Article: Breaking the Mold

Breaking the Mold

The shift in dynamic for content creation has shifted from Cyan to the player base, with this we start seeing differences in the Ages release that we are not used too. People have a tendency to imprint their personalities upon their Ages, whether they mean to or not.

But with it comes a concept that I have noticed many people in the player base have a troubled time comprehending. It was started by Cyan, back in 2007 when they released an Age called Jalak Dador. The premise to the Age was simple, it was a sandbox where people could build their own games and play games other people had created.
Yet with this simple concept came a struggle by some, here is an Age which has no deep meaning, no great puzzle or “journey” behind it, it is what it simply is.

Some rallied against the Age because of it, others embraced it, but it was an interesting thing to watch.

I assume it must be like mental conditioning, you live your life a certain way, perhaps there are restrictions on how you live, one day those restrictions are gone and you don’t know what to do with yourself.
For years we’ve had Ages from Cyan that have these puzzles, that have some mechanism behind them that leads to bigger things, and now with Jalak they threw that out of the window.

Applying it to Fan Ages

It has been 2 years since Myst Online: Uru Live closed down, 2 years for people to grasp the concept of Ages not being something more. And as the player Ages start gaining momentum, it seems this concept is still hard to grasp by some.

Still some see that player Ages should have some deep meaning behind them, some complex puzzle that needs to be solved, often looking down on the Ages that do not supply these things.

As of writing this, I have 2 Ages released, Fahets and Cass, with one on the way, Sul.
I have been following peoples opinions on the Ages, taking complaints and learning from them, applying them to my later projects.

The complaints about Cass are well founded, it’s small there is nothing to do, the hole in the wall the shows promise of expansion takes the edge off of the fact.
But with Fahets it is different, the Age is outside, it is set in a valley, it is small. Again a lot of people have said how there is nothing to do, how it needs this and that.

The concept that Fahets is supposed to be simple and small is lost. Story wise it is the first Age I wrote, and in modeling terms it literally is the first Age I started building. My first steps into Blender were in building the first version of the valley the Age is set in.
I am supposed to be a Writer who has not grasped the concept fully, it would be silly for the Age to be some masterpiece place worthy of Ri’neref, yet this is a problem that a lot of Ages will have, because the concept of a simple Age cannot be fully grasped.

The question is, what can we do about it? What can we as Writers do to stem this mentality?

My goal with the Books of Commentary that are contained in my Ages were to address these issues, to give an indication that things in my Ages are the way they are for a reason, the rocks for example, are square in Fahets for a reason, it’s just the visitor does not know why as events have yet to play themselves out yet.
The problem with this idea, whilst it seems to go a long way to clear up confusion, relies on the player reading the journals found within, which not all people do.

Is it fair to belittle an Age because this concept cannot be grasped? Of course not, but how to come up with a viable solution to this remains to be seen.

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