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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 7:59 pm 
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Yes, I know the post you refer to, but I rather think it was a light-hearted, off-the cuff comment that implies nothing about Cyan's intentions.

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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 8:28 pm 
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Cyan refusing porting is the main issue, but there’s also the problem that, at the end of the day, Uru is not really Massively Multiplayer. With the exception of a few ages and a table game, it’s a single player experience with a chat system. I’m aware Mudpie was conceived as multiplayer, but in the end Uru worked perfectly fine in its offline version. The actual equivalent to classic PvP, the Wall, only works in shards thanks to the dogged efforts of their admins.

There’s also the problem of replay value: puzzle games are challenging and take a long time to solve the first time, but when you play them the second time they often take a lot less effort (Mechanical is one of the most ridiculous examples). The classic XP grind, while hated by everyone, is in fact what seems to keep people playing Everquest-like MMOGs. If, for any reason, the creators stop injecting events, MMOGs designed like Uru are likely to end up as magnificent deserts, while standard MMOGs only need the occasional expansion.

Anyway, as far as grand visions go, I agree it could be interesting (and more doable with today’s technology) to have a game set in D’ni before the Fall, playing as a D’ni, with Guilds ranks as classes/skills, except for Writing, which would only be attainable at higher levels, maybe working somewhat like Minecraft. Something like The Book of D’ni storyline could work as a background source of exploration and questing.

But again, if that was a fan-made project, it would likely take longer than Starry Expanse, while Cyan would probably be more interested in doing something completely new.

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 4:38 am 
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Mac_Fife wrote:
...The problem really is that, at least up to this point, Cyan has been quite emphatic that Uru content will only ever be in Plasma - porting to another engine (beyond a POC) is out of the question. So you'd have to scratch build everything, no porting of textures, models, etc., and that implies many man years of effort.

Mac, my read of Chogon's post about this topic is that we are specifically forbidden to re-create any of Cyan's assets in a different engine too.

Although it is from November 2011, I couldn't find more recent official guidance on the topic. Here's the specific snip (emphasis mine):

Chogon wrote:
I would like to make a distinction here - using or recreating Cyan's content outside of MOULa Open Source, such as with a different 3D engine or game engine (commercial engines or non-commercial engines) is still prohibited.


Mac_Fife wrote:
Why Cyan takes that view, I'm not sure. I guess maybe they see that Plasma is what it is because of Uru and vice-versa so the two are immutably linked. I don't know. At any rate, without Cyan's buy-in, a grand vision will remain only a vision.

Regarding Cyan's mandate about Plasma, I'd always assumed it was because they own the engine outright and so wouldn't have to deal with any legal nuances that might arise from fans using Cyan assets or intellectual property in a third-party engine.

My sense is that Cyan wants to retain exclusive rights for porting Uru into a different game engine. Whether or not they have any intention of doing so is a very different question. ;)

Yali wrote:
The other factor is that I see two kinds of Uru players from my experience of having been here for over a decade: people who are content with the old ways and like hanging out in Uru because of the in-game community and people who are eager and hungry to see Uru and Myst grow and adapt to the present market while avoiding past pitfalls. My experience has show me that a lot of the people in the more laid back crowd are less interested in gaming as a whole or video game culture whereas myself and those who partake in content development whether here in the Intangibles/DIRT threads or on the Guild of Writers website are more than often avid gamers and see Uru in the broader context of video game culture and what, at its core, it has to offer to gamers.

I don't see myself as a member of either of your two broad categories of Uru fans, though I recognize that I belong to a very tiny minority overall. I am neither a gamer nor a socialite; I think of myself as an explorer and would like nothing better than to spend my hours in cavern doing all the things that Anna/Ti'ana once did: asking questions, researching the how and why of things and places and peoples. In the OOC sense, the lore and depth holds my interest, the unasked and unanswered questions keep me coming back.

I have neither an interest in nor an objection to cavern life becoming more stratified, economized, political etc. etc. Requiring me to participate in the latter in order to be involved in cavern life would kill my interest in a heartbeat though. :) For me, the you-are-you aspect of Uru is key; I get to be who *I* want to be here, rather than having to choose from a pre-defined list of options.

Yali wrote:
I guess what I'm saying is, of course I want to personally build a better Uru. I've been trying for a while now to figure out how to do it, but this requires manpower, Cyan themselves, and most importantly cooperation. I have little experience leading people but I do know what the game needs. If others see eye-to-eye with me or if you've ever said to yourself "yeah this makes sense" or "I'd love to see Uru change for the better" than tell me so I don't feel like a raving lunatic.

:lol:

Yali, pretty much anyone who has stayed in the cavern past the point of solving and collecting everything wants Uru to thrive and to exceed its potential. So you are a raving lunatic only in the same way the rest of us are. ;)

The fans and Cyan are in violent agreement that we'd like to see Uru live on, regain momentum and become what Cyan had once envisioned (which, BTW, we as fans can only guess at). The difficulty has been in finding the path forward. Slow progress has been made. Cyan has made it very clear that they *want* to give the cavern to the fans, but also that they are not going to walk away from Uru. The vision has been there for a number of years now; as with everything that must transform from a vision into an achievable reality, there would have been innumerable hurdles to conquer and questions to answer.

I find it a beautiful testament to both Cyan and the community that they have been been picking away at this project in their spare time over the years and that we are getting so near to an implementation process and pipeline for fan content. I cannot fathom the amount of love and hours the DIRT and Intangibles folks have dedicated to this achievement, let alone all the others who have worked behind the scenes all this time.

So kudos and cheers to all the Cyantists, fans, Writers, developers and artists who have made this possible! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: We will need to throw the party to end all parties when the first fan content is rolled into the cavern. :D I suspect most of us cannot begin to imagine what it took to get from there to here, so it's only fitting that we celebrate and honor them.

If you want to see if Cyan has changed their mind about using Plasma, then please let us know what you learn!

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 7:50 am 
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Ainia wrote:
I think of myself as an explorer and would like nothing better than to spend my hours in cavern doing all the things that Anna/Ti'ana once did: asking questions, researching the how and why of things and places and peoples. In the OOC sense, the lore and depth holds my interest, the unasked and unanswered questions keep me coming back.

Cyan is still a business company, they’ll never make a game for a minority in an already small community (I suspect that’s also why there never was a skydiving shard). A game like the one you described would make it even harder to justify the online part. Today’s gamers see Uru Live categorized as a MMOG and (rightly) expect to meet people from the start. If you consider that Uru came out before broadband access became common, that might be part of the reason why it was a commercial failure.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I find difficult to reconcile puzzle games with online social gaming: you’d need more collaborative puzzles, at a deeper level than Ahnonay, with cloths tracking tied to the avatar and not the Age. Instancing should also be toned down a lot, perhaps balanced by self-resetting mechanisms.

Another thing that might frustrate many fans is that the modern storyline has become less and less plausible; ten years after the opening of the Cavern we should have learned a lot more about the D’ni, as the DRC journals imply more sources that those available. So I think a hypothetical reboot would work well in a full D’ni setting.

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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 5:57 pm 
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Yes korovev that's my point. I'm looking at this from a business standpoint. The D'ni universe, art style and lore is so rich and unique that its basically why I keep coming back and why I think it deserves more than its been given. The issue is how do you make a Myst MMO relevant in today's gaming industry...

Well Revival is a step in the right direction. Less focus on combat and leveling, more on roleplay and virtual society building. Cyan was even going down this route from the beginning when it revealed its Uru press release in 2002 (I was there). The idea of humans "rebuilding the D'ni Empire" was always at its core and the guilds, restoration and age writing were steps in that direction. We don't know how much stratification Cyan had planned or would have implemented because Uru was cut short.

Also in terms of story, the back story of the DRC is so convoluted now being 10 years since the first restoration, the bahro war seemingly on hold, etc.

I also think that in terms of gameplay, Uru needs some serious rework. This is especially true when it comes to instancing and single-player content. I was showing a friend from work around the Cavern the other day and I realized just how hard it is to play together. We had to share book in almost every instance and often it wouldn't work. Most of the content he will have to complete alone unless he invites someone to help out with his ages. So it really got me thinking, do we want an MMO or not? When I first saw shots of the Great Shaft some 15 years ago, I saw that a massive wheel at its bottom had four handles for four players, possibly for lowering the shaft floor or opening a node door. That got me excited! We would have to work together in an open world space to explore the city and ages, I thought. The problem is that there is very little group exploration or group anything in Uru as it stands. When I think MMO I think a massive persistent universe where people play together either cooperatively or competitively. The key words are "play together". Even the city has seldom for us to do in groups. If we had "jobs" such as guild work, greeters office, selling D'ni goods, KI related activities, etc than it might make people want to come down more frequently because they would be invested in their IC work. It really is all about immersion.

The other issue as korovev said is that puzzles are a finite experience. You solve an age, get a reward, done. If the ages were designed in a way that wasn't about linear progression to a "journey's end" so to speak, but rather designed as real places where stuff happens (i.e group exploration, group control of machinery, guild work on ages like Gahreesen, or an age like Releeshahn with tons of D'ni citizens lending to tons of story potential) then the game wouldn't *end*. There wouldn't be a lack of content because the content would be self-generating.


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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 9:55 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 8:12 am 
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As an outside interest (I rarely take part in discussions here, but this one's close to my heart), here's what I see. For this to become any more than the beautiful dream of the Gathered, we need:

1. Cyan's blessing. First and foremost, nothing gets off the ground if Cyan isn't cool with it, and makes at least the conceptual material available for use, if not tangible resources like textures, sounds, etc. It would probably be for the best to re-work all that anyway, as great as the originals are.

2. Community direction. As Yali notes, this community, while a great place, is deeply fractured. Just look at this thread already! There are people who want change, who want to see the tree grow again, who have learned the lessons of the past and look to the future, and there are people who want to preserve what is, to shore up the foundations, to hold on to a precious thing and build it into a rough-hewn yet solid home. Both are right, in their own way, but if either camp constantly antagonizes, doubts, and opposes the other, nothing can and will be done.

3. Community support. It's a given at this point that Cyan won't be hiring a team of art directors, modelers, texture artists, and sound designers to reboot Uru. If it is going to happen, it will need to come from us, and very likely without any promise or expectance of pay. This community is full of amazing talent in all of those fields and more, but as mentioned above, first we need direction. Nothing gets done while we're scuttling around like ants without a hill. I personally have created a great many modifications for the games Oblivion and Skyrim, including level design, character writing, and some texture work, but I realize my skills are limited. There may be someone else out there who can model and do voice acting, but can't write. For this to work we need a solid team of people to play off each other's talents, resources, and community connections to make up for a lack of professionals with a surplus of raw talent.

And finally,

4. A plan. This comes last of all, after everything else is secured. I love the direction Yali is leaning toward with the Revival concept, and I also think good things can be learned from Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online, and others. Perhaps many others do not, and propose a valid alternative. But this stage of the process can ONLY be truly approached with permission, with direction, and with a team. No one stone can stand against the ocean. A mountain, though? An island, alone in the sea? We can make something of that, I think.

I hope I don't come off as preachy or zealous or long-winded, I truly love this game and what it can be, and I truly want it to thrive. No one believes Uru has failed, otherwise we would not be here. But an old game should be allowed to grow, to become something new, to drink from the rain and reach the sky. Isn't that what we're all about, everything else beside?

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 5:40 pm 
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Unreal and Unity are game platforms I would like to see used for recreating the D’ni worlds. I think permitting their use would solve a number of problems in the community and allow fan created worlds to appear on more gaming devices.

However, all of these platforms suffer from the same problem: content created by non-professionals. Fan created content is generally sub-optimal, not optimized for efficient use by the game engine.

One place where fans can learn to create and can contribute content, without serious complaints, before learning to optimize their creations is Second Life (SL). That creates a major problem for Second Life: lag.

SL servers have now been optimized to run sub-optimal content and to deliver the petabytes of content via Content Delivery Network (CDN) systems. Watching the stats on the servers (the client has a Stats Panel) they seldom drop below optimum numbers even when they are at their max population limit.

Fifty megabit connections show latency at 100ms and less. So, there is little if any lag coming from the network.

The lag is now mostly in the render engine client side. It doesn’t take much testing to see the lag is coming from user created content. So, while SL is great for learning, and a number of Uru fans have and are there learning, it is still a pretty bad platform for MMO play. Each year they improve it. If you look on Flickr at recent images taken in SL, it is visually exceeding what we see in MOULa.

If our fans move to Unity or Unreal for their content creation they will still need to learn how to optimize their content.

Both High Fidelity and SANSAR are virtual reality platforms being designed to allow non-professionals to create the content. Both are spin offs from Second Life. Project SANSAR is Linden Lab’s creation that will likely replace SL. Of all the companies building for VR they have the most experience dealing with sub-optimal content. SL is age-wise similar to Uru, a 2002-4 software. It will be interesting to see what the Lab can do with a next generation platform.

High Fidelity is distributed computing for virtual reality/worlds. No word on how SANSAR will handle the server side of things. As technology seems to be shared between the two companies, as Philip Rosedale is the principal in both, I expect similarities.

Linden Lab decided to move on to newer platform. Rumor is Linden Lab is using Unreal and customizing it for SANSAR. We will have SL and SANSAR to compare. We will see what could have been done with MOULa.

Cyan is limiting us to: Plasma. Whatever the reason, I believe that will eventually have to change or the Uru world we play in now will finally be abandoned, not meaning the Uru or the D’ni type worlds will be abandoned.

I agree with Yali. MOULa fans are sort of in two camps; keep it as is or modernize and grow. Nothing says MOULa cannot go both ways, if Cyan allows it. Linden Lab plans to build their new world and keep the old one running as long as there are fans to support it. In 2014 fans took US$60 million out of the SL in-world economy to RL.

There is no need for unanimous agreement in the community. Freedom is about allowing people to do what they want to do. Somewhere along the way we picked up a group of fans that couldn’t tolerate other fans walking a different path than the one they chose and wanted.
I disagree with Kohdi. Having a centrally organized game development is limiting and debatably one of the problems MOULa has.

I am with korovev. If you want a vision of yours to manifest, you make that happen. Those that feel Plasma is a old and dead platform are off playing in other worlds and building in other platforms.

This year we will likely have a number of new VR platforms to play in. At least two are focused on user created content. Expect to see unofficial/unsanctioned copies of MOULa ages in them.

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