Tosholek Version 2 Released for PotS

The updated version of Tosholek is out for PotS users. Click the link to get it. Let me know if there are any issues!
Tosholek V2.0

Update Notes:
Lighting overhaul using lightmaps
Updated journal using new book system
Textures updated and refined.
Optimized the Age so that additions can be made easier in the future.

Tosholek Reborn

Let’s begin again, shall we?

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The next incarnation of Tosholek, and the first area of Sholek’s Arc is close to completion. This area was one I originally built for the old D’ni Location Contest. As part of my efforts to reduce the amount of shame and cringing I feel when I look at my old Ages, I have updated Tosholek. Featuring improved lighting, deeper backstory, and a heavier rock, this Age won’t give you endlessly repeatable gameplay but it will give you a window into the life of the Prophet of the Snake.

Deconstructing Ages: Introduction

I’ve been meaning to pen a series of articles regarding content development for some time. The goal of these articles is to explain in part the process I go through myself in content development as well as offer advice for your own content.

Before I get started I would like to ask you a question. Why do you want to build content for Uru?

It is a relatively simple question but it gives one an understanding of how far they are prepared to go. Are you building content just for a lark? Then you may not be interested in long term skill development. Are you building content because you want to contribute to Uru? Well then that opens up possibilities. From where we could ask do you want to to build something for people to enjoy? Or perhaps do you want to build something that will one day be on par with Cyan content? Simply put the more serious a content builder is about their content the more likely they would be interested in developing their skills and pushing their talents further.

This image you see here, is of a D’ni area I built called Fehnir’s House.

You may be familiar with the location already, you may not be. This is what I am building at the moment of writing this article, indeed this image is of a build of the location I have not released yet. Looks nice right? But what if I told you that the first ever Age I built and exported was two bowl shaped masses made of a UV sphere that looks like a giant bra (not the intention). Furthermore it had no lighting and was not texture mapped correctly.
A considerable amount of my early models were similar in how, quite frankly, terrible they looked. But at the start of this I asked myself this question, why do I want to build content for Uru?

My answer was this…
I was introduced to Myst back in 1998, it has been a huge influence in my life and continues to be. In 1998 I was just starting at a school for Art and Design and my artwork was unsurprisingly inspired by Myst. I built worlds up through my paintings drawing on influences like Roger Dean to flesh them out. So when content building for Uru developed it was the perfect venture for my interests. I wanted to actually build a world where people could walk through it, I wanted to share in the feeling Cyan set down of actually feeling like you were there. In order to do this I knew I needed to keep practicing and build content that was as good as Cyans.

I have come a long way since, and I still have a lot to learn. Is my content as good as Cyans? I guess it really depends who you ask there are some that would say it’s up there. Do I think my content is as good as Cyans? No, I do not. But one day it will be if I keep working at it.

Now I am lucky, I come from a background in art and design. The things I learned at college and university I apply to my Ages, even basic things like colour theory. But I learned these skills over time, thus it is possible for others to learn these skills.

The articles will be a series that will look at different things like initial age ideas, lighting, texturing/texture making, and other aspects. I hope to give interested parties a glimpse into the kind of processes I go through in the development of my own content in the hopes that perhaps you can take ideas away from it that will benefit you.

Myst, Business, and Artistic Integrity

There has been a bit of public drama recently over the Myst movie project. The purpose of this post is not to delve into the drama, to drag it out into the daylight, or to step into the middle of the he-said/she-said. The purpose is to look at how this fits in to Cyan’s handling of the community and especially how it fits in to our efforts to see Uru completely open-sourced.

If there is one thing I have learned during my time as an Uru developer, it is that Cyan’s plans are unknown to everyone, including Cyan themselves. They are more than willing to change their direction and priorities – something which in most cases would be commendable. Certainly if Cyan had not been flexible over the past decade Uru would have ceased to exist in any form long ago. Unfortunately, they are so poor at communicating these changes that they seem at best mercurial and at worst vindictive.

This lack of communication has shown itself time and again in our dealings with them. I unfortunately cannot list all of the details here – I am not willing to reveal communications which were assumed to be in private – but suffice it to say that there are threads which Cyan simply ceased to participate in with no warning or explanation. Threads which at the time were, or so those participating were led to believe, central to Cyan’s plans around the future of Uru. To this day I do not know why Cyan ceased to participate in that (semi-)public discussion; I doubt I ever will.

But poor communication is not the only takeaway from recent news. The other, and I feel the more dire, is Cyan’s priorities – they have, inadvertently, finally communicated something to the fans: making money off of Myst is more important than artistic integrity. This is perhaps an inevitable result of their 19-year reliance on the Myst franchise to sustain their existence. But that inevitability does not make the result any less disappointing. And it does not bode well for our hopes of seeing fan stewardship of Uru.

I have said for quite some time that the best thing that could happen to Uru would be for Cyan to cease being involved. This is not because I have felt they have any malice, but simply because I did not believe they had the resources to give it the love and nurturing it deserves. In light of this recent news, my belief is strengthened. Cyan has shown not just a lack of resources, but a willingness to compromise D’ni. This cannot be allowed to become the future of our Uru.

I would ask you to tell Cyan what you think of their priorities, but unfortunately Cyan has shown little willingness to listen to their fans when making important decisions. Instead I ask you to let Cyan go from your lives. Choose to explore on a fan shard instead. Give your donation dollars to the developers, artists, and admins who are passionate about helping D’ni grow once more. Are you willing to see our great City stagnate and rot? Or will you be part of the new restoration and help to bring Uru and D’ni into a shining new future?

Vaal’lin Concept: Rune Stones

Vaal'lin Concept - Rune Stones

A grand tree once stood upon the center of Vaal’lin. It was from this tree that the Vaal’lin got their name after King Jihl inscribed cryptic runes upon the tree’s trunk.

Unfortunately the tree was burned down during one of the many conflicts that Vaal’lin witnessed. In its place 7 vast slabs of white stone each carved from a single block were put up in the tree’s place one against adorned with the runes of Jihl.

The Journey of Tringira Concept

I have an idea for a Journey add-on for Myst Uru: The Complete Chronicles. This journey does not have Journey Cloths, but it does have Tringira plates. If the player kicks something onto each of these, they will activate the Bahro door in each age.

 

Story:

In the library in Ae’gura, there is a new book laying open on the floor. You pick it up, and touch the linking panel. You are lucky to have a Relto book, because you find yourself in a ruined prison age called Tringira. If you explore enough, you will find a nearly empty library. At the end, there is a door with a ten digit code to be entered. The only books remaining in the library are a book describing the age and its uses, and a linking book to an age called Eder Grafla.

 

Ages:

Tringira

Eder Grafla

Tserdougel

Heralding

Windring

Er’Jerah

Raflahn

Aspermere

 

Rewards:

At the end of the journey, the player will have collected 2 Bahro Wedges, each split into fourths. Other rewards are the books to each age, three Relto pages, and a linking book to Edward Tyndale’s Relto. His Relto allows access to his Bevin and Nexus, which has a different color scheme and is nonfunctional.

 

Updates:

Yes, I know that Aspermere was destroyed. The real Aspermere descriptive book was never destroyed. Edward hoped to protect it from whoever was destroying the books, so he copied it before returning the original to the Myst library. He did the same with a few other ages as well.

Beyond Beneath Teaser

Beyond Beneath

Can’t have it all…

It’s been a long time.
Hello, how are you?
I’ve been really busy, remembering how I’m a terrible dirty hacker who hates Uru and wants to ruin it for everyone.

It’s been a long time… albeit not as long as some people, who have been asking similar questions for far longer.

I’m tired of this. I’ve spent 7 years watching squabbles and arguments back and forth on every possible issue, and that’s not what I’m here for.
I’m here to develop, to create, to take ideas and turn them into something more. These past few years have really served to convince me that the Uru community is not the place to do that.

Read More…

Why the GoW Maintains its Own CWE Fork

The biggest issue with any open-source project is making it accessible to developers. I think OpenURU has failed spectacularly here. They still require developers to sign up to get code access, have no system in place to show active development branches, use an overly-complicated issue tracking system, and have no clearly-defined path for contributions to be accepted. These are the exact same issues they’ve had for the past three weeks, and though I’ve seen some activity on their forums towards getting these things resolved, I still don’t have much confidence in their team. The other big issue is that their core development team isn’t regularly contributing. I don’t know whether that’s due to lack of interest, lack of time, or lack of the knowledge needed to actively work on CWE. None of those are conditions you want from your code maintainers, though.

Compare this to the GoW: We immediately setup the code in a publicly-accessible area, with a simple bug tracking system. We quickly fixed the code and build system so it would be compatible with modern versions of visual studio, and at this point have even fixed it for Express editions – this is a major win for making the code accessible to a wider array of developers. We have documentation on how to build the code, and even a video tutorial available. GitHub makes it easy to see who’s actively working on the code, and its integrated pull request system makes it easy for developers to request their changes be included in our main development tree. And of course, our core development team is actively working on CWE.

Had OpenURU been ready, the GoW leadership would have happily worked with them. But the fact that after three weeks there has been no major progress on any of the issues I and others have raised, shows that the GoW development fork was definitely the right decision.

Llantern v. Alpha 003 Scheduled for Release on 29th April 2011

Imagine all the sounds of the seaside while you see this image. Other than seagulls. Panini-stealing gits.

 

Shorah!

I might well be the first real post here. If so – this is the sort of thing you can do on this dev journal page, I hope! Anyway, on to the formal announcement.

Llantern was first revealed for exploring at the end of last year, but after waning interest in D’ni I dedicated time outside of Uru and 3d modelling in general to other matters. With Open Source, however, the inspiration is back and the age’s development properly going again.

The next version of Llantern – Alpha v003 – will be released next Friday, the 29th of April. It features a whole raft of changes to the age, including significant changes to the modelling and texturing, additions of notably missing interactivity, and decent audio! Please keep an eye out for the release, which will be announced both here and on the Llantern thread on the Guild of Writers forum.

Simultaneously to the release, Llantern’s development doors will also open to interested developers in the community. More details will be given on the 29th, but for interested people – it will be genuinely open. You’ll be free to modify Llantern as you wish, to learn and/or pinch from it. Certain things (the trees, for example) will not be with the release for copyright reasons, but otherwise it will be complete. In terms of core development, I’m hoping that coders and other artists will step forward to help out. Llantern’s a lot bigger than just a beach, and to get it to that state of quality I’ll need help!

– Nye_Sigismund

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