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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:05 pm 
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The developer pool is very small, so you would get very few groups - high quality, (very) low quantity. The trick is finding the right balance between quantity and quality.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:08 pm 
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Jahmen wrote:
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I would like to see age creation groups- groups of people working together on an age, rather than a single writer.


It would seem a natural development for explorers to eventually get together on creating Ages. Age project to form teams around Story, Puzzles, Music, Remdering, Code, etc... But how to ensure control over one's Age and Story? How will the one who's vision for the initial Age maintain control of the content and out come? Creative people often have creative tempers and egos. How or what would keep any or a few in a group effort from going of with parts of the originators Age and making it into their own version? I am looking for what the protocals or blueprint for how that will be done. Anyone know? Cyan legal going to handle that?

These are all good questions. We answer them all the time in our daily work-a-day lives. We know that Cyan does not have time, money or want to put the effort into trying to control the fans, at least I think they want to avoid that. So, other than a license for how the Cyan content and source code can be used, count them out. That sort of sets the stage for how fans will handle their creations.

Writers are creating ages now, some in teams. Many of these writers are going through learning about what people do when they come together as artists and creators. Some will likely ask for agreements before embarking on a project. A few will get it in writing so courts can enforce the agreements. Others will get into these projects with just their ideas of how it will be dancing in their heads. At some point they may have to deal with the reality that others on the team have other ideas. All the drama, learning, fights, friendships, disappointments and elations of these sorts of things will be played out. This is what freedom is about. To think one can control to avoid these things and take away individual freedoms to protect/improve the process is just a miss guided effort. Watch what governments do. The basic rule of thumb is that whatever goal a government sets, they achieve the opposite. Once upon a time the American ideal was to let the people run their lives and keep government out of things.

For these creative people, let them learn. Leave them free to create, mess up and learn. In the end they will work out the best solution for their personal situations. They can write of their experience and provide their written ‘guide lines’ so others can learn from their experience. But, trying to force everyone into the same ‘creative process’ is, typically, a path to failure.

So, while many of us think teams are a good idea, would we want to try and impose that on writers? I don’t. Trying to setup a system for how ages will be written and impose it on new age writers… who is going to run that system and enforce it? Those that want those protections can use the systems we use in our daily lives. NDA's, written agreements, verbal agreements, courts of law... my point is it is up to those doing the writing.

GoW and GoMa provide the technical ‘how to’ help for writers. There is no real control just cooperation. The creative process… is wide open.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:29 pm 
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I made a URU style puzzle for my daughters birthday party for the second time last sunday. I make sure to keep the cooperative little adventures, solvable within 15-20 minutes.
Id like to make kids ages for URU. NO! not pink'n'blu cartoonish things with pandabears and talking rucksacks, no no NO.
Real good looking ages. But with adventures a group of 6-8 year old kids could reasonably solve. Considering that the work will be as difficult and timeconsuming as making a regular age, I may not find any team mates. But think about it this way. Maybe you just like to make a nice age, a good and intriguing place to visit. Then to ad something that puts the childs logic circuits on trial, and to the experienced explorer offers little or no hinderance, could fit?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:48 pm 
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Rudolfson wrote:
Id like to make kids ages for URU. ...Real good looking ages. But with adventures a group of 6-8 year old kids could reasonably solve. Considering that the work will be as difficult and timeconsuming as making a regular age, I may not find any team mates. But think about it this way. Maybe you just like to make a nice age, a good and intriguing place to visit. Then to ad something puts the childs logic circuits on trial, and to the experienced explorer offers little or no hinderance, could fit?

Creating an exporable Age with children in mind yet making it interesting to adults would be going back to Cyan's roots Rudolfson. "The Manhole" - "Cosmic Osmo" - "Spelunker(?)" were all adventures originally made for kids. So keep on thinking along those lines. Perhaps you could broach the subject in the Guild of Writers forum - you might get some folks interested.

PS: If you are not familiar with these early Cyan games they are available for play on GameTap. I understand GT will be going international in the near future - from a thread in the Off-Topic forum by macnbc.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:15 pm 
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The developer pool is very small, so you would get very few groups - high quality, (very) low quantity. The trick is finding the right balance between quantity and quality.


Well than, shouldn't we get more people helping? :wink:

I rather have more quality than quantity. I rather have 3 high quality ages, made by 3 large teams, than 50 low quality ages. And know it's hard but in my eyes, we MUST be orgenized.

Another solution is making some sort of a blender plug-in, which allows players creating high quality ages, and giving them free access to a library of models, sounds, textures and so on. It could be SUPER, but sadly, I doubt it will ever happen.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:55 pm 
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I think you are going to have small teams, even teams of 1, but I don't really know for sure.

I've been on some large teams at work (also some smaller teams) - and that can be great. But, when I do something for my own enjoyment, I don't generally do things that require a lot of input from other people or a lot of coordination. If I make something (not game related), I want to make it myself. I love the world of work, I genuinely do, but I don't want to replicate the world of work in my free time with my personal projects. The whole point of doing something in my free time is that I have more control and I can do it when I want to do it, when it works for me. Generalizing madly here, perhaps there are people working on Uru (I'm not working on it) who have the same view of what kinds of things they like to do in their non work hours.

It's a labor of love - people work on Uru because they want to - and whatever structure works for them is the one that we'll end up with.

There already are some tools people can use, right? Maybe eventually there will be more.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:19 pm 
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mszv wrote:
I think you are going to have small teams, even teams of 1, but I don't really know for sure.

I've been on some large teams at work (also some smaller teams) - and that can be great. But, when I do something for my own enjoyment, I don't generally do things that require a lot of input from other people or a lot of coordination. If I make something (not game related), I want to make it myself. I love the world of work, I genuinely do, but I don't want to replicate the world of work in my free time with my personal projects. The whole point of doing something in my free time is that I have more control and I can do it when I want to do it, when it works for me. Generalizing madly here, perhaps there are people working on Uru (I'm not working on it) who have the same view of what kinds of things they like to do in their non work hours.

It's a labor of love - people work on Uru because they want to - and whatever structure works for them is the one that we'll end up with.

There already are some tools people can use, right? Maybe eventually there will be more.

I think you are very much to the point, mszv. Things are happening here, so let them happen.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:28 pm 
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Thinking about it, I wonder if it's possible to make some "age maker" version of blender, which will have a library of models, textures, sound and so on.

In order to keep things different, players won't get whole trees (for example) to put- but they will have to build a tree from a library of brunches, leaves and so on from the library.

It may be hard but if it's possible...

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:41 pm 
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The stranger wrote:
Thinking about it, I wonder if it's possible to make some "age maker" version of blender, which will have a library of models, textures, sound and so on.

In order to keep things different, players won't get whole trees (for example) to put- but they will have to build a tree from a library of brunches, leaves and so on from the library.

It may be hard but if it's possible...


I'm not sure you could do this, but the best alternative would be a repository of Blender objects which could be used to quickly throw together contents of an Age such as book stands, books, cones, barriers, stair railings, noticeboards as well as a library of Photoshop textures for walls and carpeting etc. I am slowly building a stack of these objects for my Age and would be willing to hand them around to anyone who wants them (when I get round to finishing them).

As for trees, there is already a Python script for Blender to create trees by entering in a few parameters.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:12 pm 
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Alright, let's do a little refresher course, shall we?

This whole discussion was brought up quite a while ago. There was a bit of debate over whether groups could produce quality content faster than individuals.

Here's what it comes down to:

Can one guy make a gorgeous Age complete with professional-quality texturing, excellent sound design, awe-inspiring music, engaging puzzles and story, and do it in a "reasonable" amount of time? Absolutely.

Will this be common? No.

Now, conversely, can a decent-sized group of people working together create a beautiful Age that includes quality modeling and textures, sounds that fit, music that reinforces the scene, logical puzzles and an evolving story, and do it in a "reasonable" amount of time? Absolutely.

Will this be common? No.

Quality can be accomplished alone or together. That's not really the point. Naturally, if a talented individual duplicated himself five times so he can always work on his Age and yet still have a life, he is going to accomplish the task much faster than just one individual. This is the premise behind a team; if a group works together and has enough shared talent between them, and if work is actually getting done, they will outpace the individual in speed if not in quality.

So really, the argument is whether or not groups complete larger areas faster and at the same standard of quality as one person. Logic says yes, but only under perfect circumstances. The problem with teams is you end up needing a lot more coordination to get work done. People come and go, individuals don't work well together, two people end up doing all the work, ideas become too complex due to too much input, etc. etc. Whereas all of that can be bypassed with one person working out all their ideas on their own. They don't have to argue or convince anyone if they want to make a change; they don't have to wait for another member to finish concept art when it's needed; they troubleshoot their own problems; modeling is accomplished at whatever speed they push themselves to. When you're on your own, you're on your own, for better or for worse.

So really the answer is that, under the absolute PERFECT circumstances for both scenarios, a large team will get more work done at the same quality than will one person. But the "perfect" circumstances rarely appear, so what you see more often are individuals who have more work done than larger groups. The large groups move slowly and, over time, create an enormous amount of loosely-connected information that either A) causes the group to dissolve or B) requires one or two motivated individuals to piece it all together and deliver it to the public. So far, B has yet to occur.

So what we are seeing is lots of projects being finished by individuals and virtually no projects being completed by groups. One can complain about the "quality" of individual projects and then point out the fact that groups work faster, but nobody can actually give you an example of a group that has finished something and put it in public in a completed, coherent form. I'd rather take mediocre content from one guy over no content from a mass of loosely organized people.

Now, since the individuals are actually getting experience through finishing their work, their work tends to improve much faster. It's impossible to get any real experience in a group where nothing is getting done. The result of this is that, at the moment, the general collection of completed works is somewhat lower-quality than we're used to from Cyan. But here's the good part: as the individuals who progress through projects become more skilled, the ratio of good content to bad content will slowly change in good content's favor.

Understand that there will always be crap in the ULM, or whatever equivalent we'll have in OpenURU. This is because new players will always be entering the field of Age creation, and so their projects will reflect their amateur status. But if the number of dedicated modelers remains constant, then the amount of quality content will rise. PERIOD.

At this point it's just a matter of time before "Cyan-quality Ages" (there's that sticky term again) become the norm, and crappy ones become the exception that proves the rule.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:51 pm 
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Ghame wrote:
The stranger wrote:
Thinking about it, I wonder if it's possible to make some "age maker" version of blender, which will have a library of models, textures, sound and so on.

In order to keep things different, players won't get whole trees (for example) to put- but they will have to build a tree from a library of brunches, leaves and so on from the library.

It may be hard but if it's possible...


I'm not sure you could do this, but the best alternative would be a repository of Blender objects which could be used to quickly throw together contents of an Age such as book stands, books, cones, barriers, stair railings, noticeboards as well as a library of Photoshop textures for walls and carpeting etc. I am slowly building a stack of these objects for my Age and would be willing to hand them around to anyone who wants them (when I get round to finishing them).

As for trees, there is already a Python script for Blender to create trees by entering in a few parameters.

Blender objects… they clutter the computer landscape now… The GoMa has a library building up now. Age writers are sharing textures at GoW, or some site they use. So, lots of this stuff is in place.

A custom Blender… That is possible and not uncommon. Domino Marama (SL AV name) built features into Blender for use in SL. To avoid a separate Blender thread he did a two-step-thing. Most 3D games use LoD or as you see it in Blender: Multires. The features common to most 3D development he added into Blender. The specialty stuff for SL he wrote into python scripts as add-on’s. I watched the development this year following his forum posts. Slick move on his part.

So, yeah the tools one would need are likely to be available. I am guessing there are a dozen or so people that are looking at getting their hands on Plasma code and figuring out what they can do with it to get the Blender plug-in working better and improve game performance.

@mszv, you are the second person to eloquently post saying they like doing solo projects. GPNMilano feels a similar way. I have no idea how many age writers feel the same. We who are not writing ages should remain clear it is they who are that get to decide how this will work. Until I fire off Blender and start laying down vertices…

@ Calam… well written. That is about as on the mark as I think it can get. I am curious if you went through and looked at the ages to see how ‘completed’ ages were written, team or solo?

Teamwork has overhead. In this community a lot of teams have come apart. They may just not work for hobbies.

I expect someone to get a rep for texturing and be helping several writers. And may be someone for coding and do the same. Some specialty things may get writers to go out for help for a thing rather than go the route of a whole team.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:12 am 
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Nalates wrote:
Calam… well written. That is about as on the mark as I think it can get. I am curious if you went through and looked at the ages to see how ‘completed’ ages were written, team or solo?


I looked at a lot of screenshots, and I've spent time on a couple of teams, so I've seen it all in action. I can't get my copy of CC to work so I can't use the ULM. Really, the deductions are fairly simple: the number of individuals who have produced content far outweigh the number of teams who have. Just look at the ERC; that team is pretty large, and it displays signs of every single problem I outlined. They have lots of concepts, interesting ideas, and maybe a handful of models... But nothing is completed. And unless one or two people come along and whip the whole project into shape, it probably won't be completed. It's just how unpaid projects tend to go.

And just as a note, in this context, I don't consider 2 people a team because it doesn't create the team dynamic that I discussed earlier. When you get into 3-4 people or more, then you start seeing the things I described.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:33 am 
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Great posts Calam! Great post Natales! And for the record - I'm not making ages, I just like to do what I want in my free time. This means that, even when I play multiplayer games, I mostly solo - Guild Wars is great for that. I'm big on teamwork at work (and I like to think I have some talent at it), but it's not how I choose to do my after work fun.

The reason teams often work out well in the paid world of work is because people pay you to do it, there are people whose job it is to coordinate stuff, you can't walk away when things aren't working out the way you want them too, you get paid to specialize, and when there is conflict, it's someone's job to figure out what to do. Everyone has a boss, and sometimes it's your job to do what your boss tells you to do, even if you don't want to do it and think there is a better way. I love the world of work - I'm not complaining - just saying how it is.

The idea of doing stuff in your free time is that you get to do stuff you might not be good at, to start with, but it's all yours! Say you are a great programmer but not so good at the visual aspects of age creation. It's your world, your age, and you get to do it anyway. You get to do the stuff you aren't crazy about, but you also get to do the fun stuff too, and you do it the way you want to do it.

My father built furniture as a hobby, for his home, his family. This was a lovely contrast to his job as a manufacturing engineer, a job he liked, but a job in the world of work. In his paying job he got to do his part, other people got to do their part, and the products got built. But - even if he wanted to do other parts of the job, or make all kinds of changes, he could not do it. By necessity, there was specialization, and no one person got to make a big piece of equipment exactly the way they wanted to. Now, when he built furniture, as a hobby, for his home and family, he started with his plans, and took it from there. Every bit of it - the design (and yes, he consulted my mother, and listened to her opinions), buying the materials, doing his blueprints, planning, sawing, hammering, finishing - it was all his. No one got more pleasure from every aspect of his furniture making than my father. If he wasn't good at some part of it, he worked and worked at it until he got good at it. He didn't have to worry if people would buy it - we liked what he made, and he did a good job and took pride in making furniture for us. He didn't have to worry about how long it took, for the most part. We had furniture in our home - we weren't hunkered down on the floor. If it took him longer than he thought to make a cabinet, that was OK. We could wait.

It's not exactly the same, but I think age making is more like my father making furniture for his family than his paying job. It's doing all aspects of making a thing, and it's doing it as a labor of love, and it's going to take as long as it's going to take, and it's all under your control. Sure, you want people to enjoy the finished work, but I'm going to guess that at least a couple of people are going to enjoy every age that gets made. I think it will all work out in the end.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:41 am 
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Now I will say this in favor of teams.

When you get the right group of people together, and when the group is small, and when talents overlap slightly yet everyone has a distinct job, and when everyone has time to work on their portion of the project, and when people get along, it's absolutely magical. Amazing things come flying out of groups like that.

But they're incredibly rare. And even a really great group like can dissolve just because people either run out of time to work on it, or the audience for their product just doesn't exist. It's a very difficult balancing act and few people can do it.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:35 am 
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That was what I was getting at. How would or will Ages be done with groups? Why hasn't anyone formed a group to do an Age? If a group has formed to to an Age, how is the content controlled between them? Work deligated between them? Cyan must have had an outline for tasking developers, modlers, textures, story, etc... I just assumed those who had the abilities to create the graphics and coding would get with others of simular skills to do an Age together. An Explorer comes up with an Age Story, Puzzles, Sketches, Concepts, but needs help making it, tweeking the puzzles, story line, back stories, etc... Has any of the Guilds gotten anything organized yet along these lines?


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