Myst Online Intangible Assets

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Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Tsar Hoikas » Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:50 pm

We are pleased to announce that Cyan has graciously decided to open up the project formerly known as Intangibles under the CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license. This project includes design documents, textures, audio, and 3D models for Ages and other D’ni areas that were in the planning stages for addition to the game. The assets are in various stages of development, including (but not limited to) concepts and massing models.

The Guild of Writers’ H’uru Team is currently working to bring the majority of these assets into our version control system to facilitate collaboration. However, you may also download the assets as provided by Cyan. The Guild of Archivists has also begun cataloging much of this material in their Unexplored Branches project.

Stuffy announcement aside, I think this material would be great to use in fan Ages for a consistent aesthetic. ;)

EDIT: EAA has dropped a few more goodies on twittles.
Last edited by Tsar Hoikas on Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: editation
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Sirius » Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:09 am

:o Gimme ! Gimme gimme gimme ! No, wait. I still have a ton of other projects to finish first. Aaah, keep it away from me ! :lol:

Anyway, joke aside, this is INSANE news, so awesome thanks to Cyan and everyone involved ! Now to find a way to open those old Max files and convert them to Blender, hmmm... There goes my plans for the weekend ! (From a quick glance I can already see a "battle chicken" folder inside the Pento folder. That bodes well.)

I think the Intangibles already made some progress on some of those Ages ? Could we get a rough estimate, in case some people want to work on an Age that's not already in development ? I remember Tweek worked on Rebek and maybe Kahlo, and Chloe worked on the Tiwah and its caves but left a while ago. Not sure how many of the Intangible team is left.

Oh, and more Katha maps, cool ! A while ago I started modeling what little of Katha we could see from the concepts, so that's very interesting to me !
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Aloys » Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:48 am

Well that came out of nowhere. =|.
Does that mean that Tweek and the gang are no longer working on those?

Sirius wrote::o Gimme ! Gimme gimme gimme ! No, wait. I still have a ton of other projects to finish first. Aaah, keep it away from me !

My first reaction too. :lol: *Darth Wader* "noooooo"
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Sirius » Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:42 am

(Gonna reply here to Aloys' comment, since it concerns this thread more than the other...)

Aloys wrote:Still if I had to chose only one of the Intagibles Ages to make real, that would probably be this one [Katha]. (or Venalem, not sure)

I used to think Kahlo and Katha were the best, and was skeptical about Rebek/Dahtamnay/Pirahnay, but after a good look at most of the files yesterday, I'm not so sure anymore. They all have outstandingly good visuals or ideas.

The problem, which is typical of Cyan at that time, was that those Ages were way too complex. Maybe their artists could have done it, but their programmers definitely couldn't have followed the pace. The gameplay was too varied, the technology not mature enough, and the multiplayer aspect hindered them too much. Ahnonay is a good example of a great Age that had most of its complexity stripped...

For this reason I'm a bit pessimistic about unpaid fans being able to pick up what Cyan had to drop. That doesn't mean that finishing these Ages are out of the question, though, but that will require a lot of patience and dedication.


Anyway, in case someone wants a small (incomplete) summary of what I could find in this release...
Show Spoiler


Gotta give credit where it's due, Cyan had a lot of creativity at the time. I really appreciate how most Ages have some tie with D'ni's story. That makes for some really cool lore.
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Aloys » Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:22 am

Thanks for the summary! I haven't yet taken the time to read all the design docs, and I don't have Max to look at the scene files. (what version do we need anyway? isn't that some decade old thing like version 8?)

Pirahnay sounded really exciting; so thematic with the Art.

What's really interesting reading all this (and a bit frustrating) is how much multiplayer stuff there was. And a lot of it unrelated to the "main DRC/Bahro quest" if I can call it that.

The problem, which is typical of Cyan at that time, was that those Ages were way too complex. (...) Cyan had a lot of creativity at the time.

Yes, they came hot on the wheels of Riven, had a lot of ressources, and were working with big ideas on a blank canvas...

I'm a bit pessimistic about unpaid fans being able to pick up what Cyan had to drop

I hate to be a wet blanket, but I'm 100% pessimistic here. :D Most of those age designs would require a solid team of senior developpers working full time for months. The code alone would be a nightmare to do. Especially on complex Ages like Khalo, Pento, and the other 'mini games' Ages with lots of multiplayer stuff, vehicles, creatures etc... *ugh*. :o It's not impossible, but it would be complicated and would take years... I'm not sure where the Intangibles Tweek/Khloe etc are right now? And what kind of progress has been made of their Ages (Khalo in particular).

One thing that sounds possible, and it would be exciting, would be the Descent. We don't start from scratch, and there is a lot of material here. We could probably piece together a 'Descent ++' Masterpiece edition..
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Tsar Hoikas » Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:23 am

Yeah, there's a reason why I've constantly downplayed expectations in public... and discouraged spending too much time on this stuff in private. For example, a lot of folks want Kahlo, but if we can't edit the server code, it's basically not going to happen. Any kind of meaningful race is going to need for us to improve the way player movement is synchronized - and we need to start by fixing the time synch that was broken between PotS and MOUL.
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Sirius » Sun Jun 06, 2021 12:25 pm

Aloys wrote:(what version do we need anyway? isn't that some decade old thing like version 8?)

Version 7. V8 should work too, though, since it's compatible with the Plasma plugin. But even with V7 there are still a bunch of errors on opening most files. Oh, and it only runs in an XP VM (but at least that means you can easily rewind the 30 days trial).


Aloys wrote:What's really interesting reading all this (and a bit frustrating) is how much multiplayer stuff there was.

I'm not crazy about multiplayer in general, but I wonder if Ages like Kahlo and Dahtamnay are what was missing for Uru to be a success (or at least more successful). They provide both competition AND a grind/gameplay loop. MMOs need those, and Uru might have failed because it didn't have those from the start. But that's just conjecture, Myst players aren't WoW players.


Aloys wrote:Yes, they came hot on the wheels of Riven, had a lot of ressources, and were working with big ideas on a blank canvas...

...And no experience in multiplayer or realtime 3D, nor a solid engine that could scale up well to handle the constraints of an MMOG. Looking back, that was a recipe for disaster :lol:
A proper Cyan MMO would still be a blast, but I'm afraid unless someone showers them in money, they should restrain themselves to smaller solo games like Obduction/Firmament. That's enough of a challenge. I'm glad they are still up to it despite how much the technology, methodology and expectations evolved since Riven.


Aloys & Hoikas wrote:[A] I hate to be a wet blanket, but I'm 100% pessimistic here. :D
[H] Yeah, there's a reason why I've constantly downplayed expectations in public...

Eh. I still have a bit of hope, because we already have some insane projects like Starry Expanse, and some very skilled people in this community. The main problem remains being tied to Plasma, of course... And relying on a few people who are working on their own, for free, in their free time.
The only "solutions" would be moving to another engine and paying people for their work, but outside of a proper company that's bound to just create more problems than it solves.


Aloys wrote:One thing that sounds possible, and it would be exciting, would be the Descent. We don't start from scratch, and there is a lot of material here. We could probably piece together a 'Descent ++' Masterpiece edition..

Yup, and I think Doobes is working on it ? If so, that's good news.
On a related note, I was perpetually annoyed to see Drizzle could read some of the data from those DiRT demos, but not enough to actually convert it to CC. So the release of the source files is a relief.


Tsar Hoikas wrote:if we can't edit the server code, it's basically not going to happen. Any kind of meaningful race is going to need for us to improve the way player movement is synchronized

At the rate Cyan is releasing stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if we get the server code in a few months, ha.
Then there is also the possibility of rewriting the whole thing in Python like what was done for the Gahreesen Wall, but Kahlos will be much tougher than wall climbing.
Bah, let's be patient and focus on the stuff we can realistically fix/finish...
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Aloys » Sun Jun 06, 2021 1:30 pm

Sirius wrote: I wonder if Ages like Kahlo and Dahtamnay are what was missing for Uru to be a success (or at least more successful). (...) . But that's just conjecture, Myst players aren't WoW players.

One could debate for years about why Uru failed. (in fact we have). Quite simply it's just not sustainable. Not the way Cyan envisionned it. I think there simply isn't enough players attracted to the game. People keep comparing Uru to Myst and its large audience, but they are very different kind of games.. We don't have hundred of thousands of people interested in investing the time and money necessary to keep this afloat. We can add new gameplays here and there I don't think that would be enough in the long run.
The only way for Uru to reach its potential audience is to shower it with content. But we are not talking simple formulaic WoW content. Making that kind of Uru content is *hard*. And making it on a regular schedule is even harder. And all the money in the world won't solve that. Even with a very large upfront investment the best you could do is plan a couple months worth of content in advance. But sooner or later you'd hit a wall. Remember the last time Cyan delivered a game on time? Me neither. ;) And Uru would require to deliver a mini game every couple months. Forget that.

Uru Live was doomed from the start. But I'm glad Cyan tried. :)

Sirius wrote:I still have a bit of hope, because we already have some insane projects like Starry Expanse

SE is not a crazy project at all. In fact of *all* the projects that our wonderful community has made over the years this is by far the safest. It's a remake. You have the whole design already made for you, and an existing fan base to sell it too. There is nothing easier and less risky in terms of game production. I had a conversation with Tony at Cyan years ago trying to sell him exactly that idea and he agreed 100%, the reason Cyan didn't already do it themselves is simply because they didn't have the financial ressources to do so. (also, a few months after that they revealed Obduction, so they were busy with that too.). The SE team doesn't have that money problem. And now that they are in business with Cyan (whatever the details) it's probably even less of a problem.

Sirius wrote:The main problem remains being tied to Plasma,

Yep. I love our tools, we are beyond lucky to have the people we have who make them. But Plasma is our biggest roadblock. Move to Unity or Unreal and we'll see our community of developers be multiplied by one hundred overnight.

Sirius wrote:let's be patient and focus on the stuff we can realistically fix/finish...

I vote for the Descent! :)
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Sirius » Sun Jun 06, 2021 2:56 pm

Aloys wrote:One could debate for years about why Uru failed. (in fact we have). Quite simply it's just not sustainable. [...] Uru Live was doomed from the start. But I'm glad Cyan tried. :)

Haha, yes, we have... You're right, of course. Uru cannot work because it's the only game that cannot recycle content like other games do.
Another approach like Unreal did with Core Games where all the content is generated by the community would work, but then it's pretty clear it wouldn't be Uru anymore (and it's still recycled assets).


Aloys wrote:SE is not a crazy project at all. In fact of *all* the projects that our wonderful community has made over the years this is by far the safest.

True again. Once more I focused only on the technical level of SE, which is impressive. The SE people are skilled. But even with Riven's size, they probably have an easier time redoing it from scratch than we will have finishing the Intangible stuff.
I should know, I find it much easier redoing Ages from either Cyan or other fans in Blender than creating my own Ages. Turns out detailed concept arts are just as vital as knowing how to operate Blender or Max...


Aloys wrote:But Plasma is our biggest roadblock. Move to Unity or Unreal and we'll see our community of developers be multiplied by one hundred overnight.

Hah ! This time it's my turn to doubt. I suppose what you wanted to say was, if we could switch to Unreal overnight, then yeah, we would have more people.
Moving to another engine at this point is far from trivial. That's unlikely to happen unless the whole community feels it's necessary - which it isn't, because Plasma and everything revolving around it still work fairly well.
Trust me. I've spent enough time following Andy's experiments with Unreal, then doing my own dabbling with UPlasma and Unity. Everyone would like those experiments to succeed, but they are always one-man projects and eventually lose steam because one person isn't enough to pull through the whole project.
But hey, I'm glad I tried :) :lol:
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Re: Myst Online Intangible Assets

Postby Aloys » Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:50 am

Yeah, my engine switch suggestion was purely theorerical. :lol: Unfortunately. :(

As for SE: I assume they are making progress, but the total lack of communication in nearly a year and a half is annoying to say the least.. :/
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