Hollow Earth

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Writer?


Cyan needs to decide what kind of company it is.

When Google was founded, it was famously based on the principle of “don’t be evil”. Is that what Cyan wants to be? It doesn’t seem to be. There are many fan theories as to the nature of Cyan. Downtrodden maker of masterpieces? Manipulative failure? Busy toymaker? Overambitious Bungler? Perhaps, a mix of all of these. Only when a former employee decides to spill the beans will we truly know what went on in Cyan during this time. But there’s a larger question here, which Hoikas nicely commented on.

Is Cyan brave enough to do this?

As it stands, I agree with Hoikas. They don’t. This is perfectly understandable given their history. Cyan is a company from the 90s which has largely stayed there. It was fairly open by 90s standards, a recluse by today’s, and you cannot shift that kind of paradigm overnight. If Cyan truly cared about Uru, they would have offered the opportunity to help out to those who have already demonstrated their mastery of the software. Whether they should care about it is a story for another time. As it stands, the declarations by Cyan’s top men are equivalent to a first-time swimmer declaring they are going to jump right in while really just standing at the edge getting their toes wet. They are going in the water. It is simply a matter of time. For now we have words and words only. Cyan has said as much that this move is one that is alien to them. This is what makes Cyan’s reluctance to utilize their fanbase all the more frustrating. This is what makes the opposition to the Guild of Writers all the more frustrating. I see people commenting on how the Guild of Writers isn’t made up of “real” fans because some have expressed their frustration with Cyan. In the end, it comes down to this:

People are intentionally lying to further a dead agenda.

That is really the core of it. People are lying about the facts, distorting the facts, or stating impossible opinions to further the concept of a solely Cyan-based Uru. And it is the Guild of Writers which is taking the brunt of this animosity. People attack the Guild of Writers for hacking. Nearly everyone in this community has “hacked”. Stop kidding yourself. Unless you have never seen a fan Age, never used autoshout, and never been in Until Uru, you have hacked Uru. It is time for us to act our age and accept that this kind of “hacking” (user-generated content) is the norm for modern games. It is certainly time for people to stop calling for others to leave because of their viewpoint. People attack Guild of Writers members for stating their frustration over Cyan’s slow response. They attack them for criticizing Uru instead of trying to incorporate their ideas.

Now, this isn’t to say there aren’t issues with detractors. There are plenty of people feeding off this discontent and spreading rumors of how bad a manager Rand is. More importantly, I hear the claim that Cyan would be better if Robyn were leading it instead of Rand. In short, this Robyn-mania is fantasy. What it misses is the idea that it was both Robyn and Rand that built Cyan, not one or the other. Robyn, for all his creativity, does not put those ideas together coherently. Rand, despite heading the company since after Riven, does not seem to be able to replicate the company’s success. My dream would be to see both brothers hired to come together to make another Riven. A high-resolution game that makes staring at a wall like staring at art.

Cyan has taken an important first step.

RAWA has explained the realities at Cyan and the issues Cyan is facing. While people can and will still interpret that reality, the facts seem to be that Cyan is working on Uru in “spare cycles” of development, which are few and far between. This is little more than the usual “Cyan is busy” argument which routinely pops up on the forums, but it is useful to get the story from Cyan and not simply its supporters.

But Cyan needs to learn from this.

It appears Cyan made a critical error when starting this process. The reason Cyan’s working on “spare cycles” is because some code isn’t available to make open source, so they need to remove it. The error comes in Cyan deciding it needs to fill in the holes it’s had to make. Only now has Cyan gotten the news that the fans are desperate to fill those holes themselves without waiting. Cyan only got this information because RAWA explained the process. This sort of community relations will kill Cyan.

Cyan needs to invest in proper community relations. With an open source project being launched, Cyan has no better excuse to look for it. Obviously not every decision can be outsourced to the fans, nor can all the fanbase be adequately polled. However, the “spare cycles” question would have been a perfect use for this open discussion. Cyan needs to consider the costs of this. The failure to check in with the community cost Cyan’s developers free time. This cost Cyan money. This puts Cyan further from their goals.

Cyan needs to recognize this to take advantage of this opportunity. So far, they seem to slowly be doing so. But it cannot be stressed enough. Failing to adequately take advantage of the fans’ interest costs Cyan in real ways.

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Filed under: Uru Community, ,

One Response

  1. Paradox says:

    I pretty much agree with everything you said, which is a shame.

    Nobody actually wants to see Cyan go under, but all we can do is watch them refuse our help and keep sinking.

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All posts are my opinion only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others.
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