Morrowind Mod Interview: Emma

LOKK35.jpg

This week’s modder interview is a blast from the past, as we’re talking to one of our Morrowind modding alumni, Emma. Hailing from Sweden, Emma is married with three kids, and considers herself a “countryside-girl” who enjoys nature.

How did you get started modding Morrowind?

I guess my story is one of the weirder. It was actually my son who wanted to mod. But in 2002, he was only 10-years-old and didn’t know much English. So, his dad and I realized that one of us had to learn the Construction Set to be able to teach him. We debated a lot over who was to do this. Finally we solved it by tossing a coin. I lost.

So, I learnt the Construction Set. But it was only later, in August 2002, when I was Nerevarine and head of all the houses and guilds, that I started to feel very lonely in Morrowind. So, I decided to make myself a companion. His name was Indiana James, and he spent most his time wandering into trees and shouting “Hey wait for me!” Later on, I made a female clone of him. My son gave her the name Laura Craft, and encouraged me to upload both companions on a mod site. I said: “OK, I’ll do this, BUT I’ll only do it ONCE. This is my first and last release!”

Suffice to say, I didn’t keep my word there. Shortly after, I received a PM from someone who said my mod “wasn’t too bad,” but that he had a script that he thought would improve it. His name was Grumpy, and that was the start of a friendship that lasted until June 15, 2005, when he sadly passed away from cancer.

Grumpy and The Other Felix, who worked on helping me improve almost every aspect (especially on Laura’s scripts), are the cornerstones in my Morrowind world, and I am in full of admiration for their knowledge, and ever so grateful for the time and effort they put into working together with me.

Where does the game rank in your favorite games of all-time?

It doesn’t rank among my favorite games at all. You see, in my eyes Morrowind has its own category. I have played and enjoyed many games. But I lived and loved and modded Morrowind for six years. It has given me a new hobby, lots of new knowledge, many new friends, some of them very close friends. What other game would ever come even close to that?

As for other favorite games, I’d include Oblivion, Daggerfall and Ultima Underworld I + II. I also thoroughly enjoy Sid Meier’s Pirates. Guild Wars is fun too, as it gives an opportunity to play together with friends, and lately I have also discovered Neverwinter Nights II with its many modder-made persistent worlds.

You’ve been inactive with the modding community for a few years now. Can you talk about your decision to leave?

It wasn’t really a ‘decision’, it was life circumstances. Especially during the year of his illness, Grumpy and I developed a very close friendship. When he passed away, it was like losing my older brother. And in the modding community I felt like I had lost my second part. Laurel without Hardy, Bacall without Bogart, Robin without Batman…or maybe Constance without Nerevarine…

After that, I still continued to mod — there were WIP-mods that Grumpy and I could never finish which I ‘inherited’ and completed, and I made an upgraded version of White Wolf of Lokken.

But, then my mother got ill, and after a year of constant driving her back and forth to hospitals, she passed away. The next few months I spent trying to support and encourage my father. Then my 8-year-old daughter got seriously ill. After more than a year, she has still not regained her full health, but we are hoping and praying that we are now finally on the right track and that she will eventually make a full recovery. Only time will tell, I guess, but as long as things look like they do right now, I cannot devote much time to modding.

Have you ever had the desire to start modding Oblivion?

Oh yes, of course I have! In fact, when the game was released it was my full intention to do so. I remember the first time I was standing on a hill outside Bruma, watching the beautiful sunset over the Imperial City, and I thought, “Wow, I really, really want to have my own house right here”. But, the kind of mods that I have enjoyed to make seem to be much harder to do for Oblivion. My mods have always been very dialogue-intense, with much effort put into NPC development. In Oblivion, the dialogue is spoken. I live in Sweden, and people here talk Swedish. As it was, the voice acting for Children of Morrowind meant tons of work, and massive file sizes. The thought of arranging voice acting for a mod like White Wolf of Lokken is simply a bit discouraging. And I can’t really see myself being happy with a finished mod that is lacking something as important as voices in a fully voiced game.

How often do you talk with folks from the community now?

Daily or almost daily. A bunch of us belong to the same in the same Guild Wars guild. I was actually the guildleader until a month or so ago, when TommyKhajiit (Glory Road, Black Mill) accepted to take over.

Any advice you’d recommend for newcomers to the modding scene?

Start small! Don’t start out with a TC or a massive quest mod! Make a few small standalone houses or companions or weapons first, so that you’ll get acquainted with the Construction Set before you start out on any massive projects. That way, you will learn without having to be so afraid that something will go seriously wrong. And you will get feedback on your work as soon as you have released it. This means that you’ll know what to improve before you start out on the TC/massive quest mod that you originally wanted to do.

A second advice would be: Use the many tutorials! And don’t hesitate to ask questions in the CS-sections of Bethesda’s forum, people are in general very helpful.

Of your Morrowind projects, which ones are you most proud of?

I’m proud of them all! But, if I must pick one, I think it would have to be Children of Morrowind. Why? Because I feel it became not as much “my” project but instead evolved into a successful community project which I am very proud of being a part in. I may have put in the most CS-time with this mod, but it would have been completely impossible to complete it if it hadn’t been for the many, many people who contributed with models, scripts, voice-acting, animations, items, ideas, testing. Not to mention all the many add-ons that have been made for it afterwards. During the WIP-year, there was hardly a day without someone contacting me in order to offer to contribute in one way or another. It was absolutely fantastic to see the community work together in this way to accomplish something.

I’m also very proud of the quest-mod “The White Wolf of Lokken Mountain” (with TeuTonic, who created the beautiful Lokken landmass). One important reason for this is that the mod has inspired so many people to write their own fanfic-stories about Lokken. Some of them, you can find here.

Are there any projects that you still wish you had the time to complete?

Children of Morrowind 2. Which alas has been a WIP for a very long time. The thing is that as long as my daughter isn’t doing well, it feels impossible to continue on that particular mod. You see, she is one of the Morrowind kids — the little nord female toddler. When I open the mod, I can hear her voice there, I can see her skip on one leg in the game. One day, when she gets well again, I hope to continue on this project. I know that there are people who want to see this mod released, and I’m so grateful that those who have contacted me and asked about CoM have been understanding and not put any pressure on me.

——————————————————

In addition to answering the Bethblog questions, here’s seven fun facts from Emma’s experiences within the community.

1) By now I believe quite a few people know that when I created the face Sigrid, the mother of Laurenna and Wulfren in Lokken. I used my own face, but added a few extra lines to make her older. But from start, I kept this a secret. The modder Kathryn was one of the playtesters. One day she contacted me and said that she and Tommy would like to use Sigrid’s face in their WIP-mod Glory Road. That face, she said, would be perfect for a “beautiful, but slightly worn middle-aged alcoholic nymphomaniac”… :)

When I had stopped laughing, I actually said yes to her request, but then I modified the face so that the eyes and the mouth looked a bit different…

2) People have often asked me if I have used my own personality for any of the companions I have made. I probably have used a lot of myself in all of them! I’m not a shop-o-holic like Laura Craft, and not a moonsugar addict like Witchgirl Morgana. But if I only could, I would love to throw fire-balls or summoning storm atronachs now and then. And anyone who has played Guild Wars with me can confirm that I have to shout “Hey, wait for me!!” twice as often as Laura Craft.

3) Did you know that I have actually been interviewed in the Russian equivalent of PC Gamer? It was several years ago, and the subject was ‘female modders’, which at that point was very rare. (I think Canadian Ice was also asked to participate, but if I remember it correctly she said no.)

4) The first time I spoke to Princess Stomper, it was because she had made her first modding attempt and added a pool to Lokken. The swimming pool looked good, she said, but as a side effect, she now had whales jumping out of the Lokken mountains!

5) I’m the voice-actor of the high elf teenage girl in Children of Morrowind! This was out of pure desperation as I didn’t have enough voices, and I pitched it as high as possible to make it sound young enough. Two of my children also contributed: my daughter is the nord female toddler, and my son is voices both the khajiits and the female argonian. My daughter didn’t know a word of English when she did this, so I had to say the sentences and make her repeat them.

6) If I could make my own wish for the next TES game, it would be more Altmer! I always wanted to learn more about this noble, arrogant, highly magic-inspired people. I have always wanted to make a mod based on them.

7) If I was to start a new game of Morrowind and only could pick one mod, I would choose wolf companion Spot. Morrowind simply wouldn’t be Morrowind without him.

Reader Comments

  1. White Wolf of Lokken has to be my all time favorite Morrowind Mod, and Children of Morrowind added so much life to the Morrowind world. Thank you so much for all your amazing mods and hard work, that made Morrowind all the more special for us.

    I am so sorry to hear your daughter is not well and really hope she will be back to full health quickly.

  2. A wonderful interview – and great to find out more about one of the all-time greats :)

    I recently reinstalled Morrowind after reformatting my computer, and the first mods I downloaded were the ‘best ever mods’ Lokken Mountain, COM and Constance, but I also found plenty more must-haves on Emma’s site such as the Wolf Companion, Vvardenfell Travel Agency (essential!) and the various headpacks – not to mention all the mods by Grumpy, Vorwoda, Robert and Kateri hosted there.

  3. A great interview that I enjoyed reading very much. I love Emma’s mods and they really, really were something special for Morrowind.

  4. Great interview.
    I really enjoyed reading it. We didn’t had much contact in the old days but I always liked your work and even translated Spot for the German community.

    All the best for you and your family.

  5. Great interview with a great person! Hope you will mod for Oblivion (or TES V) some day!

    Best wishes to your daughter and your family! And thanks for all the goodness your mods are!

    Greetz! Darina

  6. Thanks for the inspiring look into your life. Your a very strong brave person who stands by and does all she can for those you care about. Heres to a total healing recovery for your daughter and a prosperous life.

  7. This is a wonderful interview, thank you for sharing this with us!

    My prayers and encouragement go to you and your family. And a heartfelt “thank you” for what you have done for Morrowind modding, and my personal gameplay!

    –Fligg

  8. I would also like to thank Emma for her contribution to Morrowind modding – and Bethesda for a great game.

  9. LoKKen is one of my all time favourite mods, and in my opinion, still one of the best out there.

    Thank you Emma, you’ve contributed so much to my enjoyment of Morrowind with this and several other of your mods.

  10. Great interview with a true modding legend!

    Like many others, Lokken Mountain is near the top of my list of must-have mods for Morrowind.

    Best wishes on a full recovery for your daughter.

  11. Emma’s and Grumpys (rest in peace) are some of my favorite mods, I never play the game without them. White wolf of Lokken mountian is my favorite quest mod.

    Thanks Emma, for making these amazing mods.

    -
    Tobias

  12. Emma is the Queen of Morrowind!

    “Children of Morrowind” is a MUST-HAVE! I would never play Morrowind without it.
    (a world without children is simply ridiculous)

    I also love “Playable Children”. Playing with this mod is like being a child again and fighting imaginary monsters with a wooden sword. :-)

    Thank you Emma!

  13. This was an adorable interview. Nice to learn about you and your modding. Wish I knew you in real life! *hugs to you*

    I have yet to install Morrowind and play it but when I do I’ll look for these mods, definitely.

  14. Im a little sad about your daughter , i wish she gets better !
    I really enjoyed Childrens of Morrowind , and i dindnt know about ” white wolf …”so im searching it right now.
    My salutes and best wishes to you for tour good hard working and !salutes from Spain , Bethesda , you made the best role-playing game of all times : MORROWIND !!!
    I hope that all you , guys , make so good work with Fallot 3 , and Pip`them all !!!

  15. Reading that took me back half a decade. I remember how absolutely amazing the mod community was / is with the Elder Scrolls series.
    I moved onto Oblivion when it was released and although the mod community is still very active it never had the same ‘family’ feel that Morrowind’s community did.
    Well if you are reading this I hope your little girl gets better Emma and thank you and your family for your time in creating those mods. Many of which were in my top 5.

  16. Hi everyone!

    Thank you for all the heartwarming comments and for thinking of me and my family. It’s amazing to know that although six years have passed since Morrowind was new, there is still a living, active community, there are still mods being produced, and there are still plenty of players using the mods.

    Thank you for all the warm wishes for my daughters recovery. She is in fact doing better now than she has for a very long time. For every week she seems to grow a bit stronger, and although there’s still a long road to travel, we hope and believe that she will eventually regain her full health.

  17. What a lovely interview. Thank you for sharing. I am a big fan of Lokken, Children of Morrowind, and several of the companion animals mods. I use many other mods of yours, and appreciate all the hard, detailed work that went into them. Hoping that your daughter continues to improve.

  18. Best modder ever. I really liked Emma’s and Grumpy’s mods. Especially the White Wolf of the Lokken Mountain and the Witchgirl Adventure.

  19. Wonderful interview, Emma! My prayers go out for the speedy recovery of your daughter.

    You were my first inspiration to begin modding, thank you. Grumpy too. God rest his soul.

    For Morrowind, my favorite race to play are the Nords. Solstheim is where I spend most of my time, and well, I can’t even imagine playing Morrowind without White Wolf of Lokken Mountain. IMHO, it’s the best Morrowind mod ever. It’s pure genius.

    And Spot, oh yes, I love him too. I always use him. He’s the best side-kick ever!

    Best wishes and blessings Emma!

    John(COTD)