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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:38 pm 
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robynmiller wrote:
And yes, now I'm just trying to make you love me.


How can they not love our Khan? *ahem* I digress

I've always liked the idea that the Myst games are Cyan's interpretation of Cathrine's Journals, and that we're wandering through creating our own adventures based on what actually happened

As for who the friend who pulls Atrus' fat out of the fire, repeatedly, that Cathrine writes about- I'm partial to the idea that it was a member of the Zandi family.

Incidentally, there was an art meme over on Deviant Art where people shared their Myst persona, and tidbits about their Myst fandom. Is loads of fun to read through them: http://artoveli.deviantart.com/art/Myst-Meme-73611870

By the way, Robyn- welcome home, we've missed you.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:05 pm 
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Hello Robyn, it's nice to see you here responding to the fans.

As for the subject, the idea that the games and books are based on real events quite grew into me. I like it. I didn't like it at first, but now I do.

I don't think it takes the fun and magic out of the whole thing like Robyn says. Take, for example, "The Spiderwick Chronicles". In this series of books, it is emplied that the story told there is based on a real story. In these book are still good.

Another example is "The Dark Tower" by Stephen King, but I won't elaborate since it might be considered spoilers.

fiery abyss, take even Lord of the Rings! did you know that in "reality", Tolkien translated "The Red Book of Westmarch", the one that Bilbo and Frodo wrote, to English? Actually, all of Tolkien's work on Middle-Earth is said (by him) to be translations of real books. Did you know that right now, the Middle-Earth is on it's 7th age (while Lord of the Rings took place on the 3rd age)?

Does it take out any of the fun out of the books? not at all. It still has millions of fans worldwide, and it's still a great series. Actually, I think it makes things more real. Reading a story and knowing somewhere somewhen it *really* happened makes it more interesting for me. It's all a question of how much it is emphesized. If you stress it too much, than it takes out the fun. But if you make it some sort of a very unemphesized backstory, than it makes things much nicer.

It's a question of taste, I guess. Some like to read a book or play a game, and completely imagine they are there experiencing everything. Others like to read a book or play a game, while thinking that's it's an adaption of things there really happened somewhere.

Robyn's "baby" is Myst and Riven, so I understand him when he says he likes it better when each player is the stranger. He likes to experience Myst, really be there. I, on the other hand, like the experience of Uru. It seems more like a reality for me. And since there is one "reality", than everything around Uru is an adaption. I'm not really on Myst while playing it, it's a story told to me. Still, it doesn't take the fun away, in most cases. Sometimes the fact that Myst is an adaption is too stressed, and as I said it becomes a little stupid, but I tend to ignore it. However I do like the general backstory, that Myst (and everything around Uru) is an adaption of something that really did happen somewhen.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:35 pm 
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I ignored the idea of the "The Stranger", never liked it, never went there. I was the one visiting Myst. I was the one in Riven. I was the one in all the games. Yes, everyone else thinks of themselves as personal friends of Atrus too, but that's not my reality.

And I never liked the idea that Myst and the other games were games, but Uru was "real" -- hated that, thought it was silly. It's all a wonderful fictional alternate world. Each game is as "real" as the next game.

As for any inconsistencies, I don't care. That happens in fictional worlds all the time. Writers change their minds, stuff happens. It's ok if it's not all perfectly consistent.

Now, of course, once a game gets out into the market, it has a life of its own. People can create their own fictional stories, versions of things -- things that aren't necessarily what the creators intended. Works of fiction. alternate worlds, have a life of their own, independent of the people who made them. That's also why (you know I get grumpy about this), what's on someone's whiteboard, on written up in document somewhere, is never the ultimate authority on the story of a fictional place, the story of the world. If it's not in the finished product, it doesn't count.

It's also why people can spin a story about "The Stranger" that was not what the creators intended. As much as I dislike that scenario, intensely, that's what happens with alternate world things -- they are open to interpretation.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:11 pm 
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Robyn,
The insight that made it possible for you to create MYST shines through in the initial post. I used MYST as an example for a philosophy seminar on perception in the late nineties for the very reason that the focus is on how well the user can enter the experience and live it. With the right attitude, you are you for instance, we have a pre requisite set. It is me, I need to do, it matters even though I don't know what I'm doing 'here' (in front of a computer disappears and becomes 'here'). With that in focus the magic is done but it needs more. Attention to the right illusions. With the right sound and timing I can perceive how I 'switch' a weighty marker switch, even though it is really a mouse click and not animated, just the image with switch down being replaced with the image of switch up. Much like how our minds patches up the broken geometry our moving eyes sends us, into nice unbroken lines and shapes that makes up space around us.
All of this is there in Myst and Riven. 3 and 4 were pretty copys. But in 2007 when I first came to URU I found it there. It is all believable. Solving the riddles matters, not because they intrigue me, but because I'm there, and thus have to do it. My life seems to depend on it just as going to work, or caring for my family.
I also believe the understanding of these things and the need to get it right is what sets MYST and Riven apart from anything ever produced in computer entertainment.
Thank You!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:32 pm 
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Myst is the only game that has provided me a seamless first person experience. Many games such as Half Life, for instance, use the first person perspective as a way to make players feel like they're in the experience themselves, often coupled with the silent protagonist gimmick. that just doesn't do it for me. I am me I am not Gordon Freeman (protagonist of half life) and the silent protagonist deal is not only ineffective for me it's irritating and works against escapism more than if they had just given the character a voice. putting the virtual camera inside the avatar's head doesn't necessarily help with immersion either.

In Myst my voice was my own internal monologue as I explored and interacted with the ages. Myst didn't have to provide a voice for me. Myst didn't assume I was somebody I wasn't. Myst didn't even assume I was a guy (which it would have assumed correctly anyway :P ) and actually admitted to the fact that there are women out there who would play a video game. So the wealth of women players out there could even feel part of the experience.

There was no vehicle for me in Myst. Only a computer screen which was so quickly and suddenly ignored as soon as the Windows interface disappeared. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:59 pm 
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Hello Robyn its nice to finally have you on the forums. Maybe one day we can get you in cavern too. If your not already there in a secret avatar of course. :wink:

Myst and URU are very different for me. In Myst I like to think that the player is the Stranger and is taking part in the events that are taking place in the game. Obviously the trap book controversy raises questions as to what the events in Myst and Riven were really like.

URU is a very different experience. Myst was meant to be a solitary experience. URU on the other hand was meant to be a multiplayer experience. URU in some ways is more real to me though. You are with other explorers and have the opportunity to work together and solve puzzles. So I would say that the Myst and URU experiences are separate at least from a players perspective. In URU you don't have to fit into that undefined character in Myst. You can just be yourself hence the U-R-U that Rand used to talk about.

Now I have a question for Robyn. I would like to hear what you think of all the changes to the Myst universe that you knew when you completed Riven. There were lots of changes to existing canon in the time leading up to URU. Would be interested in hearing your opinion. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:03 pm 
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mszv wrote:
I ignored the idea of the "The Stranger", never liked it, never went there. I was the one visiting Myst. I was the one in Riven. I was the one in all the games. Yes, everyone else thinks of themselves as personal friends of Atrus too, but that's not my reality.

And I never liked the idea that Myst and the other games were games, but Uru was "real" -- hated that, thought it was silly. It's all a wonderful fictional alternate world. Each game is as "real" as the next game.

As for any inconsistencies, I don't care. That happens in fictional worlds all the time. Writers change their minds, stuff happens. It's ok if it's not all perfectly consistent.


That's just how I feel. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:50 pm 
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You know you've screwed up a perfectly good canon when even one of the original designers thinks it's too confusing. I'd be interested to know what you think about the whole Bahro story and Yeesha magic and weird linking rules like having the same book take you to different instances of an Age depending on who you are.


There's some great discussion going on here! Thanks for everyone's input... it's really helping me understand stuff I never even knew about.

The original Myst is classic. A lot of things made that happen and I'm not sure how much I, or Rand, had to do with it. It had a life of its own and, at some point, it become something much larger than either Rand or I... or Cyan. I think when that happens to a creation, it's time to stay away. No more tinkering. No more redefining what that thing is. In a way, when a thing reaches this stage, in a way it no longer belongs to the creators, it belongs to history, and going back and changing the original work (or redefining the original work) is like trying to re-write history.

That said, I'm sure the above change was put into effect for some logical reason that had to do with the multiplayer Uru world. Is that right? A multiplayer environment probably created all sorts of logical issues, because Myst was never designed with that in mind. We never intended anyone to visit D'ni. We always knew that Riven was the end of the canon, and then we'd turn our creative eye(s) elsewhere.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:52 pm 
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Now I have a question for Robyn. I would like to hear what you think of all the changes to the Myst universe that you knew when you completed Riven. There were lots of changes to existing canon in the time leading up to URU. Would be interested in hearing your opinion.


Hi ageExplorer! What other changes?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:08 am 
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I don't mind the idea of the Stranger as a historical figure in the context of discussing the series with others, pretending that the games depict things that really happened. It's an entertaining metagame. Setting the Uru games in that universe, where the Myst games are based on real things that happened (as opposed to setting the Uru games in the same universe as the Myst games) is an interesting choice, but again it allowed for a bit of entertaining meta-game humor in a couple of the journals.

I personally played all 5 of the main series Myst games as myself, and I like it that way. It does make it feel much more personal and significant. The Uru games never felt that personal to me, despite the creation of an "avatar" for myself. Being just one of who knows how many explorers, going through the motions on a path that so many have evidently walked before, just made me feel so much less important than being the guy (myself) who single-handedly saved Atrus's family again and again. I was very glad that Myst 5's plot was open-ended enough that I was able to choose to interpret it either way.

Really, I actually enjoy stories that can be read on two different levels.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:22 am 
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robynmiller wrote:
Quote:
Now I have a question for Robyn. I would like to hear what you think of all the changes to the Myst universe that you knew when you completed Riven. There were lots of changes to existing canon in the time leading up to URU. Would be interested in hearing your opinion.


Hi ageExplorer! What other changes?


I don't know what he had in mind specifically, but I know a lot of stuff changed as the "rules" of Linking Books became more... "concrete." The books in Myst were basically used as video phones, an idea which seemed to be overruled as early as Riven. Myst 4 sort of rewrote the idea of Myst's "trap books" into "prison ages," real places where people were physically trapped, rather than the inter-link one-man prison that was key to Riven's plot.

Personally I have no trouble accepting each game's story as canon within its own "bubble," so I don't have a problem with the changes over time, but some people feel the need to retroactively re-write the earlier stories in their heads to account for the later information. I do sort of enjoy the thought experiments, though, especially when I can come up with ones that allow each story to be equally valid, rather than having one game overwrite the other games.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:59 am 
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Quote:
I don't know what he had in mind specifically, but I know a lot of stuff changed as the "rules" of Linking Books became more... "concrete." The books in Myst were basically used as video phones, an idea which seemed to be overruled as early as Riven. Myst 4 sort of rewrote the idea of Myst's "trap books" into "prison ages," real places where people were physically trapped, rather than the inter-link one-man prison that was key to Riven's plot.


There is a problem with defining things are inherently ambiguous. Ambiguity, in art and in videogames, allows more to the player's imagination. For example, you see that spaceship on Myst island, and you can only wonder... how the fiery abyss did this get here? Where did it come from? There must be some explanation! But, not knowing, you're forced to imagine. You're forced to wonder. And because you wonder, there is mystery.

But when everything is explained (and I'm sure by this point, the spaceship and the cabin and the clocktower have all been explained), there is little mystery left. So you see that spaceship, it's a little less wonderful. It's plain.

So what really are the trap books? Do we really know? How can any of us know? Should any of us know?

This is so fun! :-)

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:38 am 
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Here is the earliest information I have seen regarding Myst being based on "real" events. This is the Acknowledgments page Rand wrote for "Myst: The Book of Ti'ana" (I hope its ok to post this):

[spoiler]"It's amazing how little we know, after all these years, about the history of D'ni and the story surrounding Myst Island. Over the years the story is revealed piece by piece, like a large puzzle waiting to be put together. It's only with the continuing effort of a core group of people that pieces are uncovered and assembled to make a book like this possible.

"It has been my pleasure to uncover the past events in D'ni history even as Robyn continues to bring the events surrounding Myst Island to its final chapter. Not having Robyn's help for this translation, the burden of discovery was taken up by Chris Brandcamp, Richard Watson, and Ryan Miller working closely with David Wingrove. Our task was large and yet the results are stunning, as for the first time the public gains a glimpse into the richness and complexity of the D'ni civilization.

"So it is to these four close friends (particularly David and Chris for their long hours of work) that I extend my sincerest thanks and admiration. This story reaches you because of their dedication and brilliance."[/spoiler]

Richard Watson's "Ask Dr. Watson" Q&A used this perspective when answering questions about linking rules, story canon, and the like. I found that a few of these questions even ended up on the old Myst site as early as 2000 (maybe earlier). The idea also seemed to be the basis for the DIRT project where the player would wander down to D'ni and read journals from Atrus, Catherine, etc. This all evolved into Uru and Myst V.

I think it is helpful to remember that Uru is not a sequel to the Myst games and not exactly the same canon (though they are kinda layered). Therefore, just as Myst is a game in real life, it is a game in Uru. This may be a bad analogy, but it is like characters in a TV show referring to another TV show that exists in real life. However, they consider their show to be real life. (I think that sounds a bit confusing) :)

Myst V was interesting in that it is meant to be the end to the Myst series and, when played, connects with the Myst canon. At one point, it is hinted that you are still the one who helped Atrus in the original game. However, as Uru had also come to an end at the time, some of its broader hanging story points ended up forming the basis for the game. When Uru came back to life, Myst V was referred to as just a game and there was mystery as to whether Uru's Cyan got some of the idea from "real" events because we saw things had happened that seemed to tie into Myst V's ending. I admit it is kinda complicated. However, if you get into the story details (that I won't spoil here), then you can see why it ended up that way. If Uru had never been cancelled (and therefore no Myst V), things would have been less confusing.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:47 am 
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robynmiller wrote:
But when everything is explained (and I'm sure by this point, the spaceship and the cabin and the clocktower have all been explained), there is little mystery left. So you see that spaceship, it's a little less wonderful. It's plain.

You may be happy to know that, as far as I have seen, the spaceship, clocktower, and other things on Myst island and the ages are still mostly a mystery. There has been very little expansion on that stuff, and I think that's intentional. You may remember though that the cabin does get mentioned in The Book of Atrus. When Atrus links to Myst for the first time, he sees that there is a cabin already there (probably built or written in by Catherine and Anna).

BTW, thanks for chatting with us. It's always fun to talk to the creators of great games like Myst and Riven. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:57 am 
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Yeah, the closest thing to a real "explanation" of the landmarks on Myst island is Atrus's own description of them as "places of protection" in the imager message in that game. Though I do remember RAWA, I think, suggesting that in the Myst-is-based-on-real-events universe, the spaceship is in the game to represent "some unspecified technology," and that it must have served a similar purpose to Gehn's gold dome machines on Riven, to power the link in an impure or incomplete book.

Still doesn't even begin to explain why the spaceship has a pipe organ in it :lol:

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