Hlaalu Interior Guidelines

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This is Tamriel Rebuilt's style guide for any interior developer creating a House Hlaalu interior. There will literally be hundreds of these interiors in Tamriel Rebuilt, so this guide will help you to understand the conventions and expectations when it comes to this interior set.

Shell and Layout

The first thing to do is create a shell. There are so many possible exteriors to match, this guide cannot give exhaustive instructions on how to fit each shell. Similarly, I cannot explain every single piece in the set, in vanilla or added by Tamriel_Data. Instead, I will lay out the basic tenets of shell-making and give some guidelines on specific areas of that process. If you are brand new to Hlaalu interiors, take a look at any Tamriel Rebuilt or vanilla Hlaalu interior to learn the basics of what each piece does. There are many no-nos present in both vanilla and Tamriel Rebuilt at the moment, so don’t just blindly follow what you see, but take notes on how pieces are intended to be used. This guide will explain common pitfalls and things to ignore in vanilla and current Tamriel Rebuilt alike. The in-progress cities of Hlerynhul and Narsis are the most up-to-date and the safest for a new developer to look at to learn good habits. These can be accessed in the Narsis section file.

Exterior Matching

Proper shell for a guard tower.

Tamriel Rebuilt expects 1:1 exterior-matching interiors for Hlaalu buildings. Vanilla is really bad about this point in particular, so don’t copy vanilla shells for larger buildings especially. There are rare cases in which this 1:1 ratio is not possible. A few scenarios will be outlined below. If there is ever any question about exterior-matching, or if you feel like you need to “tardis” (make the interior slightly bigger than the exterior), be sure to ask experienced interior developers and reviewers on the Discord server or as a comment to your claim for advice and/or permission.

Here are scenarios where we deliberately do not match the exterior:

  • Guard Towers: The exterior shells ex_hlaalu_b_13, ex_hlaalu_b_15, and ex_hlaalu_b_01, most commonly used for guard towers, must be built like they are in vanilla. There is no room for stairs otherwise. This applies to any 2x2 tower.
  • Bent Buildings: Any buildings that are “bent” on the exterior (ex_hlaalu_b_27, for example) should be built without a bend on the interior. The northmarker should be calculated to work with the main street entrance, usually the bottom door.

Making the Best Use of Space

An example of Tamriel_Data’s stackable Hlaalu stairs.

Making sure the space you are allotted in an interior is used intelligently is equally important as ext-matching. This section will focus on components of larger buildings such as manors and custom shells, as the interior is usually predetermined with the small shells. This is a vague subject but there are a few strategies and pieces of advice that can be reasonably given.

  • As a general rule, keep the layout as simple as possible. A few medium-sized rooms that connect to each other in a linear progression, or rooms that connect to a hub of some kind, is almost always preferred to wormy, windy hallways that lead to dead ends and give the interior a convoluted path. Unless it is a special interior in which a more complex layout is preferred, try to keep it as simple as you can within the bounds of the exterior.
    • Especially in basements with linear paths, don’t go down and go up again. This is an example of a convoluted layout. Have everything you want be connected on one floor, and then make a stairway down that doesn't come up again for a single room (This doesn’t apply to large areas where multiple staircases going to the same floor may be preferable. This is mostly about linear layouts).
  • In an interior with more than 2 floors and limited space, it is preferred to use Tamriel_Data’s stackable Hlaalu stairs in a central staircase. This will conserve space in the rest of the interior, whereas making stairs using the vanilla pieces will waste space. If the interior is very large, this isn’t as much of a priority. This is done by placing T_De_SetHla_I_Stairs_H_01 (under “Statics”) on top of each other, with T_De_SetHla_I_Stairs_mid_01 placed in between each stair (A small caveat: whichever stair will be the bottom of the staircase should use T_De_SetHla_I_Stairs_H_02 instead). This way, all of the stairs are contained in a 1x1 space.

Large Rooms

Tamriel_Data's expanded Hlaalu set used in Hlerynhul, Hleryn Hall.

Some interiors call for large rooms using the Tamriel_Data expanded set or the vanilla tall set. The best way to learn these sets is to experiment, and to ask questions. But here are some tips and descriptions of the pieces.

Vanilla Tall Set

  • Prefixed by in_hlaalu_hallt_ and in_hlaalu_roomt_.
  • Additional Tamriel_Data pieces for this set prefixed by T_De_SetHla_I_Lg.
  • This set is best used in underground situations when you need a large room, because it’s not modular enough to fit most exteriors.
  • Look at the Balmora Mages Guild for a good example of this set in action.

Tamriel_Data Expanded Set

  • The purpose of this is to make an extremely customizable room that is 2-or-more tiles high. The premise is that you use standalone floor, wall, pillar, and ceiling pieces, connected by ledges, to make a larger room.
    • Floor: T_De_SetHla_I_Floor_01
    • Wall: T_De_SetHla_I_Wall_Onesided_01
    • Ceiling: T_De_SetHla_I_Ceiling_01
    • Pillar (with a face at the bottom, to be used alongside ledges): T_De_SetHla_I_LedgePost_01
    • Ledges: prefixed by T_De_SetHla_I_Ledge, many variants exist
  • The room can also connect back to single-high rooms using ledges that form balconies.
  • Look at Hlerynhul’s Hleryn Hall and Andothren’s Magistrate, Vendicci Manor, Council Hall, and Andas Estate for examples of how to use this set.

Other Common Pitfalls

One of the most common ways to unnecessarily increase the reference-count of a Hlaalu interior is by mistakenly using in_hlaalu_room pieces instead of in_hlaalu_hall pieces. The room pieces should be used when creating a room area without pillars. If you want pillars, use the hall pieces so that each pillar doesn't have to be a separate reference. The vanilla posts (in_hlaalu_room_post) should only be used when it’s not possible to create pillars via hall pieces (such as on the ground level in large rooms).

Lighting

Lighting Settings

A good standard/default lighting setting to use.

Starting with ambient and sunlight settings, vanilla tended to make a gray ambient color mixed with a brown sunlight color. Tamriel Rebuilt standard is to not use sunlight to color the interior however. We keep sunlight really low (since sunlight is directional light). Don’t go any lower than 10/10/10 with that value, or higher than 25/20/15. There’s very little difference between those values, but I tend to be on the higher end of acceptability to reduce the amount of desaturation that comes from reducing the sunlight values. This loss of sunlight color means the ambient has to give the hue for the interior. A neutral brown (80/60/40) is highly recommended, with tweaks as necessary. Try to avoid mixing too much red or green in the ambient color. More blue will be necessary for specific situations such as Mages Guild halls.

Fog is not so important in many small Hlaalu buildings. But it tends to show in the larger buildings, so if you have a double-high room or large area of some kind, don’t neglect this value. A dark brown is preferable (65/40/30 or similar).

Light Sources

Dark elf floor lamps, candles, and lanterns are the primary mode of lighting in Hlaalu interiors. Hang lanterns from furn_de_rope and make sure they are static (not able to be picked up) if they are hanging from the ceiling. The ones that are able to be picked up are better when placed on surfaces (or in shops that intend to sell lanterns).

Asset Usage and Cluttering

Navigability and Floorspace

While Tamriel Rebuilt standards enforce more attention to detail than vanilla interiors, one thing that vanilla did right was giving a lot of floor space that is unobstructed. There are multiple reasons for this. First of all, it aids navigability for both the player and the NPC. It’s almost always better when the player is able to get around NPCs and be able to jump and run around interiors. If the player or NPCs are bumping into objects or people too often, then the interior is likely overcrowded and claustrophobic. The goal is to make the interior feel detailed without using too many references or space-killing object placements. Second of all, consider the NPCs as a part of the clutter job itself. If there isn’t sufficient floor space for them to exist without blocking the only available path, something went wrong.

Rugs and Tapestries

Rug and tapestry use is largely subjective, but here are some guidelines that should inform an interior developer’s choices:

  • Buildings that use de_p furniture should pretty much exclusively use vanilla dark elf rugs and tapestries. The variants present in Tamriel_Data are usually far too opulent for de_p interiors.
  • Buildings that use de_m furniture should use primarily vanilla rugs and tapestries, but there are some Tamriel_Data variants that could work. If you choose to use Tamriel_Data variants, choose ones that look less fancy or stand-out.
  • Buildings that use de_r furniture should be using Tamriel_Data’s fancier rugs and tapestries. Vanilla rugs are still okay to use universally, but big feature/centerpiece rugs should be Tamriel_Data. Vanilla tapestries should not be used, as they are poorer looking.
  • If a building is an official House Hlaalu location, such as a guard tower, a council hall, or a councilor’s manor, it should also include a few Hlaalu tapestries (Prefixed T_De_Furn_TapestryHla_).

Leveled Lists

If a container you want to use has a version in Tamriel_Data with Tamriel_Data items included in the leveled list, use the Tamriel_Data version. This is especially important with food, ingredients, and misc containers. For example:

  • Instead of using urn_03_food, use T_MwDe_Furn_U3Food
  • Instead of using crate_02_food, use T_MwCom_Var_Cr2Foodm1/2

In general, the prefixes T_MwCom_ and T_MwDe_ have all the containers you need for Tamriel Rebuilt.

Class and Glass

Recently we’ve been trying to associate different types of tableware with certain classes. Here’s the rundown:

  • You-Need-Permission-To-Use-This Class: Ebonyware
  • Very Rich Class: Fine Glassware
  • Upper Class: Blueware, Goblets
  • Mid Class: Greenware, Yellowware, Redware, Common Plates
  • Lower Class: Wood, Stoneware, Redware, Vanilla Tankards

This is not set in stone, and it is rather vague. There can be crossovers, such as poor interiors using greenware in addition to wood and stoneware, or rich interiors combining all different kinds of glass or redware in addition to their upper-class tableware for a more varied look. But this guideline is mainly here to prevent things like a poor home using all blueware, or a rich home using stoneware. So this is more of a guideline than a rule. For ebonyware, however, this should generally not be used unless the claim calls for it or you get permission beforehand. It’s a very high status symbol and should be rare.

Flora

When placing potted plants and flora around interiors, there has been a tendency to overuse regional plants. For the Coronati Basin, for example, Zifa trees and similar things have been used a lot. It’s totally okay to use these flora, but developers should know that there’s a wide variety of flora available for potted plants.

  • Vanilla container flora can be used sometimes
  • Tribunal container flora should also be used (Flora_plant_01 through Flora_plant_08)
  • TR container flora such as T_Mw_FloraTV_Weepveil01 tend to be underused
  • Flora_grass_01 (and variants)
  • Smaller regional static flora
  • Flora_ivy_01 and flora_ivy_02 for manors

Again, it’s great to use the regional flora, but there are plenty of options so that those flora don’t become stale!

Hopefully this has cleared up some confusions about Hlaalu interiors and given you some useful tips for the future. Happy modding!