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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:55 am 
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Hiya guys, mod speaking here, feel free to go on with the discussion about GoW stuff, but please remember that off topic, more personal dialogue between two members, should be moved to PMs, especially if not directly pertaining to the actual topic of public interest (which is "GoW and forum member's ideas and opinions about GoW" and not for example "difficulties in forum communication between some individual members") . Helps constructive discussion about the actual topic greatly. Thank you! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:14 am 
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If I understand what's being said here, I think I agree with TNR; the person who says "You should put some trees here" is more than welcome to provide that kind of input, but they are not a Writer -- the person who actually puts the trees there is. This helps keep confusion down on who is actually working on Ages and who is just supporting them. It isn't excluding anyone from the Guild, as they can still provide input. The only thing it doesn't allow is for them to have the title "Writer", but that's just how it is.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:11 am 
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You are still taking everything I said far too personally, TNR. I still don't know why you persist with this strange idea that I am trying to make you my enemy.

Anyway, I stand by all that I say. And it is certainly true what without programmers there would be no Ages at all (and that finding skilled programmers is almost certainly going to be the hardest bit)... but actually that's not the point. Saying that because it is true that therefore the Guild should only be about the programming is a non sequitur.

The Guild is about the process of creating Ages for the game community. That's a much broader goal and it involves a much broader skill set than the technical side. And everyone involved in that goal, everyoine who wants to put their skills and talents towards the creation of great Ages and does indeed make that effort for good effect, deserves the term 'Writer'. Simple as that.

People putting in the other aspects shouldn't be seen as mere consultants, secondary members or less important in any way or form- it;s not a friendly apporach and nor is it very efficient. They should be at the heart of the process. When everyone feels properly part of a team like that, results will be at their best. When you start labelling people as more or less important to the process it will suffer.

In the end, it will not be simply the job you do that will define your importance to the Guilds. It is the contribution you make, and we should not be in the business of pre-judging what contribution various people will make based purely on the type of work they are offering. Time will tell who the best contributors are.

Herhotar... if you are in the Guild you are a Writer. Just because you do not OOC do the coding and modelling for an Age does not mean IC you are not a Writer, and it would be exceptionally confusing to have people in the Guild of Writers... but not call them Writers.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:26 pm 
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Herohtar wrote:
the person who says "You should put some trees here" is more than welcome to provide that kind of input, but they are not a Writer -- the person who actually puts the trees there is.


Let's make an example - the Cleft. The Miller brothers thought up the Cleft a long time ago, shortly after Myst or even before; it appeared in the books long before it was made in 3D for Uru.
Yet, according to that statement, the Millers would NOT be the Writers of the Cleft, because they probably didn't do any work on modelling, textures, sound effects, scripting or anything on the technical side - Robyn certainly didn't, since he left Cyan after Riven. Rand probably made some sketchy concept art and followed the creation process saying "this will do" or "no, it's not like this, more like that". Should we remove his name from the credits, remove his name from the list of the Uru Writers?

That's something that baffles and terrifies me. Every part of the team is also part of the creative process, from the guy with the idea to the concept artist to the 'artisans' that make it all up. Saying that the first ones cannot be Writers because they're better at the making up part rather that an the artisan part is completely against any form of team work.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:38 pm 
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Herohtar wrote:
If I understand what's being said here, I think I agree with TNR; the person who says "You should put some trees here" is more than welcome to provide that kind of input, but they are not a Writer -- the person who actually puts the trees there is. This helps keep confusion down on who is actually working on Ages and who is just supporting them. It isn't excluding anyone from the Guild, as they can still provide input. The only thing it doesn't allow is for them to have the title "Writer", but that's just how it is.


No, the designers are part of the age creation team. In fact they are more important for a good age than the 3d modelers. You can become a decent 3d modeler with lots of training and experience but a designer needs more than experience. The original Myst and Riven games are a very good example.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:52 pm 
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An important point related to all of this discussion of who should be included in the "official" Guild of Writers (and I think this is what some of us are trying to say):

When it comes to 3D modeling and programming, etc. it becomes obvious if someone knows what they are doing. If, when you link in, your computer crashes, obviously something is going wrong with programming. And if everything looks like default DirectX objects (teapot, etc) then you know the modelers aren't up to snuff.

But it becomes difficult to tell how a level designer/puzzle maker is doing. Anyone thinks that they can pull an age design out of the top of their head, but in truth it is arguably more difficult to make a good design for an age than it is to model and program it. So because so many people think that they can do this (and many can, don't get me wrong, but it is easier to pretend that you can design an age than pretend that you can make it), there would be a large group of people on the GoW that are directing the programmers and modelers and texture-makers (and when I say "directing" I mean providing a blueprint of an age) to make something that isn't very well designed, and that, for example, the GoMa could only determine in their testing phase, long after much work has been done.

/me gasps for air

So to say that the designers of the age have less importance is a bad idea, but it is difficult to determine who actually knows what they are doing, because quality of an age's puzzles is not as obvious as the quality of the graphics.

That being said, I'm not really sure what can be done about this, seeing as no one will know a good designer from a bad one unless an age is created to that specification. Even looking at the plans can't always show the quality of the age.

Does this mean that we should restrict the designers of the age? Only as restricted as the modelers and programmers are. Obviously we don't want a programmer that is bad making ages that turn out buggy and more work than they are worth. THe same goes for the designs, but, as I said, it's more difficult to tell a good one from a bad one.

I realize that I've restated my point several times, so sorry for the wordiness. But I think this is one of the central problems, and it's the line that differentiates the programmers and modelers from the designers.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:33 pm 
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Yes, that would indeed be a problem- bad design is a difficult thing to pin down and probably only becomes clear a long way into a project.

Still, that's just how it is. As I say, time will tell which people are working hardest and making the best contributions, of any kind.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:02 pm 
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[moved from the GoW Meeting thread]

Hope you don't mind me -- an utter outsider -- chiming in with my nickle's worth of free advice.

I have some small amount of experience working on Age Building of a sort -- I am part of the creative team currently producing the Ages of Illathid -- a fan-made stand-alone single-player Myst-based game. I've been on the team for the better part of two years. And let me tell what works for us: Team.

There are people who excel at modeling, and others that are really good at designing plant-life or pieces of furniture. And others that do nothing but design puzzles and figure out the player pathway through an Age. And people who sit around and talk about how all of the pieces fit into a cohesive, internally consistant whole.

I'm not knocking the mavericks among you who want to essentially Write a Descriptive Book all alone -- create every aspect of the Age yourself. But not every can -- or desires to -- do it all.

It seems to me what will work the best is you invite people to join your Guild with all manor of skills, and let them filter themselves into sub-groups (not separate guilds) where they can be called upon to do what they do best. Don't try to define the sub-groups, let the guild members themselves define their own groups according to their own function.

Then create a directory of sorts. You want to Write an Age, but you don't feel like trying to figure out how to design a tapestry to hang in the study, call on the 2d artists. Or maybe you have nothing but a concept, farm out all of it and supervise. Just be sure to create something in your bylaws that encourages fair credit be given when it is due.

Now, I know I've argued against forcing the artists/writers/actors/musicians/etc. to join your guild. But I can see a way to avoid the conflict. There is no reason why members of this (thus far undefined) guild can't also join the GoW and list themselves on your directory. Be on call. In case you need a piece of music created for your Age, or an interesting bit of lab equipment, or even a journal.

I'm not a programmer -- I don't know code, 3d modeling, animation, or any of the tools traditionally associated with game creation. But I'm a fine writer and a fair 2d artist (I use Photoshop at work every day). And I have skills you could use. So I don't know to what degree you value my input, here (it doesn't matter; I'm happy to give it anyway). But I don't think creating a series of ranks is going to serve anyone, escept possibly the egos of those on top. It isn't a contest. If you want to Write your own Ages, you join the GoW where all of the tools can be found. Why should there be rank? Your Age will either be good or it won't; it will either get approved by Cyan and the Maintainers or it won't; explorers will like it or they won't. Let that be your rank.

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Last edited by Montgomery on Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:54 pm 
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Okay, I thought it might be helpful for newcomers to the thread to have a brief summary of what's been discussed so far, so I'm going to do my best to try to provide a summary, which will probably be debated, but this is just the gist of things that I've picked up so far:

1. How should guild "membership" be decided?
It seems that a general consensus has been made that anyone can join that guild provided that they show that they are capable in the field they wish to work in, and the higher-ups in the guild approve it.

2. How should creative end of the guild be organized?
This topic has had many different opinions. The following debates have been listed below:

a. Sub-Guild system
Various sub-guilds would exist, each reporting back to an organizer who coordinates their efforts.

b. Bureaucratic system
Many set positions are created, with a specific set of requirements for each position to complete before passing along their work to the next step.

c. Every guildsman for themself
Once a guild member has been approved, they set along making their age, requesting help from other members whenever they need it, until the age has been completed.

3. Who should be allowed in the guild?
One of the more recent topics discussed, various positions are listed below:

a. Every person that contributes anything to an age
Any person that contributes anything to the creation of an age from design, coding, music, journals, etc. should be allowed guild membership.

b. Those in significant contribution positions are allowed guild membership, others are "cadets"
People who contribute in significant ways to the age creation - 3D modeling, puzzle and layout design, etc. are allowed guild membership. Those contributing in smaller ways - music, naming, ideas, etc. are given the title of guild "Cadets", but are not full members.

c. Only those involved in the actual coding of the age are allowed membership
Only those people who have physically created something in the age - 3D modeling, coding, etc. should be allowed membership into the guild. The creative end are still allowed in the guild, but are not officially called "writers".


If you think any changes should be made to this, please just tell me and I"ll make the edits.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:15 pm 
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Sorry, for the double post, but I wanted the past post to be purely informational, not opinion. Sit back, this is going to be a long one. So here's my opinion:

I liken age creation (not our age creation, but IC age creation) very much to the creation of a good video game. You cannot simply sit down one day at your computer and say, "I'm going to write a video game today!", sit down, start coding, sit back in an hour and say, "This is the greatest game ever!" A good video game is planned out, storyboarded, broken down, coded, tested, recoded - it takes a long time.

Similarly, age creation is a long process. First, an age must be envisioned. It must be outlined. The right D'ni words must be found to get the effect wanted. A regular (not special) book must be written. Contradictions must be looked for, and then, finally, a book may be written.

Why do I bring this up? To make the following point: a video game company does not hire people with the job descriptions "video game creators". It hires people to do 3D modeling, people to make the sprites, people to make the storyline, people to do the coding, people to do the testing, people to do the storyboarding, etc.

That is not to say that a 3D modeler with some coding experience could not sit down and create a video game all by himself. Au contraire, he most definitely could. However, his game would be missing the expert storyboarding, sprites, coding, testing, etc. provided by the other people in the company.

Granted, a storyboarder never physically coded something into the game that the player is going to experience, but think about great video games like Halo, The Legend of Zelda, ...Myst or Riven for goodness sakes! Would a game like Myst have been as fun if there were no storyline? If you were just wandering around on an island, collecting pieces of paper in different places, solely because the Manual told you that's how you win the game, would Myst really have been as fun? No!

A successful video game is the result of dozens of people working in their area of expertise to create a final product that everyone can be proud of. And this translates to age creation as well.

Sorry for taking so long to get into the main point, but here we go. The video game company metaphor shows what good age creation is about, and this is OOC. A good age has two elements that make it so enjoyable - Looking good, and being interesting. Case and point - Teledahn. Innovative and stunning environments combined with interesting puzzles and plenty of stuff to do.

Just because somebody on the creative end never physically puts something into the game, it doesn't mean that they are any less important than the people who do. Granted, I am not arguing that modeling and coding are more difficult by tenfold than sitting down, drawing a map, and saying, "Here's my age!" However, while anybody can sit down, and, in 10 minutes, design an age, it really takes something special to sit down and design a good age. One that will keep players interested, engaged, something innovative, something that adds to the Uru experience.

It is my firm belief that anybody who does anything involved in creating a new age should be called a writer. I know that there will be calls from others saying, "What about people that did the music? What about somebody who wrote the journals? Are we really going to say that they wrote an age?" My answer is yes; they created an age just as much as a dialogue writer, a sound designer, or a debugger helped create a video game.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:36 pm 
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Here's another angle:

Even people who are not all-around Age wizards might produce a sample Age of one kind or another.

Say I'm really good at music. (I'm not -- this is hypothetical.) I might produce an Age which is nothing but music. I'd start with a tutorial Age model (you'll surely have those, right?) which has just a stone platform and a vague fog. And then I'd add my music, playing in the background.

If there were a copy-and-paste tutorial model of a button, I could hook that up to change from one music track to another.

This will require *some* knowledge of the Age tools -- but I'm hoping that there will eventually be enough documentation that many people can do it.

So, what am I? In-character, I have written an Age; a very simple Age, of course, but one that other people can link to and appreciate. I am an Age Writer.

Out-of-character, I am doing work that engages with the group. I'm inspiring or challenging others; I'm using the tools; I'm attracting attention that could lead to collaborating on a full-scale Age team. So in this sense, too, I am part of the Writing community.

(I expect there will be a lot of this kind of small, single-aspect work. An Age which contains nothing but a single, beautifully-realized rock. Or a sky pattern. Or a moving fountain. These things should be shared just as much as gigantic Ages -- and they're a lot easier to finish.)

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:19 pm 
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Ian Atrus wrote:
Let's make an example - the Cleft. The Miller brothers thought up the Cleft a long time ago, shortly after Myst or even before; it appeared in the books long before it was made in 3D for Uru.
Yet, according to that statement, the Millers would NOT be the Writers of the Cleft, because they probably didn't do any work on modelling, textures, sound effects, scripting or anything on the technical side - Robyn certainly didn't, since he left Cyan after Riven. Rand probably made some sketchy concept art and followed the creation process saying "this will do" or "no, it's not like this, more like that". Should we remove his name from the credits, remove his name from the list of the Uru Writers?

That's something that baffles and terrifies me. Every part of the team is also part of the creative process, from the guy with the idea to the concept artist to the 'artisans' that make it all up. Saying that the first ones cannot be Writers because they're better at the making up part rather that an the artisan part is completely against any form of team work.


Well, let's look at it like this... you are a D'ni person back in the day and have a great idea for an Age (design), but you're not a Guild member and don't have any skill in writing an Age (creating content). So what do you do? Go to the Guild of Writers and submit your ideas to someone there (a Writer) who does have the ability to make your ideas a reality. Your Age is made the way you described it, but that doesn't make you a Writer. How is the OOC Age building any different than that?

In your example, Rand and Robyn are Writers because they have created Ages for Myst, so you can't really use them. However, if the only thing Rand did for the Cleft was to say "That looks good", then he did not write the Age, and should not be listed as a Writer for that Age in the credits. Rather, he should be listed under something else that is for non-Writers, yet still gives him credit for his input.

Here's another example... many of us submit tickets with bug reports or requests for Ages; by what you're saying, once those bugs are fixed and those requests are done, everyone who submitted something about them should be called a Writer.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:29 pm 
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Herohtar wrote:
Ian Atrus wrote:
Let's make an example - the Cleft. The Miller brothers thought up the Cleft a long time ago, shortly after Myst or even before; it appeared in the books long before it was made in 3D for Uru.
Yet, according to that statement, the Millers would NOT be the Writers of the Cleft, because they probably didn't do any work on modelling, textures, sound effects, scripting or anything on the technical side - Robyn certainly didn't, since he left Cyan after Riven. Rand probably made some sketchy concept art and followed the creation process saying "this will do" or "no, it's not like this, more like that". Should we remove his name from the credits, remove his name from the list of the Uru Writers?

That's something that baffles and terrifies me. Every part of the team is also part of the creative process, from the guy with the idea to the concept artist to the 'artisans' that make it all up. Saying that the first ones cannot be Writers because they're better at the making up part rather that an the artisan part is completely against any form of team work.


Well, let's look at it like this... you are a D'ni person back in the day and have a great idea for an Age (design), but you're not a Guild member and don't have any skill in writing an Age (creating content). So what do you do? Go to the Guild of Writers and submit your ideas to someone there (a Writer) who does have the ability to make your ideas a reality. Your Age is made the way you described it, but that doesn't make you a Writer. How is the OOC Age building any different than that?


That's simple to answer- what you are describing there is an IC process, not an OOC one. If a person outside the GoW comes up with an idea for an Age and asks the Guild to make it come a reality, then sure, the process is as you describe above.

But the OOC process of conceptualising Ages as a deliberate part of a programme for the Guild to create Ages or as part of a creative project is absolutely nothing like what you describe above. Those people- who are making vital components of an Age as part of a dedicated Age creation team- are just as much part of the Guild as the programmers and modellers, and so IC they are Writers.

Being an IC Writer does not equate to being the person who literally codes the Age. It equates to being someone OOC who has made this committment, and actively participates in, the process of Age creation, in any form.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:49 pm 
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Being an IC Writer does not equate to being the person who literally codes the Age. It equates to being someone OOC who has made this committment, and actively participates in, the process of Age creation, in any form.
IC Writer = writing team - concept, design and implementation, from my perspective.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:53 pm 
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Ushgarak wrote:
That's simple to answer- what you are describing there is an IC process, not an OOC one. If a person outside the GoW comes up with an idea for an Age and asks the Guild to make it come a reality, then sure, the process is as you describe above.

But the OOC process of conceptualising Ages as a deliberate part of a programme for the Guild to create Ages or as part of a creative project is absolutely nothing like what you describe above. Those people- who are making vital components of an Age as part of a dedicated Age creation team- are just as much part of the Guild as the programmers and modellers, and so IC they are Writers.

Being an IC Writer does not equate to being the person who literally codes the Age. It equates to being someone OOC who has made this committment, and actively participates in, the process of Age creation, in any form.


I think you misunderstand me... I'm saying anyone who actually physically creates something for the Age -- code, 3D models, music, etc -- is a Writer. If Artist Aaron comes along and makes a texture for an Age, he's a Writer. If Musician Mark writes a piece of music for an Age, he's a Writer. However, someone who comes along and says "You need a waterfall over there" or "Build a golf course Age" is not a Writer. Planner/designer perhaps, but not a Writer.

In the construction business, you have people who come up with the design for a building: architects (planner/designer). You also have those who actually do the work of building it: construction workers (Writers). The architect/designer is an essential member for making a great building, but he doesn't get the title "construction worker" ("Writer") unless he goes down and physically works on the building as well.

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