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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:34 pm 
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Well there would be a flood of sorts, all the creativity that has been building up over all these years would be released. If one fan Age a week were released we'd have at least a year and a half of content (and this is on the conservative side. There would also be the upgrades and other little things. I do know that with open source little things could be done to get story flowing and building which if properly executed could keep many people interested. being able to have an actual impact would be enough for alot of people I think.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:23 pm 
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Zander_the_Heretic wrote:
That the KI was another of Cyan's mistakes is beyond dispute. All we differ on is the nature of the mistake. You and RK think it was a matter of them ignoring, or being unaware of, something elementary about computer communications. I think they overestimated the capacity of their audience to role-play.


While I agree with your point that Cyan overestimated the interest (I'm not sure I'd say ability... I prefer interest) of their audience in roleplaying, I think it is a mistake to retroactively justify a game design implementation as a roleplaying opportunity. That falls into the same category of roleplaying undisputed game defects. Further, while you claim you are extrapolating an explanation from the backstory; I say you are using backstory as a crutch. And what really bothers me is that it paints you as an apologist for Cyan, while I think Cyan is capable of offering their own explanations for perceived failings - we, as fans, do not need to make up reasons for them.

And it just so happens that Cyan has explained some details of this previously. Ages Beyond Myst was pushed to market as a single player game due to Ubisoft pressure, and preparation for the Live portion of the game was neglected. When Cyan relaunched with GameTap, they focused on generating new content because their pipeline was empty, and they were operating with a much smaller staff. So the explanation that best fits Occam's razor - is that Cyan never had the opportunity to put together a really well-thought-out KI.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:34 pm 
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Well, I tried that one a few posts ago, but it didn't seem to fly. Guess people prefer to think that Cyan made all these Ages and planned out the Journey and then turned around and looked at each other and said "hey, aren't we going to need some way for people to talk to each other?" Maybe they did. I don't know.

I think I and the rest of the civilised world are going to have to agree to disagree on the obviousness of the explanation I've extrapolated. I'd love to see someone take the undisputed "facts" of the backstory I've listed and come up with a reason why the KI should work perfectly when the machines have been idle for two centuries and at very least the entire language base has had to be restructured; personally, I think "Laxman" would have had to be a frodding genius to get it working at all. Not to mention fluent not only in D'ni but in their technological thought patterns, which are not like ours at all.

I don't see myself as being an "apologist" for Cyan in advancing the suggestion that they managed to make story logic work in their favour on this, but if I'm seen that way then so be it. I'd rather be an apologist than a detractor if those are the only two choices available. I'm not going to reiterate all the disclaimers and concessions I've made in previous posts to the fact that no, it doesn't do everything you want it to as easily as you'd like it to; they're there for people to read if they want to.

jadawin: I think there would be a moderate-sized river, slowing to a trickle. What we would be likely to see (I theorise; I may be wrong) is, in the first instance, a spate of adaptations of Ages that have been created in that other sphere of which we may not speak (which has been serving as an outlet valve for the built-up creativity of which you speak), those that can be adapted for MOULa and are in their creators' opinion of sufficient quality. Those would certainly attract the interest of people who have not explored that other sphere; those who have might well view them in much the same way as they view the Cavern and Ages of MOUL: been there, done that, what's next?

After that... there would be a gap, while brand-new Ages are created. How fast that would eventually happen is a matter for conjecture, but in the absence of an overall design (and in the nature of "open source" I'm not sure how there could be one) no regular deadlines for delivery of new material could be guaranteed. So you would get people logging on in the hope of something new (because "something new" has become the holy grail; we wait to be entertained), finding nothing, and either staying around to chat with people for a while or going away again...or finding something new, plunging into it with headlong enthusiasm, "doing it" (whatever it is--walking around an oh-look-how-pretty Age, solving puzzles if any, reading journals) in very short order, and then looking around for something else, and eventually going away again. We saw this with the episodes in the Gametap era. The appetite for new stuff is bottomless, and nobody likes to wait.

I'm not trying to be pessimistic here, but simply realistic. I'm aware enough of the exigencies of Age Writing to know that weeks of work (certainly for someone doing it in their spare time) goes into a garden Age you can walk around in two minutes. If there is a flood, then it will be because a not very large number of people have been working extremely hard for a longish time, and it would be unfair on them to expect them to keep up that level of pressure.

What will fill the gap--the only thing that will fill the gap, in my opinion--is (yawn yawn he's off again) story. Whenever there are no new Ages, as there will be--I suspect--fairly often, the only other possible way to keep people interested will be to tell new stories. And that is something we could be looking into, or even doing, right now. But it would take a concerted shift of focus, away from the technical side of things (how to make the game work better, why it doesn't, whose fault it is) and towards the role-playing side; a commitment to immersion, to the maintenance of characters and the construction of plots that work within the limitations of the game. A few brave souls are doing it on the DRC forum, but I don't know how many people are following them; I suspect not as many as log on here to voice their discontent with the game's mechanics. And of course there's a built-in problem at the moment, in that while you can talk about exploring a brand-new Age on the forum, you can't produce a linking book in the Cavern.

I prefer not to give myself over to excessive optimism nor to despair. I think, when all this happens, the flow of new stuff will be enough to keep a small number of players considerably more entertained than they are now, and will keep OS Uru alive. More than that...well. I'm open to being pleasantly surprised.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:38 pm 
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Marten wrote:

...And it just so happens that Cyan has explained some details of this previously. Ages Beyond Myst was pushed to market as a single player game due to Ubisoft pressure, and preparation for the Live portion of the game was neglected.


Maybe my memory of history is a bit fuzzy, but wasn't the intent from the very beginning of URU development for it to exist as an on-line, multi-player environment, and that the Ubi decision to change direction came at the 11th hour after years of development had already taken place?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:19 pm 
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And see my first paragraph above.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:03 pm 
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True Zander, Story is the key, and no offence to any Cyanist out there Cyan at this point just cannot provide it. So it's up to us. I've already tried getting some limited MOULa based storylines going slowly but surely (If you are curious head over to the GoW/GoMR or the GoMa for info.) URU Blogs and the DRC website are other great places, but I've felt for a while that the only way to REALLY get a good story going is by working together. But that is only my humble opinion

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:24 pm 
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Regnad Kcin01 wrote:
Marten wrote:

...And it just so happens that Cyan has explained some details of this previously. Ages Beyond Myst was pushed to market as a single player game due to Ubisoft pressure, and preparation for the Live portion of the game was neglected.


Maybe my memory of history is a bit fuzzy, but wasn't the intent from the very beginning of URU development for it to exist as an on-line, multi-player environment, and that the Ubi decision to change direction came at the 11th hour after years of development had already taken place?


Your history is not fuzzy, except that the way you've phrased things, it makes it sound like Uru Live was almost ready to launch when Ubisoft intervened. Historically, Ubi's direction came at the 11th hour in the same way that when you've lost your keys, they are always in the last place you look... because once you find them, you stop looking. Had Ubi not intervened, I firmly believe the development of Uru should have carried on well into 2004 before an attempted launch.

And Zander, you don't have to be an apologist or a detractor; there is no "either-or" requirement here. I am neither; I just believe that we need to have a realistic grasp on what happened to understand how we can do better (after all, the topic is Let's talk about ways to improve Uru as an MMO).

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:04 pm 
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Regnad Kcin01 wrote:
Marten wrote:

...And it just so happens that Cyan has explained some details of this previously. Ages Beyond Myst was pushed to market as a single player game due to Ubisoft pressure, and preparation for the Live portion of the game was neglected.


Maybe my memory of history is a bit fuzzy, but wasn't the intent from the very beginning of URU development for it to exist as an on-line, multi-player environment, and that the Ubi decision to change direction came at the 11th hour after years of development had already taken place?


Yes, that's my understanding. When I was in the Uru beta (one of the first in, the beta started in January 2003), Uru was a multiplayer game, no question about that. My understanding is that in the other test environment - Choru testing (don't know if you want to call that a beta or an alpha test) -- small group of developers and testers -- that was also a multiplayer game. I don't know when Choru started - think it was at least a year before the Uru beta I was in, so 2002 or before. I can't remember who was in Choru - Zardoz, I think, a couple of others still in the community. Also, from some email messages I saved, from The Lyst, back in 2002 -- Uru (then called Mudpie) was a multiplayer game. The issues with the KI existed in the beta. I wasn't the only one who said the KI was very hard to use -- those problems were reported

Tweek's the historian here, but if memory serves me right, Mudpie was single player at first, but then Cyan decided to make it multiplayer, years and years ago. So, yes, it's been a multiplayer game, in development for a long time. I went and looked at some of my old email message, such memories!

Also, from what I remember reading (where are those Uru historians when you need them?) -- there was a push to get Uru released in 2003. One could argue it was released too soon, and Cyan never had the opportunity to go fix stuff. I'm looking at an email message from Richard Watson, sent to The Lyst, and Richard said back in 2002, that they didn't have a firm estimate on release date -- shortest would be 1 year, longest would be 3,4,8 or 10 years -- and longer meant they could release more ages when it went live. I'm paraphrasing his email, wasn't a private email, went to a big distribution list. So, one might argue, they released it as the low end of their estimate -- 1 year from 2002, end of 2003.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:48 pm 
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Ubisoft didn't want to change direction, they wanted some money back. ABM wasn't a replacement for Prologue but an extension to it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:55 am 
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In the event it functioned as a replacement. The main gallery of the museum was taking too long and costing too much to get ready, and not enough people could get in, so the organisers crowded all the exhibits into the foyer and let people in there at reduced rates, with the result that when the main gallery was finally opened people had seen everything there was to see. There was nothing new.* And that perception, I think, stayed with Uru right the way through the GT period and is still with it today, colouring our view of it. With every incarnation, when we talk about it we always seem to feel the need to add the disclaimer "well, there's nothing (or not much) new here." And that's because of ABM, which is because of Ubi. And until and unless we have enough new material to match the quantity and quality of new material that got squandered in that decision, we will be unable materially to improve Uru as an MMO.

Not saying Ubi didn't have reasons which were to them good.

Not saying they're villains.

Not saying anything except what I've said.

And if my measured and qualified and fairly reasonable posts "paint me as an apologist," well, I'm not too sure where there's any middle ground any more.




*Another partial analogy: comedians used to travel up and down the country, playing music halls and clubs, and making the same material last for years sometimes. Then along came television, and all at once whole routines were spoiled and unusable because everyone had already heard them. It's a bit the other way around here, with the "television" p[art (ABM) coming before the tour (Uru Live), but I hope you can see what I'm trying to say here.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:58 pm 
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Quote:
Your history is not fuzzy, except that the way you've phrased things, it makes it sound like Uru Live was almost ready to launch when Ubisoft intervened.... Had Ubi not intervened, I firmly believe the development of Uru should have carried on well into 2004 before an attempted launch.


Quote:
Also, from what I remember reading (where are those Uru historians when you need them?) -- there was a push to get Uru released in 2003. One could argue it was released too soon, and Cyan never had the opportunity to go fix stuff. I'm looking at an email message from Richard Watson, sent to The Lyst, and Richard said back in 2002, that they didn't have a firm estimate on release date -- shortest would be 1 year, longest would be 3,4,8 or 10 years -- and longer meant they could release more ages when it went live.

Frankly, no one outside of the people at Cyan and Ubisoft would have known back at the end of 2003 how much artistic and technical development on the game had been completed . Allegedly, by launch date, 5 years and $12 million had been spent on development.

As far as RAWA's comment goes, his public meanderings are commonly framed in such ambiguous terms that it baffles me why his announcements are held in such high regard by so many people. Many times he uses a lot of words but says very little that is concrete. Generally society tends to skewer its politicians for behaving this way, but seems snake-charmed when the same behavior is demonstrated by those who entertain it. I'm not sure either response is appropriate most of the time, and clearly there is little balance in this regard in today's world.

If I were writing the checks and was told after spending 12 million and waiting 4 years that I might have to wait 1, 3, 4, or 10 years more (and of course need to keep the checkbook open during that time), I'd be an adult and draw a line too. Self-absorbed artists require a short leash in the business of commercial art when broader interests beyond artistic sensibility need to be included in the balance.

At any rate, if after 5 years and 12 million, the current KI is the state of how much attention was budgeted to collaborative communications strategies, then I'll stick to my original observation. Terrific with visual and mechanical/technical skills regarding the environments and story....mostly ignorant about facilitating explorer collaboration. That's a pretty big miss after so much time and money.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:56 pm 
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I'm not behind the scenes, as one would say, but there are MMOs out there that have a long development cycle and spend lots and lots of money. I don't know if the cost for Uru was out of wack for a large MMO project, a project which would result in lots of subscribers, not a niche game. Bioware's latest is talking lots of money (from what I've read) and a long time to develop. Bioware's game was demoed it at E3 this year and it's not coming out until spring 2011, maybe. I vaguely remember reading some dollar numbers somewhere (though how can that be, I wonder) -- have to go back and see if I can find it. I would think that investment in Star Wars the Old Republic would be easier to swallow because it's Bioware (Mass Effect, other games) and it's Star Wars. Other ones out there are taking some time to develop -- because, nowadays, in MMO land it hurts you if your game isn't very polished right at start. The problems aren't unredeemable if the game has problems at launch (think Age of Conan) but expectations are higher now, at release. A big complaint in MMO land, among players, is that some games are released too soon, and that hurts the game -- players leave and the game is in trouble. For these long expensive development projects, not being behind the scenes, I don't know what they do to stay on track, or how to make the determination that the money the companies are spending will have the result they want, in terms of players and subscribers. There have been some spectacular MMO blowouts -- Uru isn't the only one.

The other big budget MMOs to watch (in my book) is Rift Planes of Telera (which is fine with regards to financing, at least what they are reporting) and Guild Wars 2. Trion (making Rift and 2 other games) is interesting because they are a new company (with lots of folks from other companies) and haven't shipped a game before, unlike Bioware and Arenanet.

Also, from what I've read, Uru was self financed for a lot of that time, Ubisoft got in later.

------------
Getting, sort of, back on track. Aside from ease of use and technical issues (though of course the game is beautiful) what I think hurt Cyan is the old gameplay thing -- since you simply can't (my opinion) give people enough to do by solving puzzles, people ran out of stuff to do. It's not just "stuff to do" -- there have to be reasons/rewards for doing stuff.

And if story is the way to go (back to Zander) -- it seems to me that doing story in games means something other than an \ play with Uru as the backdrop -- you need tools, the ability to change things in the world, a way for players to participate. Assuming that telling stories becomes a feature of Uru, what would we have to do to make it so that players could tell stories, and other players would want to participate?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:54 pm 
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You don't need anything but imagination to tell a story. If you want to play out a drama, you generally need more than one person, but it's certainly possible to make a story of some kind without having to have "tools [or] the ability to change things in the world." Echo McKenzie springs to mind as a prime example. Of course, some people would regard this as some sort of "street theatre" and not worthy of their attention, but that in the end is their choice.

Regnad Kcin01 wrote:
(of RAWA) Many times he uses a lot of words but says very little that is concrete.


Thanks for that, RK01. Best laugh I've had all day.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:23 pm 
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Yes, I get it -- you can tell a story without props, or with minimal props. Lord Chaos sometimes tells a story via his musical online radio shows -- I feel like I've been on a journey. Oh wait -- I've got to get there today. This one's in Uru, now that Uru is back.

But, that's not unique to Uru. While the setting is beautiful in Uru, I can tell stories in other online venues. In some venues I can change things, give something to the players, that sort of thing. When LC did his silk road radio journey in SL (because we could not get into the cavern), there was a constructed space in SL (like the cavern) and a map on the wall, so we could sit around in a circle, and follow the journey. And it was broadcast on shoutcast of course. It will be interesting to see how it works in Uru, no props but a beautiful settingWhat do you think would work well so we could tell stories in Uru -- Ages with puzzles and a story component? The ability to give people things? Easy ways to get everyone on teamspeak (you pick) outside fo Uru, so we can communicate better? Modifications to the KI to send messages to a set of participants, screens in some of the ages, what? I'm curious.

------------------
I also thought of something else. One of the things people said they like doing in Uru -- helping people. Wouldn't it be way cool if we could somehow give people something for helping people -- you know, you get icons/items of clothing, stuff for your Relto, for traveling with people in their private ages? That would be cool.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:03 pm 
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Regnad Kcin01 wrote:
At any rate, if after 5 years and 12 million, the current KI is the state of how much attention was budgeted to collaborative communications strategies, then I'll stick to my original observation. Terrific with visual and mechanical/technical skills regarding the environments and story....mostly ignorant about facilitating explorer collaboration. That's a pretty big miss after so much time and money.

Yes, we are in total agreement on this point. And I agree with the rest of your post as well... I still feel, reading through "From Myst to Riven", it doesn't feel like a success story, it feels like an accidental success story. I think Cyan has a propensity to begin building without yet knowing exactly what they are creating, and doing that on another person's dime is flirting with disaster. Though it doesn't prevent me from still being a tad bitter on how the line was drawn.

So there's a point - to be a better MMO, things kinda need to be planned. Building a game "organically" might feel right to an artist, but Uru is interactive and technical, and those aspects need planning and foresight.

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