Hollow Earth

Hex Isle and Continuity


News has been circulating that Drizzle, the current Uru fan Age manager/Cyan game-converter, has added Hex Isle to the list of games it can reasonably convert for use in Uru. This has brought up worries about continuity. Let me just say this: There is no Uru continuity.

When you get to the core of it, continuity is keeping everything in the proper order. It’s what you notice in a film when the main actor has his hair parted three different ways in three shots of the same scene. It’s what you notice in a television program when objects on a desk change positions during the scene. And, those who say this has ended Uru continuity, it’s what you notice in a game when an Age suddenly appears with no history and the walls are made of cheese.

Except, by that definition, Uru’s continuity is riddled with more holes than that cheese. Consider this: How is it continuous that we can jump some of the barriers in the city and not others? Why can we only vault ourselves over he one small portion of Teledahn railing by the buckets just because it’s bent down? But those are gameplay mechanics, you say? Fair enough. Most people who cite a degradation of continuity, canon, etc. usually cite the mystical evilness of Until Uru, the User KI, flymode, etc. This is utter nonsense, and should be labeled as such. The many shards of UU are cited as a corruption of Uru’s canon since, obviously, there couldn’t be dozens of caverns with conflicting histories. However, before the many shards of UU, there were the many (Three? Four?) shards of Prologue (Atrus, Achenar, and Katran are the ones I recall hearing about). While someone who was around then could give a better account of it, I believe Cyan tried to “simulcast” the storyline events onto the official shards. Still, people were exploring in separate servers. If Until Uru’s multiple existences was a threat to Uru’s continuity, then Prologue and Cyan itself was a threat to that continuity. But I am moving too far away from the point. Uru’s continuity is not, and has never been, this shiny perfect thing to be defended/ended.

Now, let’s assume Hex Isle’s Ages suddenly appear in Uru. Break in continuity? Perhaps. Possibility for stories? Yes. See, there are plenty of Ages, Cyan Ages, that require more than a little imagination to find continuity. Take Jalak, for example. To go through the continuity breaks in this age would take too long. For starters, how did crowds of D’ni view the games though those tiny windows? If the D’ni fell from the top to the bottom, how did they survive? Did they survive? How much did they pay the janitor? Why do the bamboo plants seem to not grow farther out? And the big one (next to the ever-present “where’s the toilet?” question): Where’s the sun?

These aren’t trivial questions. If we’re going to get so picky about something as easily (and enjoyably, in my opinion) created as a history or a backstory, why aren’t we protesting the lack of a sun in some ages, or the constant daylight in most others? Why does Tsogahl’s 24-hour noon get nothing more than a passing glance, but the Catfish Canyon not having a “written in the year x DE” stamped next to it causes some people’s livers to immolate? For that matter, why does Tsogahl not having a “written in the year x DE” get nothing more than a passing glance? Simple, because this isn’t about canon or continuity. At its core, it’s about appearance.

Change the rock in Tsogahl into blobs of cheese, and you have the same relative world as the Moldy Mansion (or Cheesy Castle or whatever that level’s called). The issue here is one of style and appearance. Some people just do not want to accept that anything goes in Uru. They like the “infinite worlds” idea up to a finite point.

It has to have a history, I’ve heard it said. But most of the Uru Ages, including some of the original Prologue Ages, have just as much backstory and history as the Dessert Desert. Kemo has little more than a vague history of “it was a rest Age”.  What history does Tsogahl or Delin have. Beyond simple descriptions, what history do most of the Ages have?

It can’t have anything weird, I’ve heard it phrased. But what’s more weird than an island fused to a ship? Or a rocket randomly placed in a crater island? Or a spinning fortress? Or a walkway in a submerged forest? Or a world with stars in the ground? Or a world with a giant beehive? How about an island made up of an inverted tree? Or an ice-ball roller coaster? What about a world of naturally-formed castles floating over plasma? The piranha birds in Laki, the bird statues in Noloben, the obese trees in Tahgira? How about a giant bird with baleen, or a giant pelican that eats dirt? Gira’s glow in the dark rays, Gahreesen’s spinning fortresses, Teledahn’s giant mushrooms. A giant blue bean that doesn’t fry your brain? A race of people living under Carlsbad writing books to zap them across time and space during their 300 year long lifespans? If that isn’t weird to you, my friend, you need to stop drinking so much. The entire Myst series, and indeed any fantasy series, is a little weird. I don’t have that hard of a time making room for foodstuffs substrate in-between the giant dimension-hopping killer ants.

When a continuity problem arises, those in the community who are concerned with that rise up and reach a general consensus on the issue. There have been storyless Ages, sunless, nightless, reasonless Ages. In the end, Uru’s continuity has been imperfect from the start.

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Filed under: Uru Community

6 Responses

  1. Justintime9 says:

    You have some good points there, but I think the bottom line is that while URU has never really had perfect continuity, it’s at least within reason. The kind of “Weird” in the MYST series is a realistic kind of weird, the kind of weird of strange deep sea fish, or buildings with interesting architecture. The hex isle ages being converted crosses a line, one that despite all breaks in continuity in the past, is going too far.

    • whilyam says:

      But how is stoneship the realistic kind of weird? And realistic by what standard? The Art says that there are an infinite number of worlds. Why can’t there be a world where pastry has formed from a sugary desert? Sort of a sweet Everdunes.

  2. Tweek says:

    How is it continuous that we can jump some of the barriers in the city and not others? Why can we only vault ourselves over he one small portion of Teledahn railing by the buckets just because it’s bent down? But those are gameplay mechanics, you say? Fair enough. Most people who cite a degradation of continuity, canon, etc.

    Well there is continuity and there is continuity. Little things like barriers are something that can slide, or have an IC reason for why you didn’t pass “well I was about to but then a DRC member walked past, and I didn’t want to get yelled at”.

    Then there is continuity like “we’re releasing Guild Pubs, oh btw this one is a greeter one”. Ok so a modern day guild gets a pub set in a location thousands of years old, how exactly, another point being the KI controls in Jalak. An Age where people would watch games, yet the KI was only just going into circulation at the fall.

    he many shards of UU are cited as a corruption of Uru’s canon since, obviously, there couldn’t be dozens of caverns with conflicting histories. However, before the many shards of UU, there were the many (Three? Four?) shards of Prologue (Atrus, Achenar, and Katran are the ones I recall hearing about). While someone who was around then could give a better account of it, I believe Cyan tried to “simulcast” the storyline events onto the official shards.

    I wouldn’t say UU corrupted Uru. I would say that it changed the community mentality regarding Uru, UU introduced a no holds barred free for all and did away with canon/lore etc.

    This mentality continued with MOUL, there was a lot less of an RP environment to it and more OOC, where as Prologue was more toward the other way.

    As for the 3 Prologue shards, no Cyan didn’t simulcast across all three, only the first shard Atrus was where events happened.

    It has to have a history, I’ve heard it said. But most of the Uru Ages, including some of the original Prologue Ages, have just as much backstory and history as the Dessert Desert. Kemo has little more than a vague history of “it was a rest Age”. What history does Tsogahl or Delin have. Beyond simple descriptions, what history do most of the Ages have?

    Kemo had more history too it, but like most Ages we never saw it (and probably never will), there was indications that it was tied to Ahnonay, and originally Ahnonay wasn’t Kadish’s in fact Kadish wasn’t supposed to be the “Deceiver” but it was retconned for Tpots.

    Personally if people want Hex in their game that’s up to them, I don’t in mine. Now a Hex like Age I could deal with, like Catfish Canyon. The weirder Uru Ages were pretty cool, however Hex stuff isn’t an Age and nor is the style of it quite right for Uru.

    As I mentioned at the GoW there are Uru players and there are Plasma players, there needs to be a distinction between the two I think to solve further confusion.

    • whilyam says:

      “Personally if people want Hex in their game that’s up to them, I don’t in mine. Now a Hex like Age I could deal with, like Catfish Canyon. The weirder Uru Ages were pretty cool, however Hex stuff isn’t an Age and nor is the style of it quite right for Uru.”

      This is what I mean when I say this is about style and appearance. Everyone is say, accurately, that the majority of the Hex areas don’t fit/look right for Uru. This is a matter of taste and opinion on what is a “proper” Myst Age.

      I think this issue speaks to why we need to have many shards. Otherwise we’ll have serious clashes when one style of Ages clashes with another.

  3. Dakro says:

    Cyan was able to justify the logic behind all of their ages though. Sure they say there’s an infinate number of possibilities and that’s true, but every age broke down to consistant physics. The problem is hex isle makes NO SENSE. Stoneship, sure, it doesn’t make too much sense for a ship to be wedged in the rocks but it isn’t impossible for such a thing to happen. Go on the discovery channel and watch them research ancient shipwrecks, such a development is far from impossible. Cotten candy trees, cracker floors, which are man-made creations by the way, that all come together as a stable enviroment MAKES NO SENSE. I don’t expect perfectly aligned stories, but a stable base of logic is a justifyable thing to ask for.

  4. Marten says:

    Hey Whilyam,

    While on the whole I agree with you, I wanted to set the record straight with regards to the multiple shards of Prologue. (I had picked up bits and pieces of this info over the years, but to be sure I’ve got it right, I just ran it by Brian Fioca to ensure its validity.)

    The events of Prologue only happened on ONE shard. There was no “simulcasting” or anything like that. While there were 3 shards total by the end of Prologue, the additional 2 shards both came online only after the clerical error that resulted in too many people trying to access Uru Live than the original shard could handle. One of those additional shards was even converted from the rehearsal shard when rehearsal’s plug was pulled.

    But this one detail aside, I cannot comprehend the continuity uproar any more than you can, and I’ll even add a point back to your list to make up for the one I’ve knocked down – for the purists, Drizzle broke continuity already when it enabled people to import Crowthistle. I’ve got a bone to pick with anyone who thinks the Hex Isle Ages are somehow more continuity-breaking because they’re less plausible or more fanciful in some way.

    Good writeup.

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