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 Post subject: Writing Ages
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:26 pm 
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I'm looking for a good explanation about writing Ages. I am under the impression that a writer does not create an Age, mearly the link to it. Is this correct? And if so, did the D'ni people think that they were creating Ages, instead of the links to them?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:05 am 
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I am not that up on the lore of age writing. My understanding is one writes a book (descriptive) that creates the age and other books (linking) that link to the age. May be they are the same.

Check the article about the Guild of Writers in the Archive. D'ni Culture: Guild of Writers

I see some play between the RL/OOC aspect of creating the game code and game links to the IC story of the writers.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:36 am 
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My impression was thus

The Descriptive Book forms the first link to the Age, and has to have such detail as to pick the "right" Age. The Descriptive Book gets a linking panel (see opening of Riven, Atrus is working on Riven's Descriptive Book), but I don't know how its link-in position is specified. So Descriptive Books point at the Age.

Linking Books form more links to the Age, and are bound to the point in space (relative to the planet anyway, otherwise D'ni links should put us in like Andromeda by now) that they are written. They point at the Descriptive Book ("I am a Linking Book for this Descriptive Book's Age"), and are fairly disposable, as seen with Atrus flinging the Myst Linking Book into the star fissure to kick off Myst, then doing it again at the end of Riven for the Stranger, and for sealing off the two prison Ages for Revelation.

If you destroy the Linking Book, but the Descriptive Book is still intact, the Age is still accessible; just link in and write new Linking Books. You destroy the Descriptive Book, however, and that Age is gone from you (and all Linking Books stop working, I think); chaos pretty much guarantees that even if you write the exact same words in a new Descriptive Book, it'll still point at a different Age, albeit one "exactly" like the lost one.

This was all written down at some point on the original official Myst/Riven sites I think.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:55 am 
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For the most part, the D'ni believed they were creating Links to existing Ages. To think otherwise was considered heresy. There were exceptions, the most notably Gehn. This point has been debated by the community here, though not for a while. Check out the Linked VS Made? thread for that.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:27 am 
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Just another quick note. There are some contradictions between games, novels, and information you might find in a guide or website. There are several (slightly) different "good" explanations as to what an Age is, what Linking is, how it works, and what its properties are.

It really comes down to what specific game (or other source of information) you want to pay more attention to than the others.

So if you come across someone posting or saying something that seems wrong, or two technically canon sources seem to contradict each other, don't sweat it. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:48 am 
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The D'ni (and the Ronay of the original Age of Writing known as Garternay) believed in something called the Great Tree of Possibilities. Through the use of descriptive books, Writers created a link to a point on the Great Tree. This also is linked to the point where no two descriptive books are the same, because you cannot create more than one link to the Great Tree.

If two Writers write the same Descriptive Book, their styles will create links to similar, but different, worlds. Linking Books for Description Books create links within the links, creating a specific and intentional point within the spot on the Great Tree.

So in essence, yes, Writers "find" links, they do not create them.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:33 am 
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I was not aware that there were the two different types of book (linking and descriptive). Thanks for all the info and the links! You were all amazingly helpful!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:20 am 
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MedicOfOld wrote:
Just another quick note. There are some contradictions between games, novels, and information you might find in a guide or website.


Like my beloved Riven trap book; Atrus really made that a believable "bug" in Linking Books and it got retconned away in Revelation! :cry:

Or like in Myst where you see and hear (and presumably vice versa) people on the other end of the linking panel, even though it was the only one that had that mechanic.

*meanwhile, back on topic*
Since the Descriptive Book is sort of the anchor for links to an Age, you have to be very careful when messing with the text. I believe Book of Atrus mentioned Gehn "rebuilding" a failed Age (one Atrus really liked, what a father huh?) and going all "there I fixed it", but Atrus noting that the link was now pointing to a completely different (although ostensibly similar) Age, the original lost to the Great Tree of Possibility. That's also probably why he was so very absorbed between Myst and Riven working on the Riven Descriptive Book; one false move and the link shifts, and there goes poor Catherine (fortunately for us, Atrus is a meticulous (re)Writer)

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:38 am 
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I subscribe to the MYSTlore Wiki's interpretation of Linking Books. It covers cleanly how, for example, Garternay linking books were able to link back to Garternay even though there was no Garternay book, and is pretty cleanly devoid of plotholes.(You can write linking books outside of the age, but these will become useless if the Descriptive book is destroyed. Linking books written inside the age, however, will retain their links.)

MarinaM wrote:
(fortunately for us, Atrus is a meticulous (re)Writer)


And skilled, in part through much practice. Catherine blows him out of the water, though, late in Book of Atrus, with her Torus age.

And I miss Trap books, too. It seems a shame to retcon them out of existence after so much exposition in both Myst and Riven was spent on them.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:28 am 
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Volfram wrote:
And I miss Trap books, too. It seems a shame to retcon them out of existence after so much exposition in both Myst and Riven was spent on them.


So, I haven't played Myst or Riven in ages. By trap books, you mean a book that takes you to a void, yes? And they were retconned out in favor of prison Ages? I have not played Myst or Riven in ages, but I have more recently played Revelation. It did confuse me, playing Revelation, how they could have been in those Ages and talking at you through the panel. I guess it makes more sense now.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Part of it makes more sense, as they did it in Revelations (i.e. the talking through the book panel bit was more atmospheric I believe, but perhaps less "realistic"). However, the mechanics of the Prison Books are pretty well detailed and explained both in Myst and especially in Riven, and if I'm not mistaken even in one or two of the Myst Books, and they play a huge role to the outcome of the story and to the (possible and canon) fate(s) of the heroes.

I shouldn't give out any spoilers, so I'll just say that I too am not a fan with what was done in Revelations.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:13 pm 
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They weren't retconned out in Revelation, Rawa had cleaned up the issue of trap books long before Myst 4 showed up.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Tweek wrote:
They weren't retconned out in Revelation, Rawa had cleaned up the issue of trap books long before Myst 4 showed up.


I think I remember that! Wasn't it explained away by saying that the prison books from Myst were depicted that way as a purely in-game mechanism (because Cyan-in the canon of Uru-took some artistic licence when they created the game Myst), whereas the books in Revelation are the more literal depiction? (At least, that was the IC explanation that I remember.)

IIRC, that was also the explanation for why Myst island was so darn small.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:03 pm 
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Yep.


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