Playtesting is invaluable work that helps avoid bugs creeping into released quests (some will, anyhow). It is also an inseparable part of quest reviewing.
Anyone can help playtest quests in Tamriel Rebuilt, where the section files are public. You do not need to pass any sort of test first, although it may be useful to say on our Discord that you intend to playtest something.
In Project Tamriel, where the section files are generally private, you need to be a developer in order to access all the files needed for playtesting.
You can report your findings as a comment on the claim page (if the quest is pending review or ready to merge) or to the reviewer (if it is under review; preferably send the reviewer a message on Discord). If you were playtesting a merged quest and found errors, you can report them at the bugtracker with the relevant section file selected (for Tamriel Rebuilt) or on the respective PT Discord bug channel (for Project Tamriel).
- You will need the latest in-development Tamriel Data, which serves as asset repositories for other plugins.
- Next, you need the latest version of the province's main .ESM file and the in-development update file.
- For Tamriel Rebuilt, you can find them on the Release Files tracker. The main file is TR_Mainland.ESM and the update file is TR_Update.esp. On each section file page, the lowermost files on the left-hand-side column are what you need.
- For Project Tamriel, the main file and update will be on the forums, in the respective provinces'
Private > Internal Filesforum. You will only be able to access them if you are a Project Tamriel developer.
- You will also need the section files relevant to the quest (in the same locations as the above).
- Most importantly, you need the quest you are playtesting. To find such quests, look at the claims browser (Tamriel Rebuilt; for Project Tamriel, look at the Claims forum of the respective project). The quests that are pending review are the best to test, because that means that they are completed but no one has reviewed it yet. For the quests that are under review, it’s best to collaborate with the reviewer and ask if they need help.
- Alternatively you can also playtest quests that are ready to merge, or merged quests inside the section files, but generally they will be polished and should have few bugs – still, testing them does not hurt.
- Optional: For making playtesting easier, we also recommend downloading Templates for Playtesting, which allows you to choose from among a variety of classes and levels, or even start as a vampire, so you can test multiple possibilities easily.
- Finally, set your load order:
- [Project Main File].esm – e.g., TR_Mainland.esm for Tamriel Rebuilt, Sky_Main.esm for S:HOTN, or Cyr_Main.esm for P:C
- [Update File].esp – e.g., TR_Update.esp for Tamriel Rebuilt, Sky_Update.esp for S:HOTN
- [Section File].esp
- Character_Templates.esp (If you are using it.)
- [Quest name].esp
These changes will allow you to skip character creation and dive straight into the game, generating a default character. This makes it less tedious to play from the start multiple times.
Note: The Templates for Playtesting file also allows you to skip character creation. It won't, however, transport you to a different cell.
Vanilla Morrowind Engine
Open Morrowind.ini in your main Morrowind installation folder. It should have these lines close to the top of it:
;Starting Cell=Pelagiad ;Starting Grid X=0 ;Starting Grid Y=0
To start in any named cell of your choosing, remove the first semicolon and change the starting cell from Pelagiad to your required cell name – such as one close to where the quest takes place.
In the launcher, go to
Settings -> Testing. Check
skip menu and generate default character and type the location in the box below.
Sometimes if you do this, you can get stuck inside meshes. If that happens, type
tcl in the console (generally accessed using the
~ key) and get out. Type
tcl again to make things normal again.
After you have set up, you can just go ahead and try to break the quests. These are just practices that make playtesting smoother.
- When starting the game, don't click "Cancel"/"Yes to all" to skip warnings and errors – if you do, error messages will never display later on in the game.
- A good way to write things you noticr in-game is beta comments.
To make the latter possible, first you have to open your
Morrowind.ini text file and look for the line:
Beta Comment File=
Then you can add any file name, say
Betacomments.txt, so that it becomes:
Beta Comment File=BetaComment.txt
Now, whenever you want to write something in-game, you can open the console (generally the
~ key), select the relevant object (if there is none relevant, just select the nearest one), and write
bc "your comment"
This will log your comment in
BetaComments.txt together with the location of the selected object.
Of course, you can also Alt-Tab and write in a separate .txt file if this seems too much.
- Check all messages that have “Warning” in
OpenMW.logfor errors. On Windows, that file can be found in
Documents\My Games\OpenMW, on Linux, it is usually in
- You can use beta comments here too, but they will be logged in
Things to Look For While Playtesting
- Is it clear that you are taking on a quest? If you did not want to do that, is it stuck in your Journal list?
- If not, does it have an option to turn it down? Does it need one?
- Can you come back and take the quest after turning it down? Would it be in character to (not) be able to?
Whenever the Journal Updates
- Check the new journal entry.
- Talk to every NPC involved on every topic associated with the quest. Does their dialogue make sense in the new context?
- If the change came from a NPC greeting, reload and contract a disease. Does it still work?
- To contract a disease, you can use one of the items given to you in the Templates for Playtesting .esp file.
- To do the same on the console, type:
If You Need a Certain Item or Gold to Progress
- What happens if you do not have enough? Does the NPC react correctly?
- What if you have more than needed? Does it work?
- Are the items taken from your inventory? Are the correct number of items taken if you have more than required?
Taking an Item Triggers an Event
- Does the same thing happen if you pick it up while the inventory is open?
- If an NPC walks somewhere – does this break if you get near them, stand in their way, rest, change cells?
- If NPCs attack you or fight each other – what happens if you use Calm/Command spells? If you talk to them, what happens? What happens if you save and reload?
- If your actions make it impossible to complete the quest, does it properly fail?
- If completed, is the Journal entry closed?
- Does the plot make sense? Do the motivations of NPCs make sense?
- Does the player have appropriate motivations to do the quest? If not, are they needed?
- Is the reward appropriate for the quest?
- Is the quest interesting? Should it be?
- Note: Fetch quests are generally not the most interesting, but there should be some of them, as lows to other highs, or as a way to introduce the player to new areas.