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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:36 am 
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As we are talking about fan content here, I thought this would be a good place to post my idea.
Before anyone replies, I know this idea will/may never happen, and that the work needed to make it happen is a huge amount, even for those with the skills and knowledge to make it happen (which isn't me).

Here's the idea for in-game Age creation :

You find an empty book, maybe somewhere in an instanced Age, and it's the only empty book you find (that way everyone gets a chance to create one Age unless they delete the instanced Age and try again). You can open this book, but the linking panel is dead because there are no words in the book.

Opening the book brings up a drop-down menu (in my head it is a drop-down menu) which contains thousands of phrases in different categories. You can add phrases from the drop-down menus by dragging and dropping them onto the page. You have to add phrases in roughly the right order, like some from the beginning categories, then some from middle categories, then some from ending categories. When you have added enough phrases, the linking panel comes alive.

What this means is, you are creating an Age by placing "blocks" and some clever software is constructing your Age as you place these phrases. When you have finished, you have an Age you can link to and explore. Yes I know, that's a huge program and a lot of work for someone.

When you have finished "writing" your Age, possibly being able to name it as well, you can take it to an explorer library, put it on the shelf, and let others explore it.

I feel that even though this is an idea that would mean a lot of work to make it happen, it would be closer to Age creation as described in Uru canon than having to get 3DSMax, learn how to use it, get the right plugins, spend weeks/months working on an Age and even then probably not having it included in MOULa.

This method of Age creation would be simpler for those of us not able to use 3D modelling software or have a knowledge of PyrPP etc and could possibly see huge numbers of fan created Ages in MOULa. Maybe, this method does not even have to be an in-game part of MOULa, it could be a separate program that then generates a file you could send to Cyan or any other shard and they can add the Age.

In summary, it was just an idea for a different method of Age creation that will probably never happen, but if I didn't tell you all about it and kept quiet, it would definitely never happen.

Alien

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:02 am 
That would be wonderful if we had it...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:28 am 
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I think a similar idea already poped up somewhere...
First of all: I have to agree with DLordofTime, but there are some problems:
1.Ingame would be a very bad place to make this. It would be easier to write a new program instead of putting it into the game.
2.All the stuff you place through these phrases has to exist somewhere, which means someone has to make this. This brings us to
3.Either it would be a huge amount of work to make all the parts for the age or all ages look the same, cause we don't have enough parts.

In conclusion:
It's a nice idea, but will never happen

Christopher


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:06 am 
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For me Ages are not just nice areas, they have to have puzzles. That is an integral part of Myst for me, the experience of unlocking more and more of an Age, having all the bits fall into place.

I don't need software to design such things (although some tools help), but unfortunately I do need a specific set of software to actually create a working Age. That is beyond my skills, and I lack the time and motivation to learn those skills. But I'm already equipped for designing content for Ages.

So personally, I don't want tools so I can create Ages, I want someone who is already able to do so to create them with me. Is using everyone for their particular strengths not much more effective than having everyone acquire every skill?

Now here's the thing. I have experience making puzzles, mostly the kind you could conceivably print out and then solve completely offline. A lot of them would fit well in a Myst universe. So I got all this stuff ready to use, adapt, expand, and I think I should repay some of all the fun I've had with the Myst franchise, but there's this huge wall to climb if I want to put it into a Myst Age.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:14 am 
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I doubt even the most skilled programmers of today could do that. The most advanced automatic world generation video game I can think of right now is Minecraft, and look at its worlds : they're made up of individual components which are assembled together. You're talking about something that can generate architecture, link-in points, a natural environment, and more with the additional constraints of having to obey a few sentences given by the user.

So, like others said... nice idea, unfeasible.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:43 pm 
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For me, reading Alien's post made me think of Portal 2's In-game Level designer, probably because it's been on my mind for a while already. Now, I know Portal 2 is a 'square' world compared to URU's 'rounded' edges, but in-game editors have been made already to some successful degree. :) You bring up good points, however, that all of it needs to be pre-generated to some degree. So perhaps something akin to the Hammer editor, also used for Portal 2 "ages," would work better? Using the given "Instances" of items, architectural pieces, and puzzle elements to make something new out of what exists already? You can make a lot of interesting designs with just the same few pieces if you're clever enough to fill in the gaps. :)

Other content creators for other games do the same thing for mass-exploration areas, even those including puzzles, taking "cells" or "Instances" of locations and items and being able to adjust them accordingly into new forms, increasing scale or decreasing, adding a new texture here or there. A problem with that would be if people start to see things repeating in different Ages, but then again, it's not like there isn't precedence for some ages mirroring each other in the game already (Tsogal and Delin mirror Kemo's layout). But to go back to the Portal 2 example, if people get to the point where they have a good level designed in the In-Game editor, they can have the Puzzle they just designed exported out to the Hammer editor where they can then mess with the looks and appearances of the levels even more.

Now, an in-game editor for URU would probably not work so well, but having it external (Such as The Hammer Editor to continue the Portal 2 example) would allow people to export the made age to any given shard. All they'd need to do is send it to the right people (shard owners).

The logistics of having it be spawned by words alone could perhaps be an interesting side-effect of naming each piece of the world environment when they're put together. Perhaps a written 'descriptive book' could be produced when the age is exported, allowing people to read how the age is put together. Once that is done, and people have studied how the 'code' is put together, those same people could then try creating the ages in 'reverse', by actually writing an Age and then importing it into the editor, and seeing what they've got! Now that would be a uniquely URU solution to age writing, would it not?

It might not happen in the near future, but this is the kind of thing I'd put my support behind. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Bethesda created a Construction Set application for their Elder Scrolls series, allowing those without computer graphics skills to build game areas using prefab modules. This is a separate piece of software; not in-game.

Using even this "easy" toolkit takes a good bit of learning time, if you want sounds/animation/lighting/avatar behaviors and so on.
And in the end, you still wind up with an environment that looks somewhat like everyone else's that has used the tool...even though the list of modules has increased over time, from contributions made by people that do have CG skills.

It's also apparent that Bethesda put a lot of time (and money) into developing this software for their fans.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:14 pm 
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Emor D'ni Lap wrote:
Bethesda created a Construction Set application for their Elder Scrolls series, allowing those without computer graphics skills to build game areas using prefab modules.

:shock: - That is awesome!

angelo71 wrote:
Now here's the thing. I have experience making puzzles, mostly the kind you could conceivably print out and then solve completely offline. A lot of them would fit well in a Myst universe. So I got all this stuff ready to use, adapt, expand, and I think I should repay some of all the fun I've had with the Myst franchise, but there's this huge wall to climb if I want to put it into a Myst Age.

You should post over at the Guild of Writers and/or OpenUru.org to see if an Age Builder is interested in working with you. Not many people possess the ability to do it all; it often requires a team and you have something to contribute.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:14 pm 
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Shorah all,

You may be interested to see the work done by The.Modificator on the Tahwah Age back in 2010. There is a thread at the Guild of Writers about it as well as a YouTube video showing the Age in action.

Sadly, the development of this Age and tool stalled and it seems no one picked up where The.Modificator left off. But it demonstrates the mind-boggling potential to allow pretty much anyone to Write an Age.

Are there any folks out there who might be interested in taking up this old project? Of course, there's no telling how compatible it might be for MOULa as it is today. The.Modificator released a zipped file of most of his development work so others could contribute to this project.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:02 am 
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Thanks for this, Ainia!. I remember watching this back in 2010 and being blown away. I was going to try and hunt it down, but you did it for me. This demonstrates that what is capable in custom age creation is even more impressive than we non-developers could imagine. Hopefully, recent developments will inspire others, or The.Modificator, to resume the project.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Well, I think the game Spore, shows just how possible it is to put a LOT of customization into a game.

Just as the OP was talking about, with creature creation you have 'drop down' list of options & pieces.. certain styles of mouth-shapes, hands, feet, wings, skin-tones and textures, and th eability to move & reshape them, and stick them together.

When that game came out, people went CRAZY with it. Look on Youtube, you can find where someone created a 'Spore' version of just about every cartoon character, sci-fi character, famous alien, muppet, comic-strip character you can THINK of. Geez, somebody actually made a creature that looked like a Playstation controller, different colored eyes for buttons, etc!

Those tools in Spore allow a MAJOR amount of customization.

There's also Minecraft, which has customization in a different way.. colored cubes, all the same size but different textures & colors. But what do people do with that? Again, look on Youtube and you will find Minecraft reproductions of every famous building, city, spaceship, alien world...

If there was a game that allowed people to create whole buildings & countrysides & cityscapes, etc, the way you can with Minecraft.. only allowing something like SPORE, where you could manipulate the size, shape & texture of the 'building blocks' you use --- I also like what the OP said about selecting from a drop-box of text, to add pre-structured elements & specified parameters...

A game like that, could very easily allow people to create 'Myst-style Ages' with NO tech knowledge at all... and if this Myst- Age writing game had just the BARE bones of a storyline... I think it could be successful as a game on its own AND allow people to create & save content that is compatible with MOULa and fan-shards, etc...

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Wow, that is very impressive. This is like the first glimpse of what could be a "guild of writers" age. Compare it to Gahreesen and it's not even at odds with what already exists in the myst universe.


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