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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:42 pm 
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Relentless nagging is not the choice we want to resolve the problems.
As I mentioned before we can start a new thread for this to see what is possible and how we can resolve them. :wink:

Edit:
New topic started HERE


Last edited by veralun on Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:22 pm 
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With respect to Shevek, I did not mean to derail this discussion into a "problems with the Myst Online forums" topic. Though, many thanks to Natales for the support and comments on my own efforts.

To put us back on track, I'll pull over two comments from the Guild of Messengers. In a topic titled "Ideas of articles / brainstorming session", AlKaera wrote:
AlKaera wrote:
And as an aside to that, the other comment is about the 'Gene'sis' age spoken of and the help requested in all the PMs. My take on Shevek's idea is different than how the GoW ages being created. The difference is collaborative involvement ie many independant age creators (and community ideas) working on the same age. Ahra Pahts is individual creators working on individual 'storefronts' separately, without general community input, in a collective environment created before they started their individual efforts.
Do I not understand this properly?

To which I responded:
Marten wrote:
You make a good point, and I suppose I have not really thought about it from that perspective. However, I'm still skeptical that the community will rally behind Shevek's idea. That is not a fault with Shevek, nor with the community really... it is human nature. People embrace the ideas of people who've proven themselves... people will usually ignore a good idea from someone they do not know, and will sometimes even support a very bad idea offered by someone they trust; the credibility of an idea does not stand on its own and people often do not base their decisions by the idea, but rather by the person who offered it.


To put this in full perspective, take a peek at what Shevek added to "Fan Made Ages Must Be a Joint Venture", here: http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewto ... 817#268817

Shevek has a dream here, and it is the same dream that Uhuru and others were trying to express elsewhere before it turned into a debate. Each time, I believe the idea has been hamstrung by the proposer's relative obscurity (Uhuru has only 5 posts on this forum total, Shevek is now at 9 as of this moment). It's easy for the community to brush aside the comments of a new person because, after all, the new person doesn't really understand us yet, right? How dare the new person come in and tell us how to do things. Well, let me attempt to set forth the idea again, as an endorser (despite skepticism), and see if we can get anywhere with this.

THE IDEA: Synergy. That together we are more than the sum of our parts.

The efforts by individuals and groups thus far has been quite impressive. The Guild of Writers continues to evolve their capabilities, their understanding and mastery of the Art. And Pahts is a really nifty idea, and a good approach to getting different parties working in the same Age. What Pahts does not do, though... what should be the next logical step... is to bring the vision of participants together to focus on a real collaborative Age... something where everyone thinks of themselves as a team.

A collaborative effort does not mean that people have to stop working on their personal projects, nor do I expect collaborative efforts to replace all personal projects. And a true collaborative project isn't going to appear overnight. It's going to take some work.

The approach I would favor for collaboration is a standard "Waterfall" development model; all that means is that the project follows through a specific set of stages, in a specific order. The first stage is typically Planning, where initial ideas are tossed about to give a vague direction to the project. After Planning come the stages of Design, Implementation, Test, and Release. You'll note that Implementation doesn't even start until _two_ stages are done... the formative Planning part of the project, and the refining Design part. The point of the Waterfall model is to have everyone in agreement about what they're going to do, before they start doing it; this provides assurance that at the end of the process, the end result is what everyone will have expected (or close to it).

Shevek is essentially taking this approach as well - at this point, he's only asking people to think outside of the box, and to stop worrying about the reasons that most Age development is centered around single persons. He'd like us to come up with a vision of something grand... a project large enough that it would be unwieldy for a single person to try to develop, but that with a team is within reach. What can we come up with? With no obligation (yet), what if we just sit down and banter about what we'd like in an Age, what sort of place would we like to see? Could we get onto the same proverbial page with an idea?

It would be a starting point to working through the other issues that have thus far limited collaboration. We'd have a goal. Goals are unifying things.

It won't do any harm to think for a moment about reaching for the stars. What kind of star would you reach for?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:32 pm 
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Good post Marten. Your points are clear.

The community does have a bias against following noobs/unknowns. Many forum noobs are actually old timers returning. We may not know them, but they may well know Uru and the community.

For me it is a matter of deterring whether the proponent is aware of what has gone before, where the road blocks are that we have painfully learned about, and whether they can build on what has gone before.

I want to put my support where it can do the most. An age by consensus does not sound good to me. An age conceived by dreamers can be exciting. It can evolve into a direction and a team can form around the idea. We like the idea of Uru. Shevek may be able to form the dream. From that may come a team. But the majority of people in Uru are the INTJ types (that personality thing floating around the forums) and building a team from them is like herding cats. So, I'm skeptical.

It will take something concrete and enchanting to convert me. Until then I'll try to be positive and stay out of the way.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:52 pm 
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Greetings and Shorah, all

I apologise for my apparent absence over the past couple of days. I have, believe it or not, been working on the Genesis concept and have been keeping an eye on the basic poll. I will post another poll shortly about the content of the basic content of the Age, but first a few points;

I have started setting up a website for the Genesis project (along with board, etc.) to keep people in contact, to keep people informed, and to let them discuss the Age. It is taking some time (as I'm sure some of your would know) but the main component will be a flash based book containing notes, forms, sketches, and everything else that may go into the age. It has started off as a basic gallery:

Image
Genesis Cover


Image
While the symbol is set, Genesis is still open to debate - though the poll has come up with no real alternatives.

Image
A linking frame? Dark, of course. The book has yet to be written.

Image
I have kept letter copies of my contacts with the Guilds and the support they have given.

But is being converted into a basic Flash e-book as you are reading this. If we have a starting point like this, with something visual and real for people to focus on I feel that it may draw in a lot more attention. As for the Age itself, I know that it will be a lot of hard work and I am fully aware that herding creators of any sort is a major task. However, we all live in hope and I hope to see an Age to commemorate this community come to light. I will work long and hard at it, and I hope that others will add their skills if the Age draws them to it, if not, their advice, comments, and complaints will be more than enough fuel to keep the Age going. ;)

I'd just like to cite a very good page project that seems to have died, but if brought to focus and updated weekly or biweekly could provide a major focal point for people:
http://guildofwriters.org/


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:07 pm 
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The problem here is still the fact that building an Age requires some measure of skill. Yeah, we have the opportunity to make some great stuff-- but only the people who know how will be able to do it.

I'm told that the plugin Cyan plans to release is for 3DS Max. I have no idea how to use this program and I'm debating if I should buy it, because I'm sure as heck not using Blender.

Also remember that when MORE is released, it will not come with the ability to add content. That is presumed to arrive after the release date.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:22 pm 
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Shevek, That looks amazing. I am always amazed at the things people can do with Flash. I can't wait until it is done.

Calam, I have used Maya, Blender, and 3DS Max in the past, and out of the three, Max was definitely the easiest to use. It is expensive, but if you have any real aspirations to learn 3D modeling, I'd recommend using it above the others. Also, when Shevek proposed the Genesis Project, he/she didn't expect it to spring up over night, and be done right away. I doubt any of the well known projects are expecting to be finished by the release of MORE, so the extra time before UCC is allowed wont be a hindrance to anyone. With that same thing in mind, nobody ever said Genesis HAD to be done as soon as Cyan began allowing UCC. All the Age creators will take the time they need before they're ready.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:01 pm 
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I believe in this project.
So, my 2 cents...
As for skill, I work with and teach graphic design for print and web. Often my students confuse skill to do a good design with skill to handle certain software. I have to teach them to use pen and paper to do design, and software to execute. It often works out to be different hands that handles these two parts of getting the job done. It is my belief that a grand age design will attract those versed in the 3D software, the more complete the design by pen and 2D software, the greater the chance of getting 3Ders to join. You see. If we start with just making and sketching our way in 3D, we are likely to just watch the 3D artist work. Commenting and waiting. A very ungrateful part for the 3D designer, and not very productive as a whole. A good age needs much thought to background plot, even if it is not clearly stated in the finished age, to give it depth.
In fewer words. There is lots of fun to be had before anyone needs to worry about 3D skills. I like this project. It has changed my "no I will never have the time for any of this agewriting even though I'm positive to it" to a "hope I can find time to participate".

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:30 pm 
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Great post, Rudolfson. I agree wholeheartedly.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:57 pm 
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Shevek wrote:
I'd just like to cite a very good page project that seems to have died, but if brought to focus and updated weekly or biweekly could provide a major focal point for people:
http://guildofwriters.org/


The guildofwriters.org site has not been updated for quite a while now.

I should point out that guildofwriters.org has no relation to the Guild of Writers.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:29 am 
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Greetings and Shorah again, all!

I'd just like to say that I found the "Guild of Writers".org site after a quick search on Google, but I never found any mention of it on the forums. It feels like a great idea - you get music, an interface that feels very similar to Uru the game, and a few books to read through - I haven't actually had the chance to read them yet but I'll work my way through them - hopefully soon. The point is that they are a beautiful little experience in their own right - not just another forum or long text-only topic to read. They are an experience which, with a little bit of extra work, could draw alongside Myst.

I was hoping to do something similar with the Genesis book, chapters for each week or two weeks, and basically just a book to read with notes, letters, sketches, and "photos" pinned into them. I then found "flash ebooks" which I have to admit I hadn't really heard of before. After working with them for a short while I found that they could be useful, but would need quite a bit of customization and a toolset I could use without limitation. I hope to get the site and basic gallery up within the next few days and to get the ebook up shortly after.

On the 3D engine note, I must agree with Rudolfson. In animation, even CG animation, you have to know how to design, draw, and express yourself artistically before you even get your hands on a CG program. So I think people should focus on that for now; 3DMax is very easy to use and is the main program used by most games production companies - Maya is often used by movie making companies. As it is there is not shortage of good ideas and great artists in these forums and I am sure things will turn out well for this age.

Thanks for your time

Shevek


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:21 am 
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I was wondering, Shevek, have you posted threads regarding the Genesis project on any of the other URU community sites? Also, are you planning to compile a production group together soon? Is there even enough interested parties at this point to form a group? That being said, I'd like to reiterate my desire to be a part of this project.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:11 pm 
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Shorah again, all!

From now on I'll be keeping this topic updated on current news, not to mention the posts and PMs I have been using to keep in contact with the Guilds. I am glad that people like the Idea and I hope to meet them at the SL group gathering tonight - I will be making my very best effort to be there, though I swore to never again return to Second Life [a long and tragic tale involving Jesus, William Wilberforce, Pokemon, and a ballistic banana :p].

Anyway, to keep on topic; I am glad that people like the idea and have chosen to support it - now that people are aware of it's existence, and know where I am coming from, we should perhaps discuss the point of the age, and how we should go about designing it. As you have seen, I have been posting polls and questions to nudge people along into expressing their opinions on what should be done in the age - some already have set ideas on what they want to build, others only have vague suggestions - all of these are welcome as we can knit from them a quilt of ideas.

But at the very core of the age, and of Myst itself, is Game Theory - How to draw people in, and how to keep them fascinated or entertained. When I started contacting people about the project I was recommended (by more than one person) to find an artist to influence the age. Now, I'm not to sure about influencing the artistic style, but I think one of the best artists to influence the Age Concept would be de Chirico. His works have influenced other major games (ICO and Shadow of the Colossus) and I would be very surprised if it didn't have any impact on the Myst series.

Image
The tower; brought to mind by something suggested in the Showcase age forum, of a Tower rising up out of the sand.

Image
A tall tower in the distance, with other buildings to explore - a sense of location and destination.

Image
A render of the Tower; made in the concept of "exploring" Giorgio de Chirico's paintings.

Image
Balconies, walkways, and gardens - all locations you can see and eventually reach.


His very paintings inspire the three major assets of the Myst Games (discounting story):
Location
Destination
Exploration.

To give a quick explanation of how they work, particularly in Uru:
Location: Cyan sets beautiful locations; whether it is the calm setting of a huge forest, filled with the slow thoughts of ancient trees; or if it the echoing halls of a massive underground city - they add all the detail that make such locations feel physical and real.

Destination: "Here and There" theory. I am here, that is there. Not only does it give the explorer a sense of location, but it also give them a destination to aim towards - a tower in the distance, or a doorway out of a cave. This begins to drive the explorer to be an active player and prevents them from just being a passive observer. This was best shown in Riven - when one could SEE the other islands out there. It gave one a sense of purpose - to get to those other islands.
It is also used in a very real teaser sense in Uru when [spoiler] you are linked into the balcony parts of the Cavern. You get to see a part of it that you cannot yet get to - which drives you on to finally get there. [/spoiler]

Image
An island in the distance, vague, but with a path to get there...?

Exploration: The hint of a house beyond the treeline, or the option of different paths to take. This is the asset that turns the gamers into explorers, rather than people moving from point to point or from stage to stage - they actively decide, in the spirit of inquisitiveness, to find out what is through the door, on the other side of the glass, or around the bend.

So, to sum up - I think that an age with pointless puzzles (and I mean the bit-and-piece puzzles you find in, say, Myst 3) would be useless; but an age for people to explore, even in groups, would be interesting. In my opinion it was that that made Riven, Myst, and Uru the games that they are - the spirit of exploration. Which players of Uru are often called Explorers.

But like I said, this is just theory; basic gaming drives and Ideas - if you feel things should be done another way; with another drive in mind I would be more than happy to hear it! :D

Shevek


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:33 pm 
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the tower concept is interesting. I like the idea of linking in and instantly seeing it looming in the distance.



*edit*
I was sketching the other night, playing around with concepts for Genesis. I wanted to share.
Image
It is hard to tell from the angle I drew, but the link in spot is on top of a cliff overlooking a small gulf. You can see a tower in the center of the gulf with a series of cables stretching across the water. The idea is that you would get to one of the cable cars and ride to the tower. Once at the tower, another cable could be ridden to get to the beach at the bottom of the cliff or other areas of the island.

It was just playing with the idea of having a tower in the distance.


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