Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:06 pm
Location: Houston, Texas
|A very good point. Given that things seem to be going well with the Myst movie, and that the iPhone Myst game was a hit, I think there are some very promising signs that Uru will come back and that there'll be a lot of new fans wanting to play it.
I think if open source Uru is a hit and a lot of people become interested in it, there's no reason why Cyan wouldn't open up its own official shard as planned with MO:RE, and gather fans to support it and develop the Uru experience Cyan wants under Cyan's direction.
Mind you, I'm not suggesting a return to the Prologue/MO:UL business model in which 30+ Cyan employees are making content for Uru and it costs millions of dollars per year to run - and inevitably doesn't turn a profit.
What I have in mind is more of a system where 3 or 4 Cyan staff members spend a portion of their work time developing and managing fan production - that is, a Cyan concept artist, a Cyan game/puzzle designer, and one or two key storytellers develop age designs and a team of volunteer fans would work to flesh out these official designs and turn them into actual ages, with the 1 or 2 Cyan storytellers managing a small list of in-cavern characters like in MO:UL, who help advance the story.
Cyan can choose the fans who will be a part of this project - fans with strong skills in 3d art, programming, or sound design capable of creating ages of high quality or technical innovation, like Ahra Pahts, Breldur, Eh'ko, etc - basically anyone in the fanbase who Cyan believes can successfully create work that lives up to Cyan's standards of quality.
The team would also work on implementing existing Cyan content more effectively. One of the things we saw in MO:UL was the conversion of POTS content to a multiplayer form, and similar tasks can be given to the team to convert RealMyst/Myst V content into Uru, and to fix things that aren't working right but were clearly intended by Cyan, like the Gahreseen Wall and Ayoheek, or the unfinished age Kahlo, which was designed and partially modelled and textured by Cyan but wouldn't work technically without a lot of code improvements and new gameplay/physics features being implemented. Maybe the team could find a way to make it work, given enough time and effort.
The high-quality content produced by this team would be generally confined to the official Cyan shard of Open Source Uru, thus providing an incentive for people to pay to be members of that particular version of Uru.
In other words, Cyan could lead fan production. There'll always be some fans wanting to do their own thing, of course, but Cyan could develop an officially sanctioned Uru distinct from all the lower-quality shards out there. It wouldn't cost too much to do, I think, and could turn a profit - but only if the fan community grows substantially and Open Source Uru becomes popular after its release.
It makes no financial sense for Cyan to spend time developing Uru further after it's open source or to bother with managing fan production and creating yet another official Cyan-designed Uru version, unless it's in a context like this (On Cyan's servers with payment to Cyan for membership, and most of the development work done for free or almost free by fans rather than at high cost by full-paid employees)
I'd certainly volunteer to work on this type of project part-time for free (or full-time at minimum wage - I need to earn some money somehow so I couldn't spend all my time working on a project like this unless Cyan paid me to. But I'm graduating soon from college and I'd love to work at Cyan if there were any way at all to make that happen.) The problem is, of course, that I may not be a good enough artist for Cyan to want to hire me even at minimum wage, or even if I worked for free. I hope to somehow prove that I am or can be. The other problem, of course, is that I'm emotionally unstable and mentally ill. That's a huge barrier for me getting hired anywhere, especially with the economy in bad condition and so much competition for jobs. So yeah, it isn't going to happen, it's just a fun fantasy of mine
But the bottom line is - Cyan, if you give me some concept art and layout sketches/designs and tell me to model and texture an age out of it for Uru, I'll do that, for free, even if it takes a long time and a lot of work to get it right. I think there are a lot of other fans who'd eagerly do the same.
_________________Matthew L. Hornbostel, creator of Panoramic Worlds,
a Myst fansite, and
various other stuff.