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Cyan's Worlds: A Rant What I want to see next

#1 User is offline   bluewyvern 

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Posted 01 May 2007 - 09:50 PM

I've been thinking a lot lately about the development of the Myst/D'ni world (don't we have a better name for it yet than M/R/E/D/U/R/E/Q/W/E/R/T/Y/U/I/O/P yet?), the progression from Myst to the events today in Uru, the often tangled evolution of the canon, the end of the series, and Cyan. They are moving on to other projects; they want to create a new genre with Latus, which I am excited for and very curious about. While the later games in the Myst series are fun and great, they are not new and different, and I hope Cyan can still pull something completely innovative and unfamiliar out of the bag again the way they did with Myst -- I hope the spirit of creativity and originality is still with them, and they haven't become simply custodians to a querulous online population and renderers of increasingly lifelike rocks and trees.

Think back to Myst. Remember Myst? Remember before you knew about the Cleft and the Fall and and Guilds and the Bahro, before you met Gehn and Saavedro and Yeesha, before you could read and count in D'ni and debate the finer points of linking theory? There was just a strange island, a lot of journals left lying around by a man who apparently liked to sketch and build structures, and two books with spooky people inside talking to you. Surreal, random, and illogical in a way the sequels weren't, Myst had more in common with The Manhole than with Exile or Revelation.

The elements were arranged in Myst for sheer effect, rather than according to a preordained plot or plan, and hasty canon amendments, revisions and retractions proved that the game came first. Cyan had to bend over backwards to think of a story later to fit. And they didn't just change it once and stick with it, they continue to make it up retroactively as they go along. Prison books? No such thing, they're really just regular ages. No, you don't immediately swap places with the prisoner. That was just Artistic License because the game is based on real events! No, the Cleft is not in the Middle East, it's in New Mexico. The book was written by a silly author who, again, took artistic license -- the reality is different. And today the canon continues to be ruptured to suit game mechanics and new ideas about what's what: now we have linking books that can go with you, and journey cloths and relto pages with all kinds of fantastical properties to create custom links and alter already-created ages. (Translation: Yeesha is Magic.) And again canon goes out the window.

I digress -- the Canon Rant is a different one, and I didn't really want to go into it here -- only to point out that Cyan's canon confusion results from their original project, which was to make something surreal and strange, which they did. There is a sense of whimsy that has largely vanished from their later offerings, which favor grandiosity and realism over the unexpected. Myst had a lot of weird things -- books that aren't books, a tree that's not a tree, giant gears, singing crystals, a little sunken ship in a pool that acts as a magical proxy for a big sunken ship in the sea, a rocketship that's not a rocketship and contains an organ that's not an organ and gives you access to one of the books that's not a book, that's not even a book. While I do love what the Myst franchise has become, I miss that old, original feeling that gave us all the initial thrill -- a world that is empty, vast, eerie, bizarre. After Myst and Riven, every subsequent game was a spiritual sequel to Riven, where the alien worlds all had histories and meanings and rules and logic and people to talk to and urgent missions to accomplish.

If Cyan is moving on to projects with the completion of the Myst series, I hope that, freed of the often inconvenient demands of a bulky and contradictory canon, coupled with the expectations of fans for a furtherance of the story to which they are zealously attached, Cyan returns to their roots and uses this freedom to create something as imaginative and fantastic and unfettered as their earliest outings were, like Myst and The Manhole (and, I imagine, Cosmic Osmo and perhaps Spelunx, though I've regrettably never had the pleasure). I want the next game to be a Manhole for grownups, with those whimsical, free-associative non sequiturs from area to area and dream figures instead of cartoon characters. I want a game as hallucinogenic and atmospheric and free-floating as Samorost, where effect and experience again take precedence over plot and reason. (And if you've never played Samorost, please stop reading and cease all other activities and click here immediately.)

Since Cyan seems drawn nowadays to the American southwest, how about the following scenario: you are wandering through a vast desert at night, without knowing who or where you are or how you got there. In the distance you see a light, and follow it to a smoking campfire. There you meet Coyote, the desert trickster-god, who sends you on a peyote-fueled vision quest where you traverse impossible landscapes, overcome obstacles, and meet many strange characters. The game need not be southwestern or Native American themed -- it can be as eclectic, timeless, universal, and particular as any dream. With Cyan's imaginative depth and power, I'm sure it would be a sight to see.

It could be said that Cyan's output can be divided into two distinct periods: the Juvenile period, including all of their children's games before Myst, and the D'ni period, encompassing Riven and the whole Myst saga to the present date. Myst, I would argue, is the transitional work which has many affinities with the Juvenile period games, traits which later vanished from the series. I liked those traits, and I would like to see Cyan, with all their accumulated experience and knowledge and sophistication and technical expertise, return to that whimsical, innocent, unfettered spirit that characterized the Juvenile period, and bring it to life again with a totally new, imaginative, surreal, beautiful game. I know they could do it.
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#2 User is offline   chucker 

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 02:05 AM

I don't wish you interrupt your interesting thoughts, but I don't think Cyan will have the resources to come up with a post- or aside-MO:UL project any time soon, except for small stuff such as the Book of Marrim. They have been notoriously understaffed ever since their temporary shutdown in late 2005.
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#3 User is offline   bluewyvern 

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 07:10 PM

I thought they were currently working on Latus, their post-, non-Myst project? Isn't it in active development?

I didn't know that Cyan itself was shut down in 2005 -- I thought they just didn't have the money to support Uru Live. I have been pretty out of the loop for a couple years -- what exactly happened?

I saw an old thread down there where someone mentioned Cyan selling the office space and disbanding -- that didn't happen, did it? Since Cyan is here now running Uru Live, I figured everything was the same as always...
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#4 User is offline   Marten 

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 11:55 PM

Cyan is at less than half the staff they were at the start of 2004. One of the two office space areas is completely closed; everyone is operating out of the original building right now. And when I was there at Mysterium 2006, while they were working hard to get Uru Live started up again, they still had empty desks in that building too.
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#5 User is offline   Nisan 

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 04:17 PM

What you said resonates in my heart, Bluewyvern. I must say I am of two minds on the matter: Would I most like to see another whimsical, surreal adventure or a deep, cohesive adventure?

Surely when any of us first arrives on the dock of that island, all he knows is that he is about to begin exploring a great and marvellous world. Hm, are those giant gears on top of that hill? And -- ah! how I would love to explore those woods! Before the island starts to feel too small, one finds some journals which tell of even wider worlds, as marvellous as this one, and with a history besides. While the sight of a strange new world is enough to draw an explorer in, it is the story that keeps the world wide enough to contain him. You might even say that the 24-bit graphics are just elaborate illustrations for that story.

Once one has walked the length of Myst island back and forth a hundred times and peered into every nook and cranny on the other islands, there is little more one can do with the game itself. But the story is much, much bigger than the islands, big enough to be real. I think that if Myst were no more than some fun things to do and some nice places to visit, there wouldn't be so many people here talking about it, because there wouldn't be much to say.

I have not had the pleasure of playing The Manhole or Cyan's other early games. Now that I've tried Samorost, I see that what little story it has is not really essential. It clearly has an exquisite sense of wonder. But if Samorost were made as long as Myst but without telling a story, I think it would not be quite as powerful. It is certainly an imaginitive work, but it gives the imagination little to work on. At each stage, you can expect more fun things to do and more nice places to visit, with no relation to previous stages. Whereas, in Myst, every time you encounter a new linking book you wonder if you'll finally see one of the places you've read about, and whether it will be like you imagined.

Now Myst demonstrates that a game can be fanciful while maintaining a cohesive story. So what happened with the later games? The story was taken more seriously -- I will not say too seriously. I'm not so sure that was a bad thing. Revelation is much like a second version of Myst that is much more devoted to its story. And still, it has moments of surreality and caprice. Here's another grounded ship -- but this one is much more fun to play on! And here's a giant Winchester Mansion...

Another thing that has happened since Myst is that as more of the story has been uncovered, the world of D'ni has effectively grown smaller. You can walk around the Hall of Kings, reading up on millennia of D'ni history, and get a good sense of everything that has happened since the beginning. So little is known of Garternay or Releeshahn that it is hard to even speculate about them. The world, as of now, is decidedly finite: Bounded in space by walls of rock, bounded in time by the closed books of Garternay and Releeshahn, and bounded in all other ways by the finitude of Books the D'ni have managed to write in their short time on Earth. We simply know too much.

This, I suppose, is why the series' serious adherence to an underlying story can seem a heavy burden or constraint at times. One might even speculate that Yeesha's unnatural abilities are an attempt to open up a new frontier in an already closed world -- we've finally figured out the rules of Writing, so nothing will be quite as exciting until we start breaking them.

I do believe there is a wide middle ground. I like your Coyote idea, Bluewyvern. Let's say you meet some characters along the way, who you start to care about and who make you care about their world. It needn't be a random phantasmagoria, nor an epic quest. We will eventually get a good idea of what's going on, and it will make sense in its own way; but we'll never learn all of Coyote's tricks, and we'll never see where the world ends. And each new vista will take our breath away.
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#6 User is offline   Talashar 

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 06:36 PM

View PostNisan, on May 6 2007, 05:17 PM, said:

You can walk around the Hall of Kings, reading up on millennia of D'ni history, and get a good sense of everything that has happened since the beginning.


Well, the last 2500 years of D'ni history is still pretty much a blank, not to mention the whole "shadow" story of D'ni-Bahro interaction.

Quote

There's a rich history to the Bahro...there was a parallel development of the Bahro and the D'ni that is very complicated.
-Rand Miller, Myst V strategy guide interview


(By the way, from the same interview, one of their potential projects before Uru Live started back up again was something lighter and "humorous", apparently. Involving guns. :P )
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#7 User is offline   Free Bird 

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 11:52 AM

View PostTalashar, on May 7 2007, 12:36 AM, said:

(By the way, from the same interview, one of their potential projects before Uru Live started back up again was something lighter and "humorous", apparently. Involving guns. :P )

Must've been Myst Mayhem. :)
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#8 User is offline   kingjacob 

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 01:14 AM

i really really hate to bump a topic, especially because i'm new, but i think its okay, because none of the topics here are active. but i totally agree. i was much more interested in the franchise when it focuses completely on the family, and not on a whole civilization that needs to be rebuilt. i hope cyan can pull together and create a franchise that is mysterious and not based on a convoluted story.
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#9 User is offline   Rishahnu 

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 07:52 PM

I tend to agree. Certainly in this, as in life, the more you learn the less wonder and innocence you retain. Whether this is "good" or "bad" is not an easy thing to decide, but many people were drawn to MYST because of the intense sense of wonder and mystery that it provokes, and by exposing every bit of back story and unravelling all of the mysteries of linking books and D'ni history, nothing is left to the imagination. By creating a tangled canon over which confusion and pedantry arise, all of the innocence and wonder is made to vanish.

Kingjacob, I agree on all but one point. I hope Cyan can pull together and create a game that is mysterious, and leave the franchises up to Maxis and Nintendo.

Greg
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#10 User is offline   Fireymarbles 

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 11:58 PM

I would certainly like to see something new come out of Cyan... much as I love the whole Myst/D'ni thing, I found that I simply didn't have the obsessive interest in understanding every detail about the language and civilization that much of the rest of the fan community seem to have. I never bothered to learn D'ni, apart from the numbers, I never really learnt much of the backstory apart from what there was in the novels... and as the whole franchise became more and more dependent on its own ridiculously convoluted spiderweb of canon, I found myself less and less able to relate to it. I would walk around Uru and find all these books, and excitedly rush up to them wondering what fantastic place I was off to now, only to find them filled with information about kings and guilds and all that stuff. I always found that rather disappointing- I find it really hard to believe that even 5% of the people who played Uru worldwide found those books at all interesting, they were just there for the obsessors who wanted more manufactured canon to argue about. In a way it felt like everyone, especially Cyan, had lost sight of what had attracted me and so many other people to Myst back in the 90s- which was, as has been said, the sheer mysteriousness of it (if you'll pardon the terrible pun).

It seems like the fact that we were given so little information to start off with has provoked thousands of fans into frothing at the mouth for every little scrap of information they can get. This wouldn't annoy me so much if it weren't for the fact that Cyan were just busily making up all the information as they went along, and yet the fans still obsessed and squabbled over it and generally treated it as gospel. And yes, I did enter into some of those discussions about linking theory and stuff like that, but seriously, there are only so many times you can argue about whether or not momentum is preserved if you link while falling before you realise that it really doesn't matter, and that furthermore even if there were a canonical answer given, it would have been the result of Rand Miller flipping a coin to decide whether it was or wasn't, and then pretending that that was an integral part of his original idea for linking theory all along. :P

So, given all that, while the Myst series are definitely among my favourite games of all time, I'm glad they're done with now (more or less), and I really hope that Cyan do come out with something completely new and different. And I hope that when they do so they wind back their mindset a good 10 or 15 years, so that their new work doesn't come with a huge and elaborate backstory, and what's more that it doesn't acquire one later on. The whole D'ni universe is a great creation, but I think Cyan did themselves a disservice in creating it- the later games would have been so much easier to make had they not had to strictly adhere to their own ridiculously pedantic canon, or else face the wrath of the even more pedantic fans if they broke it. Mind you, they did in a way get around that by playing the "Yeesha is teh magic" card, but even then it seemed kinda hypocritical that they kept on pretending to have a watertight backstory and then changing it every time it became inconvenient.

But yeah, to sum up, I think that the Myst/D'ni franchise is now so bogged down in its own pedantry that doing anything further with it would be far more trouble than it's worth- so I hope they try and do something new and fresh, and what's more I hope they don't make the same mistakes with that that they did with Myst.
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#11 User is offline   linkerjpatrick 

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 06:57 AM

has anyone ever been concerned that in their whole existence Cyan has been pretty much a "one trick pony?" Even in the "juvenile period" you still saw the same elements that were in Myst and the following games. I played Spelunx and Manhole on Gametap a while back. Elements of channelwood, Myst. linking books, stoneship, D'ni, etc. were there. Heck even the "astronomy age" from Myst 5 was in one of those games. Don't get me wrong. I love the stories that have matured into what we know as the "D'ni Empire" and I would still love to see a movie or movies based off the first two Myst books.

To quote John Cleese, If Cyan was to do "something completely different" what would it be? What they do it and would people buy it?
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#12 User is offline   Free Bird 

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 07:15 AM

Fireymarbles, that was a great post. It sums up many of the things I've become increasingly concerned over over the past years.
The final straw for me was the retconning that is now going on in Uru (and has been going on since its inception - it only got worse). I simply cannot accept that Uru, a game filled with illogical contraptions which are understandable given its nature as a multiplayer game but do not at all make sense rationally, is supposed to be 100% real whereas games like Myst and Riven, which make perfect sense and contain very few plot holes (and the ones they do contain are there because Cyan later changed its mind on what it wanted the backstory to be), are said to be riddled with artistic license. Frankly, trap books make a whole lot more sense to me than having different instances of Ae'Gura (i.e. Earth itself!), to name just one example out of many.
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#13 User is offline   Menelmacar 

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 04:49 PM

Quote

I simply cannot accept that Uru, a game filled with illogical contraptions which are understandable given its nature as a multiplayer game but do not at all make sense rationally, is supposed to be 100% real whereas games like Myst and Riven, which make perfect sense and contain very few plot holes... are said to be riddled with artistic license.

Well spoke. That's probably one of the main reasons I'm not that interested in Uru (except for when new and intriguing ages appear, and, frankly, much of the time they're not all that new or intriguing).

View PostFireymarbles, on Aug 7 2007, 12:58 AM, said:

...but seriously, there are only so many times you can argue about whether or not momentum is preserved if you link while falling before you realise that it really doesn't matter, and that furthermore even if there were a canonical answer given, it would have been the result of Rand Miller flipping a coin to decide whether it was or wasn't, and then pretending that that was an integral part of his original idea for linking theory all along. :P

Quasi-agreed. Yes, ultimately it comes down to a coin flip, but, speaking as a pedant who enjoys this kind of discussion, it's a matter of what the canon should be were it internally consistent and not decided by coin flip. But I see your point.

Quote

I would walk around Uru and find all these books, and excitedly rush up to them wondering what fantastic place I was off to now, only to find them filled with information about kings and guilds and all that stuff.

You know it's a bad sign when you expect the book to be a teleportation device. Instead of, for example, a book. :)

CM
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#14 User is offline   InkFlare 

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 09:41 AM

When you think about it, a story has the potential to be as much a 'teleportation device' as a linking book, and it's even better because your imagination has many times the power of a 3D engine.

The problem with informational books in computer games is there is a whole lot of 'matter-of-fact' writing about that which is completely irrelevant to the real world and very little that actually inspires the reader to imagine (e.g. emotion, personality, open-ended description). For me, Atrus's 'travel journals' in the original Myst were just as good as the ages themselves because they were little descriptive mini-stories, complete with strange sketches and QUESTIONS, rather than just answers. When I finally got to visit the ages I found them vaguely familiar, fascinating snapshots of the worlds that blossomed in my mind when I read Atrus's journals.
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#15 User is offline   linkerjpatrick 

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 05:23 PM

The thing that made the journals of Atrus and the notes of Sirus and Achenaar in Myst was you felt like you were literally sneaking around and reading things you probably shouldn't i.e. invading someones house and their privacy. In Myst I felt like I was sort of doing something wrong or naughty. In Uru you still sort of have this but only in select place. Some of the book locations don't make sense like the journal in the garden age. (how come it doesn't get wet?) but Nick's Journal and notes still have the Myst feeling but the other DRC journals seems a little too easy to find. Their was also a note from Yeesha at the cleft that in my opinion should have been in a drawer lest it be blown away. etc.
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#16 User is offline   Fireymarbles 

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 06:45 AM

View PostMenelmacar, on Aug 8 2007, 10:49 AM, said:

Quote

I would walk around Uru and find all these books, and excitedly rush up to them wondering what fantastic place I was off to now, only to find them filled with information about kings and guilds and all that stuff.

You know it's a bad sign when you expect the book to be a teleportation device. Instead of, for example, a book. :P

My point was that the contents of said book were about as interesting as reading a journal detailing Atrus's experience trimming his toenails as far as your average player is concerned. I know there are a lot of people out there who will lap up any little bits of backstory they can get, but the whole point I was trying to make was that Cyan became far too involved in trying to keep that portion of the market happy, despite it being a tiny portion of their overall market. Of course it's good to keep your diehard fans happy, but for one thing that doesn't pay the bills (hence Cyan being one heck of a lot smaller than it used to be), and for another thing that doesn't always make a better game. I think the fanbase at large got too wrapped up in trekkie-style attention to detail, and forgot that it used to be about games that were fun to play for their own sake, not just for the sake of what you learned from them in terms of ancient kings and trivia like that.
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#17 User is offline   Nisan 

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 10:04 PM

View Postlinkerjpatrick, on Aug 7 2007, 06:57 AM, said:

has anyone ever been concerned that in their whole existence Cyan has been pretty much a "one trick pony?" Even in the "juvenile period" you still saw the same elements that were in Myst and the following games. I played Spelunx and Manhole on Gametap a while back. Elements of channelwood, Myst. linking books, stoneship, D'ni, etc. were there. Heck even the "astronomy age" from Myst 5 was in one of those games. Don't get me wrong. I love the stories that have matured into what we know as the "D'ni Empire" and I would still love to see a movie or movies based off the first two Myst books.

To quote John Cleese, If Cyan was to do "something completely different" what would it be? What they do it and would people buy it?


I wouldn't be concerned by the fact that Cyan's work has recurring motifs. If you examine the artwork of M.C. Escher, the stories of J.L. Borges, or the sonatas of W.A. Mozart, you will find that certain ideas are recycled many times -- a maze of stairs, the stripes of a tiger, a humble andante. These artists will discover a motif in one work, then reexamine it in another, then bring it back in a third work to use it in a different way. I wouldn't say that there is only one Escher lithograph, or one Borges story, or one Mozart sonata.

I believe Cyan (or Land of Point, while we're dreaming) could produce something new and independently awesome. I also wouldn't be surprised if that new thing would incorporate some of the old ideas that have inspired them in the past.
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#18 User is offline   quahog42 

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 10:10 PM

View PostInkFlare, on Aug 8 2007, 10:41 AM, said:

When I finally got to visit the ages I found them vaguely familiar, fascinating snapshots of the worlds that blossomed in my mind when I read Atrus's journals.

Back in the good old days, the DRC/Cyan would post various bits of information about the ages they were working on, far in advance of the release of Uru ABM. Sharper would discuss Teledahn, Watson would post general updates, and other members could be seen in small snapshots from around the ages. Additionally, beta testers would tell their own, personal stories from exploring the ages. By the time many people started playing, the intrigue of each age came from its familiarity, along with its surprises. Even the cleft was familiar to those who've read the books.

Now, it's all press releases. Single phrase descriptions, like "sandbox", or "desert", or "ITS GOT URWINS LOLZ!" cover an entire age. Honestly, Cate or Nick or someone will come and say "surrounded by water", and nothing else. And when we do hear about personal experiences, it's always some place that no subscriber will ever see, like with Sharper in Negilahn. That familiarity is gone.
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#19 User is offline   Stejahen 

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 11:14 PM

Interesting discussion.

In my opinion, though I enjoyed the later games that I played, the main thing missing in everything after Riven is Robyn Miller's amazing imagination. But of course, Cyan can't help that.

Also in URU, I think one thing we are dealing with is the blurring of our modern (and real) world with this other universe we used to enter in the old games. A big part of the wonder, I think came from the fact that they were pure, though realistic, fantasy.

Eric Metexas talks about losing the joy of being transported to another world in the beginning of Jurassic Park:

"Of course I had wanted to groove on this terrific otherness forever, to stay in this holy otherworld outside of time for as long as possible, at least until the credits rolled. But this, alas, was not to be. You see, Mr. Spielberg had a wide load of plot to extrude, and there was only 90 minutes left!...and it wasn’t just the nitro-burning plot, it was the contemporary references littered throughout the movie like so many ketchup-stained Big Mac wrappers"
http://www.ericmetaxas.com/?p=37

In URU we have Peter Gabriel, Safety Cones, speculation on the validity of religious truth-claims, hacker-speak, etc. All of these things are the antithesis of taking you to another world, they keep you in this world. Remember the old Myst parody: pyst? Well, this is what URU was up against, I enjoy Uru, they are doing a heck of a job, but it is (and was supposed to be ) different from Myst.

This quote seems relevant here: "As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough."

As far as the Next Thing, I eagerly await it and hope that it is more purely other, and is free of orange cones and contemporary references.
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#20 User is offline   Free Bird 

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 06:25 AM

Stejahen, you're back! :P I remember you from RivenGuild. What made you return?
(Yeah, it's off topic. So sue me...)
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#21 User is offline   Shahneer 

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 10:14 AM

Wow, Free Bird... even seeing the word RivenGuild in print brings out some nostalgia. That place was definitely the product of a simpler time, when all we had were Myst and Riven. Incidentally, that time between Riven and Exile was also when most of the pedantry spoken of here was born, IMO.

I agree with some of the sentiment being expressed here. While I really enjoy learning new things about the backstory (the D'ni culture, language, etc.), I can't stomach Uru very well just because of the sheer number of continuity problems that it's creating. Fireymarbles made the point that Cyan invested too much in the backstory. I like the backstory, but I hate that they threw half of it out the window to create Uru (the most egregious example, for me, being the very existence of the Bahro). And, I find the ways that it's written off to be obnoxious (saying "wingroveism" whenever the books are contradicted is really annoying). Then there's the problem of what/how Myst 5 has anything to do with anything. It's all too confusing, and it's beginning to strain under the burden of Cyan's problems with Uru since 2004. So many apologists for Uru will say "just wait for it, it will be great", but for my part, I've waited since 1999 for Uru to be something great. Remember when it was just MUDPIE, and we all thought it would be awesome?

Cyan, if it possibly can, should try something new. That, and disclose anything they're sitting on in terms of info on the D'ni :twitch:
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#22 User is offline   Free Bird 

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 10:36 AM

View PostShahneer, on Aug 20 2007, 04:14 PM, said:

While I really enjoy learning new things about the backstory (the D'ni culture, language, etc.), I can't stomach Uru very well just because of the sheer number of continuity problems that it's creating. Fireymarbles made the point that Cyan invested too much in the backstory. I like the backstory, but I hate that they threw half of it out the window to create Uru (the most egregious example, for me, being the very existence of the Bahro). And, I find the ways that it's written off to be obnoxious (saying "wingroveism" whenever the books are contradicted is really annoying). Then there's the problem of what/how Myst 5 has anything to do with anything. It's all too confusing, and it's beginning to strain under the burden of Cyan's problems with Uru since 2004. So many apologists for Uru will say "just wait for it, it will be great", but for my part, I've waited since 1999 for Uru to be something great. Remember when it was just MUDPIE, and we all thought it would be awesome?

This is so true. You've renewed my faith that there are still plenty of people who look at Uru rationally. As of late many forums are being flooded by a very vocal group of people that do not accept any criticism, no matter how justified, directed at Uru or the way Cyan is treating the parts of the story that were already written.

I suppose you can't blame them, in a sense. Many of them were never involved with the community before Uru - in fact some seem ignorant that there even *was* a community before Uru and simply don't know any better than that things have always been like this. Most people realize that Cyan is a very different company today than it was in 2003, but many don't realize that already in 2003, Cyan had become a radically different company than it used to be. Uru caused a massive influx of a totally new kind of fan (the Uru fan, as opposed to the Myst fan) into the community. Having been part of the past affects one's view of the present in a very fundamental way, and that's something no history lesson can ever change.
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#23 User is offline   Marten 

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 03:44 PM

Regarding "people that do not accept any criticism, no matter how justified": There is a valuable life lesson there. People never appreciate criticism, regardless of how justified, if that criticism is not presented in a positive fashion. There is a world of difference between:

* I do not like... <list of complaints>
and
* I would like this better if... <list of suggestions>

The criticism that hasn't been accepted has generally been the kind voiced with the first method.

I have noticed that this criticism often comes from people espousing an attitude of "I was in the community before you, therefore my view on how things should be is more valid than yours." That is not at all what I would call "looking at Uru rationally." I feel that persons with that mentality are letting their preconceived notions and emotions about what Uru "should be" cloud their judgment. Rather than looking at Uru for how it is, those people compare it in their minds to a Utopian game that never will be. Such people will never be happy.

FreeBird's comment about "a totally new kind of fan (the Uru fan, as opposed to the Myst fan)" reads like an insult to me. Furthermore, I feel that it disregards that many Uru fans such as myself did play Myst and Riven. I have very fond memories of playing Myst in college fourteen years ago... yet I am comfortable and accepting that Uru is not attempting to be Myst or Riven again; I know that it is something different.

I am not so naive as to believe I hold the One True Vision of what Uru should be, and that somehow Cyan has gone astray while I am keeping the faith! I realize that Uru only needs one thing in common with Myst to succeed - that Cyan should make a game that Cyan thinks will be fun for themselves to play. That is the key principle that guided the development of Myst. It's a very simple idea. Instead of guessing at what others want... Cyan designs it for themselves, and if they have a good time playing it, chances are good that many other people will share the same enjoyment.

Contrast that with "Let's try to design something that everyone who enjoyed Myst will also enjoy." That's the sort of mentality that led to poor Myst clones and knockoffs... like "Lighthouse" and "Rama" and "Schizm."

If you want to enjoy Uru, you are going to need to follow this simple two-step program:

* Stop focusing on the aspects of Uru you don't like. File a trouble ticket if it makes you feel better... then let go and stop raising the same tired complaints over and over. Realize that for some things you don't like, there are likely to be other players who like it the way it is. You won't get "your way" all of the time. (Self help books describe this step as "manage your expectations.")

* Direct your energies at proposing improvements. If instancing is "unrealistic", look at the problems that instancing is meant to address. How would you solve them differently? Develop a model that works. Be prepared to discuss and defend the model, and adjust it as others raise issues that you did not originally consider. By approaching the situation in a positive, helpful, and constructive manner, your ideas will find more fertile soil in the minds of others.
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#24 User is offline   Free Bird 

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 05:01 PM

View PostMarten, on Aug 20 2007, 09:44 PM, said:

Regarding "people that do not accept any criticism, no matter how justified": There is a valuable life lesson there. People never appreciate criticism, regardless of how justified, if that criticism is not presented in a positive fashion. There is a world of difference between:

* I do not like... <list of complaints>
and
* I would like this better if... <list of suggestions>

The criticism that hasn't been accepted has generally been the kind voiced with the first method.

Speaking for myself, I have always voiced my criticism in a reasonable manner, but I'm not going to sugarcoat it. If I think something's worthless, I'll say I think it's worthless.

View PostMarten, on Aug 20 2007, 09:44 PM, said:

I have noticed that this criticism often comes from people espousing an attitude of "I was in the community before you, therefore my view on how things should be is more valid than yours."

On the contrary, I've noticed an attitude of "I was very active in Until Uru and you were not, therefore my view on how things should be is more valid than yours".

View PostMarten, on Aug 20 2007, 09:44 PM, said:

I feel that persons with that mentality are letting their preconceived notions and emotions about what Uru "should be" cloud their judgment. Rather than looking at Uru for how it is, those people compare it in their minds to a Utopian game that never will be. Such people will never be happy.

Many of these "preconceived notions" you speak of were created by Cyan and Ubisoft when they marketed Uru's Live component. You can't blame people for wanting to see the game they were promised years ago.

View PostMarten, on Aug 20 2007, 09:44 PM, said:

FreeBird's comment about "a totally new kind of fan (the Uru fan, as opposed to the Myst fan)" reads like an insult to me. Furthermore, I feel that it disregards that many Uru fans such as myself did play Myst and Riven. I have very fond memories of playing Myst in college fourteen years ago... yet I am comfortable and accepting that Uru is not attempting to be Myst or Riven again; I know that it is something different.

Of course it's something different. But that's not my point. Many Uru fans did indeed play Myst and Riven, but they were casual players and didn't become a fan until Uru came. I'm not saying this goes for you, but there are many such people (rule of thumb: you're a fan if you know about the books). Of course they're not all alike, but it's a fact that the influx of these people changed the community in a way that you can only perceive if you were there before the change. The release of Exile also changed the community, but much more subtly (in the long term - there was also a short but drastic change just after the release). I don't know if the release of Riven changed the community because I wasn't part of it yet at the time. Besides, there probably wasn't much of a community then given the nature of the internet in 1997. But if anyone who was there back then thinks I'm wrong, feel free to correct me!

View PostMarten, on Aug 20 2007, 09:44 PM, said:

I am not so naive as to believe I hold the One True Vision of what Uru should be, and that somehow Cyan has gone astray while I am keeping the faith! I realize that Uru only needs one thing in common with Myst to succeed - that Cyan should make a game that Cyan thinks will be fun for themselves to play. That is the key principle that guided the development of Myst. It's a very simple idea. Instead of guessing at what others want... Cyan designs it for themselves, and if they have a good time playing it, chances are good that many other people will share the same enjoyment.

Who knows if Cyan likes the current state of MO:UL? Only they do, and if they don't like it I doubt they'd state that publicly.

View PostMarten, on Aug 20 2007, 09:44 PM, said:

Contrast that with "Let's try to design something that everyone who enjoyed Myst will also enjoy." That's the sort of mentality that led to poor Myst clones and knockoffs... like "Lighthouse" and "Rama" and "Schizm."

Well, there is a certain 128 page report that I'd like to mention here...

View PostMarten, on Aug 20 2007, 09:44 PM, said:

* Direct your energies at proposing improvements. If instancing is "unrealistic", look at the problems that instancing is meant to address. How would you solve them differently? Develop a model that works. Be prepared to discuss and defend the model, and adjust it as others raise issues that you did not originally consider. By approaching the situation in a positive, helpful, and constructive manner, your ideas will find more fertile soil in the minds of others.

It's not just the instancing. It's the fact that the instancing is there, it's illogical, yet we're supposed to assume Uru is somehow completely real whereas the other games are said to be riddled with artistic license. It's not about the details, it's about the Whole.
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#25 User is offline   M@ 

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 11:46 AM

Heh, I was going to make some comments of my own, but Free Bird and Marten kind of did it for me. If you combine your two viewpoints (as conflicting as they may seem on certain points), that's basically how I feel. I guess I Love the good stuff about Uru, Hate the bad stuff, look forward to what good may come, and fear what bad may come, all at the same time. If Uru goes on to survive and thrive, I'll be happy. If it fails, I'll be very excited to see what kind of new, original magic Cyan can come up with.

--M@
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