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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:12 pm 
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A FEW DISCLAIMERS:

- These guidelines are a work in progress. While attempts have been made to have them be as complete and accurate as possible, we reserve the right to alter, amend, change, update, fold, spindle, and/or mutilate them at any time. We also reserve the right to add other verbs to that list at our sole discretion.

- You (collectively) are now part of the creation process, and I have it on good authority that "with great power comes great responsibility." Specifically, in this case, that means that since we're going to be working out these kinds of details as we go along, even more patience, flexibility, and understanding is going to be needed on all levels from everyone involved.

- Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

- Void where prohibited.

- Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.

[End of Disclaimers]
---------

Without further ado...

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The Five Rules of Writing, in their most basic form:

1 - Writers must live within the D'ni limitations of Writing.

2 - Writers must not break continuity with previously released D'ni information.

3 - Writers must not reveal "new" information about characters, places, groups, etc. used by Cyan.

4 - Writers must limit "new" information about D'ni society to specific, smaller groups within D'ni.

5 - Writers must not use the intellectual property of others.


Notes:

1) Except for Rule #5, these rules mainly focus on attempting to minimize continuity issues, so, when an Age is submitted for approval, enforcing these rules will primarily be the responsibility of the Guild of Archivists. You can think of theses duties of the Guild of Archivists as providing "information quality control" for the Ages.

2) Duties for the other Guilds will be spelled out as we move forward.

3) These rules are specifically intended to be guidelines for Ages and/or Storylines which are intended to be considered "official" (i.e. "canon"), where continuity is a prime concern. We also intend to provide separate guidelines for Ages and/or Storylines that which are intended to be considered "fictional" within the context of the Cavern. Those guidelines will be much less restrictive because continuity in those cases will be less of a concern. So if you want to tell a story that these rules do not allow (e.g. the story of Ti'ana between the Book of Ti'ana and the Book of Atrus), you'll need to abide by those guidelines when they become available.

-----------------
The Five Rules of Writing, further details.

1 – The Writers do not have Yeesha's special, innate abilities. They have to live within the limitations of the traditional D'ni Writers.


2 – The members of the Guild of Archivists need to have a decent grasp of released D'ni information, so that they can have working knowledge of what will contradict established D'ni information.

Note: Also included under "contradictions" are issues that have been intentionally left open for debate by Cyan. A Writer's storyline must not attempt to definitively confirm one side or the other of those issues.


3 – Characters, places, groups, etc. that have appeared in Cyan's games, novels, etc. can be mentioned or used, but Writers must not reveal any new information about those characters, places, groups, etc., where "new information" is defined as information that would in some way change what is known about the character, place, or group.

For example, one can "find" an old D'ni Age that was once visited by Veovis (the fact that Veovis may have visited that Age doesn't constitute any significant "new" information about Veovis, since it is very likely that he visited countless Ages, but they can't "find" an Age that was owned by Veovis or Written by Veovis (those kinds of things would be releasing new information about Veovis.)

The main City in the Cavern is also included in this. Areas that have been in Cyan's games or novels can not be changed. If one wants to reveal ("restore") a new area in the Cavern, it must be self-contained and only accessible via the Nexus (e.g. the Great Tree Pub) or via another Age (e.g. the Uran Silo linked to from Er'cana).

An exception of a place that was used by Cyan but can have "new" information revealed: specific D'ni neighborhoods. They can be considered as self-contained places. New information can be revealed about a Writer's neighborhood as long as it doesn't affect other neighborhoods or the main Cavern as a whole.

In short, the rule of thumb for determining what should be allowed is, "How likely is it that this new information will cause a contradiction with information released by Cyan or other Writers in the future?" If it's likely to cause a contradiction, then it is not allowed.


4 – The Writers should come at this with the mindset that they're expanding knowledge of the D'ni Universe by revealing new facets of a multi-faceted civilization, rather than revealing new information about the D'ni society as a whole. That is to say that any new information one reveals about the D'ni or its history should be specific to a particular (previously unknown) group within D'ni, so that the likelihood of future contradictions by Cyan (or other Writers for that matter) is minimized as much as possible.

For example, one could reveal that there was a group within D'ni that only ate a certain broccoli-like vegetable found in one of their Ages. Since this "revelation" is limited to one group, it doesn't affect the whole of D'ni society and is therefore unlikely to be contradicted by other stories in the future. Saying that all of the D'ni only ate certain broccoli-like vegetables is not allowed, as it is something that is very likely to be contradicted (in this specific example, of course, it already has been).


5 – This includes references to trademarks, copyrights, etc. Writers cannot write an Age where their character meets Captain Kirk, their Age cannot contain a Coca-Cola machine, etc. Everything in their Age or mentioned in their storyline must be their own work.

----------------

Examples:

- Writer wants to create a storyline where Gehn escaped his prison.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #2 (continuity issue: as far as has been revealed by Cyan, Gehn never escaped his prison) and Rule #3 (attempts to reveal "new" information about a character used in Cyan games and novels.)


- Writer wants to "find" an Age that Gehn had visited prior to the events of Riven.

Verdict: Approved. Does not reveal "new" information about Gehn, or contradict previously released information about Gehn.


- Writer wants to "Write" a link to a specific instance of Myst Island.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #1 (player Writers do not have Yeesha's special abilities to be able to write to specific instances of an Age.)


- Writer wants to "find" a link to another instance of Myst Island.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #2 (continuity issue: there are no known links to other instances of Myst Island) and Rule #3 (by revealing "new" information about a place used in Cyan games and novels).


- Writer wants to "find" more information about the Guild of Illusionists.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #3 (by revealing "new" information about a group used in Cyan games and novels).


- Writer wants to "find" information about the Guild of Reptile Trainers.

Verdict: Approved. This does not reveal new information about a group used in the Cyan games and novels.

Note: only "minor" guilds are allowed. It cannot be claimed that the Guild of Reptile Trainers was one of the 18 Major Guilds at any point in D'ni history, as the 18 Major Guilds are covered under the groups that have been used in Cyan games and novels. It is also something that would likely be contradicted in the future.


- Writer wants to "restore" a new area in the D'ni city itself.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #3 (by revealing "new" information about a place used in Cyan games and novels).


- Writer wants to "restore" a new area in the D'ni city, but it is self-contained and only available via the Nexus.

Verdict: Approved. The key to this being "self-contained," so it doesn't cause any continuity problems with the City, neighborhoods, etc. as it has been shown in Uru.

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Last edited by RAWA on Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:57 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:29 pm 
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RAWA wrote:
- Writer wants to "Write" a link to another instance of Myst Island.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #1 (player Writers do not have Yeesha's special abilities to be able to write to other instances of an Age.)



Just to clarify on this, technically it is a possibility for another instance of an Age to be written by player Writers. As specified by both the Book of Atrus and the concepts of the Art previously, if a second descriptive book of an Age was written (or re-written) then it wouldn't lead to the exact same age it would lead to a variant (instance). So is this ruled out too?

Another question, whilst players don't have Yeesha skills in Writing, it is safe to assume that there will be "experimentation" with the Art, which could account for some oddities in an Age (for example I had been working on a concept of an Age written by 4 people, as a result some issues popped up resulting in an anomaly in the Age that could Link a person to a different point in time when the anomaly was created. Would this kind of thing again be ruled out or is it open to interpretation?


Last edited by Tweek on Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:47 pm 
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Thank you for the post RAWA! It was very informative. And encouraging. So if I understand you correctly, if I wanted to, say, "discover" a journal in my neighborhood Bevin written by a young D'ni lad living there, that would be alright as long as the journal only revealed information about the author's immediate family and neighborhood. But if I decided I wanted to find an open door in the Bevin and explore the boy's house, that would be a no-no. Correct?

And a followup question. If someone wants to restore an area of the cavern that's self-contained and can only be reached via the Nexus AND turns out be Faresh's house on Katha Island (a longtime dream of mine), I assume that would be given the big NO as well. Is that right?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:03 pm 
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A Writer is limited by the fact that countless Ages on the Great Tree will match any given description, and the normal Writer (unlike Yeesha) has no control over which of those "matching" Ages his/her Book will be tied to. So while they will link to an Age with similarities to Myst Island, it won't be close enough to be considered an "instance" in the sense of "instances" that were seen in Uru (where "instances" were, for all intents and purposes, "identical" rather than just being "similar" to one another).

This goes back to the age old question "If two Writers write identical Descriptive Books, will they link to the same Age?" To which the answer was along the lines of "No, since so many Ages on the Great Tree will match any given description, the chance of writing links to the same Age are so small that it is 'impossible' for all practical purposes."

I've changed the wording of this example slightly in attempt to make this distinction clearer.

------ original ------

- Writer wants to "Write" a link to another instance of Myst Island.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #1 (player Writers do not have Yeesha's special abilities to be able to write to other instances of an Age.)

------ updated -------

- Writer wants to "Write" a link to a specific instance of Myst Island.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #1 (player Writers do not have Yeesha's special abilities to be able to write to specific instances of an Age.)

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Last edited by RAWA on Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:17 pm 
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Thx so much for clearing all this up RAWA!! :D

One question, if we are not allowed any of yeesha's "powers", does that mean we cannot make relto pages?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:24 pm 
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Thanks very much RAWA!!!! This will be exteamly helpful in prefecting my age (I already broke a few rules already *facedesks*).

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:27 pm 
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Jamey wrote:
Thx so much for clearing all this up RAWA!! :D

One question, if we are not allowed any of yeesha's "powers", does that mean we cannot make relto pages?


I would say no because it contradicts the rule that Yeesha write things can modify your Relto instance. But there's nothing stopping you from creating 'collectibles' like the sparklies in your ages, I don't think. (Just not the sparkly itself.) :)

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:57 pm 
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Well this is certainly going to be interesting, I am hoping I will be able to learn enough to be a part of the creative team! Very exciting!! Thanks RAWA for this information! :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:02 pm 
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So, just to be clear, I could "restore" a section of D'ni itself, but only if it were some self-contained place? Does that mean it cannot have a view of the lake or would that be similar to how we explain why the neighborhoods all see the same spot in the City?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:03 pm 
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I also have another question about instances. You see, in my age, I have a linking book to the hood instance of The Great Library in Ae'gura. It is not a custom instance I made myself, it would just lead to the hood instance Ae'gura like the book on your Relto bookshelf in MOUL did. Would this be against the rules because I have it in my age in general, or is it allowed since I didn't make the instance of the age myself (a custom instance)?


Thx

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:10 pm 
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Whilyam wrote:
So, just to be clear, I could "restore" a section of D'ni itself, but only if it were some self-contained place? Does that mean it cannot have a view of the lake or would that be similar to how we explain why the neighborhoods all see the same spot in the City?


A good question and one to which I would be interested to hear the answer.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:11 pm 
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Whilyam wrote:
So, just to be clear, I could "restore" a section of D'ni itself, but only if it were some self-contained place? Does that mean it cannot have a view of the lake or would that be similar to how we explain why the neighborhoods all see the same spot in the City?
Along the same line: what about KI coordinates? Having those in an Cavern area automatically locates it precisely on the map, so to speak.

I guess a safe way to deal with that would simply be to disable those altogether in said area, and give no explainations. (that would be a bit of a blunt solution, but that would work)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:13 pm 
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RAWA wrote:
A Writer is limited by the fact that countless Ages on the Great Tree will match any given description, and the normal Writer (unlike Yeesha) has no control over which of those "matching" Ages his/her Book will be tied to. So while they will link to an Age with similarities to Myst Island, it won't be close enough to be considered an "instance" in the sense of "instances" that were seen in Uru (where "instances" were, for all intents and purposes, "identical" rather than just being "similar" to one another).

This goes back to the age old question "If two Writers write identical Descriptive Books, will they link to the same Age?" To which the answer was along the lines of "No, since so many Ages on the Great Tree will match any given description, the chance of writing links to the same Age are so small that it is 'impossible' for all practical purposes."

I've changed the wording of this example slightly in attempt to make this distinction clearer.

------ original ------

- Writer wants to "Write" a link to another instance of Myst Island.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #1 (player Writers do not have Yeesha's special abilities to be able to write to other instances of an Age.)

------ updated -------

- Writer wants to "Write" a link to a specific instance of Myst Island.

Verdict: Denied. This would violate Rule #1 (player Writers do not have Yeesha's special abilities to be able to write to specific instances of an Age.)


Just to clarify: So I could, say, write a descriptive book to an Age very much like Myst, but it could not contain the same story or the same buildings and puzzles?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:30 pm 
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RAWA, Hello and kind regards.

I am so afraid that this thread is going to go 75 pages of posts - I am going to tip toe in and ask for a wee clarification.

Okay, the writers of ages are dealing with issues of continuity. From what I understand TPTB will entertain the idea that other sorts of storytellers/illustrators will be given similar permission to tell stories. For a more detailed list of how I innocently and without malice categorized the storytelling options, please read here at your leisure
http://www.dpwr.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=5376&pid=24261&st=0&#entry24261.

My request for clarification concerns Red Herrings. I am in the midst now (and have been dabbling with for 2 years) some red herring and a couple of not red herring story lines. A "story setter upper" has to say or not, because it would give away the red herring to say a storyteller only wrote red herrings. Anyway...say a storyteller (not the same as an age writer) were to create a character who will take explorers willingly on an Uncle Wiggly branch of a story that requires some allusion to canon, but the character(s) is eventually found out (someday)? Will this be ok?

In the past this has been done (I am not sure intentionally, there are some strange ideas that float about), but explorers did not really pay attention until recently. Last summer a few of the stories were quite compelling, and kept a good many guessing about outcomes. Now with the rules being more clearly defined, I wondered if any verdicts were pending in this area too? Ummm, this would include actor stories I suppose.

In the red herring storyteller's defense, there are ways to intimate something is that or that without saying it is this or that. The closer one can get to say it is that, the closer one gets to writing a better tale. But I am sure you already know this, so I will go mum now and wait for the verdict.

Ruby O'Degee
Ahvree

EDIT:
Mystdee wrote:
Well this is certainly going to be interesting, I am hoping I will be able to learn enough to be a part of the creative team! Very exciting!! Thanks RAWA for this information! :lol:


For sure. This thread alone could turn out to be an educational goldmine.

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Last edited by Ahvree on Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:32 pm 
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sideshow118 wrote:
if I wanted to, say, "discover" a journal in my neighborhood Bevin written by a young D'ni lad living there, that would be alright as long as the journal only revealed information about the author's immediate family and neighborhood. But if I decided I wanted to find an open door in the Bevin and explore the boy's house, that would be a no-no. Correct?


- A journal would be fine, though you're likely only going to be able to provide a translated version of it. :)
- Revealing what's behind a previously locked door in Bevin would problematic, as that is something that would be likely to be contradicted later. If it were a separate type of neighborhood (i.e. not a Bevin, Kirel, etc. 'hood layout) that would be ok, as there are likely many 'hood layouts that have not been revealed yet.

Quote:
And a followup question. If someone wants to restore an area of the cavern that's self-contained and can only be reached via the Nexus AND turns out be Faresh's house on Katha Island (a longtime dream of mine), I assume that would be given the big NO as well. Is that right?


- Correct, as those are places that have been mentioned/used in Cyan's games, novels, etc. However, I would personally be OK with you finding an area that might be Faresh's house, which leaves open the possibility for us to reveal Faresh's "real" house at some point without contradiction. It also leaves open the possibility for others to find places that might be Faresh's house, as well, so it's not just limited to one person getting to officially "lock down" anything that's been mentioned by Cyan. It would probably be safer, though, to do something like this under the looser guidelines for things that aren't intended to be "official", once those guidelines have been made available.

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