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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:27 pm 
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Four pages of talk have been spun on a simple topic with an equally simple answer.

Here it is. Drum roll, please....

1. If you want to Write your own Ages, go ahead; nobody can stop you.
2. If you want to Write Ages in a group, go ahead; nobody can stop you.
3. Nobody should be disallowed from either option 1 or option 2.


And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:12 pm 
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:lol: :lol: beautiful summary Calam. Succinct and to the point. :wink:

Now I wonder if you've put an end to all the fun folks were having with this thread. 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:30 pm 
I suspect not. Sorry about that, Calam. :)

"Nobody can stop you" is a little disingenuous. Nobody can stop me leaving the house in the nude, but for reasons that have a lot to do with things I've heard and read, I'm unlikely to try it. The worry, as always, is that would-be solo Age Writers who have even less self-confidence than I do might be similarly persuaded not to bother, and hence all the going round and round.

I think we've established, though, that nobody here is trying to prevent anyone creating an Age by whatever means they wish, so it might be time to round off the thread and move on....


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:13 pm 
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OK (/scratchhead). Supposing I could actually design and miraculously code an Age either solo or with a group, how exactly would I actually ever get it added (read published) on a Cyan werver or fan front-end shard? I am compelled to ask this question since I have not seen much about how to get an Age into the game.

Following the summary by Calam, no one can stop you from creating an Age no matter how you do it, but does it necessarily follow that anyone but you will ever see it? No one can stop you from writing a book but will anyone actually publish it?

I not trying to stir the pot (much) but what is the chance an Age will get approved for public consumption? I ask because I simply do not know.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:31 pm 
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That is because there is no answer to that right now. According to Cyan's roadmap, they need to get their servers back up and people back in the Cavern first. Then at some point down the road is when UCC can be added.

However, right now you can build Ages and enjoy with with the single player version (Uru:CC), and it's good practice.

And yes, everyone here has conceeded that you can make Ages whether it be solo or with a team. The question was if a soloist can make an Age as good as one of the Cyan Ages. That's up for debate, until someone actually does it. And which I believe is possible.

I could sit here and point out all the flaws that can be found in each and every Cyan Age, proving that even a team can not catch everything, but that seems to fall on deaf ears.

However, while the project that Jennifer is helping with is quite beautiful, comparing it to Uru Ages is like comparing Apples and Oranges. Their project are pre-rendered art that is displayed with a game engine that runs like Riven's.
Uru uses Plasma with real time rendering.
The question will be if her team can port it over to Plasma, and if so how good it will look then. Right now, it's possible to create some very, VERY beautiful works using Plasma, but still not quite the same as Riven was, or Myst's III or IV
But you never know what the future may hold.

Oh, and another thing I'd like to mention, as per what Zander was saying: Do NOT be afraid to give Age Building a try! That is also one of my worries about threads like these, they tend to scare off people that other wise would like to join in. Even scare them from joining a team. You have a lot of people out there that will be worried about being "good enough" to help create Ages and want to try on their own first. Convincing them that they can never, NEVER make something as good as Cyan is just plain wrong. It is also apt to make someone not even give it a try and hence never join a team, when in reality, they could have hidden talents that will bloom if they only give it a try.

You can make a nice garden Age and not add one lick of code if you don't want to.

And for those that want to add things that might require code, and think that you'll be sitting in front of a Hex Editor trying to learn how, think again: that's not how it's done.
The "coding" is script, so it reads like english, not Hex. There are a TON of tutorials over at the GoW Wiki to help you, and many, many people at the forum who will be more than happy to lend a hand either helping you learn, or even do some of the script for you. You have but to ask.

So for any of you that have been reading this thread and have been thinking "oh my, there is no way just one person can create a beautiful and complex Age?" and have decided not to try, please come back. No one has proven anything in this thread. It's just a discussion. Give it a try......you won't know until you do.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:09 am 
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andylegate wrote:
That is because there is no answer to that right now.


[meta] This is the song that never ends,
As it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because,
This is the song that never ends,
As it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends,
As it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends,
As it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends,
As it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends,
As it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends,
As it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends,
As it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because................. [/meta]

Of course, every [meta] tag has a close tag, so perhaps we'll get answer someday, and the song can end after all... :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:40 am 
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johnsojc, I certainly hope that all the Ages people make will be able to be seen in the game in one form or another, no matter the quality, size, etc. Andy's right though; we just don't know at the moment, unfortunately.

Now, a quick disclaimer: If you haven't tried Age creation yet and you're thinking about giving it a go, definitely go for it! :D You may surprise yourself with what you'll be able to do, especially with the helpful folks at the GoW at your side. And even if you don't think you can create a large or Cyan-quality Age, you can certainly still create an Age that people will enjoy! :) On the other hand, if you don't think you have the time or temperment for modeling and texturing but you'd still like to do Age creation, I would encourage you to try one of the GoW's Age creation teams and practice whatever skills you are good at there. I know they'd love to have you, and I hope that you'll find that team Age creation can be a ton of fun! :)

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I could sit here and point out all the flaws that can be found in each and every Cyan Age, proving that even a team can not catch everything, but that seems to fall on deaf ears.

Hey, I'd agree with you that even Cyan's not perfect when it comes to Age creation. Team != perfection.

Quote:
However, while the project that Jennifer is helping with is quite beautiful, comparing it to Uru Ages is like comparing Apples and Oranges. Their project are pre-rendered art that is displayed with a game engine that runs like Riven's.
Uru uses Plasma with real time rendering.
The question will be if her team can port it over to Plasma, and if so how good it will look then. Right now, it's possible to create some very, VERY beautiful works using Plasma, but still not quite the same as Riven was, or Myst's III or IV
But you never know what the future may hold.

Thanks Andy! :)
But I only brought up Ages of Ilathid to prove 2 points. Whether the game will ever be on Uru is a big unknown.
Point 1. Teams actually can work; they aren't impossible
Point 2. Teams can produce better work than loners because each member specializes in what they excel at, rather than having to do everything themselves, including stuff in areas that they are not-so-good at.

Now, I'm afraid that the rest of this post will be very discouraging, because we are going to focus on failures instead of successes. :roll:

Quote:
That is also one of my worries about threads like these, they tend to scare off people that other wise would like to join in. Even scare them from joining a team. You have a lot of people out there that will be worried about being "good enough" to help create Ages and want to try on their own first. Convincing them that they can never, NEVER make something as good as Cyan is just plain wrong. It is also apt to make someone not even give it a try and hence never join a team, when in reality, they could have hidden talents that will bloom if they only give it a try.

Hey, I wouldn't say that a person can NEVER make something as good as Cyan. I think that creating a high quality, small Age is an attainable goal. However, I do think that saying, "Anybody can make an Age as large and complex as Teledahn," is about as pie in the sky as saying, "Anybody can be a millionaire," or "Anybody can be an Olympic swimmer." Not impossible; just very, very difficult. :roll: This may be discouraging, but it's the honest truth, and people will figure it out anyway as soon as they open Blender for the first time. There are 100+ people on the Introductions list alone at the GoW forum who wanted to do Age creation; there are 16 Ages currently in the ULM and a few more outside of it. More interesting statistics: Out of the 100 people (assuming I counted correctly) who posted in the Introduction thread for the Guild of Writers before June 1st, 37 of them haven't been active since June 1st, and 37 (not necessarily the same 37, the identical number is merely an odd coincidence) of them haven't posted more than nine times. Out of those 100 people who posted in the Introductions thread before June, 63 people were active after June 1st. What this effectively means is that 1/3 of the people who post wanting to do Age creation don't even get out of the starting gate, so to speak. I believe that many of these people gave up due to the challenge of creating an Age solo. My question is, would they still be at the GoW now if they had considered joining a team to be an acceptable alternative to going it alone?

The fact is, up till now I think people have been discouraged...from joining teams. From what I've been hearing in this thread, people have been under the impression that team Age creation is impossible or consists of boring work. These commonly held misconceptions are obviously harmful to the future of team Age creation, and so I've been trying my best to disprove them.

So what happens to all the people who aren't the spectacular, exceptional loners who achieve success and write a great-looking Age?
1. They write poor or mediocre Ages that don't live up to the dream Age which they wanted so hard to make.
2. They give up Age creation. "It's just not for me," or, "It's too hard," or "Maybe so & so can do it, but I know I can't"
3. They write a good Age which they are satisfied with.
Many, many people are in boat #1 or #2. And I'd estimate that maybe 5% of all people who start off to do Age creation actually create an Age that is good, let alone great. Why the low number? Because it's hard to be a one man band. There are plenty of people who can play one instrument well, i.e. the piano, the guitar, the flute, the drums, etc. But how many people do you know that can play all of these instruments?
The point is, there are many people that won't, can't, or don't play them all, yet they can play one instrument well--and these are people who end up in boats 1 and 2. These people could be happy and useful in a team, but they'll never even try that avenue if they think that "team Ages are impossible," or "being part of a team means boring work," or "I guess I wasn't meant to do Age creation after all; I just can't get the hang of modeling/texturing/coding/drawing/music/writing. I might as well leave the guild; there is no place for me here."

So what I'm seeing in the GoW is that tons of people who want to create Ages are basically unsuccessful in accomplishing any Age creation, and in the end, only a tiny minority is ultimately successful in producing an Age. Owch. So what can we do to help all the people who fail at loner Age creation? Well, we could do is encourage them to join teams. In a team, a person doesn't need to learn every skill it takes to create an Age, plus less of a time commitment is required. The biggest benefit might be in simply being part of a close group of supportive people who have a vested interest in the person's work and can encourage and motivate the person to keep going. The GoW does this too, of course, but it's not as personal and thus not as effective.

Outstanding loner Ages are great for the extra-talented, the highly motivated, and those who have large amounts of free time. Good loner Ages are produced by those who are short in one of those areas. Poor loner Ages are for those who are very short in one or more of those areas. And great team Ages are for people that are at any level in those areas. So in conclusion...
Don't give up, join up! :)


Last edited by Jennifer_P on Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:41 am 
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Quote:
Of course, every [meta] tag has a close tag, so perhaps we'll get answer someday, and the song can end after all... :lol:

The ending has not yet been written, silly!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:26 am 
Oh, Jennifer. I know you don't mean to do it, but you're doing it again. It's not like being a millionaire or an Olympic swimmer. It's like...getting a reasonably good job, or making it all the way in a marathon. "As large and complex as Teledahn" is not an impossible goal. It's perfectly attainable, and worth aiming for, even if you're on your own.

And I know...I know I'm one of those producing a lot of noise and not many Ages at the moment. I could list reasons, but it would sound like whining. Suffice to say that I haven't stopped having ideas, and I want to execute those ideas myself. I don't know if they'll be good enough, but that isn't going to stop me trying. And I can say that joining a team would not do anything to make it happen for me, except generate large amounts of guilt because then I'd be letting the team down.

And I have to point out that your final paragraph doesn't mention (merely) good team Ages, or poor team Ages, as if they couldn't exist. People who are at any level in the areas you mention will not produce outstanding work simply because someone else is doing something else on the same Age. They'll produce work at their level, and it will enhance or let down the Age accordingly, but it'll be okay because it was a team effort, and so will the next, and the next. A loner who produces a less than good Age has no-one to blame but him/herself, and no-one but him/herself can make the next one better. Now that's motivation.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:42 am 
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Quote:
Oh, Jennifer. I know you don't mean to do it, but you're doing it again. It's not like being a millionaire or an Olympic swimmer. It's like...getting a reasonably good job, or making it all the way in a marathon. "As large and complex as Teledahn" is not an impossible goal. It's perfectly attainable, and worth aiming for, even if you're on your own.

I'm not saying it's impossible; I'm just saying it's very very unlikely. Again, it's perfectly attainable, it's just very very unlikely that anyone will attain it alone. To do so, a person would need to have the skills of Cyan's development team (all experts in their fields). Next, they would need to commit vast amounts of time to the project. Andy, about how many hours would you say you've spent on Zephyr Cove? Multiply that by 20 to 30 times, and you'd have my estimate on how long it would take to create a Teledahn. Finally, they would need to be possessed of extreme perseverance and patience in order to actually see the project through to the end. Find me a person who can draw, model, code, texture, animate, skin and write music as well as Cyan's personnel can; then if that person possesses vast amounts of free time, and has great perseverance and stamina, then I'll admit that they can singlehandedly create an Age that is as large, complex, and high-quality as Teledahn. Getting a reasonable job is something that many of us have done already, whereas none of us have yet produced a Teledahn equivalent, and let's face it, it's a lot easier to learn how to run than it is to learn how to create an Age. Got any more examples? :P

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I can say that joining a team would not do anything to make it happen for me

Aww, are you sure? You'll never know till you try... :)

Quote:
A loner who produces a less than good Age has no-one to blame but him/herself, and no-one but him/herself can make the next one better. Now that's motivation.

Or discouragement. It took me years to the current level of artistic skill that I enjoy. Would it be motivational of me to tell a loner, "Listen, the artwork in your Age needs some major improvement. Please spend a few years learning to draw better." Do you think this loner will be motivated to learn how to draw better, or do you think they'll be discouraged and give up, concluding that their best is not good enough and that it would just be way too much work to do better?
In addition, there are lots of things that are out of people's control when it comes to Age creation, and these circumstances can definitely determine whether an Age turns out good or bad, simply due to the free-time factor: the weather, a person's job, a person's educational and computer background, their upbringing, the number and ages of a person's children, etc. all influence that. /shrug

Quote:
And I have to point out that your final paragraph doesn't mention (merely) good team Ages, or poor team Ages, as if they couldn't exist. People who are at any level in the areas you mention will not produce outstanding work simply because someone else is doing something else on the same Age. They'll produce work at their level, and it will enhance or let down the Age accordingly, but it'll be okay because it was a team effort, and so will the next, and the next.

Of course; but keep in mind it's not too hard for a good person to polish up a so-so person's work. Speaking from experience in Ages of Ilathid, I would say that redrawing someone else's okay concept sketches is easier than drawing my own sketches from scratch. In the same way, it's easier to correct a few spelling and grammar errors in a paper than to write an entire paper oneself.
But anyway, of course good and poor team Ages can exist. Especially if the team doesn't have very many members. Yet the larger the team working on an Age, the higher the odds are that a team Age will turn out great. This again is due to the specialization effect: Teams can produce better work than loners because each member specializes in what they excel at, rather than having to do everything themselves, including stuff in areas that they are not-so-good at.
And of course, the more people working on a project, the better the odds are that at least one of them will be very good at some facet of Age creation that is needed for the project's success. Thus, more people = a better chance of creating an excellent Age. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:14 am 
Jennifer_P wrote:
Aww, are you sure? You'll never know till you try... :)


Actually, I kind of do know. I've been the fifth wheel on convention committees, the weakest player in two bands, the one who was right (and nobody listened to me) when we put out the issue of the school newspaper that got us closed down, and I would rather go it alone, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes, than have that feeling again. I have plenty of experience of being in teams, and it didn't work for me or for them. I don't want people to have to polish up my work because it's not up to their standard, I want to polish it up myself till it's up to mine.

A team is not just any old collection of people miraculously unified by a common goal. There are countless ways for a team not to work, that simply do not apply to one person working on his or her own. Your equation is just too simplistic, and recalls the old definition of a camel: a horse designed by a committee.

I'm not anti-team. I'm just trying to provide a corrective here to what I really think is an unrealistic view which will discourage the majority of potential Age Writers.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:44 pm 
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While I'm not against one-man Ages (there are several good one-man games, why not Ages?), I personally prefer to work in a group just because I can't do everything myself. ;)
I can make artwork and concepts, write journals and story, design puzzles and all - but when it comes to modelling and programming, a 10-year old would probably do better than me. If the answer is that I should download Blender and learn, then I just won't do it: I don't have the time and, most of all, the interest to learn those sides of Age making.
Yes, managing a group is hard, especially a team of volunteers, but it can be done; I mean, we managed to get a choir working online. :P

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:09 pm 
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I don't think I'm up to professional standards, but I think I've made a start:

click on the pictures for a slideshow

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 4:00 pm 
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Getting there, GP. Well done. Immediate observation - too many angles (straight lines) and not enough curves. Is that a polygon count thing?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 4:33 pm 
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On the positive side: All the enthusiasm shown on this thread, and the abilities demonstrated by the efforts of community Writers to date.

On the negative side: The long cast of developers that scrolls past at the end of Uru ABM, plus the realization that it took them eight years to build the initial Ages.

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