Hollow Earth

The Future of Uru Live

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen. Back in 2011 I had a lot of ideas for how Cyan could improve Uru. To that end, I traveled to Cyan Worlds headquarters in February of this year to cut a deal. I am happy to announce that, after long negotiations, I have been given the rights to Uru Live. Let me take a moment to go over the changes which will be going in effect in the coming weeks and months as my team and I work to convert Uru Live into the bustling economic powerhouse it was meant to be.

The first change is to the name. We are rebranding the game “Whil’s Quest™” to fit with the content updates we have planned. Those updates include a complete reboot of the Uru storyline and a shift in the game’s core mechanics. The game will now be a primarily single-player experience with optional multiplayer servers. The player will take on the role of Whiller McWhillington Esq. III Jr.™ who finds the ancient city of D’ni following the trail of his father, Whiller McWhillington Esq. III Sr.™. Players will enjoy hours of repeatable gameplay and unique custom content on a large-scale sustainable recycling program complete with reticulating splines, updated localization files, and 20% less Herobrine than Minecraft.

Speaking of Minecraft, fans of the popular sandbox game will be pleased to know that Whil’s Quest™ will be rendered entirely out of cubes and will come with a fully-featured crafting and resource-gathering system.

On the topic of resources, this new version of Uru Live will launch with a much-asked for feature: player currency. Single and multi-player experiences will reward players with currency for completing activities such as: quick-time events, block stacking, D’ni tax filing (it’s all in base 5!), mowing your Relto’s lawn, in-game drug-smuggling missions, playing a game of Bastion, listening to old D’ni YouTube fads, quick-time events, posting to the official forums, making a sammich, and quick-time events. Players can use these “Whilbucks™” to purchase additional costumes and hats for their character, purchase season passes to additional levels, purchase the solution to any puzzle in the game, unlock better weapons and armor, purchase hats for their character, trade for useful items such as health, mana, and stamina potions with other players, and unlock the ability to actually play the new SimCity.

As for the online component, the game will be available on a wide range of platforms and will feature mini-games which players can use to accrue currency. The game will be primarily web-based with the new flash-based game engine. New ports will be coming out for Android phones, the PSP, the original GameBoy, and Java.

Now, with all that good news there must come some bad. First off, obviously the plans for open source are cancelled for the foreseeable future. We will try and get a modding API out sometime in the next decade, depending on whether or not I feel like it. Another piece of bad news is that I am afraid in the corporate streamlining that many of Cyan’s employees had to be let go. Rand Miller, who of course started the company, has been given a very nice severance package including free parking in the lot next door, an early beta of Whil’s Quest™, as well as 1500 Whilbucks™. RAWA was let go, but we have yet to be able to find him. If you’re out there, Richard, we’ve got some nice parting gifts to give you, buddy, come on out. We’re pretty sure that’s you in the ducts. We’re honestly surprised you got up there.

So I hope this has given you a window into the plans my team and I have for the future development of Uru Live aka Whil’s Quest™. I look forward to working with some of you and I look forward to playing with all of you. Remember: Where there’s a Whil, there’s a way.™

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ending the Nonsense Part Two

When lunanne was effectively banned from the MOULa forums (by way of removing her from the group that allows people to post on the forum) I was immediately asked to make an Ending the Nonsense Part Two. I was initially hesitant because I didn’t really care about that forum’s drama and I doubted I could be effective. In reflection, however, I realize that this doubt is what has caused these problems to persist for so long and why I must at least try to make a difference.

Let’s start with the obvious: the moderator responsible for this (veralun) should be removed from his moderating privileges. This is the most recent of a long history of veralun and other MOUL forum moderators abusing their powers. This is an abuse of the moderator’s powers to silence individuals because of their views. This is furthermore an abuse without a warning or a notice. This kind of abuse does not reflect well on Cyan and Cyan should, for its own sake, end this nonsense. If Cyan continues to allow this kind of behavior, however infrequent or isolated, it will tarnish Cyan’s reputation in the gaming community. No matter if this is just one “bad apple” the effects will be enormous. This must end now.

Furthermore, this abuseable power should be removed. Hoikas suggested a better anti-spam solution: When you register in the forum, your name could be checked against the spammer database. This system has been used successfully by the GoW and should be used on the MOULa forums. It is time that Cyan joins this noble and comprehensive program.

Finally, and most importantly, Cyan must expend some energy to collaborate with its community. What we have at present is moderators and others picked by Cyan to act in their stead. I still remember Rand’s reaction to “hacks” that opened the door to the “grey hats” keeping the cavern alive. If the good people at Cyan were able to see what good has come from this hacking, perhaps we would see more collaboration and shared growth. Instead we have a new D’ni word… and everyone who cares has either lost interest or has been “banned” in the most shameful, hurtful, and cowardly way possible.

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Learning from Others: Left 4 Dead Cold Stream

With the source for Uru newly released, it made me think about other fan content I’ve seen and the potential pitfalls involved. In short: Fans should have the rights to download the fan ages they choose to include in their experience.

For those who don’t know, Cold Stream is a custom fan-created map for the Left 4 Dead 2 game. There are lots of fan-created campaings and maps for the game, but what stands out to me is the fact that Valve included the Cold Stream beta map as a small downloadable update. What I dislike about this, and where I see this as a problem for Cyan, is that Cold Stream is not as good (in my opinion) as other maps available. However, Valve has nonetheless included it in an update.

The issue for Cyan is this: Fans are not going to be happy when the ages they want to play are not included in the game. Left 4 Dead solves this by letting anyone add campaigns at will, but Cyan has said that “As new writers arise with new books, the books are tested and documented – and books that are approved by some new kind of maintainers guild will (hopefully) find their way to the MOULa server where the public can enjoy new worlds once again.” This implies strongly that fan content will be vetted and added to the MOULa server (which is great). The problem that I see is that there’s no alternate way (at least for now) for fans to still explore the Ages not yet released on the MOULa server.

Filed under: Learning from Others, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

Ending the Whilyam

Hello, this is a message from your good forum moderator veralun.

Loyal Cyan worshipers may have noticed that Whilyam has been saying some traitorous things about Cyan. Mostly saying that I am not fit to be forum moderator. For this, Whilyam has been veralun’d. DocOlana will take over all of his Age projects and will begin the process of removing those parts inferior to Cyan holiness. OHB will be taking over Whilyam’s avatar in Uru and will use it to relay spam emails received by Cyan. CrisGer will begin his mass extermination process for the good of all.

Thank you

Filed under: Uncategorized

Paranoia Lives

It is, frankly, hilarious. MOULa has been working for less than a week and we already have people wringing their hands, worried about Uru without Cyan. This is not a sign of a mature community. This irrational fear that Fan Ages/stories are somehow lesser to Cyan is ludicrous, and it will end Uru if people keep seriously entertaining it.

It is incredibly frustrating for me to look at the forums after just leaving Fahehts, Cass, Jonnae, or Tre’bivdil and see people saying their concerned fan content will make Uru into Second Life. It’s even more frustrating to see Rand Miller, an adult, lend credibility to this absurd claim. The only people who are concerned about fan content are the ones who haven’t spent much time experiencing it. There are poorly-made Ages. But guess what, I don’t download them. Second Life? This is not a rational response. Many, including myself,  comment on the Uru community’s unique qualities (of which stubbornness is one). Since we assume we have qualities which distinguish us from other gaming communities, why do we think that same community is going to act like the Second Life community (which, by the way, is even more passionate and belligerent in the defense of their game)?

It was and still is similarly frustrating to be conducting an IC story, only to have someone say “oh, they’re just RPing” or “why don’t you leave the story to Cyan?” My response is usually “because Cyan’s last story had parts that sucked more than the Teledahn sub-pump,” but the better response is “why should we?” Why is it wrong to tolerate, evaluate, and embrace/discard a story? Why do people hold URU/D’ni/Myst canon is such high regard when Cyan has been said canon’s greatest enemy?

Being able to respond maturely to Ages and stories you disagree with (and by maturely, I don’t mean by using R language) is something essential for the new Uru. This is why we need to eventually move away from Cyan approval to community approval. After all, that is what is going on all the time. There are many people who do not approve of Jalak, Minkata, and other places because they lack Nexus pedestals. I and others don’t approve of calling neighborhoods “Bevins.” Many don’t approve of the game starting in Relto. Cyan has made very good games. As I have said before, though, they are neither friends nor enemies. The community would benefit, Uru would benefit, and Cyan would benefit if people would stop clinging to Cyan like a parent. We must mature if MOULa is going work.

Edit: Further discussion can be found here (just recently closed): Link to the MOUL foum topic.

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