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

#26 User is offline   Mystress 

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 01:24 PM

I have not yet played Uru. But I did notice the plotline of the stories beginning to lose their convolution.

Myst was pure, innocent as someone else said. It had a sense of wonder, yes, and a plot to back it up, but cyan had done the game in such a way that the plot didn't feel like a plot, and the game didn't feel like a game - it felt (and I know this is cheesy) real. It was real. The ages had no specific meaning to anything or anyone. There was little stuff to mess with, and big stuff to do. Lots of red herrings.

We had BoA. Very helpful, lots of backstory, very interesting - It was enough.

Riven kept expanding on that, giving us some more information. It still had the wonder, but felt a little... different. It felt almost mature, but still held the mystery. The ages are almost symbolic and are immersive. Again, stuff to mess with. Red herrings. Like Myst with tougher puzzles.

We had BoT and BoD in here somewhere. BoT was good. Then we had BoD, and that was a nice tale, again giving us some more info and backstory. They should have stopped here with the extra information. We needed no more, they should have let us speculate.

Then we had Exile. Exile doesn't go much into the history of the D'ni. It added new stuff and new characters. The D'ni themselves are barely mentioned, or mentioned in passing - this is Atrus' story, it is Saavedro's story, it is different. It brought in another civilization and allowed you to speculate about what happened to them - even some of the details of Saavedro's exile are shrouded in mystery. The ages meant nothing, had no meaning to any civilization, except for Narayan. It had some sense of exploration, had little surprises and stuff to mess with - what do you call the majority of the things in Saavedro's room? The game felt more urgent - but then again, this game was rushed in development. The game had glitches - again, the rushed development. The game was also made by a different team with cyan's input. It felt more paranoid and insecure.

They should have stopped making games here and started anew.

Revelation seems to be where things started to slide. Nope, there is no such thing as trap books! Only prison ages! No, Sirrus and Achenar aren't dead. Yeah, there was stuff to tap - but it wasn't the same. You had to learn D'ni to do a puzzle, or at least the names of the characters in D'ni. Revelation felt like Myst in the beginning, yes, but it seemed too grand. There were too many people to talk to. There was too much backstory. The game felt too New Age-y. The first half of the game was pretty nice. Spire and Haven felt more Mystish to me, but Tomahna was too... I don't know. It just felt iffy to me, a little too fantastic. I thought Exile Tomahna was fine, more to speculate on, but this... There was that amulet. And Serenia as a whole. It felt too magical, and that's not what Myst was about.

End of Ages. Awful. The most confusing thing I have EVER played, and not because of the puzzles. The real-time was nice, but it felt like an Uru spinoff, not a Myst sequel. Grower... tablets... Bahro... eh, what? It was beautiful, don't get me wrong - but there was no wonder here. Just history, and loads of it. Here, look at all the awesome D'ni architecture. Someone who has played it without reading the books or playing Uru first, as I had, couldn't care less. The ages and puzzles felt plastic - they all had to do with the D'ni or with the Bahro. They threw Atrus in at the very end. Yeesha was the main character, and even she had very little say in anything. The 3-d people were a stupid idea - what ever happened to the integration of real actors instead of just the face? For this reason, I found it hard to get close to the characters.

And, on that same note, what happened to Yeesha's hair in between Revelation and EoA? It looks like it changed from light brownish-blonde to black. In canon, that seems unfeasible, as during Yeesha's time, I'm pretty sure that hair dye hadn't yet been developed.
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#27 User is offline   InkFlare 

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  Posted 26 August 2007 - 01:58 PM

There's this fun little thing I like to do when I find myself pissed about the state of affairs in the world surrounding a computer game I'm playing: I say, "Oh well!" and I move on with a few good memories.

I loved the experience of Myst, because I love imagination (as do we all, surely??), I loved Riven, I loved Exile...They were all experiences, though, and through an experience your mind reaches out, catches something, expands to meet it...and then it's your job to leap forward from there with your own inspiration. Isn't that what this forum is supposed to be all about?

The series itself was never important enough to me to play anything beyond Exile (I will when I get the chance), but I loved the books and I loved MR&E because each was a beautiful, self-contained experience that gave me joy. That's about all I really ought to say (but of course I've said much more than that so far).

I would like to come here and find a little rejoicing, a little inspiration, a little friendly discussion that creates good memories in relation to the Myst games.

Along with Marten's post: If you see something that others like and you don't, simply refrain from commenting, or make a new post on an idea that you like without attacking the "opposition". Thus, both diversity and harmony are maintained. That doesn't seem so difficult to me...

Now I've probably gone and pissed someone off. :twitch:
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#28 User is offline   4th guy 

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 02:42 AM

View PostMystress, on Aug 26 2007, 09:24 PM, said:

Revelation seems to be where things started to slide. Nope, there is no such thing as trap books! Only prison ages! No, Sirrus and Achenar aren't dead.

Sorry to burst your bubble but

RAWA said:

Q. What happened to the red and blue books at the end of Myst?

A. Atrus tried to ensure that the boys would not be able to escape the Ages they were in. In Myst this is shown by the scorch marks where the Books used to be. The historical accounts are not specific as to how he ensured their captivity. Very little artistic license taken here - burning the Books seems a very reasonable, logical way of showing this.

Q. Does destroying the Book destroy the one occupying it (aka Did Atrus kill his sons?)?

A1. (game answer) - Clearly, from the evidence given in the game, the answer is no. Burning the Book, in essence, isn't much different than tearing pages out of it - either one "breaks" the Book. The boys were obviously alive when the Books were missing pages. The main difference is that a burned Book is more difficult to put back together. :twitch:

A2. (historical answer) - The boys would be unaffected by the destruction of the Books, except that it would make it rather difficult for them ever to be rescued.

Q. Are they in some kind of void/suspended animation?

A1. (game answer) - From the evidence in the game, no. They are aware of the passage of time. And since they're still alive after all this time, they must have access to food/water/air/etc.

A2. (historical answer) - They were in complete Ages (and probably pretty nice ones, I would guess, if the panels were to show an Age that people like the boys would be so anxious to go to.) They just had no way out of them.

Q. So why do we only see black when we're in the Book?

A1. (game answer) - Because it's night with a moonless, overcast sky, and you don't have any firemarbles/flashlights/candles (you should have brought the matches from the safe in the cabin! :blink:...

A2. (real answer) - We didn't like the idea of "rewarding" the player for setting one of the brothers free with another Age to see/explore.

Q. If the red and blue Books were ordinary Linking Books but leading to "Prison Ages", why do you switch places with the brothers when the Book is complete?

A. - A whole boatload of Artistic License. Completing the book is the player's way of saying "I want to free this brother." And we simplified that to its most basic elements - you're stuck in the Prison Age; he's out.

You want the complicated, more historically accurate way to free a brother?

1) complete the book so you can go to the Age he's trapped in 2) you'll have to find a spare Myst Linking Book somewhere or neither of you are coming back. This complicates the interface, and changes the game if you can carry a Myst Linking Book around with you the whole game that you can use at any time. 3a) go to the prison Age without a Linking Book - the brother and you are trapped together forever, or as long as the brother lets you live (how long do you think that will be?) 3b) Bring a Linking Book. The brother bops you on the head and links out, damaging the Book in the process so you can't follow him. 4) You're stuck in the Prison Age; he's out. We've had to do a lot more filming, modeling, rendering, changing the interface, etc. to essentially get the same ending as Myst already shows.

Don't worry, we'll fix it in "ultimateMYST: the 'See Sirrus and Achenar's Prison Ages' Edition". (Settle down, it's just a joke. :blink:

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#29 User is offline   Mystress 

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:21 PM

Artistic license isn't always a good thing, 4thGuy... :twitch:

And how would someone who has no idea about D'ni history or what Cyan had in mind know that the brothers weren't dead. Atrus even says in th opening speech to Revelation that everyone thought that the brothers were dead!

So, if that's true, then this was just more artistic license on Cyan's part.

I agree with you, Ink Flare. The Myst games are imaginative enough to get lost in and forget the flaws. The criticism comes from replaying the games over several times. I'm not even mad about the flaws, I accept and fully embrace those found in Exile and most of those found in Revelation, but it's when the creators start pumping out information to satisfy the masses that you get these types of annoying contradictions.

In short, we're not annoyed at the games flaws, because those are to be expected - no game is perfect. We're annoyed that half the canon information is going out of the window to satisfy every new plot point. That's part of the reason I didn't like EoA - that and the fact that it didn't even really tie much into Myst and seems to be more connected to Uru. I'm sorry, but if they were going to make a sequel like this, they should have made it be "Uru 2" or something.

And now I'm just going on a tangent, but another reason I disliked EoA is due to lack of imagination. There were just not enough little things. The ages had complex histories and all tied into the D'ni in some way - is it too much to ask for an age with just a little more imagination and less purpose other than to explore? Why does the age need a huge canonical history behind it, too?

And yeah, I realize that this has been done in the series many times. But then, the ages all had their own story lines. The only thing that connected them was that A) Atrus had written them, B) Atrus and his direct family had something to do with them directly, or C) they were written specifically for Atrus by a family member other than Atrus. The only thing that tethered EoA to Myst in any way was the appearance of Atrus at the end, which is, of course, refreshing to see in a game that doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Myst, but still isn't enough to call it a Myst game.

For this reason, I divide the D'ni universe's production into two periods: The Myst period and the Uru period, With the Myst period consisting of Myst, Riven, Exile, and Revelation, and the Uru period consisting of Uru, EoA, and Uru Live.

Uru Live shouldn't even have the tag of "Myst Online" before it. It's not Myst - and it was never meant to be Myst.
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#30 User is offline   CAGrayWolf 

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  Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:21 PM

View Post4th guy, on Aug 27 2007, 01:42 AM, said:

RAWA said:

Don't worry, we'll fix it in "ultimateMYST: the 'See Sirrus and Achenar's Prison Ages' Edition". (Settle down, it's just a joke. :twitch:

I know at the time Rawa said this ... that this was a joke. But, obviously, someone did take him seriously enough it make this reality ... can we say Myst IV?
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#31 User is offline   Talashar 

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 06:09 PM

View PostMystress, on Aug 27 2007, 01:21 PM, said:

The ages had complex histories and all tied into the D'ni in some way - is it too much to ask for an age with just a little more imagination and less purpose other than to explore? Why does the age need a huge canonical history behind it, too?


Complex huge histories? Really? I didn't notice. :twitch: Any one of them could have been shifted from D'ni to Atrus's family without disrupting much, I think.
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#32 User is offline   Alahmnat 

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 08:06 PM

View PostMystress, on Aug 26 2007, 02:24 PM, said:

End of Ages. Awful. The most confusing thing I have EVER played, and not because of the puzzles. The real-time was nice, but it felt like an Uru spinoff, not a Myst sequel.


View PostMystress, on Aug 27 2007, 01:21 PM, said:

Uru Live shouldn't even have the tag of "Myst Online" before it. It's not Myst - and it was never meant to be Myst.


I have one word for you: Marketing. It's a sad but real issue that Myst has been attached to every game since the first one (including Riven, "the sequel to Myst") for the purposes of brand recognition, regardless of how well that name actually fits. It's also sort of a problem from a "big picture" standpoint because when people talk about games set in this fictional realm, they're very often referred to as being part of the "Myst Universe". Makes it rather difficult to explore new stories if the universe itself is conceptually associated with the originating game and mode of play. The only other thing you could call a non-Myst-like Myst-universe-based game is something based in the D'ni universe, but "D'ni" has even less brand recognition than Myst does, so that's not going to get you very far in Marketing Land.

I think the original release of Uru (Uru: Ages Beyond Myst) was a much more appropriate way to handle the "It's got to have Myst i the title!" syndrome, but even Ubi fell back onto massive amounts of brand recognition when they plastered a 4-inch-tall "MYST" emblem above the much smaller Uru name for PotS and Complete Chronicles.

As far as EoA feeling like an Uru sequel... well... it was, basically, but I imagine that Marketing (and I am here speaking of Ubi's marketing department, not Cyan's... since Cyan doesn't really have one :twitch:) decided that Myst sold better than Uru (analyzing the situation as a bean counter might, I'd venture to say that observation is quite obvious, if horribly flawed in its basic logic). The result is a game that doesn't fit expectations and thus largely fails to succeed at anything it sets out to do. The under-a-year production requirement probably doesn't do the game many favors either. Ultimately, though, it looks and feels more like Uru than Myst because Cyan put it together on serious time and money limitations from whatever they could dig up from their stash of Uru stuff, because working from scratch is much more time-consuming than repurposing an existing story idea.

Quote

And, on that same note, what happened to Yeesha's hair in between Revelation and EoA? It looks like it changed from light brownish-blonde to black. In canon, that seems unfeasible, as during Yeesha's time, I'm pretty sure that hair dye hadn't yet been developed.

Probably the same thing that happened to Catherine's face (and voice, ugh!) between Riven and Revelation: different casts with little attention being paid to consistency. For what it's worth, Yeesha had red hair in Uru well before she had brown hair in Revelation, and her hair looks more dingy-red than black to me in EoA, which kind of looks like Cyan trying to rectify the brown/red issue more than anything else.
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#33 User is offline   Marten 

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 06:05 PM

I'm crossposting something I've written at the Myst Online forums. I think it has relevance here, for the many of us who are feeling that Uru is not giving us what we want or expect.

Here it is:

Quote

On August 22, Greydragon wrote here:

"greydragon" said:

Cyan and GameTap would love to have a second season. Like I said before the content schedule for 2008 has yet to be finalized. Both companies are working on the details of the 2008 plan at this time.

Over the past few months, and particularly since the "season finale" announcement, I've seen a lot of negative commentary about Uru as it exists today. A lot of people have observed that the game is not standing up to their expectations.

Back in March 2007, RAWA wrote a post over at DRCsite about setting expectations. Some of us saw that post and tried to adjust what we thought we'd be getting. Others ignored it or griped about it. Still a larger portion of the audience, I believe, simply didn't read that discussion at all.

So, I'd like to propose this as a time to recalibrate our expectations. And the most important thing we can do, to ensure that MOUL is more in line with what we want... is to let GameTap know what we want. Now is the time to do it. If "Season 1" has disappointed you, then now, while GameTap and Cyan are "working on the details" of another season, it is a critical time for us to express our voices.

By "write a letter" I mean on paper, in a real envelope, with a real postage stamp. Anyone can write an e-mail. But letters by post get attention. Getting a large number of people to do this is important. If GameTap receives a tiny number of letters, it won't do much good. Many of us need to commit to this task.

Here in the US, it's Labor Day weekend. It's a great time to take a moment to sit down for a little while, perhaps Sunday afternoon... and pen a short letter. Be succinct and polite. Please do not threaten "I'm going to leave if I don't get my way." Just express what you want MOUL to be. That's all.

If you're going to write a letter, please add your name to this discussion and state clearly "I'm going to write a letter"; doubtless someone who has no desire to write a letter will want to comment here, so I don't want to preclude that by insisting that everything after this post be a signup sheet.

I'll add appropriate contact information to this discussion when I can dig it up; until it's posted, that shouldn't prevent anyone from starting their letter, just from sending it.

I'm going to write a letter. - Marten


I'm quite serious about this. This is our best opportunity to enact change. It's easy to post on a forum; a paper letter is tangible and to many, has more meaning.

I'm actively seeking an appropriate "snail-mail" contact address for MOUL letters to GameTap.
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#34 User is offline   CAGrayWolf 

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 08:13 PM

An address would be helpful along with possibly an "Attention To" would be extremely helpful. I seriously doubt that letters to a general box are going to get noticed any faster. Better yet, wouldn't it be nice to have GameTap set up a special email account for MOUL suggestions ... suggesting that they would in all actuality like to here from us and I don't mean a general suggestion box either. We already have several places for suggestions that sometimes get read and sometimes don't. Though we really don't know what is or is not being read unless GD happens to comment. I see staff from GameTap on the forums from time to time, but I haven't seen them post at all in quite sometime.

Marten, I respect you quite highly and I think you know this ... but if I'm sounding sarcastic, perhaps in a way I am ... I just don't see how emailed or written letters ... under the way it is currently presented ... would make any difference what so ever. All we have here is a proposal with no facts to back it up.

If you want to community to follow through, then give us the facts to follow through with. :twitch:
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#35 User is offline   Marten 

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 09:48 PM

Wolfie, I'm working on that part. I sent an e-mail to Trent asking for an appropriate address to send the letters. I received a very confusing autoreply saying that he'd be back in the office on "Tuesday, September 7" which doesn't exist on this year's calendar.

As we're on Labor Day weekend, I don't expect to have an address to share until Tuesday at the earliest. But I will get an address - have no fear of that.
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#36 User is offline   Free Bird 

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 06:50 AM

I'd prefer to just send an email. Seriously, sending mail to the US is not cheap. In fact, I was planning to write such an email a few months ago, but I kind of lost my motivation when things got even worse than what I was going to write the email about. However, after the season has ended I might give it a second try.
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#37 User is offline   Marten 

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 04:53 PM

An e-mail is better than nothing at all. I'll also check into that - that is, which e-mail address would be preferred.
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#38 User is offline   Marten 

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:29 AM

UPDATE - Trent has provided me with the address and letters should be addressed to his attention. Thanks Trent!

GameTap
Attn: Trent Hershenson
384 Northyards Blvd.
Bldg 500 Room NYDS 506F
Atlanta, GA 30313

Free Bird, I'll send a PM to you regarding how to contact Trent electronically.
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