Middle Earth Height Map by ParickV
Oblivion » New Lands
Added: 20/07/2008 - 09:32AM
Updated: 07/03/2009 - 05:09PM

120 Endorsements

1.0 Latest version

3,957 Unique D/Ls

5,913 Total D/Ls

63,992 Total Views

Uploaded by lumpypat


Last updated at 17:09, 7 Mar 2009 Uploaded at 9:32, 20 Jul 2008

BACKGROUND (Long Winded):

The idea for this mod came from many different places. Ever since I first read The Hobbit when I was 10 I have been a fan of Middle Earth. After The Hobbit came The Lord of The Rings at age 12, and I will never forget the magic I experienced reading that book. The books carried over into real life as well providing me with some of the inspiration to pursue various outdoor adventure sports, namely rock climbing, and later on life abroad in Europe and Mexico.

Also when I was younger (14 or 15 in 1994) I got my first computer and began a love affair with role-playing games. Daggerfall, nahlakh, Kings Quest, Kings Bounty, ADOM, and many more provided me with countless of hours of adventuring. During this time I was always puzzeld as to why no one attempted to make a good Middle Earth based game given that The Lord of The Rings is arguably the best fantasy novel of all time. In those days I always told myself that if I ever had the power, I would create my own!

Eventually my computer with its 64 megs of ram and 500mhz processsor (who knows what video card) got old and in 2006 I bought a top of the line laptop (for that time) wih 2 gigs of ram a 7900 gs 256 mg ram video card and dual 2.0 ghz processors (these are my sys specs right now). After catching up on the games I was missing out on for a long time, I spent countless hours playing through Oblivion, and then Morrowind, both incredilble games thanks to Bethesda Softworks made even better with incredible mods and talented modders! (Thanks to all of you!)

After finishing these games I finally acknowledged that little voice in the back of my head that has been nagging me ever since I got my first computer, and I opened the CS.

I origionally planned to create my own world, and to do so I needed a height map. After reading the height-map tutorial on the CS Wiki I downloaded the reccomended program (astrosynthesis?) capable of rendering landmasses in .raw format. I had no idea of the capabilities of the CS (very limited in terms of large worlds) and naively set out to create the landmass of Middle Earth as practice for creating the heightmap for my new world. The first go was an aweful 4x4 quad rendition of Middle Earth with massive tears in the landscape and about a five minutes walk from the Shire to the Misty Mountains. Never-the-less I saw some potential in the landscape and I endeavored to make it better.

I quickly found out that the cs only allows a landmass of 16-18 (depending on ram) quads to be worked on at any one time. This was way too small for a representation of Middle Earth, but as my mod in this stage was only an experiment I proceeded to create a very lopsided version of Middle Earth. Only the important places were included, the Shire was right next to the sea, the whole of Mordor encompassed 1 quad and the Blue Mountains were tall thin lumps. The result was awfull, but by this time I was completely hooked on the idea of recreating Middle Earth and I had given up on starting my own mod.

The project advanced in many stages from here too complicated to explain right now. Basically the CS is very inadequate when it comes to large worlds, but I also found out that if you put enough thought into it, everything has a work-around. After my first feeble attempts with the CS I moved to the program GeoControl to create a larger realistic landmass after getting the idea from Adventure Middle Earth, an ambitious yet failed German Middle Earth mod. To make a long story short, Geocontrol turned out to be a bit of a red-herring (not enough minute control over the land, no way to realistically combine different types of erosion, and other problems) but it was usefull for creating a base height map. In the end after many false starts I became more proficient with Bethesda's CS heightmap editor (not an easy task) and was able to create realisitc landscapes with it. The end result is that this heightmap has been created 95% manually using the CS editor. (there are still some bits of erosion left over by the origional Geocontrol map)

Once I figured out how to use it, the CS heigtmap editor provided me with amazing control over the landmass. Never once did I use the erosion function, the noise funtion and various ways of flattening and raising the land were enough. Due to the fact that in university Geology was my minor, and having lived in the Rocky MOuntains most of my life, I became obssesed with creating a realistic yet fantastical representation of Middle Earth. To make an already long stroy a little bit shorter,.... this mod is the result!! I hope you all enjoy it!

FAQ Please Read:

Why Middle Earth? There are enough Middle Earth mods already. Why not your own world?: See above.

This mod is too much for one person to handle.: The mod is finished, I set out to create a realistic and beatiful representation of Middle Earth via a heightmap and I finished it. I will continue to work on it in the future adding flora and cities (i'm in too deep now to stop), but my origional intent is fnished! THIS MOD IS A RESOURCE, I ENCOURAGE ANYONE TO DOWNLOAD IT AND ADD TO IT! MERP OBLIVION TEAM, YOU ARE WELCOME TO USE THIS! HELMS DEEP TEAM, YOU ARE WELCOME TO USE THIS! ANYONE.. GET CREATIVE AND USE THIS MOD!

Where are the trees and cities and characters?: This is just a heigtmap, albeit a very detailed and beautiful one that took over a year to make! (remember that while you are walking around) I fully plan on updating in the future, I am going to start work on creating the Shire next. If you are asking
(where is Rivendell?) feel free to try your hand at creating it! if it is good enough I will include it in official updates in the future!!! If you want to add a quest and characters then by all means go ahead!

Why spend all that time on just a heightmap?: A good question. In terms of Middle Earth, a good heightmap is one of the most important things possible. Middle Earth is a spectacular place with mountains reaching to the sky and deep valleys, rolling hills etc... the only way to caputure this granduer is with a detailed heightmap, infact I would contend that in a Middle Earth mod a detailed beautiful heightmap is the most important thing in creating the feel of Middle Earth. In addition a Heightmap is forever, when TES5 comes out or another game, this heightmap can be transfered to that engine and Middle Earth will look even more beautiful than it will look in Oblivion. The goal of my mod was to give the modding community this reusable resource.

Middle Earth is too small, I can see weathertop from the Shire!: I spent a long time trying to balance size with graduer with story timeline with CS limitations. This is the end result and I truly think it is the best you will ever get with the Oblivion engine. The mod is 7x the playable size of Tamriel and the mountains are 3x bigger than in Tamriel, ths Mod is indeed vast. Yes you can see weathertop from the Shire, and the Blue Mountains are quite close, but this is the size that Oblivion can handle. The Adventure Middle Earth German mod overshot the size issue and failed as a result. I truly believe this mod captures the essence of Middle Earth given the confines of Oblivion's engine, so go for a walk and tell me you don't enjoy it!!

Middle Earth is too big, it takes my leve 40 character almost two hours to follow the path of Frodo running at full speed!!: Great, this is the sort of comment I am hoping to hear!!

How big is this mod exactly?: For those in the know... 11x10 quads.

Can I use this mod in my mod?: Please, please do, its why I created it. I am going to continue updating with forests cities etc.. If you are serious about adding an area of Middle Earth, and have demonstratebable modding experience, contact me and we can coordinate efforts for official updates in the future.

I see on your overview screenshot that some of the Middle Earth proportions are off..: Yes I tweaked a few things, mainly Mount Doom is larger than on official maps of Middle Earth. Why? Well do you want mount Doom to be a little lump, or a great imposing mountain? I will add a screen later tonight. A few of these tweaks were necessary to fit it all in.

Where is the rest of Mordor?: I didn't include the sea of Rhun, although I might in the future. Quite frankly I wanted to publish this mod, and all of the areas from the LOTR are there in their full beauty and detail!


Can I join your team?: I don't have a team, and prefer to work alone. In real life I have to deal with people all the time and working with this modd is a sort of meditation for me, the last thing I want to do is direct a large group of people, I would much rather jsut spend my time modding, and realizing my own vision. I won't start a team but I am willing to coordinate efforts (I work on one part and leave another alone while someone else works on it) if someone shows sufficient modding experience and reliability.

How do I get to xxx.. or do xxx. with this mod?: I love the support and feedback people have given, as well as the enthusiasm. From now on though I will not ever teach people how to use the CS, there are many tutorials out there to learn from. I have neither the time or desire to explain the CS to people, like I said above this mod is a very personal activity for me, I work on it on my free time and my free time is in short supply and valuable so I am not going to spend it doing other things. Coordinates for areas are easy to find in the CS with just a basic working knowledge. If you don't know how to do this, read the tutorials. If someone cannot gennerate and overview of the worldspace, let me know and I would be willing to upload one though.

I need a map to find out where I am!: A good idea, and I will make one in the future, but right now my efforts are focused elsewhere. The world is basically to scale, if you read the Readme enclosed in the .zip then you will find out how to get to the shire (bag end area). The directions are the same as on Tolkein's maps (i.e. north is north and south is gondor etcc..) so just get a map online and start wandering!!

Your mountains and territory should look like this xxx: I actually love these comments, I tried hard not to get stuck in one style of landscape and I would love to hear thoughts and Ideas for the future.. AS I mod each area I will refine the heightmap even more, so let me know of Ideas and I may incorporate them! Someone mentioned making some of the mountains lower and more rolling, well I have done just that with the blue mountains, I reworked the shire and made it larger and more accurate, and greatly reduced the height of the blue mountains, the effect is much nicer overall and I will continue to rework some areas as I mod them in the future!

I DON'T HAVE ANY DISTANT LOD: Make sure everything is in the right folder, and make extra sure the middleearth.esm is first in the load order, this is 90% percent of the reason people don't have distant LOD. The MOD works fine, you just have to have it installed correctlly, if you have problems play with it and you will get it to work eventually. I cannot respond to every PM with problems, and I won't in the future.

There are big rips in the land: There are some, almost all of them area located between quads due to the way I made the heightmap. They are easily fixable and will be dealt with as I mod each area in the future. They are nothing to worry about.

Where are the cities and quests?: These projects take a long time, a loooong time, I am a one man team and am moving fast, but maybe in three years the Mod will be complete (without quests) who knows? Maybe I will ABandon it eventually, I have no Idea. This mod is meditation for me, I work on it in the now and don't really think about the future, that is the way I like it and will continue it. I won't be part of a team (nothing personal at all) because that goes against exactly why I am doing this (it is a selfish hobby that I do on my free time). The results so far are quite good I think (the shire is now 1/4 done and looks stunning) and as I said above I am willing to coordinate with someone who is serious about modding a specific area. I don't plan on touching interiors at all so if someone wanted to make some interiors to go along with what I have already please let me know. If you think something should be done differently, the CS is just a short download away!

When will we see updates?: Every few months (this is just an estimation so don't hold me to it) I will probably update a new area. Like I said the shire is 1/4 done and should be up by october. I will post screens every once in a while to tease people as well, so keep an evey on the screenshot section!

Well that's it for the FAQ, if you post a question that has been answered above, I simply will not give you an answer! Other serious questions I will answer, just post or PM.

I would Like to thank:
Lightwave for his TESannwyn and TESq4LOD programs, essential programs for modding.

TEamGeko for TESGeko: without this and the above programs th mod would not be possible, so thanks guys for letting us dream!!

Bethesda Softworks: for a great game, Oblivion and another great game, Morrowind.

Anyone who has worked on Middle Earth artwork and art, or an Oblivion Middle Earth mod: I got inspiration from all of you!

And of course: JRR Tolkein