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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:40 am 
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From the DRC site, highlighting mine:

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Linking Book
A Linking Book is simply written as a reference to a Descriptive Book. Although linking to an Age is possible through a Descriptive Book, it is often more convenient to write a Linking Book that refers to the Descriptive Book. The original Descriptive Book can then be protected, to be used for reference or changes at a later date. Multiple Linking Books can be written that all refer to, and perform the same as a single Descriptive Book. In D’ni culture the Linking Books were often much smaller than full Descriptive Books, which presumably allowed for greater portability and which preserved paper.
Linking Books are not used to create links to new Ages (see Descriptive Book). Linking Books are written rather easily and quickly using a common combination of paragraphs and descriptions which may refer to the original Descriptive Book. Linking Books link only to the place where the Linking Book was written in a particular Age. Thus, there is a chance that a Linking Book could be rendered useless if the Descriptive Book with which it was associated was changed in a way that significantly changed the place to where the Linking Book linked.
If a Descriptive Book is destroyed, all Linking Books associated with that Age are rendered useless.
Linking Books cannot be used to link directly from one point in an Age to another point in the same Age. D’ni manuscripts seem to imply that the act of linking actually requires some kind of dimensional transfer.


Unless Cyan/the DRC is completely wrong on how Linking Books work, I think it's easier to assume no one noticed the mistake in Atrus' journal in Revelation and he didn't write the linking books to Spire and Tomahna in another Age.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:58 pm 
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Ian Atrus wrote:
Unless Cyan/the DRC is completely wrong on how Linking Books work, I think it's easier to assume no one noticed the mistake in Atrus' journal in Revelation and he didn't write the linking books to Spire and Tomahna in another Age.

That has ALWAYS annoyed me. Revelations journals are pretty poorly written when it comes to jiving with canon, though, so it's not entirely surprising in any case... I suspect that this whole "writing Linking Books to Spire/Haven" conundrum stems from a desire on Team Revelation's part to explain how Spire and Haven were still accessible in Revelation after the Books were burned in Myst, and getting the necessary sequence of events wrong ("remember, pillage THEN burn", to quote a certain Far Side comic).

Linking Books in the games violate so many of the rules established in the novels and by RAWA that it's almost not even funny. The most egregious violations are Linking Books that link people into different places based on the needs of the plot or because of other technical limitations. For example: the Linking Book from Myst to K'veer at the end of Myst links Atrus back to his desk, while dropping you into the middle of the room, and the Tomahna Linking Book in Exile links Saavedro into Atrus' study, even though the linking panel clearly depicts the link-in point in the sun room that you use when linking back from Narayan at the end of the game. I won't even get into Trap Books, or the fact that sound doesn't travel through the Linking Panel, or that Atrus would never have been able to see you looking at the Green Book at the end of Myst...

If you're looking for a good baseline of functionality for Linking Books, odds are that you're best off referring to Riven (Trap Books aside). Gehn may not have been the sharpest tack in the box when it came to actually understanding the Art, but that actually works in our favor when considering how the Art works, because Gehn certainly wouldn't have been clever enough to think outside the tiny little box of rules that the D'ni created... heck, he couldn't even master those. In any case, it's possible that god-complex aside, Gehn may be the most reliable source of information for what the D'ni considered possible (or at lease, permissible) when it came to the Art... Catherine and Yeesha especially are a complete wash, and Atrus fiddled around with so many other rule-skirting ideas that it's hard to tell where D'ni stopped and his experiments started. Barring the introduction of a straight-talking member of the Guild of Writers from before the fall of D'ni, Gehn is the closest thing we have to first-hand experience with the D'ni's rules on linking (the DRC are pretty handy as well, though the Linking Book to the Great Zero in the neighborhoods in MOUL is another one of those "why make things even more convoluted?" things that continues to get under my skin ;))

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:51 pm 
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Someone needed to get something out of his chest? :D

Realism vs Story vs Gameplay.. welcome to the wonderful world of game design. :p

I think you (and the GoA at large) will have a lot of fun maintaining the consistency and canon in the upcoming Ages...


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:17 pm 
The best kind of canon is a loose one.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:52 am 
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zander_nyrond wrote:
One does have to take into account that Gehn is considered by some to be less than reliable as a source of information... :lol:
Unless RAWA confirms it. :D

Ian Atrus wrote:
Unless Cyan/the DRC is completely wrong on how Linking Books work, I think it's easier to assume no one noticed the mistake in Atrus' journal in Revelation and he didn't write the linking books to Spire and Tomahna in another Age.

Actually, RAWA has stated that the "Games" about the D'ni Universe(s) take a lot of liberty. Like having trap books (which do not actually exist).
In the "real-life adventure" ;) , the person who went through the ages of myst and through the SAME ages in Myst IV: Revelation actually used the same linking books that Atrus had written in the ages prior to "trapping" his sons there. The way he actually trapped them was to take the return book in Haven out to the lagoon and use it to return so that it would be destroyed by the water. In Spire, he held it over the rift area so it would fall to the molten core below and destroy it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:51 am 
Well, yes, any Age that doesn't contain a linking book out of it is potentially a trap Age, unless you take one in with you. But...we know from Wheely's experience that the bahro can create areas in which linking books, even Relto books, don't work. If Yeesha knows how to do that, and if it can be applied to an entire Age (or the negotiable space in the Age restricted to the size of the blocked area), then trap books are indeed theoretically possible, though not necessarily within D'ni guidelines. It's possible that Atrus happened on this technique as part of his ceaseless experimentation, used it for Gehn's prison and was so revolted by actually having to put him in there that he never did it again.

Has RAWA actually confirmed Gehn's information, or has he just confirmed that that's what Gehn said and that it is generally accepted as true?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:16 pm 
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greypiffle wrote:
In the "real-life adventure" ;) , the person who went through the ages of myst and through the SAME ages in Myst IV: Revelation actually used the same linking books that Atrus had written in the ages prior to "trapping" his sons there. The way he actually trapped them was to take the return book in Haven out to the lagoon and use it to return so that it would be destroyed by the water. In Spire, he held it over the rift area so it would fall to the molten core below and destroy it.

Correct, provided you're not inferring that the stranger dropped in on Sirrus and Achenar in Myst ;). The sticking point with the Haven and Spire Linking Books is that Atrus' journal is written incorrectly; Atrus would have had to write the Linking Books to Haven and Spire while he was in each Age, and then link away in a manner that would destroy the Myst Linking Book; not link to the Ages, explore them, destroy the way out as he left, and then write the Linking Books. I guess it's possible that Atrus was wasteful enough to destroy two perfectly good Myst Linking Books to verify that the Ages were suitable as prisons before deciding to create additional Linking Books to access them (keeping the Descriptive Books safe), but the journals would then be incomplete as a record of Atrus' actions (though at least they wouldn't be completely inaccurate ;)).

zander_nyrond wrote:
Well, yes, any Age that doesn't contain a linking book out of it is potentially a trap Age, unless you take one in with you. But...we know from Wheely's experience that the bahro can create areas in which linking books, even Relto books, don't work. If Yeesha knows how to do that, and if it can be applied to an entire Age (or the negotiable space in the Age restricted to the size of the blocked area), then trap books are indeed theoretically possible, though not necessarily within D'ni guidelines. It's possible that Atrus happened on this technique as part of his ceaseless experimentation, used it for Gehn's prison and was so revolted by actually having to put him in there that he never did it again.

I think you're missing a distinction... Trap Books are not the same as Prison Ages. Prison Ages are, as you noted, worlds which have no Linking Books on them to return to where you came from (or at least, in the D'ni prison model, an Age where the Linking Book back to D'ni was heavily guarded and secured from the prisoners). Trap Books, however, are the ones that exist strictly as a gameplay mechanism to make the games easier to design and play. A Trap Book, "theoretically", is able to suspend a person between the Age they were linking from and the Age they were linking to. If a second person attempted to use the Trap Book, the first person would be "displaced" back into the world in which the second person was trying to use it. What you're describing is an entirely different phenomenon that doesn't match the existing (albeit still apocryphal) description from Atrus on what he did to create the Trap Books for his father and sons.

RAWA has established that the Books used to contain Sirrus, Achenar, and Gehn were all standard Prison Ages, and that for the sake of simple gameplay in Riven, they recycled the Trap Book concept from Myst to make it easier to take care of Gehn rather than forcing the player to outwit him through some convoluted (and possibly timed) scheme.

Quote:
Has RAWA actually confirmed Gehn's information, or has he just confirmed that that's what Gehn said and that it is generally accepted as true?

Not in so many words, but that's RAWA for you. Basically, RAWA's creedo is that as long as he hasn't had to correct something, it's probably correct until proven otherwise. While RAWA has gone out of his way at times to point out Gehn's mistaken impressions on creating worlds versus forging links to existing ones and trying to set the record straight whenever David Wingrove got the information wrong, he hasn't said anything about Gehn being otherwise incorrect in his statements about the Art, so the running assumption is that Gehn was right, except where otherwise noted by RAWA.

Perhaps the Archivists should work on a document more specifically outlining what's permissible and what isn't from a canonical standpoint (as opposed to a technical standpoint)... RAWA's guidelines are great, but as the past 12 pages have illustrated, there's plenty to be defined inside of each guideline for those who haven't committed the entirety of the Myst canon to memory yet ;). To all of the Writers and storytellers, does this sound like something that would be useful to you, and is it something you would be interested in seeing the Archivists develop (with assistance from RAWA where possible and necessary, of course)?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:02 pm 
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I was always taught when your writing never let research get in the way of telling the story.

You go back afterwards and research the bits that are relevant and change the rules if you need to.

There's going to be holes in any cannon but here as long as there's someone to say that bit was here say and he got that bit wrong this is really what happened then your in the clear.

Now Cyan say this is the cannon and if your story doesn't fit then you change it so it does. I have no problem with that.

There is out there a cannon of greater work than Myst (Opinion) that's Terry Pratchett and the Discworld that cannon has been exclusively written by one man and it contradicts itself all over. Terry puts this down to an imperfect memory who are we to argue they are some of the best selling fiction books of all time and I for one will still be in the queue to buy the next one.

The debate is interesting as long as we keep it civil. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:23 pm 
Alahmnat wrote:
Not in so many words, but that's RAWA for you. Basically, RAWA's credo is that as long as he hasn't had to correct something, it's probably correct until proven otherwise. While RAWA has gone out of his way at times to point out Gehn's mistaken impressions on creating worlds versus forging links to existing ones and trying to set the record straight whenever David Wingrove got the information wrong, he hasn't said anything about Gehn being otherwise incorrect in his statements about the Art, so the running assumption is that Gehn was right, except where otherwise noted by RAWA.

Perhaps the Archivists should work on a document more specifically outlining what's permissible and what isn't from a canonical standpoint (as opposed to a technical standpoint)... RAWA's guidelines are great, but as the past 12 pages have illustrated, there's plenty to be defined inside of each guideline for those who haven't committed the entirety of the Myst canon to memory yet ;). To all of the Writers and storytellers, does this sound like something that would be useful to you, and is it something you would be interested in seeing the Archivists develop (with assistance from RAWA where possible and necessary, of course)?


Well, speaking as a (potential) Writer and storyteller, I'm all for the grey areas unless RAWA/Cyan specifically says something is so. Things left open promote discussion, and provide a non-lethal form of potential conflict that can generate and fuel story. As things are, most of what we actually know about the workings of the Art is hearsay, a lot of it fenced around with Authority and not very much of it confirmed by Cyan's fiat, and that suits me down to the ground. I like to think that Cyan have done it that way on purpose to give us wiggle room with our theories and heresies.

And thanks for the answer to my question. It was just what I was hoping for. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:27 pm 
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You're quite welcome, and I very much agree with you that Cyan has intentionally left a lot of things open to interpretation, especially when it comes to linking theory (ah, the debates we had on the Riven Lyst back in the day... I'll never forget coming home from summer camp to a 600-email-long discussion about linking theory and Rivenese water). I'm also certainly all for leaving things open that haven't been resolved one way or the other (in fact, with MORE, we kinda have to ;)). With the reference material I proposed, I was aiming more to consolidate the answers to questions like those asked in this thread, so that there's an easy-to-reference document outlining what we do know for certain (which is stuff that can't be violated based on RAWA's guidelines), and mentioning some potential story-related pitfalls that would require you and the FCAL panel to spend a little bit more time together to get your stuff approved ;).

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:32 am 
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Some kind of FAQ or reference document would definitely be useful.
Because some people might base their Age or Story on some assumptions, and work on it for weeks or months, only to discover that they base their work on a wrong assumption and they can throw it all away... Which is very annoying to say the least.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:03 pm 
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It'd be nice to have an official primer containing all the 'facts' and clarifications we have accumulated along the years (leaving out grey areas and the fancy Yeesha powers). That information has been around a long time but it has often been scattered and never collected into one place, and of course Uru, Relto and other gimmicks brought many to speculate the truth of such statements.
Still, when making fan content and specifically Maintainers'-approved Ages, it'd be good to have a precise list of "do-s and don't-s" according to both the 'real' rules (as far as we know) and the D'ni rules. The fact that there is still confusion about Trap books and Prison Books is a clear example of that.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:02 pm 
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aloys wrote:
Some kind of FAQ or reference document would definitely be useful.
Because some people might base their Age or Story on some assumptions, and work on it for weeks or months, only to discover that they base their work on a wrong assumption and they can throw it all away... Which is very annoying to say the least.

The "new" FCA Licensing (proposed) procedure will include a web form submitted for approval. This form is intended to contain an outline or description of a proposed creation. Among the panel members reviewing these applications are representatives of the Guild of Archivists. They will inform the applicant if there are any conflicts or gray areas. Conflicts will have to be changed before approval is granted. The gray areas will be forwarded to Cyan for additional review. All disapprovals will be explained so that the applicant can make appropriate changes.

Although it will probably be allowed to submit the actual creation for licensing, the writer would be wise to get approval before investing significant work.

Efforts are currently progressing to design the web-form application and appoint the multi-guild review panel. Panel membership will be drawn from the Guild of Writers, Guild of Maintainers, and Guild of Archivists. The specific members will rotate over time.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:57 pm 
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Ian Atrus wrote:
It'd be nice to have an official primer containing all the 'facts' and clarifications we have accumulated along the years

That's a "Writer's Bible" like what the producers hand to their writing staff. Great idea.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:40 pm 
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dtierce wrote:
aloys wrote:
Some kind of FAQ or reference document would definitely be useful.
Because some people might base their Age or Story on some assumptions, and work on it for weeks or months, only to discover that they base their work on a wrong assumption and they can throw it all away... Which is very annoying to say the least.

The "new" FCA Licensing (proposed) procedure will include a web form submitted for approval. This form is intended to contain an outline or description of a proposed creation. Among the panel members reviewing these applications are representatives of the Guild of Archivists. They will inform the applicant if there are any conflicts or gray areas. Conflicts will have to be changed before approval is granted. The gray areas will be forwarded to Cyan for additional review. All disapprovals will be explained so that the applicant can make appropriate changes.

Although it will probably be allowed to submit the actual creation for licensing, the writer would be wise to get approval before investing significant work.

As far as story is concerned, I suspect that some final approval will be required for the story beyond the initial rough draft that gets approved to start out with to make sure the details jive properly, much like the Maintainers would need to give final approval to an Age to ensure it wasn't full of technical issues. Having a working FAQ or reference document accessible to everyone and divorced from the proceedings of the FCAL approval process would, I think, help to streamline the process of getting your work approved by the panel, because the more you know going in (regardless of the time you've spent on it), the less you may be required to change once the process has been started, and the faster (ideally) your project can make it through the approval panel.

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