Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

The art, story, and musical aspects of age creation live here!

Re: Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

Postby Ainia » Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:25 pm

Wow wow wow wow!!! Did I say WOW??

Looking awesome; and so pleased to see my favorite linguist is deep in the mix too! :-D
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Re: Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

Postby Dulcamara » Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:36 am

Hello Yali

I have been working since 2014 at Alabaster and see that we have similar buildings. :oops:
I hope that is not a problem for you.
I always liked the rounded building in Riven, and so I tried to build buildings like this. :)

In addition, I think it's wonderful what they have built so far.

Greetings
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Re: Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

Postby Yali » Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:34 pm

That's fine Dulcamara :) The Wetlands huts are slightly different from Riven's anyways.

Here's another little update:

Did some work on the visual language of Tay - notably the culture and various symbols and banners the player will see in the Age. Below is part 1. of the clan flags:

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...and here is the Temple of Allatwan flag which went through several versions until we got to this one:

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HD version here.


We also have the beginnings of a soundtrack thanks to our members Hollister and Ogotu:

Black Moiety Theme Demo

Atauui Temple Loop

Ashlands To Wild East

Blue Forest Blues

Indigo Kachina

Black Moiety Demo 2


...and here's a soundtrack cover I did for the music that was being submitted with a (hopefully final) game title and logo:

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Finally, here is an "outhouse book". The idea is blackfoxx's, since the Moiety are a much more primitive society, literacy is very low among the population, save for the wealthy clans like Wahrk and Rem and the Temple. Most clans and individuals on Tay cannot read the Moiety script never mind D'ni (which is the Moiety equivalent of Latin - i.e. the most sacred and venerated language that is used primarily by the elite and the Temple for rituals relating to Atauui (Yahvo.)) Thus blackfoxx inferred that such a culture necessitated printed pictograph books, printed by a rudimentary printing press (the first of its kind in the D'niverse!)

Below is a section of an outhouse book that are, well, found in outhouses for the average people to read. This one in particular depicts the Moiety "Creation" story, which is really the story of how the Art came to Riven and then to Tay, beginning with Aitrus and Ti'Ana in D'ni and climaxing with the events of Riven where the Stranger (represented by faceless figure in robes) watches mysteriously as the fissure opens, symbolizing the beginning of Moiety civilization.

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Re: Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

Postby Yali » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:47 am

Yes i'm double posting :D

Here's our first teaser.
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Re: Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

Postby Sirius » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:40 am

I have to admit, Yali, I'm really impressed by all the creative work you've done. It seems you never run out of ideas or of motivation (that's a welcome change from the idleness of the forums while we wait for Obduction, hehe :) ).

I really like the idea of an open-world Myst, but I must say I'm puzzled at how huge your map is. Not that the size itself is really relevant for the engine, but it still means building tons of areas, small villages and "special places" to keep the map dense and interesting. That's quite a challenge, for sure (says the guy who always struggles filling is own Ages :lol: ).
By the way, if you're going to make such a huge environment, you might want to have a look at procedural terrain generation (a bit like Minecraft is generating its worlds). This never replaces manual building, since procedural worlds can become boring quite fast, but it does help fill the blanks. You were speaking about Skyrim on the MOUL forum, well, Skyrim's terrain is half procedural (the devs made a rough heightmap for the terrain, their technology filled it with trees, boulders, and smaller detail. Then the artists modified tons of areas to make them feel more "unique", along with placing entrances to dungeons, cities, etc). This might be a useful tool for such a gigantic world.
If you want an idea of how procedural worlds look, you might be interested in having a look at this dev blog, which relates how the author created a procedural world generator from almost-scratch. Quite impressive, since he now works with other people and is now selling it. They also have an Unreal plugin for the generator. (I hope this doesn't sound too much like advertisement, it's just that the blog itself felt really interesting to me.)

On a similar note, I'm wondering how the standard Myst gameplay (walk - walk - solve puzzle - walk) would work in an open-world. Ages like Elodea or Elsewhere give us a glimpse of what it could be (personally I'll say I'm not fond of running for hours, but who knows...). Come to think of it, I can't recall any game which is both open world and doesn't use combat or crafting mechanisms. That would be another interesting challenge.

I had a quick glance at the website and videos, but to be honest didn't spend much time on either of them (you know how real-life goes). That said, I intend to have a closer look in the future as I'm quite curious about how you worked what we know of Tay into those tribalpunk ideas of yours ;)

Anyway, best of luck with this project ! I'll definitely keep an eye on it. Who knows ? Maybe in the future I might help with some of the 3D models ? Don't take my word on that, though...
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Re: Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

Postby Yali » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:33 am

Wow! Interesting points Sirius. I'm looking at that dev blog right now. Its definitely something that would help.

As for an open world puzzle game, I look at it like a mix of Riven and Morrowind just without the combat. Riven follows a pretty neat design philosophy in that its 98% open world, only as the more you explore, the more the world unravels itself to you in a completely non-linear fashion. One example is taking the cart to Book Assembly Island and solving the boiler puzzle and then entering Gehn's lab which takes you to Survey Island (or back to Temple Island if the draw bridge lever is pulled.) In Riven, solving puzzles isn't a linear ordeal like in say Edanna or Spire, rather the puzzles for the most part are tiny obstacles which aren't too hard to solve, gradually revealing more pockets of the world. In that sense, the gaming experience becomes almost self-motivating. The more you explore the more you progress in the game and story. This is how we want the experience to flow in Tay.

Certain regions will be like those unexplored pockets in Riven. Places like the Sacred Valley or sections of the cities. Moreover while we plan to have a lot of open terrain, there will be like in Riven, points of specific interest with unique models including structures, items, puzzles, etc so the world feels realistic and not copy pasted. Each region will have its own visual vocabulary meaning its own set of assets and weather, music, etc.

As for gameplay, we want puzzles to not only involve machinery but items as well along with character interaction. One such example is as follows:

You are knocked out while first venturing into the Age by an unknown enemy. When you reawaken you notice that you have been given a note which indicates the location of a chest. Finding that chest will yield a journal and key, the journal will detail a character's story and will tell the player where this character is. The player must then head to this location to find said character. They can choose not to and explore other sections of the island, but progress will happen when the player seeks out this character. To reach this character's dwelling, one can travel more easily by paying a boatswain, however this will require finding several Moiety coins, which can be obtained by unlocking a Moiety dwelling using a rock or a tool for instance. The player can then illegally take a bag of coins to use for travel if they so wish. If they do not wish to steal, they can acquire coins by exchanging items they find. How do they find these items worth gold? The key which was found in the chest unlocks an old tram station in the Wetlands where old D'ni objects can be found. Trading these objects with the local Moiety can yield you much in pay. Also in this tram station are several old journals and other forms of visual storytelling that reveal information of the backstory and characters.

Finally, once reaching the house of this important character, the house will be locked and said character will be absent, instead there will be a journal left behind hidden inside of a hollow brick by a person only known as the "traveler". This journal is an account of many writings and speeches recorded by this person across Tay. In the back of the journal will be a note from another main character written to the "traveler" requesting his/her assistance in another location with information regarding the character we were tasked with meeting. The player must then travel to this location. If they choose to explore in an entirely new direction they will uncover other sections of the Age which are inaccessible, some locked off with keys or codes, others with simple machinery-based puzzles like an ink factory for example in Clan Rem territory. Solving these types of puzzles reveals more backstory and information regarding the plot and Age, etc...

I'd love to have you help out Sirius, we're always looking for people! :)

By the way... here's a video update: Update #1 - Greyboxing
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Re: Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

Postby Sirius » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Ah, so there would be an inventory and money system to help with role playing the story ! That would be fun.

More character interaction would be a nice change, too. I guess it would help avoid the "puzzles for the sake of puzzles" issue often encountered with too much machine-based puzzles (as in most Uru Ages, IMHO). Ages like Kadish are too predictable in my opinion (sure, still wonderful, but the puzzles are a bit annoying).

Humans on the other hand, are much less predictable. That's one of the strong points of Riven: you never know when you're going to stumble into a rebel, a scholar, a little girl, villagers or Gehn himself. And since you don't have any weapons, you must always watch out in which conditions you're going to meet each of them.

As for helping with the project, I'm afraid I'm too busy with real life for the moment. End of school year always means exams, etc, which means less time and less motivation for building - even on my own Ages :x
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Re: Black Moiety: Building the rebel Age

Postby Yali » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:55 am

Yeah that's exactly what I was thinking, mostly because Myst has been predominantly solitary. I've always wanted to visit a populated Age like the Cavern before the Fall or modern-day Releeshahn, mix up the formula a bit. I've always loved how in Riven you are studying a culture, or the clash of two cultures really, but rarely in Myst do we get to see a civilization in action. We had Serenia buut that was basically ruined by the terrible acting and sheer fantastic nature of the culture there.

The scenes with live-acted people in Riven still give me chills because the acting and costumes are so believable. You really feel like you've been thrown into a foreign country. Unfortunately, I doubt very much that we'll have live-acted characters, mostly because there will just be so many people in the Age that finding actors for the populace will be too hard and costly when factoring in the tech needed to make it work. Still would relieve us from character animating duties though.
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