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 Post subject: Planning Uru
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 7:07 pm 
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We all have our ideas of what will make Uru better. We have different ideas of what success for Uru means. What we don’t know is what is going to work. Most of the fans, as best I can tell, are not even considering how the game world is changing.

A recent article titled Video Game Business Strategy: New Secrets to Survival on the site GameTheory, discusses some of the important changes. Many of the insights can’t be applied to Myst-Uru, but others can.

I think these changes are affecting Cyan decisions as we see more of their effort going to iPhone/Smart Phone games. While turning Myst-Uru into a Facebook game is impractical, the things that draw 200 million players to daily log into Facebook games are probably an important consideration. Especially considering the player retention problems Myst-Uru has.

The trend in gaming suggests that a game as a standalone canned game is far too limited. Popular games are turning into or are being considered in the framework of services. I think in some ways that is what Uru was intended to be, a game-content and puzzle generating service. Obviously the demand for and cost of new content sunk Uru’s commercial efforts. Cyan may have been too far ahead of the game world and lacked the insights and services we have now. But, the game playing community may be growing into it.

It appears to me we are still headed down the same path and ignoring new insights into game players. We are planning on new content. We are considering changing the starting point in the game, may be cleaning up instancing and securing the server. But, what is it we are going to change that would interest people in logging in every day?

Edit:---- 6/4
Ideas Summary

There is an ideas list or summary on page 12. HERE Rather than read the entire 12 pages... however, before ripping on an idea it is probably wise to read the post presenting it. The numbered items are mostly in the order in which they were posted.

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 Post subject: Re: Planning Uru
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 7:47 pm 
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Nalates wrote:
Obviously the demand for and cost of new content sunk Uru’s commercial efforts. Cyan may have been too far ahead of the game world and lacked the insights and services we have now. But, the game playing community may be growing into it.


I believed this too until I read RAWA's old post about their pipeline. Basically, Cyan was in an excellent position when the entire project got plugged to release new content almost as fast as players demanded it. Their pipeline model ensured that they'd have a new Age each month complete with backstory, puzzles and so on. If they'd be able to hire teams for the different phases again, and get the ball rolling, I think Uru's situation would quickly improve. They had at least Todelmer and Noloben planned for release, and some other Ages in Phase 4 IIRC.


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 9:10 pm 
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But the game itself as-is with the already released content would leave new-comers in the same boat as Moul(a). No back story available to those coming in to the game...And that would require Re-runs which turn off the older players..So it's still a quandry that is up in the air...Old players fade with no new content...New players fade because there is no structure in-game readily available to assist them and the older players aren't providing help when asked without giving the game away.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 8:42 am 
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@dragossh, Somewhere I’ve heard how many people Cyan had when they were geared up to provide content. I do believe they could produce an age a month when they were staffed up. The problem is the cost to do that. Ubisoft and GameTap saw that they were not pulling enough people nor holding enough new people. So, they cut their losses.

Without new content and puzzles there was no reason to log into the Cavern. In the early days we had barricades to figure out how to get over, balcony jumps to learn, and a large crowd of new people all solving the puzzles. That got me in Cavern often. One could help others and there were events to catch up on. The cost of maintaining that development was too much.

With fans, I doubt we are going to have a new age per month. We have a load of ages in some stage of completion and they vary in quality. Will they be enough to get someone to log in each day? May be. But, that road has been tried and it hasn’t worked yet. I fear we are repeating a mistake.
[/@]
@Charura, Uru’s start is one of the things already planned to change. But, if you had back story, would that be what would get you to login every day? I don’t think so.

I’m not sure what you mean by reruns. Most of the stuff I can think of as reruns that would be annoying can be bypassed now.

As to how the older fans help… it has been a point in the community to avoid spoiling new players. If people are spoiling new players, it is likely a new thing.

Even if those are the problems, you didn’t have any positive suggestions for fixing them… or for getting people to login every day.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 1:20 pm 
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URU needs tons more animations for the avatar, for the cavern and ages.
URU needs not sure what you call this; URU needs a AI, a few npcs more dynamic
occurances like rocks falling example; 'M5 lite' (could be triggered or random event)
and more M4 type of dynamics and animations all to bring more emersion and life
to the cavern again. You can cause things to happen could be anything like the wearing down
of the rope bridge to where the boards would start to creek more and more
until they break! sending you down into the water below! lol OR maybe not,
maybe we now have the use of our hands and arms so we could if lucky grab ahold
of the bridge and climb back up. The smallest things can be the Biggest things.

The thing that kept me logging in back before GT Killed the game by making it into episodes, IMO.
Was the fact that events happened all the time some of them where big and
some of them where small, but the point is they happened
at no perticular time or day. So to learn about what (if anything) had happened or took place, I
would have to login to URU and check, that would lead to chatting and going to event gatherings to
helping others with their ages etc.

The Pellet run held retention for like 3 months until explorers gave up because
there was no light change in the alge in the lake. ( is the code that brittle as to emplement this
dynamic into the game? ) We also had the light meter. guess that answers my question :(

'Can be done but it would require a whole new compiled PAK file with the new dynamic
code added in.' sometimes I think Cyan should just put in with the help of the community
Everything they have for URU sitting on the shelfs collecting dust add in M5 etc. content too.

THE WAY THEY ORIGNALY INVISIONED URU TO BE PUT TOGETHER. ( pretending that
UBIsoft never shut down URU abm senario) So 'The Dream' Cyan has had for URU, can finaly
be realised!


PS The way URU is now, has a lot of broken puzzles and content that has been blocked off.
I Need to see it all as Cyan orignaly intended it 'in the pipeline' with all puzzles & ages etc. working.
and then we all would have a lot better picture of how to add in user made content and ferther growth
of the mystries of the D'ni.




.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 3:36 pm 
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The main problem i see with URU is that its just like every other Offline Myst. Once you have solved an age there is no replay value. With an offline game that is fine, but for an online game it will prevent people from returning once they have completed all the ages. What it needs are some team based ages where players can compete against each other. Competition is defiantly something which would bring players back again and again. A league could be created for teams to register in which would help to bring players back into the game at regular times. It would also be good to add in some mini games to public areas, simple games which can be played alone(vs a computer) or against other players(Things simmiler to the free games you get with windows but with a Myst twist).

Charura wrote:
No back story available to those coming in to the game...And that would require Re-runs which turn off the older players..

The best idea would be to create a log book, there could be two benefits. The first is that past events could be placed in it (by the game) so that people who weren't there could read about what has happened. The second is that it could log your progress on ages.

Culpa Innata (a game) had a diary which logged what happened to the player in that day. Important diary entries would be marked as red until the player had solved a certain puzzle. It allowed you to easily work out what you still had left to do. One problem with URU is that if you take a break from the game, you have no clue as to what you have and haven't done in the game.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 5:19 pm 
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Stucuk wrote:
The main problem i see with URU is that its just like every other Offline Myst. Once you have solved an age there is no replay value. With an offline game that is fine, but for an online game it will prevent people from returning once they have completed all the ages. What it needs are some team based ages where players can compete against each other. Competition is defiantly something which would bring players back again and again. A league could be created for teams to register in which would help to bring players back into the game at regular times. It would also be good to add in some mini games to public areas, simple games which can be played alone(vs a computer) or against other players(Things simmiler to the free games you get with windows but with a Myst twist).

Charura wrote:
No back story available to those coming in to the game...And that would require Re-runs which turn off the older players..

The best idea would be to create a log book, there could be two benefits. The first is that past events could be placed in it (by the game) so that people who weren't there could read about what has happened. The second is that it could log your progress on ages.

Culpa Innata (a game) had a diary which logged what happened to the player in that day. Important diary entries would be marked as red until the player had solved a certain puzzle. It allowed you to easily work out what you still had left to do. One problem with URU is that if you take a break from the game, you have no clue as to what you have and haven't done in the game.


I think the diary you're referring to is Douglas Sharper's journal. Unfortunately, it wasn't very well detailed, and it stopped when the character of D. Sharper left the Cavern.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 6:00 pm 
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Nalates wrote:
@dragossh, Somewhere I’ve heard how many people Cyan had when they were geared up to provide content. I do believe they could produce an age a month when they were staffed up. The problem is the cost to do that. Ubisoft and GameTap saw that they were not pulling enough people nor holding enough new people. So, they cut their losses.

Ubisoft backed out of Uru at the same time as their other online games. 40,000 in 3 months with all the problems it had sounds pretty good to me, and once it went gold it might have been able to pull in a lot more with all the story Cyan had planned.

Nalates wrote:
With fans, I doubt we are going to have a new age per month. We have a load of ages in some stage of completion and they vary in quality. Will they be enough to get someone to log in each day? May be. But, that road has been tried and it hasn’t worked yet. I fear we are repeating a mistake.

The problem of fan ages are texturing and lack of backstory (for the most part). Even MOULa's Ages had some backstory and purpose. As for one age per month, I don't think we can pull it off.

Stucuk wrote:
The main problem i see with URU is that its just like every other Offline Myst. Once you have solved an age there is no replay value. With an offline game that is fine, but for an online game it will prevent people from returning once they have completed all the ages. What it needs are some team based ages where players can compete against each other.

Currently we have two minigames available: Ahyoheek and Jalak. Cyan also had planned Tic Tac Toe (by looking at the source), the Gahreesen Wall which was almost ready to go, and Kahlo which was supposed to be a racing competition. Kahlo was in stage 4, which means the Age was mostly complete but the wiring needed to be done and the physics were always buggy there. Again, this is one of the things that can be blamed on Uru's cancellation.

Reruns... we could post chatlogs or some summaries, and now with YouTube even videos. Or we could use The Fun House to reenact these events.


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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 7:07 pm 
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Having the ability to access web pages from within the cavern has been discussed. The original context was for improving classroom instruction in Uru.

In SL we have Media On A Prim, in other words we can put web pages with Flash, video, music etc. Basically we access web pages. (Prims are primitive objects like a cube or sphere).

If we get the HTTP access in Uru we could build journals that point to a blog. A blog can have multiple authors or a single author. One could keep up with the journal in and out of game. By journaling about things going on in-Cavern we might attract more people.

Also, news feeds could be built using a Twitter account.

The Devokan Trust is experimenting with different stories and ideas for getting the story information in world and out world.

I think one of our problems is pointing new players to the massive amount of story available for Uru. Presenting it in some fun way other than making it feel like one must read a book (not meaning the Myst stories) to play is still a challenge. Video might be a good way.

May be having a fan museum or a Maintainers' Records Hall in a fan age with a viewer that links to a play list of YouTube videos.

Whatever could be new every day and give people a way to keep up with fast moving story. GoMe could be summarizing events or some players could run newspapers...

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 7:21 pm 
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TOOO wrote:
I think the diary you're referring to is Douglas Sharper's journal. Unfortunately, it wasn't very well detailed, and it stopped when the character of D. Sharper left the Cavern.

His diary isn't what im on about. Im on about having an actual player log book thing which would be written as if you wrote it yourself. Basically something you would always carry around with you.

The concept is that players would be able to look in there log book/journal/diary/whatever and it would tell them about past events. So people could learn about the past events, story behind them etc even if they never experienced them. People who experienced them could get a re-cap. It could also be extended so that it logs what you do in ages. So if you say complete a puzzle in an age you would get a line in the book which could say something like "I worked out that you had to do something with that block which then opened the door", so you could always know what you have done in an age and work out what you now need to do.

So basically it would be your own journal which would fill up the more you played the game. Which could be organised into categories. There could be something like bookmarks, which take you to different sections of your journal. You would have separate sections for each age as well as one for global events. That way if you wanted to see what you had done in an age you could just look in that age's section.

dragossh wrote:
and Jalak

Jalak is a sandbox. Its not what i would class as something which has alot of replay value. After a while i got bored and never returned. The fact there are no rules, no goals, etc makes it something that has no replay value for me. I get the concept behind the age, but it doesn't do anything for me.

Nalates wrote:
If we get the HTTP access in Uru we could build journals that point to a blog. A blog can have multiple authors or a single author. One could keep up with the journal in and out of game. By journaling about things going on in-Cavern we might attract more people.

There is one problem with that. Websites generally die after a few years. So you could end up down the line having the problem that whatever website used to host the contents has died and now you have a gap in URU.

I think it would be better to have stuff like that on the server its self. You could still have it so you can update them via a web browser and view them via one, but by having it on the actual server you remove the problem of relying on 3rd party websites. It would also remove the need for creating a web browser inside URU for the idea to work.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 7:42 pm 
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Stucuk wrote:
The concept is that players would be able to look in there log book/journal/diary/whatever and it would tell them about past events. So people could learn about the past events, story behind them etc even if they never experienced them. People who experienced them could get a re-cap. It could also be extended so that it logs what you do in ages. So if you say complete a puzzle in an age you would get a line in the book which could say something like "I worked out that you had to do something with that block which then opened the door", so you could always know what you have done in an age and work out what you now need to do.

That feature was available in offline offline Uru and has been replaced by the notes in the KI in Uru Live.

Stucuk wrote:
Jalak is a sandbox. Its not what i would class as something which has alot of replay value. After a while i got bored and never returned. The fact there are no rules, no goals, etc makes it something that has no replay value for me. I get the concept behind the age, but it doesn't do anything for me.

Which is why it has replay value. The idea behind Jalak is to go there and make your own games. There are a lot of fun games available for Jalak, sadly people don't seem to care for it too much.

@Nalates: Explaining the backstory of Uru through videos sounds like a good idea. Maybe we can start planning something like the Prologue videos but voiced and more like "Previously on Uru..."


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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 8:06 pm 
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dragossh wrote:
That feature was available in offline offline Uru

I don't remember offline URU ever having any kind of player journal which is filled in by the game based on your progress.

dragossh wrote:
and has been replaced by the notes in the KI in Uru Live.

If you mean the notes you can write yourself then that is nowhere near the same as what im on about. Im on about where the game its self fills in the journal based on the progress you have made as well as any global events that have happened in the server.

The concept is to make it so that it doesn't rely on the player adding information to it. You can still make it so you can write stuff into it yourself. But you want it so that you can read what has happened to your character to get a re-cap on your progress as well as past cavern events.

It would also be best as a proper looking book rather than the KI imo. It would also be more realistic. Everyone else(NPC's) seems to use paper to write stuff on not a watch.

dragossh wrote:
Which is why it has replay value. The idea behind Jalak is to go there and make your own games. There are a lot of fun games available for Jalak, sadly people don't seem to care for it too much.

It doesn't have replay value for the majority of people. The problem is that most people will go into it play around for say 10 minutes to an hour, get bored and never go there again. You have proven my whole point with "sadly people don't seem to care for it too much". The problem with it is that people don't want to make up there own games, they want to play a pre-made game. If people want to make up games they don't need to even log into URU.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 8:46 pm 
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Stucuk wrote:
It doesn't have replay value for the majority of people. The problem is that most people will go into it play around for say 10 minutes to an hour, get bored and never go there again. You have proven my whole point with "sadly people don't seem to care for it too much". The problem with it is that people don't want to make up there own games, they want to play a pre-made game. If people want to make up games they don't need to even log into URU.

http://www.heywetried.com/jalak/ :)

Your journal idea sounds good, however if it contains past events it means somebody must have written in it before. It being from Yeesha might work... then you'd be able to complete it while you're playing the game. Not sure if I'm sold on the autocompelte idea though, I believe the game should not do stuff for the player. It breaks immersion even further.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning Uru
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 1:42 am 
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Nalates wrote:
A recent article titled Video Game Business Strategy: New Secrets to Survival on the site GameTheory, discusses some of the important changes. Many of the insights can’t be applied to Myst-Uru, but others can.

I think these changes are affecting Cyan decisions as we see more of their effort going to iPhone/Smart Phone games. While turning Myst-Uru into a Facebook game is impractical, the things that draw 200 million players to daily log into Facebook games are probably an important consideration. Especially considering the player retention problems Myst-Uru has.

The game market is expanding and evolving in really fundamental ways; and it is true that some of those evolutions could be used to bring in, or retain, people in Uru. But that wouldn't change the core problem which is the lack of content of the game. It might help bring in new talents to help expand that content though. Expanding a community can always do that. But again, creating content for Uru remains very long and difficult, this is not Little Big Planet, or Minecraft, or Second Life. Community created content will not help propel Uru to new heights. It will help keep the fire alive; but that's it. (And that's fine with me.)

Regardless of that if the Uru player base is to be extended in new directions through new channels it probably won't be by Cyan. So that leaves the community. But just like content creation, 'marketing' community driven efforts can be a bit of a finicky thing...

dragossh wrote:
Ubisoft backed out of Uru at the same time as their other online games

This is an important point that is not often mentionned. In 2003/04 Ubi was trying to make a forray in the then-nascent MMO landscape, and eventually decided to back up and halt or redirect most of their efforts there; Uru was unfortunately part of that. Shadowbane was also a victim of that, an option they had to publish Matrix Online was cancelled too, as well as a 3rd game which I can't remember right now. And then Uru. All of that in a matter of a couple months. This was a global strategy of which Uru was only one victim.
Maybe in different circumstances Ubi would have kept Uru around longer. But on the other hand maybe in different circumstances they wouldn't have published it in the first place..


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 2:53 am 
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dragossh wrote:
Your journal idea sounds good, however if it contains past events it means somebody must have written in it before. It being from Yeesha might work... then you'd be able to complete it while you're playing the game.

Well for events you could have it written differently if you actually experienced it or not as well as if it was before your character entered the game. So if you experienced it then it would be written like you where there, if not it could be written as if you found out information on the event and if it was before your time it could be written as if it was wrote by DRC (With a "Printed" type font which looked like it was printed on a printer/typewriter/etc).

I.E

"a stranger appeared today in a boat..." //Experienced it
"i found out from others that there was a stranger in a boat..." //Didn't Experience it
"a stranger appeared today in a boat... - DRC" //Was before your time

Note: I suck at writing, so think of something that sounds better in your head :P .

dragossh wrote:
Not sure if I'm sold on the autocompelte idea though, I believe the game should not do stuff for the player. It breaks immersion even further.

Well it would be designed to look as if you wrote it yourself. So i don't see that as breaking immersion. You don't need to have personally experienced everything that has happened to your character for immersion to be fine, you don't for example experience going to bed, eating, etc yet you still would imagine that your character did those things. At least my character eats/sleeps...

As long as its done in a realistic way (realistic to the Myst world) then i don't think alot of people would have the problem of believing that there character would write entries into a Journal.

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Last edited by Stucuk on Sun May 15, 2011 4:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

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