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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:40 pm 
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I recently watched a video of Mysterium 2009 and the Q&A with Rand Miller.

http://zibland.com/blog/?p=1079

It's fascinating stuff and I'm surprised more people here aren't discussing it. So I decided to put together a thread for discussion of the information in that video.

Suffice it to say that it looks like:

-Rand Miller and Cyan Worlds want Uru open sourced and given to the fanbase, and also want to have an official server available with some sort of official content/story. (Obviously this can only happen if it's financially viable, though. Should the Myst movie or open source Uru draw a lot of attention, or if Cyan makes a lot of money somehow, Cyan may be able to reopen an official Uru.)

This sounds very cool. I'd love to see a fan-run open source Uru AND an official Cyan-run one.

Rand seems to want this too. The question is whether it's realistically feasible.

-Cyan's open-source project lead is tied up in another project (a money-bringing-in project that Cyan needs to do) during this summer, one which uses the Plasma engine. One of the key programmers in Cyan is working on this, who was working on open-sourcing Uru. If the people needed to work on an open source Uru were working on it, Rand suggested that it'd take about 30-90 days to get the work done that is needed to open-source Uru. It was pretty vague, as it's hard to know exactly how long the work will take.

I'm very curious about what that project is. Plasma 3 is apparently being used for something, something Cyan Worlds has been working on for a few months now. Is anyone else here wondering what this mystery project is, and if Cyan is making some kind of new game for a publisher?

-What do you want fans to do with the world you've created?

One fan asked this; Rand talked about all the different ways fans are entertained, and the many types of fans, but summed it up with a statement that

"it's the content that keeps us going, it's the hardest part of all this - I mean, I don't want Uru to become Second Life, necessarily, and that's not a dig on Second Life, it's just that there's so much stuff in Second Life it's hard to cull through it all - but I think that you guys making content that shows up in the world is, like, somehow a key to its (uru) staying alive, and us being able to add things that are more 'blessed' only because we know where the story arc should go, and we don't really want to tell you, cause it's cool, but if we ever get a chance you'll like it, we don't want to ruin that surprise. So if it's something we release open source, and you guys can get back into the cavern and ages come out that are like D'ni writers who write ages that are not like the masters but like people who are learning to write ages. I think that's kinda cool..."

He then talks about the practical applications of the guilds, how the different guilds serve purposes in an Uru run largely by fans.

Again, it's this idea of Cyan wanting to let the fans add to Uru, but still wanting to tell their own official story as well if that's possible.

Also, there were some other moments worth mentioning, of which these are a few:

Rand talking about the story Cyan Worlds would like to tell in the Book of Marrim, hinting that the story has already been thought about but hasn't gotten into book form - but that Rand would like to finish it.

-Someone asked about Something Else, though it looks like whatever it was, it has been forgotten by Cyan. Rand couldn't even be sure which something else the fans were asking about.

The joking about the MO:UL ages, particularly the pods. I loved Rand's honesty about budget limitations, but was a bit surprised, honestly, by Rand's seeming confusion about certain bits of his own company's game. Someone asked about why there were no animals in the other pods. This is a baffling question given that 3 out of 4 pods had animals - Negilahn had the Urwin and the two-tailed monkeys, Dereno had fish, and Payiferen had the Sanscrit. Even more baffling is that Rand didn't point this out to the person asking the question, and that he couldn't remember the name of Tetsonot, the fourth pod. Beyond this, Rand still hasn't finished Myst IV.

It reminded me that he's not the genius game designer who has all the answers to every question about the Myst series.
Some questions we ask, he just doesn't know how to answer.

I loved seeing people playing Ayoheek, and all the little touches that made the meeting area look like the hoods in Uru. It was funny to see people kicking around a beach ball that looked just like Eddie.

Any other thoughts on Mysterium 2009, the Q&A, or the video?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:54 pm 
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Rand seems to have ideas he would like to implement and directions he would like to go. Not having the time or money to make those things happen... things are pretty much on hold... waiting... and undefined. I think it will stay this way until something definitive can be done. Until then I think Rand is keeping as many options open as possible. I think the options open approach worked to get the GameTap/MOUL game going.

His explanation of the delay caused by the 3rd party plugins tells the realm of what the tech side of the problem is. That a key person is tied up with a money making project tells us the manpower issue, which may be more a knowledge issue than manpower problem. Seems obvious Cyan has a NDA regarding 'something else' which suggests to me he was faking the memory loss, not in a bad way and may be not... I think his mood and relaxed answers indicate more of a satirical and playful answer to avoid an issue he could not comment on. I won't hold that against him, if that was the case. However, I remember him look up and right as he said that... so...

This is a puzzle solving community so if one wanted to discover possible something else's we probably could. But I don't know that that would help Cyan. If one wanted Cyan to sign an NDA and realized their fan base would discover even the slightest crack in security and out them, it might mean avoiding using Cyan.

The often heard 30 to 90 day answer is not encouraging, to me. It always seems to take way longer. So, I see this as moving a return to the Cavern and the release of open source farther into the future. Whilyam's effort to get something going could be a saving move and may be get us open source this year. Or may be its time to think of an alcugs based fan content only shard as a primary candidate for a current project. I think one or the other and cast my vote for Whilyam's idea first.

I still prefer the option of fan run servers. A Cyan server for game play and a canon strict shard is a good idea if it does not eliminate fan servers.

That a new something else might be built using Plasma raises some questions. If Cyan had released Plasma as open source... would they still be able to sell their service and skill in building games?

Will we get an older MOUL age Plasma and the newer version remain proprietary?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:52 pm 
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matthornb wrote:
I loved Rand's honesty about budget limitations, but was a bit surprised, honestly, by Rand's seeming confusion about certain bits of his own company's game. <snip>

It reminded me that he's not the genius game designer who has all the answers to every question about the Myst series.
Some questions we ask, he just doesn't know how to answer.

Poor Rand. I'm afraid that sometimes we expect too much from him because we've put him on a pedestal and raised him up to god-like status in many ways. I suspect this is due in part to his portrayal of the beloved Atrus as much as it is his being the founder and CEO of the company that has given us the wonderful worlds of Myst & Uru. But, a good CEO develops a team to which they can delegate with enough confidence in their talents that they don't have to approve every last detail. So, apparently, Rand is a good CEO.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:08 pm 
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I think the thing about Rand Miller - he likes to talk about what he wants to happen, a vision. To his credit, the Myst series had a long run, what with the games Cyan did, and the other games in the series. Myst is still my favorite game of all time (and a new iPhone/iPod version) and I'd like to be back in multiplayer Uru. So, if Rand wants to talk about what he wants - his vision - I think that's fine, good, interesting. He is an enthusiastic speaker, from what the one talk I was at, and the other presentations I saw, from online sources. He seems to want to keep on working in the game industry, which is good.

Do I think that Cyan is going to be in a position where they can run shards or release new content - no, not for a long time, if ever. I think that's Rand Miller, being enthusiastic, having ideas on what he'd like to happen in the future.

What I'd like for them to do is release the open source code so we can have legal fan run shards. It looks like they are having problems doing even that, but a person can hope.

Almost forgot - Myst III and Myst IV, games in the Myst series, were not developed my Cyan, different development companies - not a Cyan product, Cyan licensed the rights. If there is someone who knows all the Myst game series lore, and the lore of D'ni, it's got to be RAWA - Richard Watson, one of the core people at Cyan.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:06 pm 
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As long as they have a stable server for Uru, I'll take it. Additional content sounds great, even if it's just a small trickle. I find it hard to believe they're already financially at a point where they can consider doing that, but I won't complain if they are :P

If it takes a reasonable subscription fee to make it happen, I would do it, but only if there is some assurance that there will be stability and the aforementioned new content. 'course we'll have to see how the situation goes with any user-run servers.

Waiting on the video before I make any more comments - the torrent is dead, I'm afraid.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:43 pm 
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Ed Oscuro wrote:
Waiting on the video before I make any more comments - the torrent is dead, I'm afraid.


Text transcript here.

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