Including screenshots is not normally a part of writing a fan fic and the limitations of the camera, particularly in Morrowind, sometimes make it necessary to engage in scenic design to create a stage to illustrate an important scene complete with actors/manikins, all for the camera to capture dozens of screenshots to pick the one or two actually used in the posting. There is a lot of elements of Modding in the process and I thought it might be of interest here.
The last chapter of my Morrowind Fan Fic (22) posted here had a couple of major scenic design opportunities that I ultimately abandoned because I was falling seriously behind in my self-imposed posting schedule. Anyway, here is description of how I would capture a ‘live combat action’ photo shot of a gladiatorial duel on the altar steps of Malacath’s shrine between an armored Orc with a double bladed battle axe and an oversized Winged Twilight.
First I took screenshots of Malacath’s altar and statue to provide the scenic backdrops to be framed in the Bethesda’s fresco nif’s. I took lots because the Daedric Prince Portraits from the next step will be added to look down on the two fighters against a backdrop of manikin actors portraying the spectators.
Second I searched the internet for full face portraits that can be used for Malacath and a daedric princess. This took a lot of time to find the faces that fit my writing style. The Deviantart and Pinterest sites were very rich in potential sources and also a great way to pass time looking at all the material. I adjusted the photos, resized and cropped and then copied them as a layer onto the scenic backdrops (I use Paintshop Pro X for this work).
Okay – the stage backdrops are done. Here’s a pair of scenic backdrops used for screenshots of an Imperial villa used in Chapter 19 with frescoes from Pompeii and the portrait of a very angry and suspicious Vestal matron.
Now for the combatants.
The first is the Winged Twilight First I will need a Winged Twilight manikin to define the starting position and remain in place until the Orc maneuvers to the desired position for the photo shoot and closes within 10 feet of the Twilight. The actual Winged Twilight is located in the same location as the manikin but DISABLED and out of the stage until she (it?) is ENABLED and the manikin DISABLED when the Orc closes to ten feet.
Okay, now I create, costume and position the manikin lookers in the shrine.
Now I have the stage set and the twilight located, and I save this as ESP #1
Now I, the Peter Jackson of this exercise, will personally play the Orc. Now I begin a new game as ESP #2 and create my Orc. I then use the toolkit to stock the Census Office with Orcish armor and the axe as well as healing potions. I finish Char Gen sequence and exit the Office out into Seyda Neen. Save Game and return inside. Now back into the tool kit and modify the door teleport cell and marker arrow to the shrine so that when the Orc leaves the Office next time he will teleport into the shrine at a safe enough distance to allow some maneuvering prior to combat. Also, while in the tool kit I use the adjust attributes and skills to reflect an Orc Barbarian at the same level as the Twilight, and I derate the axe so as to do as little damage as possible while still triggering blood splatters, knock downs etc. I’m not going to be looking to beat the Twilight but to capture as many ‘precious moments’ to choose from.
Next I combine the ESP 1 and 2 into ESP 3 and I’m good to go except for one last detail. Since I’ve learned that capturing the ‘right’ screen shot is largely a matter of lucky timing I want to keep the action going as long as possible. By derating the Orc’s axe I’m prolonging the life of the Twilight, so now I drop the game difficulty to 0 to prolong the Orc’s life if things go badly for him.
And that’s it except for the camera crew – my wife – who would continuously and quickly punch the screenshot key while I swing the Orc into combat.
Here are some ‘live combat action’ screenshots of action from Chapter 12.