. :P

  2. I have had the privledge to get to run through Greater as a Beta Tester. I have to say this to the community. Hold on your hats and safe alot. You never know hwat is around the next bend. makes the end battle more epic as it should be.